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Saturday 2nd April 2016 ko 14.00

Birmingham FA Saturday Amateur Cup Final


PEUGEOT MILLPOOL 1 (Welland 80) Matthews sent off 70 (2nd Booking)

No extra time, Cadbury won 4-2 on penalties

Att c50 @ Birmingham FA Ground, Ray Hall Lane, Great Barr

Entry & Programme £3


This is one of those that fits the category of “Passed it hundred times, so needed to visit,” but there’s a real twist! On one hand I’d certainly never travelled along leafy Ray Hall Lane, in Great Barr, but if you’ve ever travelled southbound down the M5 just south of its intersection with the M6 you may well have spotted two football grounds. One is FC Premier who rather appropriately play in the Premier Division of the Birmingham and District League, the other is the Birmingham FA Ground.

There are of course no lack of County or FA Grounds. Hamworthy United play at the Dorset County Ground, and North Berkshire Leaguers Uffington United play at the Witney and District FA Ground. Less usual is the FA Ground with no anchor tenant.

The Birmingham FA HQ fits that category, and the large clubhouse-cum-offices behind the goal shows the facilty’s day-to-day use. But for the ground behind’s irregular use, its a fine, well-appointed ground, with just the lack of floodlights preventing it fulfilling Step 5 ground grading.

So for the groundhopper the lack of games played here, made it an easy choice for a Saturday, and let’s face it, when the burger van can provide your girlfriend with a hot chocolate you can’t really criticise the staging can you?

In any case I do like a cup competition were the two sides don’t normally play each other. Cadbury’s reserves play in the Midland League Reserve Division, and get to play at the frankly wonderful Cadbury Recreation Ground, adjacent to the chocolate factory in Bournville. Peugeot Millpool play in the Coventry Alliance Division One, and are a breakaway club from Peugeot FC, having once been their 3rd XI.

And despite the differing backgrounds, the two sides were extremely well matched. In fact you could argue that for 70 minutes they were rather too well matched! All that changed with the dismissal of Millpool’s Steven Matthews, the game opened up and 99 times out of 100 Adam Welland’s goal for Millpool would have won them the cup.

But with the last play of the game Cadbury swung in a corner, and there was Luke Ellett to head home to equalise. 15 minutes and a penalty shoot-out later Millpool had gone from winners to runners-up. That was cruel, very cruel and it’s to their great credit that they took their defeat phlegmatically.

It was a highly satisfying afternoon’s entertainment, but as is the groundhopper’s wont, I found myself looking up FC Premier’s fixtures. It never ends….