I wanted to stay fairly local over the Bank Holiday weekend, so on Saturday I had gone to Barton where it was nice to meet up with John, a hopper from York who I had first met at Brodsworth a couple of seasons back. I decided on a return visit to Gainsborough Trinity for today's game, a venue I've been to several times over the years but I'd never taken any pictures of. Today's visitors were Alfreton who had sealed the Championship on Saturday.
I am able to park up within sight of Northolme and had a very short walk to the ground.
I make my way around the outside of the ground and there are a good number of visiting fans about. There is a very smart sign advertising today's game at the corner of the ground at the apex of the roads there.
There are no turnstiles open at this side of the ground and so I carry on around the outside until I reach the far corner where I eventually find the turnstiles open.
The entrance brings you into the ground in the corner with a long covered terrace directly in front of you with another covered terrace to your left which is behind the goal. There is a tea hut in this corner too but I head off to my left to go on my journey around the ground. The covered terrace has smart blue crush barriers running the whole length and gives you a good view of the action.
As you reach the corner there is the Club shop and some open terracing to the corner. As you turn onto the side of the ground there are a couple of buildings, one of which is another bar, but is not open today, and another seems to be a hospitality unit. This then leads to the Main Stand which has two levels of seating and is an impressive looking stand.
The dugouts are situated either side of the stand and the ground opens out after it with a toilet block and another turnstile block.
There is a small terraced area before you reach the corner of this side of the ground with more blue crush barriers. The opposite end to where I came in is a large uncovered terrace which I always think looks really impressive and reminds me of how grounds looked when I first started going to games.
I really like this terrace and I do not apologise for putting a second picture of it on here.
This brings me back to the opposite end of the covered terrace that faced me as I entered the ground. It has a wide walkway along the bottom, with the ubiquitous blue barrier running it's length with a five step covered terrace beyond this. Once again it gives a good view of the action and is most impressive.
The back of the Supporter's Club bar, toilets and as I've already mentioned, the tea hut are found at the end of this stand. It also gives you a good view of the Main Stand across the pitch. There are four floodlight pylons in each corner with two more situated on either side of the half way line on both sides of the ground. Proper floodlights, not seen so often at modern grounds!
The game kicks off in glorious sunshine with Alfreton making eight changes from the side that won on Saturday, but there are still a few well known faces amongst their team, including Daryl Clare. Trinity start the game well but are unable to create many clear cut chances.
Alfreton break the deadlock on 26 minutes when Anthony Wilson scores with a spectacular overhead kick which I nearly caught in the photo below. Pity the ball is not in the shot!
Trinity huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser but found the Alfreton defence hard to beat. Wilson scored his second goal on 42 minutes with a good header from a corner by Ian Ross.
This was the half time score and to be honest it was game over for me as Trinity did not look they would get a goal. They began the second half in similar fashion to the first but again could not find a way past the resolute Alfreton defence.
Jake Moult added a third for Alfreton on 65 minutes to seal the victory, again following good play from a corner. The game saw more chances for both teams but there was no further score and Alfreton ran out comfortable winners of the game.
Northolme is a lovely ground to watch football at and if you have the chance, go, but I cannot guarantee the same glorious weather that I enjoyed.
There was a sad postscript to the game. I'd been talking to an Alfreton fan during the first half and he expalined why the travelling support was a bit muted,something which I'd noted, especially as they had just won the title. An Alfreton fan had collapsed before the game in a local pub and was well known amongst their support and so there was an air of concern for him. Sadly I later read on the Alfreton site, that supporter Graham Jones died. Sincere condolences are sent to all Graham's family and friends. RIP.
More pictures of Northolme here.
There are pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.
Gainsborough Trinity 0-3 Alfreton Town