Where's The Tea Hut reflects upon local football South West style with a few trips further afield. Keep the faith & stay safe.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Dark Side of the Moon

I'm going to be off the radar for the next week.

Still got some games to attend but the reports wont be posted until Sunday 3rd October.

Happy hopping hoppers.

Maybe I'll see you on the Dark Side of the Moon?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

More images of Hallam

Fancy a bit more Hallam stuff?
Theres plenty more where this came from.
Some more naff snaps from the Penrith rout:

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Saturday 18th September
FA Vase 2nd Round Qualifying
Hallam 6 Penrith 2
Attendance: 72 (Head count)
Admission: £5
Programme: 50p (Reduced cup tie edition)
Tea hut purchases: Steak pie £1.60p, Tea 90p (2 cups)
Weather: Autumnal chill with a dull leaden sky
Parking: Just down from 'The Plough', a bank robbers exit
The Match Shed hates the abysmal Glossop traffic, the sensible, practical route meant spending half an hour in the bottle-neck jams of a Safety Co-ordinators traffic light nirvana. The engine raced as we kissed the mess goodbye. Up, up and over the foreboding but hauntingly beautiful Snake-Pass, the Match Shed pulling 'full throttle' for Hallam. Its perfect Peak District all the way until you hit the first semi detached houses, take the first proper right and you're soon on Sandygate the home of the oldest football ground in the whole wide world! My trip was long enough, spare a thought for the old coach that trundled down from the edge of the Northern Lakes, as we arrived, the trusty Penrith team bus was still steaming in the pub car park opposite the ground, its non playing passengers gulping foamy pints to rinse away the journey. The vehicle looked like an entrant for a heritage transport rally. 2010 must be the Chinese year for the sloping pitch, boy I've seen a few this year, this was the Big Daddy though, wow, what a hillside! From the goalposts outside 'The Plough' to the goalposts down by the cricket nets it looked like a one in four. Surely a trait that those crafty Hallam types will keep up their sleeves for tactical exploitation?After the horror pie at Ossett Albion last week Frugal Glenn said I must be dafter than I look to try another one, it was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned, I was bloody starving so I went straight to the Tea Hut. "A pie of your finest shin beef and golden pastry Young Wench" I ordered (in my Henry the Eighth voice). The old lady behind the counter thought I was a knob and just mumbled "One pound sixty". Time for a drink as well I thought "Becalm my arid throat with your finest Ceylon tea" I barked, she calmly retorted "90p" with a disinterested kind of look. Good to know I've still got that cutting charm with the ladies.Frugal Glenn had gone and stood somewhere else, he was wearing his new shoes again and didn't want me cramping his style. The steak pie was ok really but it fell into that worrying bracket I am seeing more and more at grounds these days, 'The Supermarket Pie'. These pastries do what they set out to do but are generally a bit bland, shy on decent filling and never go to that really special pie place conjured up by Mrs Beaton and Desperate Dan, thats why you can usually get 2 for a quid at the likes of Morrisons and Tesco's. As I sat in the stand I noticed a half empty gallon bottle of wine on the floor in front of the empty seat marked 'Director', bloody hell, I hope the footballs not that bad round here that everybody has to get half cut on plonk. I need not have worried, this glorious cup tie produced fine football, grit, determination and 8 wonderful goals (ok 2 were penalties).At half time it was 1-1 and Penrith had created enough chances playing up the almighty hill to be away with the fairies. They broke away regularly and always cut up the home defence, they must have been kicking themselves to be only level pegging at the break. With the ski-slope at their backs for the second half they'd surely be using the scoreboard from the adjoining cricket pitch to keep up with the scoreline. Oh what a difference a half time talk and a slice of orange does......... Penrith looked like Bunnykins and his Rabbit Gang caught in the full beam of a Hallam Juggernaut in that second period. The daring breaks and clinical counter attacking were all but nullified by a finely measured resolute team performance from a resurgent Hallam side oozing in Flashman type one upmanship, they bossed Penrith off the park in the last 45.When you consider that both sides played by far their better football playing up the massive slope you really start to wonder how much tactical 'human-behaviour' plays a part in team psychology in the modern game, either that or they can't keep up with the ball when its running down that hill at such a speed. Hallam dictated more and more as the game wore on. If we had played an extra ten minutes they could easily have been in double figures, it was that kind of game. Frugal Glenn put the Penrith retreat down to tiredness, he reckoned they were coach-lagged from the rigours of the long journey south. How else could a side so lethal-looking in the first half end up being drubbed so convincingly at the final whistle? Perhaps teams need to look at the amount of warming up exercises they do before a game. Every week I see teams out running around and jumping through hoops for 50 minutes before kick off, no wonder some of them are fagged out in the final quarter of a game? Or was this particular cup tie more about that slope and how Hallam play it? Not often you see a Northern League side put to the sword like today.

Friday, 17 September 2010

The road to Wembley hits Hallam

It's FA Vase time again!

The Match Shed will be taking on the traffic blackspot of Glossop before the scenic trawl over the enjoyable heights of the Snake Pass. Destination Hallam Football Club on the western outskirts of Sheffield.

The visitors 'Penrith' play their football in the mighty Northern League and nobody from that stable gives an easy game, especially in the Vase.

Another excellent episode of 'The Road to Wembley'.
Report and pictures (hopefully) up around Sunday evening.

Monday, 13 September 2010

A bit more Ossett Albion stuff

Whilst reflecting upon my visit to Ossett Albion (see report further down) I detected a surprising trend. That was my 15th match this season and I have yet to see any of the home sides win a game!

Here are a few more pictures from the Ossett Albion v Whitley Bay clash

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Ossett Albion

Saturday 11th September
FA Cup First Round Qualifying Tie
Ossett Albion 1 Whitley Bay 2
Attendance: 194
Admission: £7
Programme: £2 (bit steep for the content)
Tea hut purchase: Steak pie at £1.50p (oh dear)
Weather: Fair, mild, odd shower & sunny spell
Parking: Off the nearby main road, 5 minute walk I clocked them as he walked towards the Match Shed, what the hell was he wearing? He resembled one of those clowns from Billy Smarts Circus, the ones who wear those ridiculous oversized shoes that bend up at the ends. Frugal Glenn had bought a new pair of shoes! He'd got them from Asda's apparently, they'd had a remnants sale and although they were 2 sizes too big for him, he couldn't turn them down at the price? They looked like fake crocodile skin in various shades of dog poo brown but the main feature was the length of them, they must have been at least 16 inches long with the toes curling up like fancy Turkish slippers. I'm afraid Frugal Glenn looked even more strange than normal. He reckoned he looked pretty trendy? We got to the place easy really, I parked the Match Shed a block down from the Brewery Tap pub which already had numerous Whitley Bay replica shirts in the visible beer garden. I'd tried to get a parking place on the club car park but for the second week running I'd come across an adjoining cricket ground with a match taking place. Space was a non-starter and to make matters worse the only access and egress was though a tight narrow lane, this had the potential to create a major bottle neck come the final whistle. We made our way back to watch a bit of the cricket after leaving the Match Shed well away from the gridlock. The field was on the side of a hill, further down this same hill lay the football stadium. It seemed strange watching a fast bowler charging down the hill and then letting fly at the poor batsman at the other end, there was the potential to generate some exocet styled pace under such conditions, had to pity the fat bloke who had to bowl uphill into the breeze the following over though, he got a real tonking.Upon entering the Warehouse Systems Football Stadium at around 2.30pm I was surprised at the number of Ground Hoppers mulling around, there were multi coloured anoraks and fancy rucksacks all over the place, it looked like a Millets convention. It was a good few hours since my bacon and egg muffin so I hit the Tea Hut immediately. There was a smell of burning burgers as I entered a strangely uncharismatic snack bar room. The shrunken blackened burger still smoked unattended on the greasy grill plate as I checked out the menu. Mmm, steak pie at £1.50p, that should do the business. I paid cash and the girl went off to the back of the kitchen to get it. I stumbled out of the Tea Hut in shock, I was feeling dizzy and not quite right, I breathlessly called over to Frugal Glenn who was reading my programme, I was struggling to get the words out, "whats the matter, whats wrong" said a worried Frugal, "look at it, look at it" I gasped, I could feel my knees going. Frugal glanced down at a white tray with a white fork and there in the middle of the polystyrene plate lay the smallest tiny pie I had ever seen EVER! It was just 2 inches in diameter and I'd paid one pound fifty for the pleasure.Frugal splurted out "the robbing b*st*rds", it was one of the rare occasions when his judgement befitted the tragic circumstances. This miniature example was not even a dinky or a party pie, how did they have the audacity and bare faced cheek to pass off such a thing? It took two bites to finish and it didn't even have proper steak in it! They'd done a real Jessie James job on me thats for sure. It was the best part of an hour before my palpitations ceased. The sizeable following from the North East gathered from the local pubs just in time for kick off, the liquid refreshment for many of them carried on via the Peter Eaton Bar inside the ground, the bar offers pitchside views through the windows or outside by the picnic tables (not sure if its just cans rather than draft ale though?). The ground looked neat and tidy with plenty of red and gold paint around the place, the pitch had a significant slope across it but the turf looked immaculate in condition and uniformity. The main stand has been renovated and had three rows of seating which offered good views of the action. We sat in here for the first half.The Whitley Bay singers were in the homely looking end by the club shop, a terrace also offering cover here for those possible rain showers which had been forecast. An Ossett Albion flag adorned the opposite end, an all metal fabricated mini kop with metal terracing included. The touchline opposite the main stand houses some large brick built dug outs which negate any views at the half way line, the few rows of terracing either side of these excessively large dug outs are extremely tight and narrow, anyone walking past would usually disturb the view of the pitch, strange in a planning sense really as there is just the big open space of the cricket ground behind the wall. Over hearing many comments from the Northern League Whitley Bay supporters they obviously considered themselves major favourites to win this match even though Albion play a step higher up the league pyramid in the Evo Stik NPL Division 1 North.... and do you know what? They proved absolutely correct in their judgement. Whitley Bay were the far superior side in this match, they passed it well, had good movement and created lots of chances, the Ossett goal was under siege for most of the first half. As for Ossett Albion they never seemed to get out of the blocks, they appeared listless and lacked direction and drive, very little creativity could be seen, this looked a game with only one winner even with the scores somehow still level at half time (0-0). The first Whitley Bay goal came 8 minutes into the second period, an ordinary looking speculative effort from Paul Chow somehow sneaked past the keeper to send the visiting supporters into rapture.Ossett seemed to rally (a bit) but when Craig McFarlane headed home the second while the keeper and his centre half dawdled in front of him the fat lady snatched hold of the microphone and walked onto the stage. Remarkably Shane Kelsey slinked one back for the home side (from nowhere) with just a few minutes remaining and astonishingly enough Ossett only just failed to grab an undeserved equaliser with a manic goalmouth scramble right at the death, it was not to be. Make no mistake, Whitley Bay deserved this win and in my opinion were worth far more than the margin identified. Credit to the almost non stop singing and boisterous vocal support from the visiting support as well, although the sour faced old ladies watching the cricket had probably had enough of the North Eastern charm come quarter to five.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Me, Frugal Glenn and the Match Shed are heading into the depths of uncharted Yorkshire this Saturday. Past Dewsbury Rams rugby league ground and the suburbs of Hanging Heaton, deeper and deeper we go, beyond the sign that says 'Go Back While You Can'. The target is the home of Ossett Albion for the fantastic looking cup tie against the mighty Whitley Bay. Should be a classic. Time for that wonderful poem from Keats: 'Beer Junky Geordies On The A1 South'. There are already rumours the pies will run out before kick off. Hopefully the Tea Hut report will be up around Sunday teatime.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Saturday 4th September
FA Vase First Round Qualifying Tie
Silsden 1 Tow Law Town 2
Attendance: 124
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.50 (Very history based edition)
Tea hut purchases: A round steak pie £1.10 & tea at 60p
Weather: Fair, mild and dry
Parking: Overflow car park round the back, easy exit
This looked tie of the round to me. Silsden back home with a nice new set up, (plus they seem to have a decent squad for this campaign) facing that famous club from the might of the Northern League 'Tow Law Town', I can still remember that great FA Cup run they had in the late 60's, the name just oozes character.
The Match-Shed kicked free of the traffic and hit the dual carriageway just as it passed the Lawkholme Lane ground of Keighley Cougars rugby league ground, a stadium where Silsden had been (expensive) paying-guests for the past 7 years. A few miles up the road lay the nice little town of Silsden, famous for a Gordon Ramsey 'TV hatchet job' on a local restaurant and the home of the kings of Formula 1 Stock Car Racing 'The Wainmans from Wainman Farm'. The Match Shed jousted with second hand 4x4's as 'Mill Town Hikers' hurried to get an afternoon in The Dales. I was soon at the club car park just by the cricket ground entrance, unfortunately a game was taking place, "Sorry mate, you'll have to take the Match Shed round to the overflow car park" (Ok, he didn't actually call it a match shed but I bet he was thinking that). He clocked my Tottenham Hotspur sticker and pulled a Yorkshire type face, the kind of face only a local Yorkshire person could pull, it was a look of remorseful pity. I parked up and walked back through the cricket ground towards the single turnstile for the football ground, not many watching really, players wives and screaming under 5's mainly. I received a pleasant enough greeting as I paid my football admission, the officials looked like kids at Christmas with a big new toy, they are obviously mighty proud that they've succeeded in getting a bright fresh home together after some tough miserable years at someone elses rugby ground, well done to them too, they certainly had some sterling efforts from supporters, colleagues and local helpers in making the dream happen. I came over all emotional and bought my first ever golden goal ticket (24 minutes?).I went over to the picnic table outside the new match centre complex and signed the Ground Hoppers visitor book, what a great idea, Silsden is like a fly-trap for various kinds of Hoppers at the moment, some more normal than others if you know what I mean (no disrespect intended but I can't get my head around the half mast pants, white socks and accompanying plastic bag fashion). The match centre complex houses a bar, function suite, changing rooms and toilets. It spans part way across the main road end of the ground looking elegant and stylish in a bright sandy stone finish (very posh). The rest of the ground is made up of 3 types of structures all on the cricket ground touchline, first comes the wooden main stand with a few rows of seating, then there is a portakabin which contains the all important Tea Hut, finally you also get a small covered terrace which will doubtless get packed on the usual wet and windy Saturdays prone to these parts in the bleak winter months. All other sides of the ground contain hard standing with various advertisement boards attached to the railings. They've also got new floodlights available for those atmospheric 'cobbydaler' night matches (who needs Anfield, I'd sooner come here). I lasted 8 minutes before I was magnetically dragged to the Tea Hut.There appeared to be a formation dancing team of mature ladies hurtling around the confines of the hut all multi-tasking. I got the attention of one of them in mid manoeuvre and purchased a tea and a surprisingly round steak pie (looked just like a meat and potato). They had peas and mint sauce if you wanted that kind of action. I had the great idea of taking this wonderful looking pie and placing it on the pitch side fence just to the side of the nets. I could then take an artistic photo of it with the green backdrop of the pitch adding that charasmatic touch of class to the image. I carefully placed the paper plate with the pie on it on top of the fence, took a few steps back, focused the camera and.......... paused in abject horror as a gust of freak wind took the paper plate up in the air, and slow-motion-horror like tossed my pie up into what turned into a kamikaze nose dive onto the hard concrete, it sickeningly rolled over a few times upon impact before ending at my feet 'crust-up' covered in crud. My whole life shot past me in a flash, I couldn't believe I'd lost my pie! I immediately tried to save it. It was touch and go at one stage, and I did have to remove half the lid but I was so relieved to still be able to eat it. I'd been lucky, it could have been a lot worse. It was now time for some action on the pitch. I must say you do get real value for your admission money at Silsden, never mind the football, it was worth 5 quid to just to look at the most attractive female Physio in World Football... and the size of her tiny shorts, wow, fantastic stuff indeed. No wonder quite a few Silsden players kept hitting the deck for no good reason. There was also a big scrum of blokes watching the game just to the side of the dug-outs, they'd got there early to get a good spot. The Tow Law bench looked on in envy especially as their Physio looked like he'd just got back from a 2 week all inclusive holiday in a chippy.The actual football was a bit of a let down after all that, My hopes for flowing end to end quality cup tie drama never came to fruition. It was all very scrappy, disjointed, fragmented football, both sides spluttered through the proceedings with little cohesion or calculated passing taking place. Tow Law took a Matthew Scott 1-0 lead into the half time interval and it looked like this could very well be the final score, chances were few and far between. When Silsden got a second half equaliser it was a surprise.When Lawrence Hunter put in a lobbed effort which the visiting keeper seemed to misjudge we were then pre-empting extra time even with 30 minutes left. For the first time the game seemed to open up a bit and one or two moves started to flow, Tow Law looked the more dominant and they snatched back the lead through Hamilton in the 75th minute.The visitors shut up shop after that spending as much time as possible down at the corner flag. Silsden didn't have the keys to unlock the cupboard and even with an abundance of injury time, they simply didn't get close enough. The expert official on the microphone wished Tow Law well in his congratulations at the final whistle which was a nice touch befitting a friendly and homely little club. I had hoped to spot Rob Grillo at the match, the match announcer said he was in the ground, I've got his excellent book 'Anoraknophobia', I couldn't place him though, its not easy when you're not 100% sure what people look like, he is obviously well thought of in these parts (rightly so). The big Wearsider coach company vehicle already had its engine running as I got back into the Match-Shed, apparently it was taking the Tow Law Town supporters onto a stop-off sampling the pubs of Harrogate before its final North Easterly destination. Doubtless there would be a few pints being downed in honour of cup glory and a home tie in the next round against Pontefract. As for Silsden, Wembley will have to wait until next season.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Heading down to Silsden

The Tow Law Army raised camp at dawn and pillaged a couple of North Yorkshire villages before breakfast. They moved south west, determined and eager. Scouts sent out from Silsden returned from the hills, they brought news.... they reported Black and White nylon shirts, moving fast, thousands of them. The local menfolk quickly returned to building the remaining barricades. Women and children were hurried into the wagons and despatched to Skipton Castle. The invaders with the Big Brown Ale banner had one blood-thirsty objective.... The Vase! Silsden would protect it to the last man standing.

Be there to see history unfolding:


Silsden v Tow Law Town
3pm showdown