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Welcome to Shaun Smith's groundhopping football blog 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) the original internet ground logging website. Please feel free to leave any comments if you wish. Cheers!!! site updated on post date

Around the Alliance - part thirteen

429. John Spence Community High School
North Shields Athletic 4v2 Hebburn Reyrolle
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Saturday 6th December 2014

 I visited North Shields Athletic at the John Spence Community High School at the end of last season when the club had just won the Division One title. I scored for an extra tick on that afternoon as they used the all weather surface instead of their normal home pitch, as the school had the field marked out for athletics.

The ground has a pair of temporary tent style dugouts and is roped off, and the 4G pitch was again in use as the club’s reserve side were playing(lost 2-1 to Stobswood Welfare) at the same time as the senior side faced Hebburn Reyrolle in the Northern Alliance Premier Division

Athletic struck first when a daisy-cutter free kick by Stephen Ardley gave them a twentieth minute lead, only for Dan Solomon to equalise when he nipped in at the near post when a long throw evaded the home defence. In between the two goals the Newcastle v Chelsea match took preference over what was happening on the pitch, with both dugouts conferring with each other over the latest score with both managers delighted that the Toon’s 10 men held on to their 2-1 lead.

 Just before half time the home side retook the lead when a free kick from the left was saved but parried into the path of Scott Jasper to fire in the rebound. Athletic had to wait until the last fifteen minutes to seal the win when Craig Boyle rifled home from the edge of the box, but a Liam Connolly penalty for Reyrolle on 82 minutes set up an interesting finale. In the last minute of the scheduled ninety a free kick from Ryan Bailey sneaked in at the near post to finally put the result beyond doubt to make it 4-2 to Shields on the final whistle.

Matchday Stats
NSAFC 4(Ardley 21 Jasper 41 Boyle 75 Bailey 90) HRFC 2(Solomon 33 Connolly 82)
Top Bloke - Scott Jasper(North Shields Athletic)
Admission and programme:none

430. Jack Clark Park
Whitburn Athletic 1v3 Percy Main Amateurs (AET)
Bluefin Sport Bill Gardner Cup
Saturday 13th December
 Whitburn is a village on the South Tyneside coast in between South Shields and Sunderland. Whitburn Athletic formed in 2010 playing in the Wearside Combination until entering the Northern Alliance set up last season, comfortably finishing mid-table in Division Two. This season they’ve made a change, moving from Whitburn Academy up the Coast Road to Jack Clark Park in South Shields. 
The ground is home to Marsden Cricket Club with the football pitch at the outer boundary, with a pair of white brick dugouts and railed off at the far side, with the near side taped off from the cricket green. Changing room facilities are in the cricket pavilion which is at the main entrance.
 Whitburn Athletic faced Division One leaders Percy Main Amateurs in the quarter-final of the Bill Gardner Cup. After an uneventful first half when neither ‘keeper was troubled the game livened up after the interval with both sides going all out for a winner. That winning goal looked to have finally arrived twenty minutes from time when a corner kick was met by a bullet header from Dan Sneap, but the hosts were soon back in it when a free kick from the right was swung in, and another good header, this time by Bradley Skinner put Athletic level. In the dying stages of normal time the hosts could have won it with the very last kick from Adam Bravey who shot just wide of the far post which would have put his team through yo the next round. 

 Percy Main took control of the tie in extra-time regaining the lead after just two minutes with another goal from a corner-kick, as Joe Betts fired in through a crowded penalty area, then five minutes later a goal kick was knocked on to Sneap who ran on before shooting in at the near post, to book a cup semi-final tie away to either Hexham or Lindisfarne Custom Plant.

This match was played in good spirit and I must mention the Whitburn players and management who played the game with smiles on their faces and in a sporting manner which was nice to see.


Matchday Stats
WAFC 1(Skinner 76) PMAFC 3(Sneap 70.97 Betts 92)
Top Bloke - Dan Sneap(Percy Main Amateurs)
Admission & programme:none 

431. John Willie Sams Centre
New Fordley 3v2 Wallsend Boys Club
Northern Alliance Division One
Saturday 20th December 2014

 New Fordley are based in Dudley near Cramlington at the John Willie Sams Centre. Formed as a junior club in 2005, the senior set up joined the Northern Alliance in 2011, winning promotion to Division One in 2012-13 after a third place finish.
The centre is primarily the North Tyneside Council Primary Care Trust, and also has a fitness suite with the football pitch at the back, found over the bridge on the other side of the Seaton Burn stream. The pitch is fully railed and is another ground I've been to which borders the East Coast rail line.

 New Fordley came from behind to pick up a valuable win against Wallsend Boys Club in this Division One fixture. The visitors struck first in the 13th minute when Dan Hindmarsh latched onto a neat through ball before a tidy finish 'round the 'keeper, but they failed to take some decent chances to extend their advantage.
The home side grabbed an equaliser through Matty Middleton's right foot shot on 36 minutes, but Wallsend went into the interval having regained the lead with a freak goal. A left wing cross from Jordan Robertson eluded everyone and sailed into the net, with the Fordley defence claiming the ball had gone through the side netting. The referee was having none of it, but courteously agreed to check the nets before confirming it was a goal. 

 New Fordley improved in the second half, once they replaced the ineffective thug of a striker which meant Danny Young was able to lead the forward line. He made it all square on the hour mark, firing in from a right wing cross, before another good cross, this time from the left wing, found him unmarked to head home the winner.
I got the impression that Wallsend BC thought they were in for an easy afternoon, but New Fordley are a better side than their league position suggests and these valuable three points takes them out of the bottom three.

Matchday Stats
NFFC 3(Middleton 36 Young 60,69) WBCFC 2(Hindmarsh 13 Robertson 44)
Top Bloke - Danny Young(New Fordley)
Admission and programme: none 

Pic of the week Cup - Round 7

Linlithgow Rose - Squad#155 James Little

HNK Rejeka - 100FgC A17 Peter Miles

Dorking - 100FgC FB Paul Paxton

United Services Portsmouth - 100FgC FB Paul Paxton

Harlech - 100FgC A11 Laurence Reade

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My Matchday - 428 Foresters Park

Tranent Juniors 4v2 Harthill Royal
McBookie.com East Region Juniors - South Division
Saturday 29th November 2014
Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Tranent  is a town in East Lothian, about 11 miles east of Edinburgh, found on the south side of the A1 with a population of around 11,000. The town name derives from the ancient celtic language of Brittonic, made up of Tre and Nant, meaning “town of the stream”. 
One of the oldest towns in Haddingtonshire was once a chief mining district, with the first pits opened back in the 12th century, but nowadays Tranent is more a commuter town serving East 
Lothian and the Scottish capital.
The Massacre of Tranent took place in 1797, when local people were killed by soldiers after protesting against conscription into the British Militia. One of the 12 victims Jackie Crookston is depicted on the memorial that commemorates those who lost their lives, found in the town’s Civic Square.

Plantpot History

Tranent Juniors F.C. formed in 1911 and are another Scottish Juniors club I’ve visited who are previous winners of the prestigious Scottish Junior Cup.(This could a new challenge to try and visit them all) The club reached the final for the first time in 1933, losing out to York Athletic after a replay, however two years later they went one better by hammering Petershill 6-1 in front of 22,000 at Ibrox Park. This scoreline remains the biggest winning margin in a final and was matched by Bonnyrigg Rose in 1966. Tranent are nicknamed The Belters and current play in the South Division of the McBookie.com Scottish Junior East Region 
 Ground no.428 Foresters Park 
(Total Scottish Grounds visited 53 Scottish Juniors 10)

Foresters Park is found just off the main street which runs through Tranent, through a back lane on Haddington Road. The ground has a standing enclosure on one side covering the middle third of the pitch, which has seven large terrace steps with supporting pillars at the front embedded into the perimeter fence. The team dugouts are opposite with the changing rooms which were opened in 2007 at the back next to the main car park, where there's also another admission gate in the corner. The rest of the 2,300 capacity ground is made up of grass banking but unfortunately there’s no clubhouse or refreshment facilities. At the other side of the changing rooms are some 5-a-side pitches and a full size 3G pitch where the Tranent U-21s were in action at the same time as the senior side.
The Match
Both Tranent Juniors and Harthill Royal went into this South Division fixture in a dreadful run of form, so I was expecting an open game with plenty of goals. We didn’t have long to wait for the opener when after six minutes a left wing cross was met with a lovely diving header from Cameron Reynolds. The Tranent centre-forward could have had a hat-trick after wasting two good chances but he was on hand to fire home for six yards and double his tally on the half hour.
Harthill didn’t create much but with their first meaningful attack they halved the deficit on 36 minutes when Alex Cummings struck home from the edge of the box, only for the hosts to restore the two goal cushion minutes later, when a 20 yard free kick from Darren Ramsay hit the defensive wall before he smashed home the rebound.
Tranent made it 4-1 in the 50th minute when some neat build up play was rounded off by the Ramsay for his second of the afternoon. The visiting goalkeeper pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the score down and his team mates made the score look a bit more respectable when Alex Wade pulled a goal back in the final minute. So a good game and it turned out to be a good choice as the other matches on our short list didn’t produce as many goals.

Matchday Stats & Spondoolicks
TJFC 4(Reynolds 6,29 Ramsay 39,50)HRFC(Cummings 36 Wade 90)
Admission £4
Programme and refreshments:none
Top Bloke - Darren Ramsay(Tranent)

My Matchday
What a splendid Matchday, well it was until I got back home and discovered I had lost my camera. I arrive in Edinburgh Waverley at 12.10 where I was quickly joined by 100FgC AF#33 Mark Wilkins who had travelled up from London Kings Cross. My ground total is currently in the four hundred and twenties but this total is bobbins in comparison to Mark as he’s now in the two thousands and eighties! 
We heading to the bus stop on Waterloo Place to catch the 104 bus service to Tranent which was cheaply priced at only £3.50 return. The bus journey took around half an hour so on arrival we headed straight to the ground, being the first to enter Foresters Park for the 1.45 kick off. Gradually the crowd grew with a larger presence from south of the border with a Geordie and a Londoner being joined by a car full of 'hoppers from Liverpool.
After watching an entertaining game we had plenty of time for a couple of pints in the town followed by further bevvys in Edinburgh before Mark caught the 1730 and I jumped on the 1830 back to Toon. So a cracking day overall in a friendly place, watching an entertaining game in good company.

At the top of this post I stated that Tranent was another club I've visited, who had won the Holy Grail of Scottish Junior football. This lead me to do a bit of research which shows that since the Scottish Junior Cup started in 1886-87 there's been 66 teams who have lifted the top prize. Out of those winners 14 clubs no longer exist and I've been to 8 of the remaining teams so that makes it 44 former cup winners to visit. This wouldn't be a problem if I'd retired from work and shacked up with Edinburgh based Squad#155 James Little for a couple of years, so I really need to narrow the odds down a bit. In my lifetime (which hits half a century next year) there’s been 28 Junior Cup winners, with only one club no longer around and five I've already ticked, which leaves a doable total of 22. This is a challenge I'm willing to except , I don't know how long it will take but I'm looking forward to it already and made it official by added the relevant information onto my T’Do List.

Bevvy Almanac
A couple of pints of Belhaven Best in two very good pubs in Tranent;
The New Plough Inn (High St)
Keepers Arms(Bridge St)
The Guildford (W Register St.)
Fallen Brewing Just The Ticket(4%)****+
Great Heck ‘Nelson Simcoe’ (4.5%)***+
The Standing Order (George St)
Old Worthy ‘Scottish Pale Ale’ (5%)***

(some cracking pictures of Foresters Park and the Tranent v Harthill Royal match which was on the camera which now belongs to some lucky bugger in Scotland)
Special thanks to Mark Wilkins for the blog pictures.

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)