March 29th

leohoenig

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Cheltenham Town
Here we go...
 

Stoodley Pike

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Saturday 29th March 2008
Gillingham 0 Carlisle United 0
Football League, League One (3.0)
Admission £22
Attendance 6,673
Programme £3 (68pp)


Revisit to Priestfield, to view extensive alterations completed since I attended in 1993. Feeling lazy, I’ll cut and paste a contemporaneous piece I wrote for the FGIF website. Can’t imagine, 12 years on, it’ll improve if I start afresh!

Let's be grateful Gillingham rejected the idea of leaving the claustrophobic confines of Priestfield and opted to rebuild on their existing site. For the ground's setting, truly a classical British sporting location, boasts an intimacy and sense of confinement matched in the Football League only by the sardine can experience that is Luton Town's Kenilworth Road. The Gills, well aware of the limits Priestfield placed on their ambitions, wanted to pack up and move out but restrictions imposed by Kent planners would have meant leaving the Medway Towns altogether. That really was beyond the pale for a club rooted in this working class dockland community, so Millwall-supporting chairman Paul Scally, who arrived on the scene in 1995 to rescue the Gills from administration, grasped the nettle and decided to stay put, raze the old ground and start again.

Just how bold a decision that was becomes obvious from the moment you arrive. No-one in their right mind would today choose to build a football ground in such a spot, purchased for £600 in 1893. Priestfield, as if playing a game of hide and seek with spectators, is secreted amid identical narrow streets of Victorian terraced homes. From a distance, the landmark stand roofs and floodlight pylons can be seen poking above the chimney tops but once this guide is lost to view the ground becomes invisible until, finally, one stumbles across it with the sort of dazed relief reserved usually for those negotiating a route to the centre of a maze.

The old Priestfield, hardly changed since the 1920s and with relatively small stands and large expanses of uncovered terracing, seemed surprisingly spacious and airy. Rather like Dr Who's Tardis, it appeared bigger inside than it had any right to be from without. The revamp, featuring taller, wider stands with steeply-raked seats, has produced a far more compact, cloistered and less dowdy arena in which fans feel almost part of the action on the pitch. Given the tight setting, it's entirely appropriate. At last! A ground where the new is more appealing than the old.

Gillingham, pukka football territory, is not the Garden of England Kent of hop fields and oast houses. It's scruffy and not too well acquainted with prosperity. The best approach to Priestfield is from the direction of the dreary High Street and down Linden Road for the ground, now a stadium in every sense, is hidden until the last possible moment. A zig-zag brings you out on Redfern Avenue at the ground’s northwest corner. The back of the imposing Medway Stand, opened in 2000, rears over the surrounding houses in the manner of the main stand at Goodison Park. Honey-coloured bricks, grey metal sheets, abundant glazing and blue detailing make a pleasing impression. Facing the street is the ticket office, Gills megastore and Blues Rock Cafe. Inside the stand is, among other things, a hydrotherapy pool, a cinema, a sauna and steam room, and a media centre. At the far, Toronto Road, end can be found the site's only car parking, laid on after the demolition of a sports centre. This sliver of tarmac is tucked away behind the Rainham End Stand and accessed through attractive metal gates bearing the club's logo. The entrance/reception is over to the right, sheltered - incongruously - by a huge, opaque canopy of plastic in the style of the Olympic Stadium in Munich and fringed with borders containing exotic palms. It has the air of a health club and bar in a southern Spanish resort. Pretty tacky, I'm afraid to say.

The two-tier, cantilevered Medway Stand offers the best view in the house. A line of executive boxes, each with a dedicated section of padded seats in front of glazed doors, separates the two tiers. These are kitted out with blue plastic tip-up seats. In common with the other stands, the fascias and exposed metalwork are painted blue with the rear walls and roof undersides in white. An inspired idea, for it makes what could be a gloomy ground seem light and bright. Beneath, a decent effort has also been made with the concourses which, though cosy, are smartly decorated. The corners are filled in by solid-looking building work, again of honey-coloured stone. The players emerge in the northwest corner, through a tunnel with a high ceiling. Twin dugouts, either side of halfway, are uncovered and recessed into the spectator seats. From my vantage point, it was clear - and fascinating - to see how little time both managers spent on their backsides. Bundles of nervous energy, they patrolled the technical areas with restless excitement.

The single-tier Rainham End Stand, completed in 1999, is another cantilever with blue plastic tip-up seats and the letters GFC picked out in white. This always was the Gills 'kop' but the deep roof makes for much improved acoustics. Opposite the main stand is the new Gordon Road Stand, the first part of the old ground to be redeveloped. This has a low, pitched roof. It cannot be any higher because it would cut off the light for the houses close to its rear, across a street narrower even than Redfern Avenue. More blue plastic tip-up seats are interspersed with white ones which spell out The Gills. A gable, painted blue against the white roof, has a glazed camera gantry and an electronic scoreboard. The legend Gillingham Football Club features in white letters - none of which line up properly. The stand is so low, the upper storeys and chimneys of the houses to the rear are plain to see. To the right of the Medway Stand is the Brian Moore Stand, named after the former commentator and Gills director. This is the sole part of the ground which is a let-down. It has green plastic tip-up seats on a scaffolding frame and will, when funds allow, be replaced by a permanent structure. Behind it runs an alley, two yards wide at most, and the Priestfield Road cul-de-sac leading to the turnstiles for away supporters. Metal gates at either end of the alley can be locked to assist crowd control. The corner floodlights are unusual. They are mounted on rather elegant pylons painted white. On the Gordon Road side, their slimness indicates a lack of space while on the Medway Stand side they are truncated and positioned on the roof. Each has 36 lamps set in four rows of nine. Overkill, in these times of powerful halogen bulbs, surely?

My only previous visit to Priestfield was in 1993 to see my team, Halifax Town, play in a winner-takes-all relegation decider at the end of a characteristically troubled campaign. On a sweltering afternoon of unbearable tension, Halifax outplayed the Gills, lost 2-0 then a week later tumbled into non-league football. Today's game didn't have so much on it but plenty was at stake nonetheless. Upwardly mobile Carlisle United, second in the table, needed points to help secure an automatic promotion place while Gillingham, fourth bottom, were desperate for anything as they battled to avoid a return to the Football League basement. The home team fought for every ball and were unlucky not to win. "If we'd played like that all season, we wouldn't be where we are now," said one fan at the final whistle. "Best we've been for weeks," added another. There certainly didn't look almost a full division between the teams.

Carlisle had come down by plane to avoid a 355-mile road trip and made a flying start against a Gillingham side containing a number of well-known non-league graduates. Manager Mark Stimson's time at Grays Athletic and Stevenage Borough resulted him bringing with him to Priestfield John Nutter, Adam Miller and Dennis Oli. A flap from keeper Derek Stillie gave Simon Hackney a chance to prod the Cumbrians into an early lead but first Simon King and then Nicky Southall, back from injury and a major influence on the right side of midfield, cleared off the goalline. Livewire Gills striker Simeon Jackson was close with a glancing header and Stillie redeemed himself with a splendid save from a Marc Bridge-Wilkinson drive deflected off King. Miller was inches over with a 12-yard half-volley when a little more composure would have led to a goal and Nutter fired straight at United keeper Keiren Westwood when well positioned. Big Garry Richards ended the half by nodding a Southall free-kick agonisingly the wrong side of the far post.

Jackson was unlucky in the 56th minute when he turned well and, from 25 yards, crashed a powerful effort off the crossbar. Both teams kept pushing. Jackson was high and wide before Carlisle, who found it difficult to get past defensive colussus Danny Cullip, almost stole the points with late strikes from Grant Smith, Evan Horwood and Bridge-Wilkinson, all fractionally off target. Had any gone in, it would have been cruel on the home lads, who harried and harassed United from first kick to last.

If Gillingham, as seems likely, do go down again it will be poor reward for chairman Scally's vision in funding a stadium of which a club of this size could only previously dream. A lot has been squeezed into an unpromising site and the facilities are now of Championship, rather than League Two, standard. Despite all the changes, Priestfield has a very traditional atmosphere and that simply must be applauded.

Eccleshill United 1 Tadcaster Albion 0 (1995, NCEL, Div One). David Rushby scored Eccleshill’s winner in the 25th minute. Just 28 spectators at Plumpton Park, a decent little ground I keep meaning to revisit. 1994-95 was Eagles’ 30th season at the Kingsway venue.

Halifax Town 2 Merthyr Tydfil 1 (1994, Conference). After manager John Bird told his players to “prove your worth,” Halifax had 22 efforts on goal. Dave Hanson netted with headers in the 43rd and 71st minutes. Following Town’s depressingly patchy start to their first season outside the Football League, the Calderdale public was rejecting non-league football: just 771 at The Shay.

Matlock Town 2 Alfreton Town 2 (1990, Floodlit Cup, Western Section). In the Peak District on holiday, we (my then-girlfriend and I) spent the day in and around Matlock. Dropped by the football ground for a mid-afternoon nosy, to discover there was a game in the evening. On a Thursday! That was the good news. That it was a tie in the Evans Halshaw-sponsored Floodlit Cup was the bad news. M. Mouse calling! Still, beggars can’t be choosers. A decent game ended all-square. 200 spectating. I was so impressed with Causeway Lane, overlooked by the Riber Castle folly, I revisited a couple of times for ‘proper’ matches.

Other sports:

Carlisle 13 Wilmslow 14 (2014, rugby union, North One West). Football hoppers will have seen Carlisle’s ground, which boasts a nice grandstand (its only cover), because it’s next to Carlisle United’s Brunton Park. Wilmslow somehow edged this relegation dogfight by scoring two tries from their only attacks of note. Carlisle were let down by abysmal handling. 180 watching.

Cross Keys 13 Bridgend 18 (2006, rugby union, Welsh Premiership). Been to a number of cracking rugby union grounds in South Wales. Pandy Park, hemmed in by the steep sides of a narrowing, heavily wooded valley, merits a place in that category. Located near Cwmcarn and the confluence of the rivers Ebbw and Sirhowy, it has a stand (the larger with seats) on each side. Given days of torrential rain (you can tell I was on holiday), this fixture did well to beat the weather. On an extremely heavy pitch, Bridgend chalked up an eighth win in nine games. Decent effort by the visitors, reduced to 13 at one stage by yellow cards. Their victory was secured with an unconverted try in the 75th minute. I’ve no record of the attendance. Although the club are named Cross Keys, the village they represent is spelled Crosskeys. Why the disparity?
 

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Climate Change

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2011 Rothwell Corinthians 2 v Daventry Utd 0
 

Kirby Knitters

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Team{s}
The Knitters.
1982.
Division 2.
QPR 2 Sheff Wed 0 (11,710)
W12 on a Monday night at the end of March watching a game like this? No idea whatsoever but I have it in black and white so I must have been in attendance.

1993.
LSL.
Kirby Muxloe 2 Fosse Imps 3 (26)
 

town ender

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If only I’d kept records . . .

1980 Bury 0-2 Gillingham
Perhaps my only ever scheduled 3-15 kick off? Two goals from the under-rated Dean White, one a powerful header and one a bouncing shot past a badly positioned keeper. A game so unremarkable that I still recall Gills goalie Ron Hillyard turning to us to ask how long to go on around the 70 minute mark. Also remember finding the programme shop at the final whistle and coming close to being left behind. Journey home will have involved sleep, most likely the Sports Argus at Hilton Park, chips in Highgate and maybe home for some or all of Match of the Day.
 

hantslondoner

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An eventful, and prolific, date for me:

1977: Isthmian: Hayes 2 Hendon 2 at Church Road (Cyrille Regis playing for Hayes)
1983: another U21 game at Portsmouth: England 2 Greece 1
1986: an Easter Monday double:
Tottenham H 1 Arsenal 0 - Gary Stevens makes himself a Tottenham legend by scoring the only goal, as did Paul Miller who 'did a job'on Charlie Nicholas.
Barnet 4 Barrow 1
2013: Wessex League Cup Final @ Chistchurch: Brockenhurst 1 Alresford T 4 (see earlier WDYG)
2014: FA Vase SF1: Sholing 2 Eastbourne UA 2 (Sholing won SF2 and won the Vase) (see earlier WDYG)
2017: HPFL Div 1: Netley CS 2 Lyndhurst 2 (lots of controversy - see earlier WDYG)

and 2015 ice hockey (see old 'Other Sports') Solent Devils 5 MK Thunder 4
 

Dr Love

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Halifax Town
2017
Andover New Street 3-1 Baffins Milton Rovers
Wessex League 1st Division


My second attempt at going to watch this fixture, the first had been postponed shortly before kickoff due to one floodlight not working. Fortunately Whitchurch United were also at home that evening, so I was able to get there without missing too much of that game.

This was expected to be a comfortable away win, with Baffins going for promotion and only the presence of Pewsey Vale in the division ruling out a possible bottom placing for New Street. On the pitch it turned out differently. Although Baffins had far more of the chances on offer, New Street opened up a 3-0 lead with their limited chances and held out depsite plenty of pressure late on.
 

prorege

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Fife clubs
Saturday March 29th 1986



Another English double for me although neither game was a “new ground”. Expedition would have started on the overnight Edinburgh to London train. We probably bought separate day returns from Berwick to London and Edinburgh to Berwick in order to reduce the fare. In those days I was fairly adept at any scams to avoid paying full price on British Rail.



From King’s Cross we made our way by overground to White Hart lane, presumably via Liverpool Street, to:



Football League Division One

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, 1-0, H.T. 1-0, Att 33,427

At White Hart Lane



My previous visit to White Hart Lane had been against Coleraine in a European tie a few years previously. On that occasion I was in the “away” end but for the Arsenal game I was at the opposite end of the ground. I am not sure if the game was all-ticket or not – I suspect it wasn’t and the area where I was had plenty room. Arsenal were doing a bit better than Tottenham at the time – sitting 5th whilst the Lilywhites were 11th. I recall nothing about the game. The record books show that Gary Stevens scored the only goal in the first half. Spurs had no Scots in their line-up although the enigmatic Ally Dick was on their books at that time. Charlie Nicholas was up front for Arsenal but I suspect he was as anonymous in that game as he was throughout his career in England.






From there it was a quick dash across London to a far better and more memorable match:



Football League Division One

Chelsea v West Ham United, 0-4, H.T. 0-1, Att 29,995

At Stamford Bridge



This was West Ham’s big year when they almost won the League Championship in a three-horse race with Liverpool and Everton. Going into this game Chelsea were actually 4th and West Ham 5th but the visitors absolutely blew Chelsea away with a scintillating display. Despite a big backlog of fixtures West Ham won 11 of their last 14 games to end the season in 3rd place.



Their team was a good blend of the inspirational and dependable. Phil Parkes was in goals. Raymond Stewart and George Parris were the full backs. Alvin Martin missed this game to be replaced by Paul Hilton with Tony Gale beside him. Alan Devonshire, Alan Dickens and Geoff Pike were in midfield. Mark Ward was out wide with the deadly duo of Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie up front. Devonshire, Cottee (2) and McAvennie scored the goals in a masterclass of quick free-flowing football.



Looking at the Chelsea side it is hard to believe that they were 4th in the League. They had some good players but on that particular day they were below strength. Kerry Dixon was missing with Colin Lee taking his place up front. Two Scottish wingers featured – Pat Nevin’s class was apparent but Kevin MccAllister was short of the quality needed for this level. Pretend Scot David Speedie was up front. At the back Chelsea had big Joe McLaughlin and the even bigger Doug Rougvie.



We were in the home end at Stamford Bridge just as I had been no my previous visit for a promotion-party type game against Barnsley in 1984. It was a really poor ground in those days – terracing set back from the pitch, with shallow stepping. The new stand was incongruous by comparison with the 1930s-nature of the rest of the ground.



We wouldn’t have hung about at the end, having to be back at King’s Cross for the 6pm train north. I suspect things were far from peaceful around Stamford bridge in the aftermath – West Ham had a huge support at the far end of the ground.



Full highlights here:



 

Hoddy1.

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Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
41 to choose from , 5 doubles , 2 x England , 1 x Bel / Lux , 1 x Hungary & 1 x Spain.

Will settle for the one year only , the first of the doubles which was 1968/69.

Div 1.
@ Molineux.
15-00.
Wolves 0 v 0 Leeds.
27,986.







Div 3.
@ Gresty Rd.
19-15.
Crewe Alex 1 v 1 Stockport.
5,286.

 
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A.G.Ricer

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VS Rugby
29th March 1969
Rugby Town 2 Hereford United 0
Rugby Town :
Paul Corlett, Bill Cholerton, Frank Austin, Don Walker, John Clarke, Clive Hopkin, Ken Whittle, John Docker, Ken Whitehead, , Ken Harrald, Roy Senior.
Goals : John Docker 2.
Attendance 739
Programme 6d
A consecutive Saturdays double over Hereford with a 2-1 win the previous weekend. The game was memorable for John Clarke playing the once great John Charles completely out of the game. Charles was restricted to one shot which cleared the goal by a huge distance. The ball exited the ground and disappeared down Bilton Road hill.
 

Jolly Green Giant

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Mar 23, 2020
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Leatherhead; Crystal Palace
29th March 1980 Surrey Senior Cup Final
Sutton United 1 Tooting & Mitcham United 0 (@ Leatherhead)

A fairly dull first-half, but it improves after the break. Micky Joyce stabs home from close range for the only goal. Tooting launch a late bid for recovery, but Rick Collyer produces 2 fine saves and Sutton win the cup for the 5th time.

29th March 1987 Football League Full Members Cup Final (@ Wembley)
Blackburn Rovers 1 Charlton Athletic 0 Att: 40,000

Two teams who had not had too much by way of recent honours fought it out for one of the lesser trophies. Managed to get a much better seat by persuading a steward that I shouldn’t be in with the Blackburn fans. Remember thinking that £1 was very steep for a coke ! Not a great game. Charlton have more of the play but the final pass or shot lets them down. With extra-time looming, Bob Bolder fails to cut out a cross and Colin Hendry slams the ball home for the only goal.

28th March 1999 Hampshire League Division II
Tadley 4 Yateley Green 3

Notable for being the darkest ‘light’ I have ever seen a game completed. It was the first Monday after the clocks changed so was always going to be a bit of a risk. Tadley were 2-0 down inside 8 minutes, but came back to edge it 4-3, the winner coming 3 minutes from time. The only way I knew they had scored was from the player’s celebrations as they ran back to the centre circle. Near pitch dark when the final whistle went shortly before 8 pm. This game was played on ‘The Green’ but Tadley revealed ambitious plans for a new ground to have 200 seater stand, floodlights, 2nd all-weather pitch and a golf course.
 

Karb

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Sunderland AFC,
Keighley Cougars RLFC
1986
Football League Division 3
Darlington 1-0 Lincoln City
Att: 3,102


Waterlogged Feethams pitches meant that Darlington's first home game of the season hadn't taken place until 1 March. They were now playing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (or Monday, Wednesday, Saturday) every week until the end of the season. Garry MacDonald scored the only goal of the game.

1992
Barclays League Division 2
Newcastle United 1-0 Sunderland
Att: 30,306


Less said about this one the better. We didn't care, we were just focussing on next week's Cup Semi Final. Honest.

David Kelly scored the only goal of a very poor game between two sides at the wrong end of the table.

2008
Barclays Premier League
Sunderland 2-1 West Ham United
Att: 45,690


In two and a half years under Roy Keane, Sunderland probably scored more stoppage time goals than in an entire decade before or after. This was another of those games. The Hammers had taken the lead with a Freddie Ljungberg strike from the edge of the box on 18 minutes, Kenwynne Jones equalising 11 minutes later with the visiting defence appealing for offside.
With Sunderland throwing everything forward in the final minutes, Andy Reid volleyed in a left footed winner.

2019
Northern League Division Two
Chester-le-Street Town 0-1 Birtley Town
Att: 248


I'd taken advantage of a few days leave to have a short break back home, taking in games on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, driving back to Birmingham straight after this game.

The attendance looked a fair bit higher than the official 248. With the clubhouse being outside of the ground, and no process for getting a pass out, the poor gateman must have a hell of a job trying to remember who had already paid and who hadn't.

The only goal of the game came on 8 minutes. A speculative long range effort from Birtley's number 10, Williamson, should have led to a straightforward save, but the home keeper fumbled it into his own net.
 

leohoenig

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Cheltenham Town
For several seasons, I had been hoping to go to the derby, Spakenburg v IJsselmeervogels. It had to be at Spakenburg, as I had been to the other one in this pair of adjacent grounds back in 1995. As a season ticket holder at Cheltenham, I wanted it to be when we were not at home.

This finally came up in 2014, and I have placed some pictures of the derby at Spakenburg Derby on twitter, but you can also view something of the intensity of the occasion by looking at

For two teams playing in semi-professional football, and with general crowds in the 1000-1500 area, there is little to compare with this derby which will always fill whichever of the adjacent stadiums are in use. My match was packed with action, mainly in the second half with the visitors having a player sent off soon after going 1-0 down, but putting on pressure leading to an equaliser in injury time.

For me, the day was not ended, as I headed down towards Antwerp to see KFC de Kempen Tielen-Lichtaart beat Berlaar Heikant 2-0 in the Antwerp provincial league. Just 300 there and a few pictures can be found at KFC de Kempen

Overall, these are two out of 24 games seen on the date, 16 of which involved ground ticks.
I do nt have the actual crowd figure for the highest crowd, which almost certainly was on a Sunday in 1981, when Portsmouth and Oxford United drew 1-1 in the third division. Second highest would have been in 1997, when I have the 10,000 noted as the approximate attendance at Lubak Bulus for the match between Pelita Jaya and Mitra Surabaya. At the time, Pelita were the leading team in the Jakarta area, despite using the stadium way out of town. No goals there. Spakenburg was the third best crowd, after which comes two Cheltenham games, a 3-2 defeat at Port Vale in 2013 (5867) and a 1-1 draw at home to Northampton in 2008 (4024).

There was a low light to the visit to Arbroath in 2003. I tried to get my pre-match beer at Wetherspoons, while if I recall correctly, Spanner was taking a snooze in the car. There was no real ale available. The game against Saint Mirren finished 1-1 (508).

Low crowds when visiting Wiltshire for what were early evening matches. Just six recorded for Swindon Irons v Old Town Wanderers in 2011. This missed a cracker with the away team winning 4-3. A less close game, at Shrivenham Road in 1995, a ground (I think its gone now) which was close to the railway lines. 20 people watched the home side rack up 17 goals without reply. Still the highest winning margin, and the highest number of goals in a game seen until an 18-1 in 2012. The visitors were Walcot Athletic, who turned up with just a bare 11 players and played most of the second period with just 10, after their keeper walked off in disgust after the seventh goal. For the winners, Sanford, there were two own goals in the mix and Michael Cochrane was top scorer with five, despite missing a penalty at 1-0.

In 2002, this was Good Friday, leading to a trio of games, starting with Ivybridge Town v Oak Villa in the Devon County League (2-4, 100) and then on to join the hop with two revisits, Porthleven v St. Austell (2-0, 503) and Falmouth v Wadebridge (3-1, 615)
 

Tales From The Riverbank3

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A further trip to the recesses of the 1997 archive for...

Gretna 1 v 0 Radcliffe Borough - Northern Premier League Division 1
Prog 24 pages 70p - Admission £2.50 - Att 112

Almost certainly the completion of the seasons Levels 1-3 and the only trip ever partaken to Raydale Park, which I recall as being a functional enough venue. This was long before Brooks Mileson's involvement/ego trip and the listed attendance was I understand their third highest of the season.

As is usually the case, cannot recall huge amount about the contest, but the faded pencil notes show that the only goal of the game was scored by one Ryan Bird with a shot from the edge of the area which the powers of recall did not have that much in the way of pace but Andy Johnston in the Radcliffe goal was largely unsighted and dived too late to prevent the shot creeping just inside the post. One trait that seems to follow around, is that I am often the 'kiss of death' on teams that are doing well and this was one such example, though noted that a month later Radcliffe had won the NPL1 title.

Pretty certain that I have only seen Gretna on two occasions and my knowledge of Cumbrian non-league players is somewhat thin. though the names of Craig Potts and Mike McCarthy sound familiar having played for the likes of Workington perhaps. More familiar names in the Radcliffe line up with the likes of Levi Edwards, Joe Connor and Colin McRory, which if I ever had the inclination to compile a player card index system (or alternatively a spreadsheet) like the learned Mr Druryszki then these would be players that would warrant a couple of entries.

Included with the programme for an obscure reason is a Welcome to Gretna and Gretna Green 'Romantic Gateway to Scotland' fold out tourist guide compiled by Gretna & Rigg Community Council, that I had picked up. For reasons outlined later, this was very much a truncated visit north of the border, though whereas Gretna Green is chocolate box Scotland with the Old Blacksmiths Shop Centre, Gretna was anything but with the over riding memory being the colour grey, grey houses, grey skies and a grey environ. The memory is particularly hazy, but this I am pretty certain this was an unusual dry Saturday or a half of something particularly unmemorable was imbibed in a pub near the ground.

At this point, Bank Holidays always meant a Sunday service off of Grays meaning that the earliest departure that could be caught off of Euston was the 08.30. Booked a return journey in advance for £40.00, however the connections at Carlisle were not the best and it was nearly 14.00 before Gretna was reached, the return journey was difficult as the connecting train from Gretna was late, meaning that it was the tightest of tight connections at Carlisle. A quick word with the guard meant that the return service was held for a minute or so to allow the connection and the journey back to London went without issue. Almost certainly well into the first hour of Sunday before the lock was turned of the then Grays abode.
 

martin55

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Dec 7, 2019
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A bit of a list from me for a change...

Saturday 1980 3:00 Orient v Cardiff City 1-1 Football League Division 3 4081
Friday 1991 11:00 Calne Town v Devizes Town 4-0 Western League Division 1
Friday 1991 7:00 Leighton Town v Shillington 2-0 South Midlands League Trophy FINAL First Leg
Sunday 1992 1:15 Netherfield v Bridlington Town 2-1 NPL Division 1 112
Tuesday 1994 7:30 Colwyn Bay v Matlock Town 3-0 NPL Premier Division (@Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port) 102
Saturday 1997 12:00 Budleigh Salterton v Ottery St. Mary 2-0 Devon League (Hop) 471
Saturday 1997 3:00 Newton St. Cyres v Elburton Villa 1-2 Devon League (Hop) 318
Saturday 1997 6:30 Willand Rovers v Teignmouth 0-1 Devon League (Hop) 528
Sunday 1998 3:00 Limerick v Bray Wanderers 2-1 National League Division 1 (@Hogan Park, Rathbane)
Wednesday 2000 7:30 Norton United v Audley 0-0 Midland League
Friday 2002 11:30 Penzance v Bodmin Town 3-0 South Western League (Hop) 479
Friday 2002 3:30 Porthleven v St. Austell 2-0 South Western League (Hop) 503
Friday 2002 7:00 Falmouth Town v Wadebridge Town 3-1 South Western League (Hop) 615
Monday 2004 7:15 Aylestone Park v Loughborough Dynamo 1-2 Leicestershire Senior League Cup Quarter Final
Saturday 2008 10:45 Arsenal u18 v Cardiff City u18 6-0 FA Premier Academy League
Saturday 2008 2:30 Baldock Town v Chipperfield Corinthians 3-1 Herts Senior County League Division One (@The Slope)
Tuesday 2011 7:45 Oldham Boro v Atherton Collieries 1-2 North West Counties League Division 1
Friday 2013 12:00 West Allotment Celtic v North Shields 2-0 Northern League Division 2 182
Friday 2013 4:30 Hemsworth M. W. v Knaresborough Town 0-4 Northern Counties East League Division One 415
Friday 2013 7:45 Athersley Recreation v Askern Villa 8-1 Northern Counties East League Division One 509
Saturday 2014 3:00 Oughtibridge War Memorial v Swallownest MW 0-1 Pete’s Patisserie County Senior League Premier Division
Wednesday 2017 7:45 Campion v Selby Town 2-2 Northern Counties East League Division One 74
Thursday 2018 7:45 Bridgwater Town Reserves v Middlezoy Rovers 0-1 Somerset County League Premier Division 224
Friday 2019 8:00 Dunipace v Bonnyrigg Rose 0-4 East of Scotland League Conference B (Hop) 380

The two most memorable games are not for the games themselves but the transport logistics involved.

For the Orient game (1980) I was staying with my Grandma in London (Chelsea area) and had intended going on the tube, but that day they were on strike (as far as I can remember) so had to resort to going by bus. That was a big adventure for someone not used to such things, but I got there and back in one piece!

The trip to Limerick (1998) was the last match on a three day trip by Ferry and hire car. Friday at Shelbourne and Saturday at Galway had gone OK. Finding the ground at Rathbane took some doing as I didn’t have a proper map, and it wasn’t obvious how to get to it from the main road, and no one around to ask. But after a bit of driving around I eventually found it. Limerick hadn’t been my original destination (can’t remember what was) but the fixtures got changed late, as they did a lot then, so Limerick was the best option. However, this meant a very fraught and rushed trip back to Dublin to drop off the hire car then get out to Dún Laoghaire in time for the ferry. As it happened, I was late for boarding, but luckily the ferry was late as well and I just about managed to get on before it departed.
 

norwich6

Junior Team Regular
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
80
Team{s}
football in Norfolk
29th March 1986
Hellenic League Skol Cup 2nd Round Kick off 1430
Supermarine v Thame Utd @ Hunts Copse Swindon
Score 1-2 after extra time, 90 minutes 0-0 Attendance around 45
Programme Issued Do not have note of admission charge

My notes say it was a good match despite being 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Supermarine paid the price for missing a lot of good chances
Supermarine moved grounds in 1988 to a site nearby. Around this
time they merged with Swindon Athletic to become Swindon
Supermarine.

On the way back to Swindon station recall going past the old padlocked
ground of Garrard Athletic who were once members of the Hellenic League,
Site is now a retail park I believe.
Garrards were famous for making record turntables.

29th March 2011
Totesport Combination Kick off 1400
Gillingham Reserves v Leyton Orient @ Priestfield
Admission £3 team sheet free Attendance around 150
Score 2-1 ht 0-1
Second half goals from Luke Rooney (penalty) and Tom Brunt won
the game for Gills. Brunt was to go on to play for and captain Sittingbourne
in the Ryman League. Rooney went from Gills to Swindon and has played
for a number of other clubs since then.
Sadly this was the last season Gills ran a reserve team
The following season Development matches (as they became named)
were either played at Priestfield behind closed doors or at the
training ground at Beeching Cross.
 

Cleeve

Junior Team Star
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
141
Team{s}
Bristol City
St Albans City
Verulam Cycling Club
1975 Easter Monday
Football League Division Two
Bristol City 0-1 Norwich City
Attendance: 22,204
Scorer: Suggett

This was probably the game that ended our promotion chances as Norwich finished three points ahead of us in the third promotion place. We felt an injustice in this result because we had won a hard fought game at the Dell on the Saturday while Norwich didn't play.

But it was our turn to get promoted the next season and, considering what a struggle it turned out to be in Division One, missing out this time was probably for the best.


1986
Football League Division Two
Crystal Palace 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
Attendance: 9,124
Scorer: Brush

Don't remember anything about the game or why I picked it, and I don't remember thinking there was much rivalry between the two clubs at the time. I might be wrong!
 

Hoddy1.

Reserve Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
883
Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
For several seasons, I had been hoping to go to the derby, Spakenburg v IJsselmeervogels. It had to be at Spakenburg, as I had been to the other one in this pair of adjacent grounds back in 1995. As a season ticket holder at Cheltenham, I wanted it to be when we were not at home.

This finally came up in 2014, and I have placed some pictures of the derby at Spakenburg Derby on twitter, but you can also view something of the intensity of the occasion by looking at


Overall, these are two out of 24 games seen on the date, 16 of which involved ground ticks.
I do nt have the actual crowd figure for the highest crowd, which almost certainly was on a Sunday in 1981, when Portsmouth and Oxford United drew 1-1 in the third division.
If anyone is like me and doesn't open links to twitter accounts and assuming an attendance is mentioned there , I thought I'd mention there were 8,500 at the Spakenburg derby.
Also 12,243 at Pompey.
 

Wheelbarrow

Junior Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
133
If anyone is like me
Oh, I don't think anyone is quite like you...

Seeing the (far, far) southwestern hop of 2002 mentioned above made me remember the efforts of some to get there for the Penzance game after a horrific accident closed the M5 in both directions. I had set off from Bristol after breakfast time and remember seeing emergency vehicles tearing north bound not long after. I spent the rest of the journey wondering why everyone always moaned about bank holiday traffic in this part of the world, as it seemed really quiet. It was only when I put the news on in the B&B that I saw what had happened. People spent hours in queues and took amazing detours cross-country to get there in time.
 

Hoddy1.

Reserve Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
883
Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
Oh, I don't think anyone is quite like you...
Wheelybin I thank you , that's brought a tear to my eye. Hang on I can't touch my face , where's me feckin hanky ?
 

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