Monday 27th December (3pm)
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North
Woodley Sports 2 Cammell Laird 0 (Reversed fixture)
Programme: Cammell Lairds £2 (Major rip-off)
Tea hut purchase: Shut due to burst pipe
Weather: Grey, cold and dull
Parking: Club car park, easy enough exit
On a day when dozens and dozens of games ended up being postponed due to the ice and snow, this appeared to be the only non-league game taking place in the whole of Northern England and the Midlands. The fact that Woodley have a 3G pitch and their supporters cleared it of snow on Boxing Day gave both clubs the opportunity to switch/reverse this fixture from Cammell Lairds ice bound ground to Greater Manchester. A 10am pitch inspection rubber stamped the go ahead and a respectable crowd of 145 braved the chill to grab one of the rare opportunities to see a bit of football this Christmas. Judging the degree of rucksacks, notebooks and flash photography on show quite a few of the spectators were groundhoppers. Frugal Glenn joined me for the Match Shed jaunt to the suburbs of Stockport, despite a few minor snarl ups with sales hungry shoppers the journey was simple enough, as we hit the M60 it was noticeable what little snow was on the ground compared to the Pennine hills just a short distance away. It was a steady 2 degrees on the temperature display, such a nice change to the -11 the same time last Monday, thats not to say it was comfortable viewing for football though, the icy chill in the ground was giving a lot of people some hardship especially in the second half (me included).The stadium has a decent little main stand spanning the halfway line with a flat pack covered terrace at the clubhouse end, the rest of the ground has hard standing with nice views of inbound flights heading for Manchester Airport. I suppose I wasn't in the best of spirits for this one, the bathroom shower sprang a major leak in the morning which resulted in lots of water pouring through the kitchen ceiling, the damage and the major hassle of trying to find a plumber wasn't the best preparation for an afternoon out. When this was added to my withdrawal effects from 3 days excessive over indulgence in alcohol and rich food, I wasn't the best of company for Frugal Glenn. He seemed a bit put out that I didn't over-compliment his new fur lined hat. One bit of good fortune was making sure I'd had a lovely minced beef pasty and beans just before setting off in the Match Shed. Upon arrival at the ground there were a few sour faces looking at a boarded up tea hut, apparently there had been a burst pipe and some flooding, a shame really as I seem to remember the Woodley tea hut as being one of the better ones. I later found out they were serving hot drinks at the club bar. My mood dipped to a new low when Frugal Glenn told me I'd just been ripped off for the programme. He reckoned it was ridiculous charging 2 quid for a few lines of match relevant comment and page upon page of adverts. I snatched it back from him to realise firstly that it was actually Cammell Lairds programme for the original fixture which was planned for their place, as I scanned the pages of Evo-Stik adverts with just the odd generic sentence relating to the clubs (apart from the usual club-history fillers) I had to fully agree with Frugal Glenn, this was a scandalous rip-off! I am honestly considering stopping buying non-league programmes, I've copped for some absolute howlers this season, 2 quid for this type of content is well out of order, if someone produces this level of publication it should be 50p tops! Never mind that it wasn't even a Woodley publication (or had any kind of insert from Woodley at the very least)? As for the match, it was bloody awful, I'm not going to lie about it, by far the worst game I've seen all season. Dont get me wrong all credit to Woodley for getting this game on, a superb effort on their part but the quality and style of football on offer today was really hard work. The first half was just terrible, nobody from either side played a sensible ball or created anything whatsoever, it was dire. At least in the second half Woodley did manage to get a little momentum going forward and seemed well worth a 2 goal lead. I was expecting at least a token attempt from Cammell Laird to force themselves back into the game, even to just apply a bit more go-forward down the flanks, sadly the cupboard was bare, they provided zilch, no threat whatsoever. The game fizzled out well before the final whistle put me out of my misery. Surely these two sides can play better football than this? Perhaps I wasn't the only one... had they been on the beer and a second portion of Christmas pudding as well? It wasn't all negative (my apology if this report reads that way, no disrespect is intended), I still got out the house and saw a football match, in amongst the current mass postponements that is something I am truly thankful for. Now its back to finding that plumber.