Dawley Wanderers 3 Brown Clee 3

Saturday 16th May 2009
Dawley Wanderers 3 Brown Clee 3
Sportsjamkits.com Shropshire County League Division 1
At: Doseley Road, Telford
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Weather: warm and sunny, occasional showers
Duration: first half: 45:43; second half: 47:20

Junior ‘iwf’ was competing in an orienteering event this morning so I had very little time to get to a game. So I was mightily pleased to take the chance to dip my toe into the Shropshire County League for the very first time. Dawley Wanderers and Brown Clee served up a decent game and it was good to spend the afternoon in the company of two other travellers, one of whom was a fan of Wolves and Hednesford.

Dawley Wanderers play home games at an enclosed railed-off pitch in, not surprisingly, the Dawley district of Telford at the end of Doseley Road with the entrance on Quarry Place. I approached from the M54 junction 5 and followed the B4373 southbound. From the Heath Hill Roundabout, I continued south on the B4373 and after 200 yards took a left turn into Station Road (signed Dawley Christian Centre). This road loops round to the right and becomes Doseley Road. Quarry Place was on the left just after passing the school.

Through into the ground from Quarry Place, the pitch (orientated just about east-west) ran lengthways towards Doseley Road. It was fully railed off apart from a few gaps for dugouts and access. There was no hardstanding or cover though the tall conifers down the left-hand side provided shelter from the wind and occasional rain showers. Next to the car park was the changing rooms block and this end could be described as the Church Lane end. The ground is also shared with Premier Division side Telford Juniors and Telford Sunday League side White Horse ’05 and is a previous home of Tibberton United and Dawley Villa.

Dawley Wanderers have been members of the Shropshire County League Division 1 for a few years and achieved third position in the 2003/04 season.

Though I didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before kick-off, there was sufficient time to get the line-ups before the action got underway. Just like at Royton on Tuesday, it turned out to be a good idea to have obtained squads from the club’s respective websites especially the one for Brown Clee as a club official kindly verbally provided his team’s line-up. Dawley have produced programmes this season but not today.

For both sides, it was their final game of the season. Home side Dawley (37 points from 21 games) went into it in sixth position in the 12-team division with Brown Clee (17 points from 21 games) four places lower in tenth. At the top Ellesmere Rangers Reserves needed two points from their final two games to guarantee top spot.

With the sun shining and the wind blowing, Dawley (wearing all red) got the game underway attacking the changing rooms end in the first half. Brown Clee midfielder Craig Evans had the ball in the back of the Dawley net in the 9th minute but from an offside position. The visitors had another good chance when Phil Brick turned just outside the area and a fired a left foot shot wide of the left-hand post.

Dawley almost took the lead midway through the first half. Steven Meakin got the better of two defenders near to the left corner, cut into the area and saw his low shot blocked by the legs of Clee keeper Steve Jordan.

I watched the first 20 or so minutes from the right-hand side, nearest to Quarry Place. With dark clouds gathering, I opted to move to the other side with the potential shelter of the tall conifers.

Jordan sent a long clearance down the middle which bounced deep in the Dawley half. The ball fell to Tom Yeomans who sent a right-foot volley over the bar.

Here comes the rain I thought around ten minutes before the interval and I’m sure I heard a clap of thunder as well. Just a few spots fell and the shower alert was over.

With the sun shining again, Dawley took the lead in the 41st minute. Dean Lowry, out of the left, crossed deep towards the far post where Steven Meakin got free of his marker to head home. The scorer, with a resemblance of Peter Crouch, resisted any temptation to celebrate with a robot dance!

A few spots of rain fell again and Clee defender Lee Delves went into the book in first-half stoppage time for one too many comments towards the referee.

Both sides stayed out at half-time and after a quick circumnavigate of the pitch by me, the action resumed with Brown Clee (wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow socks) now attacking the changing rooms end. Clouds had given way to sunshine and a predominately blue sky.

Dawley almost doubled their lead four minutes after the restart when Charlie Knowles had a shot cleared off the line by defender Dave Martin.

For Knowles, his participation in the game last for just three more minutes as the striker received a straight red card for clashing with Delves who went down on the edge of the Clee area clutching his face.

Now playing against ten men, Brown Clee got back on level terms in the 63rd minute. Yeomans stayed onside to latch on to a ball down the middle and poked it into the net past the advancing keeper.

It got even better for the visitors when they took the lead five minutes later. Dan Griffiths was just about onside when he latched onto a throughball down the right and sent a pinpoint 25-yard lob over the head of keeper Alan Kennedy and just under the bar.

Cue more rain and the heaviest shower so far. I, the two other travellers and the Dawley bench moved next to the conifers to escape a soaking though the Brown Clee people over the other side had no such luxury. There was another chance for the visitors as John Pritchard fired over despite Matthew Abbott’s tackle.

It could well have been ten v ten when Gavin Ellis pulled back Bowker just outside the area. The referee decided Ellis hadn’t denied a goalscoring opportunity and brandished just a yellow card.

To their credit Dawley grabbed an equaliser in the 78th minute. Lowry sent a diagonal forward ball towards the far right post which Gary Byrne controlled and fired past Jordan.

However, there was still time for a couple of further twists in this entertaining game. Brown Clee scored what looked like being the winner in the 86th minute. A free-kick on the left was played forward into the area where Mark Gibbons forced the ball home at close range.

Dawley didn’t give up and snatched a point with a last gasp equaliser. Lowry delivered a delicious cross from wide on the left which Bowker headed home at the far post. The visitors barely had time to kick-off before the referee blew the full-time whistle.

Dawley Wanderers (red/red/red): 1. Alan Kennedy, 2. Gavin Ellis, 3. Jason Garbett, 4. Gary Meakin (capt), 5. Matthew Abbott, 6. Steven Meakin, 7. Gary Byrne, 12. Robert Bowker, 9. Charlie Knowles, 10. Stuart Owen, 11. Dean Lowry. Subs: 14. James Pitt (for Owen, 55), 16. Luke Phillips (for Steven Meakin, 81).

Brown Clee (yellow/green/yellow): 1. Steve Jordan, 2. Steve Low, 3. Dave Martin, 4. Phil Brick, 5. Lee Delves, 6. Jim Nutting, 7. Dan Griffiths, 8. Craig Evans, 9. John Pritchard, 10. Tom Yeomans (capt), 11. Mark Gibbons. Subs: 12. Jamie Porter (for Evans, 74), 14. Alan Jervis (not used).

Referee: Mr White.