Ground Number: 221
Wednesday 10th October 2012
Buxton 2-1 Hednesford Town
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round Replay
On the final day of my footballing marathon, I had decided to go into Manchester beforehand. Initially, I had planned to park in Bury and get the tram in, but after looking at various websites it looked like I could get parking for around £4 in Manchester and that would make things far easier. So after having a breakfast of grapes and a few mince pies, I set off. After trying to find a reasonably priced car park, I saw one fairly close to the centre that was advertising all day parking for £4. However, it turned out to be lies and they wanted £13. Even worse I scraped my bumper on a well hidden low wall, luckily most of the damage can be polished out, but a pain all the same. Eventually, I found somewhere that did 12 hours parking for a fiver, luckily they offered payment over the phone as I didn't have much change on me. First stop was the Football Museum. I had previously been to it when it was at Preston North End's ground but that was around 10 or so years ago. The fact that it was free admission made it even more attractive, though I did make a small donation to help out with the upkeep. The place turned out to be fantastic, so much to see, I must have spent an hour or two in there. My favourite section was the media part, covering all the sensational headlines in the papers and radio and TV commentaries.
After that, I had a look around some shops. Manchester was a brilliant city, I'd probably put it as my second favourite place after Newcastle. After buying not much I went to my final stop before heading off somewhere else, a pub called the Crown and Kettle. It turned out to be fairly decent, had a pint of Broadoak Cider. It was while in here that I was left with the decision of whether to go to Ashton United v Marine in the Northern Premier League or Buxton v Hednesford Town in the FA Cup. After much deliberation, I opted for the Buxton game as it was not that much further in terms of mileage, and was also in the FA Cup, which I am a big fan of. It was 4PM and as Buxton was only an hour or so away, I decided to travel up to Salford to see what that was like as I had time to kill. It turned out to be a letdown, as after heavy traffic I arrived at 5PM and some of the shops had closed by then. But still I picked up a cider that I had never had before to take home, and at around 5.40 I had finished and was on my way to Buxton. After a couple of brief delays on the motorway, I was well on my way. Whilst I had checked out the mileage on my Sat Nav, I had not accounted for the single track roads and some numpty sticking at half the speed limit. Still, I arrived with half an hour to go to kick off and so went straight in. £9 plus £1.50 for a programme was decent value. I had been told that The Silverlands was a ground with a bit of character and so this turned out to be the case, I got some nice pictures. I then sought out the club shop which had a fair selection of programmes. I opted against a pennant this time as they wanted £10, which is way too much when space on your wall is very tight.
After reading a bit of the programme and looking at my phone it was time for kick off and so I took a seat in the stand. The game started really scrappily and there were no goals in the first half for the 300 fans in attendance. Hednesford keeper Dan Crane had already made a number of great saves, but he was unable to prevent Mark Reed converting Lee Morris' cross. Their lead only lasted four minutes, following Dave McPherson's dave from Elliott Durrell, Aaron Rey followed up from close range. It went to extra time with Buxton captain Steve Istead getting his marching orders for a second booking. Lee Morris got his second from the penalty spot at the start of the second half of extra time, and overall it was a deserved win for the hosts. To make matters worst for Hednesford, they had Ben Bailey sent off after he also got a second booking to make it ten-a-side. I had enjoyed my visit, but now faced a pretty gruelling drive home, thanks to some of the aforementioned single carriageway roads. Eventually, I was back on the motorway though, but I still didn't get home till 1.30am. After checking my laptop for various updates I got to sleep around 3am and had the best nights sleep I'd had in a long time.
THE SILVERLANDS is a traditional non-league ground with some nice features. The main part of the ground is the stand which holds around 400. There are also some covered areas, mainly behind the goal to the right, where the home fans normally congregate, as well as down the opposite side. There is a decent sized bar too as well as a club shop and tea bar, neither of which are amazing, but do the job perfectly well.