Saturday 18th August 2012
North West Counties Leaugue Premier Division
WINSFORD UNITED 8 AFC LIVERPOOL 1
Tea Hut Stuff: Can of coke and some crisps £1.70
Weather: Mostly warm sunshine throughout the game
Parking: Club car park
The 'Wheres The Tea Hut' camera was at the Barton Stadium for an enticing looking clash between a couple of sides with respected reputations for attractive football and plenty of goals. Well we certainly got that today. Pity most of it came from one side. Despite the away side taking an early lead Winsford ripped the 'unplugged' version of AFC Liverpool apart with some exceptional passing and clinical finishing. Apart from the quality performance of Liverpools Johnny Lawless, not a lot went right for the reds, they looked weak at the back, characterless in midfield and indecisive up front. There was a 15 minute period in the second half when Winsford were in such complete command I feared we may have been in for a cricket score. Credit to the Liverpool lads they never threw in the towel and they still tried to play decent football right to the end.
The fact is Winsford looked exceptional for long sections of this game, a first half hat trick for the impressive Brian Matthews and some wonderful forward play from Wayne Welbeck in the second half set the standard for a sensational team performance that sends a clear warning to other title contenders in this high quality Premier Division. The locals were in raptures, the misery of 'season long' supermarket pies and greasy economy sausages from the avant-garde retro Tea Hut was washed away by gourmet style champagne football and how the supporters loved it! A stark contrast to the decent number of travelling reds supporters, it was all soggy chips and lumpy gravy as they threw their bob hats to the ground in disgust. I witnessed one poor chap (who had a big camera for a big away win) getting more and more frustrated in the second half as he stamped and stropped whilst gesticulating frantically to his two-timing heroes on the pitch (how could they do this to him)?
The fact I managed to catch a thumping 8-1 goal-fest took some of my bitterness away from having to pay £6 to get in when most people agree that 5 quid is the correct admission price for this level of the non league structure, my cash chest was looking mighty barren when they also fleeced me £1.70 at half time for a luke warm tin of coke and some ready salted crisps, its not like down town Winsford is Monte Carlo (or even worse.. Arsenal). Its not the amount of over-charging (I realise its not much in money terms)... its the bloody principle of it that bugs me, especially in what are hard times for most people trying to afford football matches. Don't know about you but I've started adding up how much it costs getting to games and its now down to what I can sensibly afford to pay for the day out. Shame really but every little bit counts, thats the way of the world these days.
I thought the ground looked especially nice in the warm sunshine and despite the old dog track set up, you can still get a good view of the action down the touchlines. The main stand has a lot of character about it, something which deepens when you take a walk inside the back rooms housing the tea hut, the bar and a club shop. There is a long stretch of well covered terracing on the opposite side of the pitch (which will doubtless come in handy once the winter arrives). Both ends are set back from the pitch due to the curve of the old dog track (now just grass), you can still walk around the railed hard standing to complete a circular jaunt of the pitch.
Despite some rather negative comments about this ground from various groundhoppers, I personally liked it quite a lot! It was a good afternoons football at a decent ground. It will be interesting to see if Winsford can kick-on from this morale boosting victory, they've got Runcorn Town down here next Tuesday night, that should be quite a game. As for AFC Liverpool their home game against Ashton Athletic on Wednesday night will be crucial. They really need a good performance ASAP after a drubbing like todays, I think they are capable of a lot better, lets not forget, it was only the other day they themselves enjoyed a 6 goal away win over at AFC Blackpool, lets hope they bounce back stronger for the experience.