Stockton On Tees
Ground Number: 677
Friday 17th March 2017
Thornaby 1-2 Stockton Town
Northern League D2
THORNABY FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Thornaby FC was formed in 1980 and have also been known as STOCKTON and THORNABY ON TEES at various points during their history. They originate from Stockton Cricket Club and started out in the Wearside League. Their best finish here came in 1982/83 when they finished 6th. Despite a bottom-placed finish in 1984/85, they made the step up to the Northern League, starting in Division 2. They've spent considerable time in both divisions of the Northern League, with their best-ever finish of 5th in Division 1 coming in 1990. Since 2006 they have been in Division 2, despite finishing 17th the season before, they were relegated due to ground grading issues. After a long run of bottom-half finishes, they've improved in the last couple of seasons, finishing 7th on both occasions. This season has been a disappointment, however, with them sitting 18th at the time of the game, while local rivals and tonight's opponents Stockton Town are in 3rd.
In the FA Cup, the club's best-ever run came in 1992/93 when they lost out to Blyth Spartans in a 4th Qualifying Round replay. In the FA Vase Thornaby reached the 3rd Round in 1992/93 before going out to Burscough. In 1989 they reached the FA Trophy 3rd Round before losing to Hyde United. The club reached the final of the Ernest Young Memorial Trophy in 2010, only to lose 3-1 in extra time to Whitehaven.
When I was thinking of taking a weekend in the north east, this was the game that made me make the commitment. The Northern League seldom do Friday night games, though one a few weeks ago in Crook Town v Tow Law Town was one that I really fancied, but it was too far with Wycombe at home on the Saturday. For a long while, it looked as if I might be out of luck. However, a few weeks ago a game in Thornaby v Stockton Town was announced. This was ideal, being one of the closest to my Saturday game at Hartlepool. There was also the bonus of a Thursday night game at Northallerton, so when I got the all clear to have the time off work, I booked all my accommodation, even saving on petrol by getting a free lift with my parents.
On the day of the game I woke at 7am after a decent nights sleep. I wanted to take a shower, but the water wasn't heating up, so I had to make do with a wash instead. I was hungry by now and so took the half hour walk to Lidl to get some breakfast. I picked up some chicken and a couple of cheese and tomato tortinis as well as some stuff for later. I came back and caught up on my Youtube subscriptions amongst other things. I handed my key in and paid for my stay before meeting my parents at 10.15 and making my way up to Durham. We got there and had a brief look at Durham Cathedral before going to the local Wetherspoons for a pint. I was disappointed when they had no real cider despite having the pump clips on display. I had to settle for a pint of fake Irish cider for St Patrick's Day, although at least the Magners was only £1.99 a pint. From there it was to some poxy retail outlet that my parents wanted to go to. It was pretty dire and despite being there 90 minutes no one bought anything. I fancied some jeans but the Levi's shop was about twice the price of the one in Vegas. I just wanted to get to my hotel and get out and have a look around Middlesbrough.
I eventually got to my hotel at 3.40, dumped my bag in the room and went straight out. By 4.25 I was in my first pre match pub. The Chairman promised a 'good selection' of cider and that was true, with 12 on offer. The first was an accidental retry in Lilleys Red Rabbit, a fact that I only discovered after buying it. The second was another from Lilleys, called Sunset. I then had a brief look around the shops before going to Wetherspoons for my dinner. I'd been meaning to try the Bombay Hot Dog since it came out and with it being right near the train station it was ideal. I headed for the station but was distracted by the Last Orders. I watched a few fake Paddy's go on the karaoke while having a pint before going to the station. It was all closed up on most entrances and looked like Stallag 17, but at least I was Thornaby bound. The station was around a mile away from the ground and so I didn't arrive until 7.20, I paid £5 to get in, plus £1 for a programme and also spent a couple of quid on the raffle.
The game was a decent contest, but was goalless at the break. Vistitors Stockton Town had been well on top though and they took the lead on 73 minutes. There was a trip in the area and from the resulting penalty Kallum Hannah slotted past the keeper. Thornaby got the equaliser on 88 minutes with a great shot on the turn from Danny Brunskill that went in off the post. Just as it looked as if it would finish a draw Alan Cossavella struck through a crowded area to grab a late dramatic winner. On the balance of play it was deserved, but Thornaby had been denied a valuable point. I'd had a couple of cans of Strongbow duting the game, but fancied hitting town for a couple more. I ordered a taxi from the ground to Middlesbrough, getting dropped at the Slaters Pick where I had a pint of Applejack Vintage. I then went to the other Wetherspoons in town, the Swatters Carr for a final pint. From there I walked to a local takeaway, getting a Parmo and chips before getting a taxi back to my hotel. It had been a good night, and I fell asleep pretty quickly after getting back around 11.30.
TEESDALE PARK is a great venue for step 6. There are two areas of cover - a modern looking main stand with a capacity of around 100, and then a further area of covered standing behind one goal. This is more ramshackle and has a few comfortable padded seats towards the back of it. The rest of the ground is open and includes some steps of terracing and a further 100 uncovered seats.
The ground is a bit out in the middle of nowhere, but at least it does offer a tea bar and clubhouse. I didn't bother with food, but the bar was warm and welcoming, even if most offerings were bottles and cans, albeit at reasonable prices. The programme is a good effort too, plenty of stats and other bits in a home-made type production for £1.