Cleethorpes Town

FA Vase 5th Round
Cleethorpes Town 3
Atherton Colleries 2
atten 588

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This is what the Vase is all about. Two teams flying high in different leagues, both with good wining records to protect and both half decent. Once again the traveling Colls 'barmy army' made a massive contribution to the occasion. Lots of inflatable instruments on show , fancy dress costumes, green wigs and 'Marcal Marceau' look-a-likes and plenty of noise. 

Colls took an early leave via a headed own goal after superb in-swinging free kick was delivered perfectly with power and pace. Colls pushed forward and could/should of have at least two more before making it 0-2 as a result of a quick break. But the tipping point of the match came moments before HT as Cleethorpes grabbed an unlikely goal. Then within ten minutes of the restart it they well level at 2-2. 
But as the second half unfolded Cleethorpes were first to virtually every ball and Atherton produced very little. Colls captain missed a sitter , mainly through fatigue. As extra time beckoned Cleethorpes got a corner and somehow the ball trickled in the net for the winner. But Colls had one last throw of the dice and very nearly scored an unlikely equaliser. 
The Colls bench were devastated but in truth based on the second half alone Cleethorpes deserved the victory and a place in the QF
I suspect it didn't help matters that they could hear the celebrations in the adjoining changing rooms.

Classy touch from a young Cleethorpes ball boy who gave an Atherton Collieries young lad a big 'hard luck' hug at the end - lovely gesture. 

Atherton players devastated after conceding a last gasp goal

Deflated ...

Linlithgow Rose

Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

Linlithgow Rose 4 
Blantrye Victoria 0 
atten ca350
Pies £1.25p (delicious, best of season) 

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After an easy train journey up , arrived in Scotland to find Edinburgh in thick fog. Linlithgow itself lies halfway to Falkirk in West Lothian.
It seems like it would be a busy place in summer with visitors and Linithgow Palace birthplace of Mar Queen of Scots being the highlight.
It is fantastic
ancient architecture and is well worth a visit. 

Linlithgow Rose are one of the largest and best supported clubs in the juniors and won the Junior Cup three times between 2002-2010. Between the wars Linlithgow Rose played at Mains Park in the town; they have played at Prestonfield since 1949. They have a string of honours in the league and regional cups and have steadily built upon their success, developing a ground that is not only the envy of nearly every other club in the Juniors but some in the Scottish League, too.
The ground is immaculately maintained, dominated by a smart seated stand built above the original pavilion in 2001 along one side and with a neat, covered terrace along the opposite side. Under here is located a marvellous tea bar which purveys steak pies, bridies and the most satisfying lentil soup among other delicacies. The social club dominates the end nearest the town, its white-painted exterior walls. The other end is a grassed bank where local youngsters carried on a never-ending game of football throughout the afternoon. 

The Scottish Junior Cup has been held every year since its inception in 1896 and is an unseeded knockout competition. The final is always held at an SPL club.
The game itself was played out on a bright yet foggy and very chilly afternoon. The first half was mundane with few clear cut chances. But in the second half Rose dominated and ran out easy winners.

Long journey back to base which was only made worse by a train full of Newcastle & Rotherham supporters making plenty of unnecessary noise.
But it was still an enjoyable day and was well worth the effort. 

Bowers & Pitsea

Ryman League North
Bowers & Pitsea 1 
Witham Town 5
atten 217

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'ready to rumble'

 "I didnt see that coming ffs " was the comment made by a shell shocked Bowers supporter on hearing the final whistle. But in truth Witham fully deserved their emphatic victory. The 4th Witham goal was a top corner , 25 yard curler. But by then the game was won.

Witham's 3rd goal was a penalty (softish) but to decide who took it , two Witham players decided by a game of rock,paper,scissors. It was emphatically dispatched.
At the end of the game all Witham players went over to celebrate with the solitary Witham fan , who to his credit never stopped singing. He is in fact a TV star from Channel 4's The Undateables Programme !

Bowers had just rattled off 9 straight wins, so i suppose it had to end sooner rather than later. But they are a club on the up curve and i have no doubt they will be right up near the top come the end of the season. Bowers gaffer is a class act and i enjoyed meeting him. I enjoyed the ground as it was full of nooks and crannies but just a shame i caught Bowers on an off day. Excellent visit in every respect.

The club began life in an old wooden cricket pavilion in 1947 on the site of what is now Pitsea Market. A move to Gun Meadow, Pitsea saw the purchase of a prefabricated building which was used as changing rooms. The building of the new A13 from Canvey to the Five Bells roundabout saw the compulsory purchase of the ground and the club's move to its current home at Crown Avenue, Pitsea. The ground was purchased from Basildon Development Corporation along with a prefabricated building which still serves as the dressing rooms. After the war years, once stability had come to the nation, many new sporting clubs sprang up. One such club was Bowers United, started in 1946 by Bert Salmon, playing at Gun Meadow, Pitsea, in the Thurrock & Thameside Combination, he was to be joined a few years later by his brother Len Salmon, who passed away and is sorely missed by everyone within the club. The biggest tribute Bowers Sport & Social Club could give him was to name his beloved football stadium after him.

East Grinstead Town

Ryman League South
East Grinstead Town 0 

Greenwich Borough 5
Gate £9
Atten 151
Food Large hot dog & onions £2.50 

(over cooked & served by Mrs Grumpy)

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Late choice of game but very glad i made the effort to visit. The ground was much better than expected. Impressively maintained. Lovely modern clubhouse. Two stands both on raised banking offering excellent viewing positions. Greenwich stung the wasps with their clinical forward play and swatted them aside with the minimum of fuss. It could have easily been double figures such was the dominance. 
Nice touch from the East Grinstead players at the end of the game to go and thank the fans personally for their support despite being run ragged for the the last ninety minutes.

Very enjoyable day out in leafy West Sussex