I arrive at Ryton's Kingsley Park ground in plenty of time for kick off although I miss my second entrance to a ground today. At least I'm consistent!
There is a Clubhouse in front of you as you head towards the turnstile and behind this there is an impressive Astroturf Pitch which the Club hires out. The turnstiles bring you into the ground nearly level with the half way line. The first thing you notice is that you are above the level of the pitch. To your right is a terraced area of the Clubhouse which is already in good use with supporters of Billingham. All the facilities are in the Clubhouse building.
To the right of the entrance on this side are the "bus Shelters". There are five of these painted in the Club colours of black and blue and vary in size.
Just past the shelters is the tea hut from which I later have a superb burger and which also runs out of food before half time! After this there is a tarmacked slope down to the end of the ground which houses the seated stand. There is also a single row of seats before this stand, very unusual.
At this corner you can see the different levels of the ground and below the shelter level there is a hard standing area with a rail running along the length of the pitch only interrupted by the dugouts. There is a wall which also runs the length of the pitch and this area looks really smart.
As I said, this end has the seated stand situated there directly behind the goal. There is a covered section which looks like the seats have been added to with an unusual steel framework. There is also a net in front of the whole seating section to stop wayward balls.
The hard standing and railing continues after the stand down to the corner and one thing that is noticeable as I make my around the ground is how tidy and well kept the ground is. All the grass areas have been cut and it makes the ground look really good. The far side of the ground has two covered standing areas, with the larger one sited more or less level with the penalty box of the goal at this end and the other astride the half way line.
There is a strip of hard standing running the whole length of the pitch together with the white railing. There are three floodlight pylons at intervals along this side too.
I carry on to the other end of the ground where the hard standing, white rail combo is in place.
This returns you to the Club house side of the ground with a narrow path and wall back towards the dugouts and Clubhouse steps.
So to the game. Ryton have only won once this season, way back in August and have only picked up two points at home this season. Their problems arose when promised sponsorship money failed to arrive and after the management were dismissed all but one of the players left. So I have to be honest and admit that I was expecting a Billingham win. However, that script was soon torn up when Ryton's Chris McCabe fired home after 12 minutes.
The Synners had a couple of attacks before they equalised on 25 minutes when a good cross from the right was met by James Macgowan who put his header back across the goal and into the corner of the net. Both teams continued to have chances and this was developing into an evenly contested game with plenty of chances.
The start to the second half was simply sensational with Ryton coming out with real determination. On 49 minutes they retook the lead when Robert Frame scored at the second attempt. Two minutes later it was 3-1. Chris McCabe collected the ball, cut inside and finished well. Ryton were now on top and playing with confidence. On 63 minutes a shot from Liam Hudson was saved by the Synners keeper but the loose ball ran to Chris McCabe who shot and scored to complete his hat trick. Billingham tried to get back into the game and had several chances but Ryton's defence kept them at bay with a combination of resolute defending and some luck.
Amazingly it was Ryton who scored the next goal on 79 minutes when young striker Dan Wilson found himself in space inside the box and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. 5-1! This was not what I had expected. But the game was not finished yet. Billingham, to their credit, went forward again eventually reducing the deficit on 87 minutes when James Macgowan who put his header past the Ryton keeper. Incredibly, a minute later it was 5-3 as Macgowan completed his hat trick with yet another header. Ryton were under the cosh for the remaining time but were able to hold out for a fantastic win which was met with a terrific cheer when the final whistle was blown.
Ryton is a nice ground and combined with seeing their first home win of the season made it a great visit.
More pictures of Kingsley Park here.
Ryton 5-3 Billingham Synthonia