Saturday 20 May 2023

Gornal Youth - The Dell Stadium 3G

Gornal Youth FC
The Dell Stadium 3G
The Dell Stadium
Bryce Road
Brierley Hill 

Ground Number: 1190
Saturday 20th May 2023
Gornal Youth 3-5 Brocton
Midland U21 Bowl


The club is a very new one, having been established in 2020. Coming amid the pandemic was not the ideal time to start and they lost all 8 games of the partial 2020/21 season played in the Midland U21 West. They were moved to the new Midland U21 South West last season. Though they finished bottom, they did manage to get some points on the board this time - winning two and drawing three of twenty games. This season has seen a huge improvement on the pitch with a 6th-place finish. They were just nine points off the eventual winners of the league. They are based on the 3G pitch outside the Dell Stadium. This was the former home to Dudley Town and the current home to Gornal Colts.

The club originates from Dudley but is based in Brierley Hill, three miles south of the bigger town. It has a history in industry, namely quarries, collieries, glass works, and iron works. By the early 1980s, much of this had closed and resulted in a 25% unemployment rate. The former Round Oak steelworks is now the site of the area's most prominent landmark - The Merry Hill shopping centre. The most famous player from the area is Danny Batth - the current Sunderland defender who started out locally at Wolves.


I'd been aiming to do more games in the Midland U21 League for some time. It had provided good entertainment in the past and represented a good chance to do a double - with all the games kicking off at 10:30, it was ideal to pair up with a later kickoff. My preferred way to do this was on the train as it gave me the chance to visit the excellent Post Office Vaults pub in Birmingham. However, this was easier said than done due to no two venues being close enough together. This was with the exception of the Solihull double of Silhill and AFC Solihull but this was always passed up in favour of something else. I realised that I'd have to drive if I wanted to make things easier. This weekend presented the ideal opportunity with little else on. The Birmingham FA Vase was being played not so far away and so it was an ideal chance to see two games. It was confirmed when my two regulars - Colin & Anwar agreed to join me.

Friday was a fairly easy day at work with it being a six-hour day. I also had a pleasant surprise when I got home and discovered that my Aunt had brought her adorable boxer dog around. It was nice to catch up with family too. In the evening, I went for a revisit to Ascot United for the Ascot & District Charity Cup Final. It was a cracking game as Singh Sabha and Old Windsor drew 3-3. Windsor triumphed on penalties in a lively atmosphere. A good evening was had including a great cheese and ham toastie. I got home and had a couple of drinks, getting to bed before 1 am. It was a lousy night's sleep and I woke up around 6.40. I stayed in bed for half an hour and felt better once I got up at 7.10. I had some breakfast, got dressed and caught up on bits before leaving at 7.35. I was at Colin's by 7.50 as arranged but he kept me waiting for ten minutes as he was not ready. Luckily the roads over to Aylesbury were good and we were only five minutes late for Anwar. The journey up to Birmingham was variable. Rubbish country roads at the start, some good motorway, then miles of non-existent roadworks on the M42. The last bit was slow too and after some delay, we got to the ground at 10.25. A combination of not knowing where the entrance was and an early kickoff meant that we just about made the kickoff.
In terms of league placings, Gornal Youth were 6th whilst Brocton were 9th. So far in this competition, Gornal Youth had lost 2-0 at Nuneaton Borough and drawn 1-1 against FCV Grace Dieu. Brocton had lost 4-1 to FCV Grace Dieu and 8-1 to Nuneaton Borough. The other result had seen FCV Grace Dieu win 2-1 at Nuneaton Borough. No official tables were available but it appeared to be a group of four teams. It appeared as if the two teams were just playing for pride. When the two teams met in the league, Gornal won 2-0 in their home game and 1-0 at Brocton. The hosts were in red and black with the visitors were in green and white. Though Brocton were the better side in the opening exchanges, it was Gornal that took the lead on 22 minutes. It was a move down the right followed by a low shot that gave them the lead from close range. Six minutes later, a good run was capped off by another close-range finish. Brocton reduced the arrears making it 2-1 on 37 minutes, a quick break and a shot from the edge of the area. However, Gornal restored their two-goal lead on the stroke of halftime, with an attack down the right and a finish from a tight angle by #9. The second half saw Brocton make a recovery. Firstly, five minutes into the second half, a good attacking move and a shot from ten yards made it 3-2. It was all square on 57 minutes, an attack down the left and a close-range finish. Similar circumstances allowed Brocton to take the lead for the first time on 65 minutes. The game was sealed on 72 minutes, a player wriggled through the area before planting a shot in the bottom right on 72 minutes, this made it 5-3 Brocton.
The game would have had to be something special to live up to the six-goal thriller that I saw last night, but it was a fine contest all the same. It was good entertainment for the 33 in attendance which included a fair number of groundhoppers. Gornal had not declared their goalscorers at the time of me publishing this. Brocton's goals were scored by Morgan Payne and Jake Thomas who got a brace apiece and Bradley Johnson who got the other. The Midland U21 league is a great way to get two games in one day and I intend to make use of it in the future, possibly if the Midland Bowl goes to a further stage.

The DELL STADIUM 3G is a decent setup for what it is. A 3G pitch with a decent-sized viewing area, a capacity of around 200. There's a large car park and basic snack bar attached. Further afield, street parking and a range of takeaways. The Merry Hill shopping centre with even more choice is walkable.

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