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

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Nelson 0 Rochdale Town 3

Saturday 7th April
North West Counties League Division 1
Admission: £4
Attendance: 45
Tea Hut Stuff: Cheese and Onion Pie £1.50
Weather: Dull grey sky and a bit chilly
Parking: On the road outside the ground

It looks better once you get inside
What should have been a simple enough trip for the Match Shed went a bit pear-shaped in the centre of Brierfield (which was the planned route). With only a few miles to travel before reaching Nelson FC a car was lying on its roof in the main street and the whole place was cornered off with police and ambulances. This meant the Match Shed had to negotiate quite a few tight back streets packed with terraced houses, parked cars and speed bumps. Eventually a path was found and despite losing 15 minutes the Match Shed still pulled up before kick off on Lomeshaye Way outside the ground they've titled 'Little Wembley'. At least it was only 4 quid to get in this version of Wembley and they had proper footballers. The ground is next to a public park in a quite part of the town and a bubbling brook runs all the way behind the Main Stand.

Great looking Main Stand
The stand is the first thing that strikes you when you pass through the turnstiles at the wide open park end of the ground. Its a long wimbledon-green structure that runs the best part of the touchline, it certainly has a charismatic appeal and has a decent number of plastic bucket seats to view the action from.

Shift! I can't see f*ck all!
The stand sits back a few yards from the pitch and notices are placed asking people not to gather in front of it by the railed fence. The only other buildings in 'Little Wembley' are a few portakabins and huts which house changing rooms, toilets, tea hut, VIP committee room and a small bar.

Hard hat zone at half time
This is a humble little club trying to make the best of limited funds so there is nothing swanky or flash to note here but I've seen a lot worse places and a lot that lack the friendly laid back appeal of the place. The other side of the pitch opposite the main stand is just hard standing and a railed fence, behind it there is a nicely trimmed grassed area adjacent to some fine looking terraced stone cottages, set back a little further is an enormous stone chimney which offers a great backdrop if you watch the match from the stand. 

One that Fred Dibnah missed
With around ten minutes to kick off I headed for the small tea hut which was just next to the mens bogs, ultra handy if you want to grab a quick pie after an urgent slash. A friendly lady was giving punters an explanation of the wide range of pies on offer, a fine selection indeed and all at decent prices.

Trendy price tags as well
She informed me and another chap that the pies were halal pies from a company called Tayyabah, she was clear in her recommendation that a lot of people found them very tasty. (Some later research I did identified that Tayyabah Pies come from a company called Sara's who are based in Blackburn). I opted for a cheese and onion pie at £1.50 and I put some HP sauce on it from a nice clean bottle, I think cheese and onion's are a rare breed at tea huts these days so I tucked in while I had the chance. It was very good too.

I decided to watch the start of the match from the stand. A local old timer sat on one of the front rows was having a go at a couple of Rochdale Town blokes who happened to stand at the rail in the total-exclusion zone that forbids standing up in front of the stand. "You can't stand there" he yelled, "You're blocking all the pitch", a bit of an over statement but the grumbling visitors sloped off heeding the bollocking. As regards todays game Nelson find themselves near the foot of the table but they do have a few games in hand on the clubs positioned around them, its a bit different for Rochdale Town who are doing really well this term, they occupy 5th spot which is a real improvement on some of the recent hard seasons they've endured. 

You can't stand there lads
Nelson have a bit of a multi-national influence to the team and they play an attractive style of football that really appeals when it comes off, unfortunately when it doesn't come together they can quickly find themselves under pressure. Something which Rochdale exploited as early as the third minute when Kristian Evans slotted home the opening goal, the Nelson defence was out of position and totally out numbered. There was a bit of extra drama after about 15 minutes when the referee appeared to suffer a nasty calf strain, after a hold up he tried to struggle on but it was no good, he had to come off and was replaced by one of the linesman. Luckily a spectator was qualified as a liner and had some kit in his car, this chap kindly decided to give it a go and raced off to get changed, a fine gesture. As the game wore on this same kindly gent got some awful stick from some very fickle players who slaughtered some of his decisions, a bit out of order I think, he seemed to do a fairly good job under the circumstances. The rest of the first half was end to end stuff and Nelson missed some nailed-on sitters, something which dismayed the regulars in the small crowd.

Looking for aggro
After some half time entertainment when one of the Nelson subs with a large beard went in the nets and spent a lot of time giggling for some of the worst totally misplaced shot-shooting practice from his colleagues I have ever seen, a young lad acting as a ball boy was running far and wide collecting ridiculously miss hit shots on goal, this was not a good sign for Nelson bringing on a mystery super-sub for the second half.

Keepers!......ooh err
As per the first half, Rochdale caught Nelson cold at the start of the second half and went 2-0 up, according to the Nelson regulars there was no chance of them coming back from 2 down? They were right. Rochdale ended up 3-0 winners and looked mighty pleased with the points. Back to the drawing board for Nelson but you cannot fail to admire the spirit in which they play the game, I can see why some of the small band of supporters just keep coming back for more.
I'm still pissed from last night Alf


Dave said...

Been to Nelson a few times and have found their ground a pleasure to visit.

Thanks for the witty report.

Paul Kirkwood said...

Ah, good to have you back - and with a particularly fine set of pics. Love that closing shot of "Alf" and friend. Funny captions too. Just added Nelson to my list.

KJM said...
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