My Matchday - 146 Causeway Lane

Matlock Town 1v1 Gateshead
Unibond Premier Division
22nd September 2007
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Causeway Lane or giving its new handle The Geoquip Stadium is a ground I’ve been looking forward to visiting, so I was pleased to finally get the opportunity the make the trip to the Gladiators home, in the company of the Heed Army for this top of the table clash (yes, top not bottom)
Football was first played in the Derbyshire town of Matlock as long ago as the late 1870’s, before making their competitive bow in 1892 as founder members of the Midland Alliance League. After the Second World War the club reformed as Matlock Town and later rejoined the newly reformed Midland League after twice finishing champions of the Central Alliance at the turn of the 1960’s, after an initial period post war in the Chesterfield & District League.
The Gladiators were champions in their first season back in the Midland League and ended the decade with a second title, for the 1969-70 season the club joined the Northern Premier League where they have played ever since, with their highest finish achieved in 1983-84 as runners-up to Barrow
The club have won many honours in cup competitions, especially in the Derbyshire Senior Cup winning seven out of eleven finals as well as success’s in the NPL cups, but their biggest triumph was lifting the FA Trophy in 1975, as the underdogs hammering favourites Scarborough 4-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium.
The club were relegated to Division One in 1996, but returned in 2004 and have made steady progress since, last season saw them lose out to Witton Albion in the play-offs after a credible 5th place finish, and this season they’ve started well, again sitting 5th with a 100% record at home, but today they were up against a team with a 100% record not only at home, but also on the road, so something had to give as the Heed Army marched into Causeway Lane to do battle with the Gladiators.
The ground itself is one of the most picturesque I’ve visited, situated at the southern eastern edge of the Peak District, right in the heart of the town centre which is great for pre-match drinking, with the turnstiles and entrance on the main street. When entering the turnstiles, to your right is the club shop and the Causeway Lane end of the ground, which looks like two separate stands bonded together, with one half having blue flip seats and the other half bench style seats with adequate standing room in front of the stand, on close inspection there’s a sign on the back wall with ‘The Cyril Harrison Stand’ scripted, as well as the name of the grounds hosts in large blue letters adoring the length of the stand.
The opposite side is the Main Stand which also has rows of blue seating and houses the players changing rooms, so the players enter the field down the middle steps from the top of the stand, while the away players enter via a separate entrance, next to a new building in the process of being constructed(new changing rooms maybe)the newly improved club house is next to the stand, with very hospitable bar staff, there was even a sign on the wall behind the bar to make us most welcome. (See web album pic ‘A warm welcome’)
The local cricket club resides next door behind the far goal and there’s just been a new fence rebuilt, this part of the ground was cordoned off but only has a standing lawn area, while the opposite goal has a covered terrace which runs parrallel from the goal post to the bog in the corner, with the terrace running up to an angle, getting steeper as you approach the toilets, this end gives a fabulous view of Riber Castle in the distance high up on the hill.
With both teams going well this season and the threat of (one way or the other) a winning sequence being broken, then the draw was the obvious result on the pools coupon, so that’s how it finished, a 1-1 draw which on reflection was a fair outcome. Matlock took the lead straight from the kick off when a lack of concentration in the Gateshead defence allowed Simon Barraclough to head home from a Webster cross giving the Gladiators a dream start. Gateshead had to reshuffle the pack making two substitutions after injuries to key players Gate and Bowey but finished the first half well and grabbed an equaliser when fine play by Hughes and Harwood set up Ian Robson to make it all square at the break.
The second half saw a goal line clearance and the help of the woodwork deny The Tynesiders the lead; however Matlock always looked dangerous on the break and it was from one of those raids forward that lead to a penalty on 70 minutes after a challenge from make shift centre-half Paul Thompson on Barraclough, the same man was then denied the winner from the spot after Heed keeper Peter Keen saved well, diving to his right and assuring Gateshead remain unbeaten this season.

It was a very pleasant day out in Matlock with the local residence and club officials very friendly, I was knackered by the end of the day, after being on the go from 4.20am, going into work and racing around to make the coach pick up at 10.00am, any chance of a bit shut eye on the way home was impossible with the volume turned up to 11 on the coach CD player (Cheers TC!)
Gateshead had a great travelling support, as well as the usual roll call of the Heed Army regulars, there’s also a lot of new fans, as well as the return of Private Goody or should that be
‘Low Fell Elvis’ who managed to turn a few heads as we walked through Matlock town centre on the way to the pub, there were a few ‘Suspicious Minds’ from the locals and a few seemed ‘All Shook Up’ by his appearance, but really Goody is just a Teddy Bear (or should that be Hound Dog)
So overall an enjoyable day out, with Gateshead coming away with a well earned point, plus a visit to a smashing little ground.
(‘Low Fell Elvis’ picture courtesy of General Gaddess)

LINKS -
Matlock report
Gateshead match report
Heed Army Blog report
Football Bog Blog no.9
Previous 100FGC Members ticks -
Simple Pieman (April 2006)
Tims 92 (January 2007)
Ground no.146 – Causeway Lane Matchday web album(19 pictures)
When I got through the turnstiles at Causeway Lane I was greeted by Matlock supporter and ground MC John Lawton, the newest member of the 100 Football Grounds Club, squad no.69 (ooh matron!)
We swapped souvenirs as I awarded him with his 100FGC pin badge while he gave me a copy of his fabulous book ‘Gladiators On Tour and other footballing stories’ which tells of one mans passion for football as well as his pursuit of football mugs. John attended 105 games in 2006/07 as well as visiting 50 new grounds; the book chronicles his season and is put together with pictures from his travels and is all done with some great crack.
The book is priced at £6.00 with all proceeds from the book going to MTFC Supporters Club as well as 20% of the profits going to John’s favourite charity WaterAid.
Full details can be found
here

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Good work smid...i think it send off for the book.