Result: Wythenshawe Town 4-0 Witton Albion Reserves (The Hallmark Security Cheshire League 2)
Venue: Ericstan Park (Saturday 22nd November 2014, 2.00pm)
Att: 35 (hc)
Finally, after a few years of putting this visit off as a “may do later” trip, the opportunity to again arose to visit Wythenshawe Town’s Ericstan Park. Granted, even today, it wasn’t my first choice with trips to AFC Darwen or Bootle taking preference in planning, but after these both fell foul of the weather, the case was settled. Off to Wythenshawe I set.
After boarding a bus to Stretford & changing onwards towards Baguley, I was arriving at just before half one outside the large Tesco store on the main road. A large board facing onto said road from the ground was advertising today’s fixture proudly, and after walking through the supermarket’s car park, I arrived at the front gates of the ground & a makeshift turnstile (a table) where I paid £2 but received the programme (50p) for no extra charge.
Having around 25 minutes to spare, I headed for the rather plush clubhouse/facilities which puts many clubs higher in the structure in the shade. The ground itself features two small stands, one has benches in it to accommodate seated spectators, and the opposite small covered terrace had a few “office” chairs dotted about in it. It was here the club officials had congregated for the game. The pitch is 3/4’s barred off, with just the “Main Road” end not being. There are also no floodlights at present, though these are in the process of being acquired, I am led to believe, hence the two o’clock kick-off today, to beat the darkness.
Formed in 1946, and playing at Hough End Fields on Princess Road, Withington, Wythenshawe Town was originally known as North Withington FC, but was eventually re-named in 1987 after a few seasons at their new ground in Wythenshawe which was named Ericstan Park as a tribute to Eric Reynard and Stan Orme who were prime movers in the club’s early days.
After a long period in the Lancashire and Cheshire League the club joined the Manchester League in 1974 and the Wythenshawe Town Football Club senior section now has two teams in the Manchester League and one in the Wythenshawe Sunday League.
The club’s only league success so far came in 201/’12, when they won the Manchester League First Division, but after two seasons in the Premeir Division of that league, they finished bottom last season.
In 2014, Wythenshawe moved from the Manchester League to the Cheshire League 2 with Lee McGregor taking charge of the squad in the 2014/15 season.
Soon enough, the match was upon the 35-ish people in attendance, and after taking some pictures initially of the ground, I ended up in the “Main” stand, which bears the club’s name on it. It was here that Wythenshawe, in their all blue kit, took the lead. Ex-Cheadle Town & Stockport Sports striker Ben Brooks flicking a header into the far corner. 1-0.
Despite large, sustained spells of pressure from the home side, this was how the scoreline remained at the break. I remained in the terraced stand throughout the break, and had a read of “The Town Review” programme, which is a well produced programme & a decent effort from a club at the level Wythenshawe currently play at.
Soon enough, the sides were re-appearing onto the field for the second period, and after one Town player had said hello to his dog as he re-entered the pitch, we were back underway. It only took seven minutes for the home side to double their advantage when Ben Connolly netted a tap in after a fine piece of ingenuity from another Town player, whose flicked effort would have made for a superb finish.
Witton were keeping their unbeaten hosts honest, though, and had a couple of half-chances to halve the deficit, but they were dealt a blow soon after when their dangerous #10 was forced after a tough, but fair, challenge from a Town defender. Sadly, this ended in an ambulance journey to the nearby hospital for the Albion striker.
Things only got worse from then on, as Jonathan Rand netted a third, planting a firm header into the bottom left-hand corner with sub Remi Williams adding further gloss to the scoreline late on with a fine individual effort. He picked the ball up, advanced 30 yards, before firing across the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner. As the sun began to near the horizon, the final whistle blew to ensure the home side kept their perfect league record intact, nine wins from nine.
After the game, I headed inside the clubhouse to purchase a Budweiser to have whilst having a chat with Town manager Lee McGregor, whom I’d spoken to after his 70-minute midfield maestro effort had come to an end prematurely. But, a £1 coin I had seemed to change into a 10p somewhere along the way, and the barmaid was sure I was trying to pull a fast one. Eventually, I found the lost money, but not before my beer had been put on a reserve player’s tab! Cheers, I owe you one! After having the quick chat with Lee and meeting some committee at the club as well as one of the club’s founders (an honour to do so), I was soon on my way into the darkness and on the way back home with the knowledge that I would be making my live radio debut on the “Wythenshawe Town Sports Show” with James Lobley. Manchopper branching out! Another great, friendly club, on many people’s doorstep and one that has a great scope for advancement. It is also much more easy to access with the opening of the new Airport line on the Metrolink, with a stop just up the road, about 5 minutes from the gate. I hope their plans for the future work out, and I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this too. Thanks to all there, and see you very soon.
My Wythenshawe Town M.o.M.- Ben Connolly
My Witton Albion Reserves M.o.M.- The #10 (Bojan Karanlang I think his name is).
Game: 7- Decent game, but quite a one sided affair.
Ground: 6- Good for the level, with advancements due.
Programme: 6- Good effort for the level, with original content and stats.
Food: N/A- There is some usually, but don’t think there was today.
Fans: 5- No real fan base as yet, but good on those who turn up to support them now.
Value For Money: 9- £2 entry, £5 travel. Can’t complain.
Referee: 8- Let the game flow as best he could. Very efficient.