Friday, 31 December 2010

Wisbech Town

This a report on a visit to Fenland Park, home of Wisbech Town from 1947 to 2008. My visit was made for a pre-season friendly against Dunstable Town in August 2007 after I had found out that this was likely to be their last season there. I'd heard so many good things about he ground it was one I was determined to see before it disappeared.

The turnstiles bring into the ground in the corner of one of the ends. I go straight ahead, clockwise, and on this side of the ground there is a decent sized covered seating stand.

After the stand there is two step terrace with a barrier at the back with an overgrown area behind this.

This leads onto the opposite end to where you come in and there is a covered terrace running nearly the whole length of the end.

This then brings you to the real reason why everyone loved this ground, The Fenman Stand.

The "stand" is in fact a large Dutch Barn and the story is that a director bought two of them for his farm but only needed one and so it found it's way to the football ground. It really was a magnificent site and I make no apologies for posting several pictures of it.

As you can see from the next picture, the elevated section at the back of the stand was closed when I visited. You can also see the roof structure really well and the barrel shape of the roof is also visible.

There are two floodlights rising up through the roof, which can be seen more clearly on the next picture.

I know have reached the end where I came in. There is an almost identical covered stand as at the other end. As you look at it from the Fenman Stand there is a Clubhouse in the left hand corner and in the opposite corner there is a Board Room and the Club Shop.

To be honest I didn't really care how good the game was now as I was in hopping heaven with this fantastic ground full of character. However I was also in for a treat in this respect too. Wisbech took the lead against their opponents but were then blown away by the pacy Dunstable team who went on to score five unanswered goals. A really enjoyable game on a fantastic ground.

More pictures of Fenland Park here.

Wisbech Town 1-5 Dunstable Town
Att: 150
Admission: £3

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Glasshoughton Welfare

I've had a bit of a disaster and I've only gone and lost the photos off my computer somehow of the three new grounds I've recently visited. So unfortunately there will be no pictures of Darlington Railway, Nettleham or Marske United. So this report is about a visit I made to the Glasshoughton Centre, home of Glasshoughton Welfare, in August 2008, when they entertained Yorkshire Amateurs in NCEL Division One.
Now I actually had a problem finding the ground due to my own stupidity. I convinced myself that the ground was on my left as I drove along Leeds Road where it is situated. On my sixth cruise down the road I was getting rather frustrated at not finding the ground! Something made me look on the opposite side of the road to where I was looking and this actually enabled me to spot the ground. I'd only driven past it five times! I quickly parked the car and walked towards the turnstiles trying to look like I knew where I was going and hoped no one would ask me why I had been driving up and down the road outside.
The turnstiles are situated at the corner of the ground and the Glasshoughton Centre, which houses the dressing rooms, bar and toilets is to the right, sitting along the half way line.

Immediately in front of me is one end of the pitch and I make my way clockwise around the ground. This end has a railing running along it and this actually runs round the edge of the whole ground. There is hard standing and a grassy area behind it.

There is a small covered stand directly behind the goal.

This brings you to the side of the ground opposite the Centre, and the hard standing continues with a covered seated stand with benches on the half way line.

There is a fairly large grassy area behind all this with several mature trees standing within the ground itself.

The opposite end to where I came in has more hard standing but is pretty narrow with houses backing up to the fence.

The next picture gives you a better overview of this end of the ground.

This now brings you back to the side of the ground where all the facilities are.

The Glasshoughton Centre is "for healthy living, learning and leisure" and holds fitness and yoga classes for the local people. Inside today, a Bank holiday, there are only a few football fans in search of something to eat and drink and so you will be pleased to hear I took the healthy option of a cool fruit juice. Oh and a Mars Bar. Well I did walk round the ground!

I don't remember too much about the game, but the hot weather made it tough going for both teams. Glasshoughton scored from the penalty spot to level the scores and that was the final goal of the day. I did enjoy the trip despite my problem of finding the ground and everyone I met were friendly although I did get one or two odd looks as I made my way around the ground taking my photos.

More pictures of The Glasshoughton Centre here. (Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, this was before I had my current camera.)

Glasshoughton Welfare 1-1 Yorkshire Amateur
Att: 81
Admission: £4

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas To Everyone

I'm not sure I'll get anything else written up before Christmas, so I'd like to take the opportunity of wishing everyone a very happy festive holiday. Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to visit the blog, it's nice to know someone reads it!

I'm hoping the weather relents and I'm able to get some games in over the holiday period, and if you are planning any trips yourselves, take care.

Finally I'll leave you with a photo of sunny Cleethorpes from a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Appleby Frodingham v Brodsworth Welfare Saturday 16th October 2010 NCEL Division One

After a few weekends of revisits, including a great win for Leicester against Scunthorpe, a new ground beckoned in the shape of The Brumby Hall Sports Ground, home of Appleby Frodingham.

It also gave me another chance to see one of favourites in the NCEL, Brodsworth.
The ground is situated not far from Scunthorpe town centre and only a few minutes walk from the station. I parked up and after taking a few photos outside made my way into the ground.

There was no one taking admission and the only people around seemed to be players or coaches so I carried on to take my photos inside.
You enter and find yourself about a third of the way along one side with all the facilities contained in the Sports Centre building to the right. I front of the building there is a hard standing area with the rear of this covered by the overhang of the building. There is a tea hut at one end of this area with the changing rooms and toilets running along the rest of the building.

I head anti clockwise and head towards the far end. This has hard standing running along the whole length with a fence separating the ground from the road that leads to it.

The far side of the ground has further hard standing along it’s length with a combination of fencing and a hedge enclosing the ground.

Behind this side of the ground you can see the new leisure centre that is being built, at a cost of £21 million.

The end where the car park is sited has a green temporary fencing which is taken down when the cricket season is under way, with the cricket square behind it.

Back to where I came in I go past the entrance and there is a new seated stand which as I understand has only been here since the beginning of the season.

I now go and get a hot drink and ask about paying my entrance, getting a programme and a badge. I’m informed that the guy that does this has not arrived yet and not to worry, he’ll find me!
I’m asked by one of the Appleby coaches if I’ve got all the photos I want, and I have a chat with him for a few minutes. I then get talking to one of the Brodsworth coaches and he gives me the low down on their current situation and how he seems the game today. He is fairly optimistic they can win especially with the return of one of their experienced strikers.

The guy with the badges and who collects the entrance money turns up and the reason he is late is because he has been to the early kick off at Glanford Park where Scunthorpe hosted Doncaster. As I take a seat in the stand I meet two other ground hoppers who have also been to the Scunthorpe game, I think they came from Norfolk for their double.

The game saw a late replacement in goal for Frod when regular keeper Lee Crookes failed a fitness test and ex-outfield player and current committee member 42 year old Darren Fogg stepped in between the sticks!
He need not have worried though. Broddy have only scored seven goals in thirteen matches this season and to be honest they did not create many chances today to add to their tally, and to be fair the Frod defence did an excellent job of protecting their debut keeper.
It only took 4 minutes for Frod to breach the Broddy defence and it was Dale Leathley fired past the keeper from just inside the box. After 10 minutes I was fearing the worst for Broddy but their opponents finishing was poor at times and some great saves from their keeper kept the score at 1-0 at half time.

The second half saw the pattern of the game stay the same with Frod missing an awful lot of good chance. Broody came back into the game gradually and indeed could have had an equaliser themselves if they had finished better. It took Frod until the 82nd minute to make the game safe with the second goal of the game. James Hare played a neat one-two with Tom Finnigan before slotting home inside the near post.

The win put Frod five points clear of Broddy who remain rock bottom with just one point with a minus 39 goal difference.
A really enjoyable game and a very friendly welcome from the officials of Appleby Frodingham which is very appreciated.

More pictures of The Brumby Hall Sports Ground here.

Appleby Frodingham 2-0 Brodsworth Welfare
Att: 41
Admission: £4
Programme: £1
Badge: £3

Winterton Rangers v Nostell Miners Welfare & Barton Town Old Boys Saturday 25th September 2010 NCEL Double Header

Winterton changed their kick off time for today's game to 12 noon because the Clubhouse was hosting a wedding reception later in the day. This made a double possible with several games within striking distance of West Street and even as I travelled to Winterton it was a toss up between Barton and Brigg for the second game.
I arrived in glorious sunshine but there were not many cars in the car park and it looked like the early start had put off some regulars.

I made my way into the ground and was immediately greeted with “another City fan” in response to my Leicester fleece. This was from Rob, the author of the excellent “All Roads Lead Somewhere” blog who I had seen on the Non League Matters forum was attending today. We had a chat and then went to get a coffee from the temporary “tea hut” set up in the bar. Rob was going on to Nettleham after this game and so I added to my knowledge of the non league as I knew a little bit about Nettleham but Rob filled me in on the their ground.
I made my way into the stand and left Rob to take more photos of the game, joining me in the stand after half time.

The game was not the best I’ve ever seen, the early kick off seemed to affect the players. The winner came on 79 minutes from Nostell’s Lee Maturine. Rob has written a good report here.

Winterton Ranger 0-1 Nostell Miners Welfare
Att: 60
Admission: £5
Programme: £1

So I bid farewell to Rob and although I’d said I was definitely going to Barton, as I approached the roundabout where I could still go to either of my choices, I was wrestling with which game to go to. In the end I stuck with my original choice and turned off to Barton.

I arrived in plenty of time allowing me to grab something to eat and read the programme. I wandered round the ground to take my seat and listened to my Ipod whilst waiting for the game to start. Once again the crowd looked well down on the average attendance, obviously not a day to inspire local fans.
How this game ended up 0-0 I will never know. After only four minutes Ponty had missed two glorious chances and this set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. I don’t like to criticise official but I have to say that this was not one of the best performances I’ve seen from a set of officials. A disallowed goal just before half time despite the fact that a Ponty defender played the ball last denied Barton was typical of the decisions made all afternoon.

Despite Barton being reduced to 10 men on 65 minutes Ponty could not take advantage and the game ended 0-0. This ended a run of 46 games without a scoreless game. The result at Brigg? 3-3. Enough said.

Barton Town Old Boys 0-0 Pontefract Collieries
Att: 74
Admission: £4
Programme: £1

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Frickley v Burscough Saturday 18th September 2010 Evo-Stik Premier League

Westfield Lane, Frickley was a ground I’d had on my radar for quite a while. I took the opportunity to take in the game against Burscough and so I found myself in South Elmsall! This identity crisis is due to the fact that the football club is actually named after the local Colliery which shut in 1993. The identity crisis continues all day as the ground is now called the Tech 5 Stadium, although on some signs there is no stadium name.

As for the Club, well the identity crisis continues as they appear to be renamed Frickley AFC, but everywhere you look, the old name of Frickley Athletic dominates.

As I take my photos outside I get some really odd looks from the two ladies who are collecting for the Salvation Army; I don’t think they understand why I would want to take any photos here!

The turnstiles bring you into the side of the ground that has the large covered seated stand which is to your right as you come in. But I head left and there is the “Big Fellas Social Club” in the corner with the Club Shop just past this. This end has a wide three step terracing with a fence running the whole length behind which is a grassy bank with a further fence at the back of this.

At the start of this end there is also a disabled enclosure that is covered.

This leads you to the far side of the ground which has a four step terrace running along it’s length. About a third of the way down the terrace is covered and bears the legend “The Frank Hill Stand”. There is a conglomeration of pillars and floodlights but the view is still pretty good.

The cover ends and there is more open terracing leading you to the end of the ground.
This has a narrow two step terrace with a fence at the back and again, like the opposite end, a grassy area with another fence at the back of it.

There is then an area of terracing with that brown fence again and some good old fashioned crush barriers.

The terracing opens up as you approach the large DMJ Stand. Towards the back there are some more turnstiles which look like they are fairly new as the wooden area are untreated.

There is also a tea hut before you reach the stand and although I did not have anything to eat the rush to the hatch when they opened and the food I saw being served gets the thumbs up from me and the supporters who did. Here is the menu (this is for Uwdi of the excellent blog “Where’s The Tea Hut”).

The large stand is quite simply brilliant. It reminds of stands from years gone by and whilst not quite as large as the Main Stand at Filbert Street, it does remind me of it. The combination of a standing area in front of the seats was a common sight at football grounds when I first was taken to games by my dad but I have not seen many as big as this in my travels on the non-league scene.

I make my way up to the seats which are basically benches painted in blue and marked out in white numbers.

This also gives you a good view of the colliery spoil heap behind the ground that has been converted into a country park.

So to the game. I’m afraid this will not be one that stays in the memory for long. The only goal of the game came on 31 minutes when Burscough’s Darren Byers burst clear and thumped his shot against the post and then reacted well to put the rebound in off the post. Burscough had a couple of good chances to extend their lead but good saves from the home keeper kept the score at 1-0 at half time.

The second half saw a few chances for both sides but the finishing today was dreadful and there was no further score.
This really is a great ground to visit, I hope you pick a better game than me though.

More pictures of the Tech5 Stadium here.

Frickley AFC 0-1 Burscough
Att: 183
Admission: £8
Programme: £1.50
Badge: £3.50