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If You're all going to Gainsborough - Part 2
By: Chris Smith
THE game itself was an entertaining run-out. Borough went one nil up before a Frod equaliser, with the game settled by a second half penalty for Grimsby.
Whilst I was watching the game, one of Frod's volunteers was talking to me about how they are getting funding for ground improvements, some of which are necessary for their elevated status. Both teams were promoted into the North Counties East League the previous season, based on their facilities, and both did well to finish in mid-table. The volunteer is a keen Iron fan but forsakes the games to help out Frod on Saturdays. It really does take a lot of dedication and effort to support the game at this level.
At Borough, there is an equally dedicated cadre of volunteers. They have been playing at Brigg Town, having had to move from their old home at the Institute, where I've seen a few matches. I actually saw a better game there one afternoon than the earlier kick off at Blundell Park a few years back. They also issue a programme, and whilst it doesn't compare with Town's, which has deservedly won plaudits recently, it compares favourably to the tat that the club (and most others for that matter) issued during some of my earlier years as a fan. The enthusiasm comes through on the pages. It is a shame that when they played at the Institute, locals would stand by their cars on Hereford Avenue for the duration of the game and peer through the railings rather than shell out £2, the tightwads.
Last season, I missed the Town game at Brentford, a team I have more than a passing affection for, as I was working a night shift. One of the regular away crew, Gary, drove us up to Hemsworth Miners' Welfare which is based in Fitzwilliam in West Yorkshire before kindly taking me to work in Leeds afterwards. Grimsby Borough played an entertaining game there, although they were well beaten in the end. I wasn't complaining though and was grateful not to see Town lose 4-0 although my mobile was red hot with insulting texts from my West London friends. Hemsworth have benefited from grants, and their ground is a great example of progress. They had sold out of programmes when we had arrived, so one of the staff there picked up the discarded ones in the dressing rooms and resold them to us. Nothing was a problem and I recommend the bacon and sausage butties there. I can't possibly pass comment on the Colliery Girl of the Week pictures within the programme. You'll have to go and find out for yourselves.
I think our fondest game with Borough is a fixture at Hatfield Main a few years back when both teams were promoted. Whilst Main is a friendly ground, there were a few chavs in the stand being a bit abusive about codheads. We therefore had an exaggerated goal celebration when Grimsby won 2-1 with a goal in the last minute. I'm still purring from the pie and peas I had yesterday evening at the friendly game at Main against Pontefract Collieries. £1 to get in and £1.50 for a good feed. We picked this game as Town fan Eddie is a Pontefract lad and actually puts together a good programme at his home club. It's also just down the road from me. Ponte were whipping boys a few seasons ago but improved massively last year. I've visited the ground and it typifies Yorkshire hospitality. These clubs do a lot for their communities in helping to keep youngsters out of mischief as well as giving them a good grounding in the game. I am therefore mystified when such grounds are regularly vandalised.
Ponte will have been encouraged by an entertaining display from which they emerged 5 1 winners. They took a three nil lead in the first half with some well taken goals before Main pulled one back. Ponte the added a fourth and then a very well struck fifth. It could have been ten three to Ponte so I didn't feel too miffed at missing what was apparently a very good game against Leeds.
Main didn't do a team sheet or programme for the game, so Eddie asked their bench for the line-ups and they were naturally happy to take time from the game to oblige. We spent a fair bit of time talking to an injured Ponte player, coincidentally a Leeds fan. As at the game the previous night, it was nice to have a civilised chat to a rival supporter and it seems strange writing this because I'm more tribal than most on a Saturday afternoon. I'm a bit miffed that the away fans are housed in the Harrington corner as we got our season tickets in the Upper Findus so that we could enjoy some banter at the away fans expense. Given the last few seasons results, it must have been the worst move since N*w*y came to Town.
I'm busy looking for a few more games to do before the season starts in earnest. Goole have some interesting looking fixtures and App Frod and Main are staging a few more. Whilst I'm really excited about our prospects this season, it has been good to rediscover the soul of football at three different grounds in the last week. If we don't see you locally, we'll be at Cheltenham and Tranmere.
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