Result: Albion Sports 0-7 Bradford Park Avenue (West Riding County Cup 2nd Round)
Venue: Throstle Nest (Farsley Celtic) (Wednesday 28th October 2015, 7.45pm)
After the original plans laid to visit the St Helen’s Rugby Stadium for Liverpool vs Celtic u21 fell by the wayside as it was moved to a new date and, with short notice given, a new game had to be found. I originally was planning on Warrington Town Reserves vs Halebank in the Cheshire League 2, but after seeing MattLostBoyo (if we use his twitter handle) inform the world that he was off to Albion Sports, plus the fact I thought my chosen game seemed a bit shit, I decided to join him on his trip over the Pennines.
After early rain had put the game in slight jeopardy, I set off for Manchester where I was to meet Matt in Victoria Station, where we’d catch the train towards Selby. From here, we undertook the journey, taking around an hour and 10 minutes, passing by Halifax and Bradford before pulling into New Pudsey station shortly after nightfall. After both of us suffering respective initial camera issues, we headed down the road from the station towards Farsley, safe in the knowledge that the game was definitely on.
After Matt had regaled me with Bootle FC related tales of Ronnie Moran’s family and Delta Taxis-related fights, we soon got slightly lost in the quiet suburban roads and alleyways of Farsley, before we eventually spotted a pub by the name of the Old Hall Hotel. Matt, however, wanted to have more of a look at the village high street itself, so we bypassed here and headed for the road.
After heading down the far end, we headed into the Bay Horse, which was more of an old-style boozer institution. With nothing of note in here, bar the Hallowe’en decorations adorning the walls and ceiling, we headed for the New Inn. Again, there wasn’t much of note here, though I did go into full on name drop mode about the time I met….wait, that was close. So, it was off to the Old Hall, or so we intended, when we came to a democratic decision to try to Village Wine Bar. This was probably the best place in the town, if the most expensive, complete with further decorations of the dead and a “Contaminated Area”, which was a seating area separated from the bar area. I hope it wasn’t actually contaminated, as the people in there wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Before long, we headed out of here and, finally, to the Old Hall, which I’d talked Matt into and away from the clubhouse. But, alas, the punter to barmaid ratio was unfair and made service seem unlikely for the short term, so we headed out back into the Farsley night and towards the floodlit-hue which hung over the village like it was announcing the birthplace of the second coming.
After overshooting our turn, we headed back towards the correct way and headed past a sports team doing warm-ups in the park by torchlight. I suppose it may help their eyesight in games affected by fading light! Anyway, we arrived at the Throstle Nest ground shortly after and was about to head inside when Matt requested a “double thumbs-up” picture by the gates stating “Farsley AFC”. This was fine, until the gate opened and five or six guys headed out complaining they couldn’t reach the ground this way. Eventually, the gate shut and with pic taken, we heeded the advice and stayed out the ground for now and instead headed for the bar.
After I made a detour to secure a programme prior to the influx of the crowds, it was back inside for a final pre-match beverage before the teams were heading out for the start and we headed for the turnstiles. After passing through them in exchange for £5, we were inside the ground, dually used by today’s home side, Albion Sports, and actual home side, Farsley Celtic. After a brief greeting to Bradford PA’s media guru, Joe Cockburn, the game was underway and so was the singing band of travelling support from Bradford.
Albion Sports were founded in 1974, originally competing in the Bradford Sunday League which included reaching the National Sunday League Final on two occasions. In 2007, Albion resigned from Sunday competition to join Saturday football and in order to progress up the pyramid. Starting Saturday life in the local Telegraph & Argus League, Albion immediately had success, winning promotion and the League Cup in their first season.
Sports were elected into the West Riding Amateur League in 2008, again winning promotion straight away and joining this with further silverware, in the shape of the District Cup. 2010 saw Albion finish runners-up in the Premier Division & win the Divisional Cup & ’11 saw Sports finish as runners-up again which helped them to be elected to the Northern Counties East League for 2011/’12 season.
The Tigers’ time in the NCEL has been a success so far, with them missing out on promotion in their first season by a point, but achieved it the next season, gaining promotion as champions of Division 1 to the Premier Division for season 2013-’14. Last season saw Sports achieve a highly respectable 10th place.
Back onto the night’s game and after Sports hit the post in the early stages and I wiped off all the pre-game pictures from my camera, thus meaning those you see are via Matt’s, it was mostly one-way traffic. Bradford, as is their official title, dominated the game with a strong side proving too much for their NCEL hosts. The defending champions reacting to their early wake-up call to charge into a dominant lead. First, Richard Marshall guided a 25-yard daisy cutter into the bottom corner and he added his second around 20 minutes later, firing in a low cross from six-yards.
The one-way traffic was turned around for a short time, as, firstly, Ferdinand Annor wasted a great chance and then Bradford ‘keeper Jon Stewart pulled off a great stop to thwart Albion’s Marcus Edwards, but it was 3-0 shortly afterwards as Chib Chilaka slid in. This was just before the interval and at the break Matt, who’d discovered the young lad who’d liked his picture on line wasn’t his new “stalker” and was being a lackey for the bench today, and I headed back inside and were soon met by Joe, who was taking a short relief break from his match reporting, which has proved a massive help in piecing together the night! Cheers, Joe!
Back outside 10 minutes later, the game was back underway, but I’d discovered that I’d be forced to leave before the end due to train times and with no viable alternative, I was left with next to no choice in the matter. So, I was pleading for a fourth and no sooner had I requested it, the goal duly arrived via Michael Potts close range finish. Chilaka immediately added number five a minute later, heading in, before Albion’s fight was ended with Avenue’s sixth. coming through Craig King. Upon this strike, I bid farewell to Matt and left him to watch the remainder of the game.
I rushed over to New Pudsey Station, almost missing the train upon arrival, as I stood on the platform labelled as “trains to Manchester” before remembering I needed the one to Leeds, which was standing opposite me! A sprint over the bridge sorted the issue and I was soon in Leeds, where I caught a train running 26 minutes late back to Manchester Oxford Road and eventually caught my last connection home.
It transpired I’d only missed one more goal. Jason St.Juste celebrated his international call-up to the St Kitts & Nevis side with a seventh BPA goal but, despite hating leaving a game early, I’d have swapped missing this any day for getting home an hour earlier and stress-free!
So, another club ticked off that I’d probably never have got round to visiting and a good evening in full all leads towards a successful trip. s always, it’s a good experience to have a day out with the Lost Boyo and meeting many of those in his entourage! As for Albion Sports, they are a well-run club to my eye and, without wishing to sound disrespectful, I have to say it seemed much better ran than I was expecting, so fair play to all involved. Their side seems decent, but there was a massive gulf in class on the night. As for me, it’s on to the next one….
Game: 6- Very one-sided, bar the odd chance.
Ground: N/A- Wait until Farsley blog to rate.
Fans: 5- There were a few backing Albion here and there.
Programme: 5- Standard issue, not much in it, but looked nice enough and only £1.
Value For Money: 6- Dear do in travel for a County Cup game. All at the club and in the village itself was cheap enough.