Groundhopper : Barton Town Old Boys 4 Parkgate 5 (29/4/17). (Malcolm Stephenson)

Barton Town Old Boys 4 Parkgate 5 (29/4/17).


Blyth’s season might be now over but there are hopefully a few more matches for me to get to before the season is finally over across the country. On the final Saturday in April I decided upon Barton Town Old Boys in the North East Counties league Premier Division.  

It was a relatively straight forward journey down the M1 then across the M62 towards Hull. Before getting to Hull I turned off and went across the Humber Bridge which is massive construction. In fact for a period it was actually the largest bridge in the world.

Barton was just on the other side of the bridge which is in Lincolnshire.

The club was founded in 1995 when Barton Town and Barton Old Boys merged. The club has played in the Lincolnshire league, The Humber Premier league and the Central Midlands league until moving to the North East Counties league in 2006. In 2011 they won promotion the Premier division. Unfortunately this season they have already been relegated back to the first division when I visited.

The Swans (nickname) play at the Easy Buy ground which has 240 seats, cover for 540 and a ground capacity for 3,000. The club house and changing rooms are on the same side as you go in with the social club alongside as well. On the other side of the pitch is a covered seating area. Behind the goal at the top end are two small metal covered sheds type structures for standing spectators. I sat in the main seated area to amazingly find a few cushioned seats which was very unusual for a football league ground never mind a non league one.

For today’s match were offering a deal for £10. For that you got your admission and programme, a voucher for drinks at the bar and another voucher for something to eat. A bargain too good to be missed!

The home side kicked off in blue strips while today’s opponents were Parkgate who played in red ones. Barton were already relegated and Parkgate had nothing to play for as they had ensured relegation safety. The home side scored after 6 minutes with a bizarre goal. The goalkeeper tipped a 30 yard shot onto the cross bar only to see it bounce of the goal line and the backspin took the ball into the net. The sprawled goalie on the ground was unable to do anything about it.

Not much else happened in the first half but it did seem a far from end of season game.. Some hard tackles were going in from both sides. The teams went in at half time with Barton still leading one nil. On watching the TV in the clubhouse I learnt York City had been relegated and will be playing Blyth next season which will be a crowd pulling tie for us. I cannot wait for that particular match.

One player in the Barton line up was a certain Gary Bradshaw. He had previously played amongst other clubs Hull City and Cheltenham Town. He also played for North Ferriby when they played Blyth a few years back. By sheer coincidence, at half time I was speaking to his father at one point.

What happened in the second half took me by suprise. Far from an end of season match it turned into a real humdinger of a game. Seconds after kick off the visitors scored an equaliser. I had missed it as I was coming out of the toilet in the social club. Then walking around the dugout I missed the next goal when the home side restored their lead. How unlucky was that. I had missed two goals in as many minutes!?

The game then turned into a goal flowing match. Over the 90 minutes Barton Town took the lead 4 times only to see the visitors equalise each time. Then right at the very end of the game on the 90th minute, Parkgate scored again to end a dramatic match. Barton must have been gutted at today’s result as much as their relegation.

It does not matter how many games you have been to there is something different about every match you attend. I am never bored and its great life watching football. The Grandchildren came to the house on Saturday through the day and asked where is Grandad? The wife stated to them- “At the football” to which they replied “Again”! Such is life and I am not changing anything for no body.



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