Saturday, 28 July 2018

Shifnal Town - Phoenix Park

Shifnal Town FC
Phoenix Park
Coppice Green Lane
TF11 8PD

07986 563156

Ground Number: 785
Saturday 28th July 2018
Shifnal Town 0-0 Lye Town


The club was established in 1964 as St Andrews Youth Club and initially played in the Wellington & District League at their local Idsall School Ground. There was soon a name change to Shifnal Juniors before settling on Shifnal Town in 1972. After a spell in the Shropshire League, Shifnal joined the West Midlands League in 1976. Starting in the second tier, they were an immediate success, champions three years later after two 7th placed finishes. The Premier Division title was won twice in 1980 and 1981 but Shifnal were unable to take promotion due to lack of facilities, pertinently, the lack of floodlights. They were playing at Admirals Park at the time but the termination of their lease and a return to Idsall School saw them drop back down to the Shropshire League. Eventually, they established a home at Phoenix Park (currently called the Acoustafoam Stadium for sponsorship purchases). 1993/94 saw them take the step up to semi-pro football and they've generally spent most of their time at step 6 of the current non-league pyramid ever since. They've been members of the West Midlands Regional League since 2010, only dropping to the second tier for the 2015/16 season when they were champions. Their best ever finish in the Premier Division was 9th in their debut season, but they have the facilities in place to gain promotion should their on-field play merit it.

The club has had a number of FA Cup campaigns but their best progress came in their debut season of 1981/82. Here they beat New Mills and Matlock Town before a 3-0 defeat to Runcorn in the 2nd Qualifying Round. In the FA Vase, the 4th Round has been reached thrice, most recently in 1984 when they lost out to Stamford. The town of Shifnal is fairly small, with a population of just over 7,000.


With the Wolverhampton Sporting Community game kicking off at 12, I had a decent choice of 3PM kickoffs to go to. The list was whittled down to a choice of 3 that I presented to fellow hopper Anwar and between us, we chose Shifnal Town v Lye Town over other alternatives at Wolverhampton Casuals and Dudley Town as it looked the best ground. It also had the bonus of free entry which was a great gesture. I left my previous game at Wolves Sporting pretty hungry, though there was a relief when my car warning light went off and it started to drive properly again. It was a decent trip across with us opting to head for the town centre first. We got there at 2.20, searching for a place for lunch. We eventually opted for a place called the 'Shifnal Fryer' where I had a half pound burger with a decent sized portion of chips for £5.30. It was pretty decent and filled me up. Next stop was the shop across the road, Shifnal Wines where I found a local cider 'Cider House Special' to take home with me.

From there, we headed to the ground, arriving at 2.55. It was absolutely bucketing down by now, so I was glad that the smart ground had a large stand to watch the game from. Not that there was a huge amount to watch on the pitch and it was a very dull game. The visitors had the majority of the chances, with Shifnal relying on chances on the break. The visitors were not helped by the sending off of their number 10 Joe Lawley apparently for dissent. It was a crude challenge that led to the referee having a word, and the official probably called it right. Overall though, he didn't help the game flow, breaking it up and allowing it to run at a slow pace rather than hurrying players up. It was the most disappointing game I've seen this season, with some pretty wayward finishing.

We left at 4.50, having a decent journey home. There were a number of crashes on the way back, but fortunately, none delayed us, nor looked any more serious than a minor prang. The journey home dragged for some reason, with me dropping Anwar off at 6.45. I got back myself at 7.05 and spent the evening catching up on things as well as typing my blogs. I had a few cans of cider before going to bed around 10, hoping for a good night's sleep with me being up at 4 am.


PHOENIX PARK is a smart, modern and well-kept venue. The only cover is in the large main stand, this holds around 300 and offers great views and leg room. The best of the ground is open flat standing and also grass banking. Other facilities at the ground are a bit limited - the tea bar only offers hot and cold drinks and snacks. There was no bar that I could see. The town is just under a mile away and offers a wide choice of outlets. It's a nice place to visit, not that modern but very smart and well kept.


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