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My Matchday - 427 Victory Park

Chorley 3v2 Hyde
Vanarama Conference North
Saturday 22nd November 2014

This season I’ve mainly focused on finishing off the Conference, doing a few groundhops and going to grounds I’ve been longing to visit, one of which is Victory Park - the home of Chorley FC. 

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Chorley is a market town in Lancashire located in between Preston and Blackburn to the north and Wigan and Bolton in the south. The name Chorley comes from two Anglo-Saxon words, Ceorl and ley. Ceorl refers to a person of status similar to a freeman or a yeoman and Ley means a woodland clearing so it translates as  "the peasants' clearing".
Like most of Lancashire it gained its wealth from the industrial revolution as a vital cotton town with many mills dominating the Chorley skyline. Most of the mills were demolished in the late twentieth century or made into modern conversions, with Lawrences being the last mill to stop producing textiles in 2009. Chorley was also vital in coal mining due to its location on the edge of Lancashire Coalfield, with several pits in the area, the last of which was the Ellerbeck Colliery which closed in 1987.
Chorley along with Preston and Leyland was designated as part of Central Lancashire new town in the 1970s. The original aim of this project was to combine the three settlements into a single city with a population of around half a million. Although the plug was pulled on the scheme, the town benefited from the urban renewal, with a new bypass and the Market Walk shopping centre. The town is also home to the Chorley cake and Chorley FM, the fictional radio station in the Peter Kay hit TV sitcom Phoenix Nights, which became a real life station broadcasting as a community outlet in 2001.
Plantpot History
Chorley Football Club formed in 1883 after switching to football from being a rugby club for seven years. The club joined the Lancashire Junior League in 1889, and the following year became a member of the Lancashire Alliance, which they won in 1892–93. In 1894 Chorley joined the Lancashire League, becoming champions twice before the end of the nineteenth century.
In 1903-04 they were founder members of the new second division of the Lancashire Combination. The Magpies went on to win the Lancashire Combination for the first time in 1919-20 and were champions a total of ten times, the last of which came in season 1963-64.
Chorley were one of the founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968, but left at the end of the inaugural season, before rejoined in 1970 and leaving again two years later to join the Cheshire League. The club finished league runners-up on three occasions before rejoined the Northern Premier League in 1982–83, becoming champions in 1987–88 and promotion to the Conference. Chorley spent two seasons in the Non-League top flight before being relegated back to the Northern Premier League in 1990 and stayed within its divisions until winning the title last season, to make their debut in Conference North this term.

Ground no.427 Victory Park
(Non-League Grounds 209, Current Conference North 12/22)

Chorley originally played at Dole Lane which is now the Coronation recreation ground, before a short stay at  Rangletts Recreation Ground from September 1901 until they were evicted and relocated just next door to St George’s Park in September 1905. Victory Park was built just yards from their previous two grounds, the former rubbish tip was cleared in 1919 and opened the following year, named to commemorate the end of World War I. 
The original grandstand was gutted by fire in November 1945, just hours after an FA Cup tie against Accrington Stanley. This was replaced with the current stand built in May 1947 at a cost of £5,500, which runs two-thirds pitch length. The stand is a classic of its type with a bulk of ironwork holding up its roof, which has two protruding floodlight pylons with the raised seating above the terracing and team dugouts at the front. The stand has a capacity of 900 and is flanked by food outlets with the Magpies’ Nest and the Victory Snack Bar at each side.
The first terracing was built in 1929 at the Pilling Lane End, but this too suffered an unfortunate fate when the roof was tore off after gale force winds caused £800 worth of damage. Nowadays the terrace is covered directly behind the goal with a high pitched roof with grass banking at the sides which is out of bounds. The banking continues to the side where there is still a few remaining crash barriers, back when this was the popular side of the ground. This end has flat hard standing which runs back towards the car park, turnstile entrance and the social club with four three-lamped pylons embedded in the banking. This classic Non-League ground is finished off with a covered terrace behind the nearside goal which runs the full width of the pitch.
The current capacity of Victory Park stands at 4,100 with a record attendance of 9,679 for a FA Cup tie between Chorley and Darwen on the 15th November 1932.
The Match
The knocking bet for a home win in the Conference North this week was for the Magpies, firmly embedded amongst the play-off spots to overcome bottom of the table Hyde, who are in danger of tailing off at the foot of the league if they don’t manage to scrape together a couple of wins soon. That much needed victory looked on the cards as they raced into a two goal lead with a brace from Tom Bentham in the opening ten minutes. The big striker latched onto a lovely through ball down the left flank to fire in a first time shot into the far corner in the third minute, before nodded in at the near post from a corner kick minutes later.
After the initial shock of going two behind Chorley began to dominate, and after a Jake Cottrell shot smacked the crossbar they halved the deficit a minute later when Chris Doyle was on hand to fire home a left wing cross on 35 minutes. It was then all square at half time when a goalmouth scramble was finished off by Chris Simms who netted the rebound after the ‘keeper had pulled off a fine save.
I expected the hosts to go on and comfortably claim victory at Victory Park, but they didn’t have it all there own way before eventually grabbing the winner in the 73rd minute. Darren Stephenson ran onto a through ball to finish with a tidy side foot volley to the delight of the home support amongst an impressive attendance of 1,125.

Matchday Stats
CFC 3(Doyle 35 Simm 37 Stephenson 73) HFC 2(Bentham 3,10)
Top Bloke - Jake Cottrell (Chorley)

Admission £10
Programme £2.50
(64 pages with 24 adverts)
Pin badge £3
Mince pie £1.80
Coffee £1
Tea £1

Foetoes (36 pictures from Victory Park)

My Matchday
When I woke up on Saturday morning I wasn't in the best of moods to travel to Chorley. My train route from Newcastle was via Carlisle to Preston, and after my recent experience in the north-west I was expecting a hazardous trip. My pessimistic visage changed once the first leg of the journey was complete, as the damp weather made way for bright sunshine once I arrived in Cumbria, so I began to finally look forward to my onward journey to Lancashire. 
I arrive without any travel hiccups in Chorley at 1240, with a list of half a dozen pubs to visit. I managed to have a pint in five of them as the GBG listed Maltin Hops was closed, so by the time I headed off to the game I was pie eyed in much need of the quality bait available at the ground, which dominated the post match discussion on the 100FgC Facebook page.
There was a big queue outside the Magpies Nest so I waited until 20 minutes into the game to get something to eat. This turned out to be massive mistake on my part, as the much sought after butter pie had sold out and to rub salt into my wounds, the cake on sale at the Victory Snack Bar wasn't even the local delicacy, so a devastating bait faux pas on my part in both savoury and sweet categories.

As expected the reverse journey didn't run smoothly with massive delays between Manchester and Blackpool. The first train I saw arrive on the northbound platform was over 50 minutes late, with my 1721 train way back in the distance and in a queue, so I jumped on the 1702 which was 25 minutes late. The upshot was I arrived in Preston a few minutes after my Virgin train to Carlisle was due to depart, but luckily this was also five minutes late so I caught it with seconds to spare.
Overall I had an ace time in Chorley, enjoying the pubs, beer and best of all Victory Park which now ranks as one of my favourite Non-League grounds. As you'd expect I always love to see a win for the Magpies, topped off with ticking off another ground on my must do list and to think earlier in the day I just couldn't be chewed with it. Maybe I’m getting a bit tired of tearing around on public transport on my todd or could be in need of a fresh challenge, whatever it may be I’ll have to have a good think about this in the summer when this fully booked action packed season comes to an end.

Bevvy Almanac
Railway (Steeley Lane) Wychwood 'The Dogs Bollocks' (5.2%)***+
White Bull (Market St) Marston's 'White Bully' (3.6%)****
Rose & Crown (St Thomas Rd) Brains ' Atomic Blonde' (4%)****+
Sir Henry Tate(JDW) (New Market St) Three B's 'Pinch Noggin'(4.6%)****
Potters Arms (Brooke St) Three B's 'Doff Cocker'(4.5%)***+

Around the Alliance - part twelve

424. Cochrane Park 
Newcastle Chemfica(Independant) 5v0 Wooler
Northern Alliance Division One
Saturday 8th November 2014

Newcastle Chemfica (Independent) were formed out of Newcastle University’s School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials and joined the Northern Alliance in 2006. The club briefly changed their name to Benfield Chemfica in 2008, before winning the Northern Alliance Division Two in 2010-11.Last season they finished fourth in Division One, their best performance to date. The club currently run a number of sides including a reserve team in the Tyneside Amateur League.
 This was my first visit to Cochrane park since I ticked off Newcastle University back in April 2008.(featured in Around the Alliance - part three)The University side still use the top pitch on the right hand side of the pavilion exit, while Chemfica use the pitch at the bottom near the entrance on Etherstone Avenue. The complex was a hive of activity with Chemfica’s reserve side playing on the next pitch, with also lacrosse and two other matches including Newcastle University getting thumped 6-1 off AFC Newbiggin.The pitch Chemfica use is basic with no dugouts or perimeter rail so if they get promotion a move elsewhere or a ground share with the Uni on the top pitch may be in order.
 Chemfica won this Division One fixture with ease going nap and it should have really been double figures against hapless Wooler. They took an eleventh minute lead when a deep cross from the right back found Rob Kingswell who headed home at the far post and from this point the result was never in doubt. 
I was joined for the remainder of the first half by 100FgC Squad#123 Ian Cusack who saw Steve McLaughlin score two goals in the space of three minutes, the second of which was a lovely near post header from an inswinging corner kick.
The second half was a case of how many Chemfica would score, but surprisingly they only added two more to their tally, both scored by Tommy-Lee Bainbridge. On 50 minutes he scrambled in a right wing cross and just before the hour mark made it five with a neat finish. The valuable three points took Chemfica away from the relegation zone while Wooler remain rooted at the bottom.
Matchday Stats
NCIFC 5(Kingswell 18 McLaughlin 43,45 Bainbridge 50,58) WFC 0
Admission and programme:none
Top Bloke - Tommy-Lee Bainbridge(Chemfica)

426. Benson Park
Gosforth Bohemian 3v1 Newcastle University
Northern Alliance Division One
Saturday 15th November 2014
 Bohemian F.C are one of the oldest surviving clubs on Tyneside, formed in 1894 on Leazes Terrace in the shadows of  St James' Park. The club have been part of the Northern Alliance set up since 1988, mostly playing in Division One with just the one season in the Premier Division in 1996-97, after they won the league title the previous campaign. The club were known as Gosforth Bohemian Garnett for a spell until reverting back to their original name in 2009 and now have a reserve team in the Tyneside Amateur League, a B team in the Corinthian 1st Division plus a new U-16s side in the NEYDL.
 The club has played at Benson Park in Gosforth since 1951, which is tucked inside a private housing estate just off the Great North Road, shared with Bohemian Tennis Club and Gosforth Harriers. 
This match was their first at home this season after major refurbishment work which began at the end of last season. The new look clubhouse has had both the boiler and showers replaced with new radiators added. The pitch which was notorious for its poor drainage with a lot of games postponed every season has been replaced with a new surface, in fact this game would have more than likely been called off after a heavy downpour on Friday. 
The ground is fully railed off with Perspex dugouts at the far side. Over £100,000 was raised by the club members, club sponsors and grants from the Football Foundation and the local ward committee. Gosforth Bohemian made a special day of the re-opening of Benson Park, with sponsors and ex-players amongst the three figure crowd in attendance...there was even cake to be had!
 The new surface played a treat and there must be some sort of lucky charm buried underneath as the home team were outclassed today but somehow won 3-1. Opponents Newcastle University were on the offence from the start, but failed to take an early advantage before finding themselves two down after 16 minutes with a brace from Bohemian’s number nine Peter Hall. The hosts were camped in their own half but with their first meaningful attack Hall fired home to give them a tenth minute lead, followed by a superb lob over the ‘keeper from 20 yards to double their advantage. The students finally scored but didn’t actually hit the back of the net, as Jack Taylor met a corner kick with his header judged to have crossed the line, as there’s no goal line technology in the Alliance the loud appeals and raised arms from the Uni players was enough to convince the referee to give a goal in the 25th minute.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the first with the students carving out numerous chances but failing to beat Bohemian ‘keeper Ross Turnbull. Bohs sealed the victory with twenty minutes remaining when Andrew Dalton played a neat one-two before a delicate chip into the top corner to prove a good goalie at one end and good finishing at the other wins you football matches.

1-0 - First shot....first goal.

Matchday Stats
GBFC 3(Hall 10,16 Dalton 71)NUFC 1(Taylor 25)
Free programme and admission.
Top Bloke - Ross Turnbull(Gosforth Bohemian)

My Matchday - 425 Norton CC & Miners Welfare Institute

Norton United 0v4 Gateshead
FA Cup 1st Round
Sunday 9th November 2014
The council-tele rights for the FA Cup has thankfully returned to the BBC this season. As part of the Beeb’s coverage there will be a selection of games moved to Sunday in a new live version of Final Score, with cameras and reporters at all the grounds. The switch from Saturday to Sunday meant I was free to travel down to Staffordshire with Allan and Victoria Hutchinson for the Heed’s 1st Round tie at Norton United.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Norton United play in Smallthorne, in the north-east area of the city of Stoke-on-Trent, near the Port Vale manor of Burslem. Smallthorne has a population of just over 4,000 and for 115 years was administratively separate from Stoke-on-Trent. From 1807 to 1894, Smallthorne (and Ford Green), along with Bemersley, Norton, Norton Green, and Milton, was part of the Norton-on-the-Moors Parish after an Act of Parliament made it a district rectory. From 1894 it became part of the Smallthorne Urban District, until 1922 when the urban district was wound up, with the majority of it becoming part of the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
Historically Smallthorne was a coal mining area and up until the late ‘70’s, where there were several collieries with three large pits at Norton (Ford Green), Sneyd (Burslem) and Hanley Deep Pit, all within a mile of where the main shopping area stands today at Smallthorne Bank. 

Plantpot History
In 1989 Norton United FC formed as a junior side out of the cricket club at Norton Miners Welfare Institute. The team entered the Staffordshire Senior League for the 1989-90 season and after the competition became the Midland League in 1994, they won the Division One title in 1995-96. Further league success followed in 1998-99 as well as lifting the prestigious Staffordshire FA Senior Vase. The Midland League and cup double was achieved in 2001, followed by promotion to The North West Counties Football League, then in 2005 they added a second Staffs Senior Vase to their list of honours. The club won promotion from Division One in 2011-12 and after consolidating their place in the NWC Premier Division, they were champions last season, amassing 100 points and 101 goals to reach the Evo-Stick Division One South.

Ground no.425 Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute.
(Non-League Grounds 207 Evo-Stick League Pyramid 26/68) 

The most notable feature of the ground is the low pitch position with the gate entrance and club offices elevated on one side. The seated stand has two rows of red and grey flip seats which runs half the length of the pitch. Above the stand is a standing area with crash barriers which offers the best viewpoint in the ground. The clubhouse is at the front entrance, with all the amenities found on this side. The surrounds of the pitch were upgraded considerably and floodlights erected as well as a new playing surface to meet the grading for the North West Counties League. At the far side are the team dugouts and a covered standing paddock, with the rest of the ground having both hard and grass bank standing. The ground has views of the surrounding area with plenty of trees and greenery added to the ground's character.
The Match
A hat trick from striker Rob Ramshaw booked Gateshead a comfortable passage into the second round of the FA Cup. The Heed took an early lead when Alex Rodman found space to shake off the defender and fire home in the eleventh minute, before taking a huge step into the next round with two goals just before half time. Craig Baxter did well to keep the ball in play on the right wing before delivering a peach of a cross which Ramshaw headed home from close range, before netting the rebound after Rodman's initial shot was saved to make it 3-0.
Norton playing at this stage of the competition for the first time, made a decent fist of it in the second half, going close to reducing the deficit on several occasions, causing the Gateshead defence and 'keeper Adam Bartlett a few shaky moments early on.  The Tynesiders coped with the pressure before Ramshaw wrapped up the tie, bagging his third when Oster clipped in a neat through ball which he nodded over the 'keeper on 74 minutes in front of a record crowd at Community Drive.

Matchday Stats
NUFC 0 GFC 4(Rodman 11 Ramshaw 39,43,74)
Top Bloke - Rob Ramshaw(Gateshead) 

Admission £10
Programme £2
(28 pages 9 adverts)
Coffee £1

My Matchday
This Matchday was a straight forward there and back trip. Allan picked me up at 1005 (35 minutes late!) with his daughter Victoria and Heed veteran fan Mick Thornton filling the car space. We arrived at quarter past one around the same time as Cumbrian Hopper and 100FgC Squad#169, who I was meeting after buying his match ticket in advance. I also watched the game with John Main and Tony Morehead from the100FgC Facebook Group, but John McClure.. where were you hiding? This was a rare trip without any pub visits but I wasn't too bothered as I was glad to be home before 8 o'clock and even more delighted to see the Heed in the ball bag for the next round of the best cup competition in the world.

Foetoes (26 photos from Norton United and match ticket)

My Matchday - 423 The Leyes

Osbaldwick 2v5 Dringhouses
York Football League Premier Division
Saturday 1st November 2014
Osbaldwick is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of the City of York, found two miles east of the city centre. The Osbaldwick Beck runs through the village, which is part of the tributary system of the River Foss. The village has been in existence since at least the 11th century and is mentioned three times in the Domesday Book as Osboldewic. The suburb is named after Osbald, an earl in the kingdom of Northumbria and is the resting place of the Venerable Mary Ward(23 January 1585 – 30 January 1645) in Osbaldwick Churchyard.
There is a total lack of info on the interweb on Osbaldwick FC, the only information I found was that they are one of the most successful clubs in the York Football League, having won the league title ten years off the belt between seasons 1983–84 and 1992-93.
 I made an early start in York so I could do the City Academy game in the morning before this match at Osbaldwick later in the afternoon.  My first port of call was the Punch Bowl for a ‘Spoons breakfast, but the combination of a lack of urgency by the staff and plenty of hungry punters meant I abandoned the pub and heading to the bus stop. The number 40 bus was due at 1005 and as its an hourly service, I had to catch it or miss out, however the terminus at Exhibition Square didn’t show any signs of this bus actually stopping there, so I boarded another bus, jumped off and caught the bus at a later stop. I asked the driver to give me a shout at the Moor Farm stop, but he hadn't heard of it and seemed puzzled by my request, so he dropped me off after the roundabout on Wigginton Road. I started walking looking for the ground, I kept..walking..and walking and eventually running. This wouldn’t normally be a problem for a seasoned runner like myself, but when you're fully clothed and wearing size 10 Dr Marten boots, its bliddy hard work!
The B1363 road was neverending, my quest not helped by no pavements and cars tear-arseing past at 60-70 mph and as I later found out, the bus had dropped me off just over 2 miles away. To cut a long story short I arrived at the Wiggington Road Training Ground soaked in sweat,  just in time to hear the referee's whistle start the game, but not before arriving at a mystery football ground, running through a farmers field, having to dodge past a massive turkey(whose days are numbered) and nearly throwing up due to the incredibly strong stench of manure in the air.
After enjoying a good game between the York City and Hull City U-18s which you can read about here, I ran back to the closest bus stop, which was clearly marked with the words….yes...you guessed it... Moor Farm stop.

 The bus to Osbaldwick was spot on. I walked down to Piccadilly where the number 8 service was just pulling in and within 10 minutes I arrived on Hull Road, then it was a 5 minute walk through the housing estate to The Leyes. On arrival I was disappointed to find the Osbaldwick Sports Club closed because I was naturally choking for a pint and after missing breakfast I still hadn’t been fed. The ground is shared with the cricket club so the football pitch is at the near side in front of the car park. The pitch is roped off with temporary tent style dugouts at the side. Just before kick off there was around half a dozen of us waiting for the game to start, I was beginning to think that this could be my smallest attendance, beating the 8 at Heaton Stannington in 2007, but once the match got under way there was about 50 in attendance which swelled to over 70 when I did the half an hour headcount.
 The decent sized crowd didn’t have long to wait for the opening goal, only 30 seconds on the clock when Tommy Medd converted a left wing cross from close range to give Dring the lead. The home team were soon level when Matt Hattee thumped home the equaliser on 18 minutes, but two goals in two minutes before half time saw the visitors take control. On 39 minutes a peach of a strike from James Robinson, firing home from a good 25 yards put them ahead, quickly followed by Sam Kitson running onto a neat through ball to score a minute later. Ozzo grabbed a lifeline in injury time when a free kick from the left flank fell to Tom Wheatland who fired home to make it 2-3 at the break. 
The second half was finely poised with the next goal crucial in terminating the final result. That crucial strike came on 64 minutes with a clinical finish from Medd after the ball had twice pinged off the crossbar, and the victory was sealed late on when a quick counter attack was finished off by Liam Robertson to wrap up the three points.

After the game I was quickly back in the city centre where I finally had a quick bite to eat before heading to the 2 Wetherspoons pubs to mark of some more beers in the Real Ale Festival bingo. I caught the 1809 back home, meeting the breadknife in Newcastle for more bingo bevvys, which rounded off a very long and eventful day.

Matchday Stats
OFC 2(Hattee 18 Wheatland 45+2) DFC 5(Medd 1,64 Robinson 39 Kitson 40 Robertson 90+2)
Admission,programme,bait and drink:none
Wigginton Road Training Ground match

York City Academy

422 Wigginton Road Training Ground

York City U-18 1 Hull City U-18 3
Youth Alliance League North-East
Saturday 1st November 2014

York City FC Academy play at the club's Wiggington Road Training Ground, 5 miles north of the city centre. The complex include a new cafe and changing room facilities for seven pitches, with pitch 1 at the nearside the main pitch for Youth Academy matches.

York City were up against Hull City in an 11am kick off in front of a decent crowd with supporters from both clubs. The match was played in bright sunshine and its hard to believe the players had to take a drinks break during the first half because of the freak November temperature. 
The visitors extended their unbeaten start to the season with a seventh win in eight matches. They took the lead in the eighth minute when Jarrod Bowen fired in a right wing cross at the far post, before grabbing his second goal with a neat lob over the advancing ‘keeper from the edge of the box. 
York responded well to falling two goals behind, dominating the remainder of the first half. They halved the deficit with a sweet strike from the number 18 from 20 yards, then just before half time the crossbar denied them a deserved equaliser.
Hull City started the second period in a similar vein to the first with Bowen denied a hat-trick with his rifle of a shot smacking the crossbar just before the hour mark. The match was finely poised but it was the lads from Humberside who grabbed the win with Devante Morton firing home to decisive goal in an enthralling encounter. 

 This match was part of a York double with a visit to Osbaldwick in the afternoon for their York Football League fixture with Dringhouses. You can read my full My Matchday report and how I almost missed this game here 


Matchday Stats
YCU-18 1(TBC 35) HCU-18 3(Bowen 8,25 Morton)
Admission & programme:none
Coffee £1