If you’re a groundhopper, an excellent site worth taking note of is Non League Matters where fixtures are listed on a daily basis. With a Monday evening free it was my first port of call and with the unusually named Stick And Wicket ground hosting Walsall Phoenix Reserves and Red Star Alma in the Staffordshire County Senior League on the list, that’s where I headed.
Not far from where I live, the journey across the Black Country to Aldridge was just on the right side of the dividing line as far as traffic was concerned for the 6.30 p.m. kick-off. Although not quite as high, the bank where the supporters gathered to watch reminded me of the Muga in Cefn Mawr, where Cefn Albion play.
The opening minutes of any game are crucial as it determines which side dominates. That honour fell to Walsall, who had the better of the first period, although just a rattled crossbar to show for it in the first ten minutes.
In the second period, the visitors began to pull themselves back into the game and they themselves hit the bar with an excellent effort, which was then followed by an impressive save from the Walsall goalkeeper as he tipped a goal-bound effort over.
I did think to myself that it would be either a moment of brilliance or one of madness which would eventually break the deadlock. Although not strictly the latter, nevertheless it was an own goal that was all that divided the sides come the final whistle, as a Red Star Alma player put the ball in his own net from close range in the 65th minute.
In the final minutes, with the game opening up, the home side had opportunities to put the fixture to bed but chance after chance was not taken. Ultimately though it didn’t make any difference as they won by the slenderest of margins, keeping a clean sheet in the process.
My next game will be in the MCH Arena in Denmark this coming Thursday when The New Saints play FC Midtjylland. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in the press box at a UEFA Europa League game or leaning on the railings of a level 12 game in the English system. It’s all football. It’s all good.
This was my 25th game of the season and the 13th new ground. Visit my groundhopping pages HERE.