As I enter the car park I spot the sight that brings joy to all ground hoppers hearts, an open gate! There is a car parked outside so I’m fairly sure that I’ll find someone inside to ask if it’s ok to take some photos. In fact there are several people inside and I’m told that if I’m coming to the game later that I am more than welcome to wander round the ground. One of them turns out to be the groundsman and I have a nice chat to him about the Club, the ground and the pitch. He heads off to carry on with his work and I start to make my way around the ground. I entered the ground where the main stand is situated, which is to my left.
I head to my right and make my way anti clockwise around the ground. Behind the goal to the right there is a six step terrace with a covered area behind the goal.
There is a sign at the back of the stand which announces that this is the “John Yarwood Terrace”, dedicated to a former Director and benefactor of the Club.
As you reach the corner there is a toilet block and a snack bar (although it was not open today).
There is also a turnstile block in this corner. The grounds man also told me that he had opened the gate to the practice pitch and that I could have a look at it. I went outside to have a look and the pitches are very impressive. They certainly have more grass on them than Championship side Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park!
I go back into the ground and carry on my journey. There is another six step terrace running the whole length of the ground. There is an identical covered section to the one behind the goal and is situated astride the half way line.
Two thirds of the way down there is fencing across the terrace with a gate that can be shut in case segregation is required.
This brings you to the end terrace which is basically identical to the opposite end.
In this corner there is another toilet block and just after the turnstiles, another tea hut, which I find open on my return to the ground. One nice touch all around the ground is the use of the Club badge on all the signs including the toilets.
This brings you back to the impressive main stand which is all seated.
In the centre of this stand are the press box, medical centre and Stadium Control Room. There is also an entrance into the Social Club here too. I notice the grounds man looking for me and I guess I may have outstayed my welcome. I head towards him expecting to be kicked out so he can get on with his job only to be told that he is going to take me into the dressing rooms and Boardroom! Great stuff. I’m introduced to the kit man who politely informs me that I will not be taking his photo. I’m shown into the home dressing room where all the kit is already hung up for the game.
We then move onto the Boardroom which had memorabilia hanging on the walls. Then onto the impressive Social Club. After this we are outside where I am shown the shortcut over the river to Northwich’s ground. I decide to leave the car here and I’m shown to a parking space near the turnstiles I will exit. This has been a great experience and I’m really grateful to the volunteer staff of Witton Albion for allowing me the access to the ground.
I have to say that this game was a vast improvement on the first game of the day. Witton had the early chances with one chance wasted as the ball flew over the bar. Their best chance came on 20 minutes when a shot from Ennis hit the foot of the post and ran along the goal line before being cleared. After this Skelmersdale gradually took control of the game and started to create the better chances. The only goal of the game came on 44 minutes when Shaun Tuck was played in and after beating the defender calmly placed the ball past the keeper.
At half time I made my way to the Club Shop/Museum in the corner of the ground. This is well worth a visit with plenty of memorabilia on display charting the history of Witton Albion.In the second half Witton found it hard to break down the Skelmersdale defence and it was the visitors who looked more likely to score.
The only dampener for Skelmersdale came very late on in the game. A ball was played through the Witton defence and after a tangle of legs Karl Donnelly was left on the ground. O’Donnell immediately gestured for assistance, keeping his leg firmly placed on the ground. There was a lengthy delay while he was attended to and unfortunately I found out later he had a broken fibia. I hope he speedy recovery and I wish him all the best for the future.
I have to say that I liked Witton’s ground more than Northwich which is too new to have the character of Wincham Park. A long day, but the welcome from Witton made it worthwhile.
More pictures of Wincham Park here.
Witton Albion 0-1 Skelmersdale United