Tuesday 30th January 2018

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Rocester Football Club 0-0 Stafford Rangers Football Club

Stafford Rangers won 5-4 on penalties

Admission: £6 (programme included)

Competition: Staffordshire Senior Cup

Attendance: 94

Another Tuesday night game and I thought I’d pay a visit to Rocester so I could tick off both the grounds in the Uttoxeter area. Hillsfield is found a good few miles past Uttoxeter in the tiny village of Rocester and the ground itself is just past the JCB Academy Sixth Form. Parking is free and on a huge car park which is probably used by the sixth form during the day and the turnstile is on the right corner of the ground.

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History: It’s a very long history that the Romans possess dating back all the way to 1876 where they played multiple friendlies against neighbouring sides. They had various successes in local competitions until the outbreak of war led to the club disbanded. After they were reformed in the post war years they started to climb the Staffordshire leagues. They entered the FA Vase for the first time in the 1986-87 season and reached the last sixteen, knocking out holders Halesowen Town in the process in front of their record crowd of 1026. They moved to their current ground in 1987 and this is where they adopted their nickname the ‘Romans’ as the ground was built on an old roman fort. They were founder members of the Midland Alliance and their ground was renamed to Hillsfield in memory of previous chairman, Don Hill.

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Stadium: It’s actually quite a big complex once you get past the perimeter fence that surrounds the pitch, there is lots of empty space around the pitch which is mainly just grass which is not much good for standing on at this time of year. The first building on your left is a small hut where the tannoy man was sat and throughout the game he would have, I presume, read out goalscorers if there were any!

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Commentary hut

At half-time he took us through the scores from different matches being played that evening. Just beyond him is the clubhouse which looked very warm and welcoming and had a bar. Along the clubhouse there is a little window which was the home of the catering and then the tunnel into the changing rooms followed. The main structure of the ground topped off this side of the pitch which was the main stand which had a decent number of seats (previously seats at Fellows Park the old home of Walsall) and this was a good size for this standard. Behind both goals there is hard standing and then on the far side of the pitch is a small stand which looks like a bus shelter, which apparently is the old disabled stand from Fellows Park. There was a raised bank to the right of this which if it had not been so wet and cold may have supplied a good view for the match. Overall, a good little ground for this level of football although it was not in the best condition and maybe could do with some maintenance.

Catering: Can’t fault the catering it was very nice and they had a decent range. I chose a sausage roll and chips and it was very filling as the sausage roll was huge. Along with this I had a hot chocolate which was served in a mug and was tasty. Altogether this cost me £4.50.

Programme: Two weeks in a row the programme has come free with admission and although tonights effort was very basic it is hard to complain when you don’t have to pay for it. It supplied a good amount of information and a nice gesture to get it for free.

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The match itself: This is a fairly short match report as the match remained goalless throughout so I’ll just outline the patterns of the match. Stafford Rangers were much more present going forwards and created a large number of chances in both halves, but the Romans defended valiantly and a special mention to their goalkeeper, Charlie Wood who was absolutely fantastic and my man of the match. In the second half it was a similar tale but Rocester did have a few breakaway chances when Rangers had thrown everything forward but the pitch wasn’t great and the ball got held up easily. The penalty shoot out saw some good penalties and the save that was the difference was top quality by the Boro keeper. For a 0-0 very entertaining and good luck to Stafford Rangers in the next round.

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Overall:  A nice little ground hidden behind the JCB Academy, I think Rocester played especially well but their league form has not been great at all this year so maybe if they could replicate these sort of performances in the league they might be able to string some points together and lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

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Oldfield Sports Club

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Uttoxeter Town Football Club 3-3 Brocton Football Club

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Admission: £5 (programme included)

Competition: Midland Football League Division One

Attendance: 85

Finally a brand new ground and something to write about – my non league cravings at last answered and a fantastic way to get back to it with a really great entertaining match between two committed sides. Over the last few weeks waterlogged pitches have become a repeat obstruction and have halted my Groundhopping quest but we are finally back in business after a quick drive to Uttoxeter where we were welcomed by some friendly staff who pointed out various points of interest upon entry. Parking was free and just on the club car park, we arrived at 7.30pm and managed to grab a space but there was not many free by this point.

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History: A relatively new club with a fairly basic history, Town were formed in 1972 when a split occured from Uttoxeter Amateurs due to location disgruntlement. In the late 70s Uttoxeter stopped playing Saturday football and then spent the next 30 years as a very successful Sunday league side until they hit the roof and saw there was no more room for improvement, with reverting back to Saturdays their only chance for growth. They began their new Saturday journey in the Staffordshire County Senior League which they were promoted from as runners-up in 2014. This was to be the first time a Uttoxeter Town team had played at step six of the non-league pyramid.

Stadium: Once you’ve parked up you are greeted by an old-fashioned building on the right – which looks a bit like a cricket pavilion which is home to the bar, catering and toilets. It’s very welcoming inside and a great place to have an escape from the elements at the half-time break, with Sky Sports on the television if there are any other games on that particular evening. The ticket office is to the left of this in a small wooden hut which then puts you onto a path to the pitch which is on the other side of the complex (only about a 30 second walk) which is brightly lit.

There is hard standing on 3/4 sides and on the first goalside there a number of small dugouts which look as if they have been borrowed from the technical area, which gives a bit more character to the ground! The long side is all hard standing with a couple of benches to the left of the dugouts. Then on the far side behind the goal are two stands, both similar in size and stature which hold a decent amount of seats. One was donated to the club by Stoke City.

Catering: Food was available from a window in the old building, with a pie, a ham and cheese pasty and a sausage roll being the extent of the menu. I had a pasty which was £1.50 and a tea which was £1 and both were good.

Programme: The programme came free with admission which was good to see and it came with the standard info about both clubs and league tables etc. Not a great deal of content but can hardly complain!

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Front cover

The match itself: A truly entertaining game between two competitive sides and one that consisted of lots of goals! It got off to a flying start when Uttoxeters James Curley’s powerful header struck the bar inside the first minute, which was a sign of things to come! Brocton showed some heroic defensive play with some excellent keeping and goal line blocks to prevent Town from taking the lead and in the 23rd minute it was the Badgers who took the lead through Jack Edwards whose cross took a lucky deflection and beat the home sides keeper. However, it didn’t take Town long to get a goal back and this time James Curley’s head was able to beat the keeper emphatically with an authoritative finish. Then just four minutes later, Town went 2-1 up with a Jack Holley goal from a goalmouth scramble as he managed to force it into the net.

Half Time Score: Uttoxeter Town 2-1 Brocton

The game looked dead and buried five minutes into the second half as Uttoxeter made it 3-1 as James Curley secured his brace with a well-taken penalty to the bottom right corner. However, Brocton’s fighting spirit was really impressive in the next fourty minutes as they pulled one goal back through Lee Osbourne who finished well and gave Brocton a lifeline. As if things weren’t already difficult Brocton were reduced to ten men with just 15 minutes to go as Joel Powell was sent to the changing rooms for a second bookable offence. Ten minutes to go and the Badgers were pushing hard to get their equaliser and it looked like it just wasn’t going to be there day as penalty shout was debatably disregarded by the referee, much to the dismay of the dugout. But then, a well deserved equaliser was scored and it was the games second brace through Osbourne who fought it into the goal and ran off in jubilation!

Full Time Score: Uttoxeter Town 3-3 Brocton

Overall: Great game and a nice little ground hidden in Uttoxeter, another game planned next week so hopefully should have another post for you – the rest of the season looks promising for fixtures as long as the weather plays into our hands!

Thanks for reading – GB.

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Wincham Park Stadium

Sunday 7th January 2018

1874 Northwich Football Club 3-1 Pontefract Collieries

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Admission: £6 Programme: £2 (sold out)

Competition: FA Vase

Attendance: 625

It was late on Saturday evening and the prospect of a boring, lazy Sunday loomed ahead but instead I called upon my trusty app, Groundhopper which told me there was an FA Vase game just over an hours drive away and my Sunday was saved. I had expected to be paying a visit to The Barton Stadium where Northwich usually play but upon further inspection of their twitter page I found out that it was to be hosted at the home of Witton Albion which was still a new ground and still appealed to me. Witton Albion are in the same league as Hednesford and Stafford Rangers so I was expecting to see some decent facilities and hopefully some decent football to go with it. The ground is not too far away from both Junction 18 and 19 of the M6 – parking is available on the ground for free and this was very full by the time I arrived (2.40pm) but I managed to grab a space. Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 22.56.27

History: 1874 Northwich are a very recent team who were established in November 2012, due to the owner of former Northwich Victoria being declared bankrupt. They chose the name because it was the year the original club had been formed and avoided the word ‘Victoria’ for legal reasons. They were accepted into the North West Counties League for the 2013-14 season. They have won the Mid-Cheshire Senior Cup twice in the past three seasons. In today’s game they broke two records, beating their previous best run in the FA Vase which had been the third round back in 2014 and also a new record attendance although this may not be relevant as it was at a different stadium.

Stadium: You enter Wincham Park through a small turnstile and are greeted with the main stand on your right – which has the snack bar in it – and then their are stands on all the other sides of the pitch. On the left is a small stand with little terracing steps in so that you can get a slightly heightened view. It is covered for about 50% of the width of the pitch and this is identical to the stand behind the other goal.


The stand running along the far side of the pitch was where the bulk of the 1874 Northwich fans stood – with a small vocal group on the halfway line with a drum. These created a decent atmosphere throughout the match and were obviously very happy with the result. This stand could hold a decent amount of people if needed and was quite full today.

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Finally, there was the main stand which was all seating and stretched along the whole of the pitch – there was a press box in here and also the social club led off the back of it. It has a seated capacity of 600 seats.

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There is also the self-acclaimed ‘best museum in non-league football’ at the end of the main stand but unfortunately I only noticed it after the second half had begun so only got chance to stick my nose in for a moment. I had planned to have a proper look around at full time but it was closed by then.

Catering: Refreshment was available from the snack bar on your right as you came through the turnstile, before the match they had burgers, hot dogs and pies available but by the time I went for my food it was only chips left. I had a portion and hot chocolate and it totalled up to £2.50 which was good value and nice chips.

Programme: The programme was available for £2 but had sold out by the time I arrived – the club have put me in contact with someone to send me one so I may fill this section in once I’ve got my hands on one.

The match itself: The first half was a fairly dull affair with neither side wanted to put too much on the line and concede a silly goal in such a big match, Pontefract had a goal disallowed for offside and also hit the crossbar which was also deemed offside but the opening goal actually fell to 1874 Northwich in the first minute of added time – it was Mark Jones who prodded it across the line after a ball from the right.

Half Time Score: 1874 Northwich 1-0 Pontefract Collieries 

Luckily for me as a neutral the second half turned out to be a much more interesting affair with the Colls piling on the pressure in desperate search for an equaliser. This finally came in the 68th minute through a fantastic free kick from Mark Whitehouse who placed it into the top right corner. Unfortunately for Pontefract this seemed to ignite the spark in 1874 who managed to re-claim their lead just ten minutes later through Scott McGowan who found himself at the back post to nod the ball home past the keeper, sending the crowd wild. Then to put the icing on the cake a penalty was awarded to 1874 in the 92nd minute and it was McGowan again who stepped up, a great save by the keeper for the original penalty but the rebound was tucked home with style. And then that was the fifth round of the FA Vase secured for Northwich for the first time ever!

Overall: A good day out, unplanned until Saturday evening but an easy enough journey and an entertaining game of football. Good luck to 1874 Northwich in the next round. Next for me is Walsall Wood as I go to their derby match against Heath Hayes on Tuesday evening. Thanks for reading.




Monday 1st January 2018

Kidderminster Harriers Football Club 2-0 Telford United Football Club


Admission: £16 Programme: £3

Competition: National League North

Attendance: 2201

And we’re back after a little time away in December where I didn’t get to as many games as I would have liked but what better way to start 2018 than with a local derby of the highest standard of non-league football I have witnessed so far on my journey. Yes ladies and gentlemen we have finally made it to Step two on the non-league pyramid and despite the outrageous admission prices (it is still non-league after all!) I was excited to get back into the action. Unfortunately, Kidderminster made this slightly more difficult then needed as it seemed that they are not at all happy with people parking in nearby streets with signs everywhere telling us this was not allowed – and for that reason I shall not disclose where we parked just in case we weren’t supposed to be there, but it was only a five-minute walk to the ground! There is parking facilities on the ground but it costs £5.

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Aggborough is close to the Servern Valley Railway

History: Kidderminster Harriers were formed all the way back in 1886 from an athletics and rugby club that had been around since 1877. In 1887, a rival football team (Kidderminster Olympic) were formed and both sides were founder members of the Birmingham district league – which Olympic won with Harriers finishing second. In 1890, the two clubs came together to form Kidderminster FC on a professional basis. They had financial difficulties and had to revert back to being amateur fairly quickly and entered the Birmingham and District League as Kidderminster Harriers. In 1924/25, the Harriers signed Stanley Fazackerely in the first £5000 transfer in English football. By 1948 they were playing in the Southern League, and they became the first team to host a floodlit FA Cup match on the 14th September 1955 against Brierley Hill Alliance. Unfortunately, financial problems struck again and they were forced back into the Birmingham League. They first made it to the Conference (then called Alliance Premier League) in 1983 and despite winning it in 1994 – they were refused football league status due to fire safety regulations on their ground. They played in the lower realms of the football league for five seasons from 2000 but were then relegated back to the conference.

Stadium: Aggborough is the biggest non league ground I have visited to date, and has the full four stands all around the ground which is to be expected at this level. I will go from left to right starting at the main stand. The main stand is a large seated stand which is where the turnstile is, it backs out into the Harriers Arms which is the pub joined with the ground. There is a press box in the top right corner of this and it also holds the players tunnel.

The main stand

The stand on your left is terraced standing, and seemed to hold the more vocal Harriers fan – with one of them banging a drum throughout the match. It filled up quickly before the game and there was a decent atmosphere throughout. This was the stand I stood in and I had a decent view for the match.


Running along the other side of the pitch is another seated stand – which actually holds more seats than the main one. There is also a small cornered-off section at the end which gives away fans the option to sit down as well. Then, finally, behind the goal is another terraced stand – similar to the one pictured above but this was where the away fans were held (and there was about 340 of them in the left corner) but would be a great away day for football league supporters.


Catering: In terms of the catering, I feel like I may have slightly let myself down with my choices and I clearly did not do my research properly before my visit. According to some other blogs, the catering here is legendary and I have to say I agree – but I didn’t realise at the time. Aggborough offers a range of meals that many football grounds wouldn’t even dream of including Cottage Pie and Chicken Curry. Therefore, I am quite embarrassed to admit that I did indeed choose a cheeseburger which cost me £4 – and I also tested the famous Aggborough soup (7/10) at half time which was £1.50. Although the burger was very nice – I definitely am planning to revisit and have a proper taste of this legendary catering.

Programme: It was pretty much a football league programme and the sort of thing you would happily accept at any ground in the country. Full of loads of information about both sides, results, league tables and interviews. It had the lot. £3 though which is the same as a lot of Championship sides.


Pre-match build up: The pair had a fixture on Boxing Day which was a 0-0 draw so my only hope for the game was that there was some goals. No experience of either side but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake plays for Telford and he is a Wolves legend. Kiddie are sitting much higher in the league so if I had to predict I would have said them to win at home but anything could happen in a derby!

The match itself: Most of the first half was really not promising in terms of delivering me the goals I desired, neither team had any great chances or much to talk about really. Although Kidderminster did make the impression that they were the much stronger side. Then I finally got what I wanted in the 39th minute when Andre Brown finished cooly inside the box to put Kidderminster one up.

Half Time Score: Harriers 1-0 Telford

The second half was mainly all Harriers attacking and in the 73rd minute their pressure was rewarded after some questionable Telford defending which allowed Andre Wright to tuck it home and double the advantage. Telford did hit the bar in the remaining quarter of an hour but the three points were never in doubt for the Carpetmen.

Overall: Sorry about the lack of posts in the recent month but I’ve got a lot of games planned over the coming few so hopefully should get back into the routine of things. Therefore, keep an eye out next Wednesday as I’ve got a Midland Football Alliance fixture on Tuesday evening! Aggborough was a good day out but at £16 admission, I could watch Wolverhampton Sporting Community play three times and still have change for a programme so maybe it will be a while before I re-enter the second step.



Keys Park

Tuesday 28th November 2017

Hednesford Town Football Club 1-0 Newcastle Town Football Club

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Admission: £7 Programme: £1.50

Competition: Integro League Cup

Attendance: 192

Tonight’s trip to Keys Park was not my first, or even my second as I have been on a few occasions over the past few years. It is where I got my first ever taste of non-league football in a highly-anticipated tie against FC United of Manchester back in 2013. Tonights attendance was a sharp contrast to the four-and-a-half thousand that had crammed in to see the Pitmen back on that day, and although the stadium has plenty of space – it seems to rarely be packed to the rafters. Although it was my first ever non-league experience, it wasn’t here in Hednesford where I caught the ‘non-league bug’ and fell in love with groundhopping. I’m not sure why but there is something about it that hasn’t really enchanted me compared to some of my other visits, but all of this aside I went into tonights fixture with a lot more non-league experience under my belt and my writing hat on for the first time in these settings. Previously, I had never been able to compare Keys Park to anything but high level football league grounds so maybe my previous opinion was slightly harsh and obnoxious but I felt that on this visit I would be able to really appreciate the ground for what it is.

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Access to Keys Park is simple, loads of parking at the ground and on surrounding roads

History: Hednesford is a very old club, and was founded all the way back in 1880, when the Red & Whites and Hill Top merged. They were founder members of the Birmingham & District League in 1889, finishing sixth in the opening season. Despite finishing highly in 1890-91 they decided to withdraw from the league and it was not until 1894 when they re-joined a league, being the Walsall & District League. They regulary finished as runners-up in this league until they moved to the Birmingham Combination which they were champions of in 1909-10. Following this there was a rough patch for the club as they finished bottom of the league a few times in close succession, then folded but were reformed as Hednesford. They then rejoined the Birmingham & District League and finished bottom again. After the WWII break, they moved back to the Birmingham Combination which they won in 1950-51. They spent the 60’s and 70’s moving around within the Midlands leagues and won the West Midlands Regional Premier Division in 1977-78. Their highest ever finish in the football pyramid was in 1995 when they finished third in the Conference. They had an exciting FA Cup run in 1997, as they reached the fourth round and played then Premier League side Middlesborough away – only losing 3-2. They won the FA Trophy in 2004, defeating Canvey Island 3-2 at Villa Park. In recent years they have been in and around steps 2 and 3 of the non-league pyramid.

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An extremely large stand runs the length of the pitch

Stadium: Unfortunately due to it being a night game I was not really able to get a great photo of Keys Park from the outside, but as you turn into the ground it is on your left. The main stand is closest to you, and this is where one of a few turnstiles is positioned, but there is also if you carry round towards the far stand and one on the left (which could be used for away fans if there is a big enough following). It is the first ground on this blog with four stands, and as it was only built in 1995 it has good, modern facilites for a ground at this level. We’ll go round the stands from left to right, and we start at a small seated stand which is positioned behind the first goal. Seats run across the width of the pitch but it is not a very deep stand so you probably wouldn’t get a fantastic view from in here. Next up is the huge terraced stand – as you can see in the above picture – which covers the entire length of the stadium. It is great for getting a different vantage point because from the top step and the bottom there really is a big contrast in the sort of angles available. Behind the other goal is another stand which is all standing, similar to the other one but smaller. This was the most populated throughout the match and there was the odd attempt at an atmosphere heard in the frosty air. Finally, the main stand is where you enter and it holds quite  a few seats, but unlike the stand behind the goal – more depth and less width. The bar is up the stairs and round the back – however I have never ventured up here so can not make any further comment. There is also a club shop which stocks kits, scarves and also archives of programmes and memorabilia.

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The main stand

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Catering: Tonight refreshment was available from two burger vans, positioned either side of the main stand. The one I went to (on the right of the above picture) offered burgers, sausages, bacon and chips so not a bad variety. However, it was slightly more expensive then some of my lower experiences so a cheeseburger and a coffee came to a total of £4.50 – but not at all bad.

Programme: Tonights programme I would describe as football league standard, I was very impressed with the quality and content. It was £1.50 which I would happily pay again as it gave plenty of information about the league, teams and other general things. Must buy if you are visiting Keys Park.

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Pre-match build up: As I mentioned earlier, I have seen Hednesford a couple of times over the past few years but only once this season. I saw them get convincingly beaten at the War Memorial Ground by Stourbridge back in September – and they really didn’t show me any signs of a decent side. That being said, tonights game did have a step gap – as Newcastle Town are one below Hednesford so in those situations you always feel stronger backing the home side to a victory.

The match itself: It was a bitterly cold night and it obviously took the players a little while to warm up with the first half fairly uneventful – the first major chance fell to Newcastle’s Aaron Bott when he had an effort from close range but it didn’t challenge the keeper. Bott once again had a shot which curled towards the top corner but the keeper plucked it out of the sky in the end with no issue. James Askey had a header saved from close range towards the end of the first half but it was still all to play for when the whistle was blown.

Half Time Score: Hednesford Town 0-0 Newcastle Town

The second half started as quietly as the first with both sides having some small chances but never much to shout about. However, in the 75th minute Bott was fouled inside the box and the penalty was given. The man himself stood up to take it but placed it wide, despite the fact it was struck well. At this moment, the crowd were preparing for a 30-minute period of extra time but our fears were eradicated when Jordan Graham broke through on goal after a fantastic forward pass and fired home to put the Pitmen through into the third round.

Full Time Score: Hednesford Town 1-0 Newcastle Town

Overall: Despite the Arctic conditions, Keys Park provided me with a very pleasant evening at a decent price. If they could string a few league results together and get a few more heads inside the ground it would be a great little stadium but at the moment the emptiness of it all doesn’t have a great impression. I’ve got a couple of games planned for next week so keep an eye out. Thanks for reading.

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Silkmore Lane Sports Ground

Tuesday 21st November 2017 

Brocton Football Club 0-1 Leicester Road Football Club


Admission: £5 Programme: £1

Competition: Total Motion Midland Football League Division One

Attendance: 67 (rough headcount)

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The ground is located on the edge of Stafford and is just off the A34
This week I made the short trip to Brocton, which was another brand new ground ticked off my list. It was another Football Alliance Division One game which is a league I have seen a lot of in recent weeks so was good to get one step closer to completing. Although the club represents Brocton, it is actually a couple of miles back down the A34. To get into the ground you pull in from Silkmore Lane down a small drive until you reach the ticket office, where you purchase your ticket and programme whilst still in the car and then you make your way through to the parking which is around the pitch.

History: Brocton was established in 1937 when the owner of local pub Chetwynd Arms, Arthur Mayer gave some of the local boys a football with the instruction to create a football team. They started off in the Rugeley and District League and won it in 1946-47, before moving on to the Cannock Chase League. They were champions of this five times over the next thirty seasons and then moved on again to the Staffordshire County League. In more recent times, they joined the Premier Division of the Midland Combination in 2003 and were the final ever winners of the league but it was replaced by the Midland League. Last season they were relegated from the Midland Football Alliance Premier Division.


Stadium: The Badgers only moved to Silkmore Lane in 2006 after they had spent two years ground sharing with Heath Hayes whom I visited last week. The ground is obviously very well looked after and is neat and tidy throughout. The first thing that greets you as you enter the ground is the two stands which stand next to each other on the nearside of the pitch. The first one contains about 100 seats which sit snugly under the cover, it is nice and modern and even has see-through plastic sides to reduce any risk of restricted view. Next to this is a nearly identical stand, however instead of seats there is staggered standing. Both stands have disabled seating which isn’t overly common at this level and is nice to see. There was standing on all four sides of the pitch if needed. Behind the far goal are the changing rooms and the refreshments which is all positioned nice and neatly and as modern as the rest of the ground. Also there was a tannoy system which gave full team sheets, half time scores from around the leagues and substitutions which is always highly appreciated. Overall, I was very impressed with the facilities and was comfortable throughout my stay.



Catering: Food and drink is available on the opposite side of the ground from a small bar which had very friendly staff. The hot food was a choice of a burger or a pie, and then a range of drinks and snacks. My choice was a steak pie which was very nice and a hot chocolate which was £3 altogether and meant the evenings total was £9.


Programme: As usual it cost the standard £1 and I was impressed with the quality of the paper and contents. It had plenty of information about Brockton and their recent form, along with league tables and even a football quiz. Only thing it did lack was information about their visitors Leicester Road except for a small article on the opening page.

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Pre-match build up: Once again my first viewing of either side and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Looking at the league table before the game, Brocton sit very close to the bottom and aren’t having a great season. However, they are right in the middle of an extremely tough run of games with their last two opponents being first and second in the league and their next two (including tonight) making up third and fourth position. They lost 6-0 last Tuesday evening to Walsall Wood but did get a great point at the weekend away at Studley. Saying that I was still expecting a Leicester Road victory but wanted to see a challenging performance from the Badgers. They had scored ten goals in their last two games in some great victories so I assumed there would be a lot of goals as well.


The match itself: To make it clear this wasn’t a special game in any way, shape or form but that didn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. However, the entertainment came in a different form to the usual goals and chances that define football match reports. There were a lot of big challenges and rough tackles and the game was fairly well contested throughout, despite the fact that there weren’t a great deal of clear cut chances. Saying that, Brocton started stronger and piled on the pressure although they never got that final ball perfect. Leicester Road came closest when their striker forced a good save from the Badgers keeper who tipped it round the post. Joe Hartshorne of Brocton ventured on a good solo run in the 40th minute and battled through to the box but could not get a good enough connection on the ball to challenge the keeper.

Half Time Score: Brocton 0-0 Leicester Road

The second half looked to be more promising with the action starting straight away and Leicester Road taking the lead just three minutes in. The Knitters captain Greg Downes latched on to a ball from Jake Holt and finished calmly from inside the box to take the lead for his side. Brocton took a very direct approach to try and force an equaliser and it did seem like they had no real ‘plan B’ to the hit and hope method. They did have a couple of half-chances in the final minutes of the game but the Leicester Road keeper never felt uncomfortable.

Full Time Score: Brocton 0-1 Leicester Road

Overall: A great little stadium which I would recommend to groundhoppers, especially as it is fairly new so might not have been visited by many! Brocton have a young, developing team who need to gel a bit more before they really start to challenge in this league but hopefully they can find some form over the next few months and start moving away from the danger end of the table.

Another Midland Football Alliance fixture next week so look out for another post next Wednesday. Thanks for reading.



Coppice Colliery Ground

Tuesday 14th November 2017

Heath Hayes Football Club 1-4 AFC Hinckley 


Admission: £5 Programme: £1

Competition: Total Motion Midland Football League Division One

Attendance: 90 (based on rough headcount)

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Coppice Colliery Ground is easy to get to and is located at Five Ways Island, also about a ten-minute drive from J11 of the M6
Tonight I made my first visit to Heath Hayes’s Coppice Colliery Ground, which although it is very local to me I had never been to before. This means it was another new ground of my list, something which I am always pleased to do! Parking is situated on Newlands Lane in an unlit, dark car park which was full by the time I arrived. Therefore, I decided to park on the lane itself which was empty and easy. To get into the ground you walk through the car park and towards the light, there you see the gates of the ground and where you pay for your admission and programme.

History: Heath Hayes was established in 1965 as Heath Hayes United and spent its early years playing in and around the Cannock leagues. They moved to play at the Constitutional Club so their name changed to Heath Hayes Cons FC and played in the Staffs County League. They moved back to Five Ways in 1989 and their name became  Heath Hayes FC which it still is today. They played in the West Midlands Regional League until 2006 when they moved into the Midland Combination Premier Division. They won this league in the 2009/10 and gained promotion to the Midland Football Alliance. They were relegated down to the first division in 2016 and remain their now.


Stadium: The bright lights of the Coppice Colliery Ground are a nice welcome as you transfer from the dark car park. They have branded gates which you walk around to get to a small hut where a man greets you with admission and programmes (a concession was half price) and then you come out by the corner flag. All of the structures are on one side of the pitch, there are two seated stands, changing rooms and a small container which doubled as a bar. The first stand that greets you has lots of seats in, then the changing rooms are in between this and the “main” stand which has even more seats. The seats had armrests which is something I have never seen before. Then after this is the bar container which served a range of beers and ales all out of bottles and cans. At the far end of the pitch is an old stand which has no seats but is maybe a memory of years past. Overall, better than I was expecting having driven past the ground many a time and never noticing anything special but very tidy.

The main stand
The empty stand
Catering: Food is available from the ‘1966 Tea Bar’ which is in-between the two main stands. There was a range of hot drinks available for a £1 and a small choice of hot food. I settled for a cup of tea and a hot dog which totalled at £2.50 and meant my spend for the evening was £8.50.


Programme: The programme cost me £1 and was an improvement from Bridgnorth’s attempt on Saturday. It had history information on both of the clubs, alongside results, fixtures and league tables. It also gave a head-to-head comparison in build up to the match which was a nice touch.

Front cover
Pre-match build up: I had never seen either of the two sides play previously but it was well publicised that this game was between the two top scoring sides in the league. Hinckley (50 goals) are having a good season and sit in sixth position, winning 9 of their 15 games so far this season. Their recent form has not been bad, they won 2-0 in the FA Vase at the weekend. The home side Heath Hayes are second in the scores chart with 47 scored so far this season, but they aren’t doing quite as well and sit in 11th place having won 5 of their 16 fixtures this season. Their recent form has not been fantastic but they beat Numeaton Griff 6-0 at the weekend. So I was expecting goals and since the previous meeting between these sides ended in a 4-4 draw an interesting match.

Teamsheet gets written on a whiteboard, not perfect as you can see with the crossing out but nice touch!
The match itself: The game started slower than expected with a few half-chances but nothing clear cut. However, in the 23rd minute Hinckley broke into the lead through Steve Hart who controlled the ball on the edge of the box and volleyed into the net with ferocious power which could have burst the net! 1-0. Heath Hayes reacted well going behind and had multiple chances, mainly through Regan Smith who came close.

Half Time Score: Heath Hayes 0-1 Hinckley AFC

Heath Hayes carried their good momentum into the second half and could have equalised within a minute when Jack Weldon stabbed the ball towards goal but it went just wide. But then, just two minutes later, Regan Smith who absolutely smashed the ball into the top right corner with a first time strike to equalise and make the second half look interesting. In the same way Heath Hayes had reacted earlier, Hinckley now came back into the match and regained their lead quickly just seven minutes later through a quick counter-attack where Luke Richards squared the ball into the path of Jake Healy who was never going to miss from close range. Momentum continued and just ten minutes later they found themselves two goals ahead when Richards powered the ball into the top left corner with a lovely finish inside the box. Literally only sixty seconds had passed when the Heath Hayes keeper found himself picking the ball out of his own net yet again, when Richards rounded him and finished for two goals in two minutes, much to the pleasure of one of the biggest away followings I have seen at a non-league match for some time so respect to Hinckley’s away fans! The last 25 minutes was fairly uneventful, slight pressure from Heath Hayes who pushed forward but never looked to troubling for the Hinckley defence and the game was already long gone.

Full Time Score: Heath Hayes 1-4 Hinckley AFC

Overall: A great, entertaining match which did not disappoint in the slightest and provided the goals it had promised, although maybe not equally as dispatched as expected. Heath Hayes have a great young side who played some good football tonight and some real flashes of footballing quality, however they maybe lacked the aggression of Hinckley’s more senior ranks who basically overpowered The Hayes and their final touch, which has been so clinical all season, was definitely on show tonight. The stadium is a brilliant little ground and one I will definitely re-visit when the opportunity arises and I would recommend that if you looking for a cheap, football night out come here!

I have another game planned next week so make sure you check back then. Thank you for reading!