Maine Road vs Burscough, North West Counties Football League Premier Division, Brantingham Road, 24/02/18
Again there’s been a gap between my blogs, and that can only be explained due to a lack of funds, mental health and the weather, although I feel like they’ve been an issue in the past. At least I hadn’t ended up in hospital after watching my side lose 4-0 to Brentford (Yes, the final score was 5-0, but I don’t think my Uncle Ed is aware that Blues conceded a fifth). So I probably should use this part of the blog to wish my Uncle a speedy recovery, and to thank everyone that helped the fool after he had his incident!
I was torn between two games for today, either Maine Road or West Didsbury & Chorlton, so I did the sensible thing and asked my wife a series of quick fire questions which led to her deciding that I would be going to Maine Road. Luckily the journey into Manchester was easy, with minimal traffic, and I pulled up outside Brantingham Road with about fifteen minutes before kick-off. Approaching the turnstiles I committed a cardinal sin as I pulled a £20 note out of my pocket, luckily there was a guy nearby who kindly changed my £20 for two £10s, and, including a programme, I paid £6.50 to get in. The programme itself could probably be used as a doorstop as it contains a large amount of information about both football clubs, the league etc. Although oddly the programme does reveal that one of the Maine Road players is sponsored by the Former Manchester United Players Association.
The reason why I found it odd that a Maine Road player is sponsored by the Former Manchester United Players Association is because of the fact, that as you probably should have gathered from their name, Maine Road are a team set up and run by Manchester City fans. Maine Road began life in 1955, as City Supporters Rusholme, and played friendly matches before joining the Rusholme Sunday League, where they remained until they transferred to the Manchester Amateur Sunday League in 1966. The club also moved their headquarters to the Maine Road Social Club and were renamed Maine Road FC. After they won the Manchester County Sunday Cup and the league title in 1972, the club switched to Saturday football and joined Division Two of the Manchester League. Road won the Division Two title at the first attempt and were promoted to Division One, as well as picking up the Manchester County Amateur Cup. The following season saw them win the Division One title, and they were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1983 the club were Premier Division champions, and they retained the title for the next three seasons, before finishing as runners-up in 1987, after which the club moved to Division Two of the NWCFL. Maine Road’s first season in the NWCFL saw them win the Manchester Premier Cup for a third time. Despite finishing as runners-up in Division Two the club were not promoted as their ground failed to meet the grading regulations. However they won the Division Two title the following season, seeing them earn promotion to Division One. Road were relegated at the end of the 2001-2002 season, they were Division Two runners-up in 2003-2004 and were promoted back to Division One, where they have remained ever since.
I’ve covered Burscough before, and the blog can be found here: https://davidsadventuresingroundhopping.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/burscough/. Unfortunately Burscough did drop out of the Northern Premier League Division One North, and now find themselves down in the NWCFL, which is quite the drop when you consider that not too long ago they were in the Conference North.
Brantingham Road is a very open ground, with a large amount of empty land around it. Upon walking through the turnstile you emerge behind the goal, with a thin strip of uncovered terracing to your right. Round to the left of the turnstiles are the changing rooms, and the refreshment hut. Along the touchline to the left of the turnstiles is a stretch of uncovered standing, and the dugouts, this hard standing runs to just after the halfway line before a small covered stand takes its place. Behind the far goal is a stretch of uncovered standing, and someone has taken the time to plant a few trees behind the goal, which is probably a good thing as there is a row of houses behind this goal, and I can imagine that they are probably sick of finding footballs in their back garden. Finally on the other touchline is a covered stand, which provides the only seats in the ground, however these seats are benches, but the views are good from these and I spent the majority of the game sat in this stand. Overall Brantingham Road is a nice ground, and it certainly has a lot of room for growth!
Once both teams were ready, the game kicked off under a bright sun. However the wind was still making itself known, and whilst it may have looked warm, it was actually freezing! However instead of being sensible and buying a hot drink from the refreshment hut I decided to buy a can of Diet Coke and a Twix which came to the grand total of £1.80.
It didn’t take long for Burscough to open the scoring, as in the 5th minute Terry Cummings fired home a simple chance. The Maine Road keeper had chosen to punch the ball away following a cross from the left wing, however his punch was weak and it fell straight to the feet of Cummings who hammered home.
Maine Road took the early blow well, and equalised in the 11th minute, as James Ormrod managed to get the decisive touch from a corner, slamming the ball home to put Road level.
Burscough regained the lead in the 18th minute, as Chad White found the back of the net, after picking the ball up inside the area. Burscough then established a two goal cushion in the 25th minute, as Peter Henertey made no mistake, firing the ball home confidently.
Maine Road reduced the arrears in the 42nd minute as Sean Cookson slotted home tidily to give Maine Road a chance of getting something out of this game.
Now I’m not sure which bench it was, but one of them impressed me with the way they handled their players. The referee was a complete stickler for the rules and you could see both sides getting frustrated with the ref, however one of the benches continually reminded their players to stop whinging and play football. Referees are human, as surprising as that may be, and are prone to making mistakes, and this referee was no different but without the dedicated individuals that decide to spend their Saturdays officiating football matches we wouldn’t have this beautiful game, so cut them some slack once in a while.
Half Time: Maine Road 2-3 Burscough (Ormrod 11, Cookson 42 – Cummings 5, White 18, Henertey 25)
At half time I decided to walk around the ground, trying to find somewhere I could shelter from the wind, whilst still being in the sun. However this task would prove to be impossible, and therefore I walked around the ground trying to find a good place to stand, before deciding to go and sit in the stand again.
Maine Road made a change at the break with their number 10, Alexander Pope, making way for number 16, Jason Perry. In all honesty if I thought that there was going to be a change at the break but I was expecting the Maine Road number 6, James Ormrod, to be the player leaving the field, as in the first half he was involved in a collision which looked serious at first, but luckily Ormrod was able to continue.
With Maine Road looking for an equaliser, and Burscough looking for a goal to kill the game off, the game turned into a midfield battle, with very few chances for either team. The flow of the game was interrupted as the ref ensured that every throw, free kick, goal kick etc was taken in the exact same place as where the ball had gone out/the foul had occurred. This led to the Burscough number 4, Joshua Dunrod, getting booked for dissent, and in all fairness if he hadn’t had quietened down I think the ref would have had no problem with sending him off. Luckily for Dunrod, and his teammates, he remained on the pitch for the full ninety minutes.
In the 55th minute, Maine Road made their second change with Jack Langford, number 7, making his way off of the field to be replaced by Joseph O’Brien, number 15.
Burscough made their only change in the 65th minute, with Matthew Ward, number 11, making way for number 12, Prince Ekpolo. Maine Road made their third and final change in the 75th minute, as Sean Cookson, number 11, was replaced by number 14, Sammual Riley.
The game had fizzled out at this point, as both teams cancelled each other out, and any chances were snatched at. For all of the excitement and goals of the first half, the second half had been drab. I was relieved to hear the final whistle as I had begun to lose the feeling in my feet, and my right foot was still stinging from kicking the ball back to the keeper (I still haven’t fully recovered from breaking my toe in January).
Final Score: Maine Road 2-3 Burscough (Ormrod 11, Cookson 42 – Cummings 5, White 18, Henertey 25)
I quickly made my way back to my car, and turned the heating up as far as it would go. The journey back was rather easy but I’m still confused by people that buy Audi’s and other fancy cars, and then do 50 miles an hour on the motorway. One you are a hazard to yourself and everyone around you, and two you are wasting the power of your car, buy a bloody Ford KA if you feel the need to go at a snail’s pace on the motorway! Motorways are designed for everyone to do 70 miles an hour, but again the extremists always ruin it for everyone as on one hand you have the slow idiots who do below 70mph but then on the other hands you have the reckless fools who do 90mph+, now if everyone did a consistent 70mph there would be no issue, but as is the way of the world, the extremists always ruin it. I’m not saying that I’ve never sped on the motorway, as who hasn’t put their foot down when the road is dry and it’s clear in front of you? But when the road is wet and the road’s are busy then doing anything above 80mph is reckless!
Anyway, enough of my ranting about driving, I mean I’m not perfect I did roll my Rover 25 on a country road once. Burscough deserved the three points, their attacking players were great in the first half, as they attacked in numbers and put pressure on Maine Road.
Maine Road didn’t capitulate and gave Burscough a very good game in the first half, however both sides were poor in the second half, and the game really did fizzle out. I would recommend visiting Maine Road as they are a great club, and the ground is very easy to get to.
Thanks for reading, as always if any clubs/websites etc want to use any of my work, all I ask for is credit!
Cost: £5 entry, £1.50 programme, £1 raffle ticket (Which I lost), £1.80 food and drink