Tuesday, 7 February 2017


After just over 4 years of groundhopping around the West Midlands, I am bringing production of this Blog to a close, as I will be moving to Sussex in the next few days.

My first Blog post covered the FA Vase match at Gornal Athletic against their opponents from East Anglia, Wisbech Town (featured photo shown above). This was a good match to cover as there was a good sized crowd, including many ground hoppers and an unusual ground, with it's steeped terraces on one side of the pitch. An exciting game too with the hosts rallying after going behind 0-2 just 6 minutes in to the first half, taking the match in to extra time and winning 4-2!

Since then I have covered 106 matches and have been all over the West Midlands area. 

I have enjoyed visiting the smaller clubs the most, like the village team of Bartestree (featured above) situated just outside the city of Hereford. A very well run, friendly club who now ply their trade back in the Herefordshire Football League after being unable to get enough interested players to travel the longer distances in the West Midlands League last season. They are doing well now and are in 2nd place. 

Other friendly clubs I'd like to mention are Littleton (near Evesham), Evesham United, Westfields, Hinton, Droitwich Spa, Chasetown, Heath Hayes and Worcester Raiders.

In the last few months I have enjoyed taking photos for my 2 local clubs, Worcester Raiders and Droitwich Spa and have had some of these photos featured in the local press, thus helping to raise the profile of these clubs.

So I hope others have gained inspiration from my work over the last few years and will continue to enjoy the world of Non-League.

That's all folks! Kind regards, Jonathan.

Monday, 9 January 2017


Because of the weather forecast I have decided to travel west today to Herefordshire, to visit the Briarwood Stadium home of Leominster Town for the first time.

While on the train, I see that when we have come out on the other side of the Malvern Hills, there are pockets of mist still lingering and the cloud cover does not look like lifting soon. I change at Hereford for the Manchester bound train and get off at Leominster, which is the first stop.

It's an interesting place with many old looking buildings, some being black and white timbered ones. I have a meal at a local chip shop, have a quick look round the town centre and then make my way up to the ground.

This takes me about 15 minutes and I see the sign for the stadium and the Bridge Street Sports Centre. The football ground lies at the back of the Sports Centre and I find a footpath that takes me past some tennis courts on my right before going through the entrance to the waiting pitch.

There is a stand on the right hand stand of the ground and the dug-outs on the left. There are floodlights in place too.

The ground is enclosed on 3 sides by fencing while a hedge separates it from the Sports Centre complex. There is no clubhouse but I find out later that you can get refreshments in the Sports Centre. Including myself there appears to be only 8 spectators present but more come along just before the game starts and during the first half. It's obvious that the sun is not going to show today but at least it's dry.

The home team's opponents today are Orleton Sports, who come from the village of Orleton, just a few miles north of here. So it's a local derby between two mid-table teams. Orleton are currently occupying 8th place and 3 points ahead of Leominster in 9th place, in a 13 team division. Orleton have played 3 games more.

The teams come out on to the pitch, with Leominster in yellow and black and the visitors in green and white. For the first 5 minutes it's the home team who are on top but for most of the first half it's Orleton who are the team creating the best chances. 

They go close on 4 occasions before taking a deserved lead after 28 minutes when the Leominster keeper rolls the ball out to one of his team mates but he's robbed of the ball by the Orleton No.10. He then passes the ball to the No.9 who guides the ball past the keeper.

Leominster show they are still fighting in this match when 2 minutes later their No.6 is found free on the left of the penalty area but he shoots over the bar. They do get an equaliser after 35 minutes when one of their players is brought down in the penalty area and their No.11, Liam Watton, puts away the penalty (as shown below).

Right at the end of the half though, Orleton retake the lead when their No.11 goes down the left to pass inside for the No.10 but his shot is blocked and rebounds kindly for their No.9 to slot the ball home.

                          (The Orleton No.11 at the start of the build to their second goal) 

The whistle for the end of this half soon after sees the visitors back in the driving seat. They have been the more impressive team as they have supported each other better, especially in their build up play. Still things can change quickly in football so I'm sure Leominster will be looking to grab a quick equaliser.

I know Leominster a few seasons ago had gained promotion to the 2nd Division of the West Midlands League but I think only stayed in for one season and haven't been faring that well since then. Bartestree another Herefordshire team, had to relinquish their tenure in the West Midlands League last season because some of their players didn't like all the travelling involved, so maybe it's a problem for teams in this county.

I noticed during the first half that mist had started to form in the corner beyond the stand and had started to drift across the pitch but it was not enough to affect the visibility.

When play resumes, Leominster look determined to get back in the game. In the 4th minute their No.7 has a free kick tipped over the bar and 2 minutes later their No.6 has a shot saved.

                                                     (Leominster's Liam Watten goes on the attack)  

Orleton Colts though take a 2 goal lead when their No.11 goes through on the left to score.

This spurs Leominster on to to get back in the match but their efforts leave them susceptible to counter attacks by their opponents. 3 times the Orleton No.9  goes close to increasing his sides lead. Twice he has 2 headers that go just over the bar and on the 3rd occasion he goes past the Leominster keeper down the left side of the goal but the angle proves to be too tight an angle to get the ball in.

With just a minute to go the Leominster keeper makes a great save from a header in front of the goal and then his side get a second goal in injury time with a route one kind of goal. The ball is booted down field for their No.14 substitute, Terry Wiiliams, to beat a defender and lob the advancing keeper.

On the balance of play Orleton deserved to win today but Leominster have shown some great battling qualities and kept going right to the final whistle.

Match attendance: 23
Match entry fee: Free
Match programme: none available
Match entertainment: 7/10