Saturday, 17 September 2011

Eccleshill United v Grimsby Borough Saturday 10th September 2011 NCEL Division One

I decide to follow Boro to Eccleshill United for my game today and head to Bradford and the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, home of The Eagles. We find the ground fairly easily and park up with a view of the ground which prompts me to take a couple of pictures over the fence above the ground. I use the fence to steady my camera. Mistake! The top of the fence is covered in anti-vandal paint and I'm covered in wet black paint on my arms. Mrs Reynard helps to clean me up before we enter the ground, another lesson learnt!


We head to our left and through the covered area and are immediately greeted by a very friendly Eccleshill official.

Covered Terrace

After the stand you come to the Clubhouse where the facilities for the spectators are situated. Straight after this are the dressing rooms and the players enter the pitch from the corner of the ground.


This side of the ground has a white railing running down the length and there are houses behind the perimeter fence which is painted in the blue of Eccleshill.

View down the side of the ground

The dugouts are also situated down this side of the ground too, one either side of the half way line.


There is hard standing all the way down the side varying in width with a couple of grassy area either side of the dugouts with a netting fence above the blue fencing.

View past the dugouts

This brings you to the corner and the end opposite where we came in. This also has a single level of hard standing running along it's length with a grassy area behind up to the fence. There is a field behind this with the usual gate to allow the retrieval of balls lost to wayward shots.

Far end behind the goal

In the far corner there is the "(in)famous" toilet block, which I have to say does not look that bad on the sunny day we are having, but might not be as welcoming on a dark winters night.

Toilet Block

This brings us to the side where the Main Stand is situated. Once again there is the white railing and hard standing running the length of the side of the ground. Before and after the Stand there is a bare soil bank which goes up to the perimeter fence where I had my mishap earlier.

Bank leading to the Main Stand

The Main Stand sits astride the halfway line and is very impressive.

Main Stand

The Stand is divided between blue seats and white seats, presumably bought at different times as they are two totally contrasting styles. There is a section in between them for Club officials and the stand is smartly painted throughout.

The blue seats

Just after the stand there is a steep set of steps which lead to another gate for the recovery of wayward balls and the banking continues with the fence at the top used for advertising boards and another Club sign.

Looking back to the Main Stand

This brings us back to the end where we came in.

Entrance and covered terrace.

I take up a position at this end of the ground as Boro are attacking this end in the first half. I'm standing with Brian, a loyal member of the Blue Army. I'm soon leaving him as all the action is at the Boro end and I'm just not getting any action pictures. How Eccleshill did not score in the first twenty minutes of the game I do not know. The Boro defence are riding their luck and they simply have trouble making any worthwhile attacks themselves. The best two chances for Eccleshill both follow some slick passing. The first chance comes as the ball is played across the goal and the shot somehow is fired over the bar from six yards.

George Newby on the ball for Boro

The next one came after work down the right and the cross was met in the centre of the goal but the Eccleshill striker could not keep his header down and the ball just went over the bar. Boro were still finding it hard to get in the opposition half but as the clock ticked on they started to find their feet and started to make some headway against a resolute Eccleshill team.

Then on 41 minutes (no, not 9 minutes reported everywhere else!) a through ball found Ricky Forrest on the edge of the box. He controlled the ball and fired in a fierce shot which the keeper could only push up into the air and the ever alert Andy Taylor launched himself at the ball and headed home. 1-0 to the Boro! The joy was not to last long however. Poor decisions by Boro players led to two goals in two minutes on 43 and 44 minutes from Andy Howland and Adam Bower. Both goals came from lapses of concentration from Boro and the clinical finishes from both players left Miles Fenty in the Boro goal no chance. The half time whistle goes with Boro down 2-1.

Just before half time another Eccleshill official asked me if I had any good photos and then asked if I was here to follow Boro. After my reply in the affirmative I was then invited to join him at half time for a tea or coffee and sandwiches. As the half time whistle went I was then approached by the Eccleshill official who had spoken to us as we came into the ground and the same offer was made. We went into the Clubhouse and were then treated to tea or coffee, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits. This was totally unexpected and I have to make my appreciation of the gesture public. Just as an aside, the carpet in the Clubhouse had the Club badge woven into it and looked very smart. Pity I forgot to take a photo!
The second half carried on as the first half ended with Eccleshill on top. They had the ball in the back of the net with a clever chip over the advancing keeper but it was disallowed for offside. It must have been close though. The attacks came thick and fast but a combination of some great saves from Miles Fenty, determined defending and poor finishing kept the score at 2-1.

Eccleshill's Marcus Edwards

Boro also started to have their chances too as the half went on. Both Ricky Creer and Andy Taylor had great chances only to fire their shots narrowly wide of the upright. The majority of the chances were going Eccleshill's way and I lost count of the number of times Marcus Edwards picked up the ball in acres of space to start another Eagles attack.

In acres of space. Again.

This eventually led to Eccleshill's third goal on 82 minutes. Another Boro attack broke down and some good passing found Edwards free again and this time he made no mistake, slotting the ball past Fenty to seal the win.

Edwards scores the Eagles third

There was no further score and a dejected Boro team left the pitch with another away defeat. Despite this, we had a great day out at Eccleshill, the friendly welcome and the banter with two Eagles fans throughout the second half was really appreciated. The ground is a good 'un too, so get yourselves down there, I'm sure you will not regret it.

More pictures of The Rapid Solicitors Stadium here.

There are more pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.
Eccleshill United 3-1 Grimsby Borough
Att: 33
Admission: £5
Programme: £1

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