Result: Unicorn Athletic 4-0 Litherland REMYCA Dev. (Cheshire League 2)
Venue: Valley Road (Tuesday 12th April 2016, 6.30pm)
Att: 15 (approx.)
Another trip to Flixton’s Valley Road for yet another club. Yes, after the tenures there of Flixton, Northwich Vics and Northwich Flixton Villa, it’s now the turn of Unicorn Athletic to take advantage of the ex-Unibond League ground. The Cheshire League 2 side currently share the ground with Manchester League outfit Wythenshawe Amateurs and will continue to utilise the ground going forwards.
Which is all good, as it means the second nearest ground to me will still be home to a club and, of course, means more games to get to. But, for me, this was my first Unicorn game ever and, as such, well worth a blog and that, of course, means pubs must be visited. So, after hopping on the train to Chassen Road I headed down to the Bird I’ th’ Hand pub in Flixton for a half Heineken, which was more “this size” (3 quarters). So, after quickly downing that, it was onwards towards Moorside Road which leads toward the ground, but not before a further quick stop off in the Garrick’s Head pub for a San Miguel, while watching some Women’s Weightlifting for some reason, though the two guys behind me were rather enamoured with the goings on.
After that entertainment, I headed off in earnest towards the ground, joined in transit by my new musical beau, M83. 20 minutes later, I arrived at Woodsend Circle with Valley Road visible at the end of a road leading off of the traffic island. But, of course, I was not heading there just yet as there was still a good hour to kick-off. Instead I was to visit the Fox & Hounds pub, the current “unofficial” clubhouse of Unicorn, as Flixton’s former clubhouse is still shut up for the time being.
After wasting the hour or so in the company of an Amstel and latterly a spot of Motown that had been requested by some other patrons, it was time to leave the pubs and head towards the still Vics’ colour-clad Valley Road and the footballing action. After heading down said road that lends its name to the ground, I met with Dan who’d arrived at exactly the same time as I had. Great minds and all that…
Valley Road is still remaining as it has since Flixton’s highest moments and their promotions up the leagues before their eventual downfall and folding. The ground houses a pitch-long “bus stop” style covered area alongside the dressing room building (which still features old Flixton FC boards), faced by the clubhouse, turnstiles and a seating stand on the near side. Both ends are open, hard standing.
Anyway, after heading round to the clubhouse side, we found the turnstile to be locked up, with entry for tonight’s game coming via the access gate alongside instead. Free entry can never be sniffed at, regardless of the level of football and as such, we were both more than pleased! After a short period of waiting around, the rest of the Unicorn side joined their few earlier arriving teammates and opposition on the field and we were soon underway. But before we get into the game in detail, here’s a bit of background information about Unicorn…
Unicorn Athletic were formed in 1977 and have spent most of their history as a youth football side, only expanding into open-age football in the last few years. Their senior side were latterly competing in the Altrincham & District League and playing at their Smith’s Fields base, competing in the Second Division for the last three years (at least) and finishing third last time out before making the switch over to the Cheshire League 2 for this season, where they currently sit in a lowly 9th out of 12 teams.
The game was an alright one as far as the first half went. The young Litherland side competed for the first half-hour or so in earnest, but soon began to falter under the more physical Unicorn outfit. It was the home side who netted first, with the #6 rising highest to head home a right-wing corner.
This began the period of dominance and Unicorn never really relinquished their position from here. It was little surprise therefore, when their second arrived via a close range finish. At 2-0, it looked all but over. After a good conversation with Unicorn’s manager Dave and being given a sneak peek at their kit for next year plus a few other club snippets (not to be revealed!), it was soon half-time.
With next to nothing going on at the ground, it was a merciful happening that the half-time only consisted of a matter of minutes, before both sides re-entered the field in a joint mission to beat the ever encroaching darkness that was beginning to descend on the Valley. For Litherland, though, the light was also fading on their competitiveness in this game, as they almost went three down, only for Unicorn’s #9 to head against the bar from a few yards.
But it was three soon after, with #9 making amends for his earlier miss with a tidy finish and that killed the game off a s a contest for sure. Unicorns defence, though, looked to take their eye off the ball somewhat at 3-0 and Litherland’s youngsters had a couple of good chances to get themselves one back, but both were spurned. They were eventually finished off minutes before the end, with a pretty emphatic finish completing the scoring. 4-0, full-time.
So, Dan and I headed off after receiving a thank-you from Dave for turning up (cheers!) and we headed off down the road towards Trafford’s Shawe View ground (where I visited earlier this season) for their second half vs Glossop. After arriving right on the whistle, we were soon discovered by West’s self-quoted “failed author” Jonny, “serving juror” Danny and current Kartel Sports star Jamie. How’s about that then?
The half wasn’t that great, but two goals (including a goal direct from a corner by Trafford’s assistant manager Chris Shuker) added some further entertainment to an evening filled by local football and after bidding goodbye to the above trio upon the game’s conclusion, Dan and I headed off towards Urmston and our respective journeys home.
It does look like Unicorn are set to keep progressing from strength to strength and I for one wish them all the best in their quest to do so, especially with a great name like that!!
Game: 5- Okay game, quite one-sided.
Ground: 5- Bit dilapidated again at the moment, but can be resurrected at some point to its former glory.
Programme: N/A- (Some are produced on occasion, though.)
Fans: Not doing that one!
Value For Money: 9- No real negatives to be had.