Friday, 18 January 2019

2019 Stadium #1 - Mulberry Park

Date: 5th January 2019
Stadium: Mulberry Park
Location: Mulbarton, Norfolk

My first stadium of 2019 was on Saturday 5th January at Mulberry Park in Mulbarton, Norfolk. The match was Mulbarton Wanderers vs. King's Lynn Town Reserves in Eastern Counties League Division One North.

Mulberry Park is on the eastern side of Mulbarton Common in the north-east of the village. Beyond the football pitch to the east is a large grass area for sporting uses with open fields beyond this. Other than this the site has a row of trees to the north and housing to the south. Mulberry Park is 6.5 miles south-west of Norwich railway station and there are regular bus services between the city centre and the village.


The southern side of the venue has the Village Hall/Sports & Social Club outside the confines of the arena. This centre includes a sporting centre inside as well as a caged mini-pitch at the back. The club dressing rooms are located in this building as are the site's toilets. Other facilities by the car park include the local scout hut and Blakey's Bus Cafe. With the club only promoted to senior level in 2018 the arena itself is currently sparse on the facilities front. There is no seating provision with the sole stand in the ground being a two-level covered metal terrace straddling the half-way line. The rest of the southern side is hard standing with the only other structures the snack outlet towards the western end and the entrance hut in the south-west corner.


There are no other stands around the ground. The northern side has two dugouts and behind the metal barrier there is a large amount of grass that is used for player training. There is no hard standing on this side and the same is true for the western end where it is grass only. The eastern end does have a strip of hard standing for its length with grass behind this. The northern, western and eastern sides of the ground may not have any spectator structures at present but there is ample room to build as the club will be required to do in order to progress up the ladder.


Mulbarton are enjoying a good first season in the Eastern Counties League sitting in 2nd place in the division going into the game against strugglers King's Lynn Town Reserves. Within the first 30 seconds the visitors almost took a surprise lead. A throw into the Mulbarton area found Lewis Gibson in plenty of space but his first-time shot zipped just over the bar. This proved to be a one-off as the hosts asserted themselves in the coming minutes. In the 3rd minute Ben Thompson's ball over the top put Tom Amis in a good position. Amis managed to get a shot off under pressure from a defender but his effort came back off the crossbar. Mulbarton chalked up the opening goal from the penalty spot after a quarter of an hour. Tom Amis stroked the ball low to Charlie Congreve's left sending the King's Lynn keeper the wrong way. The game had a fairly even spell after this up until just after the half-hour mark when Mulbarton had three great chances in the space of three minutes. In the 35th minute a great ball found Hayden Gibbons in space on the edge of the area. Gibbons' shot came back off the post and the Toby Oliver's rebound was cleared off the line. A minute later Ben Thompson brushed off a defender to put himself clean through but shot straight at Congreve. A minute after this there was a near carbon-copy when Toby Oliver went in on goal but under pressure from a defender poked the ball weakly at the visiting keeper. If King's Lynn were hoping they had escaped danger this was dashed in the 40th minute when the second goal finally came. Tom Amis and Ben Thompson linked up again with Thompson being played into the box. He slipped as he shot but the ball looped over Congreve into the roof of the net. Having scored five minutes before half-time Mulbarton then scored five minutes after half-time to go 3-0 up. This time it was Ben Thompson who turned provider for Tom Amis as the latter headed home the former's cross. The match was put beyond any lingering doubt in the 72nd minute when Mulbarton scored again. Jack Simpson had only been on the pitch for a minute when he slotted low into the bottom corner after a well placed ball over the top split the away defence. The hosts added a 5th in the 78th minute - yet again Thompson and Amis linked up well as a one-two between them was finished off by Thompson smashing the ball past the keeper. King's Lynn did manage to net a consolation with five minutes to go as substitute Charlie Rudland rode a challenge in the box before knocking the ball past Tom Wright in the home goal. On the day the away side were well beaten as Mulbarton kept their promotion chances alive.



Result: Mulbarton Wanderers 5-1 King's Lynn Town Reserves
Division: Eastern Counties League Division One North
Attendance: 85

Friday, 28 December 2018

2018 Stadium #33 - Grange Lane

Date: 1st December 2018
Stadium: Grange Lane
Location: North Ferriby, East Riding of Yorkshire

My thirty-third stadium of 2018 was on Saturday 1st December at Grange Lane in North Ferriby, East Riding of Yorkshire. The match was North Ferriby United vs. Lancaster City in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Grange Lane is on the eastern end of the village of North Ferriby. This village sits on the banks of the River Humber a few miles west of the Humber Bridge. The southern side of the ground is adjacent to the Hull to Selby railway line while the western side has allotments running right up to the perimeter of the stadium site. The site has fields to the east but there was scope for a small bit of land behind the goal to be assigned to an artificial mini-pitch. The northern side has a small car park for the club's use as well as a children's playground and skatepark. Beyond this is an area of green space with three mini football pitches and a cricket area. The nearest railway station is Ferriby which is just a third of a mile away. However, with no Saturday service this is not much help for football travel - the nearest useful station is Brough which is four miles to the west.


The entrance turnstile is in the north-west corner and upon entering the ground you emerge into a uncovered area. All areas of the ground are hard standing so as much space is utilised for spectators as possible. Working towards the eastern end there are then demountables for a club shop, toilets and a food outlet. The two dugouts are separated by the entrance to the building containing the dressing rooms. This building's roof extends out towards the pitch and has a TV gantry sat atop it. Beyond this this side reverts to uncovered standing and behind this is one building with the club house, bar and boardroom and another one with offices.


The main stand runs the entire length of the pitch on the southern flank of Grange Lane. This is predominantly taken up by 501 seats across four rows but this is bookended by seven rows of concrete terracing at either end of the stand. There are around 20 thin supporting beams which hold up the roof so all views from this stand are slightly restricted. The eastern end of the ground is uncovered with a two-level concrete standing area. There are a couple of amenities in the south-east corner in the form of a snack bar and a toilet block. The western end is more sparse with just flat uncovered standing. Both ends have netting up behind the goal due to the adjacent fields and allotments respectively.


North Ferriby's rapid rise through the football pyramid has been followed by an even more rapid fall. After back-to-back relegations the club find themselves in the 7th tier for the 2018/19 and rooted to the bottom of the table once again are on course for a third relegation on the spin. In the 8th minute the form book appeared to be going to plan when Lancaster took the lead. A free-kick into the area was cleared but North Ferriby didn't deal with the second phase and when the ball was sent back in Steven Williams directed a looping header over the diving Lewis Exall. However any feelings that Lancaster would race ahead were dispelled in the 11th minute when the hosts equalised as Tom Waudby flashed the ball across goal for Jake Martindale to knock in from a couple of yards out. Five minutes later the home side should have gone in front when a poor pass across the Lancaster defensive line was intercepted by Josh Vickers but in on goal he was panicked by the recovering defender and aimed a weak shot straight at Jack Sims. Lancaster came right back after this and retook the lead in the 19th minute. David Norris ran onto a through ball on the edge of the area and his deflected shot found the bottom corner of the net. North Ferriby didn't lie down and went close through Jack Smith in the 34th minute when his fizzed shot from 20 yards took a deflection and clipped the outside of the post. The best chance to equalise however fell to Jordan Harrison a minute before the break. After the ball was slid through to him he rounded the keeper but with a defender nearby he opted not to shoot instead attempting to square the ball. Unfortunately it was a misplaced ball and the chance was lost. An entertaining first half gave way to a more mundane second 45 minutes. North Ferriby edged the play but Jack Sims in the Lancaster had little to do for much of the second period. The main point of contention came in the 67th minute when Lancaster's Paul Dugdale shoved North Ferriby's Jack Smith into the hoardings at the side of the pitch while jostling for a corner. While Smith went off injured Dugdale was fortunate to only escape with a yellow card. There were a couple of scrambles in the visitor's box from North Ferriby corners in injury time. The second of these some six minutes beyond the end of the ninety boiled over with most of the players on the pitch becoming involved in a pushing match. For this Callum Harrison received his second booking and was sent from the pitch for the remaining seconds. After the final whistle there was a further altercation between the management staff of the two sides as a bad tempered second half was decided in favour of a 2-1 victory for Lancaster.



Result: North Ferriby United 1-2 Lancaster City
Division: Northern Premier League Premier Division
Attendance: 138

Friday, 21 December 2018

2018 Stadium #32 - The Creek

Date: 20th November 2018
Stadium: The Creek
Location: Sea Mills, Bristol

My thirty-second stadium of 2018 was on Tuesday 20th November at The Creek in Sea Mills, Bristol. The match was Bristol Manor Farm vs. Bideford in Southern League Division One South.

The Creek, as its name would suggest, lies close to the banks of the River Avon which runs along its western side. There is a narrow section of land between the stadium and the river where the Severn Beach Line runs which provides commuter services into Bristol from north-west of the city. To the south of the ground is an inlet of the river and on the other side of this is the nearest railway station at Sea Mills which is just a few hundred yards from the ground. The eastern side is bordered by the A4 Portway road into the centre of Bristol so the northern end of the only one where the stadium is not completely hemmed in. Beyond the northern end is the Portway Rugby Development Centre which also provides welcome car parking for the site which is otherwise limited for space. The venue was originally used as a sports club by the port authority but has been home to the club since 1965.


The eastern side of the ground slopes downhill from north to south and has three separate stands. The Geoff Sellek Stand was originally a three level metal terrace but the front two rows have since had 52 seats bolted onto them leaving just the back row for standing. There is then an 100 seat stand which runs over the halfway line and finally the Craig Franklin Stand which is just a covered hard standing section. The remainder of this side is uncovered hard standing. Behind the Geoff Sellek Stand are the dressing rooms and a club building with a bar and boardroom.


The rest of the ground is uncovered concrete. As alluded to the venue has little space around it so each side is fairly narrow leaving the eastern side as the ones for most fans to congregate on. The western side does have a covered section of hard standing in the middle and the two dugouts are either side of this. There is netting the entire length of the pitch due to the adjacent railway line. This netting is replicated behind the goals as well to prevent balls ending up in the river or the rugby club car park.


Bristol Manor Farm were towards the wrong end of the table going into proceedings and in the opening minutes went close to going behind. In the 5th minute keeper Ben John dropped a cross resulting in scramble with the ball not quite making it over the line. A minute later though John pulled off a great double save from close range efforts from Ryan Turner and Ben Wood. After this came an astonishing six minute spell where the hosts netted three times. The first came in the 8th minute as Jamie Bird's dipping 25 yard shot found the bottom corner of the net. Almost straight from the kick-off Bristol got the ball back and forced a corner. From this the ball was cleared as far as Ashley Kington who drilled a shot into the area, saw the ball bounce back to him, and then shot into the same area of the net as Bird had two minutes prior. The third goal arrived in the 14th minute when Kai Fisher headed in a corner from the left. Bideford had to arrest the slide and rejigged their tactics after this meaning the rest of the half was a more even contest. Even so it was the hosts who went closest before the break - in the 41st minute Lewis Bamford was in on goal but shot straight at the keeper as a defender closed in on him from behind. The game seemed dead and buried in the 52nd minute as Manor Farm went 4-0 up - a nice one-two between Jordan Metters and Jamie Bird was finished off by Metters stroking home from inside the area. Rather than heads droppping this actually signalled the start of Bideford's fightback. In the 59th minute Sean Dowling went on a mazy run before cannoning a shot back off the crossbar from just outside the box. As players in the area went for the rebound Ryan Turnet was felled and the referee pointed to the spot. Dowling dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner just out of reach of the keeper who dived the right way. Two minutes later Dowling was on the scoresheet again. He was assisted by Ben Woods who snuck past the home defence into the penalty area and squared for Dowling to knock in from six yards. The visitors were in the ascendancy and over the following minutes they had another couple of decent efforts. In the 81st minute Manor Farm were given a chance to kill the game off when away defender Craig Allan was dispossessed on the edge of his own penalty area and reacted with a shirt pull. Ashley Kington was looking for his second of the game but blazed a terrible penalty way over the goal. In the final minute of the ninety the score went to 4-3 when a Bideford free-kick was lofted into the area and nodded on for Jordan Ricketts to poke home. This nervy finish saw tensions boil over in injury time. Manor Farm's Jack Durrant appeared to intentionally stand on a Bideford player which sparked a lot of pushing and shoving. While Durrant escaped punishment the same couldn't be said for Bideford's Craig Allan who was sent off for raising his hands. This was the final action of an exciting game as Manor Farm held on for a 4-3 victory.



Result: Bristol Manor Farm 4-3 Bideford
Division: Southern League Division One South
Attendance: 113

Monday, 17 December 2018

2018 Stadium #31 - Stoneham Park

Date: 14th November 2018
Stadium: Stoneham Park
Location: Eastleigh, Hampshire

My thirty-first stadium of 2018 was on Wednesday 14th November at Stoneham Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The match was AFC Stoneham vs. Whitchurch United in Wessex League Division One.

Stoneham Park is situated in the Jubilee Recreation Ground which itself forms part of a large area of green space around the junction between the M3 and M27 motorways. The ground is in the southern part of town not far from Eastleigh's primary football club Eastleigh FC. The nearest railway station is Southampton Airport Parkway which is 1.5 miles east whilst Eastleigh railway station is 2 miles north-east of the ground. Stoneham only moved to the venue in 2002 but it will be a short stay as they will be moving to a new home at Monks Brook in late 2019.


The entrance to the ground is at the northern end and by the turnstile is the dressing room building for players and officials. A walkway then heads in the direction of the pitch with the walkway running adjacent to a mini pitch also used for car parking. Behind the northern goal there are concrete slabs forming a hard standing area. The main side of the ground facilities wise is the eastern one. Working from north to south there is a physio building followed by a tea hut with the outlet facing towards the pitch. Beyond this is a covered wooden stand with four rows of benches. There is hard standing available for the entire length of the eastern side.


By comparison the western side has no hard standing whatsoever with just grass for the whole side. With trees in place behind this section there is limited space for anything to be constructed though the two dugouts are either side of the half-way line. The southern end is similar in that there is no hard standing with only grass for spectators to perch on. There is however much more space behind due to additional mini-pitches. There is a snack outlet in the south-east corner known as The Purples BBQ Shack but this was closed on my visit.


The visitors had the best chance of the opening ten minutes - Liam Stone was played clean through but his shot came back off the foot of the post. The home side had a great chance of their own in the 22nd minute when a quick free-kick found Josh Clark on the right side of the are and his squared ball was just waiting for Alex Welch to make contact to poke the ball home. Unfortunately for Stoneham he just couldn't get on the end of it and the chance was lost. The next good opportunity fell to the away team in the 28th minute - a long ball up field saw Stoneham keeper Luke Eaton in a foot race with Corey Cherrett to get to the ball first. In the end it was Cherrett who managed this and looped the ball towards goal. Unluckily it bounced bar off the crossbar and into the thankful hands of Eaton. Things were not going so well for the Stoneham goalie's opposite number Josh Cotton who found himself in trouble on the half-hour mark. Josh Clark was sent in one-on-one with him and Cotton tripped the forward outside the box. The referee consulted with his assistant before issuing a straight red card. With no sub goalie it was left-back Craig Rutledge who donned the gloves. Rutledge saved the resulting free-kick but did have to pick the ball out of the net in the 43rd minute as Marcel Laptas was unleashed down the left before running in on goal and scoring from close range. There was a near-carbon copy just 60 seconds later with this time Sergio Caballero making his way down the left unchallenged. On this occasion Caballero was not as clinical and shot wide. Whitchurch put up a good fight in a quiet second half. The subdued period could have had something to do with the extremely foggy conditions which meant you could not see from one side of the pitch to the other. It would not have been a surprise to see an abandonment but the officials persevered and there was late drama for the spectators to enjoy. In the 82nd minute an innocuous cross into the Stoneham area found a home defender but his attempt to nod back to his keeper was misjudged and he gave it directly to Nick Yeomans who slotted home from inside the six yard box. Sadly for Whitchurch parity lasted all of one minute. From the kick-off the ball was sent over to Joe Sutherden on the right of the field and his lofted ball into the area was completely missed by replacement keeper Rutledge allowing Matt Bainbridge to head into the empty net to secure a 2-1 victory for Stoneham.



Result: Stoneham 2-1 Whitchurch United
Division: Wessex League Division One
Attendance: 68

Friday, 14 December 2018

2018 Stadium #30 - Crown Ground

Date: 10th November 2018
Stadium: Crown Ground
Location: Accrington, Lancashire

My thirtieth stadium of 2018 was on Saturday 10th November at the Crown Ground in Accrington, Lancashire. The match was Accrington Stanley vs. Colchester United in the F.A. Cup 1st Round.

The Crown Ground is situated in the north of Accrington around a mile from the town centre. The site is mostly nestled amongst housing though there are two full-size pitches to the east of the stadium. The Crown Ground is nearest to Accrington railway station one mile south though there are two other lesser used stations within walking distance with Huncoat station one mile east and Church & Oswaldtwistle station a mile and a half south-west. The venue was opened in 1968, the same year the club reformed after the collapse of the original club which existed between 1891 and 1966.


The west side of the ground has what looks like a single stand but is in fact two adjoined stands - the Thwaites Stand and Main Stand (also known as the Jack Barret Memorial Stand) is all-seater and almost runs the length of the field. The two stands are split around the halfway line by a separate area containing a handful of seats for home and away management and substitutes. Above this middle section there is a TV gantry atop the roof. At the back of the stand on the northern side of the halfway line there is a small corporate area which can be accessed externally via a hospitality bar. Non-corporate fans are catered for in the Redz Bar Fanzone; a tented drinking area for both sets of supporters. This side of the ground also includes the ticket booth and a very small club shop. The south-west corner has a separate building for the player and officials dressing rooms.


The newest stand can be found running down the eastern side of the Crown Ground. The Whinney Stand was opened in October 2018 and is an all-seater structure with 1,100 seats spread across six rows. This stand can be partially or fully assigned to away fans wishing to sit while watching the game. The traditional away section is the Coppice End. This is an uncovered terrace consisting of 16 levels of concrete with an additional 7 levels of temporary metal terracing which have bolted onto the back of the original stand. Around 1,800 supporters can view the game from one of the few remaining uncovered stands in the Football League. Behind the stand is a food outlet while the south-east corner houses a police control box and a big screen TV. The remaining stand behind the northern goal is the Clayton End. This concrete terrace is for the noisier home fans and was uncovered up until 2007 when a roof was added to it.


The match was an F.A. Cup 1st Round tie between Football League One side Accrington Stanley and Football League Two side Colchester United. The first clear chance of the game fell to the visitors after 15 minutes. The ball broke kindly for Colchester in the middle of the park and with Accrington pushed up Frank Nouble had a clear run at goal. After going for 30 yards Nouble reached the edge of the area and shot straight at Connor Ripley who deflected the ball just over the bar. The early going saw the U's on top but they failed to make the most of their opportunities. One thing that did not help the visitors was being forced into making two substitutions in the opening half-hour with defender Tom Eastman and goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin going off injured. Unfortunately for substitute goalie Dillon Barnes he had to pick the ball out of his net just four minutes after coming on. A poor pass out of defence by Luke Prosser found Accrington's Dan Barlaser. He was allowed far too much time to advance into the area before he fooled Prosser and Tom Lapslie by sending them the wrong way and then cracked a shot at goal which deflected off Frankie Kent before looping into the bottom corner of the net. This goal perked up the hosts and they enjoyed a good spell in the game either side of the break. In the final minute of the half they almost went 2-0 up as a 25-yard effort from Sean McConville went just the wrong side of the post. In the 52nd minute a great chance went begging for Accrington when Billy Kee played Jordan Clark in on goal and from the right side of the area with just Barnes to beat he shot into the palms of the Colchester keeper. The remainder of the half was fairly even with chances at a premium. It wasn't until the final few minutes that the hosts began to sit back allowing Colchester time on the ball. In truth Connor Ripley was rarely threatened and the home side saw out the game to move onto Round 2 at the expense of the U's who exited the competition at the 1st Round stage for the third year running.



Result: Accrington Stanley 1-0 Colchester United
Competition: F.A. Cup
Attendance: 1,267

Friday, 7 December 2018

2018 Stadium #29 - Longwell Green Community Stadium

Date: 6th November 2018
Stadium: Longwell Green Community Stadium
Location: Longwell Green, Gloucestershire

My twenty-ninth stadium of 2018 was on Tuesday 6th November at Longwell Green Community Stadium in Longwell Green, Gloucestershire. The match was Longwell Green Sports vs. Wells City in Western League Division One.

The Longwell Green Community Centre is in the suburb to the east of Bristol just over the border in Gloucestershire. As the name alludes to the ground is park of a community area with the village's community centre building just beyond the north-west corner of the pitch. The surrounding area predominantly consists of housing though there is a parcel of green space to the north and to the east where there is a 90% scale pitch and two mini-pitches. The venue is 2 miles north of Keynsham railway station and has been home to the club since it was formed in 1966.


The west side of the ground is the primary one. As mentioned the north-west corner has the community centre building and next to this is the football team clubhouse including a bar. To the south of this is the main car parking area through there are a handful of spaces in front of the clubhouse right by the pitch. If you happen to poach one of these spaces you can actually get a full view of the action from inside your car. Towards the half-way line there are two separate stands. The smaller of the two is a four-level covered metal terrace with the other an all-seater structure with room for 100 spectators. Towards the other end of the field there is hard standing by the pitch and a thin grass section due to the fact there are concrete mini pitches carved out of the wider car parking area.


The opposite side of the pitch has the two dugouts but with trees separating the arena from the additional pitches next door this is the narrowest side of the ground for spectators. There is a strip of hard standing all the way along with a slim grass area behind this. The areas behind the two goals are similar, both have hard standing for the whole length with grass sections behind this. The southern end is more confined as it has a fence not far back from the goal to separate the site from the adjacent houses.


Longwell were coming off the back of a 6-1 defeat the previous Saturday and Wells went at their leaky defence from the outset having a series of corners in the opening minutes. This paid off on the quarter-hour when a corner from the right was met by a bullet header from James Bayliss who flew into the back of the net. The home side rode this period of pressure without conceding another who was key as they came back into the game in the middle of the half. In the 27th minute a cross to the back post from the left found Luke Bryan but he was always stretching to reach the ball and could only flick the ball over the bar from close range. Wells did not heed this warning though and a couple of minutes later the ball was sent over to the back post again and this time Bryan was able to get the ball over the line. The half ended with the visitors going close when Steve Sokol dragged his shot from 20 yards just wide of the post. The second half was a real goalfest which started in the 48th minute when Wells edged ahead again - a cross from the right caused a mix-up in the home defence and as two defenders went for the ball they spilled it to James Bisgrove who slammed into the corner from six yards. Two minutes later and parity was restored as a corner from the right found the head of Luke Bryan who headed down into the bottom corner to grab his second of the game. In the 67th minute an extraordinary goal saw Longwell take the lead for the first time on the night. Goalkeeper Luke Perry punted his goal kick down field and the strong wind took it all the way to the opposite penalty area. Visiting keeper Thomas Creed misjudged the bounce and the ball went over him and over the line as he desperately scrambled back in vain to prevent his opposite number scoring. Longwell were playing with confidence now and with a quarter of an hour to play scored a fourth goal - this was the goal of the game as a lovely passing move was finished off by Danny Carter's delicate 25 yard shot into the roof of the net. Two minutes later and Longwell almost scored again when a free-kick was lofted into the area and a header came back of the post. With the game looking comfortable enough the away side then scored a quick-fire double to stun the hosts. Charlie Crook netted both of them with the second a really good effort as he cut inside from the right wing and unleashed a curling effort into the top corner on the other side of goal. The scores were now tied at four but the drama wasn't over as Longwell were awarded an 87th minute penalty. Luke Bryan stroked the spot-kick low to the keeper's left to secure his hat-trick and a 5-4 win for his team.



Result: Longwell Green Sports 5-4 Wells City
Division: Western League Division One
Attendance: 67

Monday, 3 December 2018

2018 Stadium #28 - Norton Lane

Date: 24th October 2018
Stadium: Norton Lane
Location: Hengrove, Bristol

My twenty-eighth stadium of 2018 was on Wednesday 24th October at Norton Lane in Hengrove, Bristol. The match was Hengrove Athletic vs. Cadbury Heath in the Western League Premier Division.

Norton Lane is located a couple of miles south of Hengrove with the village of Whitchurch sitting in between. The ground is very much in a rural setting and it is surrounded by fields bar a garden centre bordering the north-east end and the road running adjacent to the venue to provide access. The football club is not the only sporting site in the area as further along Norton Road there is also Whitchurch Cricket Club on the eastern side of the road and rugby union side Bristol Barbarians on the western side of the road. The nearest railway station is just over the county border in Keynsham which is four miles north-west of Norton Lane. The venue has been home to the club since 1964.


The north-west side of the ground has three separate stands - there is a 56 seat stand towards the south-west end with a covered standing section on a raised concrete platform just before the halfway line and finally another 56 seat stand the other side of the halfway line. This side is concrete for all but a section in the northern corner meaning hard standing for all the remaining areas in between the stands. The south-east side has the two dugouts by the pitch and strip of concrete behind the barrier for spectators. With one mini pitch and one full-size pitch behind this there is plenty of room to watch from this side. The section running alongside these two pitches is given over to car parking.


The north-east end backs onto a garden centre so is not available for supporters to watch the game from making the ground a three-sided one. There is a fence behind the goal to prevent balls going into the aforementioned garden centre. The south-west end is mostly uncovered concrete with a club building containing a fairly spacious bar and dressing rooms pointing at an angle towards the pitch. The concrete peters out in the southern corner to make way for grass and car parking. This end of the ground also has a small club shop operating out of a shed.


The visitors would have been confident of a result with Hengrove on a 12 game losing streak in all competitions. Indeed the hosts had picked up just a single victory on the opening day against fellow strugglers Shortwood which was the only thing keeping them off the bottom of the table. However Cadbury Heath made a bad start by gifting the home side a goal in the 10th minute. It came from an awful goal-kick by Jamie Powell straight to Jordan Chubb who raced into the box and squared for Asa White who curled the ball into the corner from 12 yards. This rocked the away side as Hengrove put them under concerted pressure in the early going. Cadbury Heath were almost celebrating in the 18th minute though as a header from a corner was aimed towards the top corner. Fortunately for Hengrove they had a defender on the line who directed the ball into the underside of the crossbar before booting the ball downfield. In the 26th minute the shock looked on as the hosts extended their lead. Craig Parsons crossed from the left wing and Mark Fear powered a header into the bottom corner. Hengrove went in two goals to the good at the break against a Cadbury Heath side who had been defensively sloppy. The visitors set about putting things right in the second half and just before the hour-mark reduced the deficit. It came from a counter attack which left George Boon in acres of space in the area giving him time to coolly slot past keeper Aaron Greatbanks. In the 72nd minute Cadbury Heath restored parity when a long ball to the far side of the area found Matt Huxley who nudged the ball in from close range. With a quarter of an hour to go Hengrove had to call upon keeper Greatbanks to prevent them going behind. The chance occurred when a corner was neatly flicked on by Sacha Tong and with the looping ball en route to the top corner a stretching save was required to prevent a goal. The hosts held out under the 93rd minute when Cadbury Heath were awarded a penalty. Matt Huxley dispatched the kick to complete the turnaround as Hengrove's losing streak was cruelly extended to 13.



Result: Hengrove Athletic 2-3 Cadbury Heath
Division: Western League Premier Division
Attendance: 58