Saturday 29 February 2020

Team Dudley - Priory Road

Team Dudley FC
Priory Road 3G Complex
Priory Road
West Midlands

Ground Number: 905
Saturday 29th February 2020
Team Dudley 5-2 Wellington Amateurs


The club was established in 2010, made up from students and staff from Dudley College. They started out in the West Midlands Regional League at Division 2 level (step 8 of the non-league pyramid). After a few seasons of mid-table finishes, Team Dudley won promotion in 2014, finishing as runners-up behind AFC Ludlow on goal difference. The 5th place finish last season was the best in the club's history. Local cup honours include the WMRL Division 1 League Cup in 2015. Team Dudley have played at Priory Road since 2017, previously they played at The Dell Stadium in nearby Brierley Hill. The town of Dudley has a population of just under 80,000 and is the birthplace to football's Duncan Edwards, Phil Parkes, Sam Allardyce and David Burrows. Team Dudley share the town with higher placed teams Dudley Town and Dudley Sports, though Town play in Willenhall. Dudley is the largest town in England never to have had a Football League club.


A week or so ago, I was planning my football for this day. I really fancied a trip to Birmingham as there's a couple of pubs I like to frequent when I'm up there. I didn't think that there would be any cheap tickets left, but to my surprise, I was able to pick up a return to Birmingham for £13.30 providing I took specific trains. The weather didn't look too bad when I booked but in the week leading up to the game, it was rain, rain and more rain, putting several games in doubt. Indeed, when I checked on Thursday, two of my ten options had already been moved to alternate values. I planned out potential journeys for the other eight, leaving most as late as possible to allow for late changes in the situation. I also put together a Twitter list as a quick way to view any potential problems. Happily, the one local option with a 3G pitch, Team Dudley was very communicative on Twitter and so I was assured that I'd be seeing a game, even if the ground was a fairly bland new build. Friday bought yet more rain and together with a busy day at work, that ruined any chances of walking to town and back for shopping and a couple of pints. My morning walk to the station was also ruined, with three hours of rain at the precise time when I was supposed to be walking down town. If it turned out to be true, that would be extra added to the footy costs and also a lost opportunity to get some exercise. I woke up as ever at my normal work time on the day of the game, an irritating symptom of having to get up at 4am for work every day. The weather was predictably vile and with the bus being expensive and irregular for my journey, I decided to drive and park in a road 15 minutes from the station. I left at 8 and was at the station with ten minutes to spare where I saw some Wycombe fans waiting for their coach to Doncaster.


I got the usual 8.34 train to Birmingham and by the time I got to Birmingham, four of my options had fallen victim to the weather including my first choice at Redditch Borough. I was in Brum by 10, having a look around some shops to kill time. Not wanting to appear a desperate drunk, I waited until at least 11.02 to enter the Post Office Vaults and was the second customer in. It was marvellous as ever and I had a pint of CJ's Wobbly Legs cider which was great. By now, it was only Team Dudley and Wednesfield standing, so I settled on the former knowing that it was a 3G pitch. My second pint was Meare's Farmhouse which was another good one before I left just after 12. By this time, Wednesfield had also bitten the dust, though their Twitter hadn't been updated. I was in two minds whether to eat in Birmingham or head straight to Dudley but with a bus leaving soon, I chose the latter. Having just jumped on any old bus that said Dudley on the front, it took longer than planned. I was in Dudley by 1.40 though and found a local place that did Chicken, Donner and chips for £2. That was wolfed down and it left my body as quickly as it entered as I was glad of a khazi at the Court House. This pub was more disappointing than my last visit, but I did have a pint of the much sampled Black Dragon for £3.50 which was OK. From there it was the walk to the ground. Not the simplest to find with just a postcode, but eventually I was there. A fiver got me entry, a programme, a hot drink and some biscuits. A few hoppers were in attendance, including Craig Dabbs who organises the Bedfordshire League hop in a total attendance of 49.

8th place Team Dudley were in mixed form, having won two and drawn two of their last four games, a notable result being the 6-0 hammering of Willenhall Town. 3rd place Wellington Amateurs were in slightly better form having won two, drawn one and lost one of their last four. In the reverse fixture, the two sides drew 2-2 back on 11th January  The first half was dominated by Team Dudley. They took the lead on 18 minutes when Daniel Hadley headed home a flick on at the back post. It was 2-0 soon after when Saul Broadfield followed up Jake Bailey’s parried shot. After 36 minutes, it was 3-0, really poor defending from the visitors allowed Jack Bailey in to seemingly put the game beyond doubt. Wellington Amateurs arrived for the second half very late, but they were a much-improved side. On 50 minutes Jake Challoner got in ahead of the defence to finish. Just after the hour, a good through ball found the same player and he finished well to make the game interesting. Wellington Amateurs looked a good bet for an equaliser at that point, but Dudley would finish the game in clinical fashion. On 68 minutes Alex Pinches finished well in the bottom right-hand corner. Fifteen minutes from time, the hosts made sure of their win through Bailey, a great shot from outside the area.

From there, I said my goodbyes and went back to the bus station. The buses were all over the place, no sign of the quicker bus back to Birmingham so it was the slower 87 for me. There was the familiar smell of weed on the bus, something that appears to be very Birmingham centric, especially on elongated bus journeys. I was back in Birmingham just after 6 and ready for one final half. I set the Post Office Vaults into Google Maps but on the way passed cider specialist 'The Stable'. With long queues and nothing special that I could see, I gave it the swerve and headed to my original destination. There I had a half of Perry's Dabinett and although a retry, it was marvellous. It was down the hatch in under ten minutes and so I arrived back at Moor Street for my train twenty minutes ahead of departure. I sat on the train and started my blog, also listening to the phone in on Radio 5. The phone in made the journey go quickly and by 8.15 I was back in High Wycombe. I was peckish by now, so I called in at the local Chinese, the Peking House, for some salt and pepper chips which were great for £2. I ate them as I walked back to my car and was home by 9. The rest of the evening finalising my blog, sorting out photos and watching Match Of The Day.


PRIORY ROAD is a fairly basic setup. Just the one side is available to spectators, this comprises of open hard standing and a small 25 seater stand. Hot drinks and basic snacks are available and the ground is ten minutes from Dudley town centre with a large range of takeaways and pubs, the pick of which is The Court House. The programme is very good with lots of useful info and is well worth the £1 asking price.

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