ground hopper

Groundhopper: Enfield Town (Malcolm Stephenson)

Enfield Town 2 Lowestoft 2 (13/12/16).



Enfield were once a club that once existed and had great success to their History. They were originally formed in 1893 as Enfield Spartans and eventually folded in 2007. A club that had won the FA Amateur cup and the FA Trophy two times each. A club that were once Champions of the Gola league and knocking on the door of the Football league itself. Had automatic promotion been in effect at the time they would have been in the Football league. These were the days of the voting system and Enfield failed to gain entry. Enfield used to play at Southbury Road but lost the ground in 1990 and then ground shared with several other nearby clubs. After serious financial problems the club folded in 2007. Enfield Town approached the former club with the idea of a merger but they refused. Later Enfield 1883 were formed as a reformation of the original club and remain a separate entity to this day, playing in the local Essex league. Enfield Town were formed as they wanted to play in the area of the same name and currently play in the Ryman league. Enfield were another Non league team with FA cup success and reached the 4th round in 1981 losing at home to Barsnley in a replay. (more…)

Groundhopper: Stockton Town 3 Tow Law 2. (26/11/16). (Malcolm Stephenson)

Stockton Town 3 Tow Law 2. (26/11/16).

Northern League Division 2.


I was just about out the door when I got a phone call to say the Blyth match at Altringham in the Trophy was off due to a frozen pitch. I was straight onto the internet to find a game somewhere before the wife got a chance to want to go to Asda or some other bright idea of spending a fruitless Saturday afternoon. I soon spotted this game and it was relatively short distance to travel. (more…)

Groundhopper: Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (Malcolm Stephenson)

Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (15/11/16)

Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson



The Integro Doodson Sports cup competition does not particularly float my boat. Neither does it a lot of fans across the board judging by some of the attendances. A Tuesday night away in this competition is even less appetising. But what does excite more is a chance to visit a new ground with Blyth Spartans and this was probably the only reason i travelled down to Barnsley for this fixture. (more…)

Blyth Town 1 Billingham Synthonia 1 (2/11/16) Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson

Blyth Town 1 Billingham Synthonia 1 (2/11/16)

Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson




I have supported Blyth Spartans for nearly 40 years. I have travelled from Torquay to Dingwall (Ross County), from Cardiff to Lowestoft, Barcelona to Dublin and Oslo to Tiblisi (Georgia/in former USSR) to watch football. But in all that time I had never been to South Newsham playing fields to see Blyth Town. Tonight I achieved this goal and also set a new personal statistic of going to a game two nights running to the same town to watch two matches at different grounds. The previous night I had seen Blyth Spartans demolish Goole Town in a FA trophy replay 7-1. (more…)

Groundhopper : AFC Fylde 3 Halifax Town 2. (27/8/16) (Malcolm Stephenson)

AFC Fylde 3 Halifax Town 2. (27/8/16)



The journey to here was relatively straightforward. A69 to Carlisle, down the M6, take the Blackpool turnoff and its 6 miles on the left before the bright lights of the former mentioned sea side resort.

It has been an incredible rise for AFC Fylde over the past few years. In fact only 9 years ago they were playing in the West Lancashire league. At that time they were known as Kirkham and Wesham and they won the FA Vase in 2008. The club was only formed in 1988 and they played at Coronation Park before moving to Kellamergh Park in 2006. A rapid move through the pyramid system now brings them to the Conference North. The club appears to have a lot of drive, ambition and money as they have now moved into a £18 million pound Football league standard ground. The complex there also includes a supermarket, distribution centre, petrol station, restraint, sports pitches and sports sciences facilities. (more…)

Groundhopper: Hungerford 0 Eastbourne Borough 2 (20/8/16) (Malcolm Stephenson)

Hungerford 0 Eastbourne Borough 2 (20/8/16).




It was a full day out on the train to Berkshire for this match in the Conference South. A train to London Kings Cross them across on the tube to Paddington for the hour journey onto Hungerford. Its halfway between Reading and Swindon and you go through the former named as the trains travels to Hungerford.  (more…)

Groundhopper: Dalkieth Thistle 2 Thornton Hibs 3 (4/6/16) (Malcolm Stephenson)


Dalkieth Thistle 2 Thornton Hibs 3 (4/6/16)



Just a few weeks ago I thought last seasons ground visiting was over. However looking up the web site Non league matters I managed to find a league game in June which was a first for me. The Scottish Junior league were still going and in fact the very last game of the 2015-16 is on Wednesday next week. Scottish leagues seem to take a bit longer to complete and I think a lot of its to do with the weather over the winter months.

Its was a nice easy journey by car up the A1, past Berwick to Dalkeith which sits on the outskirts of Edinburgh. (more…)

Groundhopper: Bottesford Town v AFC Emley (Malcolm Stephenson)

Bottesford Town V AFC Emley (30/4/16)



I was really hoping for a play off a game today involving my own team, Blyth Spartans. However after an enthralling game last Tuesday night against Workington it was not to be as we lost 4-3. I was gutted after that match although on reflection a few days layer I thought it maybe just yet  and was not to be the end of the World. Possibly we are not just quite ready yet for that big step up into the Conference North. Despite my deflation this week at least a visit to a new ground can always raise my spirits. Otherwise a day of going shopping with the wife does little for my morale.

Groundhopper: Garforth Town V Athersley Recreation (2/4/16) (Malcolm Stephenson)

Garforth Town V Athersley Recreation (2/4/16)



I was actually going to Barnoldswick Town today and then travelling to see a friend in Blackpool, stopping overnight. Our great English inclement April weather put paid to that plan at 10 am on the Saturday morning when my travelling companion rang to say the match was off due to a waterlogged pitch. Plan B was Hallam at Sheffield which is y the oldest ground in the World. By the time I had got to Wetherby in the car the reports were that game was off to. Plan C was to try Garforth Town and plan D was to turn around and go home probably ending up taking the wife shopping. I was determined there was not going to be a plan D but the rain was driving down and it did not look good for Garforth. Since I was only 15 minutes away in the car I would push on and hope for the best. Luckily we got to there and the weather was not too bad actually. It must have been on oasis in the middle of Yorkshire that day and was well pleased to find a game that was on. (more…)