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