Saturday 8th April 2017 3.00pm
Midlands League Division One
Leicester Road 11 Southam United 0 ht: 5-0 att: 60 hc Entrance £5 Programme £1.50 Coffee £1
Stenson 7,12,25,38 (pen), Holt 43, Bennett 68, McGlinchey 72,79,80, Sandhu 82,83
from Leicester Road Stadium
This game set a few personal records. It was my first home double figures ever – my previous best was 8, seen several times. It was also the second highest goals in one game I’d seen. Second to Johnstown Youth 0 Llanwchyllin 13, last season. I did choose Leicester Road as a venue mostly for the fact that a cricket score was likely. Southam United have had a retched season, conceding 176 goals before today and within the last week losing 0-10 at home to Leicester Road’s championship and proximity rivals AFC Hinckley.
Leicester Road FC arose from the ashes of Hinckley United, who folded in 2013. They took on Hinckley United’s De Montfort Stadium, renamed the Leicester Road Stadium, purpose built in 2005, holding 4,329 fans with 630 seated. With Hinckley being a reasonably big non league club, the ground is substantial by Midland League standards. It’s a Conference level ground, very similar in style to Nantwich Town’s Weaver Stadium. Another phoenix club, AFC Hinckley, also appeared after Hinckley United’s demise – they play their matches at Heather St John’s ground and lie one place above them in the league.
The main stand holds 630 seats in a symmetrical arrangement, two blocks of 13 x 10 and 14 x 10 each side of a central section, totalling 540. Dugouts are integral to the bottom middle section, with two 9 x 5 section sat above it. An 11 step covered terrace staddles the other side, with a 14 step covered terrace behind one goal. Behind the other just flat standing and the changing rooms. With Leicester Road’s step six attendance, it felt massive, almost like a game behind closed doors. It was like a child wearing daddy’s clothes. The 60 odd in attendance were lost in swathes of seating and terracing.
It was a perfect day for football. Sunny and hot, one of those rare once-a-season t-shirt Saturdays in April. Whether the weather or the large empty stadium, it felt like being in a foreign ground. I was anxious at kick off as I always am if I’m goal-whoring. It usually backfires on me. The crap team just happens to have new management and new signings; the good team inexplicably can’t finish to save their lives, the pitch is too bobbly to play football etc etc.
The pitch was perfect, no excuses on that front. It was obvious from the outset the class discrepancy between the two sides. Southam didn’t look too bad technically, but were easily dispossessed of the ball, showing just how effortlessly skillful players at this level are, just for keeping possession. Leicester Road weren’t dirty but easily robbed them of the ball with a bit of physicality. Despite this it was still 0-0 after ten and I was resigning myself to a 2 or 3-0, which is about typical for my goal hunting expeditions.
The floodgates did eventually open though, with a tap in from a run to the byline. Two came from a throw in. Naiveté from Southam let Leicester Road throw the ball to their player inside the area who casually volleyed into the area to be nodded in by Stenson for his second. His hat-trick was a belter, smacked in after muscling off his defender after receiving a though ball.
Four, and Stenson’s fourth, was a pen and just before the break Holt rounded the keeper and slotted home.
The first half of the second half was frustrating, Leicester Road tried to walk it in rather than shoot, only to be tackled before firing the trigger. It looked like it could be one of those 5-0 half time, 5-0 full time jobs. Then on 68 Bennett smashed in a cross from close range for six. Seven, eight and nine were an eight minute hat-trick by McGlinchey. A tap in and two low finishes under the keeper from cutting through balls.
The playing on the right wing Sandhu looked impressive and scored number with a low smash into the corner. 10-0. Not only my first double figures home, my first 9 as well. Sandhu scored another still with eight minutes on the clock with the best individual goal of the game beating three players on route to the keeper, before tapping in.
The only slight disappointment was that Southam didn’t score – they had a few good chances and the Leicester Road keeper made some great saves. Their play was worthy of at least one, though. They weren’t as abjectly poor as an 11-0 reverse would suggest, just a bit lightweight and naive. It was great to see a good stuffing though. After the 23 minute dry spell after half time Road’s finishing was clinical and it could’ve been more.