Radcliffe Borough

Radcliffe Borough vs Lancaster City, EvoStik First Division North, 25/03/17, Taurus Park

Typically of British weather we have gone from one extreme to the other. Last weekend I was firmly glued to Twitter as I checked for any postponements, but this weekend I was able to relax, as the sun shone and the sky was blue and cloudless. I did have a cursory glance at Radcliffe Borough’s Twitter but that was just to find the postcode for the ground.

My mood was further improved as I found a Real Madrid home shirt in a charity shop in Chorley, as a football shirt collector this was to be a highlight! Once I’d eaten lunch I hopped in my car and drove the short distance between Chorley and Radcliffe. I left my home at around 2pm, and pulled up outside of Radcliffe Borough at around 2.35pm, which is a good journey given that it was a Saturday and I expected the motorways to be busier.

After a short walk to the turnstiles from my car, I paid £8 for entry and paid a further £2 for a programme. I initially went to complete a lap of the ground, however I was stopped by a steward as I went to walk behind the goal. Apologetically he explained that I couldn’t continue my lap, this way at least, and he gestured to the fire damage in the stand behind the goal. Unfortunately Radcliffe Borough were targeted by arsonists in December 2016, which has caused damage to the only stand in the ground which provides seating (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/arson-radcliffe-borough-stadium-fire-12280017). Fortunately the fire didn’t spread to the entire stand, and around two-thirds of the stand was still open.

From the turnstiles you emerge on the touchline, with the social club to your left. Behind the goal on the left of the turnstiles stands the seater stand that I’ve already referenced, this is fire damaged at the moment, but a majority of the seats are still available for use. Along the opposite touchline are the dugouts, which caused a delay in the second half as the subs and coaches walked across the pitch to the dugouts. Behind the dugouts stand a couple of rows of terracing. To the right of the turnstiles, stands the refreshment hut and a stretch of covered terracing. Behind the goal to the right of the turnstiles stands a small covered terrace. All in all, Taurus Park (or Stainton Park) is a good ground, and I hope Radcliffe Borough are able to find the funds to fix their ground.

I’ve covered the history of both sides before, so here’s the links for those blogs: Radcliffe Borough and   Lancaster City. So I’ll just delve into their recent form, Radcliffe Borough enter this game in 17th place in the league, with their last five games resulting in two wins, two draws and a loss. In their last match Radcliffe played Ossett Albion and emerged 2-1 winners. Lancaster City sit 2nd in the league, and are level on points with top placed Farsley, if results went their way Lancaster would move up to top spot, and their last five matches resulted in three wins and two defeats, in their last match they took on Tadcaster Albion and came away with all three points following a 1-0 win.

Before the match there was a minute silence for the victims of the Westminster attack, this well-observed by those in the ground. With both sides ready, the referee blew his whistle and the game commenced for about two seconds before the ref blew his whistle again and instructed the kick off to be retaken, as it appeared the Radcliffe Borough number 7, Lamin Baldeh, had crossed the halfway line before the ball was kicked.

The first half was a rather even affair, with both sides attacking and defending well, and by the way Radcliffe Borough played their position in the league of 17th wasn’t a fair reflection of their side. I was impressed by Radcliffe’s Lamin Baldeh as his pace down the right wing was impressive, and I feel some higher up teams should pay both sides a visit as both teams were packed with talent.

One thing I did notice was that the perimeter walls were close to the pitch, and in around the 43rd minute, the Radcliffe number 3, Jordyn Fitton, slammed into the wall as he attempted to chase down the ball. The referee showed immediate concern for the lad, however after receiving treatment he was okay to continue.

It took until the stroke of halftime for the opening goal, and it fell to Lancaster City’s number 10, Hannu Tam, to open the scoring, as he entered the box with the ball at his feet, the Radcliffe Borough keeper, Kyle Haslam, came off of his line to narrow the angle, but Tam simply lobbed the ball over his head, to give Lancaster the lead in the 45th minute.

Half Time: Radcliffe Borough 0-1 Lancaster City (Tam 45)

At half time I headed to the refreshment hut, paying £1 for a can of Pepsi Max, I had initially asked for Diet Coke, as that’s what most grounds sell, and was over the moon when the lady behind the counter apologised for only having Pepsi or Pepsi Max, as someone who prefers Pepsi Max over everything else I was over-joyed! It’s the simple things in life, isn’t it?

After a delayed start to the second half, the action continued where it had left off, as Hannu Tam raced onto a through ball, before rounding the keeper and slotting home to put City 2-0 up.

Radcliffe were awarded a dubious penalty minutes after kick off, I say dubious as from where I was stood it looked like the Lancaster player had two options, option one being let a powerful shot hit him straight in his privates, or option two, attempt to stop the ball from hitting him in his privates. He chose option two, and the ball did strike his hand, however it would have hit him either way. Then again handball is handball, and maybe the referee was right. Either way Radcliffe had a penalty, which their number 10, Jack Hindle, stepped up to take. His penalty was well struck but the Lancaster keeper, Michael Hale, was able to get to it, and saved it well.

In the 62nd minute, Radcliffe made their first change of the day, with number 7, Lamin Baldeh, leaving the field to be replaced by number 16, Timmy Raheem. Three minutes later, City also made a change, with Hannu Tam leaving the field to be replaced by number 17, Simon Willis.

City made it 3-0 in the 71st minute, as their number 9, Jordan Connerton, raced clear of the Borough defence, before slotting the ball past the keeper, to send the Lancaster fans into raptures. Radcliffe followed this goal by making a change with number 10, Jack Hindle, being replaced by Daniel Burns (?).

The remainder of the changes were made, with City replacing number 7, Jacob Gregory, for number 14, Joshua Earl in the 72nd minute. Borough then made their final change in the 74th minute, with number 12, Stanislav Zhekov (?) replacing number 8, Conor Ready. City made their final change as Jordan Connerton made way for number 15, Tom Kilfin.

Both sides continued to play well, and the Lancaster fans continued to hope for a fourth goal, however that wasn’t to come, and they had to settle with just the three goals today.

Final Score: Radcliffe Borough 0-3 Lancaster City (Tam 45, 46, Connerton 71)

Following the final whistle, I made my way back to my car, before setting off home to Chorley. It was an easy journey home, and I passed through a couple of towns, where I know a football team plays but I wasn’t sure on how to get to them, well now I know and I’ll be branching out more towards Manchester in the upcoming weeks.

Defeat for Radcliffe Borough sees them remain in 17th place in the league, they are currently eight points away from 21st placed Goole, and seem to be safe this year, with only seven games for Radcliffe left, and only five for Goole, it seems unlikely that Goole would catch them. Radcliffe have a number of good players, and I would recommend that if you find yourself near Manchester to pay Radcliffe a visit as they are a friendly club.

Before the game Lancaster found themselves in 2nd place, with only goal difference keeping them off of the top spot. As I stated earlier if results went their way they would move to the top, and results did go their way, with Farsley losing 2-0 to Bamber Bridge, and Lancaster winning, Lancaster now occupy top place in the league, with three points separating them from Farsley. Both teams now have six games to play, and if Lancaster can keep their three-point advantage, they should come out of the season as Champions.

As well as writing these blogs, I am also now recording my adventures in groundhopping, and the videos can be found on my YouTube channel, PreecedGames. Along with Groundhopping videos I also play video games (although these videos come with an NSFW warning).

Thanks for reading.

Attendance: 186

Cost: £12

Movember Total: £25.50 (£1.50 from today’s game)

Hat-tricks seen so far: 1

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632000@N07/albums/72157678444199844

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwALgmjeZV7OMP8euGBOi5A (Reminder the gaming videos on this channel contain NSFW language and those that are offended by swearing or violence should avoid these. The groundhopping videos are clean however.)

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