PICKERING TOWN (Mill Lane Recreation Club)

For over 400 clubs, this weekend saw their respective FA Cup campaign get underway and thus they set out on that long and winding road that leads to, err, wembley next May. As I was otherwise engaged on Saturday (busy eating and drinking at a friends party in Derby)  my options were somewhat limited as I had to select from the few Sunday matches scheduled.  This game stood out, for me, as Pickering has been on my "must visit" radar for a while, being one of the most northerly clubs of the Northern Counties East League.

As Pickering's ground is shared with the local cricket team they have to play their first half dozen or so league away from home whilst the cricket season is wrapped up, but with this being an FA Cup tie the game has to take place this weekend, hence why they are playing South Shields, of the Northern League, today.

Pickering is a delightful town on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors,  the ground is just on the outskirts  as you come from Malton. Before the game I had chance to have a brief walk around, sample some lovely fish and chips and grab a quick beer, just a crying shame that the entry in the GBG for Pickering was shut.  

The ground, obviously, is a three sided one with seated stands at one side of the pitch and behind one goal (I was told by a fellow hopper that this is what causes Pickering grief when they are eligible for promotion, as they have the requisite amount of seats but the powers that be insist that they are all together and not split) and a covered terrace behind the other goal, next to the clubhouse.

The match itself was pretty much a one sided affair as Shields looked fitter, more powerful and played the more controlled football. They took the lead after 10 minutes from the penatly spot, Lee Scroggins slotting home. It was Scroggins who doubled the lead on the half hour when he burst through and fired home. He completed his hat-trick two minutes after the re-start with a powerful header from a corner ball. Tom Adams, who was the Pikes' best player today, reduced the deficit after 55 minutes and it did look as if they might drag themselves back into the tie, with plenty of possesion and a few decent efforts. However, with two minutes remaining Chris Wynne finally put the tie beyond any doubt when he netted the fourth Shields goal.

Obviously being my first 'competitive' non-league game of the season I did have my doubts as to why I was starting the process off again for another season, but a great afternoon of good football, amongst fellow hoppers and the doubts soon disappeared...here we go again!

Lee Scroggins opens the scoring for South Shields, from the penalty spot

Sunday 15th August 2010
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Pickering Town 1-4 South Shields
Attendance: 210

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