Match Details: Leeds Carnegie 1 – Rossington Main 2 (NCEL D1)
Destination: Throstle Nest, Newlands, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorks, LS28 5BE.
Competition: NCEL Division One
Kick Off: 3pm
Programme: £1 (16 pages / no adverts!)
Directions: Currently sharing Farsley’s Throstle Nest ground, Leeds Carnegie’s home is just under a mile from New Pudsey rail station, or around half a mile from the main Leeds-to-Bradford Road (B6157), which is served by the number 72 bus every 10 minutes or so. From the rail station, turn right into Owlcotes Lane, then right at the end of here into the main Bradford Road. After about 300 yards, turn left into New Street. Part of the way down New Street, you will pass a big ‘Go Outdoors’ camping superstore on your right. If you get lost, this would be a good local landmark to ask for directions to. Then Newlands is a right turn shortly after the Go store, with Throstle Nest being a couple of hundred yards further down here on the left. And if getting the bus, alight at the Bradford Road/Old Road stop in Stanningley, then take the next left turn off Bradford Road into New Street, and follow directions as above.
Off The Pitch: This was Leeds Carnegie’s last game before resigning from the NCEL at the end of the season, due to the fincancial inafforability brought on by funding cuts in the current climate. Affiliated these days with Leeds Metropolitan University, the club was founded in 1970 under the name Leeds & Carnegie College FC, and entered into the Yorkshire Football League that same year. Although they worked their way up from the Third Division to the First quite quickly – via winning the Second Division championship in 1972-73 – subsequent relegation and a dip in general performances prompted them to leave the Yorkshire League in 1979 and join the Northern Universities League instead. Here they remained for a couple of decades, until in 2004 it was decided that the club join the English football league pyramid via the West Yorkshire League. As John Hall writes in today’s programme: “We set about the current journey with the aim of providing our students the opportunity to play at the highest level possible whilst studying. Obviously we have always had students playing at a semi professional level, but I wanted to create a programme for our players to stay together as a group while doing so.”
2005-06 had seen Carnegie finish as champions of the West Yorkshire League’s Premier Division. However, due to their ground not being acceptable for promotion beyond this level, Carnegie initially remained where they were. This is turn prompted them to arrange a groundshare agreement with Farsley Celtic, with Carnegie subsequently accepted into the NCEL in 2007-08, and having shared Farsley’s Throstle Nest since then. Their first season in the NCEL saw them finish a very creditable 8th in Division One. Then in 2008-09 they finished third, narrowly missing out on promotion to the NCEL Premier Division, being just one point behind the second placed club and two behind the champions. This is as high in the NCEL that the club has finished, with the current 2010-11 season seeing them mid table in 11th place. The club has always been made up of either current or former students, and equates to being the Met’s first team squad. And while some people are of the opinion that such teams belong in separate college leagues, Carnegie’s time in the NCEL has shown that they can certainly compete well in a step5+6 league. And if they leave a legacy, it will also include a positive way of playing the game, as the club’s main aims were to play attractive football, and always to focus on the playing side rather than arguing with and whinging at officials – a refreshing change indeed! From here on, I expect Carnegie will revert to playing in a universities league again, although there is also the possibility that they could return to the West Yorkshire League at some stage without denting their finances too much.
On The Pitch: The match itself had nothing riding on it, and was played on a non-football friendly hard pitch, so t’was unsurprisingly no classic. However, there was some decent football on display, with Carnegie wanting to finish on a win, and Rossington not just content to make up the numbers. Carnegie took the lead just before half-time through Paul Harrison, but were done after the break by two Ross goals in quick succession, both scored by Sam Utley. Overall, a very competative game though, and a draw may have been the fairer result. The closest we came to that was when, following some good pressure from the ‘home’ side, a goalbound effort from a corner was blocked on the line by their own player, seemingly by his arm while trying to get out of the way. At the end, the Rossington players formed a guard of honour and applauded the Carnegie lot off, which was a nice touch.