Arngrove Northern League 2nd Division
16th February 2008
Ground no.161 Stokesley Sports Club - Matchday web album(15 pictures)
My final Northern League trip down the A19 and my first ever visit to the small market town of Stokesley, which lies in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, ten miles south of Middlesbrough.
Football in the town dates back to 1920, playing locally in and around Teesside on a variety of different grounds, the club actually played on the cricket pitch at the current site until being evicted to make way for a by-pass in 1963 and finally returned some 29 years later. They left the South Bank League in 1994 joining the Teesside League for five years before progressing to the Wearside League. A successful period including success in the various Wearside League cup competitions culminated in promotion to the Northern League after finishing runners-up in 2005-06.
Last season they finished a respectable 8th, with the club hoping to make more progress with a higher placing this season, they also reached the semi-final of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy.
Stokesley Sports Club can be found on the outskirts of the town, in 2004 the Club and the North Riding Football Association won a lottery grant of £849.000 enabling the building of a new clubhouse and to make the necessary ground improvements to meet Northern League standards. As well as the football club, there’s also facilities catering for cricket, bowling, tennis and a lot more football pitches within the complex.
Stokesley is the home of Quorn, who sponsor the main stand, this is similar in style to those found at Team Northumbria and Darlo RA, with four rows of red and black seats, running from the paying entrance to the half way line, with the tea bar squeezed in between. Behind the nearside goal there’s hard standing with partial cover each side of the goal, the rest of the ground is open, which is the main attraction as it gives splendid views of the North Yorkshire Moors, so a clear bright day like today, gave ample opportunity for good pictures. The dugouts are on the far side with the changing facilities within the Sports Club, which means the players have to walk across the car park to the club, but use a separate exit which is cordoned of from the supporters.
The game was a closely ran contest, but Horden will feel the more upset at not taking all three points after missing a first half penalty and some gild edged sitters in the closing stages. It was Stokesley who took a one goal lead into half time courtesy of a goal from Andrews, latching onto the end of a long cross, alas punishing the missed spot kick three minutes earlier, Stokesley’s keeper Johnson making a great double save from Shekoni on 36 minutes. The same player made amends just past the hour mark, converting another penalty, why the pen was awarded was a bit of a mystery to the majority of the crowd, the first penalty was a clear shirt pull inside the box, but no on had a clue what the offence was this time, as there was no apparent infringement, but full marks to Shekoni who had the bottle to try again, making no mistake, blasting the ball into the keepers right-hand corner. The game could have gone either way with both teams going all out for a winner, but a draw was maybe a fair result, even though the chances that fell Horden’s way should have been converted. (I would have scored them, nee bother!)
If your still to visit Stokesley SC, I can thoroughly recommend it, I regret not having more time to take a look around the town and also visit nearby Great Ayton; the birthplace of Captain Cook, the club staff give a friendly welcome, plus there’s the added bonus of the surrounding view of the moors, which must make Stokesley one of the most picturesque football grounds in the north of England.