East Villa 3 Waterloo Dock 0

Saturday 17th May 2008
East Villa 3 Waterloo Dock 0
Liverpool County FA Premier League Premier Division
At: Scargreen Complex
Kick-off: 12-30 pm
Attendance: 55 (headcount)
Weather: -

These days, there aren’t too many fixtures on Cup Final day but the ones that are scheduled often provide a variety of kick-off times, where it be morning, lunchtime, afternoon or evening. The night before, I spoke to one of my football friends about travelling together to a game but had decided that I wanted to see what the weather would bring. A warm sunny day and a family trip out or a duller day and football? Saturday morning brought dull and cloudy conditions so off I headed north – and I’m pleased I did!

There were several games listed for the Liverpool County Premier League but the one between runners-up East Villa and champions Waterloo Docks stood out. The latter had an unassailable lead at the top, just as they had twelve months ago. But this time round East Villa still had the opportunity to finish a lot closer that they did at the end of the 2006/07 season when Dock topped the final table by 13 points. Villa were in buoyant mood, having four days earlier defeated Speke 3-2 after extra time to lift the Liverpool County FA Challenge Cup for the first time in almost 20 years. Waterloo went into the game fresh from defeating Collegiate Old Boys 3-1 to clinch the title.

The East Villa website provides an excellent history of the club, which dates back to 1959. They competed in the Liverpool League before joining the I Zingari League in 1971. Villa progressed through the divisions of this competition, winning the Premier Division title in both 1997/98 and 2004/05. They finished the 2005/06 season as runners-up to Old Xaverians. In 2006, the I Zingari League merged with the Liverpool County Football Combination became the Frank Armitt sponsored Liverpool County FA Premier League. As already mentioned, East Villa finished the inaugural Premier League season as runners-up. However, they capped a great 2006/07 season by winning both the George Mahon League Cup and the I-Zingari Challenge Cup. This season they lifted the LCFA Challenge Cup, a trophy last won in 1989/90, for the first time in almost 20 years.

East Villa have played home games this season at Jeffreys Humble Sports Ground, Long Lane, Walton, but the game I saw was played the Scargreen Sports Ground which is the listed home of Roma FC. Apparently, Villa have used Scargreen on other occasions during the season and it was in fact listed as their home ground in this season’s Football Traveller Directory.

There was some confusion as to whether kick-off was at noon or 12-30 pm, which was the time the action got underway at Scarsgreen. East Villa took the field sporting a rather Dutch-looking kit of orange shirts with black shorts and socks. A closer look at the shirt and, yes, there was a Netherlands KNVB badge!

The Scargreen Complex is located, not surprisingly, on Scargreen Avenue in the Norris Green area of Liverpool. No admission was charged and there was no programme. However, the car park entrance is actually off Shottesbrook Green. The pitch, on a larger field, is aligned northwest to southeast and railed off on each side with no cover. The changing rooms are located on the western side at an angle to the pitch and some could argue provides a bit of shelter from the elements. Waterloo Dock wore an all-blue kit.

With the home side attacking the northern end of the ground, there was a well-known surname on the scoresheet when East Villa took a 26th minute lead. Graeme Rooney (yes, he is related) stayed onside to latch onto a defence-splitting throughball and fire low across the keeper into the bottom-left corner. Waterloo should have equalised just before the break so a single-goal lead in favour of Villa was the interval scoreline. Neither side went in at half-time and the match was underway again within three minutes – good news for those wanting to watch the Cup Final and others wanting to get to Garswood United!

It was 2-0 eight minutes into the second half. Franny McIntosh fed Lee Pegram on the left side of the area who send a low shot into the opposite corner of the net. Substitute Paul McGuinness wrapped up the win for Villa late on with a low drive from inside the area.

Footnote: East Villa won their final game two days later (2-1 at home to Speke) to finish the season in the runners-up spot, just two points behind the Champions Waterloo Dock. In fact they won each of their final five league games.