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

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