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Forfar Athletic 1-3 Airdrieonians
Scottish League One
Saturday 4th August 2018Forfar is the county town of Angus, which dates back to the temporary Roman occupation of the area, before becoming the ancient Kingdom of the Picts. This traditional market town was a major manufacturing centre for linen and jute. Nowadays the town centres around agriculture and tourism, with attractions such as the Balmashanner Museum and the nearby Glamis Castle. (population over 14,000)
The Forfar Bridie, a popular Scottish meat pastry snack, traditionally identified with the town, which I felt obliged to try at the match. Bridies are said to have been 'invented' by a Forfar baker in the 1850s, the name refers to either the pie's frequent appearance on wedding menus, or to Margaret Bridie of Glamis, "who sold them at the Buttermarket in Forfar". Bridies are traditionally made with shortcrust pastry and filled with minced steak, butter, beef suet and seasoned with salt and pepper.The club were founded in 1885 when Angus FC, the second team of the older Forfar club, broke away to form Forfar Athletic, playing their first match on the 16th May 1885, when they defeated Dundee Our Boys 1–0. The Loons were admitted into the Scottish Football League in the 1921–22 season, when they joined the new Second Division.
Scottish Second Division winners 1948–49 1983–84
Scottish Third Division winners 1994–95
Forfarshire Cup winners 9 times between 1906 and 2015
Capacity 4,602 (Seated 739)
Record attendance: 10,780 v Rangers (7th February 1970)
Scottish League grounds visited 37/42
Total Scottish grounds visited 99
The ground is named after its proximity to Forfar station, which closed in 1968 as part of the Beeching cuts, so the nearest rail station Is 14 miles away in Dundee.
The main stand is the classic design, having elevated seating with standing room and the team dugouts in front.The rest of the ground is made up of terracing. The South side terrace has pitch length cover with a set of four floodlights on top of the roof. The terraces behind each goal are open and differ in size, with a smaller section at the turnstile entrance end. The ground now has an all weather surface.Forfar Athletic v Airdrieonians
Scottish League One Matchday 1
Forfar looked all set to pick up an opening day victory when Dale Hilson fired the Loons ahead just before the break. They had chances to extend their advantage in the second half, but Airdrie hit back to win the match with three goals in the last ten minutes. Joao Pereira Vitoria set up Ryan Conroy for the equaliser, before a lovely lobbed effort from Leighton McIntosh put them ahead. Vitoria wrapped up the goal blitz in the 86th minute to give the visitors a victory, which for long periods of the game looked highly unlikely.
Matchday Stats & Spondoolicks
FAFC 1(Histon 41)
AFC 3(Conroy 80 McIntosh 83 Vitoria 86)
Pin badge £3
Saddlers Forfar Bridie £2
Logistics:0620 LNER train to Edinburgh connecting to Scotrail service, arrive in Dundee at 0938. Returning on 1822, due back in Newcastle at 2140.
2000 from Edinburgh to Newcastle delayed by 1 hour 39 minutes so actually back on Tyneside at ten minutes past midnight.
1159 Number 20 Stagecoach bus from Dundee to Forfar, returning on the 21 bus at 1710. (30 minute journey)
A really enjoyable day... apart from the last bit. Spent the morning in Dundee for Spoons brekkie and a few pints before heading up to Forfar at noon. On arrival I called at the Osnaburg Bar, which is the most haunted pub in Forfar. I watched a bit of the Division 3 match that was live on Sky, before a bus load of Airdrie fans invaded this tranquil pub. I had plenty of time to call at The Stag, The Plough and the Caledonian before the game.
The buses to and from Forfar were spot on, unlike my last train home which was delayed due to a signal failure south of Dunbar, which but the kibosh on a smashing day.
Haltwhistle Jubilee 0-0 Ponteland United
(8-7 on penalties)
Clayton Cup Final
Friday 3rd August 2018
The Clayton Cup is an annual pre-season competition, usually played between clubs based in Tynedale and the south-west of Northumberland. It was founded way back in 1903, before being revived in 2010 when it was brought out of storage, apparently kept in a loft for ten years.
This year’s final is being held the middle of Britain at Haltwhistle. Host club Haltwhistle Jubilee were a successful Sunday league team in the Hexham League, winning 17 trophies. The club have now switched to Saturdays, playing in the Tyneside Amateur League, with ambition to step up to the Northern Alliance.
The Joobes have been playing home matches at Barton Mill, but are back in Haltwhistle after the opening of a brand new changing room facility. The ground is nicely enclosed surrounded by tranquil countryside and a row of houses down one side.
Between 23rd - 30th July, six teams have played 3 matches with a penalty shootout after each tie for an extra bonus point, with the top two going straight to the Clayton Cup final.
W L D F A Bonus pts PTS
Ponteland United. 2.1.0. 4-4 3 9
Haltwhistle Jubilee. 2.1.0. 7-3 2. 8
Wallington. 2.1.0. 4-2. 2. 8
Prudhoe YC. 2.1.0. 6-3. 1. 7
Hexham . 1.2.0. 3-3. 1. 4
Ponteland Reserves. 0.3.0 1-10. 0. 0
Haltwhistle battled out a hard fought contest with Northern Alliance side Ponteland United, but couldn't break the deadlock after creating the better chances in the second half.
The match went straight to penalties, with Ponteland having the opportunity to win it with last kick of the allocated five penalties each. That chance was missed so it went to sudden death, the cup final eventually settled after 11 penalties each and the underdogs coming out on top, winning 8-7.
Sunday 29th July 2018
After Saturday’s shenanigans it was an early start on Sunday, as Mark and I departed our digs in Long Sutton for the ninety minute drive across to Wellingborough. A ‘Spoons breakfast was demolished before kick off and in between the two games we dragged Katie along to the excellent GBG listed Coach & Horses.
Wellingborough is a large market town in Northamptonshire, situated on the north side of the River Nene, originally named "Wendelingburgh". The settlement was established in the Saxon period and is mentioned in the Domesday Book under the name of "Wendelburie". The town was granted a royal market charter in by King John of England in 1201. (population almost 50,000)
620 The Dog & Duck
Wellingborough Town 3-0 Peterborough North Star
United Counties League Premier Division
10.45am koThe current Wellingborough Town was formed in 2004 after the original club, dating back to 1867, had folded two years earlier. The Doughboys comeback began in the Northamptonshire Senior Youth League, before rejoining the UCL the following season. The club finished runners-up in Division One in 2005–06 and returned to the Premier Division.
The Dog & Duck has a classic style main stand, with elevated seating decked out in the yellow & blue club colours, topped off with the team initials on the back wall. The rest of the ground is open, with the dugouts on the opposite side to the stand and a section of terracing behind the goal, which runs down from the clubhouse at the entrance. There is also a club shop hut next to the main stand and floodlights running down both sides.After a close knit first half the Doughboys took control after the break, to record a convincing 3-0 win over Peterborough North Star. They took the lead early in the half when a corner kick was met by substitute Freitas who headed in off the post, then doubled their advantage when Adam Speight’s strong run through the defence was finished off in style. They were three up just before the hour mark when a Lloyd Buckby daisycutter from 20 yards, somehow slipped under his body and into the net.
WTFC 3(Freitas 47 Speight 54 Buckby 58)
621 Victoria Mill Ground
Wellingborough Whitworths 0-3 Cogenhoe United
United Counties League Premier Division
1.15pm koWhitworths Football Club were formed in 1973 following the disbanding of Wellingborough Ideal Clothiers Football Club. The majority of the Clothiers team were also playing for the Victoria Millers Sunday team and switched to Saturday’s to form a new club.
The club played in the Rushden and District League, the East Midlands Alliance, before getting the ground up to standard to join the UCL in 1985. The Flourmen have finished runners-up three times and won the division without losing a match in 2006–07. This is their second season in the Premier Division after surviving relegation on goal difference last term.
The Victoria Mill Ground is just a wayward goal kick away from the Dog & Duck. The ground is quite tidy affair, with a standard main stand at the entrance behind the goal, and sections of cover on all three sides. The shelter at the far goal is topped off with the club moniker on its facade.
Another three-niler in Wellingborough, but this time it was the away team which came up trumps. The Flourmen faced Cogenhoe United who took control in the first half with Montel Dore connecting with a right wing cross on 14 minutes, then just before the interval Ryan Dove tapped in at the far post.
Confirmation of the three points were confirmed from the penalty spot, with Dove grabbing his second to seal the victory on 82 minutes.
CUFC 3(Dore 14 Dove 41,82)
622. The Stilton Pavilion
Stilton United 4-2 Cardea FC
PDFL Division 2
Stilton lies south of the city of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, on the old Great North Road, found just south of Norman Cross by the A1(M), The village lies 70 miles north of London and was once an important coaching stop in the days before motorised transport. Listed as Stichiltone or Sticiltone at the time of the Domesday Book the name Stilton means "village at a stile or steep ascent" (population almost 2,500)
The village famously gave its name to Stilton cheese. Previously the most widely accepted explanation was that the cheese came down to be sold at the Stilton coaching inns, however subsequent research has led to claims that the cheese did originate in the village in the late 17th or early 18th centuries, before any credentials of its production in LeicestershireStilton United were formed in 1920, having played in two different pitches in the village before a nomadic period from 2003, playing “home” games in Peterborough and Yaxley.
United were PDFL Premier League champions in 1999-2000, but the upheaval resulted in demotion to Division 5. The club rebuilt and eventually climbed back to the top division in 2011. The club once again took demotion in 2017-18, this time down to Division 2 after folding their reserve side.
So after 15 years football has finally come home for Stilton United, following a 5 year project initiated from the Parish Council, with the aid of the Football Foundation, various significant funding and a grant from the Premier League.
The Stilton Pavilion isn’t just a base for the football club, but caters for the community for cultural and social events. The pitch is behind the pavilion which is still a work in progress, but is enclosed on three sides with a skate park at the entrance.
The Division 2 fixture against Cardea was a good game to finish off the weekend. The hosts went two goals up with Kyial West scoring each side of the break, but Cardea drew level with two goals in five minute,s through Mike Dandrilli and a long distance effort by Aaron Yeoman. The comeback seemed to give Stilton a kick up the backside as they regained the lead minutes later through Lewis McManus, and a superb volley by West saw the number nine complete his hat-trick and complete a dream start back in the village.
SUFC 4(West 38,50,80 MvManus 64)
CFC 2(Dandrilli 55 Yeoman 60)
The Katiemobile pulled up outside Gallowgate View at 10.20pm. Many thanks to Katie & Lee for being great company (as always) and to Teddy and Snowy Wallace for being well behaved in the back of the car, so I could have a nice kip! Also… cheers! to Mark for the bevvy hunting and Groundhop UK for putting on another good weekend.
Wellingborough Town - Admission £6 Programme £2 Pin badge £3
Whitworth £5/£1/£3 Stilton United £4/£1 pin badge from Terry £3
Saturday 28th July 2018
My competitive football season got underway with the annual Peterborough & District/United Counties League Groundhop. I set off on the X1 bus at 8.15 for the thirty minute journey to Houghton-le-Spring to meet Katie & Lee. We swerved the first Groundhop fixture at Whaplode Drove for a later start (and a lie in) hitting the road at 9am and arriving at our first match at 1 o’clock.
617. Tydd St Giles Community Centre
Tydd 2-3 Moulton Harrox
Peterborough & District League Premier Division
The original Saints formed in 1973 playing in local leagues at the Memorial Park in Tydd St Mary. The club moved from the Boston League to the PDFL in 2012 and have achieved 5 promotions in six seasons to reach the Premier Division. Last spring the club relocated across to Tydd St Giles to become Tydd FC.
The village pitch was cordoned off for the event with gazebos set up for refreshments and random chairs supplied for the ‘hoppers. The players use the community centre facilities and the pitch is roped off on all sides. The ground isn’t up to Step 7 status yet, but they were giving special dispensation for this Groundhoppers event.
Tydd faced Moulton Harrox, their opponents taking the lead on the half hour through Ian Bradbury. The visitors took command after the break with a brace from Joe Townsend, firing in at the far post before heading home from a corner kick on 57 minutes. The saints quickly replied with a fierce long throw towards goal, taking a deflection on route, with Jake Clitheroe claiming the touch. With time running out they were awarded a penalty, which Clitheroe despatched but it was too late to pinch an unlikely point.
TFC 2(Clitheroe 59 90+4pen)
MHFC 3(Bradbury 29 Townsend 50 57)
618. Memorial Park
Sutton Bridge United 5-3 Peterborough Polonia
PDFL Premier Division
Sutton Bridge is in South Lincolnshire close to both the Norfolk & Cambridgeshire borders. Sutton Bridge United reformed in 1984, having originally been founded in 1909. The club have played in local leagues and this is their third spell in the PDFL.
The club currently have two Saturday adult teams playing in the Peterborough League, a veterans team in the Peterborough Veterans league, and youth teams in the Peterborough and District Junior Alliance league and under 10s teams in the Mid Norfolk Youth League. Memorial Park has changing rooms set back from the roped off pitch, because of the cricket field in between, with temporary dugouts added at one side.The team faced Peterborough Polonia who had a few supporters amongst the crowd of Groundhoppers, including one enthusiastic drummer. (well he wasn’t a drummer per say, he didn't have any rhythm, just basically brayed the fuck out of it!)Those visiting fans saw their side go a goal behind after 20 minutes, when the ‘keeper picked the ball up just outside the penalty area, which earned him a yellow card. From the resulting free kick, Joe Sutton curled a lovely shot around the wall into the corner of the net.
The Polish side turned the game on its head with Piotrek Stepien tapping in at the far post, before a good finish by Dorian Janicki made it 1-2 at half time, which was the cue for the drummer boy to go completely ape shit on his drum. During the second half some young lassie took offence to the drummer, trying to wrestle his instrument from him, before punching the skin and breaking it. The club security had to intervene to break up the fight, apparently started because the din was putting off the home goalkeeper.
Jack Fowler fired Sutton Bridge level on 56 minutes before a hat-trick by Matthew Eaton including two penalties each side of the heavy rainstorm, one of which saw ‘keeper Bialoskorka receive his second yellow card. Wojtowicz grabbed a late consolation for Polonia, which wrapped up a fixture which had everything… 8 goals, a red card, a thunderstorm and a bit of aggro, so tremendous value for four quid!
SBUFC 5(Sutton 20 Fowler 56 Eaton 67pen 71pen 75)
PPFC 3(Stepien 36 Janicki 43 Wojtowicz 90)
619. Elsaforde Park
Sleaford Town 0-1 Deeping Rangers
United Counties League Premier Division
Sleaford is a market town and civil parish sandwiched in between the Lincolnshire neighbouring towns of Grantham and Boston, and south of the city of Lincoln.
Sleaford Town were founded in 1968 joining the Lincolnshire League, which they finally won in 2003–04, the title win gaining the Greens promotion to the United Counties League. After leaving their previous ground, Sleaford played three seasons at RAF Cranwell, but despite winning the Division One title in 2005–06, they were denied promotion until their new Eslaforde Park ground was ready. The following season, they finished runners-up and stepped up to the UCL Premier Division.
The ground has a standard main stand, decked out in green seats on the far side with a small covered enclosure behind one goal. The clubhouse and changing rooms dominate one side, with the dugouts in front of the building.
The Greens opened their campaign against Deeping Rangers and were quick out of the blocks making a positive start in the opening period. However it was the visitors who struck first with Michael Simpson receiving a through ball and firing in from 12 yards. That turned out to be the main highlight of the game, with both sides huffing and puffing but a lack of any real composure in front of goal saw neither ‘keeper really tested.Matchday Stats
DRFC 1(Simpson 17)
After the match I headed into Sleaford with Mark Wilkins to tick off some GBG pubs. We then made our way back towards our digs in Long Sutton, calling at Donington, Bicker and Swinehead before crashing out with a kebab compass at the Crown & Woolpack for our overnight stay, before part 2 ofthe ‘hop on Sunday.
Both PDFL fixtures admission £4 and Programme £1.
Sleaford Town £6(didn't buy a programme)
Pin badges purchased from Terry's Badges £3 each.