Uwdi Krugg will be spending the 2016-17 season watching South West non league football, eating the wrong kind of food and having a bloody good moan.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cornwall Cup Final Stuff

Bodmin Town 4 Godolphin Atlantic 1 (after extra time)

Walter Parson Funeral Directors SWP League Cup Final

Saturday 14th May 2016 at Launceston FC

Attendance 306

Took a welcome step back into the world of Non League with the biggest Cup Final going, at least in Cornwall that is (it was a load more entertaining than Man U v Palace as well).

Both Bodmin and the Godolphin boys from Newquay play in the respected South West Peninsula League and nobody from Devon got a look in. Well they probably did really as regards the friendly hospitality goes but the finalists were both Cornish. Even the ground was in Cornwall, Launceston kindly providing the welfare facilities, pasties and local ale etc.

I'm not going to go off on one with a deranged Tea Hut type script, my gap year from football means I need to gradually edge my way back into the scheme of things, there has been far too much rainfall in this neck of the woods this winter (wellingtons and dinghy sales have gone through the roof).

This is more of an opportunity to pass on a few cheesey snaps of the proceedings at the Pennygillam Stadium home of Launceston FC.

Briefly, Bodmin are South East Cornwalls Galactico's and have practically won everything in sight this season as well as doing really well in the FA Vase but Atlantic (great name that) had a massive opportunity to win this Final when the scores were matched 1-1 with not long to play. Nothing less than a penalty came their way, which was a decent reflection of their second half pressure and latter dominance in the game. Sadly for the coastal supporters Atlantic missed it and Bodmin went back into standard machine mode during the extra time period to 'coast' home 4-1 (excuse the pun).

Anyway, time for a few of those cheesey snaps I was going on about...

Monday, 2 May 2016

RIP Frugal Glenn

Where's The Tea Hut hasn't been very active this season, maybe next season some drier weather will bring a change? Despite the lack of posts there is something I have to mention.

Perhaps some older readers of the site will remember a character who often joined me for match outings, the notorious 'Frugal Glenn'.

It is with great sadness that I must report that Glenn has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. He was only 51 and the loss brings great sadness.

His escapades on the Tea Hut site will be fondly remembered.

Without doubt I shall greatly miss his company.

RIP Glenn

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A sorry weather wash out, simply had enough

This winter it hasn't stopped raining in Cornwall.

Hardly a dry day since the beginning of October.

Its stayed dry for more than 1 full day just once in 4 months, fact.

People down here are truly sick of it.

Needless to say the Non League fixture list is in soggy shreds.

Every week brings waterlogged pitch postponements.

Its hard enough just to survive in this horrible relentless weather.

The county is a bog.

Football has had it for this season.

Most miserable winter weather I have ever endured.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

South West Weather Shocker

According to the weather mob on TV the South West is due a dry weekend for the first time since October?

Personally I'll believe it when I see it.

There has been nothing but waterlogged pitches throughout Devon and Cornwall recently.

Anyway, here's hoping there are some non league games on for a change.

Last weekend I got dragged around some bloody bathroom shops, I can't be putting up with that business again.

Plenty of SWP League grounds to visit

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Dobwalls 0 Liskeard Athletic 1

Boxing Day 26th December 2015
South West Peninsula League Division One West
Attendance: 105 (head count)
Admission: 3 quid
Programme: £1 Mainly adverts with a small match day leaflet inserted
Grub Stuff: Took some Xmas dinner sandwiches with me
Parking: Club car park inside the ground
Weather: Windswept and grey
Cornwall like most of the UK has had an awful lot of rain these last 10 weeks or so. By checking the excellent SWP website forum I was kept up to speed with the 8am pitch inspection and was soon trundling along in the Match Shed for the 11am kick off. It was nice to get a Boxing Day game in after being stuck in the house for ages, even if it did feel a bit weird at this time of the morning.
Dobwalls is a quiet little village a couple of miles up the hill from Liskeard, the ground is in a rather exposed location but its still a doddle to find just off the A38.
The club doesn't have a formal turnstile just a bloke at the gated entrance with a side table of match programmes. I handed over my 3 pounds and entered an already busy car park which runs adjacent to the pitch just behind the stand. The game seemed to be attracting a reasonable number of spectators for what is very much a local derby. I got the Match Shed tucked up no problem and put on some extra gear, I had 5 layers on and still felt the wrath of the gusty conditions, a slate grey sky had greedily poured itself over the county, it all seemed rather cold and gloomy despite the TV weather forecasters blubbing on about record mild temperatures. 
I took a walk up to the clubhouse and noticed the board advertising hot Cornish Pasties for £2.20 and slices of cake for 30p, normally I would be enticed up to the counter but I had a stash of Christmas dinner sandwiches back in the car. Nice touch that they print the Tea Hut price list in the programme as well.
The ground itself doesn't have many characteristic features, the only structure besides the clubhouse is a small flat pack stand bang on the halfway line, it offers a few seats and a bit of shelter from the elements, the place is a bit exposed to say the least although it appears Wain Homes are building a number of houses behind the village end of the ground. 
The pitch had withstood the relentless downpours South East Cornwall has received and looked playable but heavy. The surface was never going to lend itself to ticky-tacky football even though Liskeard Athletic do have a positive reputation for playing the ball about. The Dobwalls turf has an amazingly thick brown consistency its almost sticky and clay like, something I found out at first hand when I ended up fagging the ball half a dozen times once the match started, my coat and pants were covered in the stuff, they can go and fetch the ball themselves next time I come here, I looked like I'd been sleeping rough in the nearby woodland. I'm sure I spotted some locals pointing and laughing at me during my half time walk around.
As regards the match Dobwalls came into the derby 9th place in the table whilst Liskeard were 6th, this was my first look at Dobwalls but I had seen Liskeard earlier in the season when they beat Totnes in the Funeral Directors Cup. My recollection was that Liskeard looked a very good side but they have had one or two unpleasant defeats since then. As is the norm with 90% of non league games the first 15 minutes are 100 miles an hour anarchy ridden football, this match was no different. The massive talking point came just at the end of the 15 minutes of the boot, hoof and rush period when the Referee sent Liskeards talented Macauley Thorpe to the changing rooms for an off the ball offence. Liskeard would have to play 75 minutes with 10 men! Thankfully the game settled down a bit and we got to see some proper football, the remarkable factor was that Liskeard were the more expansive and creative side despite losing a man. 
We got to half time without a goal and despite the difficult pitch conditions and the strong wind we had got a pretty entertaining encounter to watch. Dobwalls slogged on with a more robust direct approach whilst Liskeard applied craft and strategy to gain the upper hand. On 85 minutes the visitors got a free kick just outside the area, man of the match (in my book) Matt Lindsay took it but the ball struck the wall, Matt seized on the rebound burst into the box, grappled off numerous defenders and slammed a low drive into the bottom corner of the net, a superb goal well worthy of winning this hard fought derby match, terrific strike. Liskeard grabbed the Christmas presents and doubtless celebrated well into what was left of Boxing Day.
My thanks to Dobwalls FC for all their efforts to get the game on.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

2016 Objectives

Really must get back to watching live football again.

The move to Cornwall provided a lot more work than was expected.

Been fools busy on various redevelopment projects with the house. This took up an awful lot of my spare time. Finally there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Probably wouldn't have mattered that much, looking at the weather the South West has had, every week seems to bring a tidal wave of waterlogged pitches. 

Expect a Tea Hut visit report early 2016.

Compliments of the season and all that stuff.

Here is a lost snap from the archive, its titled 'Alf arrives at the Tea Hut'.

Can you guess where it is? The winner gets f*ck all.

Why not take advantage of the new Tea Hut delivery service

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Stalybridge Celtic 1 Solihull Moors 3

Saturday 22nd August 2015
National League North
Attendance: 386
Admission: £12 ouch! Got in disguised as a Pensioner for 7 quid
Programme: £2, decent value, enjoyed the Keith Trudgeon column
Tea Hut Stuff: Nowt today, too hot
Weather: Warm sultry sunshine, humid & uncomfortable
Parking: Pavement on Mottram Road directly opposite the entrance
Been to Bower Fold many times before, in my humble opinion its one of the jewels in the Non League crown, a wonderful setting and excellent facilities, a great place to enjoy football. Apologies for not doing a full visit report but I'd just be duplicating what I've done before, including the photographs. If you've not been yet and you get the opportunity to go along, just take it, it will be well worth your while believe me.

Interesting clash on paper this game, Celtic just about escaped relegation last season, in fact it went to the very last weekend, the Manager who got them out of trouble, Liam Watson, is well respected in some quarters but often criticised by certain supporters who seem to feel he favours a mundane long ball game. The general early season feeling about the place is that Liam can certainly turn things around this season for Bridge, needless to say there are also quite a few fickle home fans only too willing to give some barbed criticism when the new master plan fails to verify the necessary results. Moors themselves have started the campaign really well and alongside their travelling band of colourfully dressed supporters a lot of pundits reckon they will be definite top of the table contenders come the end of the season.

The game rated 6/10 on the Krugg scale. Moors looked the better side in the first half, competitive, strong and well organised. Bridge looked unsure, indecisive, they lacked cohesion and class. 1-1 at half time the second half possession was greedily snatched up by the home side but it was Moors who looked a lot more clinical when going forward and some rather feeble defending easily gave away 2 key goals to ensure another 3 points for the visitors (which their noisy Hawaiian dress code supporters seemed rather pleased about indeed).

Not many, if any, games left for Wheres The Tea Hut in the North of England now, if things go to plan the Tea Hut will very soon be relocating to deepest Cornwall. I just simply had to go along and take another look at magnificent Bower Fold before that long journey south.   

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Perhaps I should've took the camera?

FA Cup Extra Long, Turn Left, Turn Right, Round The Corner Preliminary Round
Attendance: 75
Admission: £5
Programme: £2, ok but needed more written content
Tea Hut Stuff: £1 for a wonderful home made potato pie, £1 for a cup of tea
Weather: Mainly sunny and warm, odd cloudy spell
Parking: Adjacent to the nearby Asda supermarket
Homely little Chaddy didn't know what hit em.
Nice recently improved tidy ground, nice homemade grub in the tea hut but the local lads took a severe wupping at the hands of a ruthless AFC Liverpool outfit. I am currently trying to find the latest odds for the Liverpool machine strolling the North West Counties Premier Division. Awesome. 6 nil at half time. No mistake, the visitors could easily have bagged 20. AFC Liverpool look a completely different beast this season (at least on this impressive showing).

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Wythenshawe Town 3 Oldham Athletic Academy 1

Saturday 4th July 2015
Pre Season Friendly
Attendance: 271
Admission: £2
Programme: £1 and very good too
Tea Hut Stuff: Still full from a big bowl of Alpen and some sausage sandwiches
Weather: Sultry sunshine, bit breezy at times but still very warm
Parking: On Timpson Road behind Tesco's just up from the gate
The Invincibles of Ericstan Park. Apparently Manchesters biggest kept secret. Quite simply put, if you come here you get beat, end of. Wythenshawe Town wup opposition football teams for fun, the Cheshire League side won no less than 4 trophies last season and are continually improving a vibrant go-forward infrastructure that most non league sides can only dream about. I've been meaning to witness what all the fuss was about for ages, today I got the chance and I wasn't disappointed.
The Match Shed took the M60 via Stockport before trundling down the A560 towards Altrincham, when you pass Macdonalds take the next left at the Shell Garage then first right down Timpson Road behind the big Tesco. I got there half an hour early for the 1pm kick off and bagged one of the highly recommended programmes. There's no turnstile so to speak, just a friendly chap with a table, it was 2 quid to get in and £1 for a really good programme that puts a lot of non league publications to shame, choc full of first class photography and plenty of topical news and views, almost rekindles my hopes that you can still produce jolly good programmes at this level after all.
First impressions looking around the ground proved promising, the playing surface looked excellent. There is a decent sized social club behind the Tesco end with small stands on both adjacent touch lines, the whole stadium is neat and tidy and the general feeling is that the ground provides a homely well maintained environment to watch decent football. I also heard there are more plans to develop the ground further, mention of new stands was made? Everything seems to be on the up at this club, you cannot miss the positive vibe and well grounded culture of community spirit.
Todays visitors were the Oldham Athletic Academy side. The youngsters had a good following of supporters making the trip including the noisy and very enthusiastic Athletico's. This bunch of noisy Latics fans parked themselves in one of the two small stands and proceeded to yell and chant non stop, brief highlights included someone letting off a flare, low points inevitably focused on somebody banging away at a drum for an hour and a half, a bit bizarre behaviour for what was an under 18's Oldham side in a pre season leg stretcher? Whatever turns you on I suppose. As long as you didn't get too close to them you had to admire their relentless enthusiasm.
Wythenshawe romped away with the Cheshire League Division 2 last season, they won every single game, their top scorer was Ben Brooks who knocked in no less than 51 goals. Today would be a stiffer task but the home side simply got on with it and did the business. 
In a game sectioned into three thirty minute periods I witnessed a sparkling first 30 minutes with the live wire Brooks causing panic alarms in the Oldham defence every time he got on the ball, he looks a tremendous player and he was well supported by the marauding Ben Connolly. 
The second section fell a bit flat as the sultry heat took its toll but we did get a decent finale in the last period as both sides continued to play open football and knock the ball about. Town took the honours 3-1 and that seemed a fair result on the day. Oldham had some good youngsters on show particularly at the back but the commitment and efficiency of a positively set up Wythenshawe side proved too much for them on the day.

For an early pre season friendly there was a very good turn out of 271 spectators who all seemed to enjoy the friendly setting. Seemed like plenty of chips and pints of ale got consumed in the process. First games of the season, especially friendlies can often turn out to be pretty much pants, I was fortunate enough to witness a decent game and I also got to visit a new ground. If you happen to live in the Manchester area you can do far worse than come down here for your football fix, forget the bank-loan admission charges of the big boys, its 2 quid here for attractive attacking football, friendly faces and a good day out. Enjoyable indeed, liked it.   

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Best Programme Covers 2014-15

Don't like Tennis, Golf or static Women Goalkeepers proving far less agile than the plastic ones I've got in my Subbuteo box. Summer really is pants without any proper football.

Following yet another hotly disputed sacking in my Football Manager 2008 career I ended up flicking through my collection of programmes from last season, anything to kick away the time until the ridiculously pointless pre season friendlies arrive next month.

I decided to nominate the top 3 programme covers from the ropey bunch I'd shedded out my hard earned cash on. Before irate programme editors start threatening to beat me up please be aware I have not got a copy of every non league clubs programme from last season, only some of the ones I attended a game at.

Here are my Top 3 choices:

1st: Charnock Richard

2nd: Silsden

3rd: Parkgate

Programmes from last season

A random selection from the 2014-15 Season.

Were they worth the dosh?

Gotta admit I stopped collecting them after a while. 

Fair to say some were a lot better than others.

Friday, 1 May 2015

NWCFL Men United Cup Final

Thursday 30th April 2015
North West Counties League Challenge Cup Final (Men United)
Venue: Curzon Ashton FC, The Tameside Stadium
Attendance: 1,012
Admission: £5 (or 3 quid if you dress up and pretend to be a Pensioner)
Programme: £2
Tea Hut Stuff: Expensive £1.20 economy tea bag in hot water
Parking: On the Car Park behind the goals
Weather: Spring sunshine fading to a chilly clear evening
Match Rating: 6/10
Glossop have whupped everybody in sight this season. Next week Wembley will be lucky enough to have them for the FA Vase Final against North Shields, needless to say, they simply strolled the Premier Division title. It is strange that the only side in the North West Counties League capable of matching them on quality football terms are Atherton Colls. Strange because Colls have been plying their trade and blitzing opposition in the league below Glossop this season, the humble First Division. These two are jolly good footballing sides and it is sad that they wont be matched up next season for some NWCFL classics, Glossop as League Champions are off to the Northern Premier League. With this in mind many were hoping for a glorious last-supper of fine football this evening, me included.
Unfortunately, the big feast never came to the table. Nothing seemed to fit the menu tonight. Like a Master Chef soufflĂ© that failed to rise, the whole thing fell a bit flat.

I had a sneaking suspicion the Cup Final gods were in a bad mood when massive long queues at the solitary opened turnstile caused one of my pet hates, the delayed kick off. Why a second turnstile wasn't opened before the Noah's Ark levels were reached is beyond comprehension. This delay meant I missed my dodgy late night takeaway on the drive home.

Once we finally got going it was imperative that Colls got a good start if they were to match the fancy dans of Glossop. Needless to say they soon went 1 behind with a fluke goal from a corner. The cross simply hit Glossop's Kelvin Lugsden without him even knowing about it, the ball bobbled into the empty net.

Colls gradually got their passing game going and it was nice to see Glossop counter with some well co-ordinated bursts down the flanks, any hopes we could still see a great final were then almost completely deleted. Glossops Eddie Moran seemed to be brought down in midfield and an almighty shopping bag battle erupted, everybody was piling in, in anticipation of the big Mayweather v Pacquiao fight the Glossop full back Michael Bowler was pole-axed and went down like a sack of spuds. It turned into a big who-dun-it mystery amidst all the pushing and shoving, the Referee took centre stage. Colls went mad at Brad Cooke being given the red card and there were some very distasteful scenes as a very angry Cooke was met at the tunnel by baying Glossop squad members. Some of the crowd got involved as did everyone in the two dug outs, NWCFL officials were trying to calm things down but it did get ugly. Spitting at somebody is a horrible thing to see at any time especially at a football match, unbelievable it could be seen in the cosy little world of the NWCFL... but it did, I saw it happen as many others near the tunnel also did. I'm not naming names on here but it was totally out of order and the perpetrator needs to think hard about his actions.

After the meltdown the game seemed to fade, it would be hard enough with 11 men against Glossop. Colls faced a massive task now and the loss of Cooke would simply prove too much for them.

The second half got steadily worse for Colls, despite brave attempts to continue playing open football a debatable penalty decision gave Glossop a cushy 2 goal lead. Not long afterwards it really was all over when Colls striker Mark Battersby got sent off for a second yellow. There wasn't much in the challenge but Mark didn't need to give the defender the option and a 9 man team meant game over.

Great achievement by Glossop to win the League and Cup double and all credit to them. They have been the best team in the North West Counties League by miles this season and I wish them all the best in winning the FA Vase.

As for Colls, they have Premier Division football to look forward to in the NWCFL and the way they play the game will hopefully fill the gap left by Glossop. They already look favourites to win the title. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Buried Treasure

What's all this at the bottom of the cupboard? 
Hang on, here's some more

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Future of Tea Hut?

Nothing too dramatic is being planned but I am thinking about the Tea Hut blog going forward, especially for 2015. 

Seems daft and more than a little boring to keep writing about football grounds I have visited on numerous occasions only to dish up the same old slop in the visit report. Truth is there are not many new targets (grounds) in reasonable striking distance to warrant regular weekly postings. Perhaps Where's The Tea Hut has reached its current sell by date on that basis?

I'm not going to close the Tea Hut site but I reckon any new posts will only occur when I manage to fund a visit to a new ground that I've not been to before, these jaunts could be well spaced out to say the least. An objective that probably wont be assisted by the growing number of big-wig egocentric clubs that have started banning people with camera's (even at certain non league levels)?

Lets see how things develop.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Blackburn Rovers 2 Charlton Athletic 0

Saturday 20th December 2014
Attendance: 13,231
Admission: £17 in the Riverside Stand near the halfway line
Programme: £3 and a big step up in quality from 2 quid non league jobs
Tea Hut Stuff: Went to Macdonalds just across the road
Weather: Cloudy and cold which complimented all the concrete
Parking: Blackburn town centre, the wife was doing shopping
Credit were its due Rovers offer some of the best ticket prices going. 17 quid for Championship level football in a seat with a good vantage point is really decent value, in fact its even cheaper than a whole host of Non League Conference level clubs at the moment (you know who you are).

This game fell in with the Financial Controllers compulsory Christmas Shopping trip for herself. So long as I dropped her off in the town centre and could guarantee she would be off home no later than 5.15pm I had clearance to (as she kindly put it) "bugger off to football". I signed up to the deal immediately.
It was a technically acceptable game with the home side making a great start with a couple of early Jordan Rhodes goals. The South London visitors provided little threat for the most part and offered only a limited second half fight back for their 318 supporters lost in the caverns of the Darwen End, for the first 45 minutes Charlton were never at the races. Long trip this time of the year for such a lack lustre showing. Rovers themselves look to have the quality and spirit to get back into the competitive play off race, lets hope they stick with the genuine ticket pricing structure.

Monday, 15 December 2014

A visit to Leeds Programme Fair

Sunday 14th December 2014

Hit the M62 eastbound for a Sunday morning trip to Elland Road. Parked adjacent to the club shop next to the famous Billy Bremner statue. A proper bloody footballer and sadly missed. Loads of cars had arrived at the ground, fact is they were all buying crap in the LUFC souvenir shop, meanwhile at the back of the South Stand upstairs in the appropriately named 'Billys Bar' there was me and 2 other blokes spread out between 5 lonely stalls of programme sellers. Free in but I must admit to thinking it would be a lot busier than this. No wonder the traders had long faces. Never mind I made the best of the limited choice and picked up around a dozen or so quality publications for very economical prices. I buy quite a few programmes off eBay from time to time but the truth is there is a 30% chance you will get ripped off, usually over audacious lies told about 'condition'. If you attend a programme fair you can make sure you are buying top condition stuff without ending up with creased grubby covers, rusty staples and all the accompanying team changes written in pen.

Here is a brief selection of some of my purchases on the day.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

FC United 4 Harrogate Town 0

Saturday 13th December 2014
FA Trophy 1st Round Proper
Attendance: 907
Admission: £8
Tea Hut Stuff: No chance with these greedy buggers, massive queue
Programme: £2, one of the better non-league efforts
Weather: Broken cloud, a cold day following overnight frost
Parking: By the fancy houses off Mottram Road
Reasonable match, big scalp, visiting fans in tears.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Curzon Ashton 3 Frickley Athletic 0

Saturday 6th December 2014

Taken from the post I placed on Tony's 'Non League Matters' forum....
Evo Stik NPL Premier Division
Attendance: 185
Admission: £8
Programme: £2 (rip off I'm afraid)
Tea Hut Stuff: Tea bag £1.20
Weather: Cold, broken cloud, late winter sunny spells
Parking: Decent club car park

Ended up here after Dithering Doreen the Dodgy Lady Ref changed her mind about missing an afternoons Xmas Shopping and a few crafty fags with Big Tina. She duly postponed FC United v Workington (all the way from Cumbria) just after 2pm after the club stated she had eventually passed the pitch as playable at 1.15pm? This was in stark contrast to 100% of all FC United, Workington players, management, officials and Bower Fold Ground Staff trying to convince her the pitch was totally safe and fully playable. Hundreds of people either en route or already at the ground lost untold amounts of cash plus valuable weekend leisure time as a result of this disgrace. I have asked the Evo Stik Northern Premier League for an investigation to ensure this farce never happens ever again!

Fuming calmed down to apathy I'm afraid and I struggled to get into the match.

Curzon Ashton do look a very good footballing side, they had far too much class in the locker for a robust but limited Frickley outfit.

Great looking pitch, good facilities, seating and standing but a tad corporate and concrete with such a small attendance.

Looks like FC United will be playing some home games here before finally moving in at their new ground.

Shame some younger FCUM fans also turned up here after their postponed game only to start abusing the Curzon Ashton club? This was a minority of idiots and not a reflection on the many FC fans who also went along glad to just watch a football match after Doreen had her evil way back at Bower Fold.

*Bower Fold is home of Stalybridge Celtic, FC United have been using it for home games this season. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

AFC Fylde 3 Hednesford Town 2

Saturday 29th November 2014
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Attendance: 251
Admission: £10
Programme: £2
Tea Hut Stuff: None, but had a £2.90 pint of Kronenbourg in the Supporters Bar
Weather: Solid slate grey sky, dull indeed
Parking: Club car park behind the stand
When I left the Pennine Hills it was overcast and damp, by the time I hit Preston there wasn't a cloud in the sky just pure glorious sunshine. Just as I arrived at the Fylde coast that same lovely sunshine disappeared into a massed wall of chilly grey gloom, suppose that's typical of the climate up here in the North. There is some good weather on occasions but usually its pretty dire. That chilly grey gloom hung around all afternoon, it thickened and seeped over the fields towards Warton the small village nearest to the Kellamergh Stadium home of AFC Fylde, a small modern stadium in the middle of nowhere.
I'd dropped into Lytham before the game, a buzzing charismatic place 4 miles down the road towards Blackpool. The objective was to get hold of some fish and chips from 'Seniors' award winning chippy on the main street. I scoffed my 5 quid catch on a bench in the square, wonderful stuff.
Some football travellers have moaned that the AFC Fylde ground is hard to find but if you approach it from the main Lytham to Preston road you simply turn onto Church Road at the traffic lights in Warton village and follow the road up to the Birley Arms pub, you can't miss it. Strangely, the access lane to the stadium is at the rear of the pub car park but its straight forward enough, the access lane leads you down to the stadium car park behind the main stand, apparently there is room for 150 vehicles so don't leave your arrival too late in the day as there do not seem to be alternative parking options apart from hogging what spaces might be left empty up at the pub (and that wont be much). 
I got in the ground quite early and decided to have a drink in Fullers Bar which is down by the corner flag. £2.90 for Kronenbourg made a nice change from the £4.50+ you tend to pay in rip off establishments. There are a couple of flat screen TV's playing Sky Sports stuff, bit shy on tables and chairs though (it is a small bar area in fairness). Stuffed full of my Lytham based fish and chips I had no room for tea hut grub. The tea hut facility at the ground actually looks a nice set up with various pies, chips and burgers on offer, all apparently locally sourced, it was doing good trade.
AFC Fylde have risen like a Salford Quays tower block over recent years and now ply their trade at the top end of the Vanarama Conference North. Without doubt they are a good footballing side. There is an obvious competent professional presence oozing from this club, you only have to clock the many volunteers and officials in club labelled clothing busy, busy, busy around the ground carrying out various tasks and duties all afternoon. Its friendly, efficient and impressive. Just check out the £2 programme, its literally in another world to some of the rubbish non league publications you can waste your money on, a superb effort for this level. Their online web presence is spot on up to date as well, what a refreshing change to what we normally get from the non leagues internet fraternity. There is talk that 'Fylde' haven't been satisfied as yet with the upward progress of their club, seems they may be moving to a brand new stadium in the near future twice as big as the current one? 
Kellamergh Park is a fairly modern stadium built for the level of football initially aspired to. On this basis the place is going to have average to low key functional and practical facilities that offer ground grading compliance on a cost effective platform. It would be easy to slaughter the place on a charisma and atmosphere audit, that is not my intention, what would one expect in any case? You are not going to see old school Roker Park refinery in a profile like this, what you get is what you see, a flat pack main stand with 4 rows of seating, true, not a great view but at least you can keep dry and sit down. There is also a covered terrace behind the goals which is almost a body-double of the Sandy Lane End at Rochdale AFC's Spotland Stadium (so it can't be that bad). 
Up the other end you have a small covered terrace adjacent to the Tea Hut and Bar area. The opposite side of the pitch to the Main Stand offers a few steps of good quality hard standing terracing on an uncovered basis. It is what it is, functional, tidy, it has a good decent pitch and it gets the job done, saying that, some may moan that its sterile, boring and has no presence, I would find that rather harsh bearing in mind the journey this particular club seems to be on.
As regards this FA Trophy match, Hednesford are in the same division as AFC Fylde but more mid table. They've had a rough patch results wise recently but seem to be fighting back. For the first hour of the game I'd say the home side bossed it 60/40 but in truth there was not a lot to get excited about. 
The last 30 minutes witnessed a very good game indeed. The home side went 3-1 up but The Pitmen dug deep and battled back into it. They got it back to 3-2 from the penalty spot and slugged it out with Fylde right up to the last second, it could so easily have ended a draw but that Fylde early dominance I touched upon just about got them home.
I geared the Match Tank up for the journey back to the Hills and the daunting prospect of the Preston Traffic Light Challenge. I never find it easy travelling through Preston.