No.7 - Wed. 1st September 2010; Peterborough & District League Prem Div;                     6.15pm at the Grange, Mayor's Walk, Peterborough, Cambs.


Matchday images (18)

Netherton United (3) 4  Alconbury (1) 1

One to watch...

'You really do need to get a SatNav Dad'. Wise words indeed. This was the response from my daughter Jo as we pulled up (not for the first time) to ask for directions on the Peterborough ring road. A combination of poor planning; the heavy rush hour traffic and an rapidly approaching kick-off time, all conspired to upset our best chances of reaching Netherton United Football Club for their Peterborough and District League Premier Division match against Alconbury United.


Having left our printed Google map and directions on the living room table, the last part of our journey was really down to memory and a bit of luck. Realising that I needed a bit of extra help my co-passengers suggested that I should stop and ask one of the locals for assistance. Not being the type to admit failure (possibly the trait of being an only child) I reluctantly found a safe place to pull in, wound the window down and called over to one of the local residents passing by. Thankfully the young guy had a pretty good knowledge of the area and relayed the necessary route and landmarks that we should follow from here (Dogsthorpe) to the ground (in Mayor's Walk in Netherton). Despite messing up once more (turning left too early and ending up in a cul-de-sac) we eventually arrived at the 'Grange' playing fields with ten minutes to spare before the 6.15pm kick off. Phew!!


According to the club history, Netherton United FC was established back in 1991 when Ray Branch, caretaker of Thorpe Junior School and manager of the school team, recognised the need for a new football team in the Netherton area of Peterborough. Spurred on by many of the boys in his side who wanted to continue playing, Ray's vision for a new team began to become reality, when the first committee, chaired by Ron Seddon was formed and achieved entry into the Junior Alliance league. 

For two years, the teams played at Thorpe School, but as the club grew and needed more room, it became evident that more space was required. In 1993 Netherton United moved across the road to The Grange. By 1998, the original Netherton squad were now too old for junior football, so the club took the big step into men's football, entering teams in both the Saturday and Sunday P&DL leagues. Both teams achieved tremendous success and, by 2002, the Saturday team had achieved the league (Div 5) and cup double and the Sunday team had reached the Premier League in just four seasons. Last season saw United gain promotion into the Premier Division of the competition for the first time in their short history.


With the P&DL programme of fixtures already in full swing thanks to some early midweek matches, tonight's game was the third one for Netherton who, since gaining promotion from Division 1 last season, had already managed to pick up three points so far having lost 0-2 (v Ramsey Town) and won 3-2 (v Eye Sports). Visitors Alconbury had been far less fortunate having lost all three of their opening contests with the following results: 2-5 (v Ramsey Town); 1-2 (v Oundle) and 0-4 (v Coates Athletic). There was plenty of hopping interest for the neutrals from racing HQ: could the new boys build on their last victory to leave Alconbury firmly rooted at the foot of the table or would Bury finally end their poor run of form and pick up their first points of the season?


The game, played in glorious sunshine on a flat and recently mown surface, was a superb advert for the league, another one of my favourite local competitions. As expected the result went according to the form book. United opened the scoring after only five minutes when Ed Patton capitalised on some poor marking at a corner to toe poke the ball in from close range. Striker Tom Randall (11) soon added a second when he was perfectly placed to meet a free kick with a neat half-volley at the back post. Before the half hour Randall (29) netted a third again seizing on to an error in the Alconbury defence leaving him unmarked and with the easiest of chances to tap in from just two yards out. The visitors reduced the deficit beore the interval when Tim Hollicks long range shot took a wicked deflection off a defender and left the home keeper wrong footed and unable to reach the ball which spun into the empty net. The final goal of the game came immediately after the break when Alan Hayne (48) outpaced his marker to slot home from a tight angle inside the box. Despite a late flurry Alconbury couldn't get back into the game, the final result leaving them worryingly, even at this early stage, stranded at the bottom of the table. For United I will, on this performance, watch their future results keenly with interest.       


An impressive crowd, well in excess of fifty spectators, included several hoppers, all keen no doubt on getting in a bonus midweek tick at this level of the pyramid. I was joined pitchside for most of the game by local lad and avid Sunderland fan, Terry and Martin Hollands who had travelled from his base in Kent. We enjoyed chatting about things to do with football travelling past, present and future! Nice to meet you fellas, have a good season wherever you go.


The site is surrounded mainly by residential housing and some local allotments. Considering it is a council owned venue, facilities at the Grange (as it is known locally) are superb. All the main buildings (changing rooms, equipment stores etc) are found in a row beside the driveway and adjacent gravel car park. The club is very fortunate in having their own pavilion and tea bar. A varied menu of hot food and drinks are served throughout the game from a hatch at the front. A large club logo is painted in full colour on the wall inside the clubhouse which incorporates a smart bar and function room. 


To reach the playing field players and spectators cross over the driveway. The main pitch which appears to be  exceptionally wide, is one of several used on the site and is marked out near enough in the centre of the field. Tonight it was fully roped off and well manicured by a number of hardworking groundsmen employed by the City's Parks Department. The guy in overalls, unwinding the rope just before kick-off, told me that he had been at work since dawn busy weeding, cutting grass and digging graves!! It wasn't surprising when I espied him slumped down having a nap beside the changing rooms during the second half. Sadly there is no pitchside cover here, not even dug outs. So if you do intend to make a visit pick a nice day or evening. It will be worth it though!


Although the club do not issue programmes or publish their own website, useful information can be accessed from the Northamptonshire County FA site. For further details on the club's history and contact info click on the following link:


To reach the club from the A1(M) come off at junction 16 and take the A15/B1043 exit to Yaxley/Stilton. Continue along the A15 (London Road) for about five miles (as far as the PUFC London Road Stadium). Travel past the Rivergate shopping centre and onto Bourges Boulevard. After by-passing the Peterborough BR station, cross the railway line and take a left turn into Mayor's Walk. The entrance to the Grange is about 500m on the right hand side and will come into view after passing Westwood Park Road on your left. Now I don't reckon you need a SatNav to work that out...mind you, I wonder if we get lost en route to football again whether Santa might come to the rescue...cough, cough...the joys of hopping in large cities continues!


FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) E Patten (5); T Randall (11; 29); A Hayne (48) and (A) T Hollick (37)

Attendance: 53; Admission: and Programme: N/A; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 3/5.


edited 02/09/10