Radford 2 Ibstock United 1

Saturday 30th August 2008
Radford 2 Ibstock United 1
East Midlands Counties League
At Selhurst Street
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1
Attendance: 41
Weather: mostly sunny and humid
Duration: first-half: 47:04; second-half: 48:00

Ten-man Radford displayed some resolute defending during the last half hour to hold on to their 2-1 lead and record their first victory in the newly-formed East Midlands Counties League. All the goals came in the first 31 minutes before Radford were reduced in numbers just before the hour mark.

I found Radford FC such a warm and friendly club to visit. They ground, which has been improved over the past few seasons, was neat and tidy, the programme is a good read, club officials welcoming, and the Secretary was a real star. In fact, I’d say that everyone at Radford was a star! It was also nice to chat with an official from visitors Ibstock as well.

The club was founded in 1964 as Manlove & Alliots FC after an engineering firm and initially played Sunday football. When the firm transferred to Scotland in 1971, the name of Radford Olympics was adopted. The club joined the Central Midlands League Premier Division in 1983 and underwent another name change to Radford FC four years later. Promotion was secured to the Supreme Division in 2003 and after five years in the CML's top flight they became a founder member of the new East Midlands Counties League at the start of the current season.

There are eighteen founder members of the East Midlands Counties League; eight from the Central Midlands League including Radford, eight from the Leicestershire Senior League including Ibstock and two from the Northern Counties East League.

Radford's Selhurst Street ground is located to the north-west of Nottingham city centre. I approached from M1 junction 26. Take the A610 towards Nottingham until the ring road (A6514). Turn left at the lights and almost immediately move into the right-hand lane and turn right into Wilkinson Avenue. Continue to the end of this road and turn right into Radford Road (beware of the trams) before taking the fourth right just before Asda into Selhurst Street. For public transport users, trams run from the centre of Nottingham to Radford and stop on the far side of Asda on the outbound journey (Noel Street stop?) and on the nearer Radford Road for the return into the city.

There is a small car park at the ground. I got chatting to the car park steward who was interesting to hear where I'd come from. He passed on the message as the Secretary greeted me inside the ground. There is one entrance, off the car park, which is near the corner flag behind the goal at the north-eastern end of the ground. Most of the facilities are behind this near goal with bar, changing rooms and 100-seater stand. There is an area of cover on the near left-hand touchline which was recently erected and dugouts, tea bar and club shop along the right-hand touchline. Three floodlight pylons rise up from each side.

The programme, sold for £1 at the turnstile, is a good one with plenty of reading and use of colour. The recently-opened club shop (former Notts County and Stafford Rangers striker Devon White 'cut the ribbon') has a growing stock of programmes, books, badges and souvenirs. Hot and cold refreshments were sold with a smile from the tea bar. I had plenty of time to relax before kick-off and watch the start of the Rugby League Cup Final in the clubhouse while sipping a refreshing blueberry J2O!

Both sides went into the game on one point looking for their first league wins of the season. Radford got the game underway defending the entrance end of the ground and took the lead in the 10th minute. Grant Bailey crossed low from the left and Anthony Gregory smashed the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards out. The lead was doubled in the 29th minute. Bailey latched into a thoughball down the inside left channel in plenty of space and slotted it past the helpless keeper from inside the area. However, Ibstock halved the deficit two minutes later when unchallenged Jack Lewis got on the end of Mark Pallett's pass and fired past Keith Henstock. Duncan Osborne quickly got into a good position to restore the two-goal advantage but lifted his shot over the bar.

The home side were reduced to ten men in the 57th minute. Garmston received a straight red card for violent conduct with Ibstock’s Sam Adams booked for his part in the incident. After the sending off, the game certainly developed a competitive edge as Ibstock searched for an equaliser. The best chance fell to Adams who got forward to drive across the face of goal and wide of the far left post.

"It is a bit heart in mouth stuff," said one close-by supporter as Radford were forced to work hard to stay in front. They almost put the outcome beyond doubt in the 83rd minute. Bailey fed Gregory who saw a low goalbound shot blocked by David Smith (wearing distinct yellow boots) and Carl Wainwright forced a diving save out of Stephen Fowkes who may not have actually touch the ball on its way past the post.

"Corner flag," was the instruction as full time neared and Radford survived three minutes of added time at the end.

Radford (claret/claret/claret): 1. Keith Henstock, 2. Andrew Jachmann, 3. Michael Sullivan, 4. Matthew Loyley, 5. Anthony Gregory, 6. Dean Taylor (capt), 7. Robert Burton, 8. Darren Garmston, 9. Grant Bailey, 10. Scott Harlow, 11. Duncan Osborne. Subs: 12. Simon Bradbury (not used), 14. Steve Towle (not used), 15. Abbou Mandiang (for Harlow, 62), 16. Carl Wainwright (for Burton, ht).

Ibstock United (red/black/red): 1. Stephen Fowkes, 2. Sam Adams, 3. Chris Lewis, 4. Jason Munn, 5. Richard Wileman, 6. Michael Betts (capt), 7. Anthony Cresswell, 8. Mark Pallett, 9. Richard Lewis, 10. Jack Lewis, 11. Ian Cooper. Subs: 12. Danny Harrington (not used), 14. David Smith (for Cooper, 58), 15. Jack Powney (not used).

Referee: P. Booker (South Yorkshire).

1-0 Anthony Gregory (10)
2-0 Grant Bailey (29)
2-1 Jack Lewis (31)

Radford: Andrew Jachmann (YC, 45+2), Darren Garmston (RC, 57).
Ibstock: Sam Adams (YC, 57).