2020/21 in Pictures: Games 18,19 and 20

I kicked off February with a double-header, including an early kick off at a new ground very close to home, and another trip to Villaverde for a huge match in their battle to stay in the Tercera.

Game 1️⃣8️⃣

⚽️ Santa Elena CF 0-2 CD Nuestra Senora del Buen Consejo

🏟 Polideportivo Rodríguez Sahagún, Madrid

🏆 Madrid Tercera Regional, Group 6

📅 7.2.2021

💶 Free Entry

Ok, this might be the most obscure game I have ever covered on the blog. Tercera Regional is the eighth tier of Spanish football and neither of these teams are particularly close to mounting a promotion challenge into the seventh.

I was a little bit late for the 9am kick-off but a game in what is the closest ground to my flat was a good way to blow away the Sunday morning cobwebs.

The real joy of arriving late to a sparsely-attended game like this is that you genuinely have no idea of the score. I remained in the dark until Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo scored towards the end of the first half and another spectator confirmed it was indeed 1-0.

Sarah turned up during the second half and watched the rest of the game with me, making this first game we’ve been at together since Boxing Day 2019! The second half saw Santa Elena’s goalkeeper somehow escape getting sent off for coming way out of his penalty area and handling the ball, before the visitors made sure of their victory with a late second from the penalty spot. Remarkably, it was the first penalty I’d seen awarded all season!

Bar Watch: There’s nothing on the site apart from the pitch, so the only way I was getting any refreshments was by bringing my own!

Shop Watch: You’re joking, right?

Match Rating: 6.5/10 – Obviously the quality was quite low, even by the standards of what I’ve got used to watching, but it did contain enough incident to keep me interested.

Game 1️⃣9️⃣

⚽️ CD Canillas 1-1 Periso CF

🏟 Municipal Canillas, Madrid

🏆 Madrid Preferente, Group 1

📅 7.2.2021

💶 Free Entry

It was a quick dash after the end of the early game, catching a bus at the end of my street as far as Plaza de Castilla where I took the Metro over to Pinar del Rey, just around the corner from Canillas’ wonderfully compact ground, locally nicknamed the mini Highbury de Hortaleza. I knew entry was free but had seen the club Twitter account recommend people to get there early. I needn’t have worried, the gate was open and all I had to do was walk in and find a seat.

It did take a while for the game to get going after my arrival, not a huge amount happened in the early stages.

After half time Canillas grabbed the lead through a cool finish from Thiago. They had a number of chances to extend their advantage too, being denied by some excellent goalkeeping, while Periso hit the woodwork on a rare foray into opposition territory.

But just as it looked like Canillas would hold on for the victory, Periso received a sizeable helping hand from the referee in the shape of a slightly dubious penalty – my second spot kick of the morning! The Periso player made no mistake and despite what seemed like the longest three minutes of stoppage time ever, there were no further goals.

Bar Watch: Canillas has one of the best bars anywhere in the Madrid football pyramid, boasting plenty of space, an outdoor terrace, a classic fútbolín table and of course, the famous José Mourinho shrine. On an extremely cold Sunday morning, the cup of piping hot coffee I enjoyed at half time certainly hit the spot!

Shop Watch: Merchandise can be bought from behind the bar (I picked up a scarf on my previous visit last year) and this year they have diversified to include the obligatory club-branded face masks.

The obligatory club masks

Match Rating: 7/10 – The first half was a bit forgettable, but the second made the effort of getting there worthwhile. It’s also good to find out that one of my favourite lower league clubs are admitting fans in the current climate and that there’s plenty of space. I’ll definitely be back again this season!

Game 2️⃣0️⃣

⚽️ Villaverde 0-2 Móstoles CF

🏟 Estadio Boetticher, Madrid

🏆 Tercera Division Group 7

📅 14.2.2021

💶 €5

It’s a measure of how strange a season this has been that hitting 20 matches in February is a major achievement! In both of my previous seasons living in Madrid I’d hit that figure by October.

For this latest milestone I headed back to Villaverde for their relegation six-pointer against Móstoles CF, hoping to see a full 90 minutes this time! Their previous meeting in November descended into farce at half time when it was abandoned due to a previously undisclosed breach of Covid-19 protocol by the home team.

Móstoles flew out of the blocks and capitalised on some sleepy Sunday morning marking from Botti to take the lead through Rúben on five minutes. Ten minutes later, Flores ran through and held off the attentions of two defenders to double their advantage.

He went from hero to villain before the end of the first half however, as an off-the-ball clash with a defender was spotted by the assistant referee and he was shown a straight red card.

Despite having an extra man for the whole of the second half, Botti barely threatened to score one, never mind turn the game around. Pretty much every shot was hit straight at Móstoles’ goalkeeper and they had a relatively simple time of holding on to pick up their first win of the season.

Bar Watch: The kiosk was open for business as usual.

Shop Watch: The same as ever, scarves available from the kiosk.

Match Rating: 5.5/10 – It was all over after fifteen minutes and even with the man advantage for the entire second half, Botti never looked like mounting a comeback.

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