Wednesday, 23 September 2015

22/09/15 Review: Scarborough Athletic vs Glossop North End

Scarborough Athletic 0-0 Glossop North End (Evo-Stik First Division North)
Queensgate Park

Following on from Saturday's classic at the Moss Rose, I was now back in my home-town of Bridlington in search of some more non-league action. Tonight's encounter brought me to a stadium that I had played on many a time as a lad and was home to two semi-professional teams, Bridlington Town and Scarborough Athletic. Despite the ground primarily belonging to Bridlington Town, it has also housed Athletic for the past 8 years, since they formed in 2007 following the liquidation of Scarborough's original team. Those days were hopefully well behind them now as they hoped to fight for another promotion, which continued against the unbeaten Glossop North End. Currently Second-placed in the league, GNE had made the 106 mile trip across from Glossop and they didn't travel lightly. For a non-league, midweek football match, the fans had made a top effort.
The away fans piled in to Queensgate Park
Arriving at the game in good time, the clubhouse was the first stop. Described as "a shed with a bar in it" by Pint of Football's number two, Sir William Clark, we enjoyed a round of drinks after purchasing a programme. Queensgate really was the epitome of a lower league ground- the smell of fried onions, the intermingling of fans, the half a dozen voluntary stewards and the ability to take your pint to the side of the pitch, the footballing quality would almost certainly be a secondary feature to this very cold night. Scarborough had suffered a 1-0 defeat at the weekend against Warrington Town, whilst Glossop had been held by Lancaster City, so it was bound to be a close one and as both teams boasted an excellent defensive record I predicted a low-scoring draw which would preserve both teams rank in the higher end of the table. Will bought himself a lucky dip ticket which predicted the minute of the first goal (he got 25th minute) and with that the game kicked off.
I had to check with Google that the clubs's nickname wasn't "Team Sambuca"
As expected, the standard of football was not brilliant. Glossop seemed a bit more content on the ball in the opening minutes, but without much in the way of a threat. The first highlight was the group of fans who emerged from the opposite side of the ground blasting out various chants whilst walking around the ground, drummer and all. Starting off with the simple, but effective "Can you hear the Scarborough sing? I can't hear a fucking thing!" and continuing with some more creative Scarborough-specific tunes such as "Have you paid your rent this week? Oh! Oh! Have you paid your rent this week? No! No!" and "They are getting a new ground, the council said yes." The chants continued and got louder as they approached the section of the ground where we were stood. During this part of the Glossop massive's chanting spree, a long delay of "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" was held for a good 10 seconds, before an unsuspecting fan's head was decorated by a beermat. To the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands" a large section of the away support began to shout "He's got a beermat, on his head!" which I am guessing is a regular occurrence when you are a Hillman.

The original Mr. Jack
To avoid being the centre of such a tradition, I absconded to a seated area of the ground so that I could see how the Scarborough fans differed. If truth be told, they were solely here for the football and had no intention of being so animalistic as to shout anything at all. The standard of football continued to become poor, so much so that even the stewards were popping off to the bar to get a tray of chips. One thing which did grab my attention from afar was yet another Glossop chant, which this time targeted Rob Zand in the Athletic goal. "Your keeper's in pink, your keeper's in pink, oh your keeper, he's wearing pink!" which was followed by a call out of "Puff!".

Good job the word "Puff" could never be considered as offensive
Half-time, needless to say, meant a pint and a natter in the clubhouse. Usually at this point we would be discussing the football, but as there had been barely any highlights on the pitch we had a look at the merchandise stand instead and debated on whether or not to buy a £5 woolly hat. In the end, I didn't, deciding instead to have a look at a programme. An interesting fact for my "Pint of Football" moment tonight was drawn, as usual, from the programme. "It's a classic quiz question - which is the smallest town in England to have been the home of a top division football club? - Glossop." I am assuming that by top division, it doesn't mean Premier League.

Duh, duh, duh, duh, get the pints in
As we headed out for the second-half we were shocked to see that a large chunk of the home crowd had moved to the section where the Glossop travelling fans were stood. This seemed to instantly smell like danger, as the chants became more personal. By around the 60th minute the crowd had practically stopped watching the game and were instead insistent on winding each other up. In the beginning it was fairly light-hearted, as one of Scarborough's 80-year old fans was being lined up to have a fight against a fellow senior from Glossop. I retreated to use the loo at this juncture, which is where I met a more pleasant fan. I got chatting to a man from Liverpool who was explaining to me how he loves non-league football and their grounds. After many years of following the Anfield club, he told me of how he was losing his love for the game- which is why he started following Glossop North End. It got a bit out of hand though after this moment of nicety, when the dreaded beermat made a reappearance. A Scarborough fan took great offence to the mat being placed on his head and reacted by slamming it to the ground. A chorus of boos led to a bit more "intermingling" until the inevitable petty squabble kicked-off.

Crowd-trouble? Let's hope that the stewards have finished their chips
One fan was evacuated from the ground and with 5 minutes to go the crowd continued to be rowdy. Any goal from any team would have surely caused a low-scale non-league riot and both teams, but for a lack of quality on the night, could've nicked it. The thrown out fan waltzed back in during injury-time and at this stage the stewards were called back in. After a few minutes of argument, the lad left again and seconds later the full-time whistle blew. Scarborough 0-0 GNE.

Turns out that no body could do it on a cold Tuesday night in Bridlington
After many years of not attending Queensgate Park, I was certainly not blown away by this match. The atmosphere was surprisingly explosive considering the friendly nature of past matches I've attended. Alas, I will have no shame in ending my post by answering the question that you've all been asking. Yes, I did go back to my local pub afterwards and place a beermat on an unsuspecting patrons head!

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