Thursday 5 March 2015

Eccleshill United - Plumpton Park

Eccleshill United FC
Plumpton Park
West Yorkshire

Official Website
Twitter (irregular updates)

Ground Number: 466
Wednesday 4th Match 2015
Eccleshill United 2-0 Hall Road Rangers


ECCLESHILL UNITED FC was formed in 1948, a few years after the end of the 2nd World War. Playing in local leagues at first, they joined the NCEL at Division 3 level in 1985. The following season Divisions 2 and 3 merged. They finished as runners up and therefore gained promotion to NCEL D1 for the 87/88 season. The club has had 2 spells in the NCEL Premier - 3 seasons between 1991 and 1994 and then a longer spell from 1997-2009. They have had a best-ever finish of 8th in the NCEL Premier on 2 occasions. The 2008-09 season saw them relegated, whilst conceding a hefty 153 goals and they have remained in NCEL D1 ever since, with a 4th placed finish last season being the closest they have ever come to returning to the higher level. 
As for the league positions, it was a bit of a mid-table clash with Eccleshill being in 12th and Hall Road Rangers were in 17th. Prior to this game, the home side had enjoyed an epic 4-3 win over Teversal, after being 2-0 down after 25 minutes. Sadly this goalfest was seen by just 30 people. Visitors Hall Road Rangers were not so potent in front of goal, going down 2-0 at home to Hallam.  

In the FA Cup, they have made the 2nd Round on a number of occasions, most recently in 2002 when they lost after a replay to NPL Premier side Marine. The FA Vase 5th Round was reached in the 1999-2000 season, a 2-0 defeat to Vauxhall Motors ending their Wembley dreams. There have been a few local cups amongst their honours list, most recently the West Riding Country Cup in 2014.


For the second match of my two days away, I had planned on Eccleshill United v Hall Road Rangers. I had seen the home side play not long ago, as they lost 2-1 at Hallam. The whole reason that I had chosen this game was based on the day before. I could drive to Eccleshill's ground, park up, and get a bus into Bradford City Centre. There were many attractions there - the National Media Museum, shops, a great curry selection, and the most important reason of all for bussing it - a whole load of great pubs. It would also mean another tick in one of my favourite leagues - the NCEL. With the weather still not settled, I'd have a list of backups for the second day in a row but was really hoping that I would not need to use them. 
On the day of the game, I woke at 7am, even though I'd had a fairly late one the night before. I checked out Facebook before watching some YouTube videos. I then went for a shower before heading out to Subway for some breakfast. It was around 9.30 when I left and it took me about 40 minutes to get to Eccleshill United, where I'd be parking for the day. After I'd locked up the car I walked around the corner to the bus stop and got a bus into Bradford, which cost me £4 return.

First stop in the city was the National Media Museum, which was excellent. It had tons of stuff to look at, but the best parts were the history of the Internet and the classic computer games section. I had planned a curry but was not hungry so I tried to go to one of the pubs I had researched, called Jacobs Beer House. But it didn't open until 4, so I walked a mile and went to a previous haunt, The Fighting Cock instead. I had myself a half of Biddendens Monks Delight while I looked on the Internet and tried to work up an appetite. I didn't have a huge amount of success doing that, so I had a brief look around the shops, purchasing a ‘Crap Cars' book for a quid. I then went to the local Wetherspoons, the Turls Green, for a pint of Thatchers Cheddar Valley. This triggered my hunger at last, and also it was nice to have a pint outside without getting frostbite for the first time this year. Obviously, the choice was limited for where to eat mid-afternoon, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet I found somewhere. I headed off to some deli grill place, but on the way, I found a place called 2 in 1 restaurant. It was a lot better than it sounded and I had a very nice Karahi kebab curry for £7 which came with Rice, salad and a drink. From then on it was just a matter of killing time until I met my mate Brandon at 5.15. I had a look round the shops. I also went back to Jacobs Beer House and had a half of a local cider from Shipley.

Myself and Brandon finally met up and headed to the bus station. I made the mistake of getting a bus to Eccleshill rather than Wrose where the ground is based, so after realising my mistake we had to walk a mile and a half back to the ground. We still had lots of time though and got there for 7. We sat in the bar and talked about the game, as well as looking at the programme. For dinner I got myself a pie with gravy, great value at £1.50 and the gravy was very nice. But it had too much potato and not enough meat in for my liking, which isn’t great when you are not a big fan of potato. Suitably warm and filled up, we went outside to watch the game, settling for a spot on the halfway line, near the dugouts, which always provides good entertainment. By far the loudest bench was the Hall Road Rangers who offered encouragement to their team, as well as some 'advice' to the match officials. Sadly for them, they didn't win on the night, thanks to some good defending by the home side.

It was actually a very good quality first half with some decent attempts on goal by both sides. The keepers made some good saves to keep the scoresheet blank. The deadlock was broken on 34 minutes when James Volsey opened the goalscoring for Eccleshill. It was a drilled shot, but a bounce fooled the visiting keeper. The second half was not so good, the game was still fairly entertaining, but the finishing was wayward and Hall Road started to hoof it more as they grew frustrated at being unable to break down the home defence. It was game set and match on 75 minutes as Josh Rosenstrauch sealed the game for Eccleshill who have ended a run of 9 matches without a win with 2 victories in the space of 5 days now, also their first in 2015. That said, their last victory before that was a rather stunning 9-0 win over Lincoln Moorlands Railway, back on the 29th December. After the game, I gave Brandon a lift home, before getting on my way. A brief toilet stop, and 40 miles of long-running roadworks on the M1, I was back home at 1.30. At least I had my favourite Podcast, the Two Mikes, to keep me company for some of it. However it took much longer than it needed to, thanks to the nosey average speed check cameras, and it was quite tiring too, travelling so slowly. Despite that, I was wide awake when I got home and didn't get to sleep until 4am, filling my time by looking on the internet and watching some TV. It had been a good couple of days in Yorkshire, even if it had been pretty unhealthy and a drain on my bank balance.


PLUMPTON PARK (which is currently known as the Rapid Solicitors Stadium for sponsorship purposes) is one of the better venues at step 6. There is a seated stand for 220 people, plus further covered accommodation behind the goal, for around 250 standing. The overall capacity is 2225. The bar and tea bar a decent enough without being exceptional, however, the clubhouse is nicely decorated, even having the club crest on the carpet. The programme is smartly produced and the cover is very easy on the eye. The content is variable, having a nice quiz and both clubs histories. It doesn't have a huge amount to read though and there are no fixtures and results in there, but you can't really complain for £1

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