GOOLE AFC (Victoria Pleasure Grounds)

The Victoria Pleasure Grounds is one that has been on my "to-visit" list for a wee while, so today seemed a good an opportunity as any. After a few scoops at the local 'spoons, we arrived at the ground to a very warm welcome, where the old chap in the club shop kept us chatting about things in general, where we were from and what we we doing etc . He chatted about Goole and their cup exploits against Wrexham in the 70's. His obvious pride in the club shone through.

As for this season, its been a bit of mixed bag for The Vikings as they have struggled for form, but a change a manager mid-season has seen results take a modest upturn. The managers notes in the programme give hope that next season will bring success, as the new players drafted into the squad are now begininng to show signs that things are taking a turn for the better.

Today's game against Willenhall Town seemed a good chance to continue that improvement as Willenhall are on verge of collapse. Virtually relegated, there has been a mass exodus of players (the programme listed 9 players who were no longer at the club) and even more concerning they are about to lose their home, Noose Lane, after being unable to raise funds to purchase the land. Bleak times indeed for The Reds.

The first half turned out to be a bit of a procession for Goole as they put Willenhall to the sword. The Vikings found themselves two goals up inside seven minutes and three up by the fifteenth. Vill Powell (no relation!) gave them the lead after six minutes before, from the kick off, Gavin Allot doubled the lead. Allot soon bagged his second and the only shock was that the score remained at that until the interval. Goole could have, and indeed should have, at least doubled their goal tally but a combination of poor finished and inspired goalkeeping from Matt Jones (who incidently was injured!) kept the score to three.

The second half felt more like a training session than a league match as Goole comfortably controlled the match. Ashley Worsfold added a fourth on 58 minutes but the game just petered out. Matty Whitehouse's goal in the 86th minute was scant consolation for the visitors. The majority of the 144 crowd went home very happy and as for me it was now time to start getting ready for the big Easter groundhop in Cornwall...bring it on!


The twin water cooling towers which dominate the local skyline.
Locals dub these "the salt and pepper pots"

Saturday 27th March 2010
Northern Premier League Division One South
Goole AFC 4-1 Willenhall Town
Attendance: 144


Headed to the midlands today for my football fix as the rain put paid to my first (Ossett Town) and second (Selby Town) choice of game and after a run of no goalless games, i've now had two in my last three...pah!

Neither team has been pulling up any trees in the league this season and both are languishing amongst the dead men near the foot of the table, so I suppose a goalless outcome was inevitable. Which begs the question why did I bother going here? Answers on a postcard....

Onto the match and the first half was absolute dross. Neither goalkeeper was tested and goalmouth action was thin on the ground. Beaconsfield looked the more livelier of the two sides and indeed they did get the ball in the net right on half time, but the referee ruled it out for pushing.

The second half started off in the same vein but around the hour mark the game suddenly sparked into life. It began with a bit of melee involving most of players after a mis-timed tackle by SYCOB's Craig O'Connor. He was booked along with two other players but it seemed to spur the Swifts into action.

In the space of about 5 minutes Swifts finally forced SYCOB 'keeper Ben Harris into some meaningful action, when he pulled off three good saves and they also managed to hit the crossbar, through an Andy Jones header. Beaconsfield also looked dangerous on the counter and they too had chances. The last quarter of the game was end-to-end but neither side could ultimately break the deadlock.

A nice set up here it's just a shame the locals don't come out and support their team, today's crowd was just 51. Walshes Meadow is a neat and tidy ground, with a nice little clubhouse. The pitch held up remarkably well considering it lashed down for virtually the whole of the game.


Saturday 20th March 2010
Southern League Division One Midlands
Stourport Swifts 0-0 Beaconsfield SYCOB
Attendance: 51


Today was another long journey north of the border, this time the destination was Station Park, the home of Forfar Athletic. The name of the ground must be ironic as there is actually no station in Forfar!

This was for a clash with "super" Annan in the 3rd Division of the Scottish Football League. The journey was broken up by the fact I went on the Annan Supporters bus and a very enjoyable trip it was too, as I was made most welcome. It was still an early start though as the bus left Galabank at 9am.

However, the bus arrived in Forfar at around 12.30pm , so it was straight into the GBG recommended Plough Inn (or The Ploo as it is known locally) to sample some of their real ale delights (they only had Inveralmond Independence on draft today, the other two pumps were out of action). Naturally, one could not visit Fofar without sampling a 'Bridie' the bakery being just a few doors down from the pub, and i'm happy to report they are as tasty as I was led to believe, though I had to have two just to make sure!

I was an honourary Annan supporter for the day, which was made complete when the Black & Gold Galabankies ran riot and comprehensively outclassed Forfar, putting a wee dent in their promotion push, whilst leaving themselves just 5 points from the play off positions, with games in hand.

Forfar did take the lead through Ian Harty (10) which was no real surprise as they dominated the opening exchanges. Annan fought their way back into the game and levelled through Sean O'Connor (24) before taking an interval lead when Graeme Bell (34) put them 2-1 up.

The second half was one way traffic as Annan picked off The Loons (is that one of the best nicknames?) on the break and goals from Lewis Sloan (70) and Scott Anson (83 & 87) completed the rout.

Back home by 11.15pm just in time for Everton on MotD and another Scottish ground ticked on the way to completing the 42*


*well I say 42 because there are 42 teams in the League, but there are actually only 41 grounds at present because East Stirlingshire are ground-sharing with Stenhousemuir

Saturday 13th March 2010
Scottish Football League Division Three
Forfar Athletic 1-5 Annan Athletic
Attendance: 424