Thursday 3 May 2018

Cadbury Athletic - Triplex Sports Ground

Cadbury Athletic FC
Triplex Sports Ground
Eckersall Road
Kings Norton
B38 7SR

Ground Number: 772
Tuesday 1st May 2018
Cadbury Athletic 1-1 Ilkeston Town
Midland League D1


The club was formed in 1994 and is affiliated to the Cadbury confectionary firm. They originally played at the Bourneville Recreation Ground, which has a very pretty backdrop and hard standing of sorts, but no floodlights. They joined the Midland Combination upon formation, starting out in Division 3. A 9th place finish in their first season was good enough for promotion to Division 2. A series of mid-table finishes followed until 2001 when 4th place was good enough to go up to Division 1. Despite finding the first couple of seasons being a struggle, Cadbury Athletic soon improved and in 2005 a runners-up spot behind Atherstone Town saw the club promoted to the step 6 Premier Division. They generally did well with mid-table finishes including a decent 6th place in 2011. Despite a 12th place finish the following year, the club took the decision to drop back down to Division 1. A third-place finish behind Hampton and Alvis was followed up with their first ever league win in 2014. Now with the facilities in place, thanks to a groundshare at the Triplex Sports Ground (former ground of the now-defunct Pilkington XXX) they were able to make the step up to the newly formed step 6 Midland Division 1 for the 2014/15 season. Since the step up, finishes have been mixed but they achieved the best season in the club's history last season with a 5th place finish. This season the club has suffered a loss in form, sitting in 19th at present, but well safe from any relegation issues.

Cadbury Athletic have only won one FA Cup match in the six campaigns they have participated in. That came in 2015 as they beat Tipton Town 2-0 only to lose 4-0 at Sporting Khalsa in the Preliminary Round. They have a slightly better record in the FA Vase, having reached the 1st Round twice - being eliminated by Norton United in 2007 and Bromsgrove Sporting in 2016. Local cup wins include the Midland Combination Vase in 2001 and in the 1999/00 season, the West Bromwich Shield and the Prudential Cup. Notably, there have been a number of players that have played for Cadbury's youth teams before going on to bigger things - most notably Daniel Sturridge and Demarai Gray.


I'd originally been intending to go to this game on the 10th April. I'd put a lot of work into researching my blog, looking at the form for both teams and even finding a great looking place for dinner. However, all my work came to nothing as even at that time of year there were still multiple games being called off and sadly my choice was one of the victims. Cadbury Athletic had real troubles getting games on at that point in the season, but looking at the updated table, they must have had to play a fair amount of games to catch up. On that original night, I'd gone to Barrow Town instead and it turned out ot be a decent trip. I was always going to keep an eye out for this game when it was rescheduled and was pleased when I could make the new date.

On the day of the game, I awoke to the disappointing news that fellow hopper Anwar was unable to make the game due to illness. I had a good look at the Football Traveller magazine to see if I could find anything closer to save petrol but with the difference being marginal, I decided to stick with my original plan. I contacted another hopper Chris, to Chris, to see if he fancied a trip to AFC Bentley near Doncaster, but understandably he'd already made alternative plans at this late notice. I'd had a good night's sleep and so after waking at 8.30, I had a bath and got dressed before walking down town. I got some stuff from Morrisons, including a nice chicken burrito for my lunch before getting a lift back home with my Dad. After lunch, the afternoon was spent relaxing at home, including some planning for future games. I was delighted when my speculative text to Anwar resulted in the news that he had made a miracle recovery and would be joining me after all. I'd appreciate the company and more importantly, it would help out with costs, which were approaching £3000 for the 136 games that I'd seen so far this season. I left at 3.40 and after filling up my car with diesel, met Anwar at 4.15. The journey started well enough, the only delay being on the M42 and the 20-minute delay was all down to a broken down car on a roundabout. We got to the ground at 6.15 and after parking up, headed in search of food. A chicken shop called 'Chicken.Com' did the job and I had a chicken and salad pitta, chips and a drink for £3.50. It was tasty and portions were generous, so a definite win. From there we went to Heron Foods to get some snacks and drinks for the game. I also popped along to an excellent off license called 'Cotteridge Wines' where I picked up 4 new ciders for the weekend before we walked back to the ground. We got there at 7.30, paying £5 to get in and £1.50 for a programme.

With Ilkeston Town effectively a newly formed club at the start of the season following financial difficulties, the sole meeting between the clubs had happened at the end of March. True to current form, Ilkeston Town won the game 4-0. Personally, I'd seen both teams twice - Cadbury Athletic had won 1-0 at Barnt Green Spartak when I'd seen them in the FA Vase last season, but had lost 1-0 when I saw their league game at Studley earlier this season. Similarly, I'd seen Ilkeston Town (or the former club Ilkeston to be more precise) thump Stocksbridge Park Steels 6-1 at the New Manor Ground when I visited in 2014 but they'd been on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat when I'd seen them play at Hednesford two years earlier. Current form was mixed for Cadbury Athletic - three wins at the start of April had secured their safety, but they'd followed that up with four straight defeats before getting back on track with a 4-0 home victory over Nuneaton Griff on Saturday to maintain 19th place. Visitors Ilkeston were in excellent form, having won 12 out of their last 13 games, the only blip being a 4-2 defeat at Racing Club Warwick on 17th April. Even so, they were still having to make do with 2nd place, four points behind Walsall Wood who also had two games in hand.

The game started with Ilkeston fans in good voice but both teams were fairly equal. As the half wore on, the visitors were the better side but neither team had much in the way of clear-cut chances and it was scoreless at the break. Despite being early May, it was a chilly, drizzly and windy evening, so we took shelter in the bar at halftime. The start of the second half continued at a slow pace and it wasn't until the 76th minute that the scoring was opened. Ben Morris had only recently come on as a substitute but a cross from the left was put in, the ball tapped back and it was he who rifled into the roof of the net. Their lead didn't last for long and less than a minute later. Sadly I didn't get this goal on the video, but it was a cracking volley from Stuart Butcher from the edge of the area which gave Ilkeston keeper Jamie Hannis no chance. Cadbury had enjoyed the better of the second half and they had a strong finish, Hannis making a great save to deny Butcher his second and a winner for the hosts. We left at 9.50 and generally it was a good journey home. I dropped Anwar off at 11.15 and got home myself at 11.35. It took me a while to get to sleep and so I needed a nap the following afternoon.


The Triplex Sports Ground is an old school non-league football ground. There is just the one area of cover, this comprises of around 50 seats and 100 standing. In addition, there are some steps of terracing behind one goal and partly along one side. The rest of the ground is open flat standing. As you would expect, there is no club shop at this level, though they do sell badges. There is minimal parking at the ground itself, but you can park in local factories for free.

Food at the ground looked decent with chips, curry sauce and burgers available for small prices. This is served from the large bar, which looks slightly dated and has a basic range of drinks including Carling, Carling cider and Guinness. There is a pub right near the ground, this also does food. There are also plenty of takeaways in the area so you won't go hungry.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
Fairly standard step 6 ground, has some character (7)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
A reasonable amount of parking, near a train station and good for takeaways (7)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
Pretty decent (7)

4: Value for money
Good value (7)

5: Social Media & Website
Reasonable Twitter, site fairly standard (6)

6: Programme
A good effort, plenty to read (8)

7: Game entertainment
Fairly dull, took until the last 15 minutes to get going (5)

8: Tea Bar
Looked good, but didn't try (7)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Large, but basic (5)

10: Club Shop
None (-)