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"|
|Let's see what Brinsford has to offer then|
|I spent far too long looking in at the bar as others enjoyed a tasty beverage|
|The pre-match anticipation was building nicely|
|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|
|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!