Tuesday 4th April 2017 7.45pm
East Midlands Counties Premier League
Anstey Nomads 2 Radford 3 ht: 1-2 att: 54 Entrance £5 Programme £1 Coffee £1
Michael 45, missed pen 45, Taylor 80: Meakin 10, Kelvin 25, 90+3 (pen)
from Davisdon Homes Park
Anstey Nomad’s Davidson Homes Park completed the East Midlands League for me. 22/22. The fast A50 corridor has helped the speedy completion. If I list my completed leagues like a football club lists their trophies, then mine reads thus:
Championship 2006, 2016; Welsh Premier League 2014; North West Counties League Division One 2016; East Midlands League 2017.
Tonight also marked the first appearance of the other Dave since his Russian style winter break. His last new midweek ground being West Bridgford back in the Autumn. My jaunts to EML grounds have been fantastic – it’s easily my favourite non-league league at present, on account of entertaining games, goals and passion, not to mention some charming and unexpected venues. Anstey Nomads was no exception on any of those fronts.
The Davidson Homes Stadium was very smart, lying within walking distance of the centre of the Leicestershire village of Anstey, population a little over 6,000. I stopped off beforehand at the Griffin Pub in the nearby village of Swithland. Pubs selling craft ale are thin on the ground in this next of the woods, but the Griffin had two guest ales as well as a few Everards numbers. However it was ridiculously expensive. £4.75 for a pint of Triple Hop by Brunswick’s. Prices you’d choke on, even in London. The walkable Olde Hare and Hounds pub in the village was recommended to me, but it was the Doom Bar Marstons ersatz-real ale kind of pub.
Anstey Nomads have played at their current home since they were formed in 1947 – ironic given their name. They won promotion to the EML from the Leicestershire Senior League in 2008-09.
The main stand is in front of the clubhouse and is three rows of roughly 22 seats. Opposite this is a covered flat terrace with the letters ANFC inscribed on the back wall.
The whole is very smart with some smart wooden decking and features interposed among cool grey corrugated metal structures. There was nice signage on show, too with the striking ANFC emblem emblazoned on flags throughout the complex.
Anstey started off lying about 5th from bottom with Radford in the top half. Radford show a bit more class early on in a fast paced game. Their opener was a belter, sitting up nicely for Meakin to smash a 25 yard half volley into the bottom corner. On 25 a neat through ball found Kelvin who slotted home. Just before half time Anstey’s persistence was rewarded when Michael was found on the right of the area from a pinpoint cutting pass. He dinked round his marker and smashed it in off the post. Immediately after, Nomad’s next foray into the area gave rise to a penalty. A chance to go into the break level. It was saved.
Anstey were better in the second half and with ten minutes left the Radford keeper was sent off for upending the oncoming attacker. A free-kick was awarded. Dave and I reckoned he needed to just hit the target, with an outfielder in goal. He did just that – a soft back-pass style shot round the ball, but the stand-in keeper hugged himself as the ball hit the net. 2-2. It looked like only Anstey would win this if there was to be a winner. They had the psychological as well as numerical advantage. However, as the fuse of the game burnt down to a stub, in 3 minutes added, the referee pointed to the spot for a Radford penlty. To everyone watching it looked like the Radford striker was pulling the shirt of the Anstey defender – but the ref thought otherwise.
Kelvin was ice cool as he converted into the bottom corner. You could say he was -272.16 degrees (1 Kelvin). Late drama and a fortunate three points for the visitors in a noteworthy game, again showcasing the East Midlands League.