Boxing Day 26th December 2015
South West Peninsula League Division One West
DOBWALLS 0 LISKEARD ATHLETIC 1
Attendance: 105 (head count)
Admission: 3 quid
Programme: £1 Mainly adverts with a small match day leaflet inserted
Grub Stuff: Took some Xmas dinner sandwiches with me
Parking: Club car park inside the ground
Weather: Windswept and grey
Cornwall like most of the UK has had an awful lot of rain these last 10 weeks or so. By checking the excellent SWP website forum I was kept up to speed with the 8am pitch inspection and was soon trundling along in the Match Shed for the 11am kick off. It was nice to get a Boxing Day game in after being stuck in the house for ages, even if it did feel a bit weird at this time of the morning.
Dobwalls is a quiet little village a couple of miles up the hill from Liskeard, the ground is in a rather exposed location but its still a doddle to find just off the A38.
The club doesn't have a formal turnstile just a bloke at the gated entrance with a side table of match programmes. I handed over my 3 pounds and entered an already busy car park which runs adjacent to the pitch just behind the stand. The game seemed to be attracting a reasonable number of spectators for what is very much a local derby. I got the Match Shed tucked up no problem and put on some extra gear, I had 5 layers on and still felt the wrath of the gusty conditions, a slate grey sky had greedily poured itself over the county, it all seemed rather cold and gloomy despite the TV weather forecasters blubbing on about record mild temperatures.
I took a walk up to the clubhouse and noticed the board advertising hot Cornish Pasties for £2.20 and slices of cake for 30p, normally I would be enticed up to the counter but I had a stash of Christmas dinner sandwiches back in the car. Nice touch that they print the Tea Hut price list in the programme as well.
The ground itself doesn't have many characteristic features, the only structure besides the clubhouse is a small flat pack stand bang on the halfway line, it offers a few seats and a bit of shelter from the elements, the place is a bit exposed to say the least although it appears Wain Homes are building a number of houses behind the village end of the ground.
The pitch had withstood the relentless downpours South East Cornwall has received and looked playable but heavy. The surface was never going to lend itself to ticky-tacky football even though Liskeard Athletic do have a positive reputation for playing the ball about. The Dobwalls turf has an amazingly thick brown consistency its almost sticky and clay like, something I found out at first hand when I ended up fagging the ball half a dozen times once the match started, my coat and pants were covered in the stuff, they can go and fetch the ball themselves next time I come here, I looked like I'd been sleeping rough in the nearby woodland. I'm sure I spotted some locals pointing and laughing at me during my half time walk around.
As regards the match Dobwalls came into the derby 9th place in the table whilst Liskeard were 6th, this was my first look at Dobwalls but I had seen Liskeard earlier in the season when they beat Totnes in the Funeral Directors Cup. My recollection was that Liskeard looked a very good side but they have had one or two unpleasant defeats since then. As is the norm with 90% of non league games the first 15 minutes are 100 miles an hour anarchy ridden football, this match was no different. The massive talking point came just at the end of the 15 minutes of the boot, hoof and rush period when the Referee sent Liskeards talented Macauley Thorpe to the changing rooms for an off the ball offence. Liskeard would have to play 75 minutes with 10 men! Thankfully the game settled down a bit and we got to see some proper football, the remarkable factor was that Liskeard were the more expansive and creative side despite losing a man.
We got to half time without a goal and despite the difficult pitch conditions and the strong wind we had got a pretty entertaining encounter to watch. Dobwalls slogged on with a more robust direct approach whilst Liskeard applied craft and strategy to gain the upper hand. On 85 minutes the visitors got a free kick just outside the area, man of the match (in my book) Matt Lindsay took it but the ball struck the wall, Matt seized on the rebound burst into the box, grappled off numerous defenders and slammed a low drive into the bottom corner of the net, a superb goal well worthy of winning this hard fought derby match, terrific strike. Liskeard grabbed the Christmas presents and doubtless celebrated well into what was left of Boxing Day.
My thanks to Dobwalls FC for all their efforts to get the game on.