2012/13: Evo-Stik League First Division North – Wakefield v Salford City


The Raipd Solicitors Stadium – home to The Wildcats and The Bears

Saturday 06 October 2012 (11:00)

Wakefield v Salford at Belle Vue (or The Rapid Solicitors Stadium, in its sponsored form), will for some mean I’m here for a rugby league fixture between two Super League teams. However, today it is the football clubs of these locations in Yorkshire and Lancashire that are doing battle.

Wakefield returned to the city after playing last season at the home of Ossett Town and to date this season has been something of a struggle for The Bears. In August they played four fixtures and failed to score in them all. There were league defeats against Skelmersdale United (2-0), Trafford (7-0) and Ossett Town (3-0) and a FA Cup exit to Garforth Town (1-0). September continued in depressing fashion as Radcliffe Borough beat Wakefield 4-0 in the league, but was followed a week later with a first victory 2-1 at Lancaster City in the FA Trophy – Preliminary Round. Despite this first win, New Mills came to Belle Vue and took the points with a 5-3 victory; leaving Wakefield rooted to the bottom of the league with the dreaded Eurovision nil points. However, two away trips in their next league outings saw The Bears grab their first league points of the season with a 2-2 draw at Clitheroe and a 2-1 win over fellow-strugglers Goole AFC, condemning West Yorkshire neighbours Garforth Town to the bottom spot. That game at Goole on 25 September was the last league action for Wakefield as they ended September with a FA Trophy (First Qualifying Round) loss at Burscough. In midweek another cup exit was endured as a second-string Wakefield team lost 5-1 to Ossett Town in the West Riding County Cup – First Round.

Salford City currently sits seventh in the table, with ten points from the five league games they have played. The Ammies started the season slowly with an opening day home draw against Curzon Ashton, followed by a 5-3 defeat at Farsley AFC. However, they have turned this around with three successive league wins against Bamber Bridge (2-1), Goole AFC (3-0) and Lancaster City (1-0). In the FA Cup, City enjoyed a mini-run with victories over Hemsworth Miners Welfare (5-1) and Lancaster City (4-0), before losing 3-2 to FC United of Manchester. Exit from the FA Trophy (Preliminary Round) came at the hands of Skelmersdale United.

The league table suggests that Salford must be favourites to take the spoils, but Wakefield have got league points on the board in their last away two outings, and will be hoping to pick up their first points at home. Fingers crossed for a cracking “War of the Roses” clash…

Saturday 06 October 2012 (22:00)

Wakefield fans must have guessed it was going to be a difficult day when the first two clearances of the match by The Bears keeper Neil Bennett, were nervously dealt with. The first was sliced and the second was sent direct into touch, which brought hoots of derision from the travelling Salford fans. Wakefield never really recovered from this tentative start and in the opening forty five minutes were always on the back foot. The home team conceded the midfield area, which allowed Salford time on the ball to set up attacks at will. Osebi Abadaki was getting down the wing for The Ammies and from one of his crosses the resulting shot from Steve Yarwood was well saved by Bennett in the Wakefield goal. Indeed in the opening forty five minutes, Yarwood and Abadaki were the main threats for Salford, keeping the Wakefield defence on the back foot. However, despite all their possession, Salford were unable to turn their dominance into goals and the teams went in at the break all level at 0-0.

Salford City on the attack.

Salford started the second-half in the same vein as the first and it was no surprise that the visitors took the lead on fifty five minutes. Osebi Abadaki again got wide and this time his cross was converted by substitute Rob Kinsella, after a scuffed effort with the cross reached him. The lanky Kinsella was making his presence felt, although the Wakefield faithful were unhappy with the way he ‘put himself about’. Undoubtedly the visitors deserved their lead, but as the second-half continued they were unable to add to it, despite chances falling to Steve Yarwood, Jimmy Holden and Danny White. Salford were nearly made to pay for their profligacy when Wakefield had an excellent opportunity. However, The Ammies killed off the game with just less than ten minutes to go. Having only just come on, substitute Gavin Salmon was presented with a chance after a defensive mix-up which allowed him to slot home, following an initial save by Bennett. Salmon seems to be a bit of a cult figure with the Salford fans, who loudly saluted the goal with a chorus of “…feed the fish and he will score…” Salford weren’t done though and on eighty six minutes, defender Andrew Heald scored from a corner to complete a 3-0 win.

It was a poor display from Wakefield which leaves at the wrong end of the table. The Bears just never seemed to get into the game at all and allowed the visitors all the room and possession. Given that, Salford had enough quality in the team to take advantage and record a third away win which moved them up to sixth place. Wakefield have yet to register a point at home and today certainly tested the patience of the home fans – difficult times for The Bears.

Suggested Websites – the dribbling code

The dribbling code website is best summed up by its tag-line, “…West Yorkshire based Non-League Football Blog…”  This well set out site provides a series of posts which record the authors travels around the West Yorkshire Non-League scene – covering an A to Z of clubs, from Altofts FC to Wakefield FC via Liversedge FC (and many others). Each game featured has a number of excellent photographs, as well as match details, ground directions, programme and admission costs and notes of events both on and off the pitch. All useful for those wishing to know more about the non-league match day experience.

The authors motivation for the site is, “…equal parts self-indulgence and something of interest to the non-league ground-hoppers – this is an attempt to catalogue some of my own experiences, and hopefully encourage more grass roots football attending along the way…”

In describing themselves, the author sees himself as, “…something of a refugee and recent convert to non-league, having grown increasingly disillusioned with what was on offer both on and off the pitch at the higher levels. I do still attend a fair few league games – I have irreversible emotional ties to the club I’ve been attached to since I was a small boy, plus I’m intending to eventually get round all 92 grounds. However, I find myself increasing drawn to the non-league matchday experience instead…”.

Like many other regulars to non-league games, the author feels drawn to football outside the top 92 clubs because in his words: 

  • It’s better value for money
  • You’re not in any danger of getting treated like part of a police training exercise
  • Everyone’s involved because they enjoy it, which tends to make things a lot friendlier (sometimes you really do feel like you’ve been invited round to someone’s house for the afternoon, rather than turned up in enemy territory about to do battle)
  • You feel like you’re contributing to essential grassroots football on a wider scale, rather than a small pool of unnecessary bank balances
  • Once in the ground, you can do pretty much as you please.
  • Oh, and (whisper), the entertainment on the pitch is often better too…”


Visit this site and also your local non-league team – you will be glad you did.

The website can be found @ http://thedribblingcode.wordpress.com/