Welcome to The 100 Football Grounds Club


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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✔591 Marsh Lane

Oxford City 3-2 Wealdstone
National South
Saturday 18th November 2017

This was my second visit to Oxford, the previous occasion came when I was doing The 92, when ticking off The U’s in September 2011. So for the full beef on the city and what I got up to on that day, you can read all about it here.

Oxford City formed in 1882 and played their first recorded match in December 1883. The club were the top team in Oxfordshire at the beginning of the twentieth century and had nationwide success, appearing in two FA Amateur Cup finals.
Isthmian League 1907-1988
South Midlands League 1990-1993 Premier Division champions 1992-93
Isthmian League 1993-2004 Division One winners 1995-96
Southern League West Division 2004-05
Spartan South Midlands League 2005-06 - league champions
Southern League 2006-2012
Conference North - 2012-15
National South 2015-present
FA Amateur Cup winners 1906 runners-up 1903, 1913
FA Vase runners-up 1995
Oxfordshire Senior Cup winners 33 times
Marsh Lane
Current National League South grounds 5/22
Capacity 3,218
Best attendance: 2,276 v Oxford United, 8th July 2017 – Pre-season friendly


Oxford City previously played at The White House, which was cruelly taking off them by the landlords - Brasenose College in 1988. After a nomad period they moved to Court Place Farm in Marston, with the Marsh Lane ground opening in 1993.

The Main Stand sits next to the changing rooms and club office's, having four rows of approximately 360 blue flip seats. There is covered terracing on the opposite side and behind the far goal, both of which are a similar size and style to the stand, with all three having the club name across the roof’s facade. Another 158 capacity seated stand was added in the north west corner in 2016, this too has four rows of blue seats, with the team dugouts also found on this side. At the entrance goal is a sizable clubhouse, with a refreshment bar which has the nice feature of the old entrance gates from the White House ground at the front. The ground has two pylons on each side and a 3G pitch which was laid last summer.

Oxford City (20th) v Wealdstone (10th)
National League South matchday 17 & 18
Weather: raining
Att.349


City continued their FA Cup form and boosted relegation fears with a fine win over Wealdstone.  The Hoops took a fifth minute lead, when Cristian Oxlade-Chambelain raced down the right flank onto a defensive clearance, before poking the ball past the ‘keeper, who made his task much easier by bizarrely racing out of his goal.
They doubled the lead three minutes later, when a lovely interchange of passing was topped off by Zac McEachran, who fired in a left foot drive from the edge of the area.
The visitors finished the half strongly and halved the deficit when a low hard left wing cross was fired in by Abobaker Eisa from close range.

The second half was finely poised, with the match decided late on when Reece Fleet tucked in a left wing cross, however City still had to sweat it out, as Eisa immediately curled in a shot from the edge of the box, to set up a tense finish with The Hoops hanging on to claim the points.
Matchday Stats
OCFC 3 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 5 McEachran 8 Fleet 87)
WFC 2 (Eisa 35,88)
Top Bloke - Zac McEachran (Oxford City)
Entertainment 8/10


Spondoolicks
Admission £12
Programme £2.50
Pin badge £3
Coffee £1.20


#HeedHopper
The match at Marsh Lane coincided with a weekend break for me and the breadknife in Oxford. We left Newcastle on the 0735 Cross Country train, arriving at 11.45, just in time from a late breakfast at the Four Candles. After seeking out a few more pubs, we booked into our digs, before I toddled off to the match, while she took a look around this fine picturesque city.
We met back at the guest house after the game, to quickly get ready for a cracking night out, partaking in a mega pub crawl around ten of Oxford’s top hostelries.


✔590 York Road

Maidenhead United 0-3 Gateshead
National League
Saturday 11th November 2017
 Maidenhead is a large town in the county of Berkshire in England's Silicon Corridor, along the M4 motorway west of London. The area around the present town centre was a small Roman settlement called Alaunodunu, however its name derives from Saxon times, where the riverside’s first "New wharf" or "Maiden Hythe" was built.
(Population nearly 74,000)


The club was founded in 1870 as Maidenhead FC playing their first-ever fixture in December of that year, against Windsor Home Park at Bonds Meadow, close to the River Thames. On 16th February 1871 they played their first game on the York Road site against Marlow, which the The FA have acknowledged is the "oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club”
The Magpies were one of the original 15 entrants for the first-ever FA Cup competition in 1871–72 and they reached the semi-finals the following season, losing to Oxford University.

Maidenhead were founder members of the Southern League in 1894, before dropping into and winning the West Berkshire League in 1902-03. They also played in the Berks & Bucks League and joined the Great Western Suburban League in 1904.


In 1918 the club merged with Maidenhead Norfolkians, winning the league title and changing their name to Maidenhead United.
Spartan League 1922-1940 champions 1926-27, 1931-32, 1933-34
Corinthian League (founder members) 1946-1963 champions 1957-58, 1960-61,1961-62
Athenian League 1963-1973
Isthmian League 1973-2004
Conference South 2004-2017 (apart from Southern Premier League in 2006-07)
National League South champions 2016-17
 York Road
(Current National League grounds 21/24)

Capacity 4,000 (550 seats)

Record Maidenhead attendance -  7,989 v Southall (Amateur Cup) 7th March 1936
Ground record attendance -  8,277  Slough Town v Wycombe Wanderers, Berks & Bucks Senior Cup Final, Easter Monday 1947

The Railway Stand opened in 2014, comprising of seven rows of black and white seats, with a capacity of 550. There is covered terracing being both goals. The Bell Street end is split into two separate sections, with the club name painted onto the back wall of the terrace. The East Terrace has a section of cover in the middle with the terracing continuing around to meet the stand. The entrance side of the ground, has the changing rooms, dugouts, terracing and the Stripes supporters bar, with a 3G training pitch encased in what looks like the foundations of an old stand.

Lest We forget

Maidenhead United(11th) v Gateshead(18th)
National League Matchday 19

Weather:dry, sunny
Att.1,377 (117 away)
In the battle of the National League’s two heads, it was the Heed who nutted the three points,producing a compelling away performance.
Gateshead were quickly out off the traps, going two up in the first eight minutes through a decisive right foot finish by Luke Hannant, quickly followed by a Scott Barrow shot which rattled the crossbar, but fell nicely to Danny Johnson to side foot home.
The Tynesiders went close to increasing their lead through Barrow and Johnson, but it wasn’t until after the break they added a third. It was O’Donnell who again provided the assist to Hannant with a similar goal to his first, firing across the keeper into the left hand post.
Full marks to the Magpies, who had most of the possession and kept plugging away in search of a reply, but the Gateshead defence was solid and looked more likely to add a fourth than concede one.
In the 146 year history of York Road, Gateshead are the most northerly club to ever play at the ground, so it’s fitting that the long journey for the Heed Army was rewarded with a fabulous display.

Matchday Stats
MUFC 0
GFC 3(Hannant 5,50 Johnson 8)
Top Bloke - Luke Hannant (Gateshead)
Entertainment 8/10

Spondoolicks
Admission £15
Programme £3
Pin badge £4
Coffee £1.50



 #HeedHopper
0650 from Newcastle to King's Cross, arriving at 1045.
Returning on the 2000, back at 0005. (extra hour on each journey due to engineering works at Grantham)

After arriving in that London, it was a quick tube via the Hammersmith & City line to catch the westbound train from Paddington. On route to Maidenhead I stopped off in Slough for something to eat. Unfortunately Chasers* was closed so I settled for lunch at the Moon & Spoon instead.
I arrived in Maidenhead at 1.15, with plenty of time for a pub crawl, calling into The Bell and The Maiden Head before meeting Simon, Tony plus a few more of the Heed supporters in The Bear. We still had time to nip in The Corner House before the match, so we were fully tanked up by kick off time.


Happy Birthday Mr Carter
The match was a joy, and the support and vocal backing from the Heed Army was the best I've experienced for a long time.
Afterwards we called into the Conservative Club which is just outside the ground. As proud Socialists, myself and Simon wouldn't normally frequent such a place, but as the hostelry is in the Good Beer Guide, I was only there for the ale!
I stopped off in Ealing on the way back to Paddington to complete a 'Spoons hat-trick at the Sir Michael Balcon, and arrived back at Kings Cross in plenty of time.(unlike
my last visit to these parts) After a bit of a break from this 'hopping malarkey, it was good to be back in the groove, with a cracking day "darn sarf!"

* Hope you got The Office reference.
Maidenhead pubs on The Completist



✔589 Laurence Jackson Sports Village

Guisborough United 2-4 Redcar Town
North Riding Saturday Challenge Cup
Saturday 14th October 2017

Guisborough Three Fiddles joined the Teesside League in 2016, playing home games at the King George V Playing Fields. This season they joined the newly formed North Riding League, which is a new step 7 division covering North Yorkshire, County Durham and Redcar & Cleveland. The new setup has a Premier Division, First Division, plus a Under 19s Sunday league.

Prior to this season the club changed their name to United and a new home at the Sports Village, within The Laurence Jackson School. The sports centre has a main hall, squash court, fitness suite, activity room, athletics track and a 3G football pitch which opened last September. The pitch is a basic 3G cage, with a separate standing area down one side. In November 2016, Middlesbrough Academy manager Dave Parnaby and Boro defender Ben Gibson officially opened the new pitch, with funding provided from the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund.


Guisborough United v Redcar Town

North Riding Saturday Challenge Cup 1st Round
2pm kick off
Att.8hc
Weather:windy

Redcar Town came back from a two goal deficit to reach the next round of the cup. The home side made a cracking start, taking the lead in the third minute through Lewis Reeve, then quickly doubled their advantage when Liam Cooper dribbled his way into the box before producing a neat finish.
Redcar finished the half strongly and got themselves back in the tie, when a right wing cross was fired home by Ryan Bennions from close range. The visitors bossed the second half, grabbing an equaliser just before the hour mark when a corner kick was nodding in by Jordan McDonald. In the 74th minute good work from Bennions set up Stuart Poulter, then just before the final whistle a right wing cross was headed back to Bennions to poke home his second and his side’s fourth.

Matchday Stats
GUFC 2(Reeve 3 Cooper 14)
RTFC 4(Bennions 32,89 McDonald 59 Poulter 74)
Entertainment 7/10
Top Bloke - Ryan Bennions (Redcar Town)


 #HeedHopper

49 miles door-to-door via the A19

Made this a double ticked trip by also marking off another Wetherspoon pub(#337) The Ironstone Miner opened earlier this year and completes the 43 ‘Spoons pubs in the north-east of England.



✔588 Mexborough Athletic Sports Ground

Swinton Athletic 10-0 Brinsworth Whitehill
Sheffield County Senior League Cup
Saturday 7th October 2017


Swinton Athletic FC was founded 1946 and were successful in local football, winning the highly acclaimed Montagu Cup five times. The club later established themselves in the Sheffield & Hallam County Senior League, reaching its Premier Division after winning the First Division title  in 1996-97. The team folded in 2004-05, becoming Dearne/Swinton and then Dearne Colliery Welfare, before two former Athletic players reformed the club in 2009. Swinton Station Athletic was set up by Andrew Billups and Martin Rouane, based from the Station Hotel in the town. The new structure also included a reserve side in the Doncaster Premier League and the club branched out with a junior section founded in 2010.


A return to the Sheffield County Senior League in 2010, saw them win promotion to the First Division at the first attempt, then under the Swinton Athletic name in 2012, the club won promotion to the Premier Division in their debut season. In 2014-15 they were crowned Premier League champions and have finished runner-up over the last two seasons.

The club are based at the Miners Welfare in Swinton, but since their promotion to the Premier League, the first XI play home matches at the Mexborough Athletic Sports Ground, which meets the appropriate ground grading. The reserve side and the over 35’s teams still play two miles away at the Miners Welfare. The ground is shared with the cricket club, with the teams using the changing rooms in the impressive looking pavilion. The main stand is on the far side, decked out in six rows of magnolia coloured seats, with the front row replacing the use of dugouts. The stand still has the name of previous residents Mexborough Athletic on the facade. There is large sections of terracing each side of the stand which runs behind both goals, with the opposite side roped off from the cricket pitch.
 Swinton is a suburban town within the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham,  on part of the west bank of the River Don, directly west-southwest of Mexborough. (population about 15,550)
The town was once an international centre of ceramics and the world renowned Rockingham Pottery, which manufactured their defining rococo porcelain during the 19th century. The original village of Swinton lay between the Roman Ridge, extending from Wincobank to the north east of Sheffield to Mexborough and the south west Roman road from Doncaster, where there was a Roman fort and the minor settlement of Danum.

Swinton Athletic v Brinsworth Whitehill
Sheffield County Senior League Cup
3pm ko

Att.44hc

In over 40 years of watching football this is only the fourth time I’ve seen a team hit double figures*. The onslaught got under way after five minutes, when Enzo Guarini fired in a left foot shot, before his quick run and cross teed up Jake Ford to fire in from the edge of the box to double the advantage. It was 3-0 to Swinton before half time, after a left wing cross found Justin Greenwood, who laid the ball off to Mark Clare to finish in style. Greenwood got on the score sheet after the break, grabbing a brace and also setting up Clare’s second in between to make it a round half dozen with just over an hour gone.
Regan Kelly got in on the act, staying onside before producing a confident finish to make it 7-0, just before the best goal of the game, when a cross field pass found Greenwood,who chested the ball on to Clare, to volley into the roof of the net. Greenwood fired in from a right wing cross to complete his hat trick and just before I ran out of fingers, Ryan Doxey made it ten to finish off the Brinsworth Whitehill rout.
SWFC 10 (Guarini 5 Ford 16 Clare 39,57,74 Greenwood 49,61,77 Kelly 61 Doxey 84)
BWFC 0
Top Bloke - Justin Greenwood (Swinton Athletic)
Entertainment 10/10 (had to be ten!)

#HeedHopper
Following on from my earlier match at Doncaster Rovers Academy, I caught the train to Mexborough just after 2pm. The journey only takes 12 minutes, so loads of time for a drink and another ‘Spoons tick at the Old Market Hall, before strolling up to the ground. While in the pub I used the Wi-Fi to check if there was any GBG pubs in the town, picking out the Imperial Club and Brewery for a post match drink before the 1720 back to Donny. The pub turned out to be a belter! I regret not having more time to sample more of their selection of Imperial and guest beers. A fabulous day was rounded off with a pint in The Leopard before catching the 1803 back to Newcastle. The splendid day in South Yorkshire when everything ran like clockwork, which made up for my pissed off day in Cumbria last Saturday.
*Previous tenners
Crook Town 1 Newcastle United 10 (Barcelona Cup) 20-11-03
Gateshead 11 Brandon United 0 (Durham Cup) 22-9-10
Ollerton Town 12 Welbeck Welfare 0 (Central Midland League North) 23-2-16