SALFORD CITY 2-1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 21.1.2020

Over in Manchester for United’s match against Burnley, I was over for three days and had a spare evening on the Tuesday. So, time to get the fixture list out and see if I can take in a game. I had options.

One was Macclesfield Town, at home to Crewe, but not knowing how to get there or if I could back to Manchester after the match, that was ruled out.

Last year, I had a spare day and went to Sheffield, so Sheffield United were an option. However, due to check-in times (I’d want any match to be part of an overall day trip), any Tuesday match would have to be ruled out. Plus, i’d be on a train home full of Berts.

There was another Manchester v Sheffield encounter that night, with FC United (Northern Premier League) taking on Sheffield FC (Confusingly, now based in Derbyshire, who are in Northern Division One) in the Integro Cup, the League Cup for clubs in the Northern League, the 7th and 8th Tiers of English Football.

That would have been a good opportunity for me to actually see a match at Broadhurst Park. The last time I was there was in 2016 when I was over for a United game. I wasn’t allowed into the ground, as they were doing a pitch inspection just over an hour before kick-off, and then was given the news that the match was postponed.

However, it was this game that stood out, a cup Quarter-Final with a place at Wembley tantalisingly close.

For those who don’t know, this match was in the Football League Trophy. It is a trophy for clubs in the 3rd and 4th Tiers of English football, to give them a chance of a trip to Wembley and a trophy.

It is interesting to note that some of the bigger clubs who have fallen into this level such as Leicester City, Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United have all failed to win the competition.

Recent years have seen a controversial revamp of the competition where underage sides of Premier League clubs have been allowed to enter, although not successfully, as the only one remaining of the eight Quarter-Finalists was Leicester City.

Anyone with even the most basic of interest in football will know all about the recent success of Salford City, climbing up the Leagues thanks to investment from The Class Of 92 (If you don’t know, that’s the collective name for David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes)

The club’s profile has been boosted by being the subject of various TV documentaries.

One ambition was realised last year when they won the National League Play-Offs at Wembley to reach the Football League for the first time.

Accrington Stanley have also climbed up the Leagues, having been founder members of the Football League before going bust and reforming, eventually making their way back to the Football League in 2006.

They remained in League Two until gaining promotion to League One in 2018, meaning they were favourites for this game as the higher ranked sides.

This was Salford’s first season in Football League competitions. Their League Cup campaign fell at the first hurdle with a defeat to Leeds United. They were now two wins from Wembley in their first attempt at winning the Football League Trophy.

I was going to this match as a neutral and didn’t care who won, just as long as there was a winner in 90 minutes, so that I wouldn’t have to negotiate late night bus schedules to Manchester City Centre.

Renovated in recent years, Moor Lane is named after the street it is located on, it is hard to miss as you walk towards it, big bright floodlights in the shape of the club’s badge, with red neon lights around it.

The street by which I entered the ground? Nevile Street. I didn’t bother to check to see if there was a Bott Street, Scholls Stree, Goggs Street or Buckham Street.

As with any ground I visit on my travels, I like to have a nosey around the club shop. There are plenty of programmes from home and away games this season if that’s your things. I did give the idea of buying a tracksuit top a miss as they look a bit Crusadersey.

We even had a guest PA Announcer for this game, with Accrington Stanley supporter David Lloyd doing the announcements for the away team, although he fluffed a couple of players names. I think he’ll be sticking to Cricket from now on.

Accrington took an early lead when Sam Finlay got spaced outside the box and his long range shot was deflected up and agonisingly over the keeper and.

Salford were looking to stay in the game as Accrington began to show why they play at a higher level, but they survived it, and managed to stay in the game.

Not only did they stay in the game, they began to prosper themselves, and got rewarded with an equaliser from the last touch of the half, when Cameron Burgess backheaded into the net in front of a sizeable away support to make it 1-1.

Within a few minutes of the second-half, Salford took the lead when Luke Armstrong won possession ahead of a hesitant Stanley defender and set up Tom Elliott to fire home.

As Stanley looked for an equaliser, we were treated to their keeper channelling Jose Luis Chilavert by trying to score from a free-kick, but the ball went wide.

In truth, Salford were comfortably holding on, while Stanley were getting frustrated.

In injury time, one of Stanley’s started arguing with Stewards when the ball went out of play, eventually running into the crowd behind the goal to retrieve it, prompting one Salford supporter to comment “Oi, leave it out dickhead”.

The match finished 2-1 to Salford, who are now one win away from a trip to Wembley in their first ever season in the Football League. To do so, they’ll have to get past the winners of the match between Newport County and Leicester City Under 23s.

Photo Album

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City 2014

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November’s football began for me on the first day of the month, with a road trip to Lurgan to see Linfield take on Glenavon, hoping to end a run of three successive defeats, which they did, on a very wet day.

The following weekend, I was at Windsor Park to see Linfield get a routine win over Dungannon Swifts.

The Saturday after, I was back at Windsor Park to see Linfield throw away two points in a 2-2 draw against Glentoran.

Back on the road the following weekend, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield pull off a late escape to record a dramatic 2-1 win.

November ended with a trip to the North-West of England, primarily to go to Old Trafford to see United take on Hull, but I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Accrington Stanley for their match against Exeter City.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2014

So, my football watching is over for 2014. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 164

Red Cards : 17 (includes Rhys Marshall getting sent-off after the final whistle, but not Gary Hamilton being sent-off as a substitute before he entered the field)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 4

Hat-Tricks : 1 (Robin Van Persie, Manchester United v Olympiacos)

Teams Seen : 37

Accrington Stanley (1st time), AIK Solna (1st time), Ards, B36 Torshavn, Ballinamallard United, Ballyclare Comrades (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Bray Wanderers (1st time), Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Cowdenbeath (1st time), Crusaders, Drogheda United, Dungannon Swifts, Everton (1st time), Exeter City (1st time), Faroe Islands, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders, Heart Of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hull City (1st time), Institute, Leyton Orient (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Olympiacos (1st time), Peterborough United (1st time), Portadown, Real Madrid, Sevilla (1st time), Tottenham Hotspur, Warrenpoint Town,

Stadiums Visited : 19

Ballymena Showgrounds, Brisbane Road (1st time), Cardiff City Stadium (1st time), Carlisle Grounds (1st time), Coleraine Showgrounds, Crown Ground (1st time), Drumahoe (1st time), Ferney Park, Milltown (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, Tynecastle, White Hart Lane (1st time), Windsor Park

Competitions : 15

County Antrim Shield, European Championship, European Cup, European Super Cup (1st time), FA Premier League, Football League One (1st time), Football League Two (1st time), Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Scottish Championship (1st time), Steel and Sons Cup, UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiosities this year. There were two twins on opposing sides, but i’d already seen it. Other than that, a player setting up a goal with no boots. It was a poor year for curiousities.

UEFA 100 Club : Everton, Sevilla (now at 32 clubs)

2014 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November began for me with a road trip to Lurgan, to Mourneview Park, to see Linfield take on Glenavon in what could be described as an eventful game.

The following week, it was back to Windsor Park, for the home game against Dungannon Swifts.

The week after that, it was Windsor Park again, for the visit or Glentoran.

Back on the road the week after, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield do their standard go behind but win it late thing they do up there.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, on the final weekend of the month, I headed to Manchester for a short break, where I got loads of Street Art photos, went to two football matches and two concerts.

That, was my November.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Manchester

Manchester Photo Album

Accrington Stanley v Exeter Stanley

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 1

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 2

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute Photo Album

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo Photo Album

ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2-3 EXETER CITY 28.11.2014

In the North-West of England and with a spare evening to kill, the logical thing to do, would be to go to a football match. I was in luck, as Accrington Stanley (one hour away from Manchester) were at home.

I was in double luck as it were, with the match kicking off at 7pm, as the last bus out of Accrington is at 9.41pm. If the match kicked-off at a more standard 7.45pm, I wouldn’t have been able to go.

I did say it was one hour away from Manchester, the journey ended up taking close to two hours due to roadworks and peak commuter levels of traffic on the roads.

The ground was relatively easy to find from the town centre, I got told to walk up a hill for 20 minutes then follow the road signs. The ground itself, wasn’t particularly modern, with still using wooden seats. I don’t mean to put it down, i’m not fussed about the ground as long as I get to watch some football.

I ventured into the club shop, which included a poster urging people to vote for Stereo Kicks on X-Factor, as one of them came from Accrington.

Stanley kicked-off in 12th, four points off the play-offs and one point behind their opponents.

I was sat in the stand along the side of the pitch, unreserved seating, meaning I could moved from one end to the other when Stanley were attacking.

Surprisingly, Stanley attacked their own fans (the end behind one of the goals houses away fans) in the first-half. Stanley did well in the first-half, playing slightly better, with their “Ultras” behind the goal claiming a goal when Exeter’s keeper caught the ball on the line with his feet behind it.

In first-half injury time, Exeter took the lead when Liam Sercombe hit a lovely finish after a cross from the left.

From there, I retired to the bar at half-time, to get a bit of heat, before venturing out for the second-half.

If Stanley needed a good start to the second-half, they didn’t get it, falling 2-0 down when Alex Nicholls fired home from outside the box.

From there, the game looked set to go out on a bit of a whimper, until John O’Sullivan fired home from long range. Within minutes, Exeter regained their two goal lead, through a lovely free-kick from Matt Grimes.

Once again, the game seemed set to just fizzle out, before Shay McCartan, a Northern Ireland Under 21 player, flicked the ball past a defender, before running through on goal and finishing from the edge of the box.

There was just under twenty minutes to go. There was a Stanley flurry in the final minutes, but they never really looked like scoring. Four minutes of injury time seemed to annoy Stanley manager John Coleman, who screamed “FOUR GOALS AND SIX SUBS!!!!” at the 4th Official when he held up his board.

They could have played all night, they were never going to score.

And yes, I managed to write about Acrington Stanley without referencing Ian Rush and/or Milk. Well, until now.

Photo Album

MANCHESTER

Last weekend, I headed to Manchester for a short break. I’d been to the city many times, to go to Old Trafford, but rarely explored it. The only previous time I got the chance was four and a half years ago, in April 2010.

I usually travel to Old Trafford by bus the day before, and only get a brief visit to the City Centre on the day of the game before heading back home the next day.

In June, I decided I would pick a match and make a weekend of it. The problem was, with no European football this season, there was always the risk that I could choose a game, only for it to be moved to a Monday night. So, I chose a Saturday game leading into a midweek fixture list (Hull) and booked a trip from Friday to Monday.

Upon arrival, I got the tram at the new station at the airport. I had to stop off and get a connecting tram to get to my hotel. I would have had to do the same if I was staying in the City Centre. One of the stops on the route, Trafford Bar, is handy for Old Trafford if you’re flying in and out on the same day. In future, i’d probably get the train to Picadilly and travel from there.

My hotel, was at Salford Quays and easy to get to, served by two tram stops. I know the area reasonably well, and it is close to Old Trafford, my main destination of the weekend. Walking past the stadium en route to the Old Trafford tram station (I’d purposely chose to do so, just to have a look at the ground), there was still a lot of activity, with tourists visiting the ground, and unofficial stalls looking to capitalise on their visit.

Getting the tram into the City Centre, the first thing I did was the first thing I do everytime I visit the City Centre – visit Empire Exchange.

It’s a “Retro Junk Store”, but as the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and there’ll always be something in there you want to buy.

From there, I headed to Affleck’s, an independent indoor market space i’d previously visited in 2012. I got sidetracked while there of the mosaics outside, of various landmarks such as both of the city’s football teams, Coronation Street and Factory Records.

I also spotted some Street Art, and then found some more, then found myself getting lost and photographing more Street Art. I love Street Art, but i’d never really got anything photoworthy in Manchester. That was soon rectified.

The Northern Quarter was a part of the city i’d never really ventured to, much to my loss. Lot’s of fantastic independent stores and Street Art, which I enjoyed visiting, and hope to do so the next time i’m in Manchester.

After a walk to check out the Christmas Market at Arndale, I was soon on a bus, to Accrington, to take in some football, Accrington Stanley v Exeter City, before heading back to Salford Quays, with two more busy days to come.

I got up relatively early on the Saturday morning, so I could have a stroll around the City Centre before the match, which kicked-off at 3pm.

Again, I decided to walk to the Old Trafford tram stop, deliberately, just to walk past the stadium. It was quire eerie and surreal to see Sir Matt Busby Way so quiet and peaceful (bar a few street cleaners and stalls) on a matchday.

When I booked the trip in June, Hull City were still in European competition, and i’d hoped they’d get to the group stages of the UEFA Cup so the match would be a Sunday, freeing me up to spend more time in the City Centre and/or going to another game in the Greater Manchester/Lancashire area. However, it was not to be.

I got a tram to the City Centre, having a look around Arndale and Arndale Market, as well as seeing some of the street performers and catching up on some of the Street Art I missed on the Friday (It was coming up to 4pm when I was taking photos, and there’s wasn’t a lot of natural daylight to work with)

It wasn’t just Arndale I went to, I also had a venture around Printworks, the Christmas Markets around there, as well as a visit to the National Football Museum. As I only visit Manchester every 6-7 months (my last visit was 8 months ago, and I didn’t get a chance to visit the National Football Museum), visiting there doesn’t become stale due to the turnover of exhibitions. I took the opportunity to purchase a retro Red/White/Black bar scarf i’d been trying to get for a while.

At around Noon, I got the tram back to Old Trafford to have a look at Red Star Sports and the unofficial stalls, before dropping off my City Centre purchases in the hotel room, before a bite to eat, then into the ground.

The match itself, my first seeing Van Gaal’s United in the flesh, was a routine win, though it wasn’t perfect, due to injuries to Di Maria and Rooney.

Back to the hotel room for a quick change, then out for a quick bite to eat, I headed to the University Area, got hopelessly lost, before finding The Deaf Institute, a bar on the site of an abandoned Deaf Institute (hence the name) to see The Ting Tings.

It was a rather good gig, when you ignore them walking off three songs in due to technical difficulties.

(They did come back on once the problems were fixed)

I allowed myself a bit of a lie-in on Sunday morning, before heading for a stroll along Salfrod Quays, photographing some Street Art i’d spotted from afar over the previous two days from the tram.

The end of that trail, saw me at Cornbrook tram stop, so I got a tram from there to Market Street, having a browse at the Christmas Markets, somehow getting lost in these markets (especially the German market) and ending up in Deansgate.

With a bit of time to spare, I headed to Moston to have a look at FC United’s proposed new stadium, Broadhurst Park, which is at a very advanced stage.

I’ve always been meaning to go to an FC United game, but whenever i’ve actually been in Manchester for a whole weekend, they’ve been away. Even this weekend, with “Big United” playing at 3pm on a Saturday, FC were away.

Hopefully, when the stadium is up and running, i’ll get a chance to visit for a match.

From there, it was back to the hotel, then out for a bite to eat, before heading to Manchester Apollo for Erasure. I’d tried to get tickets for their Belfast gig earlier in the month, but they were sold out. I couldn’t believe my luck when I checked the concert listings and they were playing when I was there, so it more than made up for missing out on the Belfast gig.

In fact, it was a brilliant weekend for gigs in the city, with Erasure, Human League, Ting tings, Imelda May, The Beat and Paloma Faith all playing between Friday and Sunday.

Erasure, were fantastic. The bus back to Picadilly turned into a party bus with revellers singing from Erasure’s back catalogue.

Unfortunately, trams to Eccles (which was the route to my hotel) finish early on a Friday night. If the gig venue was in a more central location, I could have made it. Unfortunately, I had to walk from Trafford Bar to Salford Quays back to the hotel, when I couldn’t have been bothered walking any more.

I had a bit of a lie-in on the Monday morning, before a bit of breakfast, then checking out. The 3pm flight home didn’t allow me much of an opportunity to see the city on the Monday.

With that, my Manchester break was over, I found myself wishing i’d stayed over a few more days for the Stoke game.

Photo Album

Broadhurst Park Photo Album