Saturday 13th February 2010
UniBond Northern Premier League Division 1 North
Garforth Town 0 Salford City 1
Tea hut purchases: Tea £1, Minced beef & onion pie £2
Weather: Dull, overcast, cold, periods of icy drizzle
Parking: Club car park, sharp exit and an easy getaway
I turned right at Cedar Ridge and was immediately time warped back to the year of 1970. This wasn't the middle of Yorkshire, this was the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City and it was the World Cup Final. As I parked in the club car park I swear I could hear a samba beat coming out of the back of Simon Cliffords rusting Brazilian Soccer Schools van? Today the boys from Rio..... Pele, Tostao and Rivelino where taking on Italy and I had a ticket! I was shaken out of my magic dream by 'Allotment Man', he was banging on my car window, "shift your car forward" he grunted, "I want to get my bogie out"! For a few seconds I had this awful feeling that some escaped sex offender had found his latest target, then I realised the car was blocking the path of his gardening trolley. The intrusion to my slumber meant that my dream of the Aztec had vanished and I realised that Liam Ormsby and Chopper Kamara would now be replacing Pele and his gang, and it wasn't Luigi Riva and the Italians as opposition it was lowly Salford City in a second hand Blyth Spartans kit (yes they were in green and white stripes today). I decided to brave the cold grey gloom and enter the stadium.
I got my programme and decided on the tea hut under the stand as my first port of call, my pictures of the ground could wait a while, especially as the icy drizzle had arrived. I was taken by surprise by the tea hut man rushing around in a full chefs kit like the next contestant on Masterchef, wow, perhaps at long last I was going to be in for a culinary treat at a football match? Marked up on the menu at the tea hut counter were warm pork pie and pea's, chilli and chips, and of course... burgers. I think the warm pork pie and pea's item is a Yorkshire thing, I seem to remember they sold loads of this stuff over at Headingley when Leeds RLFC had a game, its never seemed right to me, I dont think they compliment each other? I asked the chef what other pies he had. "Only other pies are chicken, chicken is all I've got, just chicken". I agreed to take a chicken pie. I took a seat high up in the stand and took a bite of what turned out NOT to be a chicken pie but a minced beef and onion pie, weird! I didn't mind though but it was a little steep at £2, especially as it appeared to be one of those cheap supermarket pies that you can purchase for 50p. As we moved closer to kick off I noticed a burning fat smell emitting up to the stand from the chefs tea hut and quite a bit of banging going on. On my way to the Gents I passed the hut in what looked like one of those TV adverts showing burning houses who'd failed to provide a smoke alarm. All I could hear from deep inside the fumes and smoke was the chef shouting at his assistant "turn the bloody thing off"! Hope he hadn't burned that fancy checked apron? The big modern stand at Garforth is not to everyones taste, its design takes a bit of getting used to, however it does offer an excellent view of the pitch and there is a general friendly atmosphere about the place, everybody seemed to be made welcome. Apart from the stand, which seems to dominate the skyline, there is little else around the other sides of the ground but everything is neat and tidy and some good pitchside views can be had (weather permitting). It was good to see a decent travelling support from Salford, they were vocal and encouraging to their side and had brought along the big tangerine banner to mark the event. Later in the match as Garforth started to lose the plot (on the pitch this time) it was amusing to hear the Salford people chant "its just like watching Brazil" (for those unaware, Garforth wear a Brazil replica kit).
This was a real 6 pointer of a match as both sides found themselves down at the wrong end of the table. One could understand the reason why in the first half, Salford looked completey out of sorts and failed to put anything meaningful together whilst Garforth did rather better but still fluffed a load of clear cut chances. Garforth had enjoyed most of the possesion and surely it was only a matter of time before they got the breakthrough.There must have been some home truths discussed in the Salford dressing room at half time, they looked a much better side in the second half and they slowly started to apply more and more pressure on the home sides defence. It was on the hour mark when Salford got a penalty, it was clinically put away by Rhodri Giggs. Salford sat back a bit after taking the lead but unlike the first half, they now appeared more confident on the ball and a lot tighter in the middle of the park. Garforth were struggling to create worthwhile openings and a lot of their play fizzled out without creating danger. Salford hung on for a really important away win with 3 precious points to put in the survival bank. Garforth looked gutted (At least the tea hut wasn't).I made a quick exit on the final whistle and paid my last goodbye to Cedar Ridge. Pity about the massive stretch of roadworks on the M62 heading back west, almost all the way from the M1 junction east of Leeds following through all the sections to Huddersfield, thats one hell of a stretch of cones and reduced speed limits. Is it me, it appears everywhere is having lots of road repairs at the moment!