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Welcome to Shaun Smith's Groundhopping blog ...
 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) ... the original internet ground logging website.
Check out my blog reports and pictures from over 400 different football grounds in the A-Z Matchday Index

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✔523 The Mechanics

AFC Blackpool 3-1 Squires Gate
North West Counities League - Premier Division
Tuesday 3rd May 2016

You can catch up with my previous visits to this part of the world in my blog archive, attending games at Blackpool, Squires Gate and more recently AFC Fylde.

Blackpool Metal Mechanics founded in 1947, changing name to Blackpool Mechanics
Fylde District Football League 1947-1959
Division Two Champions 1950-51
West Lancashire League 1959-62, runners up, then league champions two years running.
Lancashire Combination 1962-1982
North West Counties League founder members 1982-present
Division Three winners 1985-86
First Division winners 2010-11
The club amalgamated with Squires Gate Junior FC to form AFC Blackpool in May 2008.
The Mechanics
Jepson Way
Common Edge Road
Blackpool
Lancashire
FY4 5DY

Capacity 2,000 (250 seats)

Non-League grounds visited 258 NWCL 5/40

The club kept their link with their Blackpool Mechanics history by naming the Jepson Way ground "The Mechanics" There’s covered terrace enclosures behind each goal.  A seated stand filled with tangerine seats on one side, sandwiched in between the team dugouts. Also a few rows of seats outside the clubhouse benefiting from the overhanging roof.
AFC Blackpool(22nd) v Squires Gate(18th)
North West Counties League Premier Division Matchday 40/41
Kick off 7.45pm
Att.218
Weather:Sunny

1-0  Mark Thornber (28’)
Ball played in from the right met with a first time effort from just inside the penalty area.

2-0 Aaron Fleming (50’)
Fabulous direct free-kick, fired in from 30 yards from the right flank.

3-0 Jack Williams (67’)
Nice through ball, outpaced the defender and slid the ball past the oncoming ‘keeper.

3-1 Daniel Penswick (74’)
The Blackpool ‘keeper pulled off another cracking save, the resulting goal mouth scramble saw the ball fired in from close range.

Entertainment - 7/10
Top Bloke - Aaron Fleming(AFC Blackpool)

This win took The Mechanics off the foot of the table and now there’s only a three point gap between 18th and 22nd, so going into the last week of the season it’s any three from five for the drop between Squires Gate, Silsden, AFC Darwen, AFC Blackpool and Alsager Town. 

Spondoolicks
Admission £6
Programme:none issued
Pin badge £3
Cofffee £1
The Gadabout
145 miles door-to-door
(A1/A66/M6/M55)
Travelled with Katie & Lee in Blossom(aka the Katiemobile) 

We arrived in Blackpool just before 5pm, so plenty of time to go to the 3 previously uncharted Wetherspoons pubs in the town centre. After drinks and food in The Layton Rakes and The Albert and the Lion, we stopped off at the fabulous Velvet Coaster on route to the match. Nowadays it’s just a matter of a fact that we see someone we know at a game, so the “Stalker of the Week” award went to Tony Morehead (100FgC AF60) who travelled up from Manchester after seeing my post on FriendFace. A really cracking evening, with no pain in the arse motorway diversions heading home,  so I was back hyem for 12.45am.

Ground no.523 The Mechanics - Matchday Web Album (31 pictures)

Pic of the Week Cup 2016 - Round 2


Peter Miles - OFK Belgrade

Chris Bedford - Horton

Paul Paxford - Teignmouth
Jamie McQueen - Borussia Dortmund
Matt Harrison - AS Trencin
John Blair - Carloway


Please vote by adding a comment or on our Facebook Group


The Farewell Hop

Friday 29th April 2016

For the fourth year running I visited the city of Nottingham for the Notts Senior Football League Bonanza, which is in its final year after being hosted by 20 different clubs. The Groundhop is organised by Rob Hornby who has been running these events for the last 14 years, but sadly this is his “Farewell Hop” after deciding to call it a day. 

I left Newcastle on Friday morning on the 0935 Cross Country Service to Southampton, catching my connection to Nottingham from Sheffield. I was relieved to arrive at around 12.30 in one piece after some bloody jokers put a mattress on the train line between Alfreton and Nottingham, which caused a delay and damage to the train. 
After a quick bite from Greggs, football bets put on and a few record shops visited on Mansfield Road, I started a Wetherspoons pub tour of the outskirts of Nottingham. I met up with Mark Wilkins and we managed to tick off 6 pubs before the first match of the groundhop in the village of Attenborough.

518.The Strand
Attenborough(10th) v Awsworth Villa(5th)
NSL - Premier Division
K.O. .6.30pm



Attenborough FC formed in 1947 as Attenborough St Marys.
Played in the Long Eaton League, Notts Amateur League, Central Alliance League (champions 1974-75) Midland League(1976-1982) 
Founder members of the Central Midlands League(1983-1992) 
Notts Alliance (1992-2004) 
Founder members of Notts Senior League in 2004.
Attenborough is situated in the Broxtowe borough of Nottinghamshire, with The Strand hosting the traditional Friday night fixture with a decent 200 plus crowd in attendance. The football weekend got off to a great start with the home side racing into an early three goal lead, courtesy of a brace from Jack Warner (There’s only 3 Jack Warner’s!) before Jack Wilkinson headed in from a corner kick on 17 minutes. Awsworth responded after the restart with Danny Welsh firing in with just 10 seconds on the clock, but ‘Boro soon took a stranglehold on the match with Warner capitalising on a defensive mishap to complete his hat-trick, before teeing up Jordan Smith took make it five on 72 minutes.  

Matchday Stats
Attenborough 5(Warner 4,12,65 Wilkinson 17 Smith 72)
Awsworth Villa 1(Welsh 46)
Att.218
Top Bloke - Jack Warner (Attenborough)
After the game me and Mark were joined by Steve Mann(Squad no.111) for another 3 ‘Spoons, the last of which -  The Gooseberry Bush, being where I started off my pub crawl earlier in the day. After Mark headed off home I took Steve to a couple of more pubs, ending up in Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, until we were shown the door at quarter past midnight. A cracking start to the weekend with 6 goals in the opening match and 8 new pubs visited.

Saturday 30th April 2016

After a late one I didn’t feel three bad in the morning, having time for a nice bath before checking out of the hotel. I met up with the rest of the ‘hopper on Queens Road to catch the coach for the short trip to Beeston for the first of four matches.

519.Hetley Pearson Recreation Ground
Beeston(15th) v Underwood Villa(14th)
NSL - Premier Division
KO.10.05am
Beeston FC formed at the beginning of the season with the amalgamation of AFC Beeston and Boots Athletic, plus the Beeston Centurions youth club. This was hopefully the club’s last game at the Hetley Pearson Rec before they take up a 99 year lease on the old Siemens FC ground on Trent Vale Road. There’s plans for a new clubhouse and a 3G pitch on the site and all going well they should kick off next season at their new ground


The last 0-0 draw I witnessed was exactly one year and one week ago, with the corresponding morning fixture on the Notts 'Hop at Bingham finishing goalless. I knew the writing was on the wall after about half an hour into this game that my fine run was coming to an end, as there was a distinct lack of a killer instinct in front of goal. Beeston hit the bar just before half time and twice in the second half fired chances wide from just 6 yards out, when it was easier to score than miss. Villa had a goal disallowed for offside ten minutes from time, which was the only glimpse of the ball hitting the back of the net over the full ninety minutes.

Matchday Stats
Beeston 0
Underwood Villa 0
Att.291
Top Bloke - Eddie Morrell(Underwood Villa)



520.Basil Russell Park
Bilborough United(8th) v Ashland Rovers(5th)
NSL - Division One
KO 12.45pm
The second game of the day was in the village of Nuthall, home to Bilborough United. The club formed in 2009, playing at Bilborough College in the Notts Amateur Alliance League. In 2014 they were finally accepted into the NSL and at the same time moved to Basil Russell Park. The land was purchased by the council and opened in 1956, named after Councillor Basil Russell who managed the regeneration of the land. The football pitch was once used by Nuthall in the mid-nineties, but is now home to Bilborough, who currently run two senior sides and are expanding their junior set up next season.
After being starved of goal earlier this morning it was good to see Rob England fire the home side into the lead after just seven minutes. His lob seemed to have been comfortably dealt with by the ‘keeper, but as he pushed his shot over the bar, his save was too weak and the ball dropped into the net instead of over the crossbar. I was expecting a flood of goals, but again this ‘hop was mirroring last years event, with 6 goals on Friday night, a nowts-each, then a narrow 1-0 victory to the home team.

Matchday Stats
Bilborough United 1(England 7)
Ashland Rovers 0
Att.239
Top Bloke - Rob England(Bilborough United)


521.Grassington Road
Nottinghamshire FC(15th) v Gedling Southbank(11th)
NSL - Division One
KO 3.15pm
Nottinghamshire FC was founded in 1895 as Notts Magdala, changing to their current name in 1908. Founder members of the Midland Amateur Alliance League in 1904, winning their first of eleven league titles in 1908-09 and last of which came in 1982-83.  
Notts Alliance 2003-2009 Second Division champions in their debut season.
Notts Senior League from 2009 - present.

The Grassington Road ground is found just around the corner from the David Lloyd centre in Aspley. There isn’t much facility wise at the ground, the club use container cabin as changing rooms at the entrance and a pitch at the far end within Nottingham Girls High School. For this special occasion the club proved refreshments and souvenir stalls, and also issued their first ever programme and pin badge. 

The best attendance of the weekend, edging just over the 300 mark saw a relatively comfortable win for visitors Gedling Southbank. Halfway through the first half Oliver Seagrave fired in a daisy-cutter shot from the edge of the box, then after the break he produced two good finishes to complete his hat-trick. My attention during the game was drawn to my radio and the goings on at the foot of the Premier League, so I was much relieved to get the positive result I desperately wanted, so went off to the final game in cheerful mood.

Matchday Stats
Nottinghamshire 0
Gedling Southbank 3(Seagrave 22,55,71)
Att.301
Top Bloke - Oliver Seagrave(Gedling Southbank)


522. Inspire Community Stadium
Real United(7th) v Unity FC(5th)
NSL - Premier Division
KO 6.15pm
Real United formed in 2008, set up by Roger Henry as a community based club, for the purpose of helping young people to use football as a focus away from criminal activity and drug use. The club also helps to increase personal management skills, to help youngsters with education, work and training.
Notts Amateur Alliance 2008-2011 champions in Division 3(2008-09) and Division 1(2009-10)
Central Midland League South Division 2011-2015
Joined Notts Senior League at the start of this season



For our final game of the weekend we arrived at a proper ground with seats, which was great news for me, as my back was knacking after spending all day standing around. The Inspire Stadium has two seated stands, sandwiched by a standing enclosure behind the team dugouts. The rest of the ground is open with hard standing, with changing rooms, cafe and refreshment bar behind one goal. The ground is based in Stoke Bardolph and was re-opened in 2012, due to the hard work of the club staff and Gedling Borough Council, making it a smart looking stadium, decked out in the club colours with plenty of reference to the home team.

This was the most competitive match of the groundhop with plenty of full blown tackles and blood spilled over the ninety minutes. After a goalless first half it was Unity who took the lead just two minutes from the restart, when the ball fell kindly to Kye Hall to roll the ball past the ‘keeper from the edge of the box. A few minutes later United were awarded a direct free kick a good 30 plus yards out, which to everyone’s surprise was blasted straight over the ‘keepers head and into the net by Jimmy Spears, for undoubtedly the goal of the weekend. Both sides had chances to clinch the three points as the game reached the closing stages, but overall the draw was probably a fair result.

Matchday Stats
Real United 1(Spears 50)
Unity FC 1 (Hall 47)
Att.272
Top Bloke - Jimmy Spears(Real United)
I travelled back home by car with Katie & Lee, so I didn’t get the chance to say “s’lang” to Rob after the game, so I’ll take this opportunity to thank him for another well organised ‘hop, which I thoroughly enjoyed, just like the others he’s organised over the previous years. I hope he enjoys his extra leisure time and I’ll hopefully see him again on my travels at a football ground somewhere and sometime soon. Cheers Rob!

Full 5 match ticket with Programmes £15
Saturday Coach Ticket £15
Pin badges £3 each.

Precision Notts Senior Football League Bonanza 2016 - Matchday Web Album 
(87 pictures)

✔517 Loch Park

Glenafton Athletic 0-2 Auchinleck Talbot
West Region - Super League Premier Division
Monday 25th April 2016
Glenafton Athletic play in the parish and former mining town of  New Cumnock in East Ayrshire. Its growth came during the 20th century, with several pits and miners rows expanding this small town into a mining community.(Population just under 3,000)

In 1950, thirteen people were killed and 129 miners were trapped at the Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery. a film was made about the disaster called The Brave Don't Cry in 1952, starring John Gregson, and there’s now a memorial at the site of the disaster. 
New Cumnock has an interesting history, with links to William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robbie Burns. (which I’ll be covering in my book) Scotland’s national bard was a frequent visitor and he immortalised the Afton Water which flows into the River Nith with his 1791 poem ‘Sweet Afton’

Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes, 
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; 
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Glenafton Athletic formed in 1930 and take their name from the Glen Afton in the parish. 
The Glens played in 3 consecutive Scottish Junior Cup finals between 1992 and 1994, their only success being a 1-0 win over Tayport in 1993. Each side of that they lost out to Auchinleck Talbot and Largs Thistle. The Glens first final came in 1963 when they were beat by Irving Meadow at Hampden Park, and their most recent final appearance was just two years ago, losing to Hurlford United in the Ayrshire derby. 
Honours include - 
8 times Ayrshire League champions 
West of Scotland Super League First Division winners: 2011–12
Ayrshire League Cup winners 6 times and Ayrshire Cup winners on 5 occasions
Loch Park
115 Castle, 
New Cumnock, 
KA18 4AE

Capacity 3,400
(Scottish grounds visited 72 Junior grounds 26 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 19/27)


After 30 years playing on the colliery pitch at Connel Park, Glenafton Athletic moved to Loch Park in 1960, and at the same time changed the club colours from black and white to red. The ground has a 250 capacity covered stand on one side, filled with bench seats and named in honour of Mick Morran, the club’s late physio. At each side of the stand there is plenty of terracing, with the rest of the ground open with sleeper terracing and grass banking, including the strange site of the TV gantry being used as some kind of dog pen. There’s a clubhouse bar in the Hugh Campbell Hall, named after the former club president, next to the snack bar on one side. The changing rooms are behind the goal in the Hunter Pavilion, which has a trophy room and hospitality upstairs. The club have revealed plans for a new changing facility and an all weather playing surface. 
Glenafton Athletic(4th) v Auchinleck Talbot(2nd)
Mcbookie.com West of Scotland Super League Premier Division Matchday 17/15
Kick off.6.45pm
Att.250est
Weather:Bright, but very cold.

0-1 Graham Wilson (29’)
A left wing cross found Wilson at the far post, sliding the ball past the ‘keeper from close range.
0-2 Dwayne Hyslop (56')
A precise direct free-kick from 20 yards, left of the penalty area was fired into the top right corner of the net by Hyslop. 

Entertainment 7/10
Top Bloke - Graham Wilson(Auchinleck Talbot)

This victory saw the Bot leapfrog Troon at to the top of the division, and with still 4 games in hand over their nearest rivals, they look well on course to win a fifth Super League Premier title.

Spondoolicks
Admission £6
Programme:none
Golden Goal ticket £1(had 62')
Coffee £1
The Gadabout
131 miles door-to-door
A69/A75/A76

I took advantage of a week’s leave from work and an early evening kick-off to tick another off my “T’ do” list in the Scottish Juniors. The trip to New Cumnock takes around 3 hours, but it’s just as quick and a helluva lot cheaper by road than rail. Lee and Katie were available to accompany me on my latest trip north, so they headed up to 100FgC HQ for a 2pm departure. We stopped off at The Robert the Bruce in Dumfries for some bait, before driving along the A76 zig-zag into Ayrshire.
We kept up our recent record of seeing someone we know, wherever we go, with the appearance of Mark Wilkins (100FgC AF33 ) who had travelled up from London, but using Carlisle as his groundhopping base for the next few days. 
On our way to New Cumnock there was an accident on the A75, which could have caused us a serious delay if it wasn’t for a nearby escape route, but the return journey thankfully went smoothly, so I was back at HQ at 11.20pm.


Ground no.517 Loch Park - Matchday Web Album (29 pictures)


Footnote
I’m in the process of writing and hopefully getting a book published on the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup over the last 50 years, which will feature a thorough chapter on the history of Glenafton Athletic and the town of New Cumnock. 

✔516 Burgh Road

Skegnesss Town 3-0 CGB Humbertherm
Lincolnshire Football League
Wednesday 20th April 2016

Skegness is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire.
(Population just under 19,000)
The name comes from the Danish period of settlement of England, although there is no reference to a village named Skegness in the Domesday Book. The town's name means either "Skeggi's headland" or "beard-shaped headland" 
Skeggi(meaning "bearded one"), may have been one of the Vikings who established the original settlement to the east of the current town, which was washed away by the sea in the early 16th century.
Home to the first Butlin's holiday resort which was opened in 1936 (went there in 1998 with the breadknife and Laura when she was a toddler. Our chalet got broke into on the first night, swiping my Newcastle shirt and trainers)
Skegness Town formed in 1946
Founder member of the Lincolnshire League in 1948
Champions in 1951–52, 1955–56
Central Alliance (South) 1956-1958 champions in both seasons.
Joined the Midlands League for one season before it folded, followed by a third Central Alliance (south) league title in 1960–61
Re-joined newly formed Midlands League 1961-1982
1978-79 runners -up (lost out on title by goal difference)
Played one season in the Northern Counties East League as founder members in 1982-83 
Lincolnshire League 1983-present
Champions in 2006–07 & 2007–08, 2013-14 
Burgh Road
Non-League grounds visited 253
The club have played on Burgh Road since 1947. The ground will be replaced by a retail park with an Aldi store on the site of their current location. The Lillywhites will move just a short distance to Wainfleet Road, where the complex will have the main stadium, two further pitches and a new community all weather 3G pitch.

There is a small covered stand, filled with pairs of blue cinema seats, with a few rows of wooden benches along the side. The Lillywhite Social Club is at the ground entrance with the changing rooms and canteen bar behind the same goal. The rest of the ground is overgrown so spectators are allowed to stand on the pitch side of the wall, along by the team dugouts on the far side.
Skegness Town(1st) v CBG Humbertherm(9th)
Balcan Lighting Supplies Lincolnshire Football League Matchday 20
Kick off 6.49pm
Att.45c
Weather:Sunny,chily

1-0 Will Britton (5’)
The number 9 latched onto a through ball, knocking the ball past the oncoming keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.
2-0 Will Britton (16’)
Picked up the ball in the inside right channel and fired in a right foot shot into the far corner.
3-0 Will Britton (53’)
Skegness could have been at least 6 or 7 goals up at half time and Britton could back bagged 5 of those, but he finally completed his hat-trick, heading home a left wing cross early in the second half.

Entertainment 7/10
Top Bloke - Will Britton (Skegness Town)
The Lillywhites are on the verge of winning the league after neighbours Skegness United did them a favour with a 1-1 draw with Wyberton. The match played simultaneously just along the road on Wainfleet Road.

Spondoolicks
Admission £2
Sausage Bap £2.50
Coffee £1

Tea £1

The Gadabout
190 miles door-to-door
Via A1/A18/A180/A631/A16

I’ve been to Skegness many times throughout the years(but only once at Butlins mind) and the imminent closure of the town’s long standing football ground meant an unexpected return. Katie text me on Sunday asking if I fancied the trip with her and Lee, as this was the club’s second last game at Burgh Road ... which was an offer I couldn’t refuse. After finishing work I drove down to Katie’s house in Houghton-le-Spring, left the car there, and we were on the motorway and off to the seaside by 2pm.
The long trek through Lincolnshire meant the journey took almost three and a half hours, so just a swift pint and no Chicken Club in the dog rough 'Spoons pub in the town before the match. 
Peter Miles (100FgC AF17) was also at the game, having travelled up the east coast from Essex, and I imagine more Groundhoppers will be heading to Skeggy next Wednesday when Town play there finally match at Burgh Road against Wyberton. 

Ground no.516 Burgh Road - Matchday Web Album  (33 pictures)