Mayfield Sports Centre
North West Counties Football League
Therefore, an unlikely Non League Day seemed relevant this weekend and I took the chance to attend another Football Club on my door step, this time in the form of Rochdale Town Football Club.
After dropping its' policy on only church going Catholics representing the club, St Gabriels began an upward spiral of success, climaxing in the Club buying the current ground in which they play now. It wasn't until 1990 that St Gabriels joined the North West Counties Football League and also dropped the 'Saint' prefix.
Between 1990 and 2005, Castleton Gabriels unfortunately began to struggle both on and off the pitch and after selling their ground to Rochdale Mayfield RLFC, they rebranded themselves as Rochdale Town, returning as tenants to their original ground (after a short hiatus at Oldham Borough FC).
So with their new identify, Rochdale Town FC have been striving to compete in the NWCFL and are beginning to build a firm foundation for the future.
The stands of the stadium are of various sizes and heights with the typical concrete pillars and metal bars surrounding the entire perimeter of the pitch. What I found pleasantly surprising was the main stand which had seating for 100 - 200 spectators and with a fairly new roof overhead.
The dugouts for both teams meanwhile were 50 yards apart which I found oddly interesting, however the home team took the right dugout giving them the advantage to speak to the assistant referee more...clever!
The match wasn't the prettiest, even if it is a Level 7 fixture in the pyramid where the ball was bobbling, the tackles where flying and the finishing and technique wasn't clicking, but Litherland started the better of the two teams, hitting the cross bar twice and some superb pressing in the middle and running onto clever through balls. Midway through the first half Litherland took a deserved lead through a low cross into the box and a flick on by the Striker.
It seemed apparent that Litherland would continue to push for a second but the Town midfield began to get a grip of the ball, keeping it on the ground and with a tidy low cross into the box, of their own from the right, a parried shot by the keeper bounced off an unsuspecting Town striker into the net to level the score.
After half time, it was very much the same of end to end chances, but after riding their luck for so long in the first half, Rochdale Town grew into the game and eventually got the winning goal, finishing 2-1.
Litherland REYMCA are now not only situated outside of the Liverpool area, but now also outside of the play-offs.
With teams below them, such as St Helens, Bacup Borough and Ashton Town with games in hand it may be a struggle to squeeze into them but I am learning that the North West Counties Football League is unpredictable and on any day, anybody can beat anybody and usually by a massive scoreline too.
As for Rochdale Town, they sit comfortable in midtable, not really threathening the play-offs as of yet..if at all this season, but they still have quality about them to progress.