Result: Greenalls Padgate St. Oswald’s Reserves 3-2 Eagle Sports Reserves (Cheshire League Reserve Division 1)
Venue: Bennett’s Recreation Centre (Thursday 13th April 2017, 6.30pm)
Att: 22 (hc)
It’s very rare for me to delve into reserve exclusive football, and even more so to blog about it. But with Greenalls Padgate’s Reserve side having their own separate home to their first team (who play at the Tetley Walker ground about a mile away), then this was one that had to be done. Along with the silly thing I have of ticking off grounds I regularly see from the train.
So, having set off at just before 6pm, I arrived in Padgate at around a quarter past the hour and that, to me, meant time for a swift one in the nearby Stocks Hotel. The Stocks is a decent little place and is located nicely so you don’t have to be left on the desolate station platform. Anyway, a quick pint of Kronenbourg was had while a couple of guys were providing entertainment on the pool table.
I wasn’t too fussed about making kick-off, arriving at the ground about five minutes into the game. The Bennett’s Recreation Centre pitches sit toward the rear of the park they’re situated within and are around a five-minute walk from Padgate station. There are a pair of venues here, a fully railed off pitch and another non-railed pitch that does, however, feature a small concrete terrace. It was the fully railed off pitch being in use today and I arrived with the score-line remaining at 0-0. For history of GPSO, see the blog on their first team from a couple of seasons back here.
As for the game itself, it was a pretty decent one. It looked as though Eagle had taken the lead (or at very least had a good shout of a pen) when a goal-bound header was blocked on the line, via various parts of the defender’s anatomy, including his hand. The referee, though, waved away all claims and the game continued on. As did I, dodging the odd pile of dog muck on the way to greet the Eagle bunch on the far side of the pitch.
But, it was the visitors who did take the lead shortly afterwards when, with around 25 minutes on the clock, tall striker Ben White was released down the inside right and drove an effort into the far side-netting, just within the post. However, the lead didn’t last too long, with Greenalls fighting back strongly and storming into the lead with two quick fire goals.
Firstly, a bit of hectic defending led to the ball not being cleared away and the Greenalls #9 unleashing a fine volley into the corner. This was doubled a couple of minutes later when, after some good play down the left, a low ball in saw the Eagle ‘keeper enter into no man’s land and #11 being on hand to slot in from about eight yards. The Reserve derby was heating up well and truly now.
Then came the flash point of the game when the referee decided to not blow the whistle at his lips despite being about to award what was a clear free-kick to the visitors. This allowed the hosts to break forward at speed again down the left and the same result occurred with the #11 arriving to knock the ball over the line at the back-post. Half-Time, 3-1 to Greenalls Padgate and the Eagle ‘keeper treated himself to a cigarette no longer than 20 seconds after the whistle had gone!
The second half was more of a turgid affair, with the grass cuttings on the pitch, combined with tiring legs, meaning the game was played at a slower pace. However, it was the visitors who largely dominated it and they got themselves back in the game when Adam Deakin forced the ball in at the second attempt. This spurred the visitors on to claim a pint and they did go close to a leveller on two occasions via a deflected drive going just wide and a fine save by the Padgate ‘keeper denying what looked a certain goalbound header.
I did miss the last ten minutes as I gambled on there being no further goals (I was right in my thought process) and got the early train back to spare myself an hour and a half wait post-match. So, nothing too exciting bar the game being a decent one, so it’s off to the big leagues on Friday with Huddersfield Town the venue.
Value For Money: 8