Russians (AD Alcorćon)

After dealing with the throbbing masses at the Bernabeu I was looking for a soothing antidote and some thing well…a little less taxing. Looking down the Tercera and Preferente fixtures in the build up to my trip a number had caught my eye. The military style planning that has become my modus operandi had lead me to the conclusion that the circular Metro Sur (Line 12) to the south of the city is something of a football enthusiasts dream. My internet perusing had determined the line offered at least five decent looking football ground of varying playing standard, so Sunday’s match would be one of them. The metro line has relatively easy access to Getafe CF of the Primera, AD Alcorcón of the Liga Adelante , Segunda B clubs CD Leganés and CF Fuenlabrada as well as Tercera Leaguers CD Móstoles who play at an impressive looking 14,000 seater stadium called the El Soto.

Eyeing AD Alcorcón’s website it indicated that their B team’s Tercera Division game against Royal CD Carabachel would be played at the main Santo Domingo stadium. With the visitors being the 13th oldest club in Spain and junior in age to only Real and Atlético in Madrid, the decision was made.

Agrupación Deportiva Alcorcón have a relatively short history having only been formed in 1971. The club spent its first thirty years bouncing in between the fourth tier of Spanish football and the regional leagues. As recently as 2000/1 the club made its bow in the third tier. After losing in the third tier play offs in 2008/9, the following campaign was by far the best of the Potters (Alfareros) brief existence. Not only did the club achieve promotion to the second tier it also beat a Primera Division club in the Copa del Rey, in their first ever match against top flight opponents. Unbelievably a sold out Santo Domingo witnessed little Alcorcón humble mighty Real Madrid by four goals to nil. A quick perusal of the visitors line ups confirms it was no weakened team, Raúl, Van Nistelrooy, Van der Vaart, Marcelo, Guti and Benzema were some of the names that were embarrassed that night. In the last two seasons the Potters have finished in fourth and fifth places in the Segunda meaning their humble Santo Domingo stadium has been close to staging Primera Liga football.

The Santo Domingo was opened in 1999 and has a modest capacity of 5,880. It has a sizeable main stand but the rest of the stadium is uncovered seating.

Upon arrival to the ground there was a game underway on the 3G pitch in front of the main stadium which also had a stand. To the right of the main stadium is an athletics track with a big main stand and a football pitch in the middle. It soon became clear that the B teams game was not going to be in the main stadium but in yet another smaller venue behind the stadium, Anexo 3. A reasonable amount of people were going into the ground which was equipped with a decent stand and a 3G pitch. The princely sum of €10 gained admission to the match and a full colour teamsheet was readily available. Alcorcón sported a smart yellow and blue kit but the visitors excelled themselves in the sartorial elegance stakes with their white shirts having a large version of their attractive dagger shaped badge as its focal point.

The match itself was a very decent and competitive encounter with a high level of skill on display. With the first half looking like it would remain goalless, the home captain, Rober, rifled home a cracking half volley on the stroke of halftime to separate the sides at the break. The referee was a busy man, theatrically brandishing yellow cards at seemingly every foul. It was a hotly disputed decision midway through the second half that turned the game on its head. With Alcorcón now dominating play the visitors were penalised for a free kick which they vehemently contested. The referee booked three Carabanchel players, the third being a second yellow for Gallardo which, of course, was swiftly followed by a red one. The perceived injustice seemed to galvanise the visitors who piled the pressure on the home defence. The only way they could stop the ten men of Carabanchel was by fouling and they quickly rattled up six yellow cards themselves. Some desperate clearances meant Alcorcón kept their slender advantage intact. That was until the 81st minute when the one cross in they failed to deal with was bundled home by the visitors lanky front man Gazapo. It was just rewards for their sterling efforts with a numerical disadvantage and a point each was a fair reflection of the proceedings.

I will return to see a game at the main stadium one day and before I forget why is this piece called Russians? Well the Alcorcón gateman, who spoke a little English, asked me if I was Russian. Having been mistaken for many nationalities on my travels, mostly for being German, this was indeed a first. After we laughed at the misunderstanding he was most welcoming although I do wish they wouldn’t tear the corners off tickets!

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Tercera División Group 7 – Sunday October 20th 2013

A.D.Alcorcón B (1) 1 (Rober 45)
R.C.D. Carabanchel (0) 1 (Gazapo 81)

Attendance: 255 (at Estadio Santo Domingo Anexa 3)

Alcorcón B:

1. Tito; 2. Marcos; 3. Fran; 4. Sergio; 5. Hamadi; 6. Adrián; 7. Antón; 8. Rober (c); 9. Chema; 10. Jesús; 11. Jaime.

Subs: 12. Pepe; 13. Alberto; 14. Fran Garçia (for 7,86 mins); 15. Alberto González (for 9,77 mins); 16. Mario (for 10,86 mins).

Carabanchel:

25. Rubio; 5. Sampa; 17. Cañas; 2. Olalla (c); 18. Viti; 22. Teto; 8. Álvaro; 24. Gallardo; 16. Cristian; 19. Charly; 26. Gazapo.

Subs: 1. Andres; 23. Alberto (for 16,60 mins); 27. Cuevas; 28. Butra; 29. Amine (for 26,90 mins).

Red Card: Gallardo (Carabanchel)

Yellow Cards: Marcos, Fran, Sergio, Adrián, Chema and Mario (all Alcorcón); Gallardo, Olalla, Teto (all Carabanchel).

Gallery

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Solitude Standing (Cliftonville)

Formed very precisely on September 20th 1879 by a young Belfast businessman John McAlery, Cliftonville are the oldest club in the whole of Ireland. Originally playing at Cliftonville Cricket Club in Oldpark Avenue, The Reds moved to Solitude in 1890 and the arena soon also became home to Northern Ireland’s international matches. The centre piece of the ground is the main stand on the west side of Solitude. It looks considerably older than its 1950 vintage, replacing the original main stand which was lost in a fire following a Linfield v Glentoran cup tie staged at Solitude in January 1949. It holds some 2,500 people but tonight the top tier, with its multi coloured seats, is off limits, the lower tier is packed with the clubs most vocal supporters.

In the corner is the Whitehouse, the now disused former changing rooms and boardroom. It looks on rather forlornly and one can only hope the club can gain funding to renovate the house into a museum of club history. The reason for the dereliction is in the modern facilities built under the new Cage End stand in 2008. The old Cage End was a cavernous covered terrace, today’s replacement is a rakish modern seated stand with fine views of the surrounding hills. The away end opposite had seats installed in 2001 replacing the old covered Bowling Green End terrace. The side opposite the main stand has a huge television gantry but is otherwise a grass bank, off limits to supporters. However, this open side has lovely views to the east.

Prior to kick off the tannoy issues a stern warning over sectarian and racist chanting, and it is uplifting to note that from both sides nothing but passionate support for their respective teams is heard.

Last season Cliftonville cantered to the Premiership title, their first success since 1998. The stunning nearby wall mural has had a timely update to commemorate the title success. On the field The Reds seize the initiative and they are ably led by skipper Ryan Catney. His play is full of quality, incisive passing, making the ball do the work, galvanising his colleagues. It is surprising that the Reds take more than an hour to register on the scorecard. Marc Smyth bundles home after a skirmish in the Portadown area. Two minutes previously Cliftonville should have taken the lead when Chris Curran was upended in the penalty area. However, visiting keeper David Miskelly makes an excellent save from the usually reliable Joe Gormley’s spot kick.

I wondered if the Reds would rue that missed kick as Portadown’s rugged but effective play meant they were never out of this contest. With just seven minutes remaining the visitors started what was to be a smash and grab raid on the reigning champions. Firstly full back Chris Casement blasted in an equaliser and then just into injury time the impressive Gary Twigg, who had given a fine display of the art of centre forward play, cracked home a winner in front of delirious away supporters.

Having won their opening three games of their title defence the defeat clearly shocked the home side but the quality throughout the team should soon steady the good ship Solitude. Security regulations mean a delay in getting out of the ground at the end of the game. What was initially a considerable annoyance gave way to a genuinely heart warming moment, the detained Cliftonville supporters sportingly applauding their impressive visitors off the field. It summed up what is truly great about this club, history and sportsmanship of the highest order.

Danske Bank Premiership – Friday August 30th 2013 (19.45 pm)

Cliftonville (0)1 (Smyth 68) Portadown (0)2 (Casement 83, Twigg 90)

Attendance: 2,000 (approx, yet to be confirmed)

Cliftonville:

12. Conor Devlin; 2. Jamie McGovern; 3. Ronan Scannell; 11. Martin Donnelly; 13. Joe McNeill; 16. Marc Smyth; 17. Ryan Catney (c); 19. Joe Gormley; 20. Chris Curran; 23. Tomas Cosgrove; 27. Liam Boyce.

Subs:

6. Paddy McNally; 7. Ciaran Caldwell; 10. Stephen Garrett (for 27, 73 mins); 14. Diarmuid O’Carroll (for 19, 81 mins); 15. Eamonn Sedyak (for 3, 56 mins).

Portadown:

1. David Miskelly; 2. Chris Casement; 5. Chris Ramsey; 6. Garry Breen; 7. Peter McMahon; 9. Darren Murphy; 10. Kevin Braniff (c); 22. Johnny Black; 21. Emmett Friars; 18. Gary Twigg; 19. Neil McCafferty.

Subs:

12. Matthew Paget; 13. Billy Brennan; 19. Matthew Rooney; 23. Nathan McConnell; 24. Orman Okunaiya.

Yellow Cards: Casement, Ramsey, Friars (all Portadown).

Gallery

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