Result: AVRO 3-2 Stockport Georgians (Manchester League Premier Division)
Venue: The Lancaster Club (Tuesday 3rd May 2016, 7pm)
Att: 22 (hc)
Despite being a regular contributor on the Manchester League’s weekly podcast, I’d sort of neglected the league’s games and had hardly watched one all season. But, this was to be somewhat changed with a midweek visit to the Lancaster Club in Failsworth and AVRO FC.
After another bus filled journey with little of note except that some of the driving around the streets of the Manchester outskirts was questionable to say the least, I was dropped off outside the Lamb Inn pub on Manchester Road, the main road which the ground sits just off of. I had also spotted another pub pretty much next door, but as this one was closed and therefore not a likely place to find a non-fatal drink, I headed for the Robbie’s Lamb for the pre-game beverage.
Yet again, my beer choosing was off, as my option was again no longer available. I’ve honestly lost count of how many times this has now happened to me this season! Rather fortunately, though, Beck’s was served in a bottle instead and so I plumped for that to keep me company for the next half-hour. After slowly nursing this over the period and trying to help out fans with info for Saturday’s game at Accrington (despite not knowing much myself), I found the clock approaching 6.30 and so headed over to the Lancaster Club for the game.
After a 5 minute walk, I arrived at the road leading down to the ground itself, confirmed by a sign with, unsurprisingly, a picture of a Lancaster Bomber on it. (By this point, I must apologize for just how boring this has been so far, even more so than normal!) The pitch(es) sat at the end of this and beyond the car-park adjoining the club itself and despite the 7pm kick-off time noted on the website, it looked as though a game was getting underway at 6.30 instead. Turned out this was an u-17’s contest, but this provided some great entertainment with AVRO & Elton Vale playing out a 5-3 win for the visitors.
I was joined by the “agent” Mr B for this game which is always great, especially when he tells of his plans to run off to Narnia with corner flags and to collect them by ripping them off their poles then pleading ignorance. (Legal note: This is said in jest. Honest.) Anyway, after the AVRO players had carried the goalposts over to the back pitch and they were set up we were all ready to go. As are we for the…
(Brief) History Lesson:
An AVRO FC have played at the Lancaster Club since just after the Second World War, having been founded by employees of the aviation company’s factory in Chadderton. The club is the former Failsworth Hall, which was purchased by the company’s founder A.V. Roe in 1938 and has been used as a sports venue since 1950.
The current club was formed, joined the Manchester League and won the Division 1 Championship in 1989 but lasted just three seasons in the Premier Division before being relegated in 1992 and departing the league in 1995, before embarking on what appears to be a three year sabbatical before re-joining the league in 1998. They again won Division 2 in 2004 but were again relegated after three seasons.
After just one season, though, AVRO returned to the Manchester League’s top-flight as Division 1 runners-up and have since won the Premier Division on two successive occasions, in 2010 & 2011. Last season, AVRO recorded a third place finish in the top Division.
We got underway with the sunlight opposite proving something of an obstacle that we were unused to. Of course, I always cover all eventualities and had shades and gloves just in case and unbelievably it was only the former that was required. Things are hotting up just as the season ends. Sod’s law.
Anyway, on the field it was a pretty tight affair during the early stages, until the AVRO ‘keeper had a rush of blood, came charging out of his area, missed the ball and allowed the Stockport #10 the easiest of tasks to roll the ball into the empty net. 0-1 to the visitors, who were still not completely safe from relegation despite winning the league the previous season!
From then on, though, it was all AVRO as they began to put all the pressure on the visitors defence, but could only really muster a couple of shots from range which were easily saved. Apart from that, the game was mostly a midfield contest and there was little of note. Half-Time arrived with the score at one-nil.
After engaging in some necessary pitch encroachment to get around from the back of the pitch from the steep ravine side, where the pitch drops away from the plateau it sits on, we were ready to get going with the sun now being a little less troublesome for both spectators and players alike as it set behind the houses beyond Failsworth’s answer to the Grand Canyon.
Soon enough, the home side grabbed a deserved equaliser when a poor pass allowed AVRO o steal possession and play in the forward who slotted home comfortably. 1-1 and all to play for, apart from the fact the home ‘keeper decided he wanted to repeat his trick from earlier in the game, straight from kick off and again gifted Georgians’ #10 an open net that he couldn’t miss from. 1-2.
But, again, it seemed that Georgians were happy to sit on their lead, but they never looked comfortable in doing so. It looked inevitable to both me and Mr B that the equaliser would arrive and it duly did, a header from a right wing delivery being nodded home from close range. From here, to be honest, it looked like there would only be one winner, with the AVRO gloveman confining himself to his area after berating himself after his second erring.
Indeed, the winner did arrive and it was for the home side. Again, Georgians conceded possession poorly in the midfield and AVRO worked the ball through to their skipper who slotted home with confidence to secure his side the three points, which they held onto easily enough. 3-2 and that was full-time.
So for me and B, it was time to head off home to our shared township and after swaying the “agent’s” decision to join me in the lovely surroundings of the Mancunian bus services over the Metro, we were soon headed back towards the city centre and the connection onwards home. That was, until we reached Stretford and things became much more exciting. The race was on, almost like a Top Gear race, but with buses and not super cars. Ok, nothing like it then…
So, it was on! Mr B on the 256 vs me on the 23 plus a 5 minute delay. After the nerves and the sweat I arrived home (I presume) victorious! The re-match will happen sometime during season two*. But as for the evening, it was ok, decent game, good to see Mr B once more and now it’s onwards to Saturday and the small matter of a possible promotion…
*probably won’t happen.
Game: 6- Decent enough game, but not as exciting as you’d imagine a 3-2 to be. But maybe I’m having football burnout.
Ground: 4- Barred off pitch (apart from behind the goals). All grass surround.
Fans: 5- Yeah.
Value For Money: 9- Free game, only paid £5.20 travel plus £2.60 “extras”. Not a bad exchange then.