Unibond Premier League
24th March 2008
Ossett is an old industrial town in West Yorkshire, sandwiched in between Dewsbury and Wakefield, despite being a small town it has two football clubs, Ossett Albion and my latest destination Ingfield, the home of Ossett Town.
The club were formed in 1936, the brainchild of Mr. John Carter and a group of local sports fans, originally playing in the Leeds League, before joining the Yorkshire League after the war. Town’s original ground was at Fern House, but in 1957 moved to the current site, all thanks to Blackburn(no not Rovers) Derek Blackburn was sold to Swansea Town and with the £1350 transfer fee they were able to purchase Ingfield. They played within the three divisions of the Yorkshire League and regularly hit four figure attendances during this era, but without much success on the field.
The club became founder members of the North Counties East League and won back to back promotions between 1988 and 1990, their highest finish in the NCEL Premier Division came in 1998/99, finishing runner-up to neighbours Ossett Albion, but Albion were denied promotion due to ground grading regulations, so Town took their place(I bet they loved that!) in the Unibond Division One.
After finishing runners-up in 2001/02 they were harshly denied promotion to the Unibond Premier as the club missed the deadline on ground improvements, but they did make it the following season due to the formation of the Conference North.
Ingfield has a capacity of 4,000 with a record crowd of 2,600 in a pre-season friendly against Man Yoo in 1988, it’s been upgraded during the last year, amenities like new toilets, changing rooms and a club shop, these as well as other facilities, like the clubhouse are found on your immediate entry into the ground.
There is one main stand ’The Prospect Road Stand’ situated behind the goal, it has 360 red flip seats which were transferred from Doncaster’s Belle Vue before the ground was demolished, they still have the ‘reserved’ stickers on the back, evidence that in their previous life, the seats belonged to the backsides of Rovers season-ticket holders. There’s a disabled viewing area next to the stand and to the other side there’s a terrace with some very wonky looking crash barriers. Both sides of the ground have partial cover, running roughly parallel with one half of the pitch, the shelter on the nearside incorporates the changing rooms, I noticed that the front panel of the roof was covered with dints off the ball getting blasted off it and the two portkabins stacked up behind used as hospitality, had one cabin precariously balancing on top of the other. Behind the far goal there’s a hard standing area and there’s plenty of floodlight pylons, seven all together which were installed in the late 1980’s.
Town must have fancied there chances of getting at least a point after a recent mini run of good results, even against a Gateshead side with only three away defeats over the last calendar year, but hopes of an upset became more unlikely after a dream start for the Tynesiders with a goal after only 12 seconds(thanks to timekeeper Alan Price for the accuracy) a great through ball from Brayson found Wayne Phillips who timed his run to perfection, leaving himself with the simple task of knocking the ball past the keeper. Several chances later it was 0-2, right back Baxter played a good one-two with Gate before rifling his shot into the top corner of the net, Ossett came more into the game as the half progressed, but overall the Heed defence had a comfortable afternoon, limiting the home attack to long range efforts, which were closer to the neighbouring buildings than the Gateshead goal. A good afternoon’s work was completed on 51 minutes, good work from Bowey allowed Phillips the simple task to grab his second, Paul Brayson later had chances to add to the three goal tally, but overall a convincing performance and well earned three points.
It promises to be an exciting end to season, as Gateshead are expected to retain there stranglehold on a place-off berth and hopefully hold on the 3rd position, meaning home field advantage for the play-off semi final, yesterday’s battle of the top 2 saw leaders Witton crash 3-0 at home to Fleetwood, so it’s left to those two clubs to battle out for the title and runners-up spot.
As for Ossett Town, they’ve improved again this season and will be looking towards a another top 10 finish and the possibility of their highest ever finish within the non-league pyramid, which for a town with two clubs and a small but loyal fan base, is quite an achievement.
Thanks to Captain Carter for the lift to Ossett, much appreciated and another enjoyable day for the Heed Army, the support was top class considering no bus was available, but our convoy of cars who made to journey to Yorkshire swelled the attendance and gave the team great backing. Heed Army! Howay the Lads!
Ground no.164 Ingfield - Matchday Web album(14 pictures)