Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kirby Muxloe 1 Borrowash Victoria 0

We’re jogging out the Pirelli Stadium at Burton upon Trent. The Brewers are somehow 1-0 down. There’s two minutes to go. If Burton score now, then both White Van Man and Sticky Palms, who have travelled to over 50 games this season, will miss the biggest celebration in their history.

We’ve only ran about 200 metres and already WVM is flagging. My chest is tight and my legs are like lead. By now I’ve shown WVM a clean pair of heels. He claims to be a member of ROKO Gym, but he must be doing doggy paddle in the pool and reading Nuts magazine in the cafeteria.

I’ve already started the car, got the heater going and put on Five Live by the time he appears on the scene. He stops all the traffic whilst I perform a textbook (?) three point turn. We’re on the A38 within minutes.

Reports on the radio suggest there has been a Metropolitan Police type melee at the Pirelli. Shaun Harrad has been sent off deep into injury time. Oxford have taken all three points.

WVM is on the brink of collapse. He revives his flagging spirits by ringing our local Chinese takeaway and ordering a sweet and sour chicken and chips. It hasn’t half cheered the big fella up.

It’s Saturday morning. I had a late one last night. I can never get to sleep when I’ve come back from a football match at night. I decided to unwind with a glass or two of wine, and surf on the net.

It’s 8am when I awake from my slumber. I’m normally up with the larks. Mrs P is coughing and spluttering. Bless her she’s full of cold. I try and convince her that it may be the fumes from the creosote she used on the six fence panels she painted, whilst the kids and I sloped off to Coronation Park, Eastwood last Bank Holiday Monday. She’s not in the mood for tomfoolery.

I shoot down to one of my favourite clubs, Greenwood Meadows, to watch a junior game. They play a smashing game of football. I arrange to watch them again.

I’ve already broken the grim news to Mrs P that I’m heading off to north Leicestershire this afternoon. To be honest I think she’s past caring. To pay for my sins, she has cadged the high pressure jet wash thingy off ‘The Angler.’ Sticky has to power wash the patio before my pass is stamped.

There’s time for a bacon sandwich before jumping in the car and setting off just before 2pm.

I’m on the blooming A46 again; it’s as straight as a dye. I’ll be back on it again tomorrow as I’m off to Aylestone Park.

They are talking on Five Live about Rory Delap’s throw-ins and how they consumed 11% of the 90 minutes played against Newcastle last Saturday. Graham Taylor is rattling on and on about it.

The satellite navigation system has a Dicky fit and sends me away from Kirby Muxloe. It’s probably my fault; I must have typed in the wrong house number on the postcode section.

I pull into the Royal Oak car park. I’d noticed it was in the lucky dip section of the Good Pub Guide. The Everards Tiger Bitter is tempting but I’m more interested in finding out where the ground is. An old guy having a quiet beer and a smoke points me in the right direction.

I manage to snuck into the last available car parking space. Ratby Lane is already bustling.

The set-up looks terrific. The view is elevated from behind one goal and tree-lined most of the way round. To the right runs the M1 Motorway.

I can’t find anyone on the gate; God knows how many people have sneaked in for nowt. After a desperate search I find a lady with a small cash box and a pile of programmes and pay my £3 entry and £1 for an excellent programme for this level. It has a history of Kirby Muxloe FC, a write-up on the visitors, plus squad details, fixtures, tables and latest news. A big pat on the back to programme editor Corey Shackleton for such a fine publication.

It’s a lot colder than I’d imagined; I’ve only got my £15 prison-issue fleece from H&M on. I pine so much for my £34.99 groundhopping coat, which I’ve left on the coat peg, in our hall.

Kirby Muxloe is five miles south west of Leicester in the parish of Glenfield. Kirby Muxloe FC were founded in 1910. They have played at the Kirby Muxloe Sports and Social Club since 1992. Floodlights were erected in the 1997/98 season and a floodlit all-weather surface opened in 1999. Previous players include: fiery Scotsman David Speedie, Paul Culpin and Calvin Plummer.

Borrowash is a village in the Erewash district of Derbyshire. They are fighting tooth and nail for the inaugural EMCL championship. Sticky saw ‘The Vics’ down at Dunkirk a few months ago; they played a smashing game of football and were mightily impressive.

I had earmarked a visit to Kirby a while ago, for the visit of Gedling Town. Unfortunately a pea souper of a fog descended on our patch that night. The Groundhopper would have probably ended up in the nearest river had he bothered to venture out that murky evening.

I stand facing the sun, with a strong breeze and the M1 at my back. There’s no team sheet, pre-match music or PA system. It’s a real shame as the set-up is spot on: one of the best in the league. I pay £1 to go on the number card; it contributes towards the payment of the officials’ expenses.

Borrowash play a breathtaking game of football. They terrorise either full back but over elaborate in the box.

It’s clear for all to see who is doing the pressing. I decide to meander around to the raised area at the back of the goal that ‘The Vics’ are attacking.

The Kirby Muxloe ‘keeper looks to have spent some time at the Melton Mowbray pork pie counter; he can barely fit into his shirt. He shouts absolute inane nonsense for the entire game. Not one player listens to him. All the crowd comment on it. But fair play to the youth because he is an excellent shot stopper.

Borrowash pepper the goal without reward. Kirby look nervous and tentative. Their approach play is direct and aimless. Any game-plan they have tucked up their sleeve appears to have gone up in a puff of smoke.

The Sports and Social Club is enchanting and also full to the brim. I manage to crawl my way to the bar and purchase a can of Coke. The half-times are coming in and I notice one or two Unibond Premier League scores trickling through. I’m anxious to find out how Ilkeston and Eastwood are doing, but they are just about the only two scores I don’t see.

Borrowash have Michael Lyons playing today. The former D***y County and Burton Albion player once appeared on a TV documentary about up and coming England Youth players a few years ago. He was released by the Rams in 2000 and after jumping on the non-league merry- go- round; he’s finally washed up at The Asterdale. Today he is outstanding. The Kirby ‘keeper makes a point-blank save from Lyons.

The Architect drops me a text; James Perch has put the Tricky Trees one up against the Sky Blues.

Against the run of play Kirby take the lead. An excellent through-ball finds Jamie Mason, who races away to fire home. It’s a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders.

Borrowash keep plugging away without reward. I’m told by a supporter that Anthony Tansley, their talented, driven midfielder, has spent time in the ressies. The guy is immense. He hustles and bustles, takes people on and wants to win the game so badly.

Borrowash pull off their front two North and Spencer; it’s like waving the white flag. The game opens up for Kirby, but they still play with nerves.

Kirby can’t finish it off. I’m walking towards the car when the excellent referee blows for time. I’ve got groundhopping burn-out. Two games to go and I can put my feet up and watch cricket for four months.

Man of the Match: Anthony Tansley.

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