My Matchday - 203 Throstle Nest

Farsley Celtic 0v1 Gateshead
Conference North
3rd March 2009
Farsley Celtic play at Throstle Nest, near the market town of Pudsey in West Yorkshire, situated between two major cities - Leeds and Bradford, and is part of the metropolitan borough of the City of Leeds.
The club was founded in 1908, playing in local leagues within the Leeds area. They originally played on the Rec at Red Lane, the ground had no changing rooms so the players using the Bay Horse pub in the village before walking to the ground.
After the Second World War the club played at Calveley Lane, then in 1948 purchased land on the site of a former council tip, playing their first game at Throstle Nest against Frickley Colliery on August 28, Celtic recording a 3-1 win.
They joined the Yorkshire League the following year, winning the Division Two title in only their second season. The Villagers won the first of their Yorkshire League Division One titles in 1959-60, but were unable to gain promotion due to ground criteria, a fate which was repeated after another championship season in 1968-69.
The Villagers have twice reached the FA Cup 1st Round, the first occasion was in 1974, when a crowd of 11,000 witnessed a 2-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers at Elland Road, the funds from that cup run were invested in ground improvements, including the building of new dressing rooms.
In 1982 the club became founder members of the Northern Counties East League, finishing third followed by the Division One North title the following season, gaining promotion to it’s Premier League, until shifting over to the newly formed Northern Premier League - Division One in 1987-88.
The club have made rapid progress over recent years, in 2003-04 they won promotion to the Unibond Premier, then won the play-offs in their second season, beating North Ferriby United 2-1 (aet) in the 2006 final.
In 2006-07 back-to-back promotions was achieved, again via the play-off route, beating Hinckley 4-3 in the Conference North final, they also reached the FA Cup 1st Round for a second time, holding MK Dons to a goalless draw at the Throstle Nest, before getting knocked out in the replay 2-0.
Last season The Villagers took their place at the highest level of the non-League pyramid in what was their centenary season, unfortunately the club struggled to maintain their place in the Conference National, finishing third bottom, relegated along with Stafford Rangers and Droylsden.
The Throstle Nest is found within a private housing estate, a ten minute walk from Town Street, which is the main road that runs through the village. On arrival your greeted by a steward in the car park, who is very helpful but determined to get you into the clubhouse and not go back to the village. Once you’ve entered the turnstiles all the amenities are all found together to your immediate right. The clubhouse is quite spacious, split into two separate rooms. There’s a couple of portakabins used for club offices, a souvenir shop and toilet block, with a separate tea bar and also a barbeque area at the clubhouse entrance.
The main stand has six rows of blue wooden flip seats, with the changing rooms in a separate block beside it, in between a section of terracing. The Shed End is a covered terrace with a section of blue plastic flips seats with FC picked out in white (what about the other FC?) directly behind the goal, added to bring the overall seating capacity to 400. The rest of the ground is open with a section of raised terracing at the far side next to the dugouts, there’s also large nets to stop the ball going out of the ground, but somehow the ball always seemed to squeeze through the small gap and over the boundary fence.

I text a few mates at half time and my summing up of the first half was; cold, damp, windy and goalless. The opening half producing very little excitement with neither keeper tested as the conditions and heavy pitch limited the chance of any decent football. The second half started with Gateshead going all guns blazing, Farsley keeper Aspden making several great saves, especially the one that denied Jones from close range. The Celtic defence finally caved in after nine minutes, although the goal had a touch of fortune about it, right-back Baxter’s effort from 20 yards took a slight deflection spinning the ball out of the reach of Aspden into the top right hand corner of the net. Gateshead had chances to extent their lead, while Farsley improved, looking more dangerous as the game progressed, however this was a typical grinded out result, that a team at the top of any league produce, not playing great but doing enough to win the game - job done!

This was my second visit to the Throstle Nest this season, the originally scheduled fixture on December 6th was a late victim of the weather, ridiculously postponed at 2pm due to frost. This was without doubt my worst Saturday of this season, our mode of transport can only be described as a prison bus, which seemed to struggle to go over 45mph, which turned a short 90 odd mile trip into a nightmare journey.
After finally arriving in Farsley the driver took a wrong turning before approaching the village, finding ourselves in a steep residential street which was bumper to bumper with parked cars. The bus somehow got stuck, unable to move forward or reverse, meaning some of the lads had to get off the bus and adjust wing mirrors and knock on doors to get cars moved.
The highlight of the day was the 45 minutes or so we spent visiting three of the pubs in the village, particularly ‘The New Inn’ which served a gorgeous cask conditioned pint of John Smith’s. It was here when Captain Carter rang me at 2.20pm, with the news the match was off and we were heading home at 3 o’clock. We headed back up the A1, naturally pissed off and to make matters worse our short journey home took nearly three and a half hours, I don’t know how, but it did!
This time it wasn’t a prison bus but a mini-bus, ten of us left from the Civic Centre just after 4pm, with a more realistic journey time of just over two hours. On arrival I again revisited ‘The New Inn’ meeting up with some of the rest of the Heed Army, before heading to the ground’s clubhouse.
The backing from the Heed Army spurred the team on in the second half, we had a good sing-song, with “pogo if you love the Heed” keeping us warm on a freezing night. The night was made perfect with the news that Tamworth and Southport had drawn 1-1, the ideal result for Gateshead at the top of the Conference North.
I cadged a lift off General Gaddess back home, with Captain Carter and Private Clifton (aka Capt. Morgan, coz he likes his rum) and we analysed the remaining games this season and what may lie in store in the promotion race. After my matchday at Burscough I commented on Gateshead being top, with the consensus being we’ll just enjoy it because it may not last, but since then we’ve remained at number one in the Blue Square North chart.
There are ten games remaining, ten cup finals left, the first of those cup finals being maybe the biggest game of all this Saturday, where myself and a large Heed Army contingent will be at Haig Avenue, Southport, in what should be a cracking game and occasion, I for one, can’t wait.

Matchday stats
Celtic 0 Heed 1(Baxter 54)
Att. 198
Admission £10
Programme £2

Ground no.203 Throstle Nest - Matchday Web album(16 pictures including 6 from original scheduled date)

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