FA Vase 1st Round
6th October 2007
Northallerton Town lies in the Hambleton District of North Yorkshire, the most southerly based club in the Northern League, having been members of the league since joining the newly formed 2nd Division in 1982.
The precise date of the clubs formation is unknown, but a trophy donated by local MP Sir George Elliott ‘The Elliott Bowl’ has the name of the club engraved, being the first winners of the trophy in 1895, the club has also been known as Northallerton, Northallerton Alliance as well as Town.
Ainderby Road was renamed The Calvert Stadium in 1997 and is the clubs second home, after being forced to leave their original quarters at the Bluestone Ground in 1974. The local council placed a compulsory purchase order on the ground, with plans to extend the neighbouring County Hall, this work never took place and the old football ground still remains today. The council then reallocated the club to the present site, which including a clubhouse, changing room facilities, car park and two pitches and was officially opened in August 1976.
The club have played in numerous leagues throughout North Yorkshire and won an array of cup competitions, the Town took the big step up to the Northern League from the Harrogate & District League after the club raised almost £150,000 to upgrade Ainderby Road up to Northern League standards.
The most successful season for the Town was in 1993-94, finishing 6th top in Division One and beating Blyth Spartans in the League Cup Final, but a bitter blow was to follow in the summer, the High Court declared the club financially insolvent and the club folded, but thankfully a new committee was set up and the club were able to kick off the 1994-95 season as Northallerton FC 1994 and the club were later able to reinstate Town as their surname again in 1996.
The ground now has a sponsored name, the Regency Stadium, but to avoid any perplexity I’ll remain to call it by the street the ground’s found on, inside the ground the majority of the facilities are on the same side, the turnstile is in the corner of the ground, with a small programme/souvenir shop to your immediate left, the impressive 400 capacity covered terrace leads to the smart looking clubhouse, next is the main stand which has a capacity of 150 red seats divided into 6 rows, which is split by the changing rooms/players entrance, one side has 23 seats for use of press and officials only, while the other side is for the rest of the spectators. Behind each goal is a built up 3 stepped terrace with white crash barriers and on the far side is the dugouts with flat hard standing made up of a pathway and stones.
Today is the 1st Round (proper) of the FA Vase, Towns best performance in the competition is the 4th Round in 2002-03 and their opponents today are North East Counties League Division One side Pontefract Collieries, a club I’m familiar with having seen them crash out of the competition last season at Jarrow Roofing
On a glorious Indian summer’s day, both teams played out a dire first half, with limited clear cut chances, the half time announcement of extra time if the teams are level after 90 minutes filled me with dread, the few who chose the option of watching the Rugby World Cup in the clubhouse instead of the action out on the pitch made a wise choice. (Australia 10 England 12 get in!!!)
The Northallerton team must have taking heed of whatever Town manager Andy Toman said at half time, because by the hour mark they were three up and well on their way to the 2nd Round, with a brace from Paul Hinton with a goal in-between from Craig Toman. Pontefract got back into the game with a goal from Kevin Duckworth (any relation to Jack?) on 69 minutes which lead to an entertaining last 20 minutes with Collieries trying their best to grab another to get right back into the tie, whilst the home side threatened on the break, so it was a surprise that no more goals were added to the 3-1 score line.
I was pleased to tick off the longest trip south in the Arngrove Northern League, the trip down the A1 was made more enjoyable by the lovely weather as well as the sociable and friendly staff at Northallerton Town, good luck in the rest of the Vase and hope they can go one or two rounds better than 2002-03.
Northallerton Match Report
Ground no.147 Ainderby Road – Matchday web album. (19 pictures)