Manchopper in….Tadcaster

Tadcaster_Albionscarborough

Result: Tadcaster Albion 3-2 Scarborough Athletic (FA Cup Preliminary Round)

Venue: The Park, Ings Lane (Saturday 20th August 2016, 3pm)

Att: 612.

As the early part of the season continues to progress, so does my continuing ‘hopping ventures and the greatest cup competition in the world, the FA Cup’s, bandwagon rolls into towns and villages all over the country. As it was, the draw for the Preliminary Round threw up a very interesting game in Tadcaster vs Scarborough.

This one meant a little bit more on a personal basis too. The reason for this is the fact that, a few years ago when both were in the NCEL, I travelled over to Ings Lane upon an earlier call-off. Unfortunately, as I approached the gates, people were exiting out of the ground with less than pleased expressions on their faces. Of course, people exiting a ground at the scheduled kick-off time is never a great sign and nor was it in this case, as the game had been postponed at kick-off as one side, I think Scarborough, refused to play on a pretty hard pitch.

Of course, this can’t really be counted in as a visit or a game at all, so when the tie came up and a chance to replicate the first visit (hopefully without P-P this time) it had to happen. As such, in a surprisingly good weather-wise morning, I was making my way over the county border and to Leeds, where I was to disembark my train and head over to Leeds Bus Station for the “Coastliner” service to Tadcaster. After an hour-and-a-half’s journey overall, I was eventually dropped off in the shadow of the John Smith’s/Sam Smith’s/Heineken breweries and headed off to see what pleasures Tadcaster and, more specifically, its pubs had to offer.

Tadcaster

Tadcaster

Tadcaster

Tadcaster

After a recon mission of the high street, my first stop off was the Fox & Hounds pub at the far end of the town. Here, though, I found what could possibly, and most probably will, be the cheapest pint I’ll have this season as the Arctic Lager came in at £1.40. Crazy scenes. Relationship talks in here were pretty enlightening, not that I was earwigging but you just couldn’t avoid it. Anyway, after finishing up in what is pretty much a front room with a bar in it, I headed back out, intending to visit the The Queen pub which neighbours the brewery. Sadly, this looked pretty shut, so instead the Falcon was to be my next port of call.

The Falcon was clearly an older pub that had been modernised to be a “café/bar” establishment, but for most punters in here, it was the latter part of this quote which was the most attractive part. Here, the Sam Smith’s options were once again strong and so a pint of the tried and trusted Taddy Lager was the chosen one. After a pretty uneventful visit and with the rain clouds beginning to gather above the town, I hightailed it over to my final pre-ground stop: the Howden Arms.

In the Fox & Hounds.

In the Fox & Hounds.

The Falcon

The Falcon

Howden Arms & Brewery

Howden Arms & Brewery

Once again, there wasn’t much to speak of, other than it, once more, being a small, snug establishment with toilets based in an outbuilding, reached after crossing the yard. But, after a further Taddy Lager, it was to Ings Lane and, hopefully, there’d be no-one leaving as I arrived this time.

After threading through the midst of the brewery, you eventually arrive at the end of the road with Ings Lane right ahead of you. After heading through a shed, the turnstiles sit ahead of you and after being relieved of £7 for right of entry, I was into the ground and this time, there was no frozen pitch to threaten this game, though knowing how the weather has been this summer, that wouldn’t have been too surprising. The pitch was in great nick, though, and with around an hour to kick-off, a trip to the clubhouse was called for, but not before a programme (£1.50) was purchased.

This way...

This way…

Here we are!

Here we are!

Ings Lane is a tidy ground, though it is certainly a fair bit different from when I visited on that prior occasion, when I seem to remember that a truck trailer was used in some sort of way. I can’t remember what it was there for, but in my memory, it was a stand so a stand it is! Now though, there are no trailers (well, other than the burger van), with a new, all-seater stand located behind the near-end goal and a smaller seated stand behind the far end too. The far touchline is open standing, with the near side populated by the clubhouse and other amenities, with some open terracing surrounding the structure. As for Taddy Albion’s story, well sit back and grab a drink fit for a nostalgic look back…

History Lesson:

Tadcaster Albion FC were formed in 1892 under the John Smith’s FC name, with the club winning the York League Division 2 in 1910. In 1923, the club adopted the Tadcaster Albion name, following a few years out, winning the Second Level league immediately. They returned to the John Smith’s name in 1926, and were back in the York League Second Level. A reserve side playing under the Tadcaster Albion name was formed in 1930 and they mirrored the “firsts” success as the two sides moved up the leagues together. 1933 saw John Smith’s win the York League Second Level again and eventually the two merged around WWII to take on the town name.

The local York League was the first title won under the Albion name, coming in 1948. The club continued to compete in the league through the ’50’s & ’60’s and the early 1970’s until 1973 saw a switch into the Yorkshire League. Here, Tadcaster quickly moved through the divisions, being promoted in ’75 & ’77 from Division 3 to Two to One, but then returned just as quickly as they came, finding themselves back in Division 3 at the end of the ’79-’80 season.

After originally playing on local grounds at the current cricket club, before moving to the Ings ground, just down the road from the current ground with changing facilities being housed in the, already mentioned, Falcon pub. In 1960, the move to the current ground was undertaken and in 1982-’83, Tadcaster became founder members of the Northern Counties East League. After competing in the Division 2 North until 1991, reorganisation meant that Albion were placed in Division 1. Being the new lower step, Albion struggled throughout their time here, never finishing out of the top half and finishing bottom in both 2002 & 2004.

TAFC

TAFC

Today's Teams

Today’s Teams

From 2005, though, on-pitch fortunes changed and the club missed out on promotion by a point in 2006. Following some upheaval in different sectors & areas in the mid-2000’s, the club suffered a setback and fell back into the lower reaches of the division, but Taddy recovered to win the 2010 Division 1. 2011 saw the NCEL President’s Cup won along with the “PROSTAR” Cup, which was defended the following season (2012).

2014 again saw changes off-field, though this time they appeared to be for the better. After leading the NCEL Premier Division for a long while in 2014-’15, the form eventually fell off and Taddy ended up in P3, though the FA Vase run to the quarter final was the highlight. 2016, though, saw Taddy take the NCEL Premier title, securing it with a 2-1 triumph over Armthorpe Welfare, though they were beaten finalists in the NCEL League Cup. This season, therefore, sees Tadcaster make their bow at Step 4.

An immensely dear pint, by apparent Tadcaster prices, of Red Stripe was bought and pre-match entertainment was provided by Stoke City-Manchester City & the T20 Finals Day, with one lad next to me coming within 30 seconds of a decent windfall on a bet, until a late City goal put paid to it, with his disappointment being re-laid to his mate on the other end of the phone. These big clubs have no thought for the working man.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse

Handshakes

Handshakes

Eventually and with the ground now filling up nicely, it was time to head out for kick-off, with the teams making their way onto the field to the strains of “Glad All Over” which is Tadcaster’s adopted tune (substituting Glad for Tad, for those who aren’t aware of this famed matter). But, with the game only a few minutes old, it was Boro who were the ones feeling Glad All Over, as Joe Lamplough headed home from within the six-yard box from a right-wing corner. Not politically, of course, as that would just be silly.

It was a pretty one-sided affair for the first half, with the Seadogs running amok within the Albion ranks on numerous occasions, though Taddy did have a few chances with one fizzing drive in particular forcing a good save out of Jordan Porter in the visitors’ goal.

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

But it was Boro’ were to grab a second just before the break, thoughtfully saving it until just after I’d returned to pitchside with a burger (£3) from the van next to he shiny new stand behind the goal. A good attack saw the ball fed into the feet of the experienced Craig Nelthorpe, who clinically bent his effort past Michael Ingham and into the top corner. A great strike and his devilish celebration was well earned. Half-Time, 0-2.

The break was spent, as many are around the country, getting to grips with the scores on the doors via the medium of Jeff Stelling and the crew on Soccer Saturday, as my in-match phone ban continues. I figure I’ll miss less goals this way, as it was certainly a large factor in missing around 10-12 last season, which is an obscene amount! So, with the second half getting underway I followed in the footsteps of the jubilant group of travelling fans, who were great all game it has to be said and headed back out to see if Tadcaster could mount a famous comeback. If you avoided the scoreline, somehow, I’ll leave you in suspense.

Just four minutes into the half, Rob Youhill grabbed a goal back for the Brewers following a terrible display of defending, which saw a weak header back scuffed clear by Porter straight to Youhill, who chipped him comfortably. 1-2, but despite dominating for most of the second half, it didn’t really look as if Tadcaster were going to grab that crucial equaliser. Until, that is, with a quarter-hour to go, Tadcaster won a free-kick outside the area and the resultant ball in was flicked on at the near post, with Josh Greening arriving at the back post to knock it over the line. 2-2!

Watching on...

Watching on…

The Vocal Seadogs Fans

The Vocal Seadogs Fans

Then came the unfortunate moment in the game, as a poor tackle by a Taddy player saw Scarborough’s right-back, Liam Ormsby, go down on the far-side. As it became apparent he was in some strife, the physio was sent over and soon enough, the signal came back that he wasn’t able to continue. The problem now for the visitors was, with all three subs used, they’d have to end the game with ten-men and this became crucial by the 94th minute.

Sadly, Ormsby had broken his leg in the challenge, which was very late, so much in fact that I hadn’t actually seen it while watching the game live, so wasn’t really going to comment. But, having seen it again in match “highlights” packages, it’s obvious that it was late, dangerous and a definite red card. What it wasn’t, in my opinion anyway, was a malicious one. That’s my view, though I’m sure everyone has differing opinions, as is usual in this game! All I’ll add to this is I hope Liam makes a full, speedy recovery.

Match Action

Match Action

Scramble!

Scramble!

Deep in thought...

Deep in thought…

As the contest entered its final ten minutes, it looked as though Scarborough had taken the lead once more, but an incredible double save by ex-York City ‘keeper Ingham kept the scores level, keeping out a point blank shot, before clawing away a looping rebound effort. This, in turn, led to the 87th minute climax of the game, with Tom Corner being the home hero, cleverly flicking Greening’s scuffed shot goalwards and past the despairing Porter for 3-2. As they celebrated in front of a “We Don’t Swear” board, the highlights carry this quote, overheard from a fan: “I told you! I f***ing told you! 3-2 in their f***ing cup final”! Maybe Taddy don’t, but this rebellious figure certainly does.

Despite a late, surging, swerving run by Conor Sellars ending with him not being able to find the net, much to the disappointment of all in the ground of a yellow & blue or neutral persuasion who were robbed off one of the better goal ever seen the full-time whistle sounded; 3-2 and what a game!

After checking up on Ormsby’s condition and chatting to a couple of generations of ‘Boro fans, with the “slightly more experienced” lady surprisingly stating she’d been with the loud group in the stand (Go On!) and asking them to pass on my best to those with Liam as I’d seen him play a number of times while watching Trafford here and there. As I said earlier, hopefully all is well with him and also his relative(?).

Flags

Flags

Closing Thoughts are that Tadcaster Albion as a club seems great and the ground & town is well worth a visit. The game was brilliant and well worth the travel, which is definitely a lot easier than I expected too. No complaints anywhere, but it was just a shame it had a bit of a shadow (not meant maliciously) hanging over it come the end of the game with the injury.

So, with the ambulance crew arrived, I headed back for the bus back to Leeds, just evading the forecast rain which was now falling steadily. After a  short wait at Leeds station, I was back on the train to Manchester and onwards back, with everything working on time and faultlessly once more. For the second week in a row! What is this sorcery?!!

 

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