Monday 2 January 2023

Ground #375 - Arbories Memorial Sports Ground

Date: 26th December 2022
Ground: Arbories Memorial Sports Ground
Location: Padiham, Lancashire

My fifteenth new ground of 2022 was on Monday 26th December at the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground in Padiham, Lancashire. The game was Padiham vs. Barnoldswick Town in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

The Arbories Memorial Sports Ground is located on the northern edge of Padiham. It sites up a hill at the end of a residential street with houses to the south and east, a pub and cricket club to the west and trees separating from a road to the north. The venue is a couple of miles north of Hapton and Rose Grove railway stations and has been the home of the club since 1949. 

The ground is a hotchpotch with lots of different spectating areas without an overall standardised design - this gives it a unique look for the level. The entrance is at the south and by this is a fairly small clubhouse with a digital scoreboard attaching to the exterior of the wall. Next to this is a food outlet under cover and then the proper spectator areas begin. Initially there is a small covered standing area, then an uncovered area to create a gap back to the dressing rooms and to the right of this is an all-seater stand which extends past the halfway line. There is then another uncovered section before finishing with another covered section towards the western end.

The opposite side has covered standing for a third of the pitch length towards the eastern end and then an uncovered section for two dugouts in front. Beyond the halfway line is a shorter covered standing area taking up around a quarter of the northern flank and finally uncovered standing towards the western end. There is a grass bank for the whole of the northern side but spectators are prohibited. The eastern end has a covered two-level terrace by the northern section and this takes up about a third of this end. There is a covered flat section behind the goal but the southern area of this end is uncovered save for a small covered section with a park bench and a dugout-like structure with another park bench. The south-east corner also has a dedicated beer shed. The western end is the only one with no structures with uncovered standing only.

Half-way through the season there was little to play for except local pride for the two teams as both were already sitting in mid-table posing little danger to the top or bottom of the league. The hosts scored with their first proper chance in the 10th minute - a 25-yard shot by David Sherlock bounced just before Barlick keeper Jordan Gidley and he palmed straight to Jack Gooden who tucked into the gaping net. The visitors then attacked the home goal and went close in the 17th minute when a ball from the right just needed good contact from Jack Foster but the forward could only divert wide from a couple of yards while on the stretch. The equalising goal arrived ten minutes later and this time Foster did get his reward - again it started with a cross from the right but this time Foster was able to control the ball via a couple of keepy-uppies before smashing the ball into Padiham defender Kieran Sherlock and into the roof of the net. Barnoldswick remained on top for the rest of the half and really should have gone into half-time ahead after two late chances. Padiham were failing to address issues down their left flank and another cross to Foster at the back post found him only for the forward to shoot over from close range. Sixty seconds later it was the turn of Ben Ashton to advance down the right but one-on-one with Matthew Hamnett he shot straight at the Padiham keeper. After an entertaining first half the second was a scrappier affair with little in the way of clear cut chances. Padiham got the ball in the net in the 67th minute when Charlie Disney-Ridge weaved his way into the box with the ball falling to Jack Gooden who tucked home. However, Gooden was in an offside position and this disallowed goal ended up costing the hosts as in the 88th minute Barlick grabbed a late winner with yet another cross from the right and Jack Foster poking in to score his second of the game and secure all three points for the away side. 

Result: Padiham 1-2 Barnoldswick Town
Division: North West Counties League Premier Division
Attendance: 741

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