Welcome to Shaun Smith's Groundhopping blog ...
'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) ... the original internet ground logging website.
Check out my blog reports and pictures from over 400 different football grounds in the A-Z Matchday Index
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Glenafton Athletic 0-2 Auchinleck Talbot
West Region - Super League Premier Division
Monday 25th April 2016
Glenafton Athletic play in the parish and former mining town of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire. Its growth came during the 20th century, with several pits and miners rows expanding this small town into a mining community.(Population just under 3,000)
In 1950, thirteen people were killed and 129 miners were trapped at the Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery. a film was made about the disaster called The Brave Don't Cry in 1952, starring John Gregson, and there’s now a memorial at the site of the disaster.
New Cumnock has an interesting history, with links to William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robbie Burns. (which I’ll be covering in my book) Scotland’s national bard was a frequent visitor and he immortalised the Afton Water which flows into the River Nith with his 1791 poem ‘Sweet Afton’
Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
Glenafton Athletic formed in 1930 and take their name from the Glen Afton in the parish.
The Glens played in 3 consecutive Scottish Junior Cup finals between 1992 and 1994, their only success being a 1-0 win over Tayport in 1993. Each side of that they lost out to Auchinleck Talbot and Largs Thistle. The Glens first final came in 1963 when they were beat by Irving Meadow at Hampden Park, and their most recent final appearance was just two years ago, losing to Hurlford United in the Ayrshire derby.
Honours include -
8 times Ayrshire League champions
West of Scotland Super League First Division winners: 2011–12
Ayrshire League Cup winners 6 times and Ayrshire Cup winners on 5 occasionsLoch Park
(Scottish grounds visited 72 Junior grounds 26 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 19/27)
After 30 years playing on the colliery pitch at Connel Park, Glenafton Athletic moved to Loch Park in 1960, and at the same time changed the club colours from black and white to red. The ground has a 250 capacity covered stand on one side, filled with bench seats and named in honour of Mick Morran, the club’s late physio. At each side of the stand there is plenty of terracing, with the rest of the ground open with sleeper terracing and grass banking, including the strange site of the TV gantry being used as some kind of dog pen. There’s a clubhouse bar in the Hugh Campbell Hall, named after the former club president, next to the snack bar on one side. The changing rooms are behind the goal in the Hunter Pavilion, which has a trophy room and hospitality upstairs. The club have revealed plans for a new changing facility and an all weather playing surface.
Glenafton Athletic(4th) v Auchinleck Talbot(2nd)
Mcbookie.com West of Scotland Super League Premier Division Matchday 17/15
Weather:Bright, but very cold.
0-1 Graham Wilson (29’)
A left wing cross found Wilson at the far post, sliding the ball past the ‘keeper from close range.
0-2 Dwayne Hyslop (56')
A precise direct free-kick from 20 yards, left of the penalty area was fired into the top right corner of the net by Hyslop.
Top Bloke - Graham Wilson(Auchinleck Talbot)
This victory saw the Bot leapfrog Troon at to the top of the division, and with still 4 games in hand over their nearest rivals, they look well on course to win a fifth Super League Premier title.
Golden Goal ticket £1(had 62')
131 miles door-to-door
I took advantage of a week’s leave from work and an early evening kick-off to tick another off my “T’ do” list in the Scottish Juniors. The trip to New Cumnock takes around 3 hours, but it’s just as quick and a helluva lot cheaper by road than rail. Lee and Katie were available to accompany me on my latest trip north, so they headed up to 100FgC HQ for a 2pm departure. We stopped off at The Robert the Bruce in Dumfries for some bait, before driving along the A76 zig-zag into Ayrshire.
We kept up our recent record of seeing someone we know, wherever we go, with the appearance of Mark Wilkins (100FgC AF33 ) who had travelled up from London, but using Carlisle as his groundhopping base for the next few days.
On our way to New Cumnock there was an accident on the A75, which could have caused us a serious delay if it wasn’t for a nearby escape route, but the return journey thankfully went smoothly, so I was back at HQ at 11.20pm.
Ground no.517 Loch Park - Matchday Web Album (29 pictures)
I’m in the process of writing and hopefully getting a book published on the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup over the last 50 years, which will feature a thorough chapter on the history of Glenafton Athletic and the town of New Cumnock.
Skegnesss Town 3-0 CGB Humbertherm
Lincolnshire Football League
Wednesday 20th April 2016
Skegness is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire.
(Population just under 19,000)
The name comes from the Danish period of settlement of England, although there is no reference to a village named Skegness in the Domesday Book. The town's name means either "Skeggi's headland" or "beard-shaped headland"
Skeggi(meaning "bearded one"), may have been one of the Vikings who established the original settlement to the east of the current town, which was washed away by the sea in the early 16th century.
Home to the first Butlin's holiday resort which was opened in 1936 (went there in 1998 with the breadknife and Laura when she was a toddler. Our chalet got broke into on the first night, swiping my Newcastle shirt and trainers)
Skegness Town formed in 1946
Founder member of the Lincolnshire League in 1948
Champions in 1951–52, 1955–56
Central Alliance (South) 1956-1958 champions in both seasons.
Joined the Midlands League for one season before it folded, followed by a third Central Alliance (south) league title in 1960–61
Re-joined newly formed Midlands League 1961-1982
1978-79 runners -up (lost out on title by goal difference)
Played one season in the Northern Counties East League as founder members in 1982-83
Lincolnshire League 1983-present
Non-League grounds visited 253
The club have played on Burgh Road since 1947. The ground will be replaced by a retail park with an Aldi store on the site of their current location. The Lillywhites will move just a short distance to Wainfleet Road, where the complex will have the main stadium, two further pitches and a new community all weather 3G pitch.
There is a small covered stand, filled with pairs of blue cinema seats, with a few rows of wooden benches along the side. The Lillywhite Social Club is at the ground entrance with the changing rooms and canteen bar behind the same goal. The rest of the ground is overgrown so spectators are allowed to stand on the pitch side of the wall, along by the team dugouts on the far side.
Skegness Town(1st) v CBG Humbertherm(9th)
Balcan Lighting Supplies Lincolnshire Football League Matchday 20
Kick off 6.49pm
1-0 Will Britton (5’)
The number 9 latched onto a through ball, knocking the ball past the oncoming keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.
2-0 Will Britton (16’)
Picked up the ball in the inside right channel and fired in a right foot shot into the far corner.
3-0 Will Britton (53’)
Skegness could have been at least 6 or 7 goals up at half time and Britton could back bagged 5 of those, but he finally completed his hat-trick, heading home a left wing cross early in the second half.
Top Bloke - Will Britton (Skegness Town)
The Lillywhites are on the verge of winning the league after neighbours Skegness United did them a favour with a 1-1 draw with Wyberton. The match played simultaneously just along the road on Wainfleet Road.
Sausage Bap £2.50
190 miles door-to-door
I’ve been to Skegness many times throughout the years(but only once at Butlins mind) and the imminent closure of the town’s long standing football ground meant an unexpected return. Katie text me on Sunday asking if I fancied the trip with her and Lee, as this was the club’s second last game at Burgh Road ... which was an offer I couldn’t refuse. After finishing work I drove down to Katie’s house in Houghton-le-Spring, left the car there, and we were on the motorway and off to the seaside by 2pm.
The long trek through Lincolnshire meant the journey took almost three and a half hours, so just a swift pint and no Chicken Club in the dog rough 'Spoons pub in the town before the match.
Peter Miles (100FgC AF17) was also at the game, having travelled up the east coast from Essex, and I imagine more Groundhoppers will be heading to Skeggy next Wednesday when Town play there finally match at Burgh Road against Wyberton.
Ground no.516 Burgh Road - Matchday Web Album (33 pictures)
Tayport 1-5 Linlithgow Rose
SJFA East Region Super League
Saturday 16th April 2016
Tayport is a small harbour town and burgh close to the north east tip of Fife, originally known by its Gaelic name Partan Craig, which translates as "Crab Rock"
(Population just under 8,000)
In 1598 the settlement received its burgh charter in the name of Ferry-Port on Craig. In the 1850s, the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway Company established a railway service running from Edinburgh to Aberdeen that stopped in the town. They used the much simpler name of "Tayport” which soon caught on and eventually replaced Ferry-Port on Craig as the more commonly used name.
The town is renowned for the line fishing industry, one of the oldest in Scotland, and of course the ferry service across the Tay, which was established in the 12th century. The railway ferry ceased in 1887 and the passenger-only ferry continued to run from the town to Broughty Ferry until 1920.
Tayport Amateurs formed in 1947 playing in the Midlands Amateurs’ Alliance League.
Became Tayport FC when the Junior team was launched in 1990, beginning life in the Tayside League rather than the Fife League due to their geographical position. The amateur side played their final season in the Amateur Leagues in 2000-01.
They won their first league title in 1991-92, becoming champions nine times in an eleven year period up to the 2001-02 season. SJFA East Region Superleague winners in 2002-03 and 2005-06, finishing runners-up the two years in between.
Scottish Junior Cup winners 3 times in 1995-96 (Camelon 2-0) 2002-03 Linlithgow Rose (1-0) and 2004-05 Lochee United(2-0) also runners-up in 1993, 1997 and 2004.
Plenty of cup honours include lifting the North and Tayside Cup 6 times and the Currie Cup on 9 occasions.
(Scottish grounds 71 - Scottish Juniors 25 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 18/27)
The local council invited the club to move from East Common to this former farm land in 1975. The ground has a covered terrace enclosure running down on one side, behind the home dugout, the away club dugout is on the opposite side in front of a grass banking standing area. The changing rooms are behind the goal where there’s open hard standing. At the top goal there is a large hedge making The Canniepairt a three sided ground.
Tayport (15th) v Linlithgow Rose (4th)
SJFA East Region Superleague Matchday 23/22
Kick off 2.30pm
Weather:Sunny intervals, heavy rain shower in the second half.
0-1 (24’) Tommy Coyne
Ball slipped into the box to Coyne, who produced a nice finish into the roof of the net.
1-1 (30') Alan Tulleth
Cross field pass found Tulleth unmarked on the left in acres of space, fired in a hard low shot into the far corner.
1-2 (31') Colin Strickland
Right wing ball found the number 9 in the box, who had time and space to slot home.
1-3 (40') Colin Strickland
Long ball down the middle found Strickland, the keeper didn't come to meet the long ball which made an easy finish
1-4 (60') Tommy Coyne
Cross from right headed in from six yards
1-5 (87’) Conor Kelly
Comedy of errors in the Port box, capitalised on by the substitute.
Top Bloke - Colin Strickland (Linlithgow Rose)
Scotch pie £1.20
185 miles door to door
0945 East Coast train service from Newcastle to Edinburgh, arrived at 1105.
100FgC squad #155 James Little picked me up outside the station at noon for the 60 mile drive across to Fife, via the A90 and A91. Stopped off for a pint in Cuper on route, arriving at the ground just before 2pm.
Afterwards James dropped me back off in Edinburgh in good time for a couple of pints in The Standing Order before boarding the 1900. Arrived back in the Toon at quarter to nine.
I’m in the process of writing and hopefully getting a book published on the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup over the last 50 years, which will feature a thorough chapter on the history of Tayport and its football club.
Ground no.515 The Canniepairt - Matchday Web Album (31 pictures from Tayport)
New Fordley 1-0 Newcastle Chemfica
Northern Alliance 1st Division
Saturday 26th March 2016
I visited New Fordley at The John Willie Sams Centre in December 2014, which was part thirteen of the Around the Alliance series. Since then the club have moved to a new base
just a mile and a half up the road in Annitsford. The ground recently opened a new state-of-the-art £245,000 changing room pavilion, thanks to a £74,558 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, as part of the Football Foundation.
Annitsford Welfare Sports Ground was hardly used and basically falling into despair, but the club’s partnership with the Northumberland FA in securing the grant, has giving a big boost to youth football in this part of North Tyneside.
New Fordley went top of the First Division with a narrow win over Chemfica. The decisive goal came just before half time when a left wing cross from Lee Sellar was met by Danny Sayer to steer the ball home from six yards. The visitors could have pinched a point late on but overall the hosts deserved this win which put them ahead of Birtley St Josephs at the top of the table. At the time of writing Shilbottle still have six games in hand, so they should win the title, so it’s between Fordley and St Joe’s for the runners-up spot in the promotion race.
Admission & programme:none
NFFC 1(Sayer 41) NCFC 0
Top Bloke - Lee Sellar(New Fordley)
Revisiting Purvis Park
Gateshead A 1-0 Grainger Park Boys Club
Bluefin Sports Insurance Amateur Cup final
Monday 28th March 2016
On Bank Holiday Monday I nipped over to Percy Main on the Metro for the Bluefin Sports Insurance Amateur Cup Final. This trophy is basically the Second Division cup, with the Gateshead Academy side having a relatively easy route to the final beating Seaton Burn (7-1) Alnmouth United (6-1) and Whitburn Athletic (5-1) in the semi-final.
Grainger Park Boys Club are the current holders of the trophy, beating Gateshead Leam Rangers 3-2 in last year’s final. This season their route to Purvis Park has seen them despatch Wallsend LC (7-3) Forest Hall (5-1) and Cramlington United (3-2)
The game got off to a lively start with Heed ‘A’ scoring from their first attack, although it was a bit of a freak goal, as a defensive clearance hit the legs of Jack Elliott and looped over the ‘keeper and into the net. There was a bit of a delay from the players and the spectators, before everyone realised the ball was actually nestling in the goal. (according to the press the goal was credited to Mechack Kanda, but Ellliott definitely scored)
I was expecting the young Gateshead side to get stronger as the match progressed and win the game with ease, but full marks to Grainger Park, they improved in the second half and had good chances to take the game into extra time.
The Amateur Cup is the first pot in the bag for Gateshead ‘A’ The young Heed are well on course to win the 2nd Division title and just one victory away from the Football Conference Youth Alliance League title.
Admission with programme:£3
GFC 1(Ellott 2) GPBC 0
Top Bloke - Jack Elliott(Gateshead A)
Felling Magpies 2-0 Cramlington Town
Northern Alliance 1st Division
Saturday 2nd April 2016Wardley is a large residential area on the eastern tip of Gateshead on the border with South Tyneside. It was once a vibrant pit village, with its colliery, terraced houses and the welfare ground, which was once home to Wardley Welfare FC.
The Welfare is now the home of the Felling Magpies senior team. The club were formed in 1989 and currently run 28 boys and girls teams of all age groups. The senior side are newcomers to the Northern Alliance, taking over the place of Gateshead Leam Rangers, who had won promotion to the 1st Division last season.
This season I’ve been lucky enough not to have seen a 0-0, and in all the matches I’ve watched in the Northern Alliance I’m still to witness a goalless draw. That proud record looked threatened after a poor first half, with the only decent chance coming just before half time, when a header from Liam Barnett was cleared off the line.
The Magpies stepped it up after the break and produced on a good second half performance. Just before the hour mark Barnett did well to beat the offside trap, before running through on goal and firing in from 12 yards. Then on 72 minutes the three points were bagged when a shot from Liam Barnett from the edge of the box, took a massive deflection which wrong footed the ‘keeper, sending the ball into the right hand corner of the net.
This win has Felling sitting comfortably in 7th spot and it’s great to see a set of Magpies wearing black ‘n’ white winning more matches than they lose.
Admission & programme:none
FMFC 1(Barnett 57 Aitken 72) CTFC 0
Att.16hcTop Bloke - Liam Barnett(Felling Magpies)
Hill of Beath Hawthorn 2-1 Linlithgow Rose
East Region Super League
Saturday 19th March 2016
Hill of Beath is a hill and a village located in between Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath in Fife. (Population 11,000)
The Hill of Beath was the location of a celebrated meeting of the Covenanters, who were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland during the 17th century.
The village was built on the hill in the 19th century and owned by the Fife Coal Company, which rented the cottages to the miners during their employment at the colliery.
Birthplace of Scottish international Willie Cunningham, who spent 14 years at Deepdale after signing for Preston North End from Airdrie in 1949 and also Rangers legend and Scotland captain Jim Baxter. "Slim Jim" was a left sided midfielder who starting his career in 1957 at Raith Rovers before signing for Rangers in 1960, winning ten trophies in his 5 years at Ibrox.
Hill of Beath Hawthorn formed in 1975 and are nicknamed “The Haws”
Winners of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1990 beating Lesmahagow 1-0 in the final.
Fife League champions 9 times between 1987 and 2005.East Super League runners-up in 2002-03, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Also won the Fife Junior Cup six times and the Fife & Tayside Cup on five occasions. Up until the end of last season they were managed by Jock Finlayson who took charge when the club began over 40 years ago. As I was taking pictures before the game, he introduced himself to me and posed for this picture.....Keir's Park
Hill of Beath,
(Scottish grounds 70, Junior grounds 24 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 17/27)
A very neat and well maintained ground has two terraced standing enclosures on each side. There is shallow terracing behind the goals with turnstile entrances at different parts of the ground. The changing rooms and behind the goal, but no clubhouse so if you want a bevvy there’s the neighbouring Welfare Club next to the Jim Baxter statue.
Hill of Beath Hawthorn (10th) v Linlithgow Rose (4th)
East Region Super League Matchday 19
Weather:Sunny and warm(yes..straights up)
0-1 Blair Batchelor (25’)
Free kick from the edge of the box was cleared, then the ball was quickly played back into the area finding Batchelor unmarked with a diving header.
1-1 OG (40’)
A cross from the right was headed into his own net by the defender as he attempted to clear
2-1 Greg Smith (‘61)
Smith picked up the ball on the left flank and placed a superb left foot shot from outside the box into the far corner of the net.
Red Card Mckenzie(Linlithgow) (90+2)
Reckless tackle just before the final whistle.
148 miles door-to-door
Virgin East Coast 0743 to Edinburgh, arrived at 0920.
Scotrail 1249 service to Cowdenbeath, arriving at 1333, then a few minutes later the 19A bus to Hill of Beath, arriving at 1350.
Returned on the 1656 from Cowdenbeath and the 1830 from Edinburgh, back in the Toon just before 8 o'clock.
This Scottish Junior project has became a bit disheartening of late, as I've faced postponements on my last 2 trips to Scotland. However I'm still determined to finish this venture, but I made the sensible decision to hold off heading north until the spring.
I had a pleasant few hours in Edinburgh, visiting my usual haunts (my regular dozen readers will know my E’burgh routine) before headed across to Fife. It seemed wherever I go nowadays I see some who I know, so no surprise to find Viking ‘Hopper Anders Johansen at the match on another one of his UK football tours from Norway. However more of a coincidence was someone mentioned my Gateshead FC sweatshirt as I queued for a coffee before the game. As it turned out the lad lived on the same estate as me and as we spoke we realised we knew each other, having knocked around together in our early teens. Michael moved up the Scotland 25 year ago and has lived in Linlithgow for the past two decades, so has adopted the Rosey Posey as his team. Looking back I remember we used to play Subbuteo at Windy* Milligan's house and play football on the local Baptist Church field together. Small world isn't it!
A really pleasant day at Keir's Park and yet another good reason why I'm continuing to try and get this book finished and published. A day of coincidence continued afterwards as I found out that my bessy mate Zippy and his girlfriend Helen were staying in Edinburgh for the weekend, so I met them for a pint in the Jingling Geordie before catching my train home. As I was saying .. Small world isn't it!
(* He used to fart alot)
All going well I’m in the process of writing a book on the winners of the Junior Cup over the last 50 years, so I’ll be writing a more thorough piece on my matchday at Hill of Beath. The chapter includes more on Jim Baxter and how he took the piss to make Scotland world champions and my ex-girlfriend who was named after the former legend.
You can check the progress and a map of the grounds on my list on the T’Do Page
Ground no.512 Keir's Park Matchday Web Album (30 pictures from The Haws)