Saturday 7th November 2009
UniBond Premier League
Ashton United 0 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
Programme: £1.50 (Poor effort)
Tea hut purchase: Tea 70p
Weather: Cold, grey and lengthy prolonged rain showers
Parking: Roadside, 5 minutes from the ground, easy getaway
The North West had put up with rain for most of the previous 6 days, those smug incompetent weather forecasters had predicted a dry afternoon, they lied again, it rained. (I'm only interested in London) Weather Forecasters are as popular with me as Fraudulent Criminal MP's and Capitalist Bankers. The excellent looking pitch at the Hurst Cross stadium played remarkably well in the atrociously wet conditions, such a pity that neither of the two sides could produce any decent football to match their lofty league positions. Ashton were top, Stocksbridge third yet you would never have guessed from this drab squalid encounter, it was absolutely awful. The slate grey sky got darker and wetter as the afternoon progressed, the kick and hope football got looser and dafter to match it. It was 15 minutes before either side had a shot, if you can call a 'bobbler' rolling towards the corner flag a shot? If 2 passes got joined up it was a highlight, this was turgid pap at its peak. At least some entertainment was put on by the travelling band of Steels supporters, their endless repertoire of blunt Northern ditties echoed across the sodden terraces as their centre half sent another ball zooming out of the ground. How nice to hear the traditional White Rose classic: Yorkshire Yorkshire Yorkshire belting out (time and time again), when its placed alongside that other family-favourite: Lancashire, wink, w*nk, wonk you can perhaps get an idea what a rewarding experience this sub-zero jolly was turning out to be. Fine football and fine company, a pleasure indeed, all that was missing was a selection from the cheeseboard. If the tea hut had done a line in ear-plugs rather than cheap packet chips and cardboard pies, they'd have made a killing! I decided to sit in the main stand in the second half as yet more icy rain fell upon the 'die-hards' propping up the stanchions on the terraces of doom. It was only a small stand but it certainly boasted a large number of pillars and side wall obstructions. These blended in perfectly with the large protruding white dug-outs that complimented the poor visual planning for the odd passing spectator. Whoever designed the 'potential' benefits of getting a decent view from this side of the ground must have had a wicked sense of humour or they were simply rubbish at realising that people would only see a restricted part of the pitch! The rain, the cold and the rank-bad football on offer was not helping my mood, perhaps a tad of this emotion has sneaked into this visit report, my apology if this is the case but this was a truly pathetic days entertainment and one I will gladly forget. Not a very good advert for the UniBond Premier League, at least Stocksbridge got a goal, which in turn proved pretty easy to protect, their spirit in seeing the game out suggests they could have better days and perhaps be in some contention later in the season. As for Ashton, I unfortunately have to report that on this showing, they wont be top of the league for long. They seemed clueless in producing any momentum when they had the ball and to rely on desperate second half 40 yard pokes at goal suggests a lack of tactical astuteness? Perhaps I caught them on an off day, perhaps they will prove me wrong? I was thankful for the final whistle.