Thursday 15th May 2008

Doveridge 0 Alton 1
Bill Redfern Memorial Cup First Round
At: Doveridge Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 20 (headcount)
Duration: first half ; second half

I must admit to making a late decision to watch this Summer League cup game. Rain was forecast and a known road closure en-route put doubts in my mind and it was after 6 pm when I finally decided ‘why not’.

Always being someone who likes to get to the ground in plenty of time, sometimes far too early, I certainly cut this fine arriving barely five minutes before kick-off. Thankfully I knew exactly where the ground was, having taken a detour on the way back from Osmaston last Saturday.

The village of Doveridge is located just off the A50 dual carriageway, a few miles east of Uttoxeter. Travelling east to towards Derby, leave the A50 at the (stating the obvious) Doveridge exit. At the top of the slip road, turn right to the roundabout. Go straight across and the ground is immediately on the left next to the Village Hall.

Entering the large playing field from the Village Hall car park, the pitch is on the near side. Next to the pitch in the far-left corner was a changing room building on one side with ‘DFC’ in grey-coloured bricks on one side. There were benches in front of this building with a good view of the pitch but no one decided to make use of them.

Right on cue, the teams took the field but there were no numbers of the backs of the sky blue shirts worn by the Doveridge players. No such problems with Alton’s yellow shirts with green shorts. I suppose it didn’t matter as I don’t take down the team line-ups at Summer League games. By the way, there was no admission charge or programme.

Both sides had made a reasonable start to the league season. Alton stood in third position with six wins and two draws from eight games, while Doveridge were three places below with games in hand having won five and lost one of the six games. For the first half, I chose to watch the game sat on one of two ‘park’ benches on the perimeter of the field; the other bench was occupied by a couple who clearly supported the visitors. It was still goalless at the end of the first half and the home side continued to create the better scoring opportunities in the second half, despite Alton attacking down the slight slope towards the Village Hall. By this time I had changed positions to one stood on the touchline.

There was a real controversial moment in the 79th minute when Alton thought they’d taken the lead when the ball bounced down after their striker (wearing number 9) headed against the underside of the bar. No goal was the verdict and extra time was a distinct possibility. However, it didn’t matter if the ball crossed the line or not as Alton scored what proved to be the winner in the 82nd minute.

Results: Biggin 3 Weston 2; Wheel Inn 1 Mayfield 1 (after extra time Mayfield won 8-7 on penalties); Osmaston 0 Longford 3; Kirk Langley 1 Bradley4; Coach & Horses 1 Coach Rangers 6; Doveridge 0 Alton 1; Rose & Crown 3 Holly Bush 2; Brassington 1 FC Hulland 2.

The Bill Redfern Memorial Cup first round went largely as expected and the second round draw produced some interesting matches with Osmaston meeting Bradley again plus Alton v Coach Rangers. Mayfield will be happy to have draw FC Hulland whilst the Biggin v Rose & Crown promises an even game.