Stone Dominoes 0 AFC Liverpool 4

Saturday 1st November 2008
Stone Dominoes 0 AFC Liverpool 4
Vodkat League Division 1
At: Springbank Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: press pass; Programme; yes
Attendance: 183
Weather: cold, dry, windy
Duration: first-half: 47:22; second-half: 47:12

(see also 22/11/08)

I’d been to Springbank Stadium once before. In midweek during last season, just over a year ago in fact, I saw Stone defeat Leek CSOB 5-2 under the lights so this was my first visit for an afternoon kick-off. Of course, I’d also seen a few games on the pitches at the Yarnfield complex.

The venue is located on the Stone to Yarnfield road. Turn off the A34 by the Wayfarer pub towards Yarnfield and the ground is located on the left after crossing the M6. Easy to find for sure.

The Stadium is clearly visible from the car park but the entrance is through Vinny’s Gates, past the clubhouse and round to the left.

Vinny’s gates are named in memory of Vinny O’Connor RIP and were blessed by the Archbishop of Birmingham in April 2005.

When I arrived, Barlaston’s County Senior League game was underway on Pitch 2.

Since my last visit, the clubhouse had been altered and is now quite impressive. A nice lounge area with comfy seating provided a nice relaxing area to sit and enjoy a coffee. Teamsheets were available in this room and programmes (£1; 44 pages) on sale at the entrance to the stadium.

There is a lengthy area of cover down the near touchline for just about the entire length, with two rows of seats on halfway. Dugouts are on the opposite side and the pitch is a lovely flat surface.

By the entrance is a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the new stadium by the Mayor of Stafford Borough in May this year.

While AFC Liverpool don’t have the kind of away following that, say FC United or AFC Wimbledon had, Stone still benefitted for their biggest home crowd of the season.

I must say a word about Dominoes’ welcome. The whole place couldn’t have been more friendly.

There were a couple of presentations before kick-off both for AFC Liverpool with manager Derek Goulding (who I remember playing for Stafford in 1983/84) picking up the Manager of the Month award for October.

Stone (red shirts, white shorts, black socks) got the game underway attacking the far (south) of the ground, left to right from my point of view seated around halfway.

The home side made a bright start and former Stafford Rangers man Christian Dacres headed just over the bar. They created other early chances as well.

However, the visitors (all yellow with red trim) took the lead in the 22nd minute. Defender Ndina Kangana fired a low close-range shot from inside the area.

Just before the interval in first-half stoppage time. Liverpool skipper Ian Johnson received a straight red card for catching Stuart Scheuber off the ball.

With Stone creating chances and the visitors a man short, I felt that they could well become only the second side this season to take league points off AFC Liverpool.

But disaster struck for the home side, less than a minute after the restart, 47 seconds on my watch. Dominoes keeper James Heath raced off his line to meet a long bouncing ball. He failed to make an attempted header and substitute Ryan Wignall was left with the task of slotting home his side’s second goal.

AFC Liverpool further extended their lead on the hour with a third goal. Andy Olsen fed James Croxton who hammered a shot past Heath.

Andy McCoy saw a free-kick rebound off the woodwork in the 81st minute.

Last Saturday, AFC Liverpool scored four at Eccleshall and completed another four-goal haul in mid-Staffordshire in the 87th minute. Stone were caught short at the back. Wignall could have scored himself but instead squared a pass for Martin Smeaton to fire home.

Stone Dominoes (red/white/black): 1. James Hall, 2. Chris Rowley, 3. Liam McKinney, 4. Stuart Scheuber, 5. Mark Bradbury, 6. Alex Baird, 7. Christian Dacres, 8. Niall Maguire (capt), 9. Mark Blake, 10. Dan Brown, 11. James Curley. Subs: 12. Adam Edwards (not used), 14. Michael Byrne (not used), 15. James Shufflebottom (not used), 16. Anthony Marshall (for McKinney, 67), 17. Oliver Rabie (for Dacres, 74).

AFC Liverpool (yellow/yellow/yellow): 1. Terry McCormick, 2. Ndina Kangana, 3. Craig Cushion, 4. Mark Bloxam, 5. Mark Gregory, 6. Andy Barlow, 7. Ian Sheridan, 8. Ian Johnson (capt), 9. James Croxton, 10. Andy Olden, 11. Andy McCoy. Subs: 12. Kevin Poole (for Olden, 76), 14. Martin Smeaton (for Croxton, 71), 15. Ryan Wignall (for Kangana, 39), GK. Dave Cater (not used).

Referee: -

0-1 Ndina Kangana (22)
0-2 Ryan Wignall (46)
0-3 James Croxton (60)
0-4 Martin Smeaton (86)

Stone: Liam McKinney (YC, 43), James Curley (YC, 79)
AFC Liverpool: Andy Barlow (YC, 28), Ian Johnson (RC, 45+1), Mark Bloxam (YC, 73)

As a footnote…

Aldershot Town managed it. So did AFC Wimbledon and more recently FC United did it was well. If memory serves me right, AFC Telford are on the list as well.

Managed what?

Promotion for a supporter-founded team in their first season.

And the way they have started their first season (ten wins out of eleven league games after this victory at Stone), Division 1 leaders AFC Liverpool are well on course to add their name to that list as well.