Arngrove Northern League 2nd Division
17th November 2007
I was advised to wrap up warm whilst visiting Marske-by-the-Sea on the Cleveland coast, Marske United’s Mount Pleasant ground is close enough to the chill that comes off the North Sea, so I was sensibly dressed in ‘me big coat’ and not as a stereotypical Geordie with only a thin t-shirt on.
Marske United FC were formed in 1956 replacing the disbanded Marske Rovers, after earlier playing in local leagues the club joined the Teesside League in 1976, two league titles in the ‘80’s lead to progression to the Wearside League in 1985. United enjoyed cup success in the North Riding competitions until an historic season in 1995-96 saw a clean sweep of Wearside League Silverware; League Title, League Cup, The Sunderland Shipowners Cup and the Monkwearmouth Cup meant the club were obviously too good for this division so a natural step up to the Northern League was the answer. Major ground improvements to Mount Pleasant including the installing of floodlights meant the clubs ambition was fulfilled for the 1997-98 season, a season which ended with a 3rd place finish and another promotion.
The clubs established themselves in the Northern League First Division, including three top four finishes, but after managerial changes and an overturn of players the club were relegated in 2004, last season saw a 5th place finish, so these Marsked men will be hoping to sneak in to a promotion place this time around.
Mount Pleasant has been ‘The Seasiders’ home since 1960, the club run a supporters fund called ‘Friends of Marske United’ which contributes to ground improvements and maintenance, the ground is tucked inside a housing estate, neighboring the local village Bowling Club; on arrival you find the clubhouse is situated in the main car park. When I arrived there was an anticipated crowd (well half a dozen) already forming a queue at the gate, the admission is probably the cheapest in the league; only £2.50 and the National Non-League Programme of the Year priced at a give away 50p, so great value which made the 50 mile journey worthwhile.
The ground is on a higher level, up a flight of stairs, next to the steps is a board showing off the clubs winning honours, and at the top to your immediate left is the Main Stand which is pleasing on the eye, with club colours of a bright yellow frame and flip seats with a blue interior, on the nearside there is also a covered standing area which has 3 redundant leather seats parked in the middle, the home dugout is sandwiched in between and the changing rooms are behind these two sections, back down a flight of stairs adjoining the clubhouse. The most popular spectator area is to the right of the stairs, which is a raised concrete pathway, in the corner is a small covered standing area and the other three sides of the ground is open standing, the far side has a large yellow banner welcoming you to Mount Pleasant with the standing area again raised above pitch level which makes for good matchday viewing, the away dugout is also lodged here.
Prior to kick-off a presentation was made to Marske legend Liam Smith, who has unfortunately had to hang up his boots due to a serious heart condition, he’ll be sadly missed at Mount Pleasant and I wish him good health and all the best in the future.
The match was the proverbial game of two halves, a scrappy first 45 where both teams struggled to get a foothold on the game, with the only notable chance falling to centre half Micky Waller whose free header went just wide, the second half was a different story, four goals and what crackers they were. The first arrived in the 54th minute, courtesy of my man of the match Jon Stott with an unstoppable left foot shot from the edge of the box (a rarity according to the locals, pleased I was here to see it) this was followed by a diving header from Waller on 62 minutes, getting on the end of a corner kick to score from inches out, a superlative chip from left-back Liam McPhillips on 71 minutes made it three and the 2nd half blitz was complete on 81 when Dane Breckon chased a hopeful through ball on the right, he showed a great turn of pace to outmuscle the full-back before dribbling past a couple of defenders and rounding the keeper ‘Ricky Villa style’ to round off a great second 45 for the Seasiders.
I found Marske United a very friendly club, I was spotted taking a few photos and the supporters were interested to know who I was (which makes a change from who’s the sad sack with the camera) and I was pleased that they knew of the 100FGC (good ego boost) so my visit to Mount Pleasant was a very pleasant experience and a warm welcome made up for the cold conditions where even ‘me big coat’ wasn’t enough to protect me from the elements.
Links - Marske United Match Report - http://www.marskeunitedfc.co.uk/ReportPrudNov07.htm
Ground no.152- Mount Pleasant – Matchday Web album.(16 pictures)