Friday, 29 June 2018

Longlevens - Saw Mills End

Longlevens AFC
Saw Mills End

Groud Number: 776
Friday 29th June 2018
Longlevens 0-3 Cirencester Town


The club was formed in 1954 and initially played in the North Gloucestershire League, starting in Division 4 and winning it in their first season. In 1968, they made the switch to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, staying there for over 40 years and winning Division 1 in 2009. They earned promotion to the Gloucestershire Senior League in 2011 and started the most successful period in the history of the club.  A 9th place finish was a good solid debut season, but in 2012/13 season saw Longlevens crowned champions. The following season they repeated the trick and this time were promoted to the Hellenic Division 1 West. A third successive league win saw them promoted to the Hellenic Premier in 2015 where they remain to this day. Credible finishes of 10th and 12th were followed up with a record high finish of 9th last season.

Longlevens are fairly young participants in the FA competitions. They've had two seasons in the FA Cup - reaching the Preliminary Round on both occasions. In 2016 they beat Bedfont and Feltham before a 5-1 defeat to Farnborough before beating Fairford Town 5-1 in a replay before a narrow 1-0 defeat at Hanwell Town this season. They've played in the FA Vase for a season longer, but it took them until this season to get their first win. Ardley United were defeated 4-2 before a comprehensive 8-1 win over Tytherington Rocks. The run ended in the 1st Round with a 2-1 defeat at Southern Counties East League champions Sevenoaks Town. Local honours include the Gloucestershire County League (Les James) Cup which they won in 2014 with a 3-0 win over Rockleaze Rangers.


Having only finished last season on the 9th June thanks to the CONIFA World Cup, I had a much shorter break than usual. Those 19 blank days had mainly been filled with the World Cup, with me doing my usual trick of watching every game that I could. I first spotted this game in the middle of my time off and mentioned it to fellow hopper Anwar. I needed him on board to make it happen, and thankfully, despite him not deciding until the day before, he decided to go for it. There were a couple of notable names within visitors Cirencester Town's squad. Former Wycombe player Charlie Griffin was their boss and ex-Cheltenham Town midfielder Michael Pook was also playing for them. The evening before, I watched England v Belgium with both sides putting out much-changed sides and the Belgians winning 1-0. On the day of the game, it was a brutally busy day at work and hopes of an afternoon nap were diminished as I had to work until 2 after getting up at 4 am. I only had am an hour at home, catching up online before leaving at 3.30.

Half an hour later I was picking up Anwar in Aylesbury. The journey was only 70 miles but it took two and a half hours thanks to woeful roads and Friday night traffic. We got to Gloucester at 6.30, going to a place called Muchachos where I had a Los Chillis Locos chicken burger meal for a fiver. For the money, it was absolutely fantastic and one of the best meals I have had whilst out groundhopping.  The ground was only a few miles away - or so I thought. It turned out that Google sent me to the wrong location where what I presume where the old ground was. There was a social club and club signs, but a helpful lady pointed us in the right direction. With the correct information, we had a few more miles to travel, getting there at 7.25. It was a blessing in disguise then, that the game kicked off at 7.45 rather than the advertised 7.30. I had a nice time to relax before kick off, getting some pictures of the ground and catching up online.

Cirencester Town started with a pretty strong squad but there were not many chances in the opening exchanges. The visitors won it thanks to a prolific 10-minute spell towards the end of the half. First, on 34 minutes, last season's leading marksman Ben Whitehead converted a penalty following a foul in the area. On 40 minutes, it was 2-0. A good ball found Whitehead and his low shot on the turn from around 10 yards produced his and his sides second. Two minutes later, it was game, set and match. The initial shot hit the post but Alan Griffin was on hand to scramble the ball home. Longlevens forced a series of corners just before halftime but they lacked the cutting edge to score. The second half passed off without much incident, but it was spent in the pleasant company of a group of groundhoppers who also supported Cheltenham Town and made up a healthy crowd of 79. We left at 9.45, getting to Anwar's at 11.10. I was home by 11.35 and listened to the Two Mikes while typing my blog. Next up for me is Fleet Town v Woking tomorrow. Initially, I thought that I'd have Anwar for company, but he had family stuff to deal with and quite rightly gave that priority. Thankfully, as a revisit, it's not too far from me and there are a few people that I know that will be in attendance.


SAW MILLS END is a pleasant place to watch football. There is just the one stand, this is fairly long and has a couple of rows of seats at the front as well as standing behind. It's nice to see a solid structure rather than a metal stand. The rest of the ground is open hard standing. Food and drink at the ground appeared quite basic, cans and bottles in the bar, but I didn't check out the food. You'd be better off going into Gloucester city centre where there is plenty of choice, though the ground is quite a walk from there.


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