Result: Failsworth Dynamos 4-2 Tottington United (Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division)
Venue: Failsworth Sports Centre (Saturday 21st November 2015, 2.30pm)
Att: 23 (hc)
I hadn’t been to a game on a bus for quite a while before today. Now that I’ve grabbed your intrigue….
As my intended game at Irlam Steel fell by the wayside just as I enquired to whether it had beaten the weather or not, I was soon left with a scramble to decide an alternative venue for my Saturday entertainment. Due to having Burnley vs Brighton on the schedule the following day, I was on the lookout for somewhere that wouldn’t break the bank.
As a result and due to my taking that most lower league games due to be played on grass would be off, I narrowed my choice down to East Manchester or Failsworth Dynamos. As per usual, a new “ground” proved too enticing, and I was soon transiting through Manchester just in time to grab the 180 bus to Failsworth centre.
I wasn’t expecting much from Failsworth itself, if I’m honest. So, it was a pleasant surprise as I hopped off into the chilly air and into a lovely little area which included a few pubs, a church and a clock tower. As such, with three pubs to choose from in my two hour lead up to kick-off, I headed for the Rose & Crown first. That is, until I saw their over-25 policy and with viable alternatives, my thoughts resembled something along the lines of “F*ck them!”. My custom was thus sent elsewhere.
Elsewhere turned out to be the The Royal Oak, which was a nice enough pub, but was empty bar yours truly and another guy sat at the bar conversing with the staff. With the pub’s BT Sport failing before the United game, I quickly ended my Strongbow and headed for the door, just as the guy broke into song. “I’ll stop if you want!” he replied as I was leaving, but I assured him he could continue on his merry way.
So, it was on to the Church Inn situated just over the world and opposite , somewhat unsurprisingly, a church. Now here was a fine establishment. A small bar, which sits just to the left of the door and is in the middle of the pub itself. Wonderful. Also, I was greeted as I walked in, which always goes a long way in my opinion and with a Kopparberg in hand, I took a seat for the first half of the big Premier League game of the day.
With the Premier League’s La Marseillaise tribute done, I was more than pleased to see Memphis Depay get on the scoresheet. Depay is something of an enigma, but we all love a character, right? Soon enough, it was half-time and my cue to leave was upon me as Dan walked in to accompany me for the live action contest.
A 10-minute walk later and we were at the home of Failsworth Dynamos. Well, I thought we were, but it was empty and void of any activity. “Shit”, I thought, but then I head the brainwave that the game was behind the sports centre and not in this football centre. After navigating the road and the gateways towards the rear pitches, we eventually arrived cage-side to find junior football. “Shit”.
Luckily, these were just coming to an end and the two senior sides were soon taking to the field. Unfortunately, we had to wait a good 25-minutes longer than the stated (on Full-Time) pm kick-off time. This gave Dan a chance to tuck into Pringles and me time to roundhouse kick a cup of tea off a table. I thought it was empty, but scenes when it fell prone and its contents went all over. Oops.
Soon enough, it was time to head into the cage for the game. The pitch is artificial, and features nothing bar a barred-off paved spectator area on one side, which also has a raised second terrace-like step to it. That’s it.
Failsworth, in third place in the league were entertaining sixth-placed Tottington United. Both were playing catch-up on games on those ahead, with Failsworth attempting to close the gap on leaders Old Boltonians who are dominant (at time of writing).
The game was soon underway and it was the visitors who took the lead around 25 minutes in, as a Tottington forward rifled in a fine strike. Being stood right behind the line of fire made it all the more impressive. The remainder of the half was entertaining on the 4G (I think) pitch, but no further goals were added, before I was drawn into the gymnasium area, grateful to escape the cold. Wimp. Soon enough, though, it was time for the second half, but not before I’d helped another spectator locate the pitch. Not just us then!
The home side was soon, deservedly, level with another stunning effort, Liam Stuttart’s drive, which left the ‘keeper beaten all ends up. Despite being on the front foot for the majority of the game, Failsworth found themselves behind again not long after, as #9 bundled the ball over the line. 1-2.
From then on, Failsworth dominated the game, equalising about 10 minutes later through Terry Qualters, before I uttered “There’ll be a winner in this one”, just as Chase Harrison recieved the ball and the orange-clad forward ran through and fired home from the angle. 3-2 and I basked in my Nostradamus-esque prophecy.
This talent soon ended as abruptly as it started though and passed over to Dan, as I said there wouldn’t be another goal, Dan said there definitely would be and…PENALTY! Failsworth’s brilliant #11, Stuttart, completed the scoring from the spot and that was that. The rest of the game saw a few niggles and scraps go on, but all in all, the game was a good watch and a fine advertisement for the league.
After heading out of the Sports Centre and past a random bench and a drowning table, the travel home was uneventful, but I’ll give you this exciting gem to leave upon. It involved two buses. Wow.
Game: 8- A really entertaining contest. Great show by both sides.
Ground: 2- Sports Centre cage. Expected little, received little.
Fans: 4- Had a couple of guys shouting support.
Value For Money: 8- £6.60 (bus & train), £6.80 elsewhere. Free admission!