West Bridgford 1 Gedling Miners Welfare 2
Where: Regatta Way Sports Ground, Regatta Way, West Bridgford, Notts NG2 5AT
Kick-off: 7.45pm, Tuesday 13th November 2018
East Midlands Counties League Premier Division
Overview: A 250-mile round trip for me. West Bridgford is just to the south of Nottingham.
History: West Bridgford FC is unusual because it’s not an adult football team with a youth section. It is actually a youth football club with an adult team! West Bridgford Colts FC were founded in 1990 to give as many local children as possible the chance to play football. They are now the biggest youth football club in the country with more than 93 teams and 1,300 players registered. In 2008, the club signed a 25-year lease at their current home in Regatta Way. The men’s first team was founded in 2011 to provide an outlet for their 18-year-old players who wanted to move into senior football. West Bridgford have since progressed through the Notts Senior League into the EMCL.
Ground description: The Regatta Way Sports Ground is a large expanse with three full-size football pitches, two 9-a-side pitches, eight 5-a-side pitches, two cricket squares, cricket nets and a modern clubhouse containing a club canteen for refreshments. The main adult pitch is fully enclosed with a 100-seater prefab grandstand and floodlights. The stand is named in memory of Tom Maccabee – a young West Bridgford footballer who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2014.
Programme details: Twelve pages, price £1. The colourful front cover has match details and an action photo. Inside are the EMCL table, manager’s notes, line-ups and the histories of both clubs.
The match: Two teams towards the wrong end of the EMCL table provided a hard- fought match with two penalties and three red cards. Jurgen Charlesworth gave Gedling the lead after just five minutes but Matthew Murphy equalised from the spot for West Bridgford on 78 minutes. Then, in the very last minute, Jack Jepson scored the winner with a penalty for Gedling.
The people: West Bridgford secretary Adrian Clark afforded a warm welcome in the club canteen. There were also a couple of unintentionally funny moments during the evening. Firstly, before the game the large television in the clubhouse was showing the local Notts TV sports news round-up. This contained a pre-recorded interview with the Gedling MW manager Chris Marks. Just as the interview began, Chris walked into the clubhouse and everyone started staring at him in amazement as he was also up on the TV screen! Then during the game, Gedling’s Luke Smith had been sent off and was walking slowly and dejectedly off the pitch when a home club official shouted very loudly: “Luke! The dressing room keys are with the girls in the canteen. Get yourself a cup of tea while you’re there.” The look on Luke’s face was a real picture!
Tony Incenzo is a reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo
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