Peterborough Northern Star FC
Branch Bros Stadium
Ground Number: 830
Tuesday 19th February 2019
Peterborough Northern Star 0-1 Cogenhoe United
United Counties Premier
PETERBOROUGH NS - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1905 and can trace its origins back to Eye Village, which is located nearby. Indeed, they've had a number of names during their history, including Northam Star, that name coming from the sports club owned by the Northam & Dogsthorpe Star Brickworks. That team disbanded in 1959, changing their name to Eye United. Previously a run-of-the-mill team in the Peterborough & District League, the name change saw them improve greatly, with ten titles, the final of which in 2001 saw them win all 30 league games and win the league by sixteen points. They'd have to wait another couple of years to gain promotion to the United Counties League, made possible by the move to their current home in the Dogsthorpe area of the city. Impressive 3rd and 4th place finishes followed in their first two seasons before they changed their name to Peterborough Northern Star in their centenary year. They were United Counties Division 1 champions in 2009, but would have to wait another year for promotion due to ground grading, gaining promotion in 2010 after finishing as runners-up to Irchester United. The 2010/11 season saw their best ever finish of 6th, though results have tailed off in recent seasons, with a 16th place finish last season. This season has seen a slight improvement with the team sitting in 14th place at the time of the game.
Peterborough Northern Star made their bow in the FA Cup during the 2012/13 season and this remains their best run with them beating Wellingborough Whitworth & Thrapston Town before a 5-0 defeat to St Neots Town in the 1st Qualifying Round. The season before that saw a great FA Vase run - Rushden & Higham United, Ellistown, Boldmere St Michaels, Armthorpe Welfare, Norton United and Tividale all fell by the wayside before a rollercoaster 4-3 defeat to Dunston UTS in the Quarter Final. Local cup wins include the United Counties KO Cup (2011), Les Underwood Cup (2011), Hitchingbrooke Cup (2010 & 2015) and a number of league cups whilst members of the Peterborough & District League.
Once again on this Tuesday, options were extremely limited, with just two options if I went with fellow hopper Anwar. Luckily, he was available and agreed with me that a new ground at Peterborough Northern Star was preferable over a revisit to North Leigh. The day of the game came and it was my usual day off work. It was my usual routine of a walk down town and back, with me picking up a Chicken Jalfrezi snack pot for lunch whilst I was down there amongst other things. I came back and continued my trend of sorting through photos and tidying up blogs of games that I've been to on this day. It takes a fair while to do it, but I'd like to improve some of my blogs from earlier which were not that good. Some grounds, I'll revisit in time, but generally a tidy up sorts things. I was pleased to get a message on Twitter from the Peterborough Northern Star chairman on Twitter and was looking forward to my visit even more. I left home later than planned as ever, at 4.10. Getting to Anwar’s half an hour later, the roads were quieter than usual. The only delay was getting on the A1 with us getting to the ground at 6.30. I’d spotted a local takeaway called Nite Bite and so we headed there, having a donner burger and chips for £3.50. Portions were good and the food was tasty. We headed back to the ground, getting some pictures of the outside before paying £6 to get in. I also bought a programme for £1.50 and chatted to the friendly gateman. After getting some pictures of the inside, we settled on the halfway line for the game.
Looking at both teams form, the hosts were not in fine fettle. They'd lost their latest game ay Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday. going down 4-0 and had just one victory in their last eight games. Cogenhoe United were doing slightly better - they'd won 2-1 at strugglers Kirby Muxloe on Saturday and despite a recent 6-0 mauling at AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the Northants Cup, had a couple of 6-1 wins away at Northampton ON Chenecks & Rothwell Corinthians in recent times. True to form, Cogenhoe started brightly and took the lead on 6 minutes. It was more of a cross than a shot from Josh Norman as the visitors had by far the better of the game. Although Peterborough Northern Star had little to offer up front and this made for a dull first half. The hosts improved in the second period, but neither side really tested the keeper. We’d been chatting to a group of fans from Lincoln and Wisbech during the game and our friendly conversations were far more interesting than anything on the pitch. We left at 9.40 and due to a closure on the A1 had to make a big diversion. A further road closure in Milton Keynes meant another diversion and as a result, I didn’t drop Anwar off until 11.20. I got home myself around 20 minutes later, but as ever found it hard to drop off to sleep, despite having to be up at 4.
CHESTNUT AVENUE or the BRANCH BROS STADIUM as it is known at present for sponsorship purposes is a smart and tidy venue. There are two seated stands along the side, both holding around 50. This side is also home to a set of attractive brick dugouts. Behind the goal where you enter, there is a covered area of flat standing, this has space for around 100. There’s also an area of cover in the corner, capacity around 150. The rest of the ground is open hard standing.
There’s a bar at the ground, this does a range of drinks including Dark Fruits, Guinness, Fosters and John Smiths as well as bottles. There are two tea bars at the ground, one outside and one inside. These do the usual football fare of burgers, chips and pies as well as drinks at reasonable prices. A few minutes away is a good takeaway called Nite Bite as well as a chippy, convenience store and cash machine whilst there is plenty of parking at the ground. The programme is smart, well presented and full of stats, but with not a huge amount of reading material.