The weather had put paid to a couple of visits to new grounds, so my football fix came via following Grimsby Borough at home to Emley and away to Louth Town. So this Saturday the weather was good and so the world was my oyster. After a bit of consideration I decided upon Parkgate's home game to Thackley, a top of the table clash, 3rd versus 7th in the table. Now today saw me have a pang of pain missing going to see the Foxes as I saw the supporters buses turning off the M180 heading to Glanford Park as I headed on towards Rotherham. Ah well, just have to settle for the updates from Mrs who would be attending the game with our daughter.
Parkgate's ground was not too hard to find but I did miss the turn off despite seeing the sign for the golf club that is next to it. A quick double back and I headed down the lane leading to the ground. There is a large car park but it was fairly full due to the golfers who were taking advantage of the decent weather. As you enter the car park the golf course is to the left and the ground is reached by walking a little way uphill to the right.
This takes you past the Roundwood Pavillion which houses the changing rooms, bar and other facilities, and it is here you have come back to if you want the toilet as there are none in the ground. The path continues past the Pavillion and onto the turnstile.
You enter the ground at one end more or less level with the left hand edge of the 18 yard box. I head to the left as I enter, but as you can see, it is not possible to go all round the ground today.
The hedge runs all the way down the side of the pitch and there is a drop towards the bottom of it and on the other side of it it drops away more steeply to another pitch outside of the ground. One thing that struck me was how good the pitch looked, a fact pointed out to me by the Parkgate manager as he made his way onto the pitch. Apparently Rotherham United also use the pitch and their groundsman spends some time here looking after it. Immediately behind where I took the picture above is the entrance to the ground from the dressing rooms and this gives you an idea of the elevated position of the ground.
This is the view from the same position looking back to where I came in, you can see the blue turnstile door and the hard standing does not go all the way to the corner.
Heading back to where I came in brings you the only cover in the ground. The first area is a terraced section with a couple of benches at the back three crush barriers on the top step.
There is then a brick tea hut with protective fencing in front of it to stop wayward shots knocking your tea out of your hand. This in turn leads to the seated area where the first few seats are not covered but the rest have a roof in place after this.
The hard standing continues after this and takes you to the side of the ground that has a two step terrace running most of it's length but with another broad step near the dugouts.
This is a view looking back at the end where you enter from the terracing.
Here's a picture of the three step terracing. As you can see, the houses behind cause the hard standing to narrow up, but you can access the end behind the goal.
Behind the goal there is a narrow strip of hard standing that runs the length of the end with a breeze block wall separating it from the pitch. There is a wide grassy area behind the hard standing.
This is the view from the end of the ground looking back at the terraced side with the dugouts in front.
And so to the game. Parkgate get off to a flying start and are 1-0 up after only three minutes. Chris Wood was alert as the ball bounced around and put his header over Bower in the Thackley goal. At this stage it was all Parkgate with Thackley struggling to keep them at bay. Thackley's first real chance came after 25 minutes when a fierce shot from Josh McLean just failed to find the target. I thought they were going to equalise on 30 minutes when a superb shot from Ross Daly was heading for the top corner only for James Jenkinson to pull off a great save to deny him.
The game was now literally end to end with chances for both sides but there was no further scoring before the end of the half.
Thackley started the second half as brightly as Parkgate had the first but it took them 6 minutes to get their equaliser. Nickey Mathews' shot found it's way past a crowd of players to level the game. Parity did not last long. A ball into the box found Ashley Worsfold unmarked and a clever header found the net. Thackley responded straight away and a header from Rob Morgan from a corner only just went past the post. Parkgate went straight up the other end and a good cross from Tom Jowitt was met by Woods who headed over the advancing keeper to make it 3-1 after 62 minutes.
Six minutes later it was 4-1. After good work by sub Grant Allott, whose lob beat the keeper but came back off the underside of the bar, another shot from Allott was parried by the keeper and after a scramble Wood completed his hat-trick by putting away the loose ball. This looked like it was all over for Thackley but to their credit they continued to go forward and were rewarded on 80 minutes when Higmaan ran in at the far post to lash the ball home. Five minutes later Thackley had the ball in the net again but this one was ruled out for offside and with it went their chance to get something from the game. A really entertaining match.
The Green Lane ground is a pretty basic venue but the welcome was very warm and the entertainment good and I would recommend it for a visit.
More pictures of Roundwood Pavillion here.
There are pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.
Parkgate 4-2 Thackley