Match Details: Leeds City 0 – Bardsey 1 (WYL Prem)
Destination: Adel War Memorial Ground, Church Lane, Adel, Leeds, LS16 8DE.
Competition: West Yorkshire League, Premier Division
Kick Off: 6.15pm
Attendance: 25-40 (head-count – peaked just before it started chucking it down around half-time!)
Admission/Programme: No admission charge or programme issued
Directions: Public transport – Number 1 (Holt Park bound) bus from outside Leeds railway station to the Crescent on Otley Road in Adel, then 5 mins walk (right onto Farrar Lane/left onto Church Lane/ground on right). Pretty big car park available, though lots going on & did fill up by 6.30. Biggest crowd tonight was present for the bowls. Either that or they were playing 25-a-side.
Other info: k/o time was 6.15, but as is fairly usual for midweekers in this league, kicked off around 15 mins late. There was another game going on on ‘pitch 2’ next to the main pitch [Leeds City OB Reserves v.Alwoodley III in the YOB League Div4 apparently], which started around 7pm, so must’ve been in near darkness by the end. I guess there’s probably just one more week(?) of night games in the WYL before it goes to Saturdays only for the winter.
Off The Pitch: The War Memorial Ground is a sizeable complex, located next door to the mass of ‘Bedquilts’ open park pitches in Adel. Principally, it is the home of Adel Cricket Club (formed millions of years ago in 1876….possibly B.C.), but as well as two cricket pitches (one of which overlaps with football), also houses bowls, outdoor hard-surface tennis courts, a floodlit 5-a-side football pitch, something for hockey, and two football pitches. Oh, and a social club. The main football pitch is railed off, and has dugouts, but no spectator cover of any sort (and thus the only real drawback of the venue, as a few large trees are the nearest you’ll get to shelter from the elements).
The original Leeds City of the early 1900’s has nowt to do with the current Leeds City FC, who are a relatively new club re-using the old name. The name ‘Leeds City’ was picked by the current lot when Adel FC, Abbey Grange, and ladies team Leeds City Vixens merged six years ago, in order to reflect the ambition of the new outfit. Since then, the mens senior side have progressed from the Second Division to the Premier Divsion of the West Yorkshire League, and are currently doing pretty well for themselves, being regarded as one of the top teams in the league at this moment.
On The Pitch: Last season, Bardsey won this league with relative ease and suffered just 2 defeats. This season, after 3 games they had won none, drawn 2 and lost 1. So I was curious to see what was going on with them this year, against Leeds City who had finished last season third top and were unbeaten so far this season. Slightly puzzlingly, Bardsey seem to have the same management, the same core players, yet looked very out of sorts to begin with. For the first half hour the home side were far better and looked most likley, with some wizardy wing magic, and quality cross-field diagonal passing. Every time the ball was played in behind their full backs, Bardsey were all over the place and City looked dangerous. Every time Bardsey had a goal kick, the ball went straight into touch. They were practically inviting the home side to score. Yet it was Bardsey who managed the only goal of the game just before half time thanks to one moment of real quality (left wing breakaway/pin-point cross/perfectly timed onrushing far-post header), and from then on played with a lot more confidence and composure. As is often the case in the West Yorks League, this was a highly competative and enthralling game to watch. Leeds came close to an equaliser near the end, got a couple of corners, but Bardsey held out. Bearing in mind that one of their two defeats last season was away at Leeds City, maybe the Bardsey renaissance starts here. Having seen them in full flow when they were capable of absolutely destroying some of the lesser teams last year, I certainly wouldn’t bet against them.