Groundhopper: Eccleshill United v AFC Emley (Malcolm Stephenson)

Eccleshill United V AFC Emley.


Despite being off work during the week with cold or ‘man flu’ as you might call it, there is nothing guaranteed more of an instant cure than someone just mentioning a football match we could go. As the wife got up just before midday from her badly needed ‘beauty sleep’ I was heading for the door and jumping in the car to drive down to Yorkshire.

Eccleshill Utd play in Wrose which is part of Bradford. The drive was straight forward. Down the A1/M1 turn off at Harrogate and follow the road to Bradford. The Sat Nav got me to the ground which is in the North part of the City without any problem.

The club was formed in 1948 and played in local leagues until 1985 when they joined the North East Counties league Division 3. I did not realise they had three divisions back then but was shortened down to two just a year later. The club has had a couple of promotions and relegations to the North East Counties Premier league over the years. Unfortunately in the FA cup Eccleshill have never done very well and not progressed past the 2nd qualifying round. However in the Vase they once battled through to the 5th round where they lost to Vauxhall Motors.

Plumpton park in a neat little ground and Bradford City play their reserve fixtures here. On entering the ground you are hit with a lot of blue. The pitch is surrounded by corrugated blue panels and the outside walls of the ground are mostly the same. The ground has a capacity of 2,225 and there is a small stand down one side which sat approx 100 people. There was some cover behind one of the goals for standing spectators. Also on this side was the changing rooms and social club.

Today I met up with two friends, Nick and Craig. Both fellow ground hoppers and two blokes disillusioned with the modern game and now thoroughly enjoying Non league football.

Eclleshill’s opponents today were AFC Emley. They were formed in 2005 after the original club moved to Wakefield and changed its name. Wakefield-Emley  eventuall became just Wakefield then folded in 2014. AFC Emley had one year in the Yorkshire league before joining the North East Counties league where they have been ever since. The original Emley once played West Ham in the FA cup 3rd round and narrowly lost 2-1 at Upton Park.

The game kicked off and the hosts seemed to have the slight edge in terms of possession and going forward. Gradually AFC Emley came more into the game and by the time the first half ended the game was quite even with little to separate the two sides.

I expected the second half to take off where the first ended. How wrong could I be. In a 5 minute spell after the break Ashley Finn put the away side 2-0 up and a few minutes later Ruben Jerome scored a third goal. The game was effectively over in a 10 minute blitz. Jordan Courduri compounded the home sides misery by scoring a fourth goal on 65 minutes to complete four goals in 16 minutes. Jermaine Springer pulled one #back for Eccleshill on 84 minutes but it was not enough to turn around a miserable afternoon for the home side.

To complete my day was the text I received to say Matthew Wade had scored for Blyth at Nantwich Town to give them a 2-1 win in a top of the table clash. Get in Matty!

After the game I dropped Craig off at Bradford Inter change and we passed the City ground on the way. Craig was almost spitting blood at the sight of them as he is a Bradford Park Avenue fan. I later dropped Nick off near York and headed home.

I returned home and the wife was there sitting on her ‘little’ backside watching the box. Needless to say no housework had been done and she was soon off to bed to catch up on some even more beauty sleep.

Cannot wait until Tuesday now with a big clash at Croft Park when Blyth play Salford City in important top of the table game. As much as  I like ground hopping I do not like to miss my Blyth games.



Prog- £1


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