Monday, 16 July 2012

Grimsby Borough v Shirebrook Town Tuesday 1st May 2012 Wilkinson Sword Trophy Final

So the season had ended with both Borough's first team and reserves having reached a Cup Final. The first team were up first with their Wilkinson Sword Trophy Final being held at Parkgate's Roundwood Pavillion ground. I came here last season, and you can read the report of that visit here. Mrs Reynard does a bit of glory hunting and accompanies me to the game. As we sit in the car eating our tea the rain starts to come down harder and it is not looking good for many action pictures tonight. A bus arrives carrying the Shirebrook team and supporters and it's looking like we will be well outnumbered by the opposition fans tonight. It's then the turn of the Boro players and management to arrive. It's a bit of a worry as several senior players appear to be missing and there only appears to be two or three subs too. We decide to head into the ground so I can have a look to see what changes have taken place at the ground since I was here last.

The first thing we notice are the signs advertising the fact that this is the home of Rotherham United's training ground.

Training Ground sign

The cherry blossom  was in bloom and made for a nice background for a picture I took before.

Cherry blossom

Once inside the ground I notice a couple of changes. On the far side of the ground a new stand has appeared.

New stand

As we make our way over there to have a look I notice that the seated area has now been finished and is totally covered.

View of the seats

We carry on to have a closer look at the new stand. It is fairly basic but will be welcome on those wet days.

Another view of the stand

I also notice that a chain has been fitted to separate the terrace from the grass bank behind where fans had stood and watched the game last time.

Chain stopping access to the bank

In case you were thinking of hopping the chain there is also a sign warning you off.

Warning sign

We decide to get a coffee and sit down and as we reach the seats there are some Shirebrook fans putting up their new flag. We have some good banter with them and here they are.

The Shirebrook boys

The match kicked off in gloomy conditions but thankfully the rain had stopped. Boro found it hard to get into their stride, with the changes in the usual lineup not helping. Shirebrook had a couple of chances but wasted them. They did not waste the opportunity presented to them on 35 minutes. A simple back pass was cleared straight to Danny Naylor who returned it with interest and he delicately chipped it over the keepers head from about 25 yards out. This was the only goal of the half and Boro went in 1-0 down at half time.

Boro on the attack

The second half saw Boro hit further problems when David Unsworth was sent off for a second bookable offence. This was starting to look like it would not be Boro's night and the management team adopted a 4-4-1 formation to steady the ship and this proved successful as they held out against Shirebrook. They then made the change that turned the game. Luke Fanthorpe was moved up front to play alongside the hard working Ricky Creer. The new formation had Shirebrook on the backfoot and Boro fans started to believe an equaliser was possible. Several chances were squandered but on 83 minutes the leveller came.

Luke Fanthorpe goes forward

A ball from Boro's keeper was headed on by Ricky Creer and Luke Fanthorpe collected, turned inside and fired a shot in from the edge of the box that beat the Shirebrook keeper. The players and fans went bananas. It was all Boro now and Shirebrook had no answer to the sweeping movement of the Boro movement and Boro sensed a victory was on. One chance from Jack Richardson looked to be going in but just fizzed past the post. Boro then hit the top of the bar when Pottsy chipped the ball into the box deep into stoppage time. The whistle blows for full time and we are into extra time.
I have to say that I was just happy to have the chance of extra time and most of the small band of Boro fans were now happy whatever the final result.

From the restart Boro were straight on the attack and a cross reached Ricky Creer on the left of the box, he shot and the ball found it's way into the back of the net. Then on 95 minutes it was 3-1. Ricky Creer was fouled on the left corner edge of the box. Pottsy delivered a deep cross to the far post where a brilliant run From Luke Fanthorpes saw him get in front of the defender to volley in from about a foot out. Players and fans were in Blue heaven. To be honest, the rest of the game passed in a blur but Shirebrook were disheartened and were unable to trouble the Boro defence. The final whistle went and started wild celebrations on and off the pitch.

How big is that trophy?

The boys celebrate

"It was our best night since we've been formed in 2003," said Nigel Fanthorpe who manages the team alongside Steve Newby. To play that well with so many youngsters in the side was just awesome".

To be honest, this was one of my favourite nights in football. A big thank you to everyone at Grimsby Borough for making it such an enjoyable night.

Grimsby Borough 3-1 Shirerook Town
Att: 192
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.20

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cleethorpes Town v Skegness United Saturday 14th April 2012 Lincolnshire Premier Division

No game for Boro today and locally there was only one place to be, The Linden Homes Ground, home of Cleethorpes Town, for their top of the table clash with Skegness United , with a victory for Cleethorpes over their nearest rivals sealing the Championship.

Sign on the side of the Clubhouse

A big crowd was expected today and I chose to park across the way from the ground, parking up behind a car with Sheffield Wednesday stickers and a scarf draped across the back window, which could only mean Matt from Louth was here too.There was a good sprinkling of people I knew and someone that I used to see at games from about 20 odd years ago who I had not seen for years!
The pitch is set past the Clubhouse with a cricket pitch between it and the road. There is no cover and no hard standing but there is a smart wooden fence around the far side of the pitch and the two ends.

End at the right

The side nearest the cricket pitch is simply taped off for the game. 

Cricket side

On the far side of the pitch there are two dugouts which look like the ones that were at their previous ground at Lucarley's.

The dugouts

The other end of the ground is flanked with trees and is also railed off.

End to the left

The weather is pretty dull and just before the game starts the heavens open resulting in a fair number of umbrellas making an appearance. The game starts in difficult conditions and Skegness settle far quicker than their hosts and they capitalised on this good start when they took the lead on 18 minutes with a volley from Kyle McGuigan. 

Cleethorpes' Mascall heads the ball back into the box

Cleethorpes chances were  few and far between, very surprising considering the number of goals they have scored this season. Their best chance fell to former Boro player Luke Mascall but he put his shot wide and with no further score Skegness went into half time with their one goal advantage.

A flying Ricky Belding

Cleethorpes started the second half better and were level on 56 minutes when a great through ball put Mascall away who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. 1-1 and game on! To their credit, Skegness buckled down and a minute later hit the woodwork. They continued to come forward and retook the lead on 64 minutes. Callum Hyland got into the Cleethorpes box and was pulled back by a Cleethorpes player and from my position it was a clear penalty. Jordan Walden stepped up to take the penalty and calmly slotted it home to put Skegness back in front.

Cleethorpes keeper Drury goes the wrong way

Cleethorpes made a couple of substitutions and one of them, Luke Neul, nearly equalised when a shot cum cross only just went over the bar. The pressure was on Skegness now and an equaliser looked more likely as the game went on. Ten minutes from the end Cleethorpes equalised when a long range shot from Daniel Barrett was palmed away by Skegness keeper Pritchard into the path of Darren Hanslip who calmly slotted the ball home.

Cleethorpes' Drury punches away under pressure

The momentum now swung Cleethorpes' way and two minutes later Cleethorpes took the lead for the first time in the match when Luke Todd laid the ball off for Alex Flett to smash home causing pandemonium on the touchlines. Skegness made a brave effort to snatch an equaliser but were punished in time added on when Cleethorpes launched a counter attack which resulted in Jonathan Oglesby rounding the keeper and scoring  a fourth for Cleethorpes. The final whistle saw celebrations allover the ground as Cleethorpes were confirmed the Sills & Betteridge Lincolnshire League Champions. 

The Trophy

The trophy was then presented after the game in front of the Clubhouse by officials of the Lincs F.A.

The captain gets his hands on the trophy

So congratulations to Cleethorpes on their great win.

More pictures here.

CleethorpesTown 4-2 Skegness United
Att: 280
Admission: £1
Programme: £1

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Cup Winners!

There they are. The winners of the Wilkinson Sword Trophy Final. Well done Boro, a terrific performance to win 3-1 after extra time with 10 men for a long period of time and 1-0 down with only seven minutes to go. Everyone worked their socks off. Well done to everyone and thanks for a memorable night.

More to follow soon.

Friday, 6 April 2012

New Mills v Goole Saturday 10th March 2012 Evo-Stik Division One South

New Mills has been on the hit list for a while now, ever since the Onion Bag's visit here a while back. But this was not the intended destination for today as I had planned to go to Consett, but the game I had earmarked was played two weeks ago! So a quick look at the fixtures and New Mills was chosen.
Mrs Reynard accompanied me and we visited the New Mills Heritage Centre and the Millennium Bridge.
We head back to the ground and use the car park behind one of the ends. A short walk down Church Lane brings you to the turnstiles.

Entrance to the ground

You enter the ground nearly in the corner with the facilities all behind the goal to the right, including the dressing rooms and a very smart Clubhouse.

View of the Clubhouse end

To the left of the entrance there are a couple of portacabins one of which is used as a treatment room where a couple of players are getting a pre-match rubdown. A second portacabin is used for the Clubshop and beyond this there is a combination of covered terracing and seats.

Portacabin and covered stands

We decide to head to our left for the usual walk around the ground. As I said, after the portacabins you have a good sized covered terraced area.

The covered terrace

After this there are three areas of seating, painted white breeze blocks, which are for the officials of the Clubs with a walkway behind them for the plebs.

Officials seating area

 Immediately after this there is some more seating, a combination of plastic seats and some wooden benches.

More seating

There are more seats after this, with two rows of seats becoming a single row as you get nearer to the corner of the ground.


This brings you to the end of the ground where the car park is situated over the fence. This end has a single level of hard standing with a small grassy area up to the fence. There is also a gate which was later used to retrieve balls from wayward shots.

Car park end

There are facilities or cover at this end of the ground and we continue to the far side of the ground to where we came in. Again there is a narrow strip of hard standing but with a larger grassy area running up to the fence.

The far side of the ground

As you can see the dugouts are sited on this side of the ground and the fence you see just after the near dugout actually stops you going round the ground, so we head back the way we came to get back to the other end. This gives me the chance to take a shot from the corner back across the ground with Saint Georges Church in the background.

View from the corner

The Clubhouse end has a wide paved area with picnic benches and normal benches for you sit at and eat or drink your purchases from the tea hut. As I said there is a very impressive Clubhouse with a number of people keeping an eye on the live Premier game. 

Clubhouse end

At this point I take advantage of the facilities and on my return Mrs Reynard is talking to one of the stewards. It turns out he had met the Onion Bag when he visited and was asking if we knew him. I explained how I had met OB at Colne and the steward said how much they had enjoyed his visit. 
I set off to take the last few pictures of the ground where we had come to a halt down the far side. There is a very narrow strip of hard standing with the floodlights making it even tighter further down.

Down the side of the ground

The views from this end of the ground are spectacular and this is the reason The Onion Bag told me to come in the daylight.

Spectacular view

We enjoy the views for a little while and then it's time for kick off. To be brutally honest the first half is pretty dour with a real battle in midfield resulting in very few goal scoring opportunities. I think Goole shade the first half but a combination of poor finishing and decent defending from the Millers defence keeping them at bay.

Possibly a foul!

We reach half time without either time troubling the scoreboard and we wondered if Goole would regret not taking advantage of their few chance in the first half. We grab a coffee and I check how the Foxes are doing at Reading. Shouldn't have bothered!

New Mills on the attack

The second half gets underway with a far more positive approach from New Mills. Just before the hour the Millers have a goal chalked off for offside but a minute or so later they take the lead. A free kick is awarded just outside the penalty area to the right of the goal. Up steps left fullback James Moss to curl an absolute beauty into the net for his first goal for the Club. Three minutes later and it is 2-0 to New Mills. There were shouts for a penalty as a New Mills player  went down in the box but these were quickly replaced by cheers as Ben Deegan hooked the ball over the keeper with a well controlled finish. 

Goole defender heads away

Goole were on the back foot and they had the same problem as in the first half in that they were not really creating any chances. Now we thought the first two goals were pretty good but New Mills' third topped both of them. Ben Deegan picked up the ball all of 35 yards out, spotted the keeper off his line and put in a superb shot which sailed over the keeper and into the net. Superb goal!


Goole had no answer to this and New Mills were able to see out the last ten minutes or so and keep the clean sheet. New Mills thoroughly deserved their win based on the second half performance and will be pleased with that clean sheet too. I don't think I'll see many better goals this season than the Millers third and it was worth the admission money on it's own.

I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Church Lane, lots of quirky parts, terrific views and very friendly officials and locals who made us feel thoroughly welcome. Just one last word. I had real problems with my action shots today, but this guy, Allan Toft, got some superb shots. View them here.

Programme Cover

More pictures of Church Lane here. 

New Mills 3-0 Goole
Att: 132
Admission: £6.50
Programme: £1.50



Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Congratulations to Grimsby Borough

Terrific result for Boro tonight as they swept to a deserved victory over Albion Sports in the NCEL Wilkinson Sword Trophy Semi Final. The 5-2 scoreline mean that they will play either Shirebrook Town or Louth Town in the final. An excellent game and a great victory. Well done Boro!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

NCEL Easter Groundhop 2012

As you may have realised, I am a big fan of the Northern Counties East League and felt I had to let you know about the Easter Ground Hop in April. There are nine games scheduled over three days and the details are below together with a link to the organiser's booking form Hope some of you will be able to attend some part of it.

7.45pm - D1 - Yorkshire Amateur v Hemsworth Miners Welfare

FRIDAY 6th APRIL, 2012
10.45am - D1 - Eccleshill United v Dinnington Town
1.45pm - Prem - Thackley v Long Eaton United
4.45pm - Prem - Liversedge v Arnold Town
7.45pm - Prem - Brighouse Town v Barton Town Old Boys

10.30am - Prem - Maltby Main v Parkgate
1.30pm - Prem - Staveley Miners Welfare v Pickering Town
4.45pm - D1 - Hallam v Teversal
7.45pm - D1 - Worsbrough Bridge Athletic v Rossington Main

For more information about the Ground Hop, click here to download further details and a booking form.

The Ground Hop is being organised by GroundhopUK. You can follow them on twitter @groundhopUK or you can email them at

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Shirebrook Town v Grimsby Borough Saturday 21st January 2012 NCEL Division One

Langwith Road, home of Shirebrook Town is my destination today, but it is a trip with a difference for me. I'm travelling with Gary and Sarah, two fellow Boro fans and it's my first trip to a game for quite a while with someone other than Mrs Reynard or Helen.

The old navigational skills kick in and we pull into the car park to be greeted by rain and a blustery wind, not exactly the conditions for a good game of football. I head to the turnstiles to go in the ground to take my photos whilst Gary & Sarah go into the Clubhouse for a drink.

The turnstiles bring you into the ground in the corner with the changing rooms and other facilities. I quickly realise that there is no-one else in the ground as I start to make my way around, which is unusual even at this early time, and there are no players warming up either. I head to my left along the side of the ground.

There is a wide single level hard standing running down the side and part of the way down there are the hospitality lounge and the tea hut. Just after this there is a small covered stand with another step at the back.

This eventually runs down to the far end of the ground which has a narrow strip of hard standing with a well looked after grass bank running up to the perimeter fencing.

Once past this end you have the two seated stands that sit either side of the dugouts. There is hard standing running along the length of the ground with a large grass bank running up to the fencing. The two stands are set back into the banking and give you an elevated view of the pitch.

The first stand you come to has steps in the centre to gain access to the seats. Two rows run the whole length of the stand but there is a third row for some of it's length. I loved the corrugated roof which I think gave it a bit of character.

There is a gap between the two stands and the dugouts sit in this area and the wall comes further into the hard standing at this point.

The second stand has a name and is picked out on it, "The Sid Pepper Stand". It has the same steps arrangement to access it and has three rows of seats running it's length. The blue plastic seats look good and I'm impressed with the stands.

The Sid Pepper Stand

This has brought me back to the end that faced me as I entered the ground. There is the continuing hard standing with a wide grassy bank, once again running up to the fencing. The toilets and changing rooms can be seen in the distance.

As I reach the dressing rooms I notice a plaque on the wall and I go for a closer look. The plaque is to commemorate the opening of the changing rooms and tells me they were opened by Ray Wilson, a member of the 1966 World Cup Winning England team. I actually saw Ray play at Blundell Park in the latter days of his career when I was very young, playing for Oldham I think.

I notice again that there is still no-one else in the ground and there are no players warming up either. As I go back outside to get a drink in the Clubhouse I see that the players are warming up outside on the grassy areas next to the ground. It was nice to get out of the wind and rain for a while and warm up.
We head back into the ground just before kick off. The rain has stopped but the wind seems even stronger and it was to make it difficult for both teams to play. Boro are attacking down the very visible slope that runs from one end to the other and also have the wind at their backs. The Blue Army position themselves in the Sid Pepper Stand as I make my way behind the goal.

Shirebrook have the first chance of the game but Damian Steer in the Boro goal had the shot covered on his return to the Boro team. Pottsy then forced a good save from the Shirebrook keeper who turned it round the post. Both sides had chances but either the finishing was wayward or the respective keepers made the important save.

The best chance of the half fell to Shirebrook striker Stubley after a great cross from Slawson found him unmarked in the box, but somehow he hit the crossbar when it seemed he had to score. Half time arrived with no score.

The good performance of the first half gave us all optimism that Boro may be able to get something out of the game but it was not to be. Most of the action was in the Boro box and we struggled to create any chances ourselves.

It all went wrong for Boro on 70 minutes. Mitch Slawson latched onto a good through ball and unleashed a shot that flew past Steer in the Boro goal. Minutes later Steer was able to push another good shot round the post to keep the difference at one. Boro started to look for an equaliser but did not really get the run of the ball in the difficult conditions. Time was running out for Boro and the game finally went out of reach two minutes from time. A good run from Topliss down the right saw him reach the byline and put in a good cross for Slawson who thumped it past Steer for his and Shirebrook's second goal. The final whistle saw Boro fall to a 2-0 defeat.
A decent ground but a disappointing result but it was a good day out following the Boro and many thanks to Gary for driving me there and back.

More pictures of Langwith Road here.

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

Shirebrook Town 2-0 Grimsby Borough
Att: 79
Admission: £4
Programme: £1.00