Thursday 14 July 2022

Sleaford Town - Eslaforde Park

Sleaford Town FC
The Longwater Stadium at Eslaforde Park
Boston Road
NG34 9GH

01529 415951

Ground Number: 1087
Wednesday 13th July 2022
Sleaford Town 1-2 Lincoln City


The origins of the club date back to 1920 when a team was established by the local YMCA's Red Triangle social club. They played only friendlies at first, officially forming in 1923 and joining the Ruskington League. They were initially known as Sleaford Red Triangle, though only for a short while before changing their name to Sleaford Amateurs in 1927 and went on to play in the Culverthorpe League and the Blankney Hunt League, enjoying success in both.  They changed their name to Sleaford Town in 1968, with occasional spells in the Lincolnshire League which they won in 1981 and 2004 as well as finishing as runners-up in 1990 and 2003. This was all under the guidance of former player Brian Rowland who managed the club for an incredible 33 years - joining in 1979 and leaving in 2012. He oversaw their move to their current home in 2007. They had joined the United Counties in 2004, using the temporary home of RAF Cranford whilst their new ground was built. They won the Division 1 title in 2006 but had to wait until the following year to gain promotion to the Premier Division, following a runners-up spot behind Wellingborough Whitworths. They've been in the United Counties' top tier ever since, with a best-ever finish of 7th coming in 2016.

Sleaford Town first played in the FA Cup in 2008. They beat Ely City 3-2 and won 2-1 at Walsham Le Willows before a 6-2 defeat to Stamford in the 1st Qualifying Round. They've reached that stage twice more - losing to Matlock Town after a replay in 2009. In 2013, they were leading 2-1 against Huntingdon Town when a mass brawl saw the game abandoned and both teams were thrown out of the FA Cup. They enjoyed their best-ever run in the FA Vase during the 2015/16 season. After beating Peterborough Sports, Downham Town, Raunds Town, Sporting Bengal United and Yaxley, they lost 3-2 at Sunderland RCA in the 4th Round. The club has won a host of local cups, which include:

Culverthrope Cup on a number of occasions
Bourne Hospital Cup
Blankney Hunt Cup
Ruskington Medals Trophy
Billingborough Cup
Lincolnshire League Challenge Cup: 1981, 1990 & 1991
Lincolnshire League Supplementary Cup: 1989, 2002 & 2003
Lincolnshire League Charity Cup in 1974
Lincolnshire Amateur Cup in 1952 & 1967
Lincolnshire Senior B Cup: 1986, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2006
Lincolnshire Junior Cup

The town of Sleaford was named after the River Slea.  In 1872 the river was described as "a never-ending source of pure water", and was a trout river renowned throughout the East coast of England. However, modern pollution has seen it fall into decline. The population is just under 18.000. Sleaford was mainly an agricultural town until the 20th century with a cattle market. Seed companies such as Hubbard and Phillips and Sharpes International were established in the late 19th century. The arrival of the railway made the town favourable for malting, but the industry has since declined. The most famous person to come from Sleaford is the goalkeeper Mark Wallington who played with a young Gary Lineker at Leicester City and went on to be a PE teacher in the town.


I'd wanted to visit Sleaford Town for a while, but my regular Wednesday hopper Chris had already been. However, with our options running out, I offered it to him. It was just a shame there was a total lack of decent Tuesday games again, meaning that it would be another frustrating night in. Allexton & New Parks came up, but Anwar didn't fancy it, so I decided to save it for another time. I did all the research for Sleaford on Monday evening, including researching the club history and finding a couple of decent nearby takeaways. I did consider Wetherspoons but I was taking my usual midweek break from temptation, especially before my birthday weekend.

With no football on Tuesday, I spent a lot of the day preparing my blogs for my weekend away. It was nice to catch up with things although I'd have preferred a game. The day of the game came and it was work as ever, with the general public their usual selves. There was even an idiot who left their dog in a hot car whilst they shopped, despite it being common knowledge that it's totally cruel. I finally got away at 3.10 and had a pretty slow journey over to Anwar, thanks to some roadworks at Monks Risborough. I got to him at 4.05 and we had a reasonable journey up. The biggest delay was when we got to Sleaford itself and had to wait 10 minutes at a level crossing. We parked in town and headed to La Shish where I had chicken shashlik and chips for £10. Service wasn't the quickest, but it was tasty and worth the wait. We left for the ground at 7, arriving 5 minutes later. Parking was plentiful and well organised and entry at £3 and a nice programme at £1 were superb value. It was nice to have enough time to get some pictures and relax before kick off. I was still peckish so I got some chips for £1.50.

It was a dry and dusty pitch, a victim of the recent warm weather. Lincoln City had sent a mix of first-team fringe players and youngsters for this game. Especially notable was Jordan Wright who played in goal and who had made 13 appearances for the first team last season. The visitors took the lead after a few minutes, a ball from the right was put home from close range. The goalscoring details have not been publicised officially as yet but Sleaford soon equalised. Five minutes were on the clock when a ball from the left was put into the roof of the net by Ollie Skinner. It was a good end-to-end game but on 24 minutes, a foul in the area presented Lincoln City with the chance to take the lead. Jordan Donnerry stepped up and converted well into the bottom right-hand corner. Later the Sleaford keeper was yellow carded, a bit harsh for a Friendly. I later met another hopper, Richard, who I had seen at Bentley and we all had a good chat about football in general. The game died down overall second half but it was a decent night out.
The attendance was a brilliant 446, a reward for the club's pocket-friendly pricing and good organisation. It was one away from matching their best-ever attendance of 447 which came against Matlock Town in the FA Cup. We left just after 9.40 and despite a few road closures, made good progress on the journey south. Greatest Hits Radio kept us company as ever but for once, I didn't have a clue about the Top Ten at Ten guess the year feature which turned out to be 1978. I dropped Anwar off at midnight, getting home myself twenty minutes later. For once, I didn't stay awake for long, going to sleep before 1. The next day brought about work although it was easier to get through knowing that I had five days off after.


ESLAFORDE PARK is a functional ground with the standard arena stands, one seated, one standing. There's tons of parking available and the ground is located a mile from a very nice town. This has plenty of choices but back at the ground, the tea bar is tasty and good value. Everything is well priced and it's a nice friendly atmosphere. 

No comments:

Post a Comment