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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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Atherton Double

Tuesday 17th April 2018
For the first time this season I finally got the chance to travel with Katie & Lee to a match, with Greater Manchester the chosen destination. We had a few options picked out before we agreeing on our choice of Atherton Laburnum Rovers. There was also the bonus of Atherton Town kicking off at 6.15, so I met up with them three hours before kick-off time to battle our way along the busy M62 for our Atherton double.
Atherton is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan,10 miles north-west of Manchester and 5 miles east of Wigan.(Population over 20,000) From the 17th century, for about 300 years, Atherton was known as Chowbent, which was frequently shortened to the town’s old nickname of  “Bent”
Atherton was described as... "the centre of a district of collieries, cotton mills and iron-works, which cover the surface of the country with their inartistic buildings and surroundings, and are linked together by the equally unlovely dwellings of the people". The last deep coal mine closed in 1966, and the last working cotton mills in 1999. Today the town is the third largest retail centre in the Borough of Wigan, with almost 20% of those employed in the area work in the wholesale and retail trades, although there is still some significant manufacturing industry in the town.

Atherton Town 1-5 Silsden
Manchester League First Division

Atherton Town have three teams in the Manchester League with the senior side in the First Division, the reserves in the Third Division and the Academy side in the Fourth. The club also has 20 junior teams covering all age groups in the Bolton and Bury League.

Butler Park is found behind the Howe Bridge Sports Centre. Your greeted by some rather fetching gates and a welcoming clubhouse at the entrance. The ground is fully enclosed with a railed off pitch, with dugouts at one side. There's a small shelter with individual seats and a bench inside which I reckon has a full capacity of 9.

 Atherton Town(7th) faced local rivals Pennington(5th), with the visitors taking control early on, going two goals up in the first six minutes. The Pennington no.10 was on hand to net the rebound after the ‘keeper made the initial save, then minutes later no.11 capitalised on a defensive mix up. The visitors extended their advantage in the second half with the no.10 volleying in a left wing cross on 55 minutes.
The home team quickly pulled one back with a Leighton Mills penalty, which no goalkeeper in the world could have saved, as his fierce shot found the postage stamp of the goal frame. However this proved to be a consolation as the impressive young Pennington side wrapped up the match win a convincing 5-1 win.

Matchday Stats
ATFC 1 (Mills 58pen)

PFC 5 (Scorers TBC #10 3,55 #11 6)

6.30ko (Twitter stated 6.15)
Entertainment 8/10
Top Bloke #10(Pennington)
Admission and programme: none
Coffee £1

609. Crilly Park
Atherton LR 0-0 Silsden
North West Counties League Division One
 The club were established in 1956 as a youth team originally named Laburnum Rovers after their home at Laburnum Playing Fields.

They played in various Junior Leagues until switching to a senior side when they joined the Leigh & District League. In 1961 they joined the Bolton Combination,winning the Division Two Trophy twice and promotion to Division One as champions in 1966.

In 1980 the club joined Division Two of the Cheshire County League but on the condition of the league rule which requires the name of the town to be included, so they became Atherton Laburnum Rovers. After two seasons the league merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the North West Counties League, with Atherton LR placed in Division Two.

North West Counties League 1982-1994
Division One champions 1992–93, 1993–94
Championship Trophy winners 1992–93, 1993–94
Northern Premier League Division One 1994-97
North West Counties League 1997-present
Their best performance in the FA Vase was in 1993-94, reaching the semi-finals when they lost out to 2–1 to Diss Town 2-1 in a replay at VS Rugby after the two legs finished 3–3 on aggregate.

Crilly Park
Spa Road, Atherton, Greater Manchester
M46 9XG
capacity 3,000
Record attendance 1,856 v Aldershot - FA Vase Quarter-Final 1994
Current NWCL grounds visited 11/45
After originally played at Laburnum Road Playing Fields, they moved to Hag Fold two seasons later, before club progression saw them obtain a field where they opened their Greendale ground in 1966.  The ground was renamed Crilly Park in honour of former chairman Jack Crilly who died in 1980.
The main stand has a 250 seats, elevated about the dugouts with good views of the pitch. The rest of the ground has hard standing with a few steps of terrace on the covered side opposite the stand. Floodlights were installed in 1989, with new clubhouse and changing rooms built two years later.

Atherton LR(16th) v Silsden(1st)
NWCL Matchday 36v37

7.45pm kick off

Weather: cloudy with the odd spit of rain.

After a poor first half in which the players constantly moaned and twisted at every decision, the second half was much better, with both sides going full pelt in trying to clinch a late winner.
Rovers will be happy with a point plus a clean sheet against the leaders, while Silsden will be disappointed in not picking up all three points in their pursuit of the title.

Matchday Stats


Entertainment 5/10
Top Bloke -
Admission £6
Programme £1.50
Pin badge £3.50
Meat & Potato pie £1.50
Coffee £1

✔607 Links Park

Montrose 1-0 Berwick Rangers
Scottish Professional Football League 2
Saturday 14th April 2018
 Montrose is a coastal  town and former royal burgh in Angus, situated 38 miles north of Dundee (population 12,000) It is the northernmost coastal town in Angus between the mouths of the North and South Esk rivers, which developed at a natural harbour which traded in skins, hides and cured salmon in medieval times. It is an important commercial port for the thriving oil and gas industry.The town skyline is dominated by the 220-foot steeple of Old and St Andrew's Church, designed by James Gillespie Graham and built between 1832 and 1834.

Montrose FC were founded in 1879. playing their first match on the 8th November against Arbroath Wanderers, The club website states that football had been played on the Links for a long time before easier travel due to the railways, plus the increased leisure time available to workers, meant that teams were able to play outside their own localities. As a result there was a need for an agreed set of rules. The press report stated at the time;
'Owing to the Montrose players not understanding the technicalities of the rules, it being the first time they had played under the above rules, during the second period of play was of a give and take nature, neither sides scoring, although Montrose by this time understanding the game better played a plucky game, carrying the ball several times rather close to the Arbroath posts. The game was witnessed by a large number of spectators.’ Montrose lack of knowledge of the 'new' rules saw the host side lose 4-0 with all of the goals coming in the first half.

The Gable Endies  joined Scottish Football in 1923 in the newly founded Scottish Third Division. They achieved a creditable fourth-placed finish in their debut season and are one of only three sides from that season who are still competing today in the SPFL, the others being Brechin City and Queen of the South.

Scottish Football League Division Two winners: 1984–85
Scottish Qualifying Cup: winners: 1921
Forfarshire Cup: winners on 10 occasions between 1892 and 2008
Links Park Stadium
Wellington Street
Angus DD10 8QD
Capacity 4,963
Record attendance; 8,983 v Dundee, Scottish Cup quarter-final, March 1973.
Current Scottish League grounds visited 36/42
Links Park was opened in 1887, with the club financing the new ground by renting the pitch out for circuses and livestock grazing. The first stand was built in 1920, with cover added over the Wellington Street end of the ground in the 1960s and floodlights installed in 1971.
Following the arrival of Bryan Keith to the club, the ground was vastly improved in the 1990s with the wooden Main Stand replaced by a cantilevered stand in his name. The stand has 1,258 red and blue flip seats, which is quite steep with no supporting pillars or windshields. The rest of the ground has terracing, with four skinny corner floodlights and a 3G pitch, which was laid in 2006 then replaced in 2015.
Montrose(2nd) v Berwick Rangers(9th)
Scottish Professional Football League 2 matchday 32

3pm kick off

The match was settled early on with Chris Templeman knocking in a Andrew Steeves left wing cross from close range in the 10th minute. Montrose were on top in the first half until the match came to a sudden standstill in the 29th minute after a horrific leg break to Berwick striker Ousman See. Play was delayed for 70 minutes as the injury was too severe for the player to be moved, so there was a long wait for the paramedics to arrive from Dundee Ninewell Hospital, which is 30 miles away.
When the match resumed at 4.38, the game became a tame affair, with Berwick putting up a plucky performance to hold the title chasers to that solidary early strike.
Matchday Stats
MFC 1 (Templeman 10)
Entertainment 6/10
Admission £13
Programme £2
Pin badge £3.50
Pie and coffees £3
Depart on the 0620 to Edinburgh, then onwards to Dundee arr. 0940.
1pm train from Dundee to Montrose and returning on the 1751, back in Newcastle at 2140.
I arrived in Montrose at 1.35 after spending the morning dipping my toe in some Scottish Amateur football in Dundee. I called for a pint in the George Hotel and the Market Arms, before strolling along to Links Park. I was looking forward to a couple of pints after the match, but the long delay at the game meant it was a jog straight back to the station. On the train I had a catch up with James Little who got on at Dundee, following his game of choice at Forfar Albion. A long but enjoyable day which has got me in the mood of make an attempt to finally finish the Scottish 42.

✔606 Drumgeith Park

The Dundee Saturday Morning Amateur Football League was formed in the early 1990s as a friendly league. The league affiliated to the Scottish Amateur FA in season 2009-2010 with matches played at Riverside Park, the University Grounds and Drumgeith Park in Dundee.
The league built up a reputation for good clean football, expanding in recent years to three divisions (Premier, First and Second) with a current total of 32 teams. The league clubs also take part in various cup competitions, including a group stage cup, the Adamson Cup and of the course they enter the prestigious Scottish Amateur Cup.
I arrived in Dundee at 9.40, nicely timed to catch the number 15 bus at 10 o’clock. Drumgeith Park is 3 miles east of Dundee city centre and has six pitches with all the matches kicking off at 10.30am. Amongst those games was four Premier League ties and I pick out the match between Dryburgh Athletic currently in 1oth position, against league leaders and current champions Hilltown Hotspur.  

I definitely made the right choice, as I was treated to an entertaining game with an orgy of goals. Title chasers Hilltown Hotspur raced into a three goal lead, with James McCord grabbing a brace each side of a fine finish from Callum Crozier. Sean Feeney pulled a goal back for Dryburgh on the half hour mark, before Crozier again increased their advantage at the start of the second period. A Sean Murray strike and a diving header from Barry Goodall made it a round half dozen with 57 minutes gone, and it seemed a case of how many they would eventually declare on.
Dryburgh reduced the arrears with a Matthew Leech penalty, quickly followed by a tap in by Russell Headridge to make it 3-6. The third penalty of the game was awarded to Athletic, but this time the ‘keeper saved from Leech, which was his last save of the match as two minutes later he was shown a straight red for handling outside the box.
Dryburgh took full advantage of the extra man with Headridge completing his hat-trick with goals in the 87th and 90th minutes to make it 5-6, but they ran out of time to grab at least a point after an exciting finale.

After the match I had a bit spare time in Dundee to call to the bookies and have a swift pint in the Bank Bar, before catching the 1300 train further north for my second game of the day atMontrose. 

Dryburgh Athletic 5
(Keeney 30 Leech 62pen Headridge 66,87,90)

Hilltown Hotspur 6
(McCord 14,36 Crozier 21,46 Murray 51 Goodall 57)

DSMAFL Premier Division matchday 12v14
Att. 17 watchers
Entertainment 10/10
Top Bloke - Callum Crozier (Hilltown Hotspur)

✔605 Hayes Lane

Bromley 0-0 Gateshead
National League 
Saturday 7th April 2018
Bromley is a district of south-east London, 9 miles from Charing Cross in Kent. (population 72,000)
The historic market town was first recorded in a 862 charter as Bromleag meaning 'woodland clearing where broom grows'.
It’s the birthplace of HG Wells - "one of the remarkable minds of the twentieth century,"  The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin writer David Nobbs and children's author Enid Blyton.
The Bromley Contingent were a group of fans and entourage of the Sex Pistols. The name was coined by Melody Maker journalist Caroline Coon, after this Bromley gang popularised the fashion of the early UK punk movement.
The group included Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Simone Thomas and Simon 'Boy' Barker, who appeared on the infamous Bill Grundy interview with the Pistols on Thames Television in December 1976. The contingent also included Billy Idol, Jordan, Soo Catwoman, Debbie Juvenile, Linda Ashby, Philip Salon, Bertie 'Berlin' Marshall, Tracie O'Keefe and Sharon Hayman.
Bromley FC was founded in 1892, playing in the South London League, before becoming founder members of the Southern League (1894) London League (1896) and they also played one season in the Kent League during this era.
Spartan League 1908-09 (champions)
Isthmian League 1908-1911 (champions 1908-09,1909-10)
1952-2007 (champions 1953–54, 1960–61)
Athenian League 1919-1952 (champions 1922–23, 1948–49, 1950–51)
Conference South 2007-2015 (champions 2014-15)
National League 2015-present

The Ravens have also won the FA Amateur Cup, winning the final 1-0 on three occasions, against Bishop Auckland in 1911, Erith & Belvedere in 1938 and Romford in 1949. That third victory was the first ever FA Amateur Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium.
The club originally played at the Queensmead Recreation Ground, before moving to Glebe Road, Plaistow Cricket Club, then onto Hayes Lane in September 1904. The club moved further along Hayes Lane to the current ground in 1938.
Hayes Lane,
Record Attendance 10,798 v  Nigeria XI in September 1948.
Current capacity  5,000 (1,300 seats)
National League grounds visited 24/24 (re-completed the Top 116)
The John Fiorini Stand opened in 1993, having a covered capacity of 285 seats with the hospitality bar and dining area running along the top. The stand sits on the half way line, with a sponsorship tent at one side and the main turnstile entrance, club shop and refreshment bar in the other corner. The north end goal has a full terraced enclosure, while at the opposite end there's a mix of flip seats and benches in the middle of the terrace. Both ends are covered with the dugout side having an open terrace.

The ground has a 3G surface which was installed last year and is shared with Cray Wanderers, the oldest association football club in London, and the joint second oldest in the world, formed back in 1860.
Bromley(10th) v Gateshead(14th)
National League matchday 40v39
3pm k.o.
Att.1,035 (31 away)

Instead of coming up with an in-depth match report I'll just lazily share my match notes...

Matchday Stats
Entertainment 3/10
Media Pass

Pin badge £4

East Coast trains Newcastle-London Kings Cross dept. 06.30 arr.0940
Return on 1900 arr.2150.

The usual crack while I'm in London, spending the morning ticking off a couple of JDW’s, before heading to my main destination. I picking out the pubs in Balham and Brixton, before making the 1152 train from Victoria. I arrived in Bromley at 12.10, marking off another two ‘Spoons as well as calling for a drink in The Partridge, Star & Garter, Swan and Mitre plus the Barrel & Horn.
As the club were kind enough to issue me a media pass, I thought it best not to turn up pie-eyed, so eight pubs was enough to allow plenty of time to arrive at the ground before kick-off. Bromley has been a ground which has somehow eluded me over the past few seasons, but it's been worth the wait, as I had a really enjoyable day in the town, which made up for a very poor match.

The Bromley Pubs Blog