Saturday 18th January 2014
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
ASHTON UNITED 3 BLYTH SPARTANS 3
Tea Hut Stuff: Tea £1
Weather: Cloudy but dry, bit of a chilly breeze
Parking: Adjacent to the garage on the main road 500 yards away
No fancy action pictures or arse licking style 'please pick my blog for an award' crawling (which seems to have reared its ugly head on some social media networks again recently), I've been this place before in any case and I didn't give it a flashy review that time around either. I admire Blyth Spartans supporters, they travel massive distances to away games from high up in the North East and always give 100% backing to their team (whichever one turns up on the day). In a sparse crowd on a typical January afternoon there was almost as many Blyth people as homers. As the smoke from a nearby rubbish fire in a neighbours back garden wafted across the pitch everybody huddled down in their winter clothing for a 90 minute 3-3 roller coaster ride without the thrills. A scrappy first half was tarnished by one of those new-age Refs who blows for even the slightest contact but completely bottles-it for any contentious decisions. No disrespect intended to the young guy but he didn't help the flow of this game and some of his second half howlers nearly ruined it completely. It was 1-1 at half time courtesy of opportunist efforts at both ends of the pitch, Blyth seemed the more dominant side in the second period, especially when they got a second goal after an undetected hand ball during the build up and soon after the Referee then sent an Ashton player off. Tempers were getting frayed to say the least, mainly due to the gross lack of consistent sensible refereeing, it was never a dirty game but it never got the chance to flow. Here was proof that even a 3-3 scoreline can still provide pretty pap entertainment, at least for a neutral sad pants like me that is. The tidy ground is a blend of scenic charismatic charm and counter productive annoying obstructed views, the main stand side of the pitch looks good but you need to know where to get the best spot to get a decent glimpse of the nets because there's plenty of ironwork stanchions propping up the stand and big f*ck-off dug outs in front of the terracing. They tend to be a bit tight on the fuel bills around here as well (I know I am), how poignant that the linesman had to warn club officials to "turn the bloody lights on" as darkness descended upon the meadow. At 9 quid a head to get in I expect the floodlights to be on well before half time if you dont mind. Various plus points arrive in the form of a well stocked programme and souvenir shop and a nice inviting tea hut. Good to see chips and gravy under 2 quid rather than the Mayfair prices Bradford Park Avenue were ripping people off for on my last visit to a game (its a few spuds and a bit of gravy isn't it, not lobster in a saffron sauce). There is an excellent warm and friendly clubhouse at Ashton United, just the job at half time. Plenty of folk were busy downing pints and watching the big screen TV's for Sky Sports News results (quite a few apparently didn't return for the second half outside).
Full marks for the programme, it was £2 but there is good content and pictures from the last away game, I thought it was an improvement from the edition I purchased when I was last here which I think was back in the 2009/10 season.