Sunday, 29 January 2017

28/01/17 Review: North Ferriby United vs Macclesfield Town

North Ferriby United 0-2 Macclesfield Town (National League)
EON Visual Media Stadium

Today's game would be another famous Macclesfield Town away day to add to my growing repertoire and with a 150-mile trek from Stoke-on-Trent to start the day, I would eventually find myself in the sleepy East Riding of Yorkshire village of North Ferriby for today's National League fixture.
Being from Flamborough Head originally myself, this area of the world is very familiar to me and it was of great nostalgic comfort to know that I would be heading "back 'ome" for a weekend of footy- which would double-up nicely as a trip back to Bridlington to see my family too. North Ferriby has been a popular team around our end for a few years now and they have taken on the title amongst some as the local team to follow of late, since the reform of Scarborough back in 2007. When I was a young en (about 15 years ago!) all of the best footballers would strive to play for Scarborough's Junior sides, before eventually settling for Bridlington Town if they were lucky. However, with Ferriby rising up the leagues in the past 10 years or so, a few lads I played with as a teenager went on to train with the West Hull-based club. Most notably I played alongside fellow Schoolmate Sam Belcher in a 6-a-side team, and after his spell with North Ferriby he now turns out for Hall Road Rangers. The club, known as "The Villagers", are now playing their first season in the National League and are fighting to stay in the highest League they've ever competed in.

Macc Town made the trip East today
I don't want to go on too much about what an incredible achievement it is for the club to be at the highest level of Non-League football, as they have worked very hard to get here on their own merit, but I am just going to lay out a bit of a timeline of the club to state just how far the club based in a village of just 3,800 people have come. At the start of the millennium, the Villagers played in the Northern Counties East Football League and won promotion to the Northern Premier League (Level 8) in 2001. In 2013 Ferriby won promotion to the then Conference North, and in their first season their they finished 2nd in the table and just missed out on back-to-back promotions. In the 2014-15 season they rose to fame amongst the many who hadn't followed their colossal rise so far, as they beat Wrexham on penalties at Wembley to lift the FA Trophy. And as if all that wasn't enough, the club still had more to give last season and they won a dramatic promotion to the National League as they beat AFC Fylde in the Playoffs. Amazing stuff!

Enter for Magic
Today's opponents, my beloved Silkmen town, came to Ferriby's EON Visual Media Stadium for the second time this season, having beaten them 4-1 back in a pre-Christmas FA Cup Qualifier. This would undoubtedly be one of the smallest grounds that the Silkmen away fans would watch their side play at this season, but that wouldn't mean we'd be taking the Yorkshire side any less serious than the high and mighty of Lincoln City or Tranmere Rovers. With the Silkmen still hoping and praying for a Playoff push themselves- with wins over Tranmere and Dover in the League already in 2017, plus a couple of FA Trophy victories on top- Macc were sitting just six points adrift of the Playoffs despite having two games in-hand over some of their rivals. It hadn't been all smiles for the Cheshire side though in 2017, as three starting midfielders have already been sold on to League sides in the dreaded January transfer window. Jack Mackreth, Paul Lewis and Danny Rowe have left for Bury, Cambridge United and Ipswich Town respectively and this will be another, albeit familiar, test for John Askey to try and keep the winning mentality going. Danny Whitehead, who signed for Wigan Athletic from Macc last January, was back on-loan and making his first start since his return and I was looking forward to seeing him back where he belongs at Macclesfield Town. On my journey to the ground, I pondered my pre-match prediction and after seeing the Villagers take down fellow strugglers Southport and York City since the New Year, I decided to play a cautionary guess of 2-1 to the Silkmen.

Are we there yet?
I arrived in North Ferriby much earlier than anticipated and had over an hour to spare before the match, so I did what any good Yorkshireman would and whipped out my packed lunch box so that I could tuck into a steak pie and crisps in the car. Parked up at the local Co-op, I wasn't sure at this point where the ground was due to a lack of signage around, but thankfully as I stretched my legs I saw a fellow Macc Town fan's car parked up and so I assumed I was close-by. It turned out that I was, although it took me a good thirty minutes to realise exactly which direction to head in. After an unintentional tour of the village, passing the church, the train station, a Persian rug sale and various school fields, I encountered the FOURTH person in that time who noted my blue scarf and lost look who asked, "are you looking for the football ground?". With thoroughly explained directions ingrained into my tiny brain, I finally saw a lady in a hi-viz jacket from afar and waltzed over to the ground with still thirty minutes to spare. Enough time for a pint and a ponder on how I could get lost in such a small place.

There's a bar here, somewhere
With that minor embarrassment behind me, I headed straight for the very busy clubhouse and as I entered the door I was greeted by a friendly mix of home and away fans who were all enjoying the last few minutes of Liverpool's shock FA Cup exit to Wolves. One man entered shortly after me and instantly approached me to say "you found it then!"

It doesn't help when the only sign is right outside the ground
The ground itself was as basic as I'd imagined, with one long Stand running the length of the pitch being the only seated area. The areas behind both goals were bare and the main highlight was the fairly new-built toilet blocks. Joking aside, the club had obviously done a lot of maintenance work and I'm sure that much of the money the club raised and won from recent successes will have all been ploughed into getting the ground up to date with the FA's rules and regs to be able to compete at this level. The main thought that ran through my mind as I glanced around was how incredible it was that this ground is in the division above Kidderminster's Aggborough ground.

It's not always the size that matters
With 3pm fast-approaching, I guzzled down the remains of my beer and headed out in anticipation of the two sides emerging for the game ahead. Fun fact: the last time I watched Macclesfield play in the East Riding, they beat Hull City 2-0 in the League Cup at the KC Stadium- how times change. Referee Karl Evans, supported by the humorously-named potential superhero character Michael Crusham, got the game underway and the opening exchanges did not disappoint. When Macc are at home, I always seem to think that the away side set out to use dirty tactics, mind-games and foul-play to try and get under the home sides skin- and today, it certainly seemed that the Silkmen defence were doing the same to try and rattle the North Ferriby attackers. After a few cheeky shirt-tugs that were unseen by the officials, one Villagers fan expressed his early frustration by stating "if he'd done that in the street he'd be done for assault". It is so rare to have home and away fans mixed, for obvious reasons, but today's audience being intermingled made for a good amount of friendly-banter with the comments flying around.

Accents galore
On the pitch, Macc had started the better side and inside the opening 10 minutes the first big chances had gone begging. As Ferriby's Rory Watson ran out wide to pursue Chris Holroyd, he came out and left an open net, meaning that when the Macc attacker gained the ball, he crossed it in to an on-rushing Mitch Hancox who headed his effort on to the bar. Holroyd's rebound was well blocked after this and eventually Hancox had a second header which steered clear of the goal. Shortly after this, Ferriby were almost gifted a goal as veteran defender Pilkington made a rare mistake with an intended header back towards his goal, which was intercepted by Sam Cosgrove out on the right. He tried to take advantage but was closed down too quickly to have a shot or provide a cross to supporting team-mates. Pilkington knew that he'd been lucky there, but not as lucky as he was about to become at the other end. On 17 minutes Macc won a corner and after a clever chip from Danny Whitaker was guided towards the unmarked centre-back he let rip a volley into the net, via two Ferriby deflections. Ferriby 0-1 Macc. With an early goal established for the visitors, the odds seemed stacked against Ferriby, but that hasn't ever stopped them trying before and with Sam Topliss looking solid at right-back and Curtis Bateson having a step-over or two up his sleeves, there was every chance that a quick-counter or a bit of pressure from top scorer Reece Thompson could lead to a goal or two for the home side.

Clouds, stay away!
It wasn't to be though and Macc continued to press on for a second. Just minutes after the opener, Kingsley James was set free from the home defence and his one-on-one run would eventually leave to a big save from Watson. Ferriby were let off the hook this time, but just before the half-hour mark Danny Whitehead was left with too much space at the edge of the box and his precise finish stroked into the bottom-corner of the goal to give the green and white shirts a mammoth task if they wanted to gain anything from the game. Ferriby 0-2 Macc. The best chance of the half for the Villagers came to Thompson on 40 minutes but the striker failed to add to his 6 goals for the season as he went in for a close-range header with his eyes closed, brushing it wide. A few disgruntled fans headed back to the bar with a few minutes to play still, and the biggest cheer from the home fans came when the ball nestled awkwardly upon a tall bush in the distance. I also started to gander around to the bar ready for half-time, and as I did I just about saw another Macc chance denied. This time Danny Whitaker saw his effort cleared off the line. Although I hadn't been too impressed with North Ferriby's defence so far, nobody could deny that they had a fight and passion about them and on a good day that is sometimes enough to grind out results.

0-2 Half-time
The second-half started well for the home team and they pressed well in the opening 10 minutes. At one end, a very good save had to be forced out of Scott Flinders to deny a comeback, meanwhile Watson was being subjected to some mild-mockery from the travelling fans at the other- "your bird's on Tinder, Watson!" seemed to get the biggest laugh from the Ferriby shot-stopper. The final 30 minutes was fairly subdued, with the odd chance being wasted at either end. Holroyd managed to hit the post for Macc from a discreetly chipped cross-cum-shot, before setting up Hancox minutes later for a goal which was ruled-out for offside. Ferriby went close themselves as the rain started to pour, with another close-range header being squandered this time. As the weather changed quite dramatically I thought for a moment that I'd heard thunder rumbling above the Stand, only to realise later on that the ground sat adjacent to the railway and with it running upon higher-ground it made a hefty clatter as it ran past Grange Lane. The final couple of decent chances fell to the Silkmen again who could've had 5 or 6 in truth, and it was this time the substitute Ollie Norburn who had a shot cleared off the line, before Whitaker's rebound was deflected on to the bar. The game would end 2-0, but not before a Ferriby striker summed up his side's luck today by running in one-on-one before falling flat on his face into the wet grass. The 429 in attendance could only raise a chuckle, but it was game over for the beaten home side and they'd gone down to a decent Macclesfield Town showing. Having seen them face the highs of beating Hull at the KC, to the lows of being relegated from League Two at Southend United's Roots Hall, this ranks somewhere in the middle as a nice, but not spectacular, victory to move the side up to 8th in the League.

Good win for the Silkmen
With the rain still spitting down, I made a quick dash back to the car, ready to continue my journey to Bridlington. Thanks again to North Ferriby for a good game of football- I for one am hoping that this club continues to thrive and whether it is at this level or the National North, I'll be keeping an eye on their further progress.

Next stop- Nan's house for a beasty Roast!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

21/01/17 Review: Stafford Town vs Studley

Stafford Town 2-5 Studley (Midland Football League Division One)
Evans Park

Having lived in Staffordshire since 2010 and worked in the County town of Stafford as of 2012, it would be considered criminal amongst the groundhopping community that up until today I had not visited Evans Park, a ground which was basically on my doorstep. My original destination for the day was supposed to be The Bescot Stadium as my pal Tom (Partizan Bristle) was coming through to watch his beloved Bristol Rovers take on Walsall, but as I'd already visited the ground back in October for an England U21 game, I decided to ditch a second visit and instead took the opportunity to watch a Midland League Division One six-pointer between Stafford Town and Studley- meaning that I would finally complete "the big three" of Stafford.

You won't find fancy toilet signage like this at Marston Road
This fixture would be my second of the week, after seeking out some Walsall Senior Cup action on Tuesday night with my friend Mikey, and upon entry it seemed that Evans Park was going to be a very different experience to that of the Brinsford Stadium. Arriving to a very modern and well-maintained ground, the first thing I noticed was the 3G pitch. I had already seen the grand stand from a distance as I'd passed the ground on numerous occasions, so that was no surprise, but nevertheless it was very impressive when I stood inside for the first time. Wasting no time, a man approached me as I ogled the facilities on show and he asked me where I'd travelled from. After telling him the tale of my mammoth journey from Stoke-on-Trent, he informed me that I wasn't the only groundhopper here today and I certainly hadn't travelled as far as the two lads who'd apparently come down from Kendall, nor the guy who was here from Derbyshire in seek of Evans Park. Heck, I hadn't even travelled as far as today's Brummie opposition who had made a 55-mile trek from south of Redditch. I was in fact one of the locals on this cold afternoon.

The Keith Mottershead Stand
As I continued my chat with the friendly gentleman, it came to light that he was in fact Gordon Evans, the Chairman and founder of the club! It is always nice to get chatting to the bigwigs of non-league football and I was even able to pick Gordon's brain about his aspirations for the club. Safe to say that after spending forty-years running the club, thousands of hard-raised money on a 3G pitch and a stand, he is hoping to build up the club to go on to the next level. Being one league below Brocton and three levels below Stafford Rangers, the club were having another tough campaign this term and before the start of the game they were sitting third-from-bottom of the table, with Studley being one of the two teams below! Both sides are fighting to avoid the drop and with Southam United yet to win a game in the League this season, it seems almost certain that the other relegation spot is the only one to fear. I had made my usual pre-match prediction, going for a 2-1 Stafford Town victory, but I doubt that anybody at the ground would have seen this scoreline coming. After I grabbed myself a can of beer the teams came out and observed a minute's silence in honour of Jack Skelton, the 81-year old who had a huge input in Stafford's youth football teams. A very nice mark of respect and one that was reciprocated amongst the many youngsters in attendance.
Stafford Town's youngsters joined the teams for the minute's silence
As the game kicked-off the subs came over and took their seats, which was basically just one row in-front of me, and it would be from the Studley bench that I would get an in-sight into life as substitute for a non-league side. The first fun moment came as one of the lads on the bench shouted up to the back of the stand "Dad, the Blues are winning" before the lad next to him came out with "fuck the Blues!"- classic Brummie banter. On the pitch, Town had made a positive start and the attacking runs of the Reds number 9 stood-out for me in the early proceedings. Despite this though, it would be Studley who would have the first real chance as they won a free-kick in a promising position. The tame effort went straight into Degg's waiting arms, and just seconds later Town almost got the opener themselves as Ryan Pace whipped a left-footed strike over the bar. This was my third time watching Stafford Town, having seen them lose 0-8 against Sporting Khalsa last January and then beating local rivals Uttoxeter Town on Boxing Day, and there were certainly a few lads out there today who I recognised from my trip to Oldfields Sports Ground. With the Jaap Stam lookalike sat in the holding midfield position and the left-back with a ludicrous hair-do both playing their part again, it was a solid opening 25 minutes for both sides so far. Meanwhile on the bench, one of the subs turned to the other and asked "what league is this?"

Listening to these lads was worth the entry fee alone
Despite the humour I was overhearing off the pitch, my attention was firmly on the game and just before the half-an-hour mark Studley would score the opener. The attacking-midfielder for the Bees pulled out a Paul Scholes styled pass out to the pacey right-winger and he provided an intricate touch to knock the ball past the keeper and into the goal. Stafford 0-1 Studley. First blood to the visitors meant that Stafford would need to turn their game up- but unfortunately that was not the case as they instead decided to fall asleep at the crucial point of the first-half. Studley pushed on and the number 9 up top for the Bees was in buzzing form, finishing off an attack shortly after the first goal to double the lead of the visitors. Stafford 0-2 Studley. And as if that wasn't bad enough for the home side, they would see another the ball nestling in their goal again just 30 seconds later. The away striker ran on to a pass again to tuck the third goal in. Stafford 0-3 Studley. Surely that would be a lesson learnt for Town? Wrong- and just four minutes after the quickfire double from Studley's lethal striker, he almost completed an insanely quick hat-trick as his header crashed on to the bar. Fortunately for the Reds, this one didn't go in and they would make it to half-time without dealing themselves any more damage.

A poor first 45 for Stafford Town
At half-time I popped into the Clubhouse and grabbed myself another can of beer before sitting amongst the sad-faced fans who had turned their attention to the half-time scores on TV. I slurped my can and headed on out for the second-half, ready to see whether the poor showing would continue or if Stafford Town could give a bit of fight and try to force themselves back into the game. With two subs coming on for the home-side at half-time, the Reds did in fact give it a go and the second-half was 50/50. There were few chances for either side until the final 15, which is where we would be treated to four more goals. Stafford Town opened their scoring on 75 minutes as a Ryan Pace free-kick was hit home despite the away keeper getting a touch to it. Stafford 1-3 Studley. The Reds were in full-swing now and just before 80 minutes Pace would this time become the provider for substitute Jack Hepple who turned in a good strike- game on? Stafford 2-3 Studley. For a few minutes, the red-shirted Stafford side could well have been Liverpool and Evans Park seemed to turn into Istanbul's Champions League final of 2005. Could the comeback be complete, or would their attacking drive be halted?

5 minutes to go...
In the end, the crucial moment came on 86 minutes as Callum Whittaker was sent off for a lunge and the following free-kick ended up being poked in to break Stafford hearts. Stafford 2-4 Studley. With a dose of salt being lined-up for the Stafford wounds, there was to be a final twist in the tale and as Studley pushed to kill the game off it would be number 9 who found himself one-on-one with the goalie. As the striker rounded the keeper, Degg latched his gloved-hands on to him and brought him down to concede a penalty in the final minute. With a chance to finally claim a hat-trick, the Bees man took a run-up and hit his strike goal-wards, only for it to be saved very well as Degg made up for conceding the spot-kick. And yet, this was still not the end of the day, as the seventh goal would come deep into injury-time. The substitute striker for Studley, who'd scored the fourth Bees goal, awaited a cross into the box and after the ball bounced up towards him he hit a fine close-range volley into the net. Stafford 2-5 Studley. That, as they say, was that. Stafford Town had crumbled to a poor home defeat and they showed no sign of picking up a third clean sheet on the bounce. I said my goodbye to Evans Park and headed back home knowing that I'd certainly had my money's worth today. Despite some poor defensive frailties, I have faith that Stafford Town will just about keep their heads above water this season and hopefully they will carry on improving this modern ground to become a ground capable of rising up the Leagues. Easier said than done, but good luck to them!

Until next time, cheers Evans Park!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

17/01/17 Review: Wolverhampton Casuals vs Boldmere St.Michaels

Wolverhampton Casuals 3-1 Boldmere St.Michaels (Walsall Senior Cup, Second Round)
Brinsford Stadium

Happy 2017 footy fans! January is always a quiet time for me at work, which would mean that I could get back to my ground visiting ventures- starting with a trip to the Brinsford Stadium in Coven Heath, Wolverhampton. As with a couple of my past trips to the area, I called upon the services of my friend Mikey Southan to share some non-league action in the form of the Walsall Senior Cup. Mikey had so far visited some "luxury" non-league grounds such as AFC Wulfrunians' Castlecroft Stadium and Dales Lane, home to Rushall Olympic, so tonight's cold Tuesday trip to Level Ten Wolverhampton Casuals would be a real insight into the world of the lower leagues of English football.
Step forward "The Cassies"
To give a bit of pre-match background to the match ahead, it is worth noting that today's visitors were placed in the Ninth Tier of English football in the Midlands Premier League. The Sutton Coldfield based side were struggling in 20th place of the 22 team division, whilst today's hosts sit 4th in the West Midlands Regional League. Judging by this, it was likely to be a close affair in the Second Round of this regional cup and I had stuck my neck out to make a pre-match prediction of 5-4 to the away side.
Let's see what Brinsford has to offer then
With a 7:45pm kick-off, I'd made it to the ground just after 7pm and was greeted upon arrival by a drive-in ticket facility- aka a man in a hi-viz jacket who sold me my ticket before telling me to go "around the back" to park up. After bumbling my way over the pot-holes and passing the pitch to go around to a darkened car park, I dumped my car and walked around to the clubhouse. The facilities were minimal, to say the least, but the positive was that on this close-to-freezing evening, there was a bar located in the warmth. The negative, was that there was nobody around to ask questions and it took me a good few minutes to find my way into what was the "Boardroom", before being directed through a corridor out towards the Cass Bar- via a porch area of mishmash chairs. Yup, it was one of those grounds.

I spent far too long looking in at the bar as others enjoyed a tasty beverage
After navigating the externals of the facilities, I finally found myself in the warmth and with a tasty pint in my hand- hooray! As with any clubhouse at this level, there was a few official looking folk from either club, some worn furniture which added character to the ground and even the odd fan taking in a pre-match beer. Today's clubhouse was perhaps the smallest I'd been to, but on a good day I'm sure you'd find 30-40 of the Cassie massive penning themselves inside. Another thing which I love about any football ground you go to, is that there is ALWAYS a shed-load of silverware dotted about the place. Fellow ground-hoppers I ask, have you ever been to a ground with no trophies on display?
The pre-match anticipation was building nicely
Speaking of trophies, today's Walsall Senior Cup match wasn't the only Cup competition that the Casuals are involved in. As I looked on the club's notice board I spotted that they were also into the Quarter-Final of the Staffordshire Cup, where they would face a very tough side in Stafford Rangers. It's always nice to see the local silverware is contested very forcefully, despite the fact that most of the competitors have exceedingly small squads and the fixtures do come thick and fast at this time of the year. Just as I finished my pint, I received a text from Mikey to say that he'd arrived. Knowing that the ground may not be the most accessible for me wheelchair-using chum, I popped out to see which would be the best way to get him in. Thankfully, the floodlights had now been switched on and we were able to seek out a ramp made from nature itself that he could use to wheel into the stand.

From Molineux to Brinsford

After a brief catch-up I passed on my limited (at best) info about the clubs and we were ready to be astounded by the magic of the Cup. The two sides came out- Casuals in green and Boldmere in what looked like the 2003/2004 Manchester United home kit- and before we knew it, it was game on. The fans trickled out of the various doors from the boardroom, changing rooms and clubhouse to take their seats, at which point a local caressed Mikey's arm and asked if he was alright. A strange, albeit sincere, interaction that will remain in his mind for time to come! On the pitch, the Casuals had made a decent start and looked intent on taking an early initiative and with just under 10 minutes gone they had forged a chance to open the scoring, however this early effort found its way into the conifers behind the goal. This was a sign of things to come though, and with both sides now showing intent, you could smell a goal in the air.

Neither side would be parking the bus tonight
With roughly 13 minutes on the clock the Casuals took the lead through a quite confusing goal. From where we were stood, it appeared that the cross of the Casuals winger was punched backwards by the Mikes keeper into a midst of people around the goal-line, which was followed by a clearance and then a split of appeals from the players to state it had crossed the line. With little hesitation the Ref gave the goal, which I can only say would have been classed as an OG from the goalkeeper's punch. Either way, the goal was given and the side from the Division below had taken an early advantage. Casuals 1-0 Boldmere. This moment of somewhat-confusion had, at the very least, woken the visitors up and they tried to press on themselves for an equaliser. After a good 40, maybe even 45, seconds of attacking play they were back into the game. Ben Usher-Shipway scooped in a cross and it was met by Jack Skinner who nodded the ball into the net, leading to a fair amount of cheers from the visiting crowd. Casuals 1-1 Boldmere. The 40 or so people in attendance, who seemed to be largely away fans, seemed likely to get the thriller I'd predicted at this point and we awaited the flood of goals at both ends. This was not the case though, and it wasn't until just before half-time that we'd see another goal. I wouldn't say it was worth the wait, but the third goal of the game was certainly a very nice finish. A good ball came through to Kev Nickle in the Boldmere final-third and as he ran towards the goal the angle closed down on him as he ran off-centre from the target. Alas, he picked his spot and awaited the on-rushing Stuart Parsons before slotting it nicely past him and, with a dink off the post, his finish found a way into the goal which would mean that Wolves Casuals would hold the half-time advantage over the Mikes. Casuals 2-1 Boldmere.

Time for another beer, me thinks
The game had by no means been a contender for match of the season, but at least we'd seen a couple of goals. So far, Boldmere St.Michaels had looked poor and they had been aptly punished by a feisty Casuals outfit. Fair play to the home side, they'd given their opponents a good game so far. With the need for food, I popped over to grab a tray of chips and I found myself amongst a small gathering of the crowd who all appeared to have a hankering for Cup-A-Soup. After being given a generous helping of fries for a meagre £1.60, I then re-joined Mikey for the Second-half. With half an eye on the game and the other half on my beer and chips, I am sad to admit that I actually missed the third Casuals goal. When I'd looked up last Boldmere were asserting dominance and looked to grab an equaliser, but then as my eyes rose again I was witnessing the keeper picking out the ball from the net after an apparently sloppy goal. That's football for ya! Casuals 3-1 Boldmere.

And that would be the end of the goals
For the remainder of the game, Boldmere pushed and tried to get back into it. They made a couple of changes up top, they carved many chances, and through substitute Dean Wellington they hit the post- but in all honesty they just didn't look clinical enough to get the much-needed goals. A few fans had started to mumble about the need for a finisher, whilst others turned their frustrations to the officials, but either way it would prove to be an uninspired end to the match and it would be the Casuals who progress into the next round. Whilst the Mikes will travel to Walsall Wood in search of points that will hopefully take them away from the drop zone, Wolverhampton Casuals are at home again at the weekend, where they face Ellesmere Rangers in a 4th vs 6th clash. A third outing of the season for Mikey and I will hopefully not be the last, and I'll certainly be back in action at the weekend as I hope to head to Evans Park to see the mighty Stafford Town take on Studley for what will be a proper basement battle. Roll on Saturday for more footballing goodness!