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

site updated on post date

✔573 Silksworth Sports Complex (3G pitch 1)

Silksworth CW 2-2 Easington CW
Pre-Season friendly
Friday 14th July 2017
Another Wearside League using temporary accommodation this summer is Silksworth Colliery Welfare. The Community Association club formed in 1998 as The Thorndale FC under the guidance of club chairman and manager Steven Smith. The club progressed from local leagues to the Durham Alliance and re-joined the Wearside League in 2007. The club called it a day in 2011 but quickly re-emerged as Silksworth Rangers in the Wearside League, before changing their name to the old Colliery Welfare handle in 2013.

New Silksworth is a former mining village in the outskirts of Sunderland. Silksworth Colliery was sunk in 1869 and attracted migrant employment from home and abroad, which saw the village population rise. The colliery closed in 1971 with all remnants of the former mining
site gone and the land converted into Silksworth Sports Complex.
The sports centre is situated off Silksworth Lane, and amongst its facilities are an athletics track arena, boating lakes, entertainment bowl, adventure playground, skateboard park, grass and two 3G football pitches and of course, the north-east’s largest artificial ski slope.
Silksworth CW faced Easington Colliery Welfare, who were playing their first pre-season friendly. The match took place on 3G pitch 1, which meant a “new tick” for my Groundhopping friends Lee & Katie, who were at the complex last weekend to see Sunderland West End v Brandon United on the neighbouring 3G pitch 2.
The “home” team got off to a great start when the Silky's Adam Storey raced through on goal and found the corner of the net with a low right foot shot. They doubled the lead when Martin Metcalf latched onto a through ball to fire home on 56 minutes, which looked to have secured victory against their Northern League opponents.
With six minutes remaining James Connor fired home a left wing cross from close range, quickly followed by a bizarre own goal which saw the number eighteen’s pass back miss the ‘keeper and instead find the corner of the net.
A good workout for both teams, and although Silksworth couldn’t hold on for the win, they will be pleased with their overall play and optimistic about the forthcoming campaign.

Matchday Stats
SCWFC (Storey 2 Metcalf 56)

ECWFC 2(Connor 84 #18 87OG

✔572 Craghead Millennium Field

Annfield Plain 1-4 Whickham
Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday 12th July 2017

Wearside League club Annfield Plain continued their pre-season programme with the first of two “home” fixtures, four miles from Derwent Park in the former mining village of Craghead.

The village is located south-east of Stanley in County Durham, and dates back over 200 years. The Holmside Colliery in Craghead opened in 1869 and closed in 1969 with a loss of over 1600 jobs. The village once had a team in the Northern League. Craghead United were formed in 1904 and elected into the league from the Chester-le-Street District League in 1912.  The club won the Durham Amateur Cup four years in a row from 1908, but unfortunately their stay in the Northern League was brief, with just two full seasons before the club re-formed after the First World War.  Hedley Park later hosted league football again as Craghead United plied their trade in the Northern Combination, Northern Alliance, North Eastern and Durham Central Leagues.
The Craghead Millennium Field is found behind the Village Hall in the area know as The Middles. The pitch is fully enclosed and fenced on all sides, used by Craghead FC who play in the Apollo Youth League and Sunday league side Craghead Legion.

Carl Malpass put Annfield Plain one up just before half time and it was looking like that goal would prove decisive, before a late flurry from Whickham.  David Clasper headed in from a corner on 73 minutes and repeated the feat five minutes later, with Steven Aiston capitalising on a misplaced backpass in between. The Lang Jack wrapped up a decent workout with Kai Middleton added a fourth in the final minutes.

Matchday Stats
APFC 1(Malpass 42)
WFC 4(Clasper 73,78 Aiston 74 Middleton 87)

✔571 Ainslie Park

Ronnie Swan Trophy - Day 1
Spartans 1-0 Hearts XI (noon ko)
Edinburgh City 1-1 Hibernian XI (3pm ko)
Saturday 8th July 2017

Unless you’re one of my dozen loyal readers, you’ll be surprised to learn I’ve never seen
a match at Ainslie Park. The ground opened in 2009, and ever since I’ve kept it as a “Plan B” in the event of a postponement, because of its all weather surface.
For the next three seasons Edinburgh City will be ground sharing with Spartans while Meadowbank Stadium is redeveloped, so the ground becomes one of  “The Scottish 42” I thought it was about time I finally paid a visit, especially as both resident and tenant are both playing at home on the same day.
Ainslie Park forms part of a wider development of the Spartans Community Football Academy. The 3,000 capacity stadium has a 3G pitch and a covered main stand with 504 red flip seats. The ground entrance is in the corner where a new turnstile block has recently been erected. The accommodation block has changing rooms, committee facilities and a cafe bar upstairs with a balcony view, as well as a snack bar downstairs.
There is hard standing on three sides with grass banking behind the far side goal. The Leisure Centre is next door with a full size grass pitch and 3G five-a-side pitches within the complex.

I visited City Park in the penultimate game at the ground in May 2009, which you can read about here.  Since the short move to Ainslie Park, Spartans won the East of Scotland title twice in 2009-10 and 20010-11, before becoming founder members of the Lowland League. The club had the honour of being the first champions of the new league in 2013-14.

My only visit to Meadowbank was for a Scottish Cup tie in September 2008, which you can read about here. Edinburgh City were another of the 12 founding members of the Lowland League, winning the title in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Those honours meant they qualified for the Scottish League play-off against the Highland Football League winners. In 2015 they lost out in the semi-finals to Brora Rangers, before beating Cove Rangers then East Stirlingshire in the two legged final to gain promotion to the Scottish League.

During the time of my visit to Meadowbank the future of the stadium looked ominous.  
Edinburgh Council voted to sell the land occupied by Meadowbank in March 2008 and build a smaller sports facility on east of the site, however due to a decline in property prices the proposal was put on hold. The City of Edinburgh Council started a new consultation process about its future in 2013, revealing a new planned redevelopment design, which was made public in November 2016. The demolition and reconstruction work is due to get underway sometime this year.

The Ronnie Swan Tournament is an annual pre-season event played in honour of the Spartan’s legend, who sadly passed away in 2014. Ronnie joined the club in 1951 and played throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. Over six decades he held every position possible at the club, becoming club president in 1987, a role “Mr Spartans” held with distinction for more than 30 years.
The competition first took place in 2009 to coincide with the opening of the new ground and the previous winners are Dunfermline, Hearts, Manchester United and Spartans.
Day one of this years event saw a win for Spartans over Hearts, courtesy of a penalty from Blair Atkinson just before half time, after the referee spotting a handball from the Hearts trialist.
The second game saw a good performance from Edinburgh City, taking the lead on 25 minutes with a cracking low hard drive from Craig Beattie. The Citizens had two efforts smack the crossbar and should of had the match wrapped up, until a late surge from Hibs saw Ben Stirling steer in a left wing cross with the last kick of the game.
The match then went to a penalty shoot out to decide who took the bonus point(which meant I missed the bus) and it was the Hibees who won 4-3 to pinch another point to go with the one they stole late on.

Matchday Stats
SFC 1(Atkinson 43pen) HoMFC 0
ECFC 1(Beattie 25) HFC 1 (Stirling 90+1) 3-4 pens

Admission £12
Programme £2
Coffee £1.25
Macaroni pie £2
Irn Bru 80p

Day 2 results
Spartans 3-1 Hibs XI
Edinburgh City 1-5 Hearts XI
Spartans win the trophy

Trains from Toon to Edinburgh - 0738 there and the 1900 back.

I met up with James Little and Jamie McQueen and together we watched the first of today’s games, before both of them went their separate ways. James headed off across town to Easthouses Lily, while Jamie watched Whitehill’s friendly at Heriot-Watt University. I avoided the temptation to do a double and enjoyed the second game sunbathing on the grass bank behind the goal.

Afterwards I caught the bus back into town and met James at the Bow Bar for a couple of pints, before heading home. An enjoyable start to the new campaign and hopefully the first of many good trips this season.

✔570 Wharf Lane Recreation Ground

Radcliffe Olympic 3-3 South Normanton Athletic
East Midlands Counties Premier League
Wednesday 24th May 2017
Radcliffe-on-Trent is a large village and civil parish in the Rushcliffe borough of Nottinghamshire. (population over 8,000)
The village name derives from its location on the River Trent, where there are dark red cliffs on the south river bank, with "Rad" being the Old English word for red.

Radcliffe Olympic formed in 1876 (the third oldest club in Notts)
Notts Alliance:
Champions 1900–01
Division Two champions 1931–32
South Notts League Champions 1931–32
Notts Realm League Division One champions 1946–47
Midlands Amateur League winners in 1965-66(Div 6) 1966-67(Div 4) 1967-68(Div 3)
Central Alliance Premier Division Champions 1969-70
East Midlands Regional League Division 1 Champions 1970-71
Central Alliance Premier Division Champions 1980-81
Central Midlands League:
Division One champions 1990–91
Senior Division champions 2002–03
Premier Division champions 2003–04
Supreme Division champions 2008–09
Joined East Midlands Counties League in 2009-10

Highest placed finish is 5th in their debut season.
Wharf Lane Recreation Ground

The ground has a covered stand running up one half of the pitch towards the dugouts. The stand has a single bench running full length. The changing rooms and tea bar are behind the goal, which has a few chairs at the front under the overhanging roof. The pitch is fully railed off with three floodlight pylons on each side. The Recreation Ground is down a slope off Wharf Lane, where you could easily watch the match from the park on top of the hill, but obviously that wouldn’t count! (see bottom pic)
Radcliffe Olympic(10th) v South Normanton Athletic(3rd)
East Midlands Counties Premier League Matchday 42
Kick off.7.45pm
Att.TBC (57hc)

The East Midlands Counties League season was wrapped up at the beginning of the month, apart from this outstanding fixture which was ordered to be replayed. The original game was abandoned due to an horrific injury with the home team leading 2-1 with just ten minutes left.  I was expecting a typical end of season game, but it turned out to be a feisty affair with obvious bad feelings over the rearranged match.
The hosts raced into a two goal lead courtesy of an own goal and Sam Adams firing home from the penalty spot on 35 minutes. The Shiners finally got into gear before the break with a Tommy Leighton penalty and Warren Hatfield heading in a free kick at the far post. At half time the three of us gave our predictions on the final score and we were all agreed that it would finish 3-3, which proved to be correct.
Rad regained the lead when Liam Smallwood scrambled home just before the hour mark, but their chances of wrapping up the three points wasn’t helped by the dismissal of their centre-forward for two yellows, quickly followed by their irate manage being sent to the stand for his reaction to the decision.

The equaliser arrived in the 82nd minute when the ball fell nicely to Leighton on the edge of the box, who produced a neat volley to secure a point, which sees his side finish league runners-up to champions West Bridgford.
Matchday Stats
ROFC 3(9OG 9 Adams 35pen Smallwood 59)
SNAFC 3(Leighton 37, 83 Hatfield 43)
Entertainment 7/10
Top bloke - Tommy Leighton (South Normanton Ath)

Admission £5
Programme £1(missed out)
Pin badge £3.50

Coffee £1
This was a nice bonus match/new ground for Katie, Lee and I, as we headed off to Notts at around 2pm with Katie taking the wheel in “Blossom”. We stopping off in Bingham for a drink at the Waggon & Horses, with bait partaking at The Butter Cross, before the short drive to Radcliffe-on-Trent.
The ground is found in the heart of the village with its oldest pub - The Manvers Arms on the corner of Wharf Lane, where we had time to call inside for a pre-match bevvy.

The return journey saw me arrive back at 100FgC HQ at 12.45am, the late homecoming worthwhile after adding an unexpected extra ground to this season’s list.

Around the Alliance - part nineteen

The last Around the Alliance feature for this season saw me complete the grounds needed to tick off the top two divisions. For both matches I travelled by car with Katie & Lee, with Katie taking the wheel to Cumbria and I drove us up the Northumberland coast last night

567. Sheepmount Stadium
Northbank Carlisle 2-4 Birtley Town
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
When Northbank Football Club were formed in 1970, they were heavily influenced by Arsenal FC. The club took their name from the main standing terrace at Highbury, they adopted the same traditional red and white sleeved shirts, and use a canon logo as the club crest. After a series of friendly matches the club began playing competitive Sunday football in the Border City & District League, before joining the Carlisle & District League in 1975, winning promotion up to the First Division in their second season.
They joined the Northern Alliance in 1995-96 and progressed from the Second Division to the Premier League after just three seasons. In 2003 they changed their name to Northbank Carlisle, then a couple of relegations between 2008 and 2010 saw them drop down to the bottom division, however they quickly bounced back to return to the top league in 2013

I visited The Sheepmount back in 2012 ticking off Carlisle City for Around The Alliance - part seven The place is currently in a bit of a state after Storm Desmond caused £3m worth of damage to the running track and changing facilities, when the rivers Caldew and Eden burst their banks in December 2015. There is currently cabins in use for changing rooms and toilets, with Northbank still using the same pitch at the bottom end of the complex. The pitch is fully railed off with dugouts on one side.

Birtley Town secured a well deserved away victory in Cumbria courtesy of a Connor Halpin hat-trick. After missing a host of first half chances they finally took the lead just before the break with a tidy finish from Tony Smith. Halpin tapped in a right wing cross on the hour mark, before nipping in to make it 3-0 on 68 minutes, then it seemed a case of just how many Birtley would score. .
Northbank had a full substitutes bench to choose from and the fresh legs got them back in it, with Jordie Cowley finishing off a good move, followed by a good positive run and shot from sub Kieron Blair, which made it 2-3 with fifteen minutes left.
Northbank’s relegation has already been confirmed, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and add to their measly points tally as a Harpin wrapped things up in injury time, running through the home defence to make it 4-2.  

NCFC 2(Cowley 71 Blair 76)
BTFC 4(Smith 41 Halpin59,68,90+3)

569. Hotspur Park
Alnmouth United 1 -0 Wallsend Boys Club
Northern Alliance First Division
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Alnmouth is a village on the north-east coast, halfway between Newcastle and Berwick Upon Tweed, and 4 miles east of Alnwick. The village is built on a peninsula on a spit of land bordered the north sea and the estuary of the River Aln.
It was established as a village and granted a charter  in 1152, developing as a port supporting a small fishing industry and a leading north-east centre for the export of grain, timber and slate. Once the railway arrived Alnmouth transformed into a popular coastal resort with a holiday camp, bathing houses and one of the earliest link golf courses in England

Alnmouth United joined the Northern Alliance after winning the North Northumberland League in 2014-15. They finishing 5th in their debut season, which was good enough for promotion to Division One following a rejigging of the three divisions.
Hotspur Park is found in Hipsburn, a mile from the village on the west side of the River Aln. The ground has a changing room cabin in between the car park and the pitch, which is roped off with a pair of wooden dugouts at one side. The Alnmouth & Lesbury Cricket Club pitch resides next door.

Alnmouth United faced Wallsend Boys Club for their final game of the season, already confirmed as finishing in the bottom two. The contest was looking nailed on for a nil-nil, but I had a feeling the home team were going to pinch it, as they shaded it throughout and finished the match strongly.
For what could possibly be my last match of 2016-17, I nearly saw my goal of the season. A right wing cross was met with a fabulous Andy Carroll-style scissor kick by the big ginger lad, with the tattooed leg, who was playing his final game for the club (sorry I didn’t get his name but that’s a pretty accurate description)which just went the wrong side of the crossbar.
With time running out another bout of late pressure saw the ball fall kindly to Glenn Robson, and “The Silver Fox” made no mistake to poke the ball home from close range, to give Alnmouth a second win in the space of a few days and a good end to a disappointing season.

AFC 1 (Robson 88)