I digress. So, to my first visit to Whitworth or is it Whitworths? I'm still not sure. The team was formed as Whitworths FC but is now known as Wellingborough Whitworth. Their website says Wellingborough Whitworth, as does their Wikipedia entry. However, their Facebook page says Whitworths and their badge just says Whitworths. An S or not an S, I suppose ultimately, it matters not.
Quite unusually, for a ground at this level, there is some sort of covered area on all four sides of the pitch. At the car park end, between the goal and the clubhouse, there is a small covered seating area. To the left, as well as the dugouts, there is a covered standing area. There is also a covered stand behind the far goal and a perspex shelter running along the touchline opposite the dugouts. All in all, a nice, tidy ground with a decent atmosphere.
Whitworth's opponents this evening were Oadby Town, currently bottom of the league but showing signs of recovery after a terrible start to the season. In fact, out of the two sides, it was The Poachers who had slightly better current form over the past six games. Oadby had won their first game of the season on Saturday, a 2-1 victory at Boston Town. They had also drawn another three of their previous six. The Flourmen had also won on Saturday, 1-0 at home to St Andrews. However, they had only managed that win and a single draw in their last six outings. So, we were all set for what promised to be a tight and entertaining encounter.
Despite a downpour before the game, the pitch looked in pretty good condition but there was a blustery wind blowing across the ground as the teams took to the pitch, Whitworth in their red & black stripes, Oadby in a change kit of all yellow.
It was the home side who struck the first blow. After five minutes of sparring, Dean Hall collected the ball pretty much on the halfway line. Showing a blistering turn of pace, he left the Oadby midfield and defence trailing in his wake and, as Keenan Tailby in the Yellows goal, came out to meet him, he calmly slipped the ball past the keeper and into the net. 1-0 with only 6 minutes on the clock.
Not the start that The Poachers would have liked. However, they certainly weren't playing like a team bottom of the table and with only one win under their belts all season. In fact, their approach play was neat and tidy. If anything, they were let down by their final ball and finishing. They certainly didn't seem to be lacking in confidence, as you may have expected for a side in their position.
As always, my propensity for instantly forgetting names as soon as I am told them kicked in, but I believe and hope that my new found non-league friend's name was Jeremy (if you read this sir, please don't be offended. I forget names constantly), a ground-hopper from the Nottingham area.
Jeremy (and I will continue to call him this name until I get an angry email) not only proved to be an interesting match companion, but also managed to get a photo of both team sheets from the club secretary which he then allowed me to photograph in turn. He also got me thinking about a possible addition to the website. As part of his hopping notes he, and one of his friends, always take note of the number of times the ball leaves the ground (i.e, out of the stadium completely) as well as the number of Portacabins on the ground. It's little bits of trivia like this that make ground-hopping so quirky and interesting.
So, what should I start to chronicle? Maybe wonky corner flags? There's always one of them. The number of plumber's vans in the car park? Keep an eye on future match blogs and the website. Absolutely pointless trivia could be coming your way.
After 36 minutes Wellingborough got a second goal. Good work from top scorer Cavell Jarvis on the right culminated in the ball being played across the Poachers area to the feet of Nathan Burrows, who had the simplest of tasks to push the ball over the line. 2-0.
HT Wellingborough Whitworth 2 Oadby Town 0
Half chances came and went at both ends in an open and well-contested second period. Oadby seemed to be getting some traction down their left flank but, as in the first half, the final ball was not quite there. Whitworths were also making some openings at the other end, especially as Oadby tried to push forward more. One move in particular almost reaped a reward but the striker, looking like he was going to get a clean strike at goal from inside the penalty area, was thwarted by a superb tackle from Oadby captain, Hawker.
However, on the 80 minute mark Oadby did get a goal back, when Gurprit Thandi was on hand to finish from close range. 2-1 and game on for the last 10 minutes? Whitworth, to their credit, did not panic and immediately set about trying to regain their two goal lead. They did have the ball in the back of the Oadby net again but this time the effort was, correctly, chalked off because of an offside decision.
FT Wellingborough Whitworth 2 Oadby Town 1. The Poachers' brief revival is halted by The Flourmen. However, on this display, I would expect them to pick up a few more points before too long.
Whitworth(s) also looked a better side than their league position suggest(s).
Att. 50 (ish)
Wellingborough Whitworth: Lee Baxter, Mallows, Ryan Baxter (c), Archer, Bendon, Harris, Brittain, Hall, Dyson, Pendred, Jarvis. Subs: Liebscher, Burrows, Judge, Marshall
Oadby Town: Tailby, King, Hawker (c), Hefford, Moyo, Walsh, Barber, Parkes, Thandi, Beardmore, Shaw. Subs: Parkinson, Darkwah, Burton, Warren
Ground Number: 142