Thursday 7 September 2023

Ground #391 - Underlane

Date: 16th August 2023
Ground: Underlane
Location: Wendron, Cornwall

My sixteenth new ground of 2023 was on Wednesday 16th August at Underlane in Wendron, Cornwall The game was Wendron United vs. Penzance in South West Peninsula League Premier Division West.

Underlane is actually 4 miles north-east of the main settlement of Wendron and is closest to the settlement of Carnkie. It is mostly surrounded by fields with only the small village of Carnkie to the north. The ground is a few miles west of the outskirts of the Penryn & Falmouth urban area so is 4 miles from the nearest railway station at Penryn. Wendron Cricket Club have been based on the site since 1949 and the football club took up residence in 1986.

The northern flank has the sole stand at the ground. The whole side is perched atop a stone wall to give an unusual appearance. It is entirely covered with a standing section on two levels towards the east, then a seated area with 4 rows of benches and then back to the standing on two levels towards the west. There are a large number of supporting beams throughout to hold up the roof which is adorned with solar panels. It is an interesting set-up which sets it apart from other venues at this level in England. The opposite side is sparse in comparison with the two dugouts and a raised platform by the halfway line. There is a very thin walkway but this side is clearly not meant for spectators. Behind this side is the car park and the clubhouse which has a bar and small event space and is shared with the cricket club.

The eastern end is similarly limited on the spectator front but backs onto a cage 3G mini pitch as well as a larger grass pitch. The western end is where the entrance can be found as well as a 2 storey club building which includes the dressing rooms. There is a thin standing area which stops halfway past the goal to account for the stone wall which works its way round all the way along northern side to the end The rest of the western side is elevated as the ground rises with the hills.

This was a game in the early stages of season. The previous season had seen Wendron narrowly missing out on promotion with a 2nd place finish while Penzance were down in13th. The visitors took an early lead in the 12th minute when a shot by Oscar Massey was spilled by keeper Ethan Fearn into the path of Rolandos Samnauskas who bundled the ball over the line. The lead was doubled in the 27th minute - a free-kick from the right looped over Fearn, hit the post, and then bounced back to Kam Collins who knocked in during a scramble. The key moment in the game came eight minutes later - a terrific 25-yard volley for Penzance went just wide and could have seen them 3-0 up. Instead Wendron went up the other end and scored in fortuitous circumstances. A ball from the right looked to be going out but it hit the post, went back into the six yard box where a Wendron attacker managed to hit the other post before the ball fell to Charlie Young who knocked home. The away side did have another chance to restore their goal goal advantage on the stroke of half-time but Oscar Massey blazed over when let in on goal by a defensive error. 

They were made to pay four minutes after the break as Wendron's Reece Carroll ran down the left and unleashed a shot which took a wicked deflection to loop up and crash back down into the corner of the net. This part of the game was end-to-end stuff, Oscar Massey had a point blank saved by Ethan Fearn and then a minute later at the other end Josh Wood's header was saved at point blank range by Mikey Flores. Wendron got their noses in front for the first time in the 61st minute - a ball from the right found Charlie Young who controlled it, spun and drilled a shot into the bottom corner. The balance changed at this point and the remaining half-hour was one-way traffic. Wendron grabbed their fourth in the 70th minute - with the ball bouncing around the box after Mikey Flores saved Ryan Reeve's shot, it was Joe Wood who reacted first to knock in. Flores denied a fifth a couple of minute later when he saved a 20-yard shot from Young. He couldn't stop Young from completing his hat-trick ten minutes from time though. As the two went for the ball Young managed to nip in front of the keeper and though there was still work to do as he collected the ball on the left side of the box he did well to curl into the far corner to put the game to bed. In the final minutes the hosts were still hungry for more with Ryan Reeve hitting the bar and Charlie Young hitting the post. A cracking game finished 5-2 with Wendron well and truly coming back from behind to dominate the second half.

Result: Wendron United 5-2 Penzance
Division: South West Peninsula League Premier Division West
Attendance: 90

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