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Welcome to Shaun Smith's Groundhopping blog ...
 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) ... the original internet ground logging website.
Check out my blog reports and pictures from over 400 different football grounds in the A-Z Matchday Index

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✔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)

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

Coffee £1
#HeedHopper
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)
Att.26hc


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)
WBCFC 0
Att.21hc

✔568. Humbug Park

Crossgates Primrose 1-3 Lochgelly Albert
East Region - South Division
Saturday 13th May 2017
Crossgates is a former mining village in Fife, two miles east of Dunfermline. It takes its name from the crossroads at the crossing point of the Dunfermline to Kirkcaldy road and the old Great North Road from Inverkeithing to Perth.


Guitar legend Stuart Adamson grew up in the village. The former Skids and Big Country man was born in Manchester, but his Scottish parents moved the family back home to Scotland and settled in Crossgates when he was just a wee toddler.


Crossgates Primrose Juniors FC were formed in 1926.
The Rose folded for the first time in 1960 before reforming in 1983.
The club resigned from the league in November 2015 due to a lack of committee members, but following the foundation of a new board returned at the start of this season. Scottish legendary midfielder Jim Baxter began his career at the club before signing for Raith Rovers in a £200 deal in 1957.  



Humbug Park
Inverkeithing Road,
Crossgates,
KY4 8AT
Scottish grounds visited 86
Scottish Juniors grounds visited 36
Record attendance 7,600 v Auchinleck Talbot (Scottish Junior Cup 6th round 1952–53)
Capacity 7,500
The ground takes its name from a disused pit at the former Cuttlehill Colliery where it’s now located, and hosted greyhound racing between 1937 and 1953. The pitch is railed off with a bus shelter style dugout on each side. The changing rooms and cafe cabin are on one side along from the paying entrance.

Crossgates Primrose(12th) v Lochgelly Albert(4th)
McBookie.com South Division Matchday 26/25
Kick off.2.30pm
Att.66hc
The Rose finished off their season with a local derby defeat to Lochgelly Albert. The visitors struck first with a lovely chest and volley from Lewis Elder, his effort from the right hand side of the box gave his side a 16th minute lead. The hosts made a poor start to the game, but drew level when Andy McDonald fired home on 39 minutes, before a curled free kick from Craig Paterson in the last minute of the half restored the one goal advantage.
The game was well balanced in the second period, but it was Lochgelly who wrapped it up, when a long throw from the ‘keeper set up a quick break which was finished by Steve Brown to claim the three points for The Albert.   
CPJFC 1(McDonald 39)
LAFC 3(Elder 16 Paterson 45 Brown 80)
Top Bloke - Lewis Elder(Lochgelly Albert)
Entertainment 6/10
Spondoolicks
Admission £5
Programme:none
Coffee £1
Tea £1
Pies (for James and Mark) £1 each

#HeedHopper
0842 East Coast Virgin train to Edinburgh, arriving at 1024
1900 return
It was good to see some Scottish Junior action again, this being my first since I finished 'On the Trail of the Scottish Holy Grail’ back in October. I met up with two of the co-stars of the book; Mark Wilkins who had caught the overnight bus from London to Edinburgh and James Little, who picked the both of us up at Waverley, to drive us over to Fife.
We arrived in Dunfermline at 12.20, calling for drinks at The Guildhall & Linen Exchange (new ‘Spoons tick) The Canmore and The Commercial Inn, before the short drive to Crossgates.
After rounding off a great day with a few more bevvies back in Edinburgh, I fell asleep on the train and for the first ever time missed my stop at Newcastle, waking up just as it crossed the King Eddy bridge. This means I had to get off at Durham and double back, so I got home an hour later than planned, although I can’t complain too much as it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

My book on Scottish Junior football is still(and always will be) available from the Amazon book store and can be found HERE. - (The ideal present for Fathers Day
)


✓566 Gayfield Park

Arbroath 3-2 Elgin City
SPFL - League 2
Saturday 29th April 2017

Arbroath is a former royal burgh and the largest town in Angus, on the North Sea coast of Scotland. (population almost 24,000)
As a town, it dates back to the High Middle Ages and the founding of Arbroath Abbey in 1178. The town growth came through the expansion of the flax and jute industries during the Industrial Revolution. The new harbour was built in 1839, so by the 20th century, Arbroath had become one of the country’s largest fishing ports.
The local delicacy and world famous “Arbroath smokies” was awarded Protected Geographical Indication in 2004, which limits their production to within 4 km of Arbroath. Smokies are made from haddock using traditional methods dating back to the late 19th century, where the fish are first salted overnight to preserve them, before being left tied in pairs to dry. The dried fish are then hung in a special barrel containing a hardwood fire and covered with a lid, then about an hour later are golden brown and ready to consume.


Arbroath Football Club were founded in 1878 and are nicknamed "The Red Lichties" in reference to the red light, which was used to guide fishing boats back from the North Sea into the harbour.
The club are famous for the world record 36-0 win over Aberdeen based Bon Accord, on the 12th September 1885. Jock Petrie scored 13 goals in that game, a record for the most goals by a single player in a British senior match.
Scottish Leagues;
Division 2 equivalent:Runners-up 1934–35, 1958–59, 1967–68, 1971–72
Division 3 equivalent: Runners-up 2000–01, 2011–12
Division 4 equivalent: Winners 2010–11 Runners-up 1997–98,
Scottish Qualifying Cup Winners 1903, Runners-up 1899, 1912
Gayfield Park
Arbroath
Angus
DD11 1QB
Scottish League Senior grounds visited 34/42
Capacity 4,135
Record attendance: 13,510 v Glasgow Rangers - Scottish Cup 3rd round, 23rd February 1952.
The club originally played at Woodville Park and Hospitalfield before moving to a former rubbish tip on the seafront. Gayfield Park was opened in 1880, with the first match against Rob Roy in the Scottish Cup. Its location to the west of the harbour next to the North Sea, which makes it the closest ground to the sea in Europe.
The ground is made up of three sides of terracing with covered enclosures at the Seaforth End (South End), the East Terrace and the Harbour End (North). The Gayfield Stand was opened in 2002 and has a single tier of 814 seats. The changing rooms and the 36nil bar are housed within the stand, with the dugouts at the front.
Arbroath (2nd) v Elgin City (5th)
Ladbrokes Scottish PF League 2 Matchday 35
3pm ko
Att.807


A Ryan McCord hat-trick shot Arbroath to the top of the table and the possibility of the Division 2 title. He gave his side a 38th minute lead with a direct free kick from the edge of the box, before Jamie Reid levelled just before the hour mark. The hosts regained the advantage five minutes later when McCord found himself free in the box(and suspiciously offside) to turn and fire home.
Their chances were heightened when two quick yellow cards saw Reid receive his marching orders, followed by a third for McCord tapping in at the far post after a great cross from David Gold. On 86 minutes substitute Jassem Sukar headed into his own net to set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts comfortably saw out the remaining time to claim a vital three points.  
Arbroath head to Stirling Albion next week and will be crowned champions if they match Forfar’s result, who play Annan at home in the final round of fixtures in League 2.


Matchday Stats
AFC 3 (McCord 38,63,80)
ECFC 2 (Reid 58 Sukar 86OG)
Entertainment 8/10
Top Bloke - Ryan McCord (Arbroath)
Spondoolicks
Admission £13
Programme £2
Free team sheet
Pin badge £2.50
Coffee £1
#HeedHopper
Newcastle - Edinburgh 0743 Virgin East Coast arr.0920
Edinburgh - Arbroath 1131 Scotrail arr.1256
Return on 1805 from Arbroath and the 2000 from Edinburgh back to Newcastle (Hooray! At long last...a later Saturday train service back home from Edinburgh)
Arbroath has been on my “t’do list” for years, but it’s always eluded me, as they always seemed to be playing away whenever I had a free Saturday. The new later train service means it's now much easier to achieve as a day trip, so I booked advance tickets for my first trip north of the border since I wrote the last chapter of my book back in October.
I had a few hours spare in Edinburgh which gave me plenty of time to visit the new JDW in the city, the very impressive Caley Picture House. I also visited the Arbroath branch before the match, then afterwards called for a pint on the harbour and scranned a smokie on my way back to the station.
An enjoyable day and even though it was a sunny April afternoon, it was still chilly enough for my face to be like beetroot and my hair to be sticking up like Oor Wullie’s from the strong wind coming off the North Sea.

Matchday Web Album (23 pictures from Gayfield)