Friday, 28 January 2011

Grimsby Borough v Staveley Miners Welfare Saturday 15th January 2011 NCEL Division One

This was actually my second visit to Grimsby Borough's brand new home, The Bradley Football Development Centre or The Grimsby Community Stadium or The Bradley Community Stadium. I'm not sure to be honest what the correct name is, but after several years of playing home games at Brigg and Barton I don't think Borough care what the name is. Situated on the outskirts of the town at Bradley, there is a decent car park and I do not have too much trouble finding the ground. Well, I do live here!

I'd been earlier in the week for the visit of one of my favourites Brodsworth ( a 7-0 defeat for Broddy, ouch!), but had saved the pictures for today so I could take advantage of the daylight. The visitors on Tuesday night are bottom of the league, but today's opponents are sitting on top of the pile in Division One and I expect a much stiffer test for Boro' today.
As I arrive, Boro's reserve team are playing a home game on the 3G floodlit pitch next to the ground.

There are a good number of people watching the game before entering the ground but I have pictures to take and after a few minutes watching the game I make my way to the turnstile. On my the short journey I rub into Borogaz who posts on the Non League Matters board. I don't get a chance to introduce myself as he instantly says "you are Reynard The Fox". My Leicester fleece had given me away! We have a brief chat until he is called away to carry out one of his many duties on a match day, but we are to meet up later in the stand where I learn he is one of those "paper chasers" (only kidding Gary). But don't worry readers, he's a thoroughly nice bloke despite this and it was lovely to meet him at last after several near misses over the last year or so.
You enter the ground in the corner, with all the facilities down the left hand side of the touchline.

I decide to head anti clockwise around the ground. The area behind the goal at this end consists of single level hard standing that runs the length of the end with a railing that runs round the whole ground. The wooden fence is topped off with mesh fencing to keep the ball in the ground.

This brings you the side of the ground where the seated stand is situated, sitting astride the half way line. There are four sets of floodlights along this side.

There are about 180 seats in the stand and as you can see from the picture, it is an "off the shelf" stand you can at numerous grounds at this level, but it does the job and it was a comfy place to watch the game.

I carry on past the stand and onto the end opposite where I came in. It is the same as that but has a covered stand behind the goal.

As with the seated stand, this is another "off the shelf" job.

The side of the ground where all the facilities are, has at this end, a narrow strip of hard standing with a floodlight pylon standing in it.

This then opens up to a large paved area and the dressing rooms, toilets and Clubhouse are situated to the right as you look.

The dugouts are situated on this side of the ground and are transparent allowing a view to the pitch and look very smart.

I head back to a seat in the stand and wait for the game to start.

Boro were on the attack from the kick off but the ball ran through to Staveley's keeper who launched the ball down the pitch. The extremely windy conditions caught out the centre of the Boro defence and the ball was latched onto by Ryan Damms who collected the ball and put it past Steer in the Boro goal. Less than a minute on the clock and Boro found themselves behind to the leaders. To their credit, the Boro players did not allow this setback to dent their confidence and they went on to have the majority of the possession and dealt with the blustery conditions well. However, Staveley are top for a reason. They are highly organised and the defence mopped up most of what Boro threw at them and clear cut chances were difficult to come by.

As half time approached, Boro gave away a soft free kick on the edge of the box. Tahar stepped and placed his shot into the bottom corner to put Staveley 2-0 up at half time, a little harsh on Boro in my opinion.

Staveley came out to defend their lead in the second half and try to hit Boro on the counter attack. This once again gave Boro plenty of possession but clear cut chances were few and far between. They did pull a goal back on 65 minutes when Nathan Emson cut inside his defender and finish with a good rising shot that beat the keeper.

Unfortunately for Boro, this was as good as it got and the comeback did not materialise. The result was probably fair overall as Staveley were very strong in defence and took their opportunities up at the other end of the field well. Hopefully this will be a lesson Boro will learn themselves and continue their remarkable progress.

If you make the effort to visit Boro at their new ground you are guaranteed a very warm welcome, something that has been commented on by various hoppers and if you are really lucky, you may meet Borogaz!

More pictures of The Bradley Community Stadium here.

Grimsby Borough 1-2 Staveley Miners Welfare
Att: 153
Admission: £4
Programme: £1

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Grantham Town v Spalding United Monday 3rd January 2011 Evo-Stik Division One South

After keeping a close eye on the various sites which would alert me to the postponement of my intended game, confirmation that the game was on came fairly early in the morning and meant I did not have to spend any time looking for another game.

The problem was, having arrived at the ground, I honestly don't believe that Grantham thought that the game would be on. The turnstiles were firmly shut and although someone with the programmes arrived in front of them, the turnstiles remained closed until about 2.20pm. They were not exactly helpful in telling you that they were open either. I'd wandered off to take some more photos outside and as I got back to the point of entry another fan asked if they were open now, having been stood outside for 20 minutes, back came the reply of "yes, course they are". Well thanks for telling us!

Once inside I overhear an old guy asking if the toilets were open. "They are just looking for the key" was the reply. Well of course, you've only had all day to open them. Shambolic.
Anyway, you enter the ground to the left of the half way line with a large covered stand opposite you and the large seated stand to your right.

I head to my left and towards the Club Shop where I buy one of the six badges they have left having suffered a break-in and the loss of most of their stock. Before the shop there is an area of terracing with three rows of crush barriers, something I was not expecting to see.

There is a running track between the stands and the pitch and at the ends of the ground the distance is at it's maximum.

There is a four step terrace at either end of the pitch, but they are fairly exposed and a long way away from the pitch and I did not see anyone using them today. My biggest surprise of the day is the large covered terracing which was opposite where I came in. I had seen photos of the main stand but I'd never seen this terracing before.

As you can see from the photo, it is very large and there were a number of people stood here for the game. A very pleasant surprise.

I carry on back towards the second end of the ground which is basically a replica of the other and the large main stand looms large again.

I reach the side I came in and there is another area of terracing, the same as where I came in. This section though has some seats bolted to it, not really sure why though.

After this, you are back at the main stand. The seating is divided into two levels with a fairly large lower level giving you a pitch level view of the game.

Here's another view of this stand.

The game was not the best to be fair and you can see why Spalding have scored 21 goals in 23 games. To be fair though they had two great chances early in the game but were unable to find the breakthrough. Grantham hauled themselves back into the game and started to take control. Their best chance came just before half time when the Spalding keeper Brassingham clawed a ball that had gone past him to prevent a goal.

The second half began the same as the first with Spalding starting well, but Grantham got into their stride more quickly this half and soon had a couple of chances on goal. On 60 minutes Grantham had Gary Sucharewycz sent off for a second yellow, deserved in my opinion the whining of the home fans. He had been lucky in my opinion not to be sent off in the first half when the referee only booked him for an elbow. Spalding could not take advantage of their extra man despite carving out several chances. In fact towards the end Grantham could have snatched the win but were not able to take their chances. Spalding also had a player sent off 5 minutes from time, again for a second yellow.
Another goalless draw and another game that will quickly fade from the memory.

The ground was a lot better than I was expecting to be honest. I'm not a big fan of grounds with running tracks around them but this was a better example of this type of ground. The atmosphere was pretty good too and the view from the upper seating was good and you did not feel too far from the action.

More pictures of the South Kesteven Sports Centre here.

Grantham Town 0-0 Spalding United
Att: 177
Admission: £8
Programme: £2
Badge: £2.50

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Stocksbridge Park Steel v Hucknall Town Saturday 1st January 2011 Evo-Stik Premier Division

A thank you and an apology to start this report. Inside the ground I nipped to the toilet before carrying on with my photos and put my camera on top of the drier while I used the facilities. Fortunately for me Dan from Nottingham came in and stopped it sliding onto the floor, so that's the thanks dealt with. The apology also goes to Dan and his lovely girlfriend, whose name I did not find out, many apologies for that. But the real apology is for talking them both to death, I hope it did not spoil your enjoyment of the day too much!

I've also found out that Uwdi from the brilliant "Where's The Tea Hut" blog was also here, but he obviously knew I was about and kept himself out of my way. Anyway, his report on his visit can be found here, and it's better than mine as he has a picture of the Lady Mayoress, how can I compete with that!
Anyway, back to the report. The turnstile brings you in the ground in the corner and elevated above the pitch.

The facilities are all at this level including a smart Clubhouse, dressing rooms, tea room and Club shop.

I take the steps down to pitch level and as you turn to the left there is a decent sized covered standing area behind the goal at this end.

Past this is some hard standing which leads to the other side of the ground which is not accessible.

The fencing along this side is, as far as I am aware, temporary, as there is a cricket pitch beyond this is used during the summer.

I head back the way I came and come to a section of terracing which is not in use any more and it has white railing to prevent anyone using it.

After the steps there is yet another section of terracing which you can use but on this wet and cold day there were not many takers. This in turn leads you onto the impressive seating stand decorated out in the Club colours of blue and yellow.

After the stand there is hard standing with a large grass bank rising up to the car park behind the stand.

The end opposite where I came in has a strip of hard standing with another grassy bank behind it which the Club has used to position a number of advertising boards on.

After this I made my way back to the covered seating stand where I watched the whole game sheltering from the incessant rain. The seats are apparently from Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground and are good old fashioned slatted tip up seats, lovely.

The game kicked off in driving rain and considering the conditions and the fact that neither team had seen much action in the past month turned out to be a decent game. There were plenty of chances for both sides and Stocksbridge were twice denied a goal by the offside flag, which to be honest one was definitely onside if not both. The locals were not slow in letting the lino what they thought of his decisions. The only goal of the half and indeed the game, came on 34 minutes when a mishit shot found Stocksbridge's Colin Marrison on his own in the box and he calmly slotted home.

1-0 at half time. Hucknall came out for the second half with the intent of keeping the ball down and this paid dividends for them. The only problem was Stocksbridge's keeper, Ben Scott. I honestly lost count of the number of brilliant saves he made in the second half and the victory was assured by his fantastic performance. The final whistle went with Stocksbridge picking up three hard won points and I think on another day Hucknall would have won but the man of the match performance by Scott denied them.

All in all a really good day out. Nice ground, decent game, friendly Club, met some very nice people (thanks to Dan & his girlfriend), could only have been improved by actually meeting Uwdi and getting a picture of the Mayoress!

More pictures of the Look Local Stadium here.

Stocksbridge Park Steel 1-0 Hucknall Town
Att: 160
Admission: £7
Programme: £1.50
Badge: £3