Manchopper at the Cricket….(Lancashire CCC)

 

Result: Lancashire CCC 268 & 179-3 BEAT Surrey CCC 201-8d & 242 by 7 wickets (County Championship Division 1)

Venue: Old Trafford (25-28 September 2017, 10.30am)

Att: A few thousand over the four days

With me having neglected blogging a visit to Old Trafford previously and with yet another cricket season about to come to a close, I figured the final game of this 2017 season would be high time to get this done. Also, with the Red Rose welcoming Surrey to OT in a straight fight for the runners-up spot in Division 1, there was some pretty high stakes (and cash) on the line. Before getting into the game, here’s the story of Lancashire County Cricket Club:

EOT

(A Brief) History Lesson:

Lancashire County Cricket Club was founded in 1864 as a successor to “important match” club Manchester Cricket Club (1816-1864). Manchester played against Sheffield in the first recorded “Roses” game, with the two clubs competing as Lancashire & Yorkshire respectively. We won’t mention who won here. The club competed against similar clubs named Nottingham, Surrey & Sussex, as well as the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), still headquartered at Lord’s. After playing at grounds on Moss Lane, the Manchester Botanical Gardens and the G.P. Codie’s Ground in Eccles, the club left the Gardens in 1856 – due to it being bought to be part of an art exhibition – and now called Old Trafford their home. 1864 saw Manchester superseded by the county club and cease to have “important” status in its own right, Lancashire CCC instead being that status.

LCCC played their first first-class game the following year against Middlesex at Old Trafford and have so far recorded nine Championship titles (one shared), five 40-over cup wins, 11 50/55 over competition wins (including the B&H Trophy) and a sole T20 Cup triumph. They’ve played at Old Trafford since their inception and became an ‘official’ first-class side in 1895. The club was “unofficial” County Champions four times (three shared) between 1879 & ’89 (their only outright win coming in 1881) and took part in the first official Championship season in 1890, when champions were now decided by points, not the press. Seriously!

LCCC

1895 saw the current pavilion constructed and Archie McLaren made 424 in one innings for Lancs which remains the highest-score by an Englishman in first-class cricket. Meanwhile Johnny Briggs – whose career spanned 1879 to 1900 – became the first Lancashire player to achieve the feat of 10,000 career runs, along with 1,000 wickets. Ernest Tyldesley is the club’s leading run-scorer with 34,222 runs over 573 matches, with legendary fast bowler Brian Statham (who has his own end and road named after him at the ground) having the most wickets at 1,816 in 430 games between 1950 & 1968. Incidentally, Alex Davies became the first ever Lancashire wicket-keeper to make 1,000 runs in a season in this very blog match, during his first-innings 54.

The club won their first two “official” titles in 1897 & 1904. Between 1926 & 1934, the Red Rose added a further five titles (’26, ’27, ’28, ’30 & ’34) and shared the Championship with Surrey in 1950. Cyril Washbrook would become the club’s first professional captain four years later, but the title wouldn’t arrive at OT again for another seventy-seven years. However, the side of the late ’60’s and 70’s became a highly successful one-day outfit, featuring skipper Jack Bond alongside the likes of Clive Lloyd. They won the Sunday League in ’69 & ’70, and the One-Day Cup four times in six seasons between 1970 & 1975 (’70, ’71, 72′ 75). This one-day format success would continue into the 1980’s, with the B&H Cup won for the first time in 1984, the 1988 Refuge Cup and a third Sunday League in 1989, before more triumphs would follow in the ’90’s, the likes of Graeme Fowler, Patrick Patterson, Wasim Akram and Paul Allott proving a pivotal part of the side around these times.

Honours Boards

Four further B&H wins between 1990 & ’98 (’90, ’95, ’96 & ’98) were joined by more 40-over silverware in 1998 & ’99 as Michael Atherton, Glen Chapple, Warren Hegg and Andrew Flintoff came to the forefront of the side, along with the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan wearing the shirt. A Division Two 40-over win in 2003 would later also follow as James Anderson (who has the other end at the ground now named after himself) and Stuart Law replaced stalwarts such as Neil Fairbrother, Graham Lloyd and Ian Austin.

After Championship restructuring for the Millennium, Lancashire were placed in the First Division and have remained there for all but three seasons (2005, 2012 & 2014), with each Second Division spell lasting just one season each.. This era saw Gary Keedy, Mal Loye and Mark Chilton form the remainder of the team’s spine, with Carl Hooper and Dominic Cork adding to the side. The title win of 2011, which ended the 77-year wait, saw the breakthrough years of the longer-serving Kyle Hogg and up-and-comer Simon Kerrigan, Steven Croft hitting the winning runs at Taunton, as Lancashire beat Somerset to take the title, despite playing the majority of the season at Liverpool, with OT being redeveloped as a Test Match venue.

Some notable happenings

They’d go on to win the 2013 Division 2 title, the first time the club had won it, having been promoted as runners-up on the previous two occasions. The last silverware to arrive at Old Trafford came in 2015, in the form of the T20 Cup. Last season saw Lancs staving off relegation successfully on the last day, along with a number of other clubs.

After missing the first day due to prior commitments, I arrived bright and early at 10.30am for the start of Day 2. The game had already moved on at pace, with the visitors, after losing the toss, calling their batsmen in on 201-8, in what some have termed an “unsporting” declaration, in that this denied Lancs a further bowling point in their quest to upstage the visitors in the table. Sam Curran was top-scorer with an important unbeaten 56. Lancashire then survived the remainder of the opening day to end up on 17-0 heading into the second morning, with ‘keeper-batsman Alex Davies and Rob Jones having their respective wickets intact.

The weather began warmly enough and with a slight breeze, with Davies and Jones continuing on fairly comfortably. Davies was by far the more aggressive of the pair, heading on past his half-century whilst the watchful Jones remained in single figures for most of the morning. Jones would eventually become the first wicket of Day 2, edging to Scott Borthwick in the slips off Rikki Clarke.

Match Action

Match Action

This wicket would signal an alarming collapse within the Lancashire top-order, with Liam Livingstone (one) lasting just a few frenetic balls before being trapped in front by Surrey skipper Gareth Batty’s off-spin. He would be followed into the pavilion by Davies (54), who became Clarke’s second victim when clipping to mid-wicket and the veteran West Indian Shiv Chanderpaul (one), lbw to Clarke. From 69-0, Lancashire were now 75-4.

The carnage didn’t stop there, South African Dane Vilas (two) also going leg-before to Batty with the last ball before lunch to leave the home side on 75-4 and in some disarray. You could argue the break came at just the wrong time for Surrey, who would have fancied their chances of cranking up the pressure and running through the remainder of the lower-order. As it was, they have to head in for something to eat, and I joined them, heading to the pavilion for some chips, peas and gravy, for the decently priced £2.60. Not too shabby. As I exited to take a pic of the old bell at the pavilion, the guy guarding the door kindly offered to take my picture with it instead. Cheers!

A spot of lunching…

What a bell…!

With lunch finished up and out of the way, I made my way round to the second of the two-tiered stands to continue my lap of the ground. I would end up watching the majority of the session from here in the company of Wrexham native Mike. On the field, a rebuilding job was ongoing with skipper Steven Croft and former Proteas Test all-rounder Ryan McLaren beginning the recovery. Alas, McLaren (16) would fall soon after they passed the 50-partnership, Batty with another wicket in the same fashion as his previous two.

This would bring Tom Bailey to the crease and he proved a fine foil for Croft, the pair playing themselves into some form with the bat, Croft especially so, considering his struggles with the red-ball this summer. The captain was proving his worth here though, taking a liking to Stuart Meaker’s (0-42 from six) pace especially. Croft passed his half-century mid-way through the afternoon, before Bailey (31) would go in strange fashion, lobbing the ball up pretty much nowhere, with it landing in the hands of Pope to give Scott Borthwick’s leg-spin a wicket.

Up in the Gods

Pitch invading. Above board of course!

Following the tea break, Croft would go on to notch his century, his first of the Championship season, and advanced Lancashire beyond 250, before he’d eventually fall to the first delivery with the new ball, strangling one through to Ben Foakes off Tom Curran for an eventual 115. A fine knock.

The innings soon subsided following his wicket, Stephen Parry (20) and Saqib Mahmood (nought) both nicking to slip off Jade Dernbach, leaving Matt Parkinson unbeaten on five. Surrey would go on to pretty easily see out the remainder of the day thanks to some wayward bowling, England opener Mark Stoneman being aggressive in doing so.

Croft gets to 100

Surrey begin their reply

The old(ish) & the new

I returned for a few hours over Day 3, with Richard, a Lancs member I know well. Watching on, it soon became apparent that the similarities between this and the previous day were very apparent and strange. An easy-seeming opening hour for Stoneman and Rory Burns soon gave way to late-morning mayhem. Surrey would go on to repeat the Lancashire collapse from Day 2, with Stoneman falling two short of his century, nicking to slip off the part-time spin of Liam Livingstone. Livingstone would soon put the “part-time” description of his bowling in unquestionable doubt by going on a destructive spree through the visitors’ middle order.

After Parry had Burns lbw for 45 swiftly after Stoneman had returned to the pavilion, the Surrey middle-order followed. Following the arrival of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara for his final first-class innings, Borthwick (four) was the next to fall, snaffled at slip by Vilas off Livingstone, before Foakes celebrated his England Ashes call-up with a golden duck, becoming Livingstone’s third victim. The spinner continued on, taking the scalp of Pope (3) who smashed one high out to Mahmood at deep square leg before adding the wicket of the dangerous Rikki Clarke (13), leg-before to the last ball of the session to end up with his first career 5-for. Parry also took the wicket of Curran (nought) – clean bowled attempting a big drive – between these. From being 154 without loss, Surrey now found themselves 197-7. Crazy.

Match Action. Two legends in eleven.

Sangakkara heads off unbeaten

Following the lunch break, it was a return round to the two-tiered stand from the previous day, where we’d go on to witness a slight fight-back from Gareth Batty (33) and Sangakkara (35*) snuffed out thanks to the over confidence of the former. Having just smashed Livingstone for a six towards a small band of away fans, Batty decided to repeat the trick, only to spoon it straight up, where the bowler took a return catch to secure eventual figures of 6-52 from 18 overs. Parry soon cleaned up the tail, taking both Meaker (bowled) and Dernbach (lbw) without scoring to end the Surrey second innings on 242 and Sangakkara, somewhat fittingly was unbeaten to end his longer-format career.

That would prove my cue to leave, with Lancashire needing 175 for victory. I reckoned they wouldn’t manage it in the day, though they would go on to give a real fist of it, with only bad-light and latterly rain denying them a likely three-day triumph. By the end of the third day, the Red Rose county would require a further forty-four on the final day, with seven wickets remaining. Those to fall in the meantime were Alex Davies (30), trapped lbw by Clarke after a solid 40-run opening stand with Jones, before Jones himself was out after tea, caught by Meaker off Batty for 35. Croft would be the other wicket to fall, the ball ricocheting off his elbow and onto the stumps off Clarke to send him on his way for nought, but Livingstone and Chanderpaul would see Lancs safely to the close.

Finishing up

That’s it!

I decided to return for the short final day (all five overs or so), again joining Richard but this time sitting in front of the members pavilion and being a bit posher(!). With the aggressive Livingstone passing fifty, you felt he’d knock off the runs in double-quick fashion. But it was the usually stoic Windies legend Chanderpaul who’d go on to show off his hitting skill, cracking two quick sixes off Borthwick, before bringing the scores level and smashing the same bowler for a final four to end the game and secure Lancashire the second position behind runaway winners Essex. Surrey ended up in P3.

That’s that for another season of the leather and willow. May should see the hibernation of this section of the blog come to an end but, for now, it’s time for the football to take on undivided attention. It was good to see Sangakkara bow out and see Lancs win in my first visit of the season for Championship cricket (though I had seen their Second XI game at Urmston where I met my cricketing hero Shiv!). The real stuff. For those of you who don’t care for that, here’s to May!

Meeting Shiv was a great moment.

RATINGS:

Game: 9

Ground: 9

Programme: Scorecard-80p

Food: 7

Value For Money: 9

 

 

Manchopper in….Manchester (Manchester United FC)

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Result: Manchester United 2-1 Swansea City (Barclays Premier League)

Venue: Old Trafford (Saturday 2nd January 2016, 3pm)

Att: 75,415

For the first of a trio of “high brow” games in the following week, I was heading to what is the closest ground in the league (if you accept it as such), Old Trafford. Yes, before you try with the stereotypes, I am a local United fan. So, yeah.

A couple of weeks prior to the game, I contacted Matt of LostBoyos to see if he was to be attending said game as it included his beloved Swans. The answer was the affirmative and it was soon the morning of the game and I was heading into Deansgate, decked out in my “Fletcher 24” chevron shirt where I was to initially head over to a bar to meet up with Matt and his entourage, which is beginning to resemble something of an army.

I’d not long begun my walk down past the Museum of Science & Industry that I was told plans had changed and instead it was off to The Piccadilly, pretty much sitting slap bang between the Gardens and the station. So, after heading back past the Roman ruins of Castlefield, I hopped on the Met over to the Gardens and onwards to the Piccadilly.

Castlefield, Manchester

Castlefield, Manchester

Manchester

Manchester

No sooner had I entered the bouncer protected establishment, ordered my first Cubanisto (the rum flavoured beer) and found the Swans bunch, namely Matt, his German Dortmund supporting housemate Niklas, Tom and Dan, than I was ordered to down it as fast as possible as we were heading over to a usual stopping point; the Piccadilly Tap.

The tap has been featured on a few occasions now on these pages since Matt and Gibbo introduced me to its delights on the way back from Emley back in October and I was immediately hooked, helped by the discovery of the football table on the first floor, which is sadly out of order as it stands. But, not to worry, there’s still a bar and after meeting up with further members of the Swans travelling support, “Chester Mike” (who you’ll apparently hear shouting at the top of his lungs at most games) and Martyn, I was soon in possession of a Bitburger, despite Niklas saying it was “shit” and being pretty much agreed with en masse. Used to being in the minority, I went ahead with the choice anyway.

Beetham Tower

Beetham Tower

Piccadilly Gardens

Piccadilly Gardens

After a pair in there, it was decided we’d move on to one of the Oyster bar (our initially intended first stop) or Corbieres, one of Matt’s hidden gems that sits down a back alley off Market Street slap bang in the city centre. The consensus eventually decided on the latter and so it was off down the crowded pedestrianised street leading to the Arndale Centre and finally down a pretty wet back passage. Oh, I say! Some steps leading downwards came upon me and down we headed into the underground cave that is the bar.

Corbieres is definitely something that is unexpected, quite different from its street-level surroundings, a comfortable place to enjoy a couple of drinks in and to be told about what “being cute and speaking French” can get Niklas. It certainly wasn’t anything he was willing to actively hide and definitely created a good laugh did that comment! After a pair of Desperados in there for me, we exited and jumped a taxi, chipping in a couple of quid each into the £9 fare, to Old Trafford, arriving at around 20 past 2.

After bidding goodbye to the Swansea crew as they headed into the away end (well, corner) at OT and purchasing a programme at the kiosk on Sir Matt Busby Way (£3.50), I headed round to the Stretford End where I would be seated for today’s game. After passing by a late running Jesse Lingard at the players’ tunnel entrance, I soon entered through the turnstile after a fair old pat-down and was into Old Trafford for the first time in over a year for a first team game. I know, I’m awful.

Arriving at OT

Arriving at OT

Sir Matt stands guard

Sir Matt stands guard

The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity

After climbing the stairs up into the upper echelons of the Stretford End’s top tier, I eventually clambered over to my seat three rows from the back and right in the midst of a main singing area in the stand. After 20 minutes of staring at a large flag on the pitch that was providing today’s pre-match entertainment, it was time for the big match. The players made their way to the field and past the stupid ball station and to the equally pointless BPL sign where the handshakes take place, but thankfully these were soon got rid of and we were set to go. But for now…

History Lesson:

Founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR by members of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath, they initially competed against other depots but eventually began to compete against clubs, wearing the green and gold colours of the company’s name they carried. They became founder members of The Combination in 1888 and joined the Football Alliance a year later after the former league’s folding.

Three years later, the Alliance was merged into the Football League and Newton Heath (as they were now named) were placed in the First Division but lasted at that level for just two seasons before dropping into Division 2.

After a winding up order was served in 1902, the club’s Captain, Harry Stafford, along with others invested in the club to save it and subsequently a name change was prompted and Manchester United came into being. 1906 saw promotion back to the First Division which was won two years later. The club then lifted the first ever Charity Shield at the beginning of the next year and won the FA Cup for the first time at the end.

The second league title arrived in 1911, before the football was stopped as a result of WWI. Following the end of hostilities, the club was back in Division 2 after another relegation, but were promoted again in 1925, before almost going bankrupt in 1927 (until JW Gibson’s intervention) and following a further drop in 1931 became something of a yo-yo club but were back in Division 1 by the time WWII broke out.

Upon the resumption of football, Sir (as he was later to be titled) Matt Busby was appointed manager and his first trophy came in the shape of the 1948 FA Cup. This was followed by the First Division title in 1952, the club’s first in 41 years. In 1957, the “Busby Babes” side registered the club’s record win, a 10-0 success over Anderlecht, before the tragic Munich Air Disaster took the lives of eight of the side and 23 souls in total.

Munich Tunnel

Munich Tunnel

Memorial

Memorial

The 1960’s saw the FA Cup return to Old Trafford in ’63 and two league titles followed in ’65 & ’67 before the club became the first English club to lift the European Cup, before Busby resigned in 1969. The 1970’s saw United be relegated in ’74, promoted in ’75 and another FA Cup success in 1977.

This was the last silverware to arrive at Old Trafford until the cup returned twice in quick succession (1983 & ’85). Another future “knight”, Alex Ferguson, was appointed in 1989 following the dismissal of Ron Atkinson, though he may not have lasted long had his side not beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final replay, if the rumours are to be believed. As it was, unprecedented success over the next two-and-a-bit decades was to follow as Ferguson filled the trophy cabinet.

Next to arrive was the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup, followed by the Super Cup and the ’92 League Cup joined the pair. 1993 saw the first Premiership title arrive at Old Trafford and ’94 saw it retained along with the FA Cup to complete the club’s first “double”. 1999 saw this bettered with the historic treble: Premiership, FA Cup & Champions League, the latter being as dramatic as any (especially memorable for me as my footballing hero Teddy Sheringham had a rather big hand in proceedings). They later won the Intercontinental Cup to add gloss to the achievement.

Jesse Lingard arrives

Jesse Lingard arrives late. Fine.

Two further league titles followed in 2000 & ’01 and another arrived in 2003. The 2004 FA Cup was won in Cardiff and the League Cup was won again in 2006. The Premier League was regained in 2007 and won again in 2008, before this was joined by the Champions League following victory over Chelsea. The club later won the year’s Club World Cup and then the 2009 Premier League & League Cup, before the latter was retained. A record 19th title was won in 2011, which became 20 in 2013 before Sir Alex retired at the end of 2013 to signal the end of a true dynasty.

Since then it’s been something of a different story at Old Trafford. Despite winning the Charity Shield, David Moyes lasted all of 10 months before being sacked and after a short period under Ryan Giggs’ caretaker management, Louis Van Gaal was recruited and guided United to a 4th place finish last season.

Big Flag

Big Flag

Here come the teams

Here come the teams

The game began with Ander Herrera having his shot charged down almost straight from the kick-off but from there the game became a tight and rather dour affair. Wayne Rooney selfishly drove into the side-netting while Swansea seemed content to contain and see what came their way during the first half, which wasn’t much. Nor was it overflowing with excitement for the Untied fans either, but us at the top kept ourselves entertained as much as possible with the usual songlist. But at half-time, it remained 0-0, despite one clear shout from Chester Mike resonating from the away end.

Underway

Underway

Match Action

Match Action

After deciding against heading down into the stand for food, on the basis of large crowds, the time and the cost, I remained in my place and delved into the trusty contents of the United Review, but soon bored and couldn’t wait for the second period to start. Thank God half-time is only 15 minutes.

United again began the half on the front foot and it was little surprise when Anthony Martial struck to head past Lukasz Fabianski from Ashley Young’s whipped cross. 1-0. But this goal only spurred Swansea on to better things as they decided to go for it and began to play with purpose, becoming the better side easily for the next 20 minutes or so.

Andre Ayew was first to come close, as his drive struck the woodwork with David De Gea beaten and after a penalty appeal was turned down, Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed a deserved goal for the Swans, as he looped a header over De Gea and into the top corner, to send the Swans fans into delirium (I presume from sound as I couldn’t see them from my viewpoint!)

Match Action

Match Action

Martial celebrates the opener

Martial celebrates the opener

But, they had their joy cut short as United burst away down the left and Martial tuned provider for Rooney to cleverly flick home (though it looked like a header to my strangely wired mind at the time) and move into second on the Premier League’s all-time scorers list and in United’s own too.

But, late drama was almost supplied from the unlikeliest of sources. Swansea were really going for it again in the last five minutes, winning two corners in the last minute of added time. Up came Fabianski and even I thought “I may even concede a win for Fabianski t-…” Jesus, he was bloody close! On reflection no. No I wouldn’t have.

That was that, and I set off round to meet the guys again, onto find out they’d already jumped in a cab on their way back to town. This, as it turns out was a blessing in disguise as it meant I could go and have some further beers and food all for free back in Urmston! Bonus! My programme didn’t fare so well as it decided to take a dip in a puddle and as such isn’t in the pristine condition I crave. Damn weather….

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RATINGS:

Game: 6- Poor first half, decent second.

Ground: 8- Bit biased here, probably, but I do like OT. Views good as are surroundings.

Food: N/A

Fans: 8- Good to be in a true standing (er, sitting) and singing bit at Utd.

Programme: 8- As always, full of content but also bits of pointless stuff.

Value For Money: 6- Dear do at Old Trafford (£41.50) plus the extras!

 

 

 

 

Manchopper in…Old Trafford (Gorse Hill AFC)

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Result: Gorse Hill 1-2 Signol Athletic (Lancashire & Cheshire AFL Division 1)
Venue: The Cage, St. Bride’s Playing Fields, Old Trafford (Saturday 15th November 2014)
Att: 10 (hc)

A short blog this one, which is just to do a small log for a small local club. Gorse Hill, who feature in my Whalley Range AFC blog from last season, have been my mate Dan Watkinson’s local side for a while now, as he lives almost next door to the St. Bride’s playing fields (formerly home to Old Trafford FC And known as the “Field of Dreams”!) on which they now play, having previously played on Turn Moss fields in Stretford. For a fair while, he has been pressing me to visit them, and with me on an economy drive this month, I figured “Why not?”.
So, I was soon heading down towards the ground, situated in between the City Centre & Old Trafford’s more famous sporting homes and not far from The Whalley pub, which has now closed. After hopping off the 255 bus, I quickly undertook the five minute walk along a couple of side roads and up an alleyway whereupon I could begin to hear the sounds of a football match being battled out. A good sign!

Arriving at "The Cage".

Arriving at “The Cage”.

After firstly spotting a kids training session, I soon spotted Dan watching the game on an adjoining pitch. The pitches, marked out on what becomes Old Trafford Cricket Club in the summer months, are situated within a large metal cage (hence the name), which surrounds the whole turfed area. That is all there is to see in the ground, as it is just a field, but I feel compelled to do a blog anyway and go against my usual rule of not blogging about grounds with no barred off playing area.

Looking across to the far "warehouse" side.

Looking across to the far “warehouse” side.

Towards the "Dan's Apartment" end

Towards the “Dan’s Apartment” end

So, there’s not much to talk about there, and with the game a couple of minutes old as I arrived, but still goalless, Dan ensured me there would be goals. I’d seen that Signol had earlier racked up a rather impressive 12-1 win at Santos FC, but also been on the receiving end of a 10-5 defeat to Newton Heath. Gorse Hill, meanwhile, had recorded a 7-1 victory over Chorltonians Rovers plus an impressive penalty shoot-out victory over Wythenshawe Town’s Reserve side. With both sides towards the top of the table, a good game was in order.
I had previously watched Gorse Hill twice, once in a cup final at the Regional Athletics Stadium (the ground that neighbours the Etihad) and in the aforementioned Whalley Range game last season, where they attained a more than respectable draw with the six-time straight winners of the Lancs & Cheshire League. Signol probably just edged the early stages and took the lead when a shot by #14 from just outside the area found its way past the keeper. That’s how it stayed until the break, despite both sides having great chances to add to the score-line.

Rushing for a corner.

Rushing for a corner.

The "school" end

The “school” end

The near side touchline.

The near side touchline.

After catching some strange scents not usually found in football grounds, and finding out the players have to walk from the pitch, across he fields, cross a road and walk through a car park to get to their changing facilities, the second half was underway. Gorse Hill drew level on the hour, when a long ball was won by the forward who retained possession long enough for support in the guise of Hill’s #8 (or #3) to arrive and lash into the far corner.
It looked as though there would be further goals, and it seemed inevitable on many occasions, but it took until the 87th minute for a winner to arrive, and it was the visitors who grabbed it. A good, quick attack down the right saw the ball pulled back to #10 who shot low. Low enough in fact to go underneath the ‘keeper’s dive and into the bottom corner. Not the glove man’s finest hour, and the side from Stockport saw out the remaining minutes to take the points and the victory.
After the game, Dan and myself headed back towards the Main Road, past a burnt out transit van and onwards. Dan headed home whereas I headed to Chorlton for the second half of West Didsbury & Chorlton’s home game vs AFC Blackpool, which ended 0-0 incidentally, with Blackpool’s ‘keeper having a superb game from what I saw and, by all accounts, before that too!
So, a good day’s football with another “ground” ticked off. Always good to get a step closer to finishing a league and to give a local side some support.