Monday 18 September 2023

Prudhoe Town - Essity Park

Prudhoe Town FC
Essity Park
Broomhouse Road
NE42 5EH

Ground Number: 1223
Sunday 17th September 2023
Prudhoe Town 3-1 Bishop Auckland
Womens FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round


The club was established in 1969 and for much of its history, played primarily youth football. They joined the Northern Alliance Division 2 in 2015. This league is down at step 9 of the Non-League pyramid and Prudhoe finished as runners-up to Blyth Spartans Reserves in 2018. This was good enough for promotion to Division 1. They then spent three seasons here before their performance over the two pandemic-hit seasons was good enough for promotion to the Premier Division for the 2020/21 season. They were runners-up to Killingworth and won promotion in their first season. Last season saw a credible 8th-place finish in their debut season.  They made their FA Vase debut this season, losing 4-2 to Harrogate Railway Athletic.

The town has seen many teams representing it. Prudhoe spent a couple of seasons in the Northern Alliance between 1982 & 1984. Prudhoe Swinton played in the Wearside League during the 1993/94 season. Prudhoe Town were the most prominent. Under their previous moniker Prudhoe East End, they won promotion from the Northern Alliance to the Northern League in 1988. They also reached the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round in 1990 and the FA Vase 2nd Round in 1997. A name change in 1995 prompted to reach the FA Vase 3rd Round. A couple of sole seasons were spent struggling in the Northern League D1 but mainly they stayed in D2. They sat out 2009/10 before spending eight seasons in the Wearside League before resigning mid-season during the 2017/18 season. A ladies' team in the Northumberland Women's Premiership still carries on the name.

Prudhoe is a town in south Northumberland, about 11 miles west of Newcastle upon Tyne and just south of the River Tyne. Situated on a steep, north-facing hill in the Tyne Valley, Prudhoe had a population of 11,675 at the 2011 census. It has largely become a commuter town for nearby Newcastle. Prudhoe was once a coal mining town. There is still evidence of the old coal mine at West Wylam, signified by a miner's cart when driving into Castlefields up Cockshot Dean. The cart was found in brambles nearby by a former mine employee. This was the site of West Wylam Colliery. The main drift entrance of the colliery is buried under the modern road. The most famous person to come from Prudhoe is the goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.


Usually on Sunday, I am working so I can't go to games. This is never really an issue aside from when organised hops are on or the occasional FA Cup game, there is minimal choice. It is pretty much all women's football and Sunday League. Aside from the top leagues, these fixtures are harder to find, leaving a very limited choice. Originally on this day, I was planning to go to Birtly Town and Sunderland Women. However, the first was only a revisit and it left very little time for transport mishaps between the games. So that was knocked on the head on Saturday night and as I went to sleep on Saturday night, I'd still not made up my mind. There was the temptation of a Women's FA Cup game between Prudhoe and Bishop Auckland and in the end, I decided upon that.
The day of the game came and I had a restless night's sleep before waking at 6.30. I had over two hours in the room and would have had more but Colin had booked a 10:30 train to Middlesbrough. We had planned to dump our bags in the bus station lockers but they'd broken down. Inconvenient but better than them going kaput with your bag in it. I already knew that a more expensive option was available. A site called Stasher allowed me to leave my bag at the Premier Inn for £7. Worth it for not having to lug around a bag all day and Colin agreed, to use the service too. He was off to Smoggie Land and I had plenty of time to kill. So I headed to the High Main Wetherspoons, about 35 minutes out of the centre. It was very pleasant and they did Black Dragon too. It was then another pint along with a steak meal with Scampi. This was excellent and piping hot but time was now tight. I made my way back to the bus station, getting a couple of cans of Irn Bru en route. The 10 to Hexham was slightly late but I was still due to make kickoff. It was a fair way through some pleasant countryside and small villages. It was the same on the ten-minute walk to the ground. Entry was a bargain £1 and it was a pleasant atmosphere.
Prudhoe Town Ladies played in the Northumberland Premiership which sat at step 7 of the women's pyramid. They'd only played one game so far, losing 5-3 at Cramlington United. Bishop Auckland played in the North East Regional Womes League Division 1 North. They'd lost both their games so far, 6-1 at Ponteland United and 2-1 at Norton & Stockton Ancients. Bishop Auckland had been trailing 2-1 when the original tie was abandoned but they took the lead a few minutes in. A cross from the left was finished from close range at the back post by Katie Raine. The equaliser came on 13 minutes, a curling shot from the edge of the area by Clare Larner. Bishop Auckland were on top and retook the lead on 35 minutes through Yaz Robinson, a header from a corner. The game died down a bit after that but Bishop Auckland sealed the game on 85 minutes, Liv Smith slotting the ball past the keeper into the left-hand side of the goal.
It was a half-hour wait for the bus once I returned to the stop. It was on time though and I was on my way back to Newcastle. The Metro Centre was the most popular stop by far and we spent a fair while there. We were back around 5:30 and I headed towards The Mean-Eyed Cat near the bus station. It was excellent as ever and I had a pint of Olivers' Dry whilst I waited for Colin. I found it from memory but being small and out of the way, Colin struggled. I went and met him and headed to Taco Bell for food. It was extremely slow fast food. We then walked along the Tyne to the Free Trade Inn for a pint and then back to Premier Inn to pick up our bags. Then Wetherspoons for a few to hopefully send me to sleep. We got back to the coach with ten minutes to spare until departure. We nabbed the back seat and it was decent at first with us both getting some sleep. It was annoying at Northampton as we picked up some passengers from a broken-down coach, delaying us and making for an uncomfortable last part of the journey. We were back in London around 7 and I was back home a couple of hours later.


KIMBERLEY PARK or ESSITY PARK as it is known for sponsorship reasons is a smart and well-kept venue. It is surrounded by rolling hills and has some grass banking on each side too. All the covered accommodation is on one side. An old terrace with a few comfy chairs, a dull pre-fabricated unit in the middle and an area used for storage on the right. There is a decent bar and possibly food too for bigger games. There's plenty of parking and the 10b bus service stops nearby. Prudhoe train station is 30 minutes walk away.

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