Monday, 1 August 2011

Ossett Albion v Bishop Auckland Saturday 30th July 2011 Pre-Season Friendly

I finally decide to head to Ossett Albion for my football fayre today. It was a fairly straight forward journey, although the satnav threw a wobbler, telling me of major hold ups ahead and that a "quicker alternative route" was available. I duly use the re-route facility only to be told two minutes later a "quicker alternative route" was available. So I use the re-route facility again and as you have probably already guessed, I was back to the original route. I saw no hold ups and have no idea what the problem was if indeed there ever was one. I arrived in Ossett fairly early, which gave me time to nip to Ossett Town's ground. I came here a few years ago for a pre-season friendly against Stalybridge Celtic, but I did not have a digital camera then, so I decide to go and see if I could get in for a few shots. The old heart gladdens as I see the hoppers "Holy Grail", an open gate.
I amble around for a few shots which you can find here. Here is the Main Stand behind the goal.

I then head to the Warehouse Systems Stadium, home of Ossett Albion AFC. There is a large car park, but I stay up the top end after I see a cricket ball hurtle into the space I was considering using. I park next to the Bowls Club which is situated at the top of the car park. There is a cricket pitch beyond which leads down to the ground.

There is a cricket match on and a couple of wickets fall as I am making my round the boundary towards the turnstiles. I stop to take a shot of the signs for the ground.

There are a set of turnstiles just after the signs, but there is a note on the Evo-Stik sign asking you to use the other turnstile. I'm curious as to why, so I have a gander at the turnstile which is resolutely shut and see the reason why.

I make my around the cricket scoreboard but head past the turnstiles as half way down the outside wall there looks to be an old entrance to the ground that is no longer used.

This picture was taken at great risk to my personal safety as I had to edge onto the cricket pitch to take it, mainly from the glares from the cricketers who spotted me encroaching.
I made my way into the ground and you enter more or less level to the eighteen yard line of one of the goals. I head clockwise and the tea hut is just after the closed turnstile, with the dressing rooms directly in front of you. After this is the bar with a terraced area with picnic style benches and the brand new toilet block which saw guided tours being given whilst I was using the facilities. Very off putting! After this there is a covered terrace with crush barriers, with a large uncovered area in front of it.

Beyond this there is another building, not quite sure what it is, but it does have what appears to be a serving hatch, so I'm not sure if it is another tea hut or an old one. There are a couple of steps in front of it and the wide standing area continues to the corner.

From the corner there is a two step terrace running down to the stand that contains the seat. There are also several more crush barriers set on the top step.

This brings you to the covered seating stand. An interesting feature is the passageway at the rear of the stand to allow you go past the area without blocking the view of the fans in the seats. It also allows access to the seats half way down it.

The seats are not the most comfortable I've ever sat in but they do the job. This is the view of the stand from the end of the ground. There is a very small press box on the left hand side of the stand.

After the stand the ground opens up again and you have a step up to a single level standing area which runs to the corner.

I'm now at the opposite end to where I came in and there is another small covered terrace at this end and as I take the shot of it I realise how much of a slope there is from the cricket side down to where I am stood.

I make my way along the end and reach the cricket side of the ground again. There is a three step terrace running all the way to the dugouts which are situated on this side, where the terrace narrows up and then opens up again after them.

This brings me back to where I came in and a visit to the tea hut is in order to buy a very cold can of drink, as the temperature has steadily increased since I left home. The game kicks off in glorious sunshine, which during the course of the afternoon sees a good number of fans seek the shade of the stands. The game is an absolute cracker.

There is plenty of action at both ends of the pitch and considering the the the players play at a decent tempo, although the ref calls a halt to proceeding half way through the first half for players to take on drinks. A thoroughly entertaining half sees the score level at 2-2.

Ossett take the lead again in the second half but Bishop level it up at 3-3, only to fall behind again following poor marking. I thinking at this point that that will be that, but an attack by Bishop results in a penalty award which is clinically put away to make it 4-4.

That is how it finishes and I'm sure both managers came away from the game with mixed emotions on the performances of their teams but for a neutral it was cracking entertainment and even the locals seemed to have enjoyed their game.

More pictures of the Warehouse Solutions Stadium here.

There are more pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.

Ossett Albion 4-4 Bishop Auckland
Att: 85
Admission: £4
Programme: £0.50