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