Friday, 1 November 2019

Meadowbank - Dorking Wanderers

Dorking Wanderers - Meadowbank

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Dorking Wanderers Football Club
Mill Lane


Dorking Wanderers Football Club were founded in 1999. A relatively new club, the club started playing in the Crawley & District league. After their first season in the Crawley League they switched to Division Four of the West Sussex League, winning the division at the first attempt. In 2001–02 the club finished as Division Three runners-up, earning a third consecutive promotion. After winning Division Two in 2003–04 they were promoted to Division One, and a third-place finish in Division One in 2005–05 saw them promoted to the Premier Division. In 2006–07 Dorking won the West Sussex League's Premier Division, winning the title with a win on the last day of the season. As a result, the club were promoted to Division Three of the Sussex County League. They went on to win Division Three in 2010–11, earning promotion to Division Two. A third-place finish in Division Two the following season was enough to see them promoted to Division One. However, the league initially denied them entry to the division as their ground was not deemed to meet the necessary requirements. However the club appealed against this decision to the Football Association, who over-ruled the decision after an independent ground grading visit confirmed that the ground reached the mandatory standards for Division One football. Although the team initially struggled in Division One, finishing third-from-bottom in 2012–13, they finished second in 2014–15, earning promotion to Division One South of the Isthmian League. In Dorking's first season in the Isthmian League they finished as runners-up in Division One South, qualifying for the promotion play-offs, going on to lose 2–1 to Faversham Town in the semi-finals. The following season saw them finish second again; in the play-offs they beat Hastings United on penalties in the semi-final after a 1–1 draw, and then won again on penalties against Corinthian-Casuals in the final following a 0–0 draw, earning promotion to the Premier Division. In 2018–19 the club won the Premier Division title, earning promotion to the National League South.


Dorking Wanderers 0-2 Oxford City
Tuesday 29th October 2019
National League South

It's been a fair old while since I last done a blog on a new ground I've visited, my last being Bank Holiday Monday in August for Hungerford v Dartford. I hadn't done any Groundhopping really since then as I hadn't had the urge on doing so, but was pleased to get another ground in for this one. My dad had always mentioned about ticking Dorking off, and with only an hour's journey from home in the car, it was always going to be done eventually. So after noticing they were at home on this Tuesday, I mentioned it and decided to do it. After leaving home around 6.20pm, a quick stop off for fuel on the way, we made it to the ground literally dead on kick off.


As just mentioned, I made the game dead on kick off, with Dorking sitting in the play offs, and the visitors Oxford City just 2 points above the drop zone, my money on tonight's game would have been a comfortable home win. A great 1st half to watch with both sides pressuring each other to win the ball back, and also saw Dorking hitting the woodwork in the 1st half. All square at half time, and the 2nd half quickly sparked into life as the visitors took the lead on 49 minutes from Nana Owusu's penalty (I missed it on what the penalty was for) and the 2nd came 7 minutes later through a good shot which went past the keeper onto the bar and in the net. Dorking kept pressing and trying to find ways to get a goal but only to be denied with some good defending from the visitors. A great win from Oxford and also realising they have a new management team in place now. Below is a better report from the Oxford City website.

"Nana Owusu’s quickfire second-half double ensured that a fine all-round team performance from Oxford City didn’t go unrewarded as they earned a very well deserved 2-0 victory away at Dorking Wanderers at Meadowbank on Tuesday night."

"Owusu’s seven-minute salvo began just two minutes into the second period as he converted from the spot, before a stunning second just minutes later would end up sealing the points for the Hoops."

"City’s new look management team of Andy Ballard and Justin Merritt made their lives, and the life of a match reporter, easy as they named a completely unchanged squad to that which earned a 2-1 win over Slough Town on Saturday afternoon."


The club originally played at Big Field Brockham before moving to Westhumble Playing Fields on London Road in 2007. In July 2018, the club moved to Meadowbank which had been the home of Dorking FC prior to their disbanding. Their 1st game at the ground was a friendly against Sutton United. The ground holds 2,000 with 500 seats. The ground is near to 3 train stations which is very rare! Dorking main station is around a 15 minute walk, Dorking Deepdene 10 minutes and Dorking West (not many trains stop there) 10 minutes.


Saturday, 31 August 2019

Bulpit Lane - Hungerford Town

Hungerford Town - Bulpit Lane

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Hungerford Town Football Club
Bulpit Lane
West Berkshire
RG17 0AY


Hungerford Town Football Club were formed in 1886, only playing friendlies as at the time there were no local leagues to join or cup competitions. After a couple of practice games, the first game against another club was against Earley which they lost 6-2. In 1904–05 they won their first honours, the Newbury Challenge Cup, by beating Newbury Union Jack 2–1 in the final. They won the trophy again in 1908–09 with a 2–1 win over Thatcham in the final. The club was now playing in the Hungerford League, but later joined the Newbury League. They won the Newbury League in 1912–13, retaining the title the following season. After World War I the club won the title again in 1919–20 and for a fourth time in 1921–22. They later joined the Swindon & District League. In 1958 Hungerford moved up to the Premier Division of the Hellenic League. They finished bottom of the division in 1964–65, resulting in relegation to Division One. However, after winning the Division One title in 1970–71, they were promoted back to the Premier Division. In 1979–80 Hungerford reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 3–1 to Slough Town, they also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase again, this time losing 5–3 to Guisborough Town. The 1981–82 season saw them win the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup, beating Wycombe Wanderers 1–0 in the final. League restructuring in 1984 led to the club being placed in Division Two South. Hungerford won the Hellenic League's Supplementary Cup in 2004–05 and the Challenge Cup in 2006–07 and 2007–08. They were Premier Division champions in 2008–09, earning promotion to Division One South & West of the Southern League. A fifth-place finish in 2011–12 saw the club qualify for the promotion play-offs, losing 2–1 to Poole Town in the semi-finals. They were Division One South & West runners-up the following season, again qualifying for the play-offs; after beating Paulton Rovers 4–2 in the semi-finals, they defeated Merthyr Town 3–1 in the final to secure promotion to the Premier Division. The 2014–15 season saw Hungerford finish fourth in the Premier Division. In the subsequent play-offs they lost 1–0 to Truro City in the semi-finals. However, after another fourth-place finish the following season, they defeated Hitchin Town 3–2 in the semi-finals before beating Leamington 2–1 in the final, earning promotion to the National League South. 


Hungerford Town 2-2 Dartford
Monday 26th August 2019
National League South

My visit to Bulpit Lane came on Bank Holiday Monday in August. Usually on a Monday I would be normally at work till the evening but as there were more fixtures on the Monday and also a 3pm kick off, would make perfect sense to do some Groundhopping on this day. Luckily I was able to get a shift swap at work sorted and it was Hungerford all sorted. I did have a brief look at other fixtures, but this one was the one that stuck out the most. I was hoping my good mate and Dartford supporting Phil would be going, but he was stuck with other things going on, so this would be a case of going on my own which I wasn't too worried about anyway. It would prove to be a baking hot Bank Holiday in Hungerford. My journey started after leaving just after 11am into London Victoria, couple of changes on the tube to Paddington, and then a straight train from there to Hungerford. Only downside was with only 1 an hour trains, but I arrived into Hungerford itself around 2.20pm. With a short walk to the ground, I arrived with time to spare. £12 admission and £2 programme would be today's price. As per usual, I did my lap of walk round of the ground taking photos. I also bought a Koppaberg at the ground at £5 but that includes for the cup which you get you £1 back so technically £4 but it was lovely so can't complain. So as the game was near approaching to kick off, I decided to stand on the side of the pitch for the 1st half. One player I recognised for Hungerford would be James Constable the ex Oxford United striker starting for Hungerford, a player I've seen play against Gillingham in the past. So today would be Ground 161 and Game 15 of the season, having already seen 47 goals so far for the season.


As above you can read the full report on Dartford's website. Overall I thought it was a fairly good game to watch, Dartford becoming very unlucky not to take home all 3 points only be be denied at the death from Conor Lynch's equaliser. After hearing Dartford don't have a great record at Bulpit Lane, I'm sure they'll still be delighted to take a point there. After slight delays on the trains on the way back, I was home shortly after 9pm.


Hungerford Town have mostly played at Bulpit Lane for most of the club's history. The club originally played at Hungerford Marsh before moving to Bulpit Lane. Floodlights at the ground were installed in 1975. Hungerford railway station is around a 15 minute walk to the ground.


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Moor Lane - Salford City

Salford City - Moor Lane

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Salford City Football Club
The Peninsula Stadium
Moor Lane
M7 3PZ


  • Salford City Football Club were formed in 1940. They were formed as Salford Central and competed in the lower leagues until 1960.
  • The club won it's 1st trophy by winning the Lancashire Amateur Cup in 1973.
  • The club adopted its current name of Salford City in 1989. In 1990, it returned to the final of the Manchester Premier Cup, losing to Curzon Ashton; it also entered the FA Cup for the first time. They were relegated out of Division One into Division Two at the end of the 1990–91 season, though a league restructuring saw them promoted again the following season. The club made another appearance in the final of the Manchester Premier Cup in 2002, this time losing to Ashton United.
  • In the 2007–08 season Salford, under the management of Gary Fellows, finished second in Division One of the North West Counties League and were thus promoted to Division One North of the Northern Premier League, the eighth tier of the English football league system.
  • The club suffered a difficult start in the Northern Premier League, losing six of their first seven matches, which resulted in Fellows being relieved of his managerial duties in October 2008 and former Bridlington Town and Stockport Sports boss Ashley Berry taking over.
  • The 2009–10 season saw strong performances in the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, but the club continued to struggle in the league. In February 2010, having lost four of their last five home matches, Salford parted company with Paul Wright rather than appoint a permanent successor, chairman Darren Quick took the unusual step of taking on the role of caretaker manager himself for the remainder of the season. Under Quick, the team again enjoyed a strong finish to the season, taking 36 points from the remaining games and finishing eleventh in the table.
  • In May 2012, the club appointed ex-professional Darren Sheridan as the new manager. The 2012–13 season started well in the league, and the club also enjoyed a local derby in the preliminary round of the FA Cup against FC United of Manchester. Over 1300 fans were in attendance at Moor Lane to watch the Ammies narrowly lose in a five-goal thriller. Sheridan's tenure at the club lasted only 8 months though, and he resigned from the club in January 2013 after a review of the club's budget. The club appointed Andy Heald as caretaker manager, before announcing his appointment on a full-time basis a month later.
  • Ahead of the 2013–14 campaign, the club appointed Barry Massay and Phil Power as joint managers and Salford based businesswoman Karen Baird took over as chairman from the long-serving Quick. The new management team got off to a strong start and were unbeaten after the first six games of the season, however, form began to dip and in October 2013 the decision was made to reshuffle the management team with Power assuming sole managerial responsibility and Massay dropping down to an assistant managerial role, before subsequently leaving the club completely a month later.
  • In March 2014, news broke of the proposed takeover of the club by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, subject to Football Association and Northern Premier League approval, with the deal expected to be completed by the summer.
  • The club reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their 25-year association with the competition having defeated fellow league side Whitby Town, Curzon Ashton and Bradford (Park Avenue) from the National North League and Southport from the National League in the Qualifying Rounds. In front of a sell out crowd of 1,400 with many millions more watching live on BBC Television, Salford scored a famous win over League Two side Notts County by 2–0 at Moor Lane. The 2nd Round saw them drawn at home to Hartlepool United, also from League Two, and again the tie was televised live by BBC Television in front of another capacity crowd. A creditable 1–1 draw meant a replay in Hartlepool – a game that was televised live by BT Sport – but despite outplaying their hosts in normal time, Salford with the backing of 500 travelling supporters eventually succumbed to two unopposed goals in extra time.


Salford City 1-1 Port Vale
Saturday 17th August 2019
League Two

Orginally my plan for this day was Bury v Gillingham. But as Bury hadn't kicked a ball so far this season due to off the field problems mainly with their moron of a chairman Steve Dale, it would result in the game being suspended. So with already having train tickets from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, and noticing Salford v Port Vale wasn't a million miles away, it would be rude not to go and tick another of the 92 off. So, sticking with the original plan of leaving home after 8, I would arrive into Manchester around 12.20 and nipped to the bookies to put some bets on. I would then jump on the Metrolink and arrived into Crumpsall after around a 15 minute tram ride and arrived to the ground around 2pm. I wanted to get there earlyish to get a decent spot as I had an idea the ground would pack out fairly quick what with Salford being promoted to the Football League for the 1st time in the club's history only last season.

The game shortly afterwards kicked off, and it wasn't a bad game to watch. 2 fairly even sides, which went into the break goalless but Vale took the lead on 81 minutes from Richie Bennett which was a smart finish which looked like Vale would be going home with 3 points, only to be denied at the death by Jake Beesley's header on 93 minutes from Tom Walker's cross. (Highlights of the game down below the page) I made the walk back to Crumpsall station as I needed to get back to Piccadilly station for my booked 18.35 train and got back in plenty of time with over 35 minutes to wait. Whilst doing that I was keeping check of the Man City - Spurs score as that was a 5.30 kick off only to hear later on Man City were to be denied a winner thanks to VAR. After leaving at 6.35pm, I would arrive home around 11pm. A nice enough ground to visit I felt with decent enough atmosphere.


Salford City have been playing at Moor Lane since 1978 and has had recent development on the ground between 2016 and 2017. The ground's capacity is 5,108 and recently saw their biggest attendance there against Leeds United in the Carabao Cup in August 2019. Away supporters are located in the East Terrace which is behind one goal and also given seats as well on the side of the pitch. Getting to the ground by train is a bit of a pain, the route I done was getting to Manchester Piccadilly station then a metrolink tram to Crumpsall and then from there it was around a 30 minute walk.