2019/20 in Pictures: Games 29-32

The public holiday Friday turned into an unofficial Día del Fútbol Modesto and a great day out, while the following two weeks see me visit two new grounds and watch my last game in Spain before I head home for Christmas.

Game 2️⃣9️⃣

Ironically enough my 6th December this year started off in the same place as last year.

Villaverde’s Estadio Boetticher is one of Madrid’s hidden gems and it’s somewhere I’ve really enjoyed my previous visits to and always mean to go to more often. But this season, the thrill of ticking off more new grounds has meant I’ve not really made too many repeat visits.

It also doesn’t help that Botti are struggling badly. Although they produced a brilliant comeback the last time I saw them (against Flat Earth on DDFM3) the following few weeks have brought more misery and very few points.

This game was no exception as Alcorcón B were far too savvy for them. They took the victory with a goal in each half while Villaverde never really looked like scoring. It’s sad to see them in such a state after enjoying an excellent season last time out. Less than halfway through the campaign and they already look resigned to relegation.

As always though, the Bottis Verdes were brilliant and the players made sure to come over and thank them for their backing. They deserve a bit more to cheer about in 2020.

Match Rating: 5/10

Match Cost: €10💶

Game 3️⃣0️⃣

After a stop at a bar near Zarzaquemada station for some drinks and an excellent bocata de lomo y queso and a death-defying trip across a roundabout to get there, we finally arrived at Leganés’ training ground and B team stadium.

It’s a very nice set-up at the Instalación Deportiva Butarque, certainly one of the more pleasant B Team grounds I’ve visited with a nice modern stand and a kiosk

While some of the crew headed off to El Álamo for their third game of the day, I had to call it a day. It was a great day out and it was a pleasure to see a few people I’ve been chatting to on Twitter for ages, but hadn’t actually met before, particularly Chris Marshall, visiting Madrid for the weekend and Roddy Cons. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Roddy’s excellent podcast. The football podcast market is becoming a bit over-saturated, especially at the top end, but this, as the name suggests, is about real people and their relationship with football.

Match Rating: 7/10

Match Cost: €10 💶

Game 3️⃣1️⃣

Sunday 15th December started off in quite a complicated fashion. I was planning on heading down to Pinto for their game against Villaverde, but a disruption to the Madrid Cercanias service left me marooned at Chamartin. Upon finally reaching Atocha and meeting up with my fellow matchgoers, we waited in vain for a train which would allow us to make it to the Estadio Amelia de Castillo in time for kick off.

Once it became obvious that this wasn’t an option, a back-up plan was swiftly formulated and we were soon heading north again, this time to the Campo Deportivo Hortaleza, home of Sporting Hortaleza in the Madrid Preferente, the fifth tier of Spanish football.

After a drink in the excellent bar, we headed out for kick off and we soon had goals. Visitors FC Villanueva del Pardillo are currently top of the Preferente and made a flying start, scoring two goals inside the first seven minutes and then adding a third before the 20 minute mark.

The hosts were unable to recover from this early onslaught, though they gave it their best shot. They created plenty of chances, putting the visitors’ goalkeeper (in his rather unorthodox get-up of mismatched green goalkeeper shirt – with number 27 no less – and white shorts and socks) under repeated pressure.

One particular weapon was a long throw into the box, shades of Stoke City specialist Rory Delap, which the visitors’ defence really struggled to deal with. It was no surprise that when Sporting did pull a goal back, it was from one of these missiles being launched into the mixer.

But any hopes of a second half comeback were swiftly extinguished within minutes of the restart as the visitors restored their three goal lead with an excellent free kick. Amazingly that was it in terms of goals – I had felt my 2019 record of six goals in a game was seriously under threat but 4-1 it stayed until the end despite Sporting’s best efforts which included a couple of goals ruled out for offside.

Match Rating: 7/10

Match Cost: Free! 💶

Game 3️⃣2️⃣

One more game in Spain before I head home for Christmas and being brutally honest, it’s not one which will live long in the memory.

Santa Ana’s ground is in a picturesque enough location, with the mountains to the north of Madrid visible in the background. But on a cold winter afternoon it offers little protection from the elements, in this case a swirling wind which also made it difficult for the players. The pitch soon began to cut up (an after-effect of heavy rain on Friday) and the game became something of a war of attrition.

It always seemed inevitable that one goal would decide it and we didn’t have to wait too long, the luckless Álvaro putting through his own net to hand Flat Earth the lead. They never looked like losing it and should have doubled their advantage in the second half, wasting a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and hitting the post.

Match Rating: 4/10

Match Cost: €10 💶