Manchopper in….Salford (AJ Bell Stadium)

manchester_city_new_badgederby_county_crest-svg

Result: Manchester City EDS 1-3 Derby County u23 (Premier League Cup)

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium (Wednesday 25th January 2017, 7pm)

Att: 200 (approx.)

After experiencing the bonus of a free League 1 game at Oldham the previous evening, Wednesday night threw up the opportunity to double up. Yes that’s right, two free games in two nights! Crazy scenes all over the shop. Following the late move of the game to the AJ Bell, home of the Salford Red Devils & Sale Sharks, Man City announced it would be free admission and I’m not one to miss out on such an offer!

I decided to walk the three-plus miles to the ground and was soon to discover this was a great choice. The reason? The traffic. The traffic was awful, so much so that blog regular Dan, who’d set off an hour earlier than me, didn’t even make the game due to the backlog of public transport. No such issues for me luckily and I arrived at the ground with around 20 minutes to kick-off. As such, I took advantage of the Barley Farm pub on the lane leading to the stadium itself for a quick pint of Strongbow (£3.50).

The Barley Mow

The Barley Farm

Arriving at the AJ Bell

Arriving at the AJ Bell

The Barley farm is a nice, carvery-style pub and has a more than comfortable feel to it. Alas, I had to move on swiftly and after a further few minutes walk finally arrived at the turnstiles where I was granted entry along with a complimentary team-sheet. Nice.

This was to be the second time I was to witness a football match at the ground, following a u21 game a few years back between United and Fulham’s up and comers. I have also been there for my one and only (so far) club rugby game as I visited for a Sale Sharks game around a year ago. The ground itself is a new-build, but one I feel has a bit of character to it. It’s large main stand (the only one in use this evening) is all seater, with a smaller seated stand facing it. This also houses the scoreboard. Both ends are covered terracing.

I exited the other side of the gate to find the players out on the pitch and set to get underway. I quickly headed up into the sparsely populated stand and soon saw misfortune, with City’s left-back Erik Sarmiento going down on the far side without contact from another player. You could immediately see he was in strife and the Spaniard was sadly stretchered from the field.

City were the dominant force in the first-half, with sub Joe Hardy going close after entering the fray, forcing a save from Henrich Ravas in the County net before he soon made amends by slotting an effort into the far corner. It did, however, take around 20 minutes for the scoreboard to record this moment!

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Red seats. Awkward.

Red seats. Awkward.

To be honest, though, chances were at a premium for both sides, despite City looking comfortable and the game being a decent watch. However, towards the end of the half, Derby should have been level when Alex Babos got his head on a fine Jayden Bogle cross but only found the woodwork. Bogle looked a really good player by the way, always posing a threat down the right and defending well when called upon too. Half-Time, 1-0.

The break meant a chance to finally test the food on offer here in Salford. A Chicken Balti pukka-pie was the taken option (£3.30) and it was the standard issue as you might expect. One thing to point out is, if you want to keep a bottled drink for later, don’t buy one here. Your lid will be removed as one woman found out, much to her chagrin. Anyway, no such worries for me and the second half was soon underway as the air around Barton got steadily chillier.

On the concourse

On the concourse

The Derby ultras arrive

The Derby ultras arrive

Derby came out for the second half and looked a completely different side to the team who’d contested the first period. Taking the attack to City and showing bags of confidence, it was little surprise when the Rams levelled. Following a swift attack a left-wing ball in found the head of the impressive Emil Jakobsen, whose effort was well kept out by Daniel Grimshaw, only for the loose ball to fall at the grateful feet of Kellan Gordon and he slotted home.

Derby were now well and truly in the ascendancy and soon went ahead through Jakobsen. The striker got on the end of a chipped through-ball and flicked it beyond Grimshaw, the ball slowly rolling into the bottom corner. Surprisingly, on the evening’s evidence, that was his first of the season!

Match Action

Match Action

Bennett nets from the spot!

Bennett nets from the spot!

Main Stand at the close of the game.

Main Stand at the close of the game.

City just couldn’t get a foothold back in the game and their chances of a result were killed off with ten minutes remaining when Babos was hauled down in the area and Mason Bennett stepped up to confidently smash his spot-kick beyond the City stopper and complete a fine showing from the Rams. Full-time 1-3 to the visitors, which surely sent their one fan with the flag home happy.

As for me, it was another hour’s walk home and the end of something that hadn’t truly been seen yet this season. Multiple mid-week games! Needless to say, it won’t be a common theme. As it is, I always enjoy a visit to the AJ Bell, especially with Barton Bridge towering above in the background giving it something a bit different. Just the Reds to go to complete the set…

dsc03703

RATINGS:

Game: 7

Ground: 7

Food: 5

Programme: Teamsheet.

Value For Money: 7

 

Manchopper in….Rotherham (Millmoor)

Result: Westfield United Black 3-2 Southey Wolves (Sheffield u18 League Division 5)

Venue: Millmoor (Sunday 15th January 2017, 10.30am)

Att: 28 (hc)

After missing out on a ground on Saturday, I wasn’t too disheartened. This, dear reader, was down to the fact I had something a little different and somewhat obscure lined up for the Sunday. Not only that, but it was a morning kick-off too, that rarity of things seen in a “real” ground. So, where was it to be? If the surprise has somehow evaded you so far then you’re about to find out…

After getting a lift to a very soggy Manchester in the morning, I was soon on the 9am train to Rotherham, the first of the day and the only one that would enable me to get to the game. So with the most important journey in the book, I again found myself stood up for the vast majority of the journey on a Trans-Pennine Service. Honestly. I don’t know what we pay for.

Eventually the train pulled into Rotherham at just after 10 o’clock and I headed straight for the town centre. Here, I found the Rhinoceros. Unfortunately, the South Yorkshire town doesn’t own its own African beast, but it does have a Wetherspoon’s of that very name and I’d much rather have that. At least I think I would….no, yeah I would. Anyway, the Rhinoceros was fairly basic really and my brief stay in here was lit up by two things; one: Punk IPA and two: a guy ranting to the bar staff about his cloudy Guinness while stating people were lying about what pumps they were using. Ah, a morning with the early starters!

Arrived!

Arrived!

Rotherham

Rotherham

The Rhinoceros

The Rhinoceros

Anyway, I’d eventually tired of being in here and headed off towards Millmoor early as I fancied getting a few pics of the grounds exterior. I did, however, have to force myself past The County, which was serving pints for £2 in order to do so.

After a 10-minute walk over the Don and past the Millers’ new New York Stadium, I arrived at the foot of the road leading to the ground and witnessed a ball flying above the stands. Game on confirmed! However these weren’t the kicks of teams warming up as I’d suspected, the game had actually begun at 10.30am and thus I’d missed out on about ten minutes of action. Cheers to the Full-Time website for that one.

The Old & the New

The Old & the New

Not quite factual...

Not quite factual…

Eerie...

Eerie…

Anyway, once inside, I quickly made sure of the above details from the first guy I came across in the sparsely populated stadium. This, it transpired, was a Norwegian hopper named Anders, who I’d seen tweet about this game about two weeks prior. As such, I decided I’d ruin his day by hanging around with him for the remainder of it!

Millmoor is, of course, the former home of Rotherham United, but now plays host to the Westfield United u18 sides with ‘Black’ being the first team. It is still in decent shape, outside of some weathering on the seating and a bit of inevitable wear and tear, but it is a rather eerie experience watching a game in such a ground whilst the stands sit, mostly, empty. (NB: There will be no pics of the game, on account of the ages of the players. It might have been ok, but I’m not risking lawsuits!).

After watching the early stages of the game in the stand behind the goal, where we witnessed the away side take the lead through the #15 who towered above the defence to head home from a corner. This was swiftly followed by the home side, Westfield, taking the game to their visitors and they struck the woodwork after a low drive and also saw a shot cleared off the line.

Millmoor

Millmoor Lane ‘End’

Millmoor

The old railway end

Along the Tivoli End

Along the Tivoli End

Eventually, though, the hosts got what their play had deserved and grabbed the equaliser, as #11 grabbed his first of the game. The forward burst clear of the defence and kept his cool to slot beyond the Southey ‘keeper. However, this wasn’t to be the end of the scoring in the first half and it was the visitors who were to go in at the break ahead, the diminutive #19 fizzing a fine drive beyond United’s bespectacled stopper. 1-2, half-time.

The game had seen myself and Anders heading around the ground and seeking out all the closed-up facilities, including the old club bar. However, this had attracted the attention of the groundsman, who came over to find out just what we were up to! Of course, instead of being all hostile, he approached it nicely and was more than happy to talk to us about the club and the ground and the situation regarding both. Needless to say, at this moment, Millmoor will be around for a while yet!

During our time talking, Westfield had levelled the game once more as #11 nipped in to net his second, reacting first to a rebound following a pretty decent stop by the big, yet agile, Wolves gloveman. 2-2 and for a Division 5 game, the quality was really decent to watch. Despite this, our attentions were soon turned by the discovery of the “Police Detention Centre”, which Anders couldn’t resist posing in front of!

Millmoor

Millmoor

Main Stand. Still half-built 14 years later.

Main Stand. Still half-built 14 years later.

Anders trying out the...hospitality.

Anders trying out the…hospitality of Millmoor.

Both sides continued to waste decent positions and chances as the game went on and it wasn’t until the last quarter of the contest that the winner was scored. It was to be #11 once more who was to prove the bane of Southey as he arrived in the box to power a header beyond the ‘keeper and seal both his hat-trick and the win for the hosts, despite a fair amount of late pressure from the gold-clad visitors. A good game came to an end with both sides putting on a quality show, so kudos to them both for that.

With the game finished up, Anders decided he’d head back into Manchester for the evening ahead of his final night of football in the UK on this trip. As such I joined him on the short walk back to the station, as he regaled me with stories of his experiences of disused grounds with one especially amusing. We’ll leave it at that! Anyway, we got back to the station in time for the train back, but the County was calling and its £2 pints were somewhat irresistible!

After a couple of pints of Strongbow in here, it was time to depart from Rotherham and head for our connection back from Sheffield. Unfortunately, this meant a stop off in the Sheffield Tap. Oh, the hardships! After narrowly avoiding a £6 pint thanks to the barman pointing out the price, I opted for a half before joining Anders on the much more economical Aspell ciders.

The County

The County…

...before heading here

…before heading here

Sheffield

Sheffield’s features looking good.

After a couple of further hours in here, it was eventually time to actually head back to Manchester. Despite having lined up a final drink on our return, I’d somewhat forgotten I was supposed to be “working” in my parents’ bar that night and still needed to eat. (NB: Oh dear). So, this plan had to be cancelled on our arrival at Piccadilly and so we headed our separate ways, Anders to his hotel room and me to flop out in the waiting room at Oxford Road for 45 minutes. Sleep does pass the time nicely though…!

New York Stadium from Millmoor

RATINGS:

Game: 7

Ground: 8

Food: N/A

Programme: N/A

Value For Money: 8

Manchopper in….Leigh (Manchester Utd u21)

Manchester_United_FC_crest.svg200px-Reading_FC.svg

Result: Manchester United u21 1-0 Reading u21 (Barclays u21 Premier League)

Venue: Leigh Sports Village Stadium (Monday 15th February 2016, 7pm)

Att: 1793

A Monday night game is something of a rarity for myself these days and especially so for these pages. But the final game of the season for the Manchester United u21’s at Leigh was too good on opportunity to turn down and, as such, during the late afternoon I headed off towards the town near Wigan and its impressive multi-purpose stadium.

Getting the bus via the Trafford Centre, I arrived into Leigh at around 5.30pm and with two hours until kick-off, set about heading to one of the pubs adjoining the town’s bus station. With the choice being between the Spinning Jenny, with a couple having a barney outside it, or the George and Dragon, with no couple having a barney outside it, I headed for the quieter option. To the G&D it was!

Upon entering the pub, I ordered a bottle of Sol for £2.40. It was at the point when I was informed of the price that I thought I’d misheard! £2.40 is pretty cheap considering the usual price I find it sold at. Good start! After wasting away an uneventful half-hour while listening to the jovial “Mull of Kintyre” being pumped out of the speakers, it was back outside and heading over toward the Sports Village. But firstly came The Centurion a pub I’d spotted on a prior visit to watch the United u18’s back in December. The pub, decked out in Leigh Centurions gear is one you can imagine is rocking on an egg-shaped match day. Tonight, less so.

George & Dragon

George & Dragon

In The Centurion

In The Centurion

Still, the Centurion had a few punters inside and was being kept alive by a group of especially loud people at the bar. Not that this was a bad thing, otherwise it would have been pretty boring. Anyway, to the bar it was and a pint of Coors was purchased for the princely sum of £2. How cheap is this place? With beers cheap and free entry to the game on its way, this really was a bargain basement evening.

Soon enough it was time to move on and to undertake the ten minute walk to the LSV. After turning right at the church, its straight down the road and the lights meet you as does New Madeley Park, the home of the Leigh Harriers athletic team, which also doubles as the ground of Manchester League side Leigh Athletic. Anyway, before entering the ground itself, it was on for the final stop-off: the Whistling Wren. The Whistling Wren is in the Marston’s group of pubs and the prices were much more normal for the Desperados here. But no worry as it was better than being freezing in the stands for a half-hour.

The Whistling Wren

The Whistling Wren

LSV

LSV & New Madeley Park

The Leigh Sports Village Stadium itself is one of the better of the “new build” stadia. It’s three all seater stands are all rather similar, with the “Main Stand” housing the hospitality boxes, café and other official offices. Opposite is the stand I was in, which houses the media balcony and is otherwise a twin of the Main Stand, bar the boxes. Behind the far end goal is a further seating stand, with the near end featuring a full covered terrace. Sadly, both of these were out of use today.

With ten minutes to the start of the contest, I made my way over to the stand nearest the way back out again and headed through the turnstile unopposed, which is always a strange experience. Into the concourse, there was only one place next to visit and with that out of the way it was up and into the stand. Upon making my way up to the rear of the “media stand” as I will term it, I spotted with an eagle-eye a man carrying a box down the front of the stand and into the concourse. I assumed these to be teamsheets and with programmes not issued, these then become much more attractive. Indeed as I headed back under the stand, the unidentified man dropped his box off on the corner of the refreshment bar and I was soon in ownership of my very own piece of glossy A4 paper.

With that excitement out of the way, it was back to the rear of the stand for the game. The two sides, United and Reading, had made their way out as had the ref, Darren Strain, who I remembered from my days watching the Evo-Stik as a one club man. Strain clearly still enjoys his sunbeds!! With jest done, he really had a great game and I didn’t notice any real dissent towards any decisions, which is always good to see and a sure sign of a ref doing a good job and two sides showing the respect the way they should.

Teams line-up

Teams line-up

Heads or Tails?

Heads or Tails?

With niceties out of the way, it’s onto the game. The first half…well, wasn’t great. At all. Martin Keown, in the stands watching son Niall play at centre half for the Royals, would have been impressed with the visitors defence. Never did they really look threatened at the back, with James Weir being wasteful and ex-Salford City man Sadiq El-Fitouri looking un-threatening especially.

Matty Willock came closest for United, the impressive central midfielder seeing his shot beaten away, but it was Reading who should have lead at the break. A loose pass saw Reading break but striker Rowan Liburd, the highest scorer in the u21 league, struck the foot of the post when one-on-one with Joel Pereira. With Brian McDermott in attendance, this could have been a great moment for Liburd to find the net.

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

The half ended with Joe Riley firing wastefully over from the edge of the area, but the half thankfully came to a close and it was time for a hot-dog, which was ok and did the warming-up/filling-up job fairly well, but by now it was time to look forward to the end of play and to escape the cold. To add to the worries was the smoke-like substance surrounding one of the floodlights on top of the opposite “Main Stand”, though no-one seemed to care so it mustn’t have been smoke at all. Phew.

The second half was soon underway, with two centre mid’s taking the majority of the play. United’s Willock had an acrobatic effort well saved by the Reading GK Stuart Moore and the Royals’ answer to David Luiz, skipper Aaron Kuhl spread the play for his side on a number of occasions with well judged passes. Both look decent players as does Joe Riley the United left-back, who I’m now convinced has a third lung as he bombed up and down the flank all game. Indeed, he was instrumental in the goal.

Just before the hour mark and with the Reds now in total control of the game, Riley was fed down the left and his ball in was met by Weir whose shot hit the post only to rebound into the net off the unfortunate Sean Long. 1-0, own goal.

Celebrating the opener

Celebrating the opener

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Reading looked much less of a force during the second period, offering little to threaten Joel Pereira, who looks like he’s getting better and better in between the sticks and indeed he successfully snuffed out any threat the Royals posed as they pushed onwards as United dropped back in the last 15. As it was, United held on to secure the three points to remain top of the league going into the “Mini-Derby” on Saturday afternoon against City, but Reading would have felt hard done by to have not claimed something from the game after their first half display.

Full-Time

Full-Time Score

Leigh Arms

Leigh Arms

So, with the temperature dropping by the minute, it was swiftly back into the town centre and to the Leigh Arms opposite the bus station, with banners exclaiming “99p drinks!” Sadly, these weren’t to be found at this moment in time, though I was quite happy to pay another £2.30 for a pint of Tuborg to wile away the next 50 minutes waiting for the next carriage out. This was made all the better when a pub-wide rendition of Queen’s hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ broke out.

After a less impressive, broken bit of Bon Jovi it was off over the road to catch my solo transport back. To cover myself, I made sure to get off on the dual carriageway leading into the shopping centre and in doing so witnessed a group of youths miss one bus and set off to walk back to the Traff. Only then did the other guy waiting ask if I was waiting for the 22 service. I answered to the affirmative for him to respond “It’ll be fun to watch them run back, just watch”! Indeed, no longer than 30 seconds had passed from the end of this statement than the group came charging back round the corner in a scene like the Pamplona bull-run, if you can substitute a bus for a bull in your minds.

So brought an end to a Monday evening in Leigh. I have to say that it’s a shame that the town doesn’t have a pyramid level footballing side at the moment, but I hope this can be rectified at some point in the future. But, rugby is king and I fear the town doesn’t miss the “beautiful game” as much as others would. But, with Leigh Athletic still hanging on in there, who knows what could happen…

DSC01658

RATINGS:

Game: 5- Not the greatest, but at least there was a goal to be seen.

Ground: 7- An impressive new-build. Good facilities and well placed.

Food: 6- Not bad, better in length than in taste. Ah, come on…

Programme: N/A- Teamsheet only.

Fans: 6- Not really sure I can do a rating on this, so I’ll stick it slightly over average.

Value For Money: 8- Cheap beers, free match, decent ground and cheap(ish) travel. Shame it was cold!

 

Manchopper in….Manchester (City Football Academy Stadium)

Result: Manchester City u21 1-0 Norwich City u21 (Barclays u21 Premier League)

Venue: City Football Academy Stadium (Sunday 8th November, 4pm)

Att: 300-ish?

Backing onto my trip to Coventry the day previous was this very trip right here. A short hop over to the Bradford area of Manchester to watch the City u21 squad under the tutelage of Patrick Vieira for the last time before his appointment to New York City. Dan Watkinson had picked up two tickets previously on account of his Citizenship and, as such, I headed into the City Centre to meet with Dan and catch the bus for the short trip to the Etihad.

Disembarking at the Etihad, I made it a priority to head for the Corner Shop pub, after hearing and reading good things about it, especially from the Lost Boyo himself, Matt Harrison. Could I find it though? No. Until I did a full circle round and came across the pub in all its splendour standing directly in front of me, no less than 2 minutes from the road we’d got off the bus on. We’d been walking for 15.

The Corner Shop

The Corner Shop

Arriving at the Academy Stadium

Arriving at the Academy Stadium

CFA

CFA

After a “splash & dash” stop here to catch the final throws of Aston Villa vs City, we headed back outside and, after feeling exceptionally lazy, caught the bus for a grand total of two stops from the Etihad to the CFA. Upon arrival, we were straight into the North East section of the stadium and upon entering through the turnstiles, we were all issued with a team-sheet for today’s game. City’s side was featuring the much lauded Thierry Ambrose and Norwich’s keeper was Ben Killip, who I’m almost certain I saw play a couple of years ago in non-league, possibly for King’s Lynn?

We headed for seats around the half-way line and the game was soon underway, with next to nothing happening during the first period, bar Ambrose striking the post with a header and a shot passing just wide of Killip’s right-hand post. Norwich rarely threatened the City goal in the first period, looking to break on the counter when they did attack, which was very rarely witnessed as City dominated possession, but failed to break down Norwich. It was raining at the break but, sadly, it wasn’t raining goals at the CFA. 0-0 and it was pretty dire.

Teams enter the field

Teams enter the field

Underway

Underway

Match Action

Match Action

The second period got underway as the rain eased somewhat, but the game never really improved as a spectacle. The fact that Killip’s bright pink kit & that every Norwich player seemed to have been injured at some point  are “highlights”, tells you all you need to know.

Norwich did look a bit more sprightly, as City began to get sloppy at the back, with a couple of weak passes almost putting them in danger, with a great last-ditch tackle denying a Norwich attacker a one-on-one when he latched onto a poor, under hit back-pass. Ambrose was unlucky again soon after, as he curled a wonderful effort against the bar, before City won a free-kick. Bersant Celina stepped up and whipped a free-kick perfectly into the top corner. If it was anywhere else, it was likely Killip would have kept it out, but it was on a penny and left him no chance. Celina definitely enjoyed his strike, sliding on his knees in front of us in the main stand. 1-0 and that was it in terms of chances.

Match Action

Match Action

On a postage stamp

On a postage stamp

Celina celebrates his strike

Celina celebrates his strike

Scoreline

Scoreline

So, full-time arrived and we dodged the rain again for the most part, as we bussed it back into Piccadilly and onwards back home. Sadly, for the second time in two days, the game was pretty poor overall but at least there was a goal which stretches my run of no 0-0’s to….actually, I have no idea, I’ll have to check. Dan’s record reached 100 he informed me afterwards, so Celina has definitely become a bit of a favourite of ours I’d say.

As for the City Football Academy Stadium, it really is a fine ground to watch a game in. I’d been once previous, to watch England v China in a Women’s International when it was pretty full, so I can base it on that, rather than today and the sparse crowd. With only the Main Stand in use and the two covered terraces behind each goal and opposite stand out of bounds, it wasn’t great for atmosphere, but it’s to be expected and it’s cheap football, so who really cares?! The only negatives was the wet and cold. What happened to 17 degrees?!!

Academy Stadium, after dark.

Academy Stadium, after dark.

Underway

RATINGS:

Game: 5- Poor on the whole, little entertainment.

Ground: 8- A really good ground to watch a game in.

Fans: N/A- Doesn’t really count here.

Food: N/A

Programme: N/A

Value For Money: 7- Just the £6.60 travel & earlier drink, so a cheap day.

Manchopper in….Fleetwood (Fleetwood Town Youth)

Fleetwood_Town_FCuntitled (2)

Result: Fleetwood Town Youth 1-4 Wythenshawe Town (Friendly)

Venue: Highbury Stadium (Sunday 10th August 2014, 2.00pm)

Att: About 50 (hc)

Another summer’s day, another downpour of rain. I was being given a lift to Wythenshawe Town’s home ground of Ericstan Park to get to their coach through the late morning deluge, and after making a short cut through Tesco’s car-park (dodging any dodgy Parking Eye fines, seriously watch for them) I jumped out of my Dad’s car and headed past he coach where the driver advised that everyone was meeting in the club’s smart clubhouse, which had to be reached by skirting around the outside of a large puddle in front of the car park. I affectionately named this Ericstan Water. This is becoming something of a feature in my blogs this season, large water features, so I may have to keep this going. Sad this isn’t it?

Anyway, having entered Town’s somewhat plush clubhouse, emblazoned with large club badge and penchants hanging over the bar from a mixture of clubs, we eventually set off around an hour later than scheduled due to late arriving players. The scourge of many non-league managers, and one I’m sure they all know too well.

As the rain continued to fall steadily, the coach made it’s way up towards the Lancastrian coast, skirting past Blackpool before reaching the town of Fleetwood. On arrival in the town, the coach skirted down a side street before turning onto the narrow lane leading up to the ground, which is somewhat hidden until you round the corner. It’s exactly the sort of setting you’d expect a North West Counties club to be situated in which of course, just a decade ago, Fleetwood were just that. Not any more though, as stands dominate the surrounding areas.

The coach parked up at the reception, whereupon the players made their way in towards the changing rooms, after their later than scheduled arrival, and a few of the youngsters where whisked off for a tour of the Highbury facilities. I wondered if they knew of the ‘other ‘ Highbury, which once stood and graced any of Europe’s leading lights.

The remaining few made our way round to the far side, where we entered beside the “Memorial Stand” and the “Highbury Stand”. The young Fleetwood players were, by this time, already into their pre-match schedules, so after a short spell of -poor photography, I made my way inside “Jim’s Sports Bar”.  The bar is built into the bowels of the Memorial Stand, and is very, very smart. A large mural of last season’s promotion side from League 2 dominates the room, which features a number of booths all with two small TV’s in each. There are even TV’s in the toilets. Amazing stuff!

After buying a large portion of decent chips for £2.50, I made my way outside to find I’d missed the early stages along with  a few others, as the game had started only a few minutes late.  But it was a rip-roaring start, as Wythenshawe, attacking the near side Memorial Stand end, won a penalty for a handball, which was a fair call. The number 9 stepped forward and confidently thumped the ball into the bottom corner. Their lead didn’t last all that long, though, as Fleetwood’s attackers broke clear and the ball found it’s way to their 11 who fired into the roof of the net from 10 yards to level the scores.

At 1-1, it looked as though Fleetwood Town’s full-time youngsters were gaining the upper hand, with Town’s ‘keeper making a couple of good stops, and he was rewarded as his side retook the lead. It  came from a corner, and after a goalmouth scramble, the ball rebounded to the #10 who had smartly gambled on a rebound and duly received the ball and finished confidently. The young Fleetwood goalkepper pulled off a couple of good saves of his own, before Wythenshawe Town added a third before the break, as the ball fell to the #11 from a right wing cross and he coolly slotted inside the near post.

With the score standing at 3-1 at the break, I had made my way into the top row of the smaller seated stand, the Highbury Stand. The Main Stand is the larger of the two, also housing all the amenities for players and officials as well as corporate boxes. The two ends, the Memorial and The Percy Ronson, named after a club legend, are covered terraces, with the former also featuring a plaque of sorts exclaiming “6 promotions in 10 years, before giving details of said promotions and ending with “…..?”, showing the club’s continuing ambition. Normally, I am not a fan of money being pumped into club’s, but you have to think Fleetwood have paid their dues in the lower leagues, and undergone a few rebirths in their time, so I can’t begrudge them or the drive of the chairman, Andy Pilley, who kept to his local roots by inviting Wythenshawe Town to his club for a friendly, which is a great gesture.

With rolling subs being employed, the game did become a bit bitty in the second half, with driving, heavy rain also becoming a feature in the latter stages, forcing both benches to vacate the dugouts and take advantage of the empty main stand’s cover above them! A rather rash challenge on Wythenshawe’s 16 by Fleetwood’s 9 and the resulting reaction from Wythenshawe’s 14 resulted in the latter two being ordered off to be subbed by the referee, who’s experience at higher levels was clear to see throughout the game, before Wythy’s 12 scored the goal (or fluke?) of the game when his right wing cross flew over the Cod Army Youth goalkeeper and into his top corner. 4-1 was how the game finished, and it was back to the Sports Bar to watch the second half of Arsenal’s 3-0 Community Shield triumph over Manchester City (what a goal by Giroud, by the way!).

After a quick chat with Wythenshawe’s player-manager Lee McGregor, who had kindly made his way over to have a talk off his own back about the team for the day (a mix of reserves and youth teamers for the most part, which made their win all the more impressive) and about the club’s ambitions going forward, and also offered to gain me access to a game in the future for free. As kind as this offer was, at just £2 for entry anyway, I’d rather help out a local club in this small way, rather than take money away from them (he’d also offered to pay my travel fees for the day previously, but I couldn’t accept!), Soon it was time for us to leave, picking up a few pieces of kit that were making a bid for freedom on the way to the coach!

On the way back, I had a chat with a couple of people connected with the club and had a go on a name card, which I didn’t win on (again!) and after seeing a prison van-turned Ice-Cream shop truck parked in a service station, we had arrived back in the Tesco’s car park in Baguley at around 7pm, where I quickly made my way to the bus stop for the 18 back to Stretford, before the 255 home. Of course, by this time, the rain had once again began to teem. Speaking of team, Wythenshawe Town are a great club, with great ambitions. Their own ground is definitely one of the best not currently in the pyramid structure, and who knows, before log they may just be in that pyramid. The next Fleetwood perhaps? Who knows? One thing is for sure, if you do get the chance to get to Ericstan Park, do take it. You’ll find a great bunch of people there who’ll be more than happy to welcome you.

*Thanks to James Lobley (Twitter: @KickOffPhotos) for sorting out my travel arrangement for the day*. Great photographer too. 🙂

My Fleetwood Town Youth M.o.M.- The #8

My Wythenshawe Town M.o.M.- The #7

RATINGS:

Game: 6- Not too bad, and 5 goals so can’t complain.

Ground: 9- A great ground, with a lot of character still remaining from it’s older days in Counties football.

Programme: N/A

Fans: 6- Think there were a couple, but mostly relatives of the young lads on the field.

Food: 7- Not bad, better in portion size than anything else.

Value For Money: 10- Day ended up at about £15. £5 coach, £5.20 bus, £2.50 food and £1 name card!

Referee: 10- Got every call right, even though it was just a friendly, he was clearly very good.

Manchopper in….Birkenhead (Tranmere Rovers FC)

Result: Tranmere Rovers Reserves 2-0 Altrincham (Cheshire Senior Cup Semi Final)

Venue: Prenton Park (Tuesday 18th March 2014, 7.45pm)

Att: Around 400 I’d say, no idea though!

When this game was first announced it was originally scheduled for the night afterwards, when I was due to be at the Champions League Last 16 tie between Manchester United & Olympiacos at Old Trafford. But then, someone made the terrific decision to move the tie forward by 24 hours and so it was I found myself on the train platform at Manchester Oxford Road awaiting a train to Liverpool Lime Street. Having had a chance to get in Prenton Park for a cut price charge, it was an opportunity I couldn’t spurn and with it including a side who I have an interest in, Altrincham, it gave me all the more reason to travel to the Wirral on this chilly Tuesday evening.

I got the, horribly crowded, train at about 5.40 in the afternoon, and was soon headed in the direction of Liverpool. After dodging a few people whilst standing in the aisle, I eventually secured a seat by the time the train arrived in Birchwood, near Warrington, whereupon a drinks trolley went past. This was something I was not used to, as usually the trains I get are covered in graffiti and bodily fluids. What a nice vision I’ve given you there!

After around an hour, the train pulled into Lime Street station with an airline like goodbye from the driver, and I arrived at Platform One for the train onwards towards Ellesmere Port. But there was no train to Ellesmere Port in sight. Only a spur of the moment decision to head back into the concourse of the station led me to see the bright yellow signed tunnel heading down towards the Merseyrail ‘Wirral Line’ underground service. After passing through the tunnel and running down the escalator, I made the platform just as the train came into view from the darkness with mere seconds to spare. I was now heading towards the Wirral, and into Cheshire, not Liverpool remember, (though even if you don’t and make the mistake the locals will be more than happy to right your error!)

After a further 20 minute journey, I arrived at Rock Ferry station, which is also the station you’d use for Cammell Laird F.C., I’d imagine. After passing through the small ticket office building (accompanied with vending machine) I set off on  the 25 minute walk up the road towards Prenton Park. It is easily navigated, by turning right out of the station and following the road all the way until you get to a co-operative, where you turn right at the lights whereupon, if you have followed these directions correctly, you should be faced with the stadium staring back at you. After almost lapping the ground, and passing the neighbouring ‘Prenton Park’ pub, I arrived at the entrance.

For tonight, there was only a small section of the ground open, which was to be accessed via the ‘Tranmere Suite’ entrance near the Main Reception. After handing over my entrance fee, to the official manning the turnst…well, table, I ventured up a small flight of carpeted stairs where I bumped into a man holding a large amount of newly printed team sheets. “Will you be wanting one?” he asked, and I had no hesitation in taking him up on the offer. It appeared they had been somewhat surprised by the turnout, although the teams on the back where, I think, up to date so perhaps that had something to do with it?

After popping into the ‘Tranmere Suite’ itself, I purchased a hot chocolate for a pound from the guy serving who was juggling pouring water with speaking into his mobile phone. Now with something to keep warm with, I headed outside into the cold evening and into the small section of red seating within the middle of the two-tiered main ‘family’ stand. To the right was the single-tiered ‘Kop’ Stand, a former open terrace, which appears to be the largest stand at the ground, but it only houses 5,500 fans, less than the Main Stand. To the left is the Cowshed Stand, which has a strange appearance as the further right you go, the more rows of seats there are, which gives it a sloping effect. Straight opposite me was the John King Stand (named after a former club manager), which is only quite small, and as per the Main Stand runs the full length of the pitch. It has a capacity of 16,567.

History Lesson:

Founded in 1884 as Belmont F.C., the club were formed by the amalgamation of Lyndhurst Wanderers and Belmont. They won their first game, a friendly, versus Brunswick Rovers 4-0. A year later, the club adopted the name they carry today, Tranmere Rovers F.C. Playing originally at Steeles Field in Birkenhead, they moved in 1887 to Ravenshaws Road, the former home of Tranmere Rugby Club.

After a change of kit from blue shirts, white shorts to Orange and Maroon Shirts and back again, they entered their first competition in 1886, the Liverpool & District Senior Cup, and joined the West Lancashire League in 1889. They joined the stronger Combination in 1897 and won the 1908 championship. In 1910, they moved into the Lancashire Combination and in 1912 they moved into their present Prenton Park site complete with 800-seat stand. They won the Lancashire Combination in 1914.

Following the expulsion of Leeds City Reserves, the club were allowed to enter the Central League, and the following season four clubs,  Tranmere included, were invited to join the new Division Three North. As founder members, the club won their first league match, at home to Crewe Alexandra, 4-1. They gave a debut to a young Dixie Dean in 1924, before he was sold to Everton in 1927 for £3,000. In 1934, the club reached the final of the Welsh Cup, which also allowed clubs near Wales to enter, but lost a replay 3-0 to Bristol City after a 1-1 draw, but won I the following season with a 1-0 win over Chester City. Tranmere won their first championship in 1938, in the shape of the Division 3 North, an with it promotion to Division 2. However, this lasted just one season, as the club were relegated.

After WW2 the club re-joined the Division 3 North, and remained there until league restructuring in 1958. After finishing 11th in the final season, this meant they were admitted into the new Division 3 rather than Division 4. The last game to see who would get the last Division 3 spot, versus Wrexham, attracted 19,615 fans, the highest for a league game at Prenton Park. Their stay in Division 3 didn’t last long and in 1961 Rovers were relegated to Division 4.

Having switched to their all-white kit, Tranmere bounced back into Division Three in 1967, and they reached the fifth  round of the FA Cup for the first time. Three years later, a club record attendance saw 24,424 fans watch Rovers draw 2-2 with Stoke City in the cup. In 1973, further cup success was achieved when Tranmere beat First Division Arsenal 1-0 at Highbury, but their league results didn’t improve and in 1975 they were relegated back to Division 4. After another short stay in Division 3, they returned to the lowest division of the League in 1979.

In 1987, the club entered administration, but this proved a blessing in disguise, as it bore a new owner and success. Under the aforementioned John King, the club staved off relegation, in their first season before in 1988, qualifying for the Football League Centenary Tournament held at Wembley. They beat Division One Wimbledon & Newcastle United before losing to eventual winners Nottingham Forest on penalties. The following season saw promotion back to Division 3 as runners-up. The last game versus Crewe saw both sides need a point to be promoted. This was duly attained in a 1-1 draw which cued dual celebrations.

The first season back in Division 3 saw the club lose out in the play-offs final to Notts County, but they did beat Bristol Rovers in the Leyland DAF Trophy, the club’s first trophy. In 1990-’91 Tranmere won promotion to Division 2, with a 1-0 play-off victory over Bolton Wanderers, but lost in the Leyland DAF Trophy final to Birmingham City 3-2. After this, they signed John Aldridge and Pat Nevin.

When Division 2 became One, Tranmere narrowly missed out on promotion to the newly formed Premiership after losing in three straight play-offs. They also lost out in the League Cup Semi-Final to Aston Villa in 1994 on penalties. The club reached the sixth round of the FA Cup in ’99-’00 and also reached the League Cup Final where they lost out to Leicester City. In 2000, the current kit as introduced, and a further cup run was achieved, beating Everton and Southampton of the Premiership before losing out to Liverpool.

A play-off semi and a sixth round cup replay were achieved in 2005, but this was the last success of note for the club despite the management of John Barnes and Ronnie Moore (twice). Moore is still in charge, and last season guided Tranmere to 11th place in League One.

Back onto tonight’ events then, and around five minutes after I had taken my seat, the teams entered the arena, with Tranmere in their usual all white, and Altrincham in their usual red and white vertically striped kit. With Tranmere playing a youthful side mixed with a few first team players, Altrincham also took the opportunity to play a few of their youth squad, including goalkeeper Josh Samberg, David Brown, Max Pouncey and debutant Jeff King, nephew of a former Robin, John King. I was wishing it was Joe when I couldn’t remember but sadly, no.

The home side ‘s captain had the power with him tonight, and he was intent on delivering it to the max. If you couldn’t work out his name from that awful, awful sentence, his name was Max Power. Power was one of a number of the first team squad to feature alongside forward Cole Stockton, Evan Horwood and goalkeeper Jason Mooney, to prove that it wasn’t a throwaway competition to the league side.

The game began at quite a slow pace, with very little to choose between the sides. In fact, there was so little happening on the field that it wouldn’t have been an exaggeration to say that to watch the grass growing would’ve been more exciting. But thankfully we have twitter for such occasions now, and I could keep up to date with the scores around the country, as well as getting regular updates from Skrill North games which Altrincham had an interest in which were shouted out, at times, quite excitedly!

Apart from an offside goal, which was actually a really good volleyed finish by Stockton, it wasn’t until after half-an-hour we finally had a chance to make any note of when Altrincham’s target man Kyle Perry’s shot dribbled a fair way wide. Tranmere then had a good chance, when winger Leo Riley skipped past three Altrincham players before laying the ball on for Stockton, whose rasping drive was tipped over well by Samberg. That was the end of the chances in the first half and, mercifully, the referee blew for half-time with the tie still goalless.

At the break I headed back into the Tranmere Suite in a search for hot food, a search which was to, alas, prove to be in vain. There were some barmcake sandwiches though, but it wasn’t for me. I took a closer look at the large boards hung on the wall, 3 in number, noting ‘Club Honours’, ‘Memorable Matches & ‘Dates of Historical Interest’, which seemed to leave out 1066 and all that in favour of a number of Tranmere Rovers related dates….

On this note (I’m not really confused you know), I headed back outside for the second half, sitting as I was behind two guys decked out in Tranmere tracksuits emblazoned with sponsor Home Bargains. They had had the same idea as me and decided that phones were the way to go. The only plus point was that the tie would go to a replay if tied at 90 minutes, and as neither side really wanted any more games to add to crowded schedules, both sides were going to go for it. Surely?!

With Luca Havern subbed at half-time for Altrincham, the Robins seemed to lose some stability at the back, and not only that, but Tranmere put in a couple of ‘meaty’ challenges in the opening minutes of the half to impose themselves with with Evan Gumbs and Power both going into the book, although Power was replaced soon afterwards. Rowe’s challenge caused an injury to Tom Clarke which saw Spencer Cunliffe, another youth team product, replace him. By now, Alty were on top, and Kyle Perry worked hard to force his way into the box where he forced Mooney into an error. The ball fell to Max Pouncey who horribly scuffed his shot when he really ought to have scored. Tranmere’s number 11 Ben Jago  struck a sweet drive from 25 yards just over with Samberg rooted as the game began to pick up pace, and Altrincham came closest to a goal when Carl Rodgers’ header from a corner rippled the roof of the net, and then Pouncey looped just wide as if anything, it looked as though Altrincham would take the lead when and after Rowe had volleyed wide from a great position for the home side, Rovers took the lead from a corner. On the right flank, Callum Morris, the home right-back swung in a pinpoint ball onto  the forehead of Antonie Boland and the central  defender directed his header into the bottom corner.

As Altrincham looked to press for the equaliser, so they became more prone on the counter, and after King had come close for Alty, a horrible miscommunication in the 90th minue saw Matt Doughty sell Samberg short with a back pass. Just as he reached the ball, so did Cole Stockton, and he robbed the goalkeeper of possession and slotted into the empty net to seal the Birkenhead side’s place in the final.

At this point I left to cover myself for the trip back, with the tie all over bar the shouting and the fat lady warbling away, and as I came back onto the road the final whistle went without further incident. After getting back to Rock Ferry Station, something made me look up at the timetable. And then I saw it, 21.52 Chester. Cancelled. Oh shit. How was I getting back now? I decided that there was nothing better than to get the next train which was headed for Liverpool Central, only for this train to decide it was going on to Chester instead, and thus get me back to Lime Street in time for my connection back to Oxford Road thanks to the train headed to York. Back at Oxford Road in an hour, and straight onto the train back to Urmston, he journey ended uneventfully, when it could have, oh so easily, have left me stranded in Liverpool!!

My Tranmere Rovers M.o.M.- Cole Stockton

My Altrincham M.o.M.- Max Pouncey

RATINGS:

Game: 6- Not great first half, but the second was pretty decent.

Ground: 9- Really smart, and up to date. I also found the old-style floodlights.

Fans: 7- Hard to rate, with a small attendance but well done to those who got down there.

Programme: 3- Just a teamsheet really, nothing to write home about, but did have Mark Maddox’s MND association leaflet in, which is always good.

Food: 6- Not food per se, but the hot chocolate was tasty, and Cadbury’s too.

Value For Money: 9- Can’t go wrong for a new ground at a cheap cut price.

Referee: 7- Didn’t have a lot to do, but probably got the flashpoint challenge decisions right.

TEAMS:

TRANMERE ROVERS: 1.Jason Mooney, 2.Callum Morris, 3.Evan Horwood, 4.Max Power(c), 5.Antonie Boland(1), 6.Evan Gumbs, 7.Leo Riley, 8.James Rowe, 9.Cole Stockton(1), 10.Lewis Moynes,11.Ben Jago. SUBS: 12.Joe Newton, 13.Sam Ramsbottom(GK), 14.Mitch Duggan(p), 15.Connor Shackleton, 16.Ben Maher.

ALTRINCHAM: 1.Josh Samberg, 2.David Brown, 3.Matt Doughty(c), 4.Jake Moult, 5.Gianluca Havern, 6.Tom Clarke, 7.Max Pouncey, 8.Jeff King, 9.Kyle Perry, 10.Greg Wilkinson, 11.James Lawrie. SUBS: 12.Adam Griffin, 14.James Walshaw, 15.Damien Reeves, 16.Carl Rodgers(p), 17.Spencer Cunliffe(p).

REFEREE: Mr.R.Jones  ASSISTANTS: Mr.T.Ratcliffe & Mr.A.Philbin 4TH OFFICIAL: Mr.T.Morgan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchopper in….Burnley (u18)

Result: Burnley u18 0-2 Manchester Utd u18 (FA Youth Cup Third Round)

Venue: Turf Moor (Monday 16th December 2013,7.00pm)

Att: 1,489

Just a quick blog this one, as I am saving the majority of the history and ground details for when I revisit to watch the First Team, so you will be let off with these for now!

The beginning of my trip to get to Burnley was horrendous! Leaving immediately from work,  I made it into Manchester City Centre in time for the X43 service to Burnley. However, as I disembarked the 263, I saw it pulling away in the distance. My trip was up in smoke, and I decided to make my way to the bus stop for the way home, when I saw another X43 destined for Nelson. Good stuff! Got to the bus stop, only for the number not to feature, and the bus to drive past. Now,  when I get p’d off I get very stubborn, & thought to myself ‘I’m gonna catch you’. So, I chased the horrible ‘Witch Way’ down from Portland Street to Strangeways and beat it! Boom! So, after boarding the thing as a sweaty mess (apologies to my fellow passengers, I was on my way for the hours journey into Lancashire.

After an uneventful (bar for some twitter banter) trip, I disembarked at Burnley’s smart bus station, and thought it would be either visible easily, or signposted. It was neither, and with little in terms of fans walking, it was a little lucky that I figured out the way to go, and saw the ‘Bob Lord Stand’ protruding out into view from under a bridge. So, after a few photo opportunities and queuing outside the turnstiles, due to the high volume of fans taking the club somewhat by surprise, I paid my dues at the turnstiles (£3) and entered Turf Moor for the very first time. Ground 95!

Rushing through, and up a flight of steps, I turned expecting a decent crowd, interspersed with a number of empty seats. I was wrong. It was packed!! The Bob Lord Stand, which was the  only stand in use tonight, was close to a sell out, which was a good sight for a Youth Team game, and a good experience I’m sure for the up & coming players on the pitch. Turf Moor needs little description, as it will be familiar to most from its time in the Premiership. 4-all seater stands, two with modern blue & claret seats, two with old wooden flip-up seats, including the stand in use tonight, which was a neat experience.

As I took my seat, at the end of a row, I quickly changed to some a little more deserted, which is more to my liking, but they weren’t to remain that way as the crowd continued to stream in at a healthy rate. I eventually settled to set eyes on the early skirmishes, of which Burnley dominated, and looked the more likely to grab the opener. A well-rehearsed corner allowed ex-United man Luke Daly to unleash a strike from 18-yards, only to be denied by United’s Josh Harrop on the goal-line. A minute later saw Joel Pereira in the Red Devils’ goal pull off a good save to deny Jamie Frost.

The pace of Clarets’ wingers Bradley Jackson (ex-Wilmslow Town) & Christian Hill, another of the ex-Reds, were a constant threat to United, however the Reds’ who were all in white (this could become misleading!), were keeping them at bay just about, but they were still being done down the right, and the best chance of the half came that way when Jackson fed Ulsterman Cameron Dummingan, who in turn played in the wonderfully named Khius Metz, who fired, not so wonderfully, clean over. This proved to be the last action of the half of note, and Burnley went in much the happier of the two, and United happy to go in still level, in front of the almost 1,500 in attendance.

At half-time, I decided a pie was in order, but just as I got to the counter, someone got the last one. Grrrr. A hot-dog was the back-up option, and a damn good one it was too! A good size one for the price £1.50, and it was devoured as quickly as it was served.

Second half, I retook my seat, and it began in the same vain as the first period, with Burnley on the front foot, Australian Kevin Ly played a good one-two with Metz and forced young Portuguese Pereira into another good stop, and from the resulting clearance, midfielder Alex Whitmore attempted to catch out the Reds stopper from all of 40-yards, but Pereira was alert and grabbed the ball before it posed too much of a threat. Jamie Frost then fired narrowly wide when well placed 12-yards out but, against the run of play, United’s Saidy Janko, who is tipped as a star of the future, received the ball and played a simple ball into Belgian Andreas Pereira, who made space for himself, and from the angle of the right hand side of the area, fired an unstoppable shot into the far top right-hand corner, past the despairing, full stretch dive of Burnley’s Northern Irish custodian Conor Mitchell to give the 10-time winners the advantage.

It was a wonderful strike, which earned the youngster pantomime boos from the crowd in attendance, and it was equalled if not better just fifteen minutes later, when James Wilson picked the ball up just past half-way and strode on…and on….and on as he left defender after defender in his wake, he then turned on the after-burners, raced clear, rounded the advancing Mitchell, and fired home confidently from a tight angle. What a goal it was!

Burnley had a penalty appeal turned down soon after, as they through everything at United to find a way back into the tie, and brought on another ex-United & City striker Ntumba Massanka, who had his own fan club situated behind the home dugout! They grew even more excited when the pacey forward advanced on goal, but fired wide. Massanka, is clearly popular with the other Burnley supporters too, as he was greeted with cheers every time he got the ball. Pereira then pulled off two wonder saves firstly to deny the impressive Frost as he fired in from close-range after being put through by Massanka, before denying Jackson somehow, when it looked odds-on he’d find the net, charging down the winger’s effort from point-blank range to preserve a well earned clean sheet.

So, the game ended, with United gaining revenge for last year’s defeat to the Clarets at Old Trafford and progressing to the 4th Round where they will visit Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Thursday 16th January at 7pm, and Massanka receiving the acclaim of his rather significant personal fan base. I made my way back along the street leading to the bus station, accompanied by a group of young Burnley fans filling the air with songs, taking their opportunity to take on the mantle usually taken on by their seniors at first team games, clearly!

My Burnley u18 M.o.M.- Jamie Frost

My Manchester United u18 M.o.M.- Joel Pereira

RATINGS:

Game: 7- Decent entertainment throughout.

Ground 8- Character retained, you can feel the history resonating in it.

Fans: 9- Mostly on he basis that so many came out to support their future. Kudos!

Programme: N/A- There was a teamsheet issued, but I failed to get one of them either!

Food: 9- The hot-dog was superb, in taste & size and for the dosh it wasn’t too bad nosh!

Value For Money: 10- £8.50 return on the bus, £3 entrance, and a further £1.50 for food. Can’t moan at that!

Referee: 9- Thought he was good, although it was a good-natured tie in fairness to both teams.

TEAMS:

BURNLEY U18:- 1.Conor Mitchell, 2.Cameron Dummigan, 3.Waqas Azam, 4.Luke Daly, 5.Callum Richardson, 6.Alex Whitmore, 7.Bradley Jackson, 8.Kevin Ly, 9.Khius Metz, 10.Jamie Frost, 11.Christian Hill SUBS; 12.Callum Jakovlevs(GK), 14.Ntumba Massanka(p) 15.Charlie Holt, 16.Nathan Lowe, 17.Evan Galvin

MANCHESTER UNITED U18:- 1.Joel Pereira, 2.Saidy Janko, 3.Ben Barber, 4.Callum Evans, 5.Ryan McConnell, 6.Sean Goss, 7.Josh Harrop, 8.Matthew Willock, 9.James Wilson(c)(1), 10.Andreas Pereira(1), 11.Devonte Redmond SUBS: 12.Dean Henderson(GK), 14.Demetri Mitchell, 15.Ashley Fletcher(p), 16.Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 17.Marcus Rashford

Referee: Mr. T. Neild