Rivacre Park – Vauxhall Motors

20 Feb

Vauxhall Motors – 1

Colwyn Bay – 0

Football Conference North – 26th December 2011

Ah, one of the great traditions of Christmas is the Boxing Day football. All accross the land fans brave god-awful transport conditions to head to their local team’s games. In the pub on Christmas day it was obscene just how many gifts were tickets to various sporting events were being discussed about, unfortunately usually to the big teams. Myself on the other hand had already made plans to watch proper football at Rivacre Park, the home to Vauxhall Motors.

I should say that I’m pretty sure that I’ve never attended a football match on Boxing Day. I’m unsure why, probably because Boxing Day was customary to head around the North Wales coast visting tragically now deceased elderly relatives. But it was rectified with the game on Boxing Day 2011.

Vauxhall Motors, with the possible exception of Chester or Wrexham, is the closest club to Colwyn Bay that plays in the English pyramid. Based in Ellesmere Port, the team started life as a work team in the nearby Vauxhall Motors factory (hence the name). Despite starting life as – what was in effect a Sunday League side, Vauxhall Motors became part of the English league system in & around 1970. From then, the club had remarkable success, moving to their own facilities in 1989 (welcoming a Bobby Robson managed England in a Friendly), and then slowly worked their way to the Conference North level of football. They exist at the level after having a number of reprieves, often doing just enough to stay up (usually in the form of guarantees that they can make all their fixtures), the club is existing in the lower-mid-table of the league at Christmas 2011, a few places behind Colwyn Bay.

Two (now) ex Colwyn Bay winger.

Colwyn Bay had been on a bit of a slump of Fernando Torres-esque proportions, only scoring once in 6 hours of football, so nerves were definitely on edge at my pick up point of The Park in Colwyn Bay. Nerves that weren’t put to right with a diet coke. I needed something stronger.

After 40 minutes in the car, I arrived at Rivacre Park. Hidden away down a lane, the football club is next to a social sports club, and there is no bar in the ground. So after a pint to settle the nerves, I headed into the ground. Rivacre Park is small, must be one of the smallest grounds at the Conference North Level, it’s tiny with two real stands – one terrace on one side of the ground, a seated section to the other side. With a directors box, club shop and tea bar in a couple of temporary buildings towards one of the more permanent fixtures at the ground – the changing rooms.

After a quick visit to the catering (I’ll be honest, the pies looked rather unappetising), a friendly chat with ex-Colwyn Bay winger John Lawless who played for the seagulls for a couple of seasons a few years back, and a minute silence for a long standing Vauxhall Motors supporter, the game kicked off.

Colwyn Bay's aerial threat meant they were better at the beginning.

Colwyn Bay’s problem recently – despite the lack of goals – have been conceding early. In many games I’ve seen this year, we’d have conceded in the first 20 minutes. So after 20 minutes, after equal pressure from Vauxhall Motors and Colwyn Bay, the fact that we were still on level terms was a considerable improvement. It helped as we began to play with a lot more confidence, with a lot of patient build up play, but without the killer final ball to get the net bulging. Motors had the better chance of scoring on the counter attack, hitting the post from Craig Mahon, but after 45 minutes the score was 0-0.

Vauxhall Motors were the much better side after the break.

Second half began and Vauxhall Motors began with a lot more verve, skipping past the Bay defence easily three times within the first few minutes, and forced the best chance of the half. A free kick lead to a double save by Jack Cudworth, although the second was unnesscessary – it was deemed offside, but that doesn’t take away from the fact it was a brilliant save. This brought the Seagulls into life, and was a stud’s width from scoring with Karl Noon’s chance going begging. But in the 91st minute Kevin Holdsgrove was allowed three shots in the area, the third trickling cruelly over the line, to send Colwyn Bay home from Ellesmere Port reeling from a sucker punch, and pointless.

Shame really, as we were worth a point. All credit to Vauxhall Motors, they played well and probably edged it over the 90 minutes. Still was an enjoyable day out.

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.

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