Thursday 26 August 2021

Long Sutton Athletic - The Parkside Club

Long Sutton Athletic FC
The Parkside Club
London Road
Long Sutton
PE12 9ED

01406 364473

Ground Number: 987
Wednesday 25th September 2021
Long Sutton Athletic 0-2 Leverington Sports
Peterborough & District Premier


Although a club called Long Sutton Town played in the Peterborough & District League between 1932 and 1953, the present club was established in 1983. They too played in the PDFL and made rapid progress up the divisions. They won Division Six in 1985, Division Five in 1986 and Division 4 in 1987, Following this win, they applied to join the Eastern Counties League but were withdrew after they couldn't get their stand built in time.  It was a fourth successive title in 1988 and this time, they were good to go up. They played in the Eastern Counties Division 1 from 1988 until 1985. Their best season came in 1992 when they finished 6th. The last two seasons saw the team struggle in the league, due to a reduced budget due to travelling costs. For this reason, they left the league in 1995. They returned to the Peterborough & District League, replacing their reserve team in Division 5. They won all twenty matches in the first season and just as back in the 1980s, they were champions in consecutive seasons, culminating in a Division 2 championship in 1999. They were promoted to the Premier Division but the going was not so easy here. They finished bottom in 2006 but avoided relegation. However, they were not so lucky the following year and went down to Division 1. Despite some good seasons at this level, they finished bottom of Division 1 in 2015 but again avoided relegation. A 3rd place finish in 2018 was good enough for promotion back to the Premier Division. The last three seasons (including the two abandoned ones) have seen them hover around the lower mid-table area. 

Long Sutton Athletic played in the FA Vase between 1989 and 1995. Their only win came in their debut as they beat Ramsey Town 1-0. They then went on to lose to Histon in the Preliminary Round. Local cup wins including the Lincolnshire Junior Cup in 1986, the Lincolnshire Senior B Cup in 1990, the Peterborough Minor Cup in 1985, the Peterborough Challenge Cup in 1997 & 1998 and the Peterborough Junior Cup in 1999. The market town of Long Sutton has a population of just under 5,000. It was home to the highwayman Dick Turpin for around nine months under his assumed name of John Palmer.


Once again it was time for a Wednesday night game with fellow hopper Chris. There were not many options - early kick-offs at Kiveton Miners Welfare and Long Sutton Athletic and a later one at Winterton Rangers. We both preferred an early one so we could get back earlier and settled on the nearest one at Long Sutton, near Spalding. I did my research with regards to the club's history and places for dinner and arranged to meet Chris in Leighton Buzzard as he was there for his day off.  It was the same distance as going via his home in Milton Keynes and might even work out better, traffic-wise.

I woke on the day of the game and although no club had tweeted yet, the game was showing as a 7.30 kick-off. The lack of social media activity was not surprising given that it was 7am. Nor was the late kick-off given that they had floodlights. It was later confirmed that it would be the later kick-off that made sense for players finishing work. It wasn't the greatest day overall. Work was very busy, plenty of people not bothering with masks. I resisted the urge to 'accidentally' drop something heavy on their head as I don't think it's in our customer service charter. I also lost a filling although at least I'll only have to wait until next Tuesday for an appointment, even if it will limit my groundhopping plans for that day. I left work at 3.10 and was in Leighton Buzzard to meet Chris an hour later. It was quite a decent journey and we were in Long Sutton an hour later. We got our customary Chinese takeaway with me having salt and chilli pepper chips and King Prawn Thai style. Both were nice enough, but not exceptional.

Long Sutton Athletic were sitting in 10th place. So far this season they'd beaten Netherton United 2-1 on the opening day but had then lost 5-0 at Moulton Harrox and 3-0 at Uppingham Town. Visitors Leverington Sports were a place lower in 11th and had travelled around nine miles from near Wisbech to today's game. They'd lost 5-0 to Oundle Town in their first game but had recovered to win 3-1 at Holbeach United Reserves. In their latest game, they'd lost 7-2 at Stamford Belvedere. The hosts were in black and white whilst the visitors wore an orange and black strip. Leverington started the brightest and they had the first real chance of the game, forcing a good save on 3 minutes as the home keeper spread himself well to deny the striker. After 24 minutes, the visitors took the lead, a strike from the edge of the area that found the bottom right corner. It was 2-0 a couple of minutes later thanks to an excellent free-kick that I managed to catch on camera. Half time only lasted around 8 minutes with the second half kicking off at 8.23. The visitors continued to have the better of the game and had a third goal disallowed four minutes from time. They also forced a number of good saves from the Long Sutton keeper. His team toiled well but really lacked quality and conviction in the final third.

It was a deserved victory for Levington Sports in front of around 100 fans. We left and just as on the way, the roads were poor near Long Sutton. I used Waze instead of Google Maps to see if it would improve things, but it just made things worse. We were directed down a rutted single track road that looked as if it belonged on a farm. We then still had to go down the 'closed' road that we'd been down earlier. It was in fact just very patchy with lots of dips where the surface had been taken off by roadworkers. There was no alternative route that I could see, so I just took it easy. I dropped Chris off at 11.10 and then headed for home, via more very small roads but at least they didn't resemble a dirt track. I got home an hour later to discover that Wycombe had been drawn away to Manchester City in the League Cup. It was on my week off too and I'm keen to make a revisit as I lost all my pictures from last time. Sadly, it looks as if it will be on Tuesday rather than my preferred Wednesday as City fan Tony put it 'the rags are at home on Sunday and Wednesday. I look forward to seeing what he makes of Wycombe as we upset teams in our own league with our antics, let alone someone who is used to a higher standard of football. He certainly doesn't hold back on scathing appraisals of City's opposition, so I think he might explode with rage after seeing us! 


THE PARKSIDE CLUB is a nice setup for step 7. Though there is no permanent rail around the pitch, there is a small stand. This is standing only but holds around 50 at a push. There is currently work going on which looks like they might be enclosing the pitch area. 

The ground is set in pleasant parkland and has a smart bar that sells the usual choice. Car parking is pretty tight but there's lots of space in the surrounding streets. The town has a range of places to eat and drink and is about five minutes walk away. 

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