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Saturday 6 August 2011



When I saw this Pre-Season Fixture advertised some weeks ago, it appealed to me for a few reasons, about 15 years ago I was a regular visitor to the Drome the home of Loughborough Athletic FC(they have since dropped the Athletic part of their name now), infact I set up a friendly there with South Western League Club Cullumpton Rangers.

I rang Graeme Critchley, the Chair/Manager of Kimberley Town FC to ask if there was any chance of a list and he duly offered me a lift and to be at the pick up spot in Mansfield just round the corner from my house at 11.30am. Graeme had a few players short with holidays and work and one player playing five a side at Wembley, didnt know they had cut the pitch down that small!

We arrived at Kimberley's pick up spot and everyone was on time, so we left and on to Junction 26 of the M1 and it wasnt long before we went round the maze of factories to find the Drome at the back of Charnwood Golf Range.

The first person I was to meet was old friend John Belton, the Loughborough Sec who explained to me and this is where you hoppers may well be interested, they are the ONLY CLUB in the Leicester & Distrist League that issue a Programme at all HOME League Matches. They have a tea bat, so i had a coffee, whilst I looked round and looked at all the changes and improvements that have happened since i last visited this place. There is a extra stand on the enterance side as you go in, there is a stand on the far side, both with seats in, They have enclosed the ground, as before you used to have to get changed up near the Golf Range and duck golf balls coming towards you, now they have porta-cabins that are solar powered and eco-friendly..This is a ground that you Must put on your hit list, but ring up before and reserve your programme, as they only produce about 10 per game.

Well the match began in overcast conditions but flowed from end to end with no team really taking any advantage, though both keepers were called in to action to make vital saves before the 20 minute mark. The sun then came out and the visitors lapsed concentration for a second in midfield and before they knew it, the winger intercepted the ball and ran through the heart of the defence and smashed the ball home to the delight of a chap with 3 kids in front of me, who said"thats the first time I've ever seen Loughorough taken the lead" as quick as a flash, his little son replied said " have you ever seen them win dad" the poor chap went silent lol

Half Time came and Kimberley only had 2 or 3 subs to bring on, as Loughborough altered their side and the visitors threatened straight away for a equaliser, but as the game wore on, it looked likely that the homesters were going to hold on for that win. With 15 minutes to go, a break on the right in to the Loughborough box, saw the attacker bought down and the referee pointed straight to the spot, which the number 9 stepped up and buried in to the goalkeepers bottom left corner. Five minutes later and Kimberley had a bounce in their step and a player went down and a penalty appeal was turned down, which now the home side were playing on the break. With just five minutes to go, Kimberley were awarded a second penalty and the same taker hit the ball in exactly the same position as the one he had scored but this time the keeper matched him with a superb save to deny him scoring.

Must say a great afternoon spent with some great people and nice to catch up with some old friends

Loughborough FC Website

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