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Tuesday 13th March 2012 ko 7.45pm

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

NETHERTON UNITED 2 (Jackson 55 64)

PINCHBECK UNITED 0

Att 87 (h/c) on their new floodlit 3G pitch

Entry FREE

No programme

Tea 80p

Bacon Roll £2

I often get asked by non-hoppers what will I do when I run out of grounds to visit? The answer is that I won’t run out, it’s a question of how low a standard will I accept, or how far am I prepared to travel?  What is finite is the number of grounds with floodlights I can reach on a midweek evening. As a consequence this highly unusual fixture required my attendance. It also means I’ve still not reduced my list of do-able floodlit grounds!

Netherton play in a rather well do district of Peterborough. Formed in 1991 the club has as its home the Westwood Grange Playing Fields. Until recently this was another rather unprepossessing Park venue. Now there’s a floodlit 3G pitch in a cage adjacent to their normal grass base, and the League have ruled that Netherton can use the 3G if the visitors agree. This was the first floodlit fixture at this venue.

Pinchbeck had every reason to acquiesce as they’re chasing the title, and are keen to avoid a fixture pileup which could harm their title chances. They’ve withdrawn their application to the United Counties League though, principally due the fact that Spalding’s Sir Halley Stewart Field, where they were going to play their home games, is now earmarked for demolition.

What pleasantly surprised me was the quality of the facilities on offer. The clubhouse is large and beautifully appointed although the food service was very slow due the staff’s insistence on cooking everything to order. Yes the pitch is in a cage, but there’s a spacious standing area behind a rail along all of one side, and half of behind one goal. If this is the future of the grass (plastic?) roots game, it won’t be a bad thing.

The game didn’t spark until Ash Jackson opened the scoring after 55 minutes. The quality was without doubt, I forgot that I was watching a “Step 7” game but both sides cancelled each other out. A few tackles made me wince, that the referee chose to deal with a telling off rather than a card, but once the goal came, Pinchbeck who featured ex-Hull City player Matt Hocking in their ranks, looked very second best. As they pushed for an equaliser, Lee Clementson punished them on the counter-attack. The visitors strived, but other than hitting the crossbar, never looked like challenging their hosts.

I’m not finished in this league for the week. I’ve just spotted Ramsey Town are at home this Thursday. It would be rude not to……..