Saturday, 7 December 2019

Loughborough - The Drome

Loughborough FC
The Drome
James Logan Way
LE11 5FJ

Official Website
Twitter (infrequent updates)

Ground Number: 894
Saturday 7th December 2019
Loughborough 1-3 Old Aylestone
Leicestershire and Rutland Intermediate Cup


Due to there being a lack of information on the internet, it's quite tricky to pin down the history of the club. This is the third club to adopt the moniker 'Loughborough FC' and represent the town. They were originally Lutterworth Athletic, the second club to take that name. The year of formation is unclear, but records show that they joined the Midland Combination D1 in 1998 which sat at step 7 of the Non-League pyramid before it was absorbed into the modern-day Midland League. They remained there until 2006, the highlight being a 4th place finish in 2002, the year after they changed their name to Loughborough FC. After leaving the Midland Combination, they dropped down to the North Leicestershire League. Records show that they finished bottom of the Premier Division in 2011, dropping down to Division 1 but winning promotion back up two years later. They ended their time in the league with two runners-up spots and a third-place finish. In 2016, they joined the Leicestershire Senior League Division 1 (step 8) starting badly with a bottom-placed finish but enjoying a credible 7th place finish last season. They have endured a terrible start to the season, sitting bottom of the league after losing all 11 games.


Back on November 25th, I was scratching my head as to where to go on this spare Saturday. It should have been to Bury v Wycombe Wanderers in a league game, but a rogue owner and lack of regulations by the EFL had seen Bury FC go bust. I wanted something cheap after a few pricey games. My initial thought was something local but with nothing new that I fancied, I got in contact with fellow hopper Chris. My initial thought was Steeton, whilst he preferred something out east. In the end, we did neither, eventually agreeing on Loughborough FC. It was a decent but non-floodlit ground, perfect for a rare Saturday game for Chris as he is usually otherwise engaged. I woke up on the day at 8 and after passing a couple of hours away I left at 10.15. After a stop for a brief rest and to check if the game was on, I met Chris at 11.30. There was a slow start thanks to the long-running roadworks on the M1, but things soon sped up. We got to Loughborough just before 1 and headed for a local chippy called 300 Spartans. Our food took ages to cook, but when it did, the chicken meat, gravy and chips was great and the portion was huge. We then headed for the ground, which was a bit tricky to find and down a terrible road, surface wise. When we got there though, the ground was excellent with plenty of character and a friendly welcome.

Loughborough were in woeful form, their only victories coming in this competition when they won 3-2 at Sileby Athletic and then beating Forest East on penalties following a 1-1 draw. That said, aside from the end of August when they lost 12-0 at Sileby Town and 6-0 to Saffron Dynamo Reserves, they'd kept scorelines mainly respectable, last time out losing 5-2 at Holwell Sports Reserves. Visitors Old Aylestone were going well in the Leicester and District League Premier Division. They were in the midst of a seven game-winning run, winning at IQRA 6-1 last time out and beating Magna 73 Reserves 7-1 in the game before that. The game kicked off at 1.55 with visitors Old Aylestone in orange bibs as both teams had bought a blue and white kit. It was the sort of thing that an officious referee would have taken great delight in packing up and going home, but luckily, the man in the middle was keen to get it played. Old Aylestone took the lead after five minutes, capitalising after Loughborough failed to clear their lines. The lead was doubled six minutes later when #11 finished from around ten yards after slack marking. The visitors could have made it three after 23 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after a trip but the resultant spot-kick was blasted over. Loughborough were still having chances, but it was Old Aylestone that were a lot physically stronger and therefore saw a lot more of the ball. The hosts did pull a goal back on 40 minutes, a shot hit the post and Rida Koultouma followed up from a few yards out. The second half commenced with Old Aylestone well on top and it took a couple of good saves from the home keeper to prevent them from extending their lead. They did eventually make it 3-1, tapping home at the back post around 15 minutes from time. The rest of the game passed without incident.

It was disappointing that the attendance numbered just 5 people, as it's a great ground to visit. It does suffer from location though, being a bit isolated. The club was really friendly though, especially the guy in the tea hut, who gave Chris and I a book about the Football League history of Loughborough from the late 1800s. It had plenty of interesting stuff in it and I'll look forward to reading it later. As it was an early kickoff, we left around 4, but I still had to stop for petrol, heading to the local Morrisons. I wasn't too chuffed to be paying 4p a litre more than home, but I had a tank that needed filling. We listened to the football on the way home, the most notable result for me being Ipswich drawing with Coventry which meant that they could no longer overhaul Wycombe's lead at the top of League 1. I dropped Chris off at 5.20 and listened to more football on the way home. Manchester United eased their relegation fears with a win against their out-of-sorts rivals Manchester City. I stopped at Lidl on the way home, picking up some cans for the evening. In before 7, I caught up on my YouTube subs and watched The Chase and I'm A Celebrity whilst typing my blog. The evening would conclude with Match Of The Day as ever, before the horrors that a 4am alarm on a Sunday morning could bring.


The Drome is an excellent venue for step 8 football. There's cover on two sides comprising of three small stands, seating for around 30 and standing for around 50. There's former cover behind one goal too which has succumbed to ageing. This sums the whole ground up overall, but that's what makes it so great. There's a very basic tea bar, crisps and drinks but the great welcome makes up for it. There's not much nearby, maybe facilities at the local rugby club, so it might be worth stopping en route.

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