Ryton 2v2 South Shields
Arngrove Northern League 2nd Division
18th April 2007
Ryton lies on the South bank of the Tyne, in the most Westerly point of the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead,since 1988 Ryton have played there home games at Kingsley Park in the neighbouring village of Crawcrook,a place I’m familiar with but haven’t frequented for a number of years( I used to go out with a lass from there)
This large villages claim to fame, although I doubt anyone would know this(except sad anoraks like myself) is the place where Curley Watts and his policewoman wife Emma moved to when they left Coronation Street and headed North for a new start on Tyneside and a more peaceful life away from their noisy neighbours the Battersby’s.
This was Ryton’s last fixture of the season and have now completed two seasons as members of the Northern League,originally founded through the local Social Club in 1970,they progressed originally through the Northern Combination and on to the Northern Alliance,where they finishing runners up in 2004/05.
Kingsley Park was officially opened in 1998 by HRH Prince Andrew, after the club were giving a Lottery Grant which enabled them to move to the current site and built a club house, the club has just recently been granted £750,000 mainly through the Football Foundation to build a new football academy.Work is expected to start this summer,Ryton have 23 teams under the club umberella,from the first team down to the under-7s,the new development includes an extension to the club house,new changing rooms, gymnasium and 6 new junior pitches on land adjacent to Kingsley Park,also work will commence on levelling the pitch,which will properly make it the best pitch in the ANL because it’ll be the only ground without some sort of slope.
When entering the ground the admission money is taking at a small hut,painted in the clubs Internationalesque colours of dark blue and black stripes,the near standing area is built up above pitch level and covering is provided by way of nine bus shelters,lined up like a bus concourse,I was expecting to see a young courting couple heavy petting in the corner,but there was a queue formed,not for the 65 bus to the Metrocentre but for the refreshment bar which is next to them,this side of the ground also has a patio area with tables and chairs outside the clubhouse which looks out on to the pitch.
The main seating area is behind the goal,this stand is called the RMC Readymix Stand, the younger members of the Ryton dynasty were in attendance watching the senior team in action,like a choir (but not as angelic) they gave a great vocal support to the team throughout with a great repertoire of songs,this stand has five rows of benches which seem vaguely like were once painted blue and black,it looks a bit tired and is desperate for a facelift,lets hope there’s a bit cash left over to at least give it a lick of paint,there’s also a row of blue flip seats between the stand and the corner flag.
The ground is completed by a small open standing area provided by a pathway behind the goal and the far side has two covered standing areas provided by portacabin-type-shells.
South Shields went into the game still hoping to clinch the third promotion spot behind Spennymoor and Seaham Red Star,things looked on the up when they took an early lead through Scroggins and held the one goal advantage up until half time mainly thanks to some fine saves from Mariners keeper David Peel.I expected Shields to maybe stamp some authority on the game and go on to get the three points but Ryton had other ideas and got two rather fortunate goals from top score Andrew Bulford to take the lead,the first was a 20 yard ‘daisy cutter’ which somehow squirmed under the keepers body after taking a deflection of a blade of grass and the second came via a long boot from the keeper which found the Ryton number 10 standing alone in the Shields half looking a street offside,he took the ball down ran through a calmly slotted home,much to the annoyance of the Shields dugout and a screaming back four.The home side looked as if they were going to hold on for the win but Shields went route one in search of an equaliser and were rewarded in the last minute thanks to a goal from substitute Patton,a share of the spoils,but the one point wasn’t enough as this meant it’s Washington who take the last remaining slot for promotion.
Kingsley Park is one of a kind due to the row of bus shelters gallantly used to shelter the supporters,there was a fair crowd at the game but one football fan was missing,where was Curly Watts? He must still be a ‘Citee fan’