Lleida Esportiu B v Amposta, Saturday 30th May 2015, Noon.

1-lleida B

Whilst the Boro’s play-off defeat had brought the domestic season to an end in England  there was still plenty of football going on elsewhere and a three day break in Spain on the way back to South Africa gave me the opportunity to take in some games.

Jen and I were staying in Tortosa, a small town about seventy-odd miles from Barcelona. There wasn’t any information in the papers on the fixtures in the fifth tier Primera Catalana leagues but I was able to glean enough from the internet to find a game in nearby Lleida. Nearby that is, if a two hour drive counts as nearby.

We drove over and occasionally through a variety of scenic hills, passing Riba Roja on the way. I recognised the area as I’d stayed there with my son around ten years ago on a fishing holiday. As usual he caught more than me but he generously allowed me to share the glory in the photo with the catfish.

I think that's a Ricky Hatton hat.

His hair is better these days.

Lleida is a lot bigger and busier than Tortosa but we made it through the Saturday morning traffic and reached the satnav destination of Ave Dr Fleming without too much trouble. Lleida’s main stadium, the Camp d‘Esportes was in sight and we soon found the practice pitch nearby where the B team matches take place.

There wasn’t anyone taking money so we just sat on one of the two small stands down the side of the pitch. It wasn’t surprising that it was free entry as there was an unimpeded view from all four sides. Most people had chosen to sit on the benches where we were but there were maybe twenty or so fans watching from the elevated area behind the goal to our left and a handful more who had parked opposite us and were watching from a roadside position.

Fans behind the goal.

Fans behind the goal.

There was a fella who had a stack of team sheets and he very kindly gave us one. It turned out that he was the media bloke from the club and we chatted a little about Lleida’s season. He asked us why we were there and seemed impressed that we had no reason other than an enjoyment of watching football. I kept quiet about the two hour drive from Tortosa as I felt that might just tip us into the weirdo category.

Teamsheet

Teamsheet

Lleida were in Italy strips with visitors Amposta in black and white. The fixture was about as meaningless as they come with it being the final game of the season and with neither side in contention for either promotion or relegation.

The view from the benches.

The view from the benches.

Both teams played some decent football in the first half, keeping possession well, but Lleida had the edge. Ruiz opened the scoring after ten minutes when he headed home from about six inches out. Another header, this time from Noel doubled their lead before Trota put the hosts three up just before the break.

As there didn’t seem to be any facilities at the ground we nipped around the corner to a bar for some half-time refreshment.

We rarely do this in South Africa.

We rarely do this in South Africa.

I watched the second half from behind the goal. It was a decent vantage point but the game suffered from the frequent substitutions. At this level teams can bring on up to five replacements and both sides took full advantage of the rules to give as many players as they could a run out. Lleida even changed their keeper.

View from behind the goal.

View from behind the goal.

Becerra scored a late consolation for the visitors, but it was of little consequence. The Amposta players didn’t even bother grabbing the ball and sprinting back for the restart.

Dugouts to the left.

Dugouts to the left.

The victory left Lleida in a mid table finish with Amposta a point ahead of them but still well-shy of the play-off positions. After a lunch that was late by our standards but probably still counted as breakfast time to the locals we headed back across the hills to Tortosa.

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