Tuesday, 28 September 2010

AFC Emley v Northallerton Town Sunday 29th August 2010 F.A. Cup Preliminary Round

The Welfare Ground, home of AFC Emley was my destination today, another ground that has been on my hit list for a while. I found the ground very easily and after parking up I entered the ground. You find yourself in the corner of the ground with the main stand directly in front of you and the end to my right has three distinct covered stands, with the middle of the three having a higher roof than the other two.

It is fairly busy already, so I head down to the far end of the ground to start taking some photos of the main stand. You go past the dressing rooms first, then the stand itself and there is then an area of hard standing with two steps at the rear of it.

This then brings you to the opposite end to where you come in and this has hard standing which only runs just the goal, where a fence is situated to stop you going any further.

The side of the ground opposite the main stand is totally open as there is a cricket pitch, pavilion and other buildings beyond this. From this end you have a good view of the Emley TV mast behind the opposite end.

As I start to head back to the stand I run into a Leicester fan who seems totally non-plussed that there is another City fan here. I recognise Nick as a friend of another City fan I know and as we talk Alan, who I always see with Nick, turns up. They then work out how they know me and we discuss all things Leicester for a while and then head back to the main stand for the game.

Although it is bright it is pretty blustery and was making it difficult for both teams. It was fairly end to end in the first half but chances were at a premium with Northallerton having a goal disallowed for offside the nearest we got to a goal in the first half.

The second half was more of the same but still no real clear cut scoring opportunities. It was looking like one goal would settle the tie and the goal duly came on 67 minutes. The ball was put into the box from the right and the Emley keeper only pushed it out to Martin Butterworth who placed a fine volley into the top corner of the net. After this Northallerton had a couple of good chances but were thwarted by good keeping. Emley did have a succession of corners at the very end of the game but were unable to find an equaliser. The final whistle was met with cheers from the Northallerton officials and fans.
I said my farewells to Alan and Nick headed back to my car. Lovely ground and well worth the visit, but if you plan to come in the winter months, wrap up well!

More pictures of the Welfare Ground here.

AFC Emley 0-1 Northallerton Town
Att: 141
Admission: £4
Programme: £1.20
Badge: £3.75

Monday, 20 September 2010

Brodsworth Welfare v Louth Town Saturday 28th August 2010 NCEL Division One

With it being Bank Holiday weekend I’d decided a while ago to revisit Brodsworth which is situated on the outskirts of Doncaster. I’ve been to the Welfare Ground before in 2008 but I like it there and so was happy to go back. I parked up outside behind the Louth team bus and made my way to the turnstiles. Only thing being that they were not open, entry being through the car park this time. Programmes had already sold out, which was not a total surprise as Broddy have a reputation with their programmes!
By entering the ground here you find yourself behind one of the goals.

This end has hard standing running its total length and a breeze block wall separates you from the pitch.
I make my way anti-clockwise around the ground and the side of the ground is the same again, hard standing along the length of it. The floodlights are set back and there is a large area of grass running to the boundary of the ground.

The end opposite the one I came in has a three step covered stand behind the goal and the Louth fans have already set up their flags in here.

The next side of the ground has a seated stand sat astride the half way line with the dug outs set either side of it. There are two floodlight pylons on this side and a building towards the end of the ground, which I presume is a storage area. The seated stand has several rows of benching in it and some white boarding in a couple of places, for what purpose I’m not too sure.

As you reach the end you arrive at the dressing rooms, toilets and some further buildings, one of which is the tea hut. I head inside, buy a coffee and head back to the seated stand and wait the game.
Broddy were the whipping boys of the NCEL Premier for a couple of years and they have already concede 19 goals in four league games before today and with league new boys Louth having won all three of their games so far I was expecting only one result.
Louth were quickly into their stride and had their first chance after 4minutes but the striker blazed over the bar. Wes Thompson made the first of his many saves a minute or so later from a header by Fairburn. Broddy nearly scored themselves after a quarter of an hour when Wherry saved Davison’s embarrassment when he nearly put through his own goal. The windy conditions were making it difficult for good football to be played and both sides had difficulty at times with their passing. Thompson in the Broddy goal continued to pull off some good saves but he was beaten at last after 25 minutes. Broddy defender Sharp kicked Crossley of the visitors in revenge for an incident a moment or two before. The referee spotted the infringement, awarded a penalty to Louth and booked Sharp. Sam Smith placed his shot low and hard into the corner of the net, giving Thompson no chance. Louth extended their lead on 33 minutes when a free kick was played low into the box and Danny Stevens fire home. Only a great save from Thompson on the stroke of half time kept the scoreline at 2-0.

Broddy nearly had a scoring chance from the kick off in the second half when Sharp burst through on goal but brave keeping by Wherry kept him out. At the other end Thompson continued his good form and kept Louth at bay almost single handedly. The conditions continued to make it hard for both teams and we even had some rain just to make life a bit more difficult. Louth continued to have chances and they had a big shout for a penalty when a Broddy defender appeared to punch the ball away from a corner but the men who matter did not see it and so no penalty. No further score saw Louth run out 2-0 winners, a deserved victory on the day, but Broddy put in a gritty display and had a lot to thank man of the match Thompson for.

More pictures of the Welfare Ground here.

Brodsworth Welfare 0-2 Louth Town
Att: 54
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.50 (I think)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

England U17 v Australia U17 Friday 27th August 2010 F.A. International U17 Tournament

The England U17s team were competing in a 4 team tournament with Australia, Portugal (the holders) and Turkey with the games being played at Blundell Park Grimsby, Sincil Bank Lincoln and Glanford Park Scunthorpe. We decided to take advantage of the fact that Blundell Park is only a five minute drive to go and see England take on Australia. Blundell Park is the home of Grimsby Town and is experiencing Blue Square Premier football after the relegation from the League last season. I have not been here for a number of years despite it being on my doorstep and there are not many changes since I was last here. When we bought our tickets earlier in the day they were only available for the Upper Findus Stand but the Pontoon is also open when we arrive. To the left is the Osmond Stand, normally the home of the away fans but today empty except for some ball boys and various UEFA banners.

Opposite is the Main Stand with views of the River Humber beyond.

To the left of us is the Pontoon Stand and as with all the stands here it is an all seater stand. The corners at the end of the Pontoon are open with the floodlights standing here.

The Findus Stand is built on two levels with the lower level giving you a close view of the action. The Upper level gives you an elevated view of the action and as I’ve already said great views of the Humber estuary although it also means the winds whipping onto shore can make it a cold place to watch your football.

The crowd steadily builds approaching kick off and when the teams come out it looks a decent attendance. We have the national anthems and the game starts with England attacking the Osmond end. It is soon clear that England are technically superior to their opponents but we will have to wait to see if they take advantage of this. England create a number of chances but are unable to make any of them count until on 33 minutes Matthias Fannimo (West Ham) picks the ball up wide on the right, cuts back inside his man and fires into the bottom corner of the goal. Two minutes later England are awarded a free kick on the right hand edge of the box. The ball is played in and the keeper only pushes it to Courtney Meppen Walter (Manchester City) who shoots into the net. The Aussie keeper has looked shaky all game and will not be pleased with his punch here either. Although England continue to create chance there is no further score and so it is 2-0 at half time.

The game continues in the same vein with England on the attack and creating more chances, hitting the bar after just one minute of the second half. Two minutes later though an Australian player is robbed of the ball just inside the England half and the ball is played through to Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) who bursts into the box and puts a great shot past the keeper to make it 3-0. Sterling’s pace causes Australia all sorts of problems and the chances keep on coming but the chances are all wasted until 80 minutes. England are awarded a free kick just to the left of the ‘D’ and Nick Powell steps up to place the ball into the right hand bottom corner of the net for a final score of 4-0.

England played extremely well and could have won by a bigger margin with better finishing but overall they can be proud of their performance. Also well done to the public of Cleethorpes and Grimsby for backing the team tonight. The attendance of 2,040 was excellent.

More pictures of Blundell Park here.

England U17 4-0 Australia U17
Att: 2,040
Admission: £3
Programme: £2