Knutsford FC

Cheshire League
Knustford 0 
Whaley Bridge 2
Atten 40ish
Gate £2

Ground & Match Enjoyment - 9/10
If truth be told my main 'excuse' to go to Knutsford apart form visiting family for the festive period was the opportunity of visiting my favourite Indian Restaurant anywhere. Shoehorned into the back streets of this quaint market town is 'Mowgli' – within this gem of an eatery you are served the most delicious food you could wish for. If you are ever stuck in traffic jams on the M6 just take a detour and pamper yourself , you will be pleased you had.

“There's nothing there” said my brother “no stands or anything” as he slipped into his mouth another slice of left over cold christmas turkey. But little did he know that for any serious groundhopper sometimes less is more.

The club was formed in 1888 and according to articles from notes from the Northwich Guardian dated 1888 the club played their games at The Heath. "Rugby was to be allowed and there was already Football played on the Heath". These notes are stored in the towns heritage centre. The first known record of a formal Knutsford Team comes from 29 December 1888 when, on Boxing Day, the Knutsford Football Club greatly distinguished themselves on the Heath against the Manchester ‘Aberdeen’ Club – being successful in scoring 14 goals to nil. They are one of the two founding members to have stayed in the league since its formation in 1948.

Today you are assured of a warm welcome at this impressive set up. The Reds have are the current League Champions but due to ground grading have not be promoted in to the North West Counties League , something they hope to change very soon. The Club is well maintained with a touch of class. The Clubhouse is great and the tea bar provides and excellent selection of hot beverages and warm pies with a knife and fork and even served on a plate ! , all at sensible prices. The setting is lovely, semi rural and surrounded by lovely majestic and mature trees.

It was an even first half but after the interval the visitors from the High Peaks scored two well taken goals and then with held manfully on to their lead until the final whistle.
Afterwards as the beautiful winter sunshine began to dip behind the trees it was smiles and handshakes all round between two teams who had given their all in a most entertaining match.
If all games and club visits in this league are this enjoyable then I will be back for more.
A visit to Knutsford FC comes with my warmest recommendation. I was not expecting much but in the end it was one of my favourite visits – simply superb.

Atherton Laburnum Rovers

Flat Caps everywhere at the Flat Cap Derby !
North West Counties - Div 1
Atherton Laburnum Rovers 3
Atherton Collieries 1
Atten 155
Gate £5

'Flat Cap Derby'

 Match Enjoyment  7/10
Another decent day out in Greater Manchester at the 'Flat Cap' Derby. Feisty in parts , decent atmosphere and it was far from 'Flat'.
Rovers seemed to want in more than Colls from the start and they got their win with two excellent taken goals by the sub (14). Colls fans were not impressed with the ref especially after having a player sent off at a critical time in the game. But If truth be told the ref did a decent job and handled the game quite well. 

Collieries' form has dipped of late after a great start to the season. I have watched them twice recently and they have lost both games ,as one loyal Colls fan said with tongue firmly in cheek , "maybe I had better stay away" ?. I assured him that I never touch the ball during the matches.

Ground Enjoyment 7/10
Atherton LR were formed in 1956 as Laburnum Rovers FC when a group of local lads wanted to start their own team. They asked Joe Riley, elder brother of one of the lads, to help them and by the end of December 1956 they were ready to go. They were admitted into the local Briarcroft Junior League, despite the season being well under way.

The club was named after its first home at Laburnum Road Playing Fields, although after a couple of seasons Rovers relocated to Hag Fold (or Hagfold) Playing Fields. After a difficult start the club gradually progressed into senior football, but their lack of facilities prevented any further progression. Instead a farmer’s field was found in the shadow of the massive Laburnum Mill. Despite footpaths crossing it and duck ponds on either side (one roughly where today’s entrance is), sheer hard work transformed the field into a football pitch, with the club officially taking residence in 1966. Visiting the ground today, which is enclosed within a small housing development it is a little difficult to imagine what the site was once like.

Jack Crilly succeeded Riley as Chairman and until his sudden death in 1980, worked tirelessly for the club, with the ground re-named in his memory. The first perimeter fence was made from reclaimed railway sleepers, and the first structure to provide any cover was the clubhouse which had a verandah. In 1980 the club joined the non-league pyramid when their application to join the Cheshire County League was accepted. A stipulation of the League was that the town had to be in the clubs name, so links with the past were retained with the new name of Atherton Laburnum Rovers. In 1982 the club became founder members of the North West Counties League, being placed in Division Two where they remained until the League was reorganised in 1987 when their facilities saw them placed in Division One

Tadcaster Albion

Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tadcaster Albion 0
Albion Sports 1
Gate £5
Atten 226

Match & Day Enjoyment 7/10
The club is believed to have been formed in 1892 as John Smith’s FC. It wasn’t until 1923 that the Tadcaster Albion name was adopted. In the early years the club played in the local York League. In 1948 Albion won the York League.
Tadcaster Albion, in the early days, played home games on the site of the cricket ground on Station Road, before moving to the Ings ground, near to where the present Samuel Smith Brewery Packaging Block now stands. Changing facilities were in the town, at the rear of the Falcon Public House on Chapel Street, and it was a common Saturday afternoon sight to see nets, corner flags, buckets, oranges, players and officials trekking through the town.

Today “Taddy” sit proudly on top of the Premier Division and a 25 match unbeaten run and with new owners behind the scenes full of optimism, it could be fair to say that at the moment it is all smelling of roses in Taddy's garden. The pre match chat was all about breaking the current 26 matches unbeaten record in the League ( I think it was by Scarborough ?) .

As the game unfolded, on the hour the visitors scored a well taken goal as a result of some pressure to stun the decent sized crowd. Taddy fought back to set up a nail biting finale in their quest to preserve their long unbeaten league run. Alas all their huffing and puffing in the end failed to produce anything and it was not their day. Albion Sports played in red with white trim , quite appropriate this time of year. But unlike Santa they were not quite in the mood to give any presents and they closed the game out well.

Tadcaster is a friendly club, very family orientated. Delicious fresh food was on offer and the hot pork and stuffing sandwich was too tempting to overlook and good job I did not as they were delicious and filling.
The bar was lively with party goers all enjoying the festivities and the Christmas trees lights were shining bright. If they continue doing what they are doing both on and off the pitch there is likely to be more festivities next May and I will be the first to applaud them.

A visit to Tadcaster Albion comes with my warmest recommendation – another smashing day out in God's own County.

Harrogate Town

Conference North Division
Harrogate Town 4 Gloucester City 2
Atten 1,428
Gate £1

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Atherton Collieries

North West Counties - Division 2
Atherton Collieries 2 Holker OB 3
Atten: 30 ish + 4 Cannines

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Match & Ground Enjoyment - 8/10

 Very entertaining game with the form book turned upside down. Holker fully deserved their win and the only complaint the Colls can have is that at 0-1 the ball was clearly over the line ( was standing literally less than ten feet away) but the ref waved 'play on' and the lino was miles away. If a single Colls player had claimed the goal he may of given it, but to my suprise not a single player made any gestures.
When Colls did equalise on the hour they began to take control and looked the likely winner. But to the suprise of the few who were in attendence Holker counter punched with two well worked goals. But Colls kept coming back and grabbed another , to set up an exciting finale.

Alder Street is a gritty Northern Ground and full of ramshackleness. Nothing seemed to be straight and the stands all seemed to be propped up by something. But it all added to the charm.Decent club house and tea hut all adding to a most enjoyable day out in Greater Manchester what's not to like ?

Atherton Collieries was formed in 1916 by a group of miners from the six pits which were then operative within the old urban district of Atherton as a means of providing welfare for those at home involved in the war effort. When the pits were nationalised the football club was given to the people of the town. They went on to win the Bolton Combination League ten times.
Many players have passed through their gates and progressed in to higher leagues , even the Premier League. Atherton Collieries' ground, Alder Street, is as old as the club. It has seen a number of changes over the years, but today you will find it frayed at the edges but still loved by its faithful followers.

Football in the North West Counties League rarely disappoints and today was no different as it was great entertainment. A visit to Alder Street comes highly recommended and is a must for any so called football enthusiast.

Bridlington Town

Northern Counties East
Premier Division

Bridlington Town 3 
Athersley Recreation 2
Atten: 165

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Ground & Match Enjoyment 8/10
Memories of 92-93 trip to Wembley
The Seasiders seem to a be a forward thinking club but upon further inspection the history of the club is a somewhat chequered. But still interesting an eventful one including two Wembley Finals.
The 1992–93 season was the most successful in the clubs history, they finished as champions of the Northern Premier League , and they won the FA Vase at Wembley, beating Tiverton Town 1–0. 

You can still see plenty of  nostalgic reminders of their greatest day around the club today.

Due to legal wrangles the team moved to play their home games at Doncaster Rovers ground and then folded, leaving Queensgate with no football during 1993 - 94. Following the disbanding of the Semi-Pro side after the 1993/94 season an ambitious local 'PUB' side, The Greyhound, were inspired to make an approach to the lease-holders with a view to making the Queensgate ground the base for The Greyhound team. A deal was struck with the proviso that the club change their name to Bridlington Town AFC. A new club crest was designed and a new motto 'Pergere et Eniti', broadly meaning 'Onwards and Upwards', was adopted.

Today a visit to Queensgate is a most enjoyable one. You are assured of a very friendly welcome and the place has a family feel about it, which is great to see. In fact the Staff could not do enough for the Visitor and a visit to this lovely Club comes with my warmest recommendation.

Black Flares , Red Cards , 5 goals, Spicy , feisty encounter by two very competitive sides only tell half the story. It was compelling , eventful all over the ground on and off the pitch. It was compelling until the final whistle and for some time afterwards.

You just had to be there to see what went on as words fail me.

Official Report by BridlingtonFreePress