Saturday 26th November 2016 ko 14.00
Notts Senior League- Premier Division
NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY 2 (Fletcher 31 81p)
UNDERWOOD VILLA 2 (Voller 39og Thompson 78) Wright sent off 71 (foul language)
On one hand if you want to complete the Notts Senior League, you’ll need to pay the Clifton Campus a visit, and it gives the club precisely what they need, a good facility at which to play its games. On the other for the spectator its a one-sided plastic pitch in a cage, utterly bereft of character; save for the Uni’s corporate branding you could be anywhere. It is though where the needs of the participatory league and those of a spectating league collide.
Let’s face it, for a fixture with an attendance this low there is no reason for it to be mandatory to produce a programme. In fact I only discovered this one because in an attempt to get the team lineups I stumbled into the home dressing rooms and discovered the little pile of paper! And once you remove the necessity to worry about what’s in it for the spectator the whole ambiance changes.
It was odd to walk around an almost entirely deserted campus. The modern buildings took on a virtually brutalist character, not quite Fritz Lang, but with more than a touch of Bauhaus. Thankfully the game took the eye away from the surroundings.
It was a game where contrasting styles produced an excellent game, Underwood Villa were the more traditional Step 7 side, playing the percentages, committed and organised. Large university teams can be a real mixed bag with enthusiastic amateurs augmented with players getting an education after leaving professional clubs’ youth set ups.
Here, Villa did well to firstly equalise after a flying home start, then to take the lead after losing Callum Thompson to a volley of verbals aimed at referee Phil Wootton. In the end the Uni’s late equaliser was a choker for Villa, but probably justified on the balance of play.
I strolled through deserted buildings back to the car pondering my surroundings. Thank heaven not all Step 7 grounds look like this, but then should they all be aimed at someone like me?