Welcome to The 100 Football Grounds Club

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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✔584 Gander Green Lane

Sutton United 1-1 Gateshead
National League
Saturday 9th September 2017
The town and London Borough of Sutton lies on the lower slopes of the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills which stretch from Farnham in Surrey to Dover in Kent. Sutton is located 10 miles from Charing Cross and became part of Greater London in 1965.
(Population: over 41,000)
Birthplace of author Quentin Crisp, actress Penelope Keith, and amongst its many former residents are playwright Noel Coward, former Goon Sir Harry Secombe, broadcaster and botanist David Bellamy, Formula 1 racing driver James Hunt, Olympic rower James Cracknell, singers Katie Melua and Joan Armatrading.
The Rolling Stones played several early gig at the Red Lion pub (now the Winning Post) on Sutton High Street. It was here that music guru Giorgio Gomelsky spotted the band and signed them up for a residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, which set them on their first steps to stardom.It was also at the Red Lion boozer that Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman became permanent members of the band on the 23rd January 1963.

 The club was founded in March 1898 following the merger of Sutton Guild Rovers F.C. and Sutton Association F.C. They played in local leagues and joined the Southern Suburban League, which they won before the First World War.

Athenian League 1921-1963 -  champions 1927-28, 1945-46, 1957-58
Isthmian League 1963-1986, 1991-1999, 2000-2004 and 2008-2011
League champions five times in 1966-67, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1998-99, 2010-11
Conference/National League 1986-1991, 1999-2000, 2004-2008(South) 2011-2016(South)
National South champions 2015-16 after losing out twice in the play-offs in 2013 and 2014.
Cup honours include the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1979, Athenian League Cup and the Isthmian League Cup both on four occasions and Surrey Senior Cup winners 15 times.
You can’t mention Sutton United without remembering their giant killing FA Cup act in 1989, when the amber and chocolate shirts defeat Coventry City 2-1 at Gander Green Lane. The Sky Blues had won the cup just two seasons earlier and a sell-out 8,000 crowd as well as the Match of the Day cameras were present to see this famous victory.

The Borough Sports Ground
Gander Green Lane,
Current National League grounds visited 20/24
Capacity 5,013
Record Attendance 14,00 v Leeds United -  FA Cup 4th Round, 24th January 1970.
The ground was first used in the late 19th century, but the U’s first played at Gander Green Lane in 1912, when the ground was known as the Sutton Adult School Ground. The club had played at various venues before finally settling at their true home after the First World War.
The main stand which was opened in 1951, has a covered single tier of 765 seats, with a mix of blue and red seats. The team dugouts are at the front of this stand, with terracing at each side The terracing continues to both goals and the opposite side, each end having a covered enclosure. He terracing is set back from the perimeter fence, because the ground once had an athletics track surrounding the pitch.
The artificial 3G playing surface was installed in 2015 and prior to this season the ground has been renamed the Knights Community Stadium, in a corporate sponsorship deal.

Sutton United(4th) v Gateshead(11th)
National League Matchday 9
Weather: four seasons in one day
Two first half spot-kicks saw the U’s and the Heed share the points. Danny Johnson put the Tynesiders ahead after being tripped by Louis John in the fifteen minute, before Simon Walton did likewise, equalising after Craig Dundas had been tripped by Theo Vassell. The woodwork was struck three times in the first half with Sutton twice going close to taking the lead.
A half time rain storm with thunderbolts of lightning meant the second half was delayed for 15 minutes, well you wouldn’t expect professional footballers to play in heavy rain would you? The delay made the game a bit lacklustre, until the later stages when it was backs against the wall for the Gateshead defence. Sutton should have clinched it, with substitute Tommy Wright missing a golden chance, while Craig Eastmond was denied by a world class save from Dan Hanford in the dying minutes.
Matchday Stats
SUFC 1(Walton 28pen)
GFC 1(Johnson 15pen)
Top Bloke - Dan Hanford (Gateshead)
Entertainment 6/10

Admission/programme/ team sheet free with press pass. Special thanks to Tony Dolbeu. Otherwise its
Admission £15 and programme £2.50
Pin badge £4
Coffee £1.50

0559 Virgin East Coast train to London King’s Cross arriving at 0904, returning on the 1900, back at 21.50.
Whenever I’m down in that their London, I always make the most my time by doing as much as possible. Yesterday I had two matches and at least five pubs to visit, with all the logistics planned for my morning match at Chelsea Academy and the trip to Sutton in the afternoon, with some Wetherspoon pubs in between. The first part in the morning went off like a tee, getting to Surbiton for my connection train to Cobham & Stoke Dabernon with time to spare for a drink in The Coronation Hall. You can read how this might have been a wasting journey to Cobham for my first match here.
I headed back to Surbiton after the game to find a packed station, due to major delays at Waterloo. I decided to catch the first train available and get off at New Malden, where I had a swift pint in The Watchman JDW, before jumping on the 231 bus to Sutton. As I arrived in the centre of town, I didn’t have time to call for a drink at The Moon On The Hill, instead I just went to The Grapes before heading up to the ground to collect my press pass. After the match I intended to stop off in Wimbledon for a drink, but it was here where the real travel chaos was. Because of a signal failure no trains could get out of the station towards central London, so myself and my few fellow Heed fans were stuck, with one of the lads booked on the 1830 from Euston to Carlisle.
After almost an hour the first train finally departed the station at 1820, heading directly to Waterloo. This meant I had to navigate my way through the tube to Kings Cross, so after running through stations, pushing people out of my way(folk must have thought the police were on my tail) and jumping on and off trains, I finally arrived at platform 6 for the 1900 to Newcastle with six minutes to spare, soaked to the skin, dripping with sweat and relieved to be on my way home.

Matchday web album (15 pictures)

✔583 Cobham Training Centre

Chelsea U-18 2-0 Arsenal U-18 
FA U-18 Premier League
Saturday 9th September 2017

 As part of my trip to Surrey for the Sutton United v Gateshead match, I spent the morning in the village of Stoke d'Abernon near Cobham, to visit the Cobham Training Centre.

The club's training facilities were pinpointed as a key area for new investment, when Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea FC in July 2003. The outdated facilities at Harlington training ground, which is owned by Imperial College, had been used by the Blues since the 1970s. Chelsea were managed by José Mourinho at this time, and he regarded the move to a new modern training ground as a "significant step forward" in the club's ambitions to match their Premier League rivals.
Planning permission was granted by Elmbridge Borough Council in 2004 and the club began training at Cobham in 2005, while construction was still ongoing, before its official opening in July 2007.
The 140 acre site cost a reported £20m and includes 30 pitches, an indoor artificial pitch, a media centre, gyms, cold immersion pools, a sauna, a steam room and a 56 ft HydroWorx pool.
Part of the planning permission authorised that none of the buildings in the complex were taller than others in the surrounding area, so approximately a third of the facility is underground, with a moat installed to reflect light into the basement floor to utilize energy.
The main pitch which the Academy team use is behind the Cobham Centre. On one side there are three identical stands with four rows of blue flip seats. The team dugouts are opposite, in front of the television gantry which is used by Chelsea TV.  The pitch is a 4G and there’s floodlights on both sides.
Chelsea U-18(1st) v Arsenal U-18(5th)
Premier League U-18 South Matchday 4
10.30am ko
Two first half goals set Chelsea on their way to a 43rd game unbeaten at Cobham. A fabulous Marc Gueti volley set them on their way in the seventh minute, before debutant Billy Gilmour doubled the lead before the break. The young Scot picked up the ball inside and unleashed a 25 yard drive passed the diving 'keeper’s right hand post.
Arsenal improved in the second half, but the home team were always in command.This win makes it exactly 900 days since they last lost at home.
Matchday Stats
CFC u-18 2(Gueti 7 Gilmour 43)
AFC u-18 0
Top lad - Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
Entertainment 6/10

 I was told several times yesterday  “You're a very lucky man”  by the security staff at the reception gate at the ground. Chelsea FC don't allow random people to come into the complex, it seems it's just parents and guardians of Academy players that are allowed in to spectate. (it's a case of  strangers in the company of young kids, everyone's has to be treated with suspicion)

However, after giving the two guys in the entrance office some of my winning Geordie charm, they rang someone of authority from the club to plead my case. Thankfully they made an exception to the rule and let me in, but not before they asked for I.D, issued a security badge and instructed me I was only allowed at the U-18s match, and not to go anywhere else within the complex.
Having said that, I must say that the two lads were really canny and couldn't have been more helpful, even informing me about the staff shortcut to the train station afterwards. So, if you want to tick off this ground, my advice would be to contact the club first and get your name on the guest list, not unless you also have the gift of the gab, that could charm the birds out of the trees!

Around the Alliance - part twenty

580. Red Row Welfare
Red Row Welfare 5-1 Cramlington Town
Northern Alliance First Division
Saturday 26th August 2017
Red Row is a rural village, situated just a few miles from the Northumberland coastline. Red Row Welfare first appeared in the Northern Alliance in 2005, changing their name to Morpeth Sporting Club in 2009, before leaving the league after three seasons.

The club reformed in the North Northumberland League, winning the title in 2015-16 and returned to the Alliance last season.
The ground is found at the north entrance off the village, just off the main A1068 road which runs between Ashington and Alnwick. The entrance is easy to miss, as the welcome sign is currently covered by an overgrown hedge, however I knew the ground was next door to the Red Row County First School. The changing room block is in the car park, situated behind the goal, with a fully railed off pitch with a few bench seats scattered around the perimeter.

Red Row recovered from an early setback to record a convincing win over Cramlington Town, with the visitors taking a third minute lead when a right wing cross was met by a cracking volley by Dean McCarthy. The home team quickly responded with Max Anderson outpacing the Crammy defence to level, before his lovely glancing header gave them the lead in the 16th minute.

Just after the hour mark Darren Smith added to the tally, before substitute Josh Baston grabbed a moochers goal ten minutes later. Anderson wrapped up proceedings with a simple tap in deep into injury time, to complete his hat-trick and a well deserved 5-1 victory for Red Row.

Matchday Stats

RRWFC 5 (Anderson 7,16,90+1 Smith 63 Baston 84)
CTFC 1 (MCCarthy 3)

581. Hazlerigg Welfare
Hazlerigg Victory 4-2 Killingworth YPC
Northern Alliance First Division
Wednesday 30th August 2017
 Hazlerigg is a former mining village five miles north of Newcastle city centre. The colliery was in use between 1892 and 1964, with the Havannah Drift Mine also in operation just a mile west of the village. The population is just over one thousand, with around 800 houses, but sadly no pub! (Sorry..there's one pub...Eddy)

Hazlerigg Victory formed in 2007 and joined the Northern Alliance Second Division. from the Tyneside Amateur League in 2015. They finished seventh in their debut season, followed by a third place position last season, which was good enough to gain promotion to the First Division.
The club play at the Hazlerigg Welfare, just off Coach Lane, which is the main road which runs through the village between North Gosforth and the airport. The ground is a roped off park pitch with a changing room block at the entrance.

 Hezzy faced leaders Killingworth YPC, who have won their first five matches in the First Division. The visitors looked set to maintain their 100% record when Malcolm Morien capitalised on defensive errors to fire them into a two goal lead with just fifteen minutes gone. The hosts relied on the pace of striker Chris Sword and after twice going close, he latched onto a long ball to have the deficit just after the half hour mark.

Hazlerigg were great in the second half, equalising on 68 minutes when Richard Coulson netted the rebound after the ‘keeper had saved the initial penalty kick, which sent Victory on the road to victory.
Just after the equaliser the Hezzy manager was dismissed from the sidelines for giving the referee verbals, but instead of spending the rest of the game in the changing rooms in the huff, he played football with a young laddie (I’m guessing it was his son) at the top end of the field.
The tactic of using the speedy Chris Sword as an outlet worked a treat, as he twice ran onto the long ball to outpace the defence and finish with confidence, which completed his hat-trick and a thrilling comeback from the hosts.

Matchday Stats

HVFC 4 (Sword 31,73,83 Coulson 68)
KYPCFC 2 (Morien 5,15)

582. East Palmersville Sports Pavilion
Forest Hall 1-4 Bedlington FC
George Dobbins League Cup Round 1
Saturday 2nd September 2017

 Forest Hall is a suburb in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, five miles north-east of the city centre. The once sleepy village had a train station on the Newcastle-Edinburgh east coast line and takes its name from a long gone palatial home.

Forest Hall first appeared in the Northern Alliance in 1979, playing 23 consecutive seasons, with their best performance coming in 1989, finishing third in the Premier Division. They left the league in 2005, but reappeared three years later, winning promotion to Division One in 2009-10. The club went missing from the competition for one season in 2013-14, but quickly returned to win promotion to Division One after finishing runners-up to Killingworth YPC last term.
The current club was established in 1996 with just the one team, but now boast 24 teams at all age levels, as well as four senior sides including a ladies team. They are based at East Palmersville Sports Pavilion, on a fully railed off pitch known locally as Proctors Field on Great Lime Road. The £1.2m pavilion was opened in 2010, and has six changing rooms, two officials room, a first aid room, multi-purpose activity hall, meeting room, kitchen and storage facilities. As well as the football club, the building is used by Forest Hall Young People's Club, Forest Hall Boxing Club and other groups within the community.
Forest Hall faced Bedlington FC in the first round of the George Dobbins League Cup. Bedlington are another club with a 100% record, winning their first five games in the Second Division and scoring 29 goals in the process. The challenge of playing against a team from a higher division didn’t pose too much of a problem, as they eased past Forest Hall into the second round.

They took the lead on eighteen minutes, when a long crossfield ball from the left back found  Sheldon White, who cut inside the defence and fired in from the edge of the box. They doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime, when Andrew McClennan was on hand to net the rebound after the Forest ‘keeper had pulled off a good save.
After a half time bollocking, the home team quickly responded and got themselves back in the tie. On 51 minutes a routine right wing cross was caught by Nathan Eaton, but he somehow let the ball slip through has hands, before the ball bounced over the goal line. That gift of a goal didn’t prove to be the turning point, as Bedlington went from strength-to-strength with McClennan grabbing his second in the 71st minute, outmuscling the defender and producing a good finish. The tie was wrapped up in injury time, when the two substitutes linked well together with Michael Robinson firing home the fourth. Bedlington look a class act and I expect them to comfortably win the Second Division and maybe claim one of the cups on offer this season.

Matchday Stats

FHFC 1 (Eaton 51OG)
BFC 4 (White 18 McClennan 45+1,71 Robinson 90+3)

✔579 Victory Park

Barnoldswick Town 2-1 Dunston UTS
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 19th August 2017

Barnoldswick and the surrounding areas of West Craven were part of the West Riding of Yorkshire between 876 and 1974. After the reorganisation of local government, the West Riding County Council and Barnoldswick Urban District Council were both abolished, becoming the Borough of Pendle and part of Lancashire. (I bet this went down a treat with the proud men of Yorkshire)
Locally known as “Barlick” it’s found on the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines, between the Ribble and Aire valleys, just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Barnoldswick  dates back to Anglo Saxon times, listed as’ Bernulfesuuic’ in the Domesday Book. (population around 11,000)

There was an original Barnoldswick Town, which played in the Lancashire Combination and Yorkshire League in the 1920’s and thirties, however the current club was established in 1972 as Barnoldswick United(1972).
They changed their name in 2003 by adding the “Town” suffix after a merger with Barnoldswick Park Rovers and Salterforth Juniors.
Played in Craven & District League and the East Lancashire League
West Lancashire League 1997-2009:
Division 2 runners-up 1997-98
Division 1 (2nd tier) Champions 1998-99
North West Counties League 2009-present:
Division One Runners Up 2009-10
Silentnight Stadium
Victory Park
West Close Road
BB18 5LJ
Record Attendance: 554 v FC United of Manchester - July 2005
NWCL Grounds 11/45
There’s a covered brick enclosure at one side behind the team dugouts, with the club name embossed on the facade.  The seats are behind the goal, attached to the changing room block known as the “ Sewer End, with a diminutive stand in the corner next to the clubhouse. The cricket ground side and the far goal are both open standing.

Barnoldswick Town v Dunston UTS
FA Cup Preliminary Round
KO 3pm
A late strike by Danny Boyle booked Barlick a place in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The hosts were the better side in the first half, with a Joel Melin effort hitting the post, before an onslaught on the Dunston defence saw Aaron Hollindrake fire home on 38 minutes.
A much improved performance from Dunston after the break, saw them gifted a goal in the 50th minute. A simple back pass to Connor King saw the Barnoldswick ‘keeper kick fresh air, which allowed Scott Heslop a simple tap in from close range.  
I fancied there would be a decisive goal, as I couldn’t see the match going to a replay.  That winning strike arrived five minutes from time when a long through ball found Boyle who beat the advancing ‘keeper to the ball, before tucking into the unguarded net. The teams will play each other for the fourth time in the space of a year, when they meet again at the Silentnight Stadium next month in the FA Vase.
Matchday Stats
BTFC 2 (Hollindrake 38 Boyle 85)
DUTSFC 1 (Heslop 50)
Top Bloke - Joel Melia (Barnoldswick Town)
Entertainment 7/10
Admission £5
Programme £1
Pin badge £3
Mug of coffee 80p
Pastie £1.30
Mug of tea 80p
101 miles door-to-door
I don’t usually like driving too far after a Saturday morning shift at work, limited myself to a 2 hour journey. The trip to Barnoldswick was exactly 120 minutes door-to-door, so it was worth the effort to watch Dunston at a ground I hadn’t been to, with the added ingredient of an FA Cup tie. Although I was disappointed to see Dunston crash out of the cup at this early stage, full marks to Barlick, who were great hosts and I wish them well in the next round. Also much thanks to the lad on the turnstile who let me go back to my car to recharge my phone, otherwise this blog post would’ve had no corresponding pictures. (I was the postman)

✔578 Castle View Enterprise Academy

Hebburn Town Res. 2-1 Darlington Res.
Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup - 1st Round
Saturday 12th August 2017

Hebburn Town Reserves were the only new club elected to the Wearside League this season. The reserve team will play midweek fixtures under the lights at the Hebburn Sports Ground, with their Saturday fixtures at the Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland. The ground is in the Castletown area of the town, not far from the A19, just off Wessington Way. The Academy has two grass pitches and two 3G enclosures, with Hebburn using the pitch at the back of the main building.

This Alan Hood Charity Cup tie was a battle of the two reserves teams in the Wearside League, with Hebburn facing Darlington in the First Round. The home side took an early lead when James Talbot robbed the ‘keeper and finished well, before Ewan Simpson headed home a right wing free kick on 28 minutes. Darlington halved the deficit on the hour when Lewis Walton tapped in a Tom Young cross, but they couldn’t muster an equaliser to take the tie to penalties. This 2-1 win for Hebburn Town Reserves sets up an away tie at Leam Lane Rangers in the second round.

Matchday Stats
HTRes 2 (Talbot 11 Simpson 28)
DRes 1 (Walton 61)
Admission £2