Saturday, October 31, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Diss Town 0 March Town United 2 - Eastern Counties League, Division One North
Diss is a market town and electoral ward in South Norfolk, close to the county border with Suffolk. The town lies in the valley of the River Waveney and takes its name from dic an Anglo-Saxon word meaning either ditch or embankment. Opposite the 14th-century parish church of St. Mary the Virgin stands a 16th-century building known as the Dolphin House. This was one of the most important buildings in the town. Its impressive dressed-oak beams denote it as an important building, possibly a wool merchant's house. Formerly a pub, the Dolphin, from the 1800s to the 1960s, the building now houses a number of small businesses. Adjacent to Dolphin House is the town's market place, the geographical and social centre of the town. The market is held every Friday (except Good Friday and other holidays, when it is rescheduled to the preceding Thursday): a variety of local traders sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and cheeses. The market was first granted a charter by Richard the Lionheart. The town's post office and main shopping street (Mere Street) are also located by the marketplace. A railway journey from London to Diss is the subject of a poem by the late Sir John Betjeman: "A Mind's Journey to Diss". He also made a short documentary film in 1964 entitled Something about Diss.
The football club was established in 1888 following a suggestion from the local cricket club, with whom the football club initially shared the ground on Roydon Road. In 1892 the club won their first trophy, the Norfolk Junior Cup, beating the Great Yarmouth Town second team in the final. In 1906 Diss joined the Norwich and District League. In 1935 they moved up to the Norfolk & Suffolk League, and were runners-up in 1955–56. They won the league cup the following season, and again in 1960 and 1961. In 1964 the club were founder members of the Anglian Combination, winning Division One in 1967–68 (also winning the league cup) and again in 1973–74. In 1975 Diss won the Norfolk Senior Cup, beating St Andrews 3–2 at Carrow Road. In 1975–76 they finished as league runners up and league cup winners. In 1976–77 they won the Premier Division, and won it again in 1978–79. In 1980 and 1982 the club won the league cup again. During the 1983–84 season Diss moved to a new ground at Brewers Green Lane, and in 1988 became founder members of Division One of the Eastern Counties League. After finishing third, sixth and fourth, they won Division One in 1991–92 and were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1993-94 the club won the FA Vase in front of a crowd of 13,450 at Wembley, beating Taunton Town 2–1 after extra time, following an injury time equaliser.
journey by train was made from Cheshunt via Cambridge and Norwich. I used a discounted (£5:00) rail voucher (thanks again
Martin). On arrival at Diss, the opportunity was taken to explore the magnificent town centre. From the railway station it takes around 15 minutes to walk and it is worth the effort. Many of the buildings are from a bygone era and very few are of similar design in respect of both size and shape. The central feature of the town is a picturesque mere, which attracts wildlife and visitors. The street and roads fit in with the fine quirky buildings, one of which is the Saracens Head public house. In order to satisfy both curiosity and thirst at the same time, this Pieman entered this established enjoying Adnam’s Ghost Ship and Woodforde’s Wherry, along with a super meal of haddock (from Lowestoft), chips and peas.
The walk from the centre to the football ground takes a little over ten minutes along a pleasant residential road. Brewers Green Lane is not paved in the lead up to the ground but this is only for a short distance and it is not long before you reach the car park and the entrance. The entry turnstile is located at the far left of the car park and a friendly welcome was enjoyed on entry. The majority of the club buildings are situated on the side. There appears to be a club shop in a cabin, but this structure was in use as additional changing facilities during the pandemic.
The main club house building is modern in appearance and contains changing facilities and a spacious bar and refreshment area. Almost adjacent is the covered seated main stand where the steep steps offer an exceptionally good vantage point to view the match. On a blustery day this was my refuge for the match. The oxtail soup went down a treat too. For almost the full length of the area behind one of the goal is another covered area containing a couple of steps of shall terracing. The opposite end of the ground offers no additional spectator facilities and backs onto residential housing.
The remaining side of the ground boasts another smaller covered structure, which was out of bounds today due to the restrictions. Some very tall trees are decent protection from adverse weather and also assist in keeping footballs within the ground. This match saw visitors March Town United look to continue their good run of form this season (18 points from 7 matches) against a home side that had won all of their midweek matches but had failed to win on a Saturday! The first half an hour saw neither side play particularly well on what could be described as a bobbly pitch, but by the break, March had started to show why they were sitting third in the table and had created a few chances.
The visitors continued their improving form in the second period and a brace from striker Jack Friend proved to be enough for March Town United to take the three points back to Fenland. It was only after they conceded the second goal that Diss played their best football of the match and seemed to grow in confidence, almost scoring on a couple of occasions. The walk back to the station was followed by decent connections to Norwich, Cambridge North and ultimately Cheshunt. Diss is a lovely place to visit – Phil Tuson was spot on about that.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Kirkley & Pakefield 4 Long Melford 3 - Eastern Counties League, Premier Division
Kirkley is a district within the town of Lowestoft in Suffolk. It is located south of the centre of Lowestoft and the town's Bascule Bridge and north of Pakefield and Kessingland. Kirkley was originally an independent village and still retains its old fashioned village feel by the seaside but after centuries of urban sprawl and development of the harbour area, is now part of the urban conurbation of Lowestoft. Kirkley is also the site of Britten House, a large Victorian house in Kirkley Cliff Road where the composer Benjamin Britten was born in 1913. Pakefield is a village, located around 2 miles south of the centre of the town of Lowestoft. Bloodmoor Hill, between Pakefield and Carlton Colville, was the site of settlement in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and the 7th and 8th centuries. In the Doomsday book Pakefield is called "Pagefella", the name probably coming from the Pagan settlement name of Pagga's or Pacca's field. Pakefield later developed as a fishing community. The former terminus of the Tram Service from Lowestoft is located in the centre of Pakefield and is now the site of the Tramway Hotel.
modern Kirkley FC came into being in 1975 when Anglian Combination club
Brooke Marine, who were linked to the Brooke Marine shipbuilders and
playing at the Kirkley Recreation Ground on Walmer Road, applied to
change their name to Kirkley Football Club. As the name was owned by
Lowestoft Town, the club had to take the name Kirkley United in 1978.
Under the new name they were Division Two champions in 1978–79, earning
promotion to Division One. The following season the club won Division
One and was promoted to the Premier Division. However, after finishing
second-from-bottom of the Premier Division in 1983–84 they were
relegated back to Division One. After winning the Division One title in
1988–89 the club returned to the Premier Division. Kirkley were Premier
Division champions in 1999–2000 and won the Suffolk Senior Cup the
following season. In 2001–02 they claimed a treble, winning the Premier
Division title, the league's Senior Knock-out Cup, and the Suffolk
Senior Cup again, beating Haverhill Rovers 4–3 after extra time. In
2002–03 they won the Premier Division title for a third time in four
years, and were promoted to Division One of the Eastern Counties League.
The club were promoted to the Premier Division after finishing third in
Division One in 2004–05. In 2007 the club merged with Pakefield
Football Club, adopting the current name.
journey by train was made from Cheshunt via Cambridge and Norwich. I used a discounted (£5:00) rail voucher (thanks again
Martin). Immediately opposite Lowestoft Station is The Joseph Conrad (JD
Wetherspoon). At this establishment, this Pieman enjoyed a couple of
pints of Encore from the local (Great Yarmouth) Lacon’s Brewery (3.8%).
This award winning Amber Ale was just the right accompaniment for the
fish and chips, which went down a treat after the long journey.
To reach Walmer Road on foot from the railway station takes around 35-40 minutes and much of the route is one straight road. I was informed that the stations at Oulton Broad are slightly nearer, but using Lowestoft Station provides options of travelling via Ipswich or Norwich, rather than one or the other. The ground is part of the larger Kirkley Community Sports and Social Club and you pass other pitches as you approach the main ground.
My immediate impression on entering was of a well-run community club. This was reinforced as the afternoon progressed. The clubhouse has recently been refurbished and is smart with a mixture of functional and comfortable seating. There are numerous TV screens and the Merseyside derby was being shown at the time. Opposite the clubhouse on the far side of the pitch is a covered seated stand. Behind one of the goals is a wooden covered area, which was populated more in the second half when the home side was attacking that end. There is a separate building containing the changing rooms and I believe this facility also serves the outer pitches. Adjacent to this is another covered area for spectators.
Prior to the match, the home side had won five of their nine matches and were 3rd in the table. Long Melford were next to bottom with one point from 4 matches. However, it was the visitors that impressed during the first period and were a constant threat going forward. It was a surprise when the hosts took the lead with a well-taken strike. Long Melford did well to rally and deservedly were level at the break.
The second half saw a much better display from the home side and with both sides looking to attack a very lively contest ensued. It was hard to predict who would score as things evened out. Each time Kirkley & Pakefield scored, Long Melford came back. At 3-3 I felt we had the right result only for the hosts to snatch the points near the end. The result was harsh on Long Melford, as they are clearly a far better team than their current position suggests. The previous Tuesday, the home side had won 4-3 and this result was repeated today. An enjoyable sunny autumn day at the coast!
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Gorleston 3 Downham Town 2 - FA Vase, 2nd Qualifying Round
Gorleston-on-Sea is a town in Norfolk, to the south of Great Yarmouth. Situated at the mouth of the River Yare, it was a port town at the time of the Doomsday Book. The port then became a centre of fishing for herring along with salt pans used for the production of salt to preserve the fish. In Edwardian times the fishing industry rapidly declined and the town's role changed to that of a seaside resort. Historically the town was in the county of Suffolk. In the Middle Ages it had two manors, and a small manor called Bacons. In 1832, it became a part of Great Yarmouth for electoral purposes. Finally in 1835 it merged with the town and became part of Great Yarmouth in the county of Norfolk. Two railway stations once served the town. Both were on the coastal line which joined Great Yarmouth with Lowestoft - Gorleston-on-Sea closed in 1970 whilst its neighbour, Gorleston North closed in 1942. In the Great Storm of 1987, Gorleston experienced the highest wind speed recorded in the UK on that day, which was 122 mph.
The football club was established on 27 September 1887 by members of Gorleston Cricket Club looking for a winter pastime, and was initially nicknamed the "Cards", playing in crimson shirts and blue shorts. The first competitive match was a game against Beccles Caxton in the Suffolk Senior Cup. In 1935 Gorleston FC was a founder member of the Eastern Counties League. Their final trophy before World War II was the Senior Cup in 1937–38, beating local rivals Great Yarmouth Town 3–0. After the war, the club won the Senior Cup again in 1951. In 1951–52 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, and were drawn against Leyton Orient. After a 2–2 draw at Brisbane Road and a 0–0 draw at the Recreation Ground (at which the club's record attendance of 4,473 was set), a second replay was held at Arsenal Stadium (Highbury), resulting in a 5–4 win for Leyton Orient, with Gorleston having been 4–1 down at one point in the match. In 1983 the club left their former Recreation Ground base to move to Emerald Park. In November 2019 the club revealed plans to move to a new ground on the site of East Norfolk Sixth Form College on Church Lane.
The journey by train was made from Cheshunt via London Liverpool Street and Norwich. I used a discounted rail voucher resulting in a return fare of £5:00 (thanks again Martin). On arrival at Great Yarmouth, I headed straight for The Troll Cart (J D Wetherspoon) taking advantage of the large breakfast and a couple of decent guest ales. This establishment is adjacent to bus station and a number of regular services run to Gorleston from there. The most frequent being route 8 which also serves Caister in the other direction. The journey across the River and along to Gorleston takes around 25 minutes, route 8 takes you to within 5 minutes walk of the ground.
On arrival at the ground, there was an immediate welcome from the gentlemen manning the entrance. I was able to explore the ground and even given permission to go onto the pitch. Emerald Park is a superb venue and has cover on three sides of the ground. Step terracing is complemented with rows of seating along one side. My initial thoughts were that this venue is better than many playing at higher level. The fully enclosed ground is part of a much wider green field expanse with other football pitches and recreational facilities. I was told that when the club relocate, a total of 97 houses would be built on the site.
I was also informed that the new ground would have a 4G surface. The new place will be functional and efficient, but it will take a lot for it to get anywhere near Emerald Park in terms of charms and quirky character. Along the main side of the pitch are a collection of buildings including the changing rooms, clubhouses and turnstile area. I guess that this collection has emerged over the years and represents a lot in terms of the history of the club. I also got the impression that there is a real club spirit at Gorleston with everyone pulling together to do their bit.
This FA Vase encounter with Downham Town would be settled on the day, if necessary, by penalties. The visitors were on a good run of form and although a dour first half ended goalless, it was they that had looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Seven minutes into a lively second half, Downham took the lead through Ryan Pearson. Another goal for the visitors may well have put the game out of reach for Gorleston. However, it was the hosts that sprung into life with their best movement of the match when Chris Henderson equalised. Surprisingly, Downham took the lead again through Joe Jackson (whilst down to ten men temporarily as a result of a player being sent to the sin bin).
Substitute Marcus Dunthorne-McInerney scored a second leveller for Gorleston in the 87th minute, before Henderson grabbed his second and the winning goal to send Gorleston into the next round. The result was harsh on Downham Town who for most of the match did not look like a team from a lower division. They certainly did not deserve to be beaten. However, goals win football matches and Gorleston scored three from what I believe were their only direct attempts on goal! I’m so glad I managed to visit this wonderful ground!
Saturday, October 03, 2020
Great Yarmouth Town 2 Framlingham Town 1 - Eastern Counties League, Division One North
Although the ground also contains a running track and the usual athletics field event furniture, it is possible to get a good view of the match from the terrace side. This encounter with Framlingham Town ebbed and flowed throughout and was certainly good value for this neutral. The home side’s first goal was direct from a Declan McAvoy corner. This was cancelled out when Josh Tysoe levelled on 24 minutes. A triple substitution by the home side during the second half was followed by Fionn Goodwin-Wright (one of those subs) giving the home side the lead. Some fine goalkeeping from Elvijs Putnins ensured all three points for Great Yarmouth Town. I was particularly impressed with the award winning match programme.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Coggeshall Town 2 Heybridge Swifts 0 - Isthmian League, North Division