Saturday, 2 July 2022

Abbey Hulton United - Drayton Beaumont Park

Abbey Hulton FC
Drayton Beaumont Park
Birches Head Road
Abbey Hulton

01782 570302

Ground Number: 1081
Saturday 2nd July 2022
Abbey Hulton United 1-4 Congleton Town


Abbey Hulton United FC was established in 1947. They played in the Longton League at first, before moving to the Burslem & Tunstall League. They were champions of the latter in 1979. Later, they moved to the Fenton & District League where they were runners-up in 1982 before being crowned champions the following year. They moved to their current ground in 1985 and this allowed them to make the step up to the Staffordshire County League in 1987. Fortunes varied here but they were league champions in 1998. They then moved to the Midland League (no connection to the current competition of the same name) where after a series of mid-table finishes they were champions in 2004. The league merged with the Staffordshire County League after this to form the Staffordshire County Senior League. Abbey Hulton United generally finished in the top half of the table and in 2015 they finished 3rd. Two years later, they were league champions, winning promotion to the North West Counties League in the process. They've been in the league's second-tier ever since, which has been the regionalised South Division 1 since 2018. Their best finish came in 2019 when they finished 8th. 

The club has not yet entered the FA Cup, but they have played in the FA Vase. Their best run came in 2020/21 as they beat Shawbury United 3-2,  Ashby Ivanhoe 3-1 and Racing Club Warwick 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Their run came to an end in the 2nd Round as they lost 3-2 at Coventry United. Local cup honours include the Staffordshire County League Cup in 1998, the Fenton & District League & Charity Cup double in 1983 and the Burslem & Tunstall League Cup in 1979. Abbey Hulton is an area of Stoke-on-Trent, named after the abbey that existed between the 13th and 16th centuries. It has a population of just below 10,000. In the Domesday Book, Hulton is recorded as ‘Heltone’ meaning ‘hill town’. It is located a couple of miles from Hanley, one of the main Potteries towns and home of Hanley Town FC. There are also a few ex-Staffordshire League sides nearby, most notably Eastwood Hanley and Norton United as well as Football League side Port Vale, located in Burslem.


We were finally in July, which meant the games were starting to become more abundant. With the FA's 'advice' that no football was to be played in June, it has been a real famine. I'd have loved to gave seen a game on Tuesday, 28th June, one of the sixteen days of the year that I'd not seen a game on. However, there was nothing suitable available without a car full due to costs and all of my hoppers were either unavailable or off-route. The nearest available game for me was New Inn v Newport City, a 260-mile round trip. What with the rapidly rising costs of petrol, I decided to give it a miss, although I might have done it had it been a competitive game rather than a friendly. Has my original choice of Pagham v Farnham Town been on, I might have considered it as it was 'only' 190 miles but that was canceled. It was a shame as Sunday and Monday had been testing days at work and I really could have gone with something to look forward to. At least I had this arranged as early as Sunday evening, although it would mean a bit of compromise on my part. I'd have to drive to somewhere in Hertfordshire to the meeting point and it would be officially a reserve game and a revisit for my two games. However, the alternatives weren't amazing either, so I decided to go with it.

The week went by slightly quicker than last week, though there was still not much midweek football available. That would soon end with games planned on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week. I looked further ahead to my birthday weekend and put the finishing touches to my plans for a few days in Lancashire. I walked into town on Friday night and walked down the Rose and Crown. A couple of pints were had although with the chips I had, it undid the benefits of any exercise. I had a good night's sleep for once and was woken by my alarm at 6.15. I had a pot of porridge for breakfast before leaving at 6.30. I drove to our arranged pickup point, arriving five minutes early but the other guys were there waiting for me. We were soon on our way, stopping after just ten minutes as Dan wanted some food and drink. We made good progress and stopped at Eastwood Hanley for pictures, getting there just after 10. We stayed a good half hour as the club was really friendly and had a good chat. We then stopped at Six Towns Oatcakes where I had sausage egg and cheese & bacon egg and cheese oatcakes which were excellent. It's a shame they are only a local delicacy but I always treat myself when in this area. We got to the ground at 11.30 and as it was free entry, I got myself another oatcake and a Strongbow Dark Fruits for £5. It was not quite as good as the one I had earlier, but still great and very filling.

Congleton started well catching the hosts cold and scoring within 30 seconds. It was all square after five minutes, a goal following a free-kick that was hit into the wall. The visitors retook the lead on 10 minutes, a passing move ending with a low shot from inside the area. Congleton continued to dominate and made it 3-1 from close range after they hit the bar a few times on 55 minutes. Congleton hit the post a minute later and on 67 minutes an Abbey Hulton shot thumped the bar. The visitors made sure of the win on 85 minutes with a low-driven shot from the edge of the area. The win was well deserved although the hosts improved towards the end.

Following our first game, we made our way to Rocester for their game with Stoke City. It was good to try a new cider in their bar - Sharps Cold River but it was nothing special. I'd been before, so didn't need to do a blog. It was a decent game, Stoke winning 3-2 after Rocester had come back from 2-0 down to equalise. The game was a cup dedicated to the memory of Don Hill, the man who established their home ground. There were plenty of dogs about including one who jumped on Dan who had already had a rollicking from his Dad over the phone about his laundry. I was still full up from my earlier food to eat there but the food looked decent. We left just after 5 and made steady progress. I tried to do my blog on the way home but the internet speed was woeful. I was back at Hemel by 7.40 and home by 8.15. I was finally able to sort my photos and get my blog uploaded while enjoying a couple of drinks.


DRAYTON BEAUMONT PARK is a decent setup for the level. The best bit is the tea bar which does an excellent range of food including oatcakes. The bar is smart enough but only does cans and bottles. The ground itself is OK, in a nice setting with a couple of small 'Arena'' seated stands. It's worth a visit as everyone at the club is really friendly.

No comments:

Post a Comment