Reserve Team Star
Feb 16, 2018, 12:30 AM
Team(s): Bolton Wanderers, local non-league teams
Post #1 of 4
Wallsend Community 1-1 Killingworth YPC (1-0 HT) at Walker Activity Dome 3G
Northern Alliance Division One
Admission: Free, Programme: None
Attendance: 25 (h/c)
Bonus match for me as Killingworth needs to catch up with a lot of league matches due to weather and good cup runs, I don't think this ground is regularly used by any club either so a good tick as well. Nothing particularly exciting about the ground, 3G cage on a complex of several 5 and 7 a-side pitches behind a gym and library building, no spectator facilities but I was allowed inside so I didn't have to look through the bar, decent floodlights though. The lowest level of football I've watched since I've been up here, this being Step 8, I'd say the quality was slightly better than other games at a similar level in the Cheshire and Manchester League I've watched. Wallsend took the lead around 5 minutes in through a penalty, Killingworth equalised early on in the second half after a decent move from midfield. Both sides had decent chances to win it, with Killingworth perhaps having the better of them so they could see it as dropped points. Walked the hour there and back, so no transport costs as well, and, due to the 6:30 kick off and short half time, I was back indoors at the stupidly early time of 10 to 9.
Grounds visited: 240
Last new ground: Millfield (Crook Town)
Next planned fixture: Unsure
Man City Transfer Target!
Feb 16, 2018, 8:40 AM
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams
Post #2 of 4
UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg
Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg, 1-0, H.T. 0-0, Att 59,000, Admission £40, Programme £5 (didn’t buy one), Multiple Food Options (Didn’t bother)
At Celtic Park
The beauty of having no firm allegiances to a football club is the variety of matches one can enjoy. Last night it was Lothian Thistle v Kelty at Saughton enclosure in front of 165; Tonight it was Celtic Park in front of almost 60,000.
I’ve always enjoyed European games but options have been limited this season. St Johnstone crashed out to a pub team from one of the Baltic states; the new Rangers marked their European debut by losing to a pub team from Luxembourg; Aberdeen is a bit far away midweek; And Celtic had no public sale of tickets for their Champions League group games.
This match had the added bonus of being able to tick a new team – I’ve not seen Zenit St Petersburg before. That helped justify the £40 price tag, although Celtic season ticket holders were able to buy their tickets for significantly less. I was surprised that the ground was sold out – there was barely a spare seat to be seen other than the sterile area around the disappointingly small band of Zenit supporters.
Pre match I was fairly confident that the visitors would win comfortably. Celtic have not performed as well as last season and their team selection has been dictated by injury problems. They are still miles better than anything else Scotland has to offer but, as the Champions League group games showed, they are a long way off the pace in European terms.
My predictions, as often seems to be the case, proved wrong. Celtic may have been aided by the fact that Zenit haven’t played a competitive game for 10 weeks but Brendan Rodgers got his team selection and tactics spot on. There were no failures in a Celtic side that included four players who have progressed from their youth team ranks.
In the first half Celtic dominated the play but were unable to convert any of the chances that came their way. A couple of drilled low crosses could have bene deflected anywhere but ended up running to safety. Zenit showed enough on the break to demonstrate their ability and created one decent chance – De Vries parrying a shot and Tierney then clearing off the line from a weak effort on the rebound.
The second half continued in similar fashion and justice was done when Celtic scored with 17 minutes left. It was a breathtaking goal – Musonda showed admirable trickery to play in Dembele wide on the left. His return pass to Musonda was perfect and the Chelsea-loanee flicked a sumptuous lob across goal. Callum McGregor took it on his chest and then volleyed an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.
Will 1-0 be enough for Celtic? I think the game is on a knife edge. Celtic are certainly capable of scoring in Russia, so the clean sheet at Parkhead could be invaluable to them.
When buying a ticket I opted for the south-west corner of the ground as I know a few folk who have season tickets in that area. The atmosphere was the usual loud and raucous Celtic Park on European nights. The 67th minute tribute to the Lisbon Lions, performed at every home game, was all the more poignant at a European tie under the lights. Even for someone with no love of Celtic, it raised the hairs on the back of the neck.
The safe standing area at Parkhead has been a huge success with the Green Brigade orchestrating the singing and chanting around the ground. Interestingly, when some pissed up bigots near me tried to start up some of the old songs they were quickly shouted down by others in the crowd. That would never have happened twenty years ago. Also interesting to see a number of saltires being flown – another step in the right direction.
The programme was a £5 perfect bound A4 thing – failed my pocket test so didn’t bother with one.
The catering at Parkhead is excellent. Burger bars, Fried chicken bars, fish and chip outlets, noodle bars, Domino’s Pizzas, traditional pie stalls . . . all in the large concourses on the lower levels. The range on the upper levels is not quite so good due to restrictions of space. The prices are not too bad for this level of football – I noticed that a Steak Pie supper from the chippy outlet was £5.20, compared to the £4.20 I had paid from a traditional shop on Duke Street before the game.
Pre match coffee in the Icafe on Ingram Street with a friend who is currently on the wagon, then a quick pint of Kolsch in Redmans of Duke Street on the way to the game.
Youth Team Sub
Feb 16, 2018, 5:14 PM
Location: Welsh Wales
Team(s): Sheffield United, CPD Porthmadog, Ross County
Post #3 of 4
Europa League Round of 32, 1st Leg
FC Kobenhavn 1 Atletico Madrid 4
Telia Parken, Copenhagen
Ticket - 395 DK (£47-ish)
Attendance - 34,912
Out on SAS from Manchester Airport on Wednesday and back with Easyjet on Friday, all worked like clockwork.
Telia Parken is reached by an 8 minute train journey from Copenhagen Hauptbahnof to Osterport Station and then a 15 or so minute walk to the stadium. This was done in snowy conditions with a nasty wind chill on game day with a 9.05pm local kick off time, meaning the final whistle was blown just before 11pm.
A very open game saw Kobenhavm have the audacity to take a 15th minute lead before the gulf in class began to tell with Los Rojiblancos replying with 4 goals, indeed it could have been more.
One of the highlights of the evening was the pre-match tifo display by the home side, well worth a view on youtube extolling the virtues of Copenhagen by night. It was way to cold to sample these virtues when the final whistle blew! Back in hotel by midnight.
I return to Copenhagen for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend to sample two games in the Ice Hockey World Championship as well as a trip to Fremad Amager in the Danish 1st Division.
First Team Star
Feb 19, 2018, 10:43 PM
Team(s): Coventry City
Post #4 of 4
Europa League Round of 32 Astana 1 Sporting Lisbon 3 Admission approx £9(400 tenge) No programme Attendance 30000 Kick Off 10pm (local time)
Not a country familiar to many groundhoppers - myself and A Pheasant flew from Heathrow via Frankfurt, total flying time around 6 and a half hours on Lufthansa. We arrived around midnight and got a taxi to our hotel, the Alau which is within a few minutes walk of the venue for our game, the Astana Arena. Cost was very reasonable and we would both recommend this as accommodation for a trip. It is some way out of the city but easy and cheap to reach by taxi. There are plenty of restaurants offering a range of options, although beer choices were much more limited. We particularly enjoyed Del Papa, an Italian with three branches in Astana and six in Almaty (the former capital) With the seriously sub zero temperatures this was not the time to be sightseeing and I would recommend going to Kazakhstan in early or late season.
The stadium was lit up like Bayern Munich's but with a much smaller capacity (30,000) so, according to the official attendance the ground was full, although that was not the case as there were some empty seats. The retractable roof had been on since our arrival on Monday, which was just as well as the attendance outside was -19 just before kick off! I must admit I thought that the pitch was 4G but according to a website I looked at it is actually high quality grass. The stadium has one tier at each end and two tiers on either side with the floodlights built into the edge of the roof on all four sides. Pounding europap (sic) is de riguer in Astana and greeted us at the ground where we first had to get through a gate on the outer ring, then have the ticket ripped at the stub, and then be checked for weapons before we got to our seats, which were mostly in the club colours of yellow and blue and also grey with screens at opposite ends of the ground in the south east and north west corners. Each corner features two small blocks of seating over a tunnel. Fans here have created a less atavistic and tribal atmosphere than you would see in some of the more traditional football countries, with mobile phone lights and paper fans being waved as well as a short lived Mexican wave being started. There are plenty of hospitality boxes on the far side from us where the cameras were also situated. The comfortable seats had plenty of leg room and the front row was closer to the pitch than is usually the case in non British grounds.
The game was a hugely entertaining one with Astana good value for their half time lead. Sadly for them the game transformed completely in 11 minutes after half time with Sporting getting three goals, the first from a penalty given away unnecessarily. An Astana sending off soon after settled the result and I cannot see the second leg being anything but a formality for the Portuguese.
"There's a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Milletts".