Friday, 13 July 2018

THE66POW: THE STORY SO FAR & FORTHCOMING GAMES IN JULY 2018


Last season I watched a total of one hundred and sixty games of association football, which is well down on the numbers that I've racked up on my prolific travels during previous campaigns; but, in the event, actually amounted to far more matches than I had ever anticipated being able to grace with my presence, for a number of reasons. 
Lets just say: 'away fixtures' at the Retford Primary Health Care Centre; along with numerous hospital visits to Doncaster, Sheffield and Worksop, curtailed my football itinerary somewhat over the last eighteen months or so... but, as the great philosopher Reginald Kenneth Dwight once said: "I'm still standing. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"
As a rule, not that there are any actual mandatory compliance's or rules attached to my various football pastimes as such, I've never given a flying funk about number crunching, because that would be tantamount to attending games for all of the wrong kind of reasons; but, having said that, for no reason, other than caving in to my deep set sad anorak tendencies from time to time, I did actually set myself a target of visiting thirty grounds that I've never previously watched football at before, during the 2017-18 season... and failed miserably, by only getting around to completing approximately fifty percent of that figure. 
But hey ho! Back into the saddle we go, and I fully intend to bend the rules to breaking point this time around... and have decided to raise the bar to forty for the coming term, during which time I will also be attending several music festivals, touring with a couple of bands, spending a few weeks overseas in Austria, Belgium and Poland, while also continuing to traverse familiar terrain in the meantime as well.
At this juncture, I suppose that I should be compiling a 'best of/worst of' 2017-18 overview and making a few rash predictions for the forthcoming season, but I won't bother, because that would merely constitute re-hashing the last eleven months that I've already narrated at quite some length anyway... and one of the joys of the game itself, is it's sheer unpredictability. 
By way of a perfect example of never counting your chickens, I originally penned this opening gambit to yet another year of blogging about the thrills, spills, ups and downs of another year of touring the highways and B roads of planet football, shortly after watching South Korea dump the all conquering, competition favourites, Germany out of the World Cup in a group stage game. Never take anything for granted mein komrades.
Any road, moving forwards, here is a list of the pre-season friendlies that I have watched so far and/or intend showing up at during this following month or so; a schedule that will commence a whole twenty eight days after I called it a day on my last campaign, some of these games will be getting fuller coverage on THE66POW than others.
Given the flexible nature of pre-season/practice/warm up games, all kick off times, venues, cancelled fixtures and my own never set in concrete travel plans (as per usual) will be in a continuous state of flux, changes and short notice alterations can be expected and will happen; so if you spot anything tempting among the fixtures detailed below, it would be advisable to check with official club sources before heading anywhere. Not everything you read on the internet is accurate, or even real at all. I will endeavour to provide updates, if and when the need arises, but I'm not promising 'owt.
Enjoy your football.
THE66POW The story so far and forthcoming distractions:
Sat 30 Jun - Ingles FC Res 1 v Holbrook St. Michaels Res 5 - PSF
Sat 30 Jun - Ingles FC 3 v Holbrook St. Michaels 3 - PSF
Mon 2 July - Armthorpe Welfare 1 v Frickley Athletic 1 - PSF
Fri 6 July - Melton Town 2 v Grantham Town 1 - PSF
Sat 7 July - Cleethorpes Town 4 v Grimsby Town 3 - ALL TICKET - First ever game at the new Linden Club ground
Sun 8 July - Darlington 1 v Motherwell 5 - PSF
Thu 12 July - Rainworth MW 4 v Mansfield Town XI 1 - PSF
Sat 14 July - Shirebrook Town v AFC Mansfield - PSF - 12 Noon
Sat 14 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Mansfield Town XI - PSF - 3PM
Sun 15 July - AFC Bolsover v Selston FC - PSF - 12 Noon
Tue 17 July - Stapenhill v Gresley - PSF - 7.30PM
Wed 18 July - Mansfield Town v Derby County - PSF - 7.30PM
Thu 19 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Stamford - Lincs Senior Cup QF - 7.45PM
Fri 20 July - Basford United v Mansfield Town U21 - PSF - 7.45PM
Sat 21 July - Deeping Rangers v Lincoln United - PSF - 3PM
Mon 23 July - Campion v Knaresborough Town - PSF - 7.45PM
Tue 24 July - Sheffield United v Inter Milan - PSF - 7.30PM
Wed 25 July - Ravenshead v Ashland Rovers - PSF - 7.15PM
Thu 26 July - Swallownest v AFC Mansfield - PSF - 7.30PM
Sat 28 July - Star & Garter, Manchester
Tue 31 July - Rossington Main v Handsworth Parramore - PSF - 7.30PM

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Rainworth Miners Welfare 4 v Mansfield Town XI 1 - PSF

Thursday 12th July 2018
Pre Season Friendly
at Kirklington Road, Rainworth
Rainworth Miners Welfare (3) 4
Alfie Gaughan 35
Blessing Adalaye 38, 43
Adam Jackson 51
Mansfield Town XI (0) 1
Jack Gibb 48
Admission £3. Attendance 88
Photos from tonight's game: click HERE
A young Stags team were given a bit of a going over by a lively Wrens side at Kirklington Road... and I wouldn't want to do Rainworth any kind of disservice with that opening gambit, because they also featured a good number of youngsters... and, it must be said... a number of good youngsters, over the course of the game.
Having started their pre-season campaign with a 3-0 win over Bolsover Town, Ben Marvin and Paul Rockley's rebuilt, EMCL newcomers, appear to have hit the ground running and will be a decent test for Basford United when they travel over to Rainworth on Tuesday night.
Both sides made a lively start, jabbing away at each others midriff while looking for an opening to land a killer blow, or a defensive slip to take advantage of... and one of the latter duly arrived around the twenty minute mark, when Roberto Labatte scuffed a routine clearance into the path of the Stags Ben Brown (listed as Dan Brown on the team sheet), who was caught unawares by being presented with a gift of an opportunity just ten yards from goal... and he snatched and the chance and put his rushed attempt on goal wide. At the other end Blessing Adalaye put his head down and made a powerful run forward straight through the middle of the visitors defence, but dragged his shot just wide of the upright.
In the thirty fifth minute the Mansfield keeper: Charlie Dando, had little choice but to punch the ball clear from inside his crowded goalmouth... and it fell kindly towards Alfie Gaughan who opened the scoring for the Wrens.
Any thoughts that going a goal behind would galvanise the Stags Academy lads into bucking their ideas up and focusing their attentions on applying themselves a little more in the final third, around Warren Squires goal, were soon shot down in flames, when Adalaye was upended twice in the space of just five minutes, inside the visitors area and duly buried both resulting penalty kicks; one into the bottom right hand corner and the other into the left. 
HT: Wrens 3 v Stags 0
The second half was just three minutes old when the Stags pulled a goal back.
Cam Jones surged forward on the left before threading a pinpoint pass forward into the path of Justin Trow, who ran into the left channel before crossing to Jack Gibb. 
'Twas a great end to end shift at speed and things began to look up for the visitors finally. 
Well, for a few minutes at least; because when a left wing corner wasn't cleared properly and the ball found it's way through to Adam Jackson, he emphatically punished the visitors for their lapse in concentration from just beyond the back post.
Liam Jepson, the Rainworth number eleven, who was wearing the Stags colours the last time that I saw him in action, was causing Mansfield a few problems at the back and would have added to the scoreline from close range, if Dando hadn't of denied him from close range.
Jones, once again, put Trow clean away on the left, but the wrens defence were ready and waiting this time and Jackson was on hand to clear the cross away.
Right at the end, Jepson connected well with the ball on the left hand side of Dando's area, but his angled drive fizzed inches past the right hand upright.
The young Stags to their credit, were using the whole width of the pitch in an effort to make some space amongst the Rainworth ranks, but the home side worked hard to plug any gaps and deservedly won the game.
FT: Rainworth MW 4 v Mansfield Town 1
Mansfield's first team fared better tonight, winning 3-0 up in Bradford, against Park Avenue. 
The Stags now have three friendlies arranged for 3PM on Saturday at: Gainsborough Trinity, Hednesford Town and Retford United, before Derby County visit Field Mill (One Call Stadium) next Wednesday.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Darlington 1 v Motherwell 5 - PSF

Sunday 8th July 2018
Pre Season Friendly
at Blackwell Meadows
Darlington (0) 1
Harvey Saunders 53
Motherwell (3) 5
Cédric Kipré 3, Danny Johnson 7,
Allan Campbell, Ryan Bowman 80,
James Scott 90
Admission £10. Attendance 802
Photo gallery link: Click HERE
The gulf in class between the Nationwide League North and the Scottish Premier League, was evident, as the North Lanarkshire side cruised into a three goal lead before the interval, which, if truth be told, could've seen 'Darlo' trailing even further behind by the time that the half time whistle sounded.
Cédric Kipré got the final touch from all of six inches away from the Quakers goal line to give the Steelmen the lead inside the opening three minutes, before Danny Johnson doubled their advantage with a sublime volley shortly afterwards.
Allan Campbell hooked the third goal past Jon Maddison with thirty six minutes on the clock above the pavilion, after which time this became little more than a damage limitation exercise for the home side.
Darlington upped the ante after the break and Harvey Saunders pulled a goal back, after competing well with Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, while running diagonally towards the Steelmen's goal, before shooting across the visitors 'keeper Trevor Carson and finding the back of the net.
The goal gave the home side a spring in their step and they picked up their game as a consequence, but 'Well soon took control again and turned the screw on their hosts in the closing stages.
Carl McHugh won a header inside his own half that he made such a firm contact with, the ball dropped nicely for Ryan Bowman on the edge of the Darlington area and he lobbed thee keeper to add a fourth goal for the visitors.
In the final minute, Motherwell youngster James Scott, battled for the ball to the right hand side of the hosts area, before crashing an angled shot inside the far post, to complete this afternoon's rout.
It was good to see that Darlington have relocated and restored the old 'Tin Shed End' roof from the Feethams Ground in the town centre and erected it behind one of the goals at Blackwell Meadows... and the rest of the ground is more than adequate for the level that the current team are playing at.
The history of Darlington FC/Darlington 1883 and Darlington FC again has been well documented,
see HERE and is a tale that many a club ought to take notice of if they want to avoid some of the pitfalls that the County Durham club has encountered over the years.
The Tin Shed
I understand that non league clubs need to tap into all available income streams in order to survive... and Darlington FC probably understand the logistics of that more than most. 
But I ask you... £5 to use the car park at a Nationwide League North ground? That's scandalous!
It was good to catch up with people I know from Leicester, Manchester, Sheffield and Walsall today and nice to meet a couple of Forest Green Rovers fans too... I hope that the drive home wasn't as hot, sticky and at the mercy of the multitude of roadworks that I encountered for you all.
FT: Darlington 1 v Motherwell 5
Highlight's of the game from Motherwell's YouTube channel. This overview isn't edited with a bias towards the visiting team... the Steelmen really were that dominant.
Darlington played their first ever match at Blackwell Meadows on Boxing Day 2016, when they beat FC Halifax Town 3-2  in a National League North fixture.
Today marked my first ever visit to the ground... and it ticked a lot of boxes as regards things that I would have expected from a modernised stadium. Lets hope for the sake of the long suffering Quakers faithful, that they are now an upwardly mobile, phoenix like club and there are no more pitfalls or unscrupulous characters waiting ahead as they journey on.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Cleethorpes Town 4 v Grimsby Town 3 - PSF - First game at the Linden Club ground

Saturday 7th July 2018
First game at the Linden Club
Pre Season Friendly
Cleethorpes Town (1) 4
Tom Jamieson OG 37, Josh Batty 46,
Alex Whitmore 63, Lewis Collins 86
Grimsby Town (2) 3
Mitch Rose 6 pen, JJ Hooper 30,
George Waring 55
Admission £5. Programme £1.50 (covers four games)
Attendance: 1,800 (sell out)
Photo gallery: 
Part one CLICK HERE 
Part two CLICK HERE
"It was twenty years ago today", or thereabouts, that Cleethorpes Town FC was first established, under the name of  the Lincolnshire Soccer School, by former Grimsby Town midfielder: Tommy Watson.
In 2003, the club adopted the name LSS Lucarly's as they joined the Lincolnshire League, where they spent two seasons before switching to the Central Midlands League for a year, before switching to the Humber League Division One, from which they won promotion to the Premier League in their inaugural season and were duly rechristened, as Cleethorpes Town, in 2008.
'Cle' withdrew themselves from the Humber Premier League during the 2009-10 campaign and returned to the Lincolnshire League the following term, during which they won the Supplementary Cup and twelve months later, having won the league title and Challenge Cup, they were promoted to the Northern Counties East League and quickly found their footing in level six football, subsequently winning the title in only their second season and gaining promotion to the Premier Division.
Cleethorpes won the NCEL League Cup in 2015–16, when they beat Tadcaster Albion 3–2 in the final. And the following season they clinched the Premier Division title, winning promotion to Division One South of the Northern Premier League in the process... and they also won the Lincolnshire County Senior Trophy, beating Deeping Rangers in the final at Sincil Bank while fighting their way through to the FA Vase Final at Wembley, where they were runners up to South Shields.
'Clee' hit the ground running from the outset in the EvoStik League and made light work of sweeping their way to the top of the table. But the euphoria was curtailed, when a points deduction proved to be too big an obstacle to overcome... and though the club took their punishment on the chin, it was a bitter irony that the paperwork discrepancy that invoked the whole scenario, was actually an error on the part of a third party, and to all intents and purposes, the Owls own administrators had been completely blameless and innocent. But such are the inflexible mechanisms of the Football Association and their set in stone rules and regulations.
Anyway, I think that just about covers the last couple of mostly successful decades and brings everything up to date as regards the history of Cleethorpes Town FC, other than to say, that today, as they embark on a new chapter, marked the first ever game at the Linden Club Ground, where the Owls will now play their home games, after a fruitful spell during which time they used the Bradley Community Ground, some three miles further out of 'Clee' itself.
Of course, there is another team who play in the town... and they provided the opposition on this prestigious occasion. Grimsby Town have been subject to talk about relocation themselves, possibly to Peaks Parkway most recently, while a site near Freeman Street was also sourced, but I seem to recall hearing stories about them moving from Blundell Park since the early nineteen seventies, including talk about a 'definite' site in Great Coates, around nineteen eighty eight.
But... as of yet, not even a shovel's worth of soil has yet been moved in regards to laying any foundations elsewhere.
Maybe the Mariners should finally bite the bullet and take a leaf out of their progressive neighbouring non league club's book any time soon... even though I would miss my visits to the olde world charms of Blundell Park if they ever actually flit.
The all seated main stand is situated opposite the dug outs, while there is a smaller seated stand behind one goal and a covered standing area behind the other. Worksop Town fans might recognise some of these structures, in fact I remember painting the reverse side of one of them amber many years ago when the Tigers moved into Sandy Lane the first time around... or was that the same stand that now accounts for half of the seating at Retford United's Cannon Park?
Either the fixtures and fittings have been lovingly restored and look in finer fettle nowadays than they ever have done.
Clee Town first half
Upon arrival I bumped into the former Owls chairman David Patterson, in the 'fan zone' area that the club had set up just inside the ground; who kindly offered to give me a tour of the facilities, hence the double sized photo galleries attached to this overview. 'Patto', along with the current vice chairman David Mann and everybody associated with the club, had a permanent smile and look of pride etched across their faces today... and their army of unsung volunteers pulled out all of the stops to make sure that everybody present enjoyed their visit and that the occasion ran smoothly. 
Clee Town second half
These are the sort of things that make floating spectators and football travellers alike, want to return in the future. I'll definitely be back for more from time to time... 'Cleggy' is only fifty miles or so from my 'des res' on the eastern fringes of East Retford upon Idle, if you nip across through Gainsborough and Caistor. A good few 'Mariners' supporters were saying that they would definitely frequent the Linden Club when their own team were playing away from home.
I had to delete the photo I took inside the dressing room... it contained a few inches of unsightly flesh that would be completely unsuitable for use on a family friendly blog.
Opting to watch the game from the 'Clee Ultras' end, behind the far end goal from the entrance; not because I was taking sides necessarily, but because it seemed to be the only place on the entire east coast that offered any kind of shad from the 'scorchio' midday sun, I was soon joined by the 'Owls choir', along with their drum. 
Mariners first half
It was amusing to hear kids, sporting the colours of both sides, singing 'grown up' versions of songs about their respective teams... and it kind of summed up the spirit of the whole day when they joined ranks for a rousing chorus of "Football's Coming Home!"
Because, of course, this game was kicking off early so that everybody could watch England v Sweden on the telly during the afternoon.
Mariners second half
John Oglesby got the game underway on this milestone day for his club, as a sell out 1,800 crowd packed into every available vantage point in the Owls new ground.
I popped in for a quick look a couple of weeks ago when I'd treated my better half to a run out to the seaside (AKA a ticket buying detour), the work that has been completed, even since then, must've seen the club stalwarts working around the clock... even during today's game a good number of them were missing a big chunk of the action to cater for the needs of the bumper turnout.
Five minutes into the game, Mitch Rose went to ground under a challenge in the area... like he often does! And duly picked himself up, to make no mistake from the resulting spot kick.
I'm not suggesting, not even for a single moment, that Rose went down easily, or tried to play the referee, but it is common knowledge, that his penalties last season were a major factor in saving Grimsby from relegation from League 2... so 'least said' n' all that.
The 'Clee Ultras' serenaded Rose with a chorus of: "One-nil to the referee!" as the teams shaped up for the restart.
The visitors had a goal ruled out, when Ali Koiki, a trialist and former Burnley Under 23 player delivered a tantalising cross to pick out the run of JJ Hooper, who smashed the ball past David Birch, before his celebrations, but his joy was short lived because his effort was disallowed for offside... which would explain why the live-wire had found himself in so much space.
Tim Lowe was being kept busy in defence for the home side and Birch wasn't get much time for respite between the Mariners attacks and almost inevitably JJ Hooper added a second for the visitors after running onto a knock into the area and calmly finishing from ten yards out.
"It's just like shooting fish in a barrel" remarked an elderly Grimsby fan standing nearby.
One of these days, I fully intend to find out exactly what that turn of phrase actually means... you'd have thought that people from round these parts would have a bit of nous about how to catch fish, wouldn't you?
I was surprised when Mansfield Town released the talented youngster Lewis Collins and am of the opinion that it is a decision that might well come back to haunt them one day... and here he was today, making his debut and a fresh start in the colours of Cleethorpes Town, and turning the tide in a game that was seemingly slipping beyond the hosts reach.
With half time approaching, Collins cut into Mariners area through the right channel and shot across the face of James McKeown's goal... his effort might've just crept in by the far post but it took a deflection off of Tom Jamieson and ended up in the back of the net instead.
Jamieson probably didn't want crediting with goal, but still was anyway, meaning that Collins would just have to score a debut goal of his own after the interval. 
But, I don't want to spoil where this tale of epic drama is heading for you just yet, so read on...
HT: Owls 1 v Mariners 2
Talking of debut goals... as we were: inside the first minute of the second half Josh Batty claimed one for himself, bulging the net from close range when Paul Walker had unlocked the League 2's side defence with a great knock across the face of goal.
The Mariners were back in front... and it was another debut goal too... when George Waring beat Birch in a 50/50 chase for the ball on the edge of the Owls area, and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper, where it went in off of the inside of the post.
Alex Flett was denied by Ollie Battersby, the Mariners Youth Team goalkeeper, who had started the second half, when the young prospect did well to turn a goal-bound strike by the Owls captain against the upright. 
Cleethorpes were certainly rising to the occasion and didn't want to finish second on the afternoon of their house warming party. And likewise, in spite of this only being a warm up friendly game, the visitors didn't want to lose against their new neighbours who've just moved in around the corner either, so a lively game ensued, right 'til the end.
Alex Whitmore was unable to get rid of, or get out of the way of Flett's driven ball into the area and could only look on in despair as he diverted it Battersby to make it 3-3.
I'm sure that you all like a story with a happy ending, so here goes... until today Cleethorpes had never beaten Grimsby previously, but they've never had Lewis Collins in their ranks before... and as the game headed into it's final five minutes, the ex Stags youngster attacked the Mariners area with a marauding run on the left, cut inside and curled a low right foot shot into the bottom corner of the net.
It was a grand finale to a great spectacle of a game... and a fitting end to a momentous first page of a new chapter in the life and times of Cleethorpes Town FC.
FT: Cleethorpes Town 4 v Grimsby Town 3
Right... over to you now Mr Southgate

Friday, 6 July 2018

Melton Town 2 v Grantham Town 1 - PSF

Friday 6th July 2018
Pre Season Friendly
at SignRight Park, Melton Sports Village
Melton Town (1) 2
Liam Fray 16
Ash Palfreyman 82 pen
Grantham Town (0) 1
Tiaggo Nassunculo 80
Admission £5.
Attendance 100+
Plus approximately 1,637 flesh eating insects
Photo gallery: click HERE
My plans for the weekend include visits to three grounds that I've never been to before, namely: Melton Town's SignRight Park tonight, the inaugural game at Cleethorpes Town's new facility at Linden Park tomorrow lunchtime (kick off moved forward to 12.30PM because England's much anticipated televised World Cup game v Sweden starts at 3PM), and a Sunday trip 'oop north to Blackwell Meadows, the home of Darlington FC.
My 'weekender' will encompass a total round trip of around 400 miles, give or take a few hundred yards or so, which might possibly delay any opportunity to update this here ' long winded, self indulgent, bullshit blog, with added football content' with anything resembling any kind of emergency or immediacy, in my usual prolific way.
But, just like that tortoise who is fabled to have beaten an impetuous hare in a much recycled fable of yore... I'll get there eventually, and I apologise profusely to anybody who has been squirming on the edge of their seat in a state of agitated excitement, awaiting this 'eagerly awaited' tome.
The host club came into being as recently as 2004, as Melton Mowbray and changed their name to Melton Town in 2016 when they entered the United Counties League Division One, having progressed through the Leicester & District League and Leicestershire Senior League.
A decent number of spectators descended on the Melton Sports Village for this game, given that the alternative was the temptation of a night in watching the Belgium v Brazil, World Cup quarter final on the telly, in a competition that has thrown up some intriguing results thus far.
In case you've been hidden away in a sound-proofed bunker, during the interim and haven't heard yet, Belgium won that one and will now face France for a place in next Sunday's final.
Melton Sports Village is fairly easy to find, situated on the Burton Road as you head away from the town centre, passing Melton Mowbray railway station, just a few hundred yards from tonight's destination, en route, which will immediately grab the attention of a number of my friends amongst the football travelling community. who either don't drive, or prefer to 'let the train take the strain' as they carry out their never ending quest to travel to each and every corner of the known universe in pursuit of the beautiful game.
Russ was present tonight, that's he of the Wycombe Wanderer blog, who seems to get just about everywhere... and it is always a pleasure to run into whenever our paths cross. Doubtless, he will have typed up a lengthy epistle before I even went to bed tonight, he must write in his sleep to keep on top of things at the rate he does sometimes.
Tonight's visitors: Grantham Town, have recently employed the vastly experienced Ian Culverhouse as their manager. His most recent employment within the game, was as the manager of Kings Lynn Town, but prior to that, Culverhouse had a playing career spanning eighteen years, where he turned out for: Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Swindon Town and Brighton & Hove Albion, as well as making a solitary appearance for Kingstonian FC; after which he was subsequently a youth team coach at Barnet, Leyton Orient and Wycombe Wanderers, before serving as an assistant manager, to Paul Lambert, at Colchester United, Norwich City and Aston Villa.
The first impression you get upon entering Melton's ground, is how welcoming and friendy all of the people connected to the club are. There is a clubhouse, shared with the rugby club, but plenty of food and liquid refreshment is available within the ground itself too, from within one of the club buildings that a look resplendent, painted in a fetching shade of pillar box red,
The pitch (a grass one) is railed off around all four sides, has six floodlight towers and there is a one hundred and thirty five seater covered stand alongside one touchline. And having tried it out for myself, I can vouch for the fact that the seats are very roomy and generous enough for the most amply proportioned of posteriors... I know this because I was sat near somebody with a really fat arse, before you draw any other kind of conclusion.
Grantham play in the Premier Division of the EvoStik NPL, but tonight was never likely to be the mismatch that some might have anticipated, given the respective levels that both sides ply their trade at, because the two sides were a mix of first team players and promising youngsters.
Incidentally, I learned while talking to lady serving refreshments, whose husband I had just purchased a raffle ticket from, that Melton Town's youth team train at nearby Brooksby Melton College on Wednesday night's, where the (three in a row) championship winning Under 18 academy lads from Mansfield Town are based.
There was no programme issued for this pre-season game, but somebody gave me a copy of one from towards the back end of last season, which was stuffed with information about the 'Pork Pies', a club nickname derived from the town's most famous import.
With the 'Gingerbreads' in town, a mouthwatering, if ever so slightly fattening, feast of football was on the menu tonight.
Melton didn't wear any shirt numbers tonight, which made player recognition slightly difficult... and, in the main, the Grantham players I knew, were merely spectating, so please make allowances for any inaccuracies, discrepancies and name omissions from hereon in.
Grantham seemed to favour a patient approach to the game, passing the ball around at will, but whenever the opportunity arose, it was actually the home side who looked the most dangerous in the final third, nibbling away with the same kind of annoying persistence employed by the swarm of flesh eating insects that had descended over the ground tonight and they took the lead in the sixteenth minute... that's Melton, not the midges... when Liam Fray got onto the end of a low right wing cross in the sixteenth minute and opened the scoring via the outstretched hand of the visitors keeper, from just outside the six yard box.
The Gingerbreads manager, wanting to give as many players as possible some game time, made five substitutions as early as the thirtieth minute... and the infusion of fresh blood saw his side pick up the tempo and create a well worked passing move that led to a disallowed goal just before half time.
The Grantham number nine went close twice, shooting narrowly wide of the left hand upright with an angled shot across the face of the 'Pork Pies' goal, after he'd muscled his way past a challenge, before missing a sitter from four yards out with the goal at his mercy. From the resulting goal kick, Melton went straight up the other end and went close to doubling their lead.
Tiago Nassunculo, one of a crop of the youngsters that Grantham fielded, was proving to be a proper handful for the home side and having seen one goal bound shot smothered by the Melton keeper, he finally netted the equaliser, with a downwards, close range, back post header with ten minutes left to go.
But the Leicestershire side were back in front within two minutes, when the referee spotted a trip inside a crowded Grantham area, as Melton pushed for a winner and awarded a penalty, from which Ash Palfreyman crashed the ball just inside the left hand upright, to restore the lead, that his side held onto until the final whistle this time round.
FT: Melton  Town 2 v Grantham Town 1
By way of a massive coincidence, two of the teams that I have visited for the first time ever this pre-season: Ingles FC and Melton Town, have been paired against each other in the FA Vase First Qualifying Round... and will meet at SignRight Park on Saturday September 1st.