I've been to West Street once before. Mind you, it was December 1981 when Winterton lost 2-1 to Skegness in the FA Vase, and of course I was very young. Now while I don't remember too much about the actual game, I do remember that it was raining. Strange how some things stick in your memory.
You enter the ground and all the buildings containing the dressing rooms, Clubhouse, kitchen and toilets are to your left. I spend a couple of minutes chatting to the raffle ticket seller who has me down as a Dinnington supporter until I explain I'm just visiting. He then asks if I post on the Kempster forum and when I answer in the affirmative he tells me there is another lad from Grimsby here who I guess is Borogaz. He looks for him, but he cannot see him so I miss out again on meeting Borogaz.
I make my way anti-clockwise around the ground and there is a wide two level terrace all the way down to the smart covered stand that is situated in the centre of this side. This has three levels of standing and covers the whole of the terracing at this point.
I carry on the end of this side and the area behind the goal is the same as the side but only one level of standing but with the same smart fencing. Behind both of these sides of the ground there are training pitches and the one behind the side stand is in use tonight for both teams to warm up on.
I carry on to the side of the ground where both the main stand and dugouts are situated. The smart fencing that has featured so far has now disappeared and has been replaced by various different styles of fencing that belongs to the houses that are situated on this side of the ground.
I'm now heading back to where I came in and the impressive building ahead spreads along the whole end. You can get a beer in the bar but there is also a kitchen selling hot food and drinks and you can sit inside to enjoy your purchases. Having finished taking my photos I head back to the seated stand to wait for kick off. One point of interest are the dugouts. They are actually sunk into the ground which results in very little obstruction for the fans sat in the seats behind.
Winterton made the running at the start of the game and could have taken the lead after 5 minutes when the ball zipped across the face of the goal twice in the same move but evaded the Rangers forwards on both occasions. It was a lively start and Dinnington started to make chances themselves and were unlucky not to score when they had a shot that hit the underside of the bar and in the ensuing melee Rangers managed to clear the ball. On 36 minutes Dinnington did take the lead when Rosser ran on to a great through ball and cleverly beat the Rangers defender before shooting past the keeper. There was no further score before half time and Dinnington went into the break with a slender lead.
I made my way to the kitchen and grabbed a coffee and a badge and sat down to read the programme. Texts from Helen, who was at Selhurst Park, informed me that City was 0-0, but Palace had had Davis sent off for an elbow in the box but somehow, no penalty was given.
I wandered back to my seat for the second half reflecting that the ground had come a long way since I was last here and that it was a very tidy ground.
Winterton changed their tactics for the second half and were rewarded on 55 minutes when Liam Wilkin levelled the score. Rangers had the upper hand and Dinnington were finding it hard to make any real threats on the Rangers goal but on 71 minutes a good move was abruptly stopped when a Rangers defender hacked down Morris in the box and a cool penalty from Pete Smith put Dinnington ahead for the second time. The game was end to end now and both sides had more chances to score.Just as it looked like Dinnington were going to hold out, a brilliant cross was met by an equally fine header from Wilkin to send the game into extra time.
Within a minute of the restart Winterton were awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge in the box and Wilkin stepped up to complete his hat trick and score the decisive goal. There was only going to be one winner from here on and the game finished with no further score. Things did get a bit heated towards the end with the Dinnington manager taking exception to ball being knocked away after Winterton had conceded a free kick. A bit of frustration kicking in to be honest.
An enjoyable game in the end and with City getting the three points at Palace too, a very enjoyable night.
More pictures of West Street here.
Winterton Rangers 3-2 Dinnington Town