Elton Vale 0 Euxton Villa 2

Saturday 2nd August 2008
Elton Vale 0 Euxton Villa 2
Goldline Trophy Group 3
At: Elton Vale Sports Club
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Attendance: 75 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, rain during second half
Duration (45): first-half: 46:29; second-half: 50:35

Just about the only competitive games in England were two Goldline Trophy fixtures at Elton Vale and Daisy Hill, with the former venue standing out as the current holders were the opposition.

Going into the final round of games, all four teams in Group 3 could sill finish in the top two and progress to the quarter final stage. Euxton topped the table (four points from two games), followed by Stoneclough and Elton Vale (two points from two games) with Daisy Hill (one point from two games) at the bottom.

Goldline Trophy holders Euxton Villa scored a goal in each half to finish as Group 3 winners and earn a home quarter final tie against Tempest United. Finishing second were Stoneclough who also recorded a 2-0 away win at Daisy Hill.

Elton Vale of the Manchester League Premier Division are based about one and a half miles west of the centre of Bury and their ground at the Elton Vale Sports Club is easy to find. Travelling from Bury town centre along the A56 towards Bolton, turn right at the lights by the Derby Arms (Thwaites) into Ainsworth Road (B6196). Continue for around half a mile before taking a right turn (signed Chantlers Primary School) into Elton Vale Road and the ground entrance is on the right where the road bends. From Bolton towards Bury, turn left by the Wellington pub into Haig Road. Turn left at the end into Ainsworth Road then first right into Elton Vale Road.

The Sports Club is a multi-sports complex with a separate cricket pitch, tennis courts and railed off football pitch used by Elton Vale. The pitch, next to the car park, is fully railed off but without any cover or lights. There is some hard-standing next to the home and way dugouts which face each other on opposite sides of the pitch. The changing rooms and clubhouse, located between the cricket and football pitches, are shared by all sports.

“C’mon Villa” was the cry from the crowd as Elton Vale (blue and blacked striped shirts, black shorts and blue socks) kicked-off defending the changing rooms end. And their attacking left midfielder Ben Sharples twice had a goals disallowed for offside during the opening six minutes.

However, Villa (orange shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks) started to create chances and home keeper Phillip Kenyon left his line in the 9th minute to block a shot from Tom Whittaker who got into space on the right inside the area. Kenyon also did well to hold a curling free-kick hit by Gavin Cooper and turn round a header from the same player on the quarter hour.

A few spots of rain started to fall but thankfully, for the moment, they were just that. Villa continued to enjoy plenty of possession. George Craddock intercepted an attempted backpass but fired wide. Phil Woodman curled another effort just over the bar.

There was no admission or programme but I bought a raffle ticket – yellow ticket 735. Kenyon was in action again in the 26th minute to turn round a drive across the face of goal by Craddock. On the half hour, Sharples got a rising shot on target which visiting keeper David Bibby held.

Even though the ground is a mile or so from the centre of Bury, the view I had to the north was one of a rural location. To the left was the prominent church in the village of Walshaw and to the right was a hillside with what must be 30 wind turbines.

Anyway back to the football and a bit of good fortune led to Euxton taking the lead in the first minute of stoppage time. Full back Craig Chambers crossed from out of the right and the ball flew over the head of Kenyon into the far side of the net.

The sun was shining brightly when the second half got underway and Euxton scored a vital second goal six minutes after the restart. Eliot Dunn sidefooted a shot into the bottom right corner from 10 yards out after a good move on the left.

It began to get duller and cloudier, and then, just past the hour mark, the heavens opened for around 15 minutes and had some spectators looking for shelter.

Elton mounted a late rally. David Mawos’ volley was deflected over and Jonathan Maylon fired wide after the resulting corner wasn’t cleared.

By the way I didn’t win the raffle.

After the final whistle, the disappointed Elton players and coaches discussed the game with the sound advise being “keep your heads up.”

Best of luck to both sides in the respective Manchester League and West Lancashire League campaigns!

Elton Vale (Blue and black stripes / black / blue): 1. Phillip Kenyon, 2. Stephen Moran (capt), 3. Zak Galbrath, 4. Adam Baxter, 5. David Wilkes, 6. Jonathan Maylon, 7. Tom Hardman, 8. Steven Scott, 9. David Mawos, 10. Tom Stubbs, 11. Ben Sharples. Subs: 12. Matthew Barnes (for Stubbs, 65), 14. Shaun Carey (for Sharples, 65), 15. Liam King (not used), 16. Tom Smith (for Scott, 74).

Euxton Villa (orange with black sleeves / black / black): 1. David Bibby, 2. Craig Chambers, 3. Darren Davies (capt), 4. Lee Chambers, 5. Sam Bolton, 6. Stuart Bingham 7. Phil Woodman, 8. Tom Whittaker, 9. Eliot Dunn, 10. George Craddock, 11. Gavin Cooper. Subs: 12. Ian Kirkpatrick (for Craddock, 64), 14. Ross Dickinson (for Bingham, 89), 15. Sam Shone (for Dunn, 68), 16. John Salisbury (for Whittaker, 84), 17. Iain Bland (for Cooper, 88).

Referee: ???

1-0 Craig Chambers (45+1)
2-0 Eliot Dunn (51)

Elton Vale: Stephen Moran (YC, 61), David Wilkes (YC, 72)
Euxton Villa: Gavin Cooper (YC, 62), Tom Whittaker (RC, 84 after being substituted), Lee Chambers (YC, 84), Ross Dickinson (YC, 90+4)