Unibond Premier League
11th September 2007
I’ve been wanted to see Gateshead a lot more away from home this season, as there’s plenty of grounds I’m yet to discover in the other three corners of the Unibond Premier League and naturally I want to give the team my support amongst the fellow soldiers of the Heed Army. The way this seasons fixtures have worked are when Newcastle are at home Gateshead are away, and vice-versa, which is great in one respect, as it means there’s no fixture clashes on Tyneside, which puts a few extra punters through the turnstiles at the International Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, but from a more selfish point of view, this limits my trips to pastures new.
Gateshead have started the season with 5 wins out of 5 and clocked up a tally of 20 goals in the process, the tremendous start is hung-over from the great finish to last season, with the team unbeaten in 17 games stretching back to last March when the Bogieman took over the job after the dismissal of Tony Lee.
A trip to Humberside and a visit to Grange Lane, the home of North Ferriby United, a club which is now playing at the highest level in their history, currently in their third campaign in the Unibond Premier League. Originally formed in 1934 playing in a local league, the club reformed after the Second World War and were admitted to the East Riding Amateur League, until ambition saw them join the Yorkshire League Division Two in 1969, which they successfully won in their second season.
Throughout the following decade the club enjoyed success in winning the East Riding Cup four times as well as the Yorkshire Cup, until the club became one of the founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982, which they won in 1985-86.
The biggest day in the clubs history was an appearance at Wembley in the 1996 FA Vase Final, losing out to Whitby Town 3-0 after a great nine game cup run to reach the final, progression was made throughout the ‘90’s and the dawn of the new millennium saw them achieve Unibond League status after becoming NCE Premier Champions and making sufficient ground improvements, the club celebrated their 70th anniversary by winning the Unibond League First Division Championship in 2004-05.
North Ferriby is a civil parish hidden 8 miles west of Hull on the north bank of the Humber, according to the 2001 census the parish has a population of 3,819 and the Grange Lane ground can be found at the bottom of the village off Church Road. The turnstile entrance is in the corner of the ground, with all the facilities, toilets, refreshments, changing rooms and clubhouse all on the nearside. The main spectator’s area is on the opposite side and is a paddock type covered stand which stretches pitch length; this has a central seated area with red flip seats incorporating a small press box flanked by standing areas to each side. Behind each goal are two open hard standing terraces, the mighty Humber Bridge can be seen at one end of the ground while to the other there’s a plot of allotments where I spotted some smashing pumpkins growing through the gap in the fence. The pitch is in imaculate condition with £15,000 being spent to give it that carpet look, all thanks to Hull City who play their reserve matches at Grange Lane.
The first half of the game was one of frustration, the referee is always an easy target if your side is losing, but this ref was diabolical (and I’m being polite) After Gateshead started brightly forcing some good saves from Ferriby keeper Pecora, the home side took a controversial lead on the half hour after centre-half James Curtis was hacked down on the half way line, the referee waved play on and from the consequential attack the home side scored through Andy Hayward netting the rebound after Keen’s initial save.
The home side went in at the break with that slender lead but the half time whistle was greeted with jeers from the travelling support as well as some harsh words from the players and Gateshead manager Ian Bogie, especially after another dodgy decision when the ref failed to give a penalty when Armstrong was clearly tripped in the box as he shaped to shoot.
It could have been one of those nights, when you feel after all your good effort your going to come away empty handed, but I felt if Gateshead were to get an equaliser then they’d win easily, and that’s just what happened, the first meaningful attack of the 2nd half saw Southern burst through the Ferriby defence before being haled down on the edge of the box, while the Heed Army were still trying to get over the shock of winning a free-kick, “Di Di Di Di Di Davy Southern” stepped up to slam in the equaliser. This opened the floodgates and within 5 minutes ‘The Tynesiders’ took the lead when Southern cleverly beat the offside trap before laying the ball on a plate for Hughes to slide home, a bullet header from Steve Salvin made it three and another marvellous performance was rounded off when substitute Ian Robson scored his first goal from the club, showing a great turn of pace before firing in from the edge of the box. So the Heed Army go marching on, now six out of six another four goals to maintain the four goals a game average, the long suffering but humerous Gateshead fans have jokingly sang the same song for years “Grange Hill, it’s just like watching Grange Hill” but if the team keeps on playing the way they are at the moment, it won’t be Grange Hill we’re watching but more like Brazil.
Ground No.145 – Grange Lane Matchday web album
Seadogs on Tour
An accident on the A1 meant our trip to Humberside took longer than expected, Myself, Big Ian and Captain Morgan Stevie finally arrived at the ground at 7.25, the same time as the team coach with the players already kitted out ready for action, but there was also a mini bus of Scarborough supporters also kitted out in matching black t-shirts.
I spoke to several of the ‘Seadogs on Tour’ gang and asked what they were about, they told me that they’re still going to go to the matches together but groundhop to different games every week, they tried going to watch Scarborough Athletic but couldn’t get into it, especially having to travel down to Bridlington, so there love of football will continue but sadly without a team of their own to support.
They have a list of fixture mapped out of games they’ll be attending and I’m looking forward to meeting up with the Seadogs again when they visit Matlock Town for the game against Gateshead.
Details can be found here on their website;