Stourbridge

Northern Premier League
Stourbridge 2 Frickley 1
Atten 306

Faggots, Mushy Peas, Chips & Gravy £2.50








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I really enjoyed The Amblecote. Despite sharing the facility with the local cricket club it did not detract from my enjoyment. The club has a decent family feel about it. The Club's staff and volunteers were all very welcoming, friendly and great to chat to. The bar was a hive of activity. On the adjoining mini-pitch the youngsters were honing their own skills wearing an ecclectic mix of replica shirts mainly Villa, Baggies,Wolves and Roma !. The tea bar was purveying some enjoyable food and beverages including a delicious Faggots,mushy peas, chips and gravy.I really liked the configuration of stands on the far side. Behind the far goal is a huge covered terrace. The only downside to my visit was the absence of the famous inflatable Llama from the Barmy Llamas !

The Glassboys were dominant in the first half and fully deserved their two goal lead.But in the second half Frickley fought back and the game turned when the dangerous Frickley forward Allott made a good run in behind to chest the ball past two defenders in the box. With the goal at his mercy he was brought down and the ref had no choice but to award a penalty and give the defender his marching orders. Allott got up to dispatch the spot kick himself and set up a frantic finale. Frickley had a strong shout for another penalty when the ball hit a defenders hand. However the lino was only ten yards away said it hit his Knee cap. He was incorrect !

Thoroughly enjoyed my day out in the West Midlands and a visit to the Glassboys comes highly recomended !


"The Glassboys" were founded in 1876 and were originally known as Stourbridge Standard. Top honours eluded the club until the 1887/88 season when they won the Kidderminster Cup and the Worcester Charity Cup. By that time, it is known that that they had changed the name to "Stourbridge" and competed in the Birmingham and District League, where reasonable success was achieved.

In 1971 they were elected to the expanding Southern League and met almost instant success under manager Alan Grundy in 1973/74 season, with the Division 1 (North) title and the Merit Cup (for the league's highest goalscorers) coming to Amblecote. Twin strikers, Ray Haywood and Chic Bates, each notched 50 goals that season and were transferred to Shrewsbury Town, where Bates served 13 years as both player and manager.
Another highlight in 1973/74 was a tremendous run in the Welsh Cup, in which we disposed of both Swansea and Wrexham on their own grounds and then faced Cardiff in a two leg final. A record crowd of 5,726 saw the Glassboys lose the home leg 1-0 and they also lost 1-0 at Ninian Park.
For a few seasons fortunes fluctuated but sadly in the '99-2000 season things got worse.Despite an influx of new players, continued poor results meant the bell finally tolled on Stourbridge's 29-year spell at Southern league level with defeat in the last game of the season at Hinckley United in May 2000. They were now forced to re-group in the Midland Alliance. In 2002-3 they got their highest league points total ever on 101 thus winning the Championship.
In 2004-5 Stour enjoyed a memorable run in the F.A. Vase, battling through six rounds to reach the last 8 of the competition. We put up a tremendous display at AFC Sudbury in the quarter-final before finally succumbing to a 4-1 defeat after extra time.
Today they find themselves in the Northern Premier League as a result of in 2012-3 just missing out in heart breaking fashion against Gosport for a place in the Conference North.




























Crockenhill

main entrance
Kent Senior Trophy 1st Round 
Crockenhill 1 Pheonix Sports 8 
Atten 45 ish 
Gate £5 
includes programmes which were thrown on the pool table sometime in the second half ! 



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Plenty of rogering, loads of booze, partying, gang bangs and symptons of syphilis were the subjects covered during the Pheonix Sports Managers pre-match players meeting in the bar in relation to the teams trip to Benidorm at the end of season. "all in for 130 nicker boys .... booking monday" ! 

A visit to 'Crock' is always great fun as this ramshackle gem in rural Kent never disappoints. 
The Clubhouse is decorated from floor to ceiling with football memorabilia. The main stand is quirky to say the least. It has the narrowest players tunnel anywhere in football. Decent kitchen and bar in operation. 

The club is held together by selotape and how it survives no one knows. The entrance to the ground is the narrowest ever seen. One spectator who was on the large side got so tired of trying to squeeze through he asked for a chair to sit down on to regain his breath. 
The chap on the gate went and got one for him but could not fit it through the entrance. His solution was to throw the chair over the roof of the stand into the car park. 


Bag for life !
The score line explains the difference between the teams. Crocks goal was a penalty and was their first goal scored at home since last season. I actually lost count of the score as it was that one sided. 

For the last 15 mins Crocks goalie went off and was replaced by what appeared to be an out of shape Sexagenarian who was unable to dive !. 
All this in the fine company of Richiejen from this parish. After our mega breakfast (with extra bubble !) my travelling companion dropped me off at 'Crock' and then continued to watch Dartford v Aldershot just four miles away. Upon his return a few hours later after a mundane game he regreted missing the events at Crockenhill - he should of listened to me !


A visit to Crockenhill comes highly recommended to any football enthusiast.
Just make sure that you will be able to fit through the turnstile !

Leek Town

Stress ball not required as Leek win 2-0
FA Cup 3rd Q Round
Leek Town 2 Boston United 0
Gate £7.50
Atten 769









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Day and Ground Enjoyment 10/10

A gentle drive through the stunning Hope Valley and Staffordshire Moorlands was only the beginning of a fantastic day at Leek Town.
I have driven past Harrison Park so many times on a non match day and even stopped to have a peek over the wall into this gem of a non league ground. Well the wait for a match day was well worth it and I was treated to an FA Cup special in front of a bumper crowd.


It just gets better !  Leek players celebrate going 2-0 !
 Make no mistake this was no Boston tea party as Leek fully deserved the victory on their big day. The first half was tepid but in the 2nd half the game sprung to life and the game became more open. Leek broke out quickly and the Boston defence was in knots as a cross came in for the Leek forward to tap home into an empty net. The deciding goal came as a result of a mix up between the Boston defenders allowing the nippy Leek forwards plenty of space to pass to each other and score unchallenged.



Boston offered little after that and never looked like scoring. Talking to Boston fans before the game they arrived in a downbeat mood.One fan said as long as they had at least one attempt on target he would be happy as it would be an improvement on recent limp performances.

The welcome given by all the Club's Staff was fantastic as they could not be more helpful and friendly. They say good things happen to good people and the name of Leek Town will be in that velvet bag for Monday's 1st Round proper Draw and they fully deserve any success that comes their way. The locals want Macc Town then Port Vale and then Stoke City in the next few rounds and after that they dont mind who they get ! I always say if you are going to have dreams have big dreams and Leek's FA Cup journey is gathering pace and I will be following them all the way but I wont book my Wembley hotel just yet !

 
Some say the origins of Leek Town go back as far as 1876, the history of the club as we now know it begins in 1946. Starting out as Leek Lowe Hamil in the Leek and Moorlands League and progressing to the Staffordshire County League, where they still hold the record of being the only team to win the championship without the loss of a match in 1949/50. On moving into the Manchester League in 1951/52, they became Leek Town and won the championship at the first attempt. After a brief flirtation with the Birmingham League in 1954/55, they moved back to the Manchester League and eventually back to the Staffordshire County League.

It was 1968 when Leek Town started to become the club it is now. The ground was improved adding a clubhouse, small stand and floodlights. Manager Paul Ogden led the team to success in the Staffordshire County League and the Manchester League before joining the Cheshire League in the 1973/74 season and winning that championship at the second attempt. The chairman at the time was the late Geoff Harrison, after whom Harrison Park is named. Leek became founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982, but had little success. When the Northern Premier League was formed in 1987, Leek were again, founder members. After two seasons finishing third, they were promoted to the Premier Division on topping the First Division in 1989/90. This season also saw them reach the FA Trophy final at Wembley, where they lost 3-0 to Barrow. This was a historic achievement, as no other side from that level of the pyramid had ever done so previously. The success, all under the guidance of manager, Neil Baker, continued in the following season in the form of an FA Cup run where they defeated Scarborough in the First Round Proper and forced a replay against Chester City in the Second Round.
Leek’s second place finish in 1993/94 should have been enough to see them promoted to the Vauxhall Conference. Instead, they were rewarded by being shunted sideways to the Southern League, as they were denied a place for financial reasons.
It is fair to say that in the early part of the new millenium Leek's fortunes wobbled and success on the pitch was hard to come by. But to their credit in recent years they have restructured. The high turnover of Team Mangers has slowed down and today they seem on a much better footing. The loyal band of Staff and volunteers are a credit to the Club. From the Chairman down , everybody has a smile , professional and caring. Making sure that your visit to Harrison Park is an enjoyable experience and the football on the pitch is equally as enjoyable. It can only be a matter of time before they rise up the leagues once more.