Sunday, 3 January 2010

Game 31 - Spalding United v Grantham Town 1st January 2010 Unibond Northern Premier Division One South

Having been thwarted again on Bank Holiday Monday by the weather, my next opportunity for a game was New Years Day. A top of the table game at North Ferriby United was my first choice, but come the day the phrase PP appeared against the game on the Unibond site. Goole was my next choice but a pitch inspection soon put an end to that. My alternatives were also falling foul of the conditions but eventually I had confirmation of the Spalding-Grantham game being on from the Grantham message board. So I set off on the 65 mile trip to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Fields, home of Spalding United.

On arrival, I had a small scare as the Ground looked shut, but I then saw a ball in the air and heard players warming up. As you enter the ground the social club and tea hut are in the left corner and the ground is to your right. I make my way to the shop to the right and buy my programme and badge. There seem to be a number of different Club badges on various hats and coats and it becomes obvious I'm not the only one to have ended up here after most games in the area have been called off.
The ground has two stands to my right, but I make my way behind the goal that was in front of me as I entered the ground.

There are large areas behind each of the three sides of the ground without stands, and there is hard standing all round. As usual I make my way round the ground taking my photos, eventually reaching the side of the ground with the two stands. The first stand is a covered standing area, very smart it is too.

Further along is the impressive main stand where all the seats are. Underneath the stand are the changing rooms and the toilets.

The large building in the background is a converted water tower. The pitch looked ok and the only frost was behind the goal to the right of the ground. I got myself a coffee to help with the cold and went and took a seat in the stand. There was a good following from Grantham and they had taken over one side of the stand. The game kicked off and was very scrappy with both teams making mistakes, not helped by the very bobbly pitch, and there were not many chances being created by either side. Grantham were unlucky not to take the lead on the half hour as Saunders lobbed the keeper only to see it disallowed for a foul on the defender, who I felt was just muscled off the ball. No score at half time.
Grantham came out very strongly for the second half and a tactical change snuffed out the Spalding attack and allowed Grantham to take control of the game. The winning goal came on 56 minutes from a free kick. The ball was played to the far post where Grantham won the header for sub Carchedi to shoot only for goalkeeper Roberts to make a good save but Robinson reacted first to the rebound and put his shot high into the top corner. Grantham dominated the rest of the half and deservedly ran out 1-0 winners.
The temperature had dropped and I was grateful to get back in the car. An enjoyable visit although the game will not linger long in the memory.

Spalding United 0-1 Grantham Town
Att: 219
Admission: £7
Programme: £1.50
Badge: £2

More photos of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Fields here.

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