I'm keeping it local today with a morning visit to see Pershore Town hosting a local derby against the villagers of Littleton. It's an 11:30 am kick off, which suits me as according to the forecast, the weather could deteriorate this afternoon.
I take the bus at my local stop on the London Road in Worcester and 30 minutes later I am getting off the bus in the town centre of Pershore which has beautiful Georgian buildings as well as the nearby Pershore Abbey.
There are not many shops open here today, just the local Asda, Tesco, Chip shop and 2 cafes. They probably realise that the shoppers are more likely to go to Worcester for the Sales.
So after having a cheeseburger and coffee I walk the short journey to the ground. It's located between the town centre and the nearby River Avon. Unfortunately for the club, the pitch is visible due to an open metal fence surrounding most of the ground. Also I notice later that there is a gap in the fence on the side facing the river, meaning that people can possibly walk in without paying if they don't have a conscience about it!
I pay the entrance fee but am disappointed when I'm told that all the programmes have gone. Due to financial restraints they don't print many even if it is a local derby taking place today.
On paper, I make Littleton to be the favourites as they occupy a respectable 8th place while the hosts are near the bottom of the table, although Pershore have home advantage and Littleton have not been in good form recently.
The teams come out and both are sporting their usual colours, with Pershore in blue and Littleton in red.
It's Littleton who are the better team for most of the first half. One of their best chances come after 10 minutes when their No.10 goes to the byline and cuts the ball back for the No.9 just in front of goal but while falling backwards he scoops the ball over the bar.
Against the run of play, Pershore's Joe Walsh, (no, not the Eagles guitarist) scores in the 38th minute. Then in the 45th minute, they go further in front when Joe Robinson scores direct from a free kick from the left and the Littleton keeper misjudges the flight of the ball and allows it to nestle in the top corner.
So the ref's whistle blows with it all to do for Littleton in the second period.
There looks to be a sizeable crowd today even though the weather is mainly cloudy and certainly cold.
Pershore have been in the Midland Combination since 1988 after the merger of 3 clubs and now the Midland Football League. They won the Premier Division title in the 1993-94 season, and spent 6 seasons in the then newly formed Midland Football Alliance.The villagers of Littleton have been members of the Midland Combination since 2001-02. They have certainly progressed well in recent times, culminating in their second place finish in the Premier Division in the 2011-12 season and some of their success was due to having Joe Lolley and for a short time, Matt Smith playing for them up front. They have both gone on to be signed up by Football League clubs.
The first half has been a bit scrappy and niggly at times and in the first minute of the second half, the Littleton No.5 needlessly bundles over a Pershore player just in front of me and then kicks the ball hard in to his body while he's lying on the ground.
The ref calls him over then books him (as shown below).
(Littleton's No.5 is on the far left of the picture)
Things get worse for the visitors when through some slack defensive work they concede a 3rd goal. The ball is being shepherded out by a Littleton defender to go out for a goal kick but a Pershore player manages to run round and push the ball in to the path of the incoming Walsh. He in turn takes the ball to the left of the Littleton keeper and then dinks it over his sprawling body and in to the net (as shown below).
The keeper is rightly not happy with this turn of events but a few minutes later, becomes further incensed when stooping, ready to collect the ball, an onrushing Pershore forward catches him with a boot when they collide.
Still angry after conceding a 3rd goal and probably being at fault for the 2nd, he's not a happy bunny. He goes stomping round shouting and swearing, giving a goal post a hard kick and then is booked by the ref for his troubles. He also has a bit of a slanging match with one of the Pershore coaching staff too!
Littleton's No.3, Will Gayton also acts in a wild fashion later on and I personally think his vocal tirade against the referee is very unnecessary. There are quite a few unsavoury challenges between the sides and it doesn't make for a good spectacle.
Littleton do get a measure of recompense later on when they are awarded a penalty and Gayton duly despatches it successfully.
So the game ends and Pershore have come out on top.Although they were mostly outplayed in the first half, they were certainly the more composed team in the second. I think I might be of good luck to the Pershore Town team because after watching them 3 times in the last 5 seasons, have seen them win every time.
Match entrance fee: £4
Match programme: all sold out
Match entertainment: 5/10
Match attendance: 112