Result: Glossop North End 0-2 Mossley (FA Cup Preliminary Round)
Venue: Surrey Street (Saturday 19th August 2017, 3pm)
It was back onto the Road to Wembley for this game as local rivals clashed for a place in the next round of the oldest cup competition in football. I was also introducing globetrotting Dave to the joys of Northern non-league football, somewhat removed from the like of Wimbledon, back in the day. You may also remember the fact I blogged this very ground a couple of seasons back, but having neglected the town whilst visiting Surrey Street on that day, I felt it’d be rude not to return at some point and have an explore. Dave was well up for it too and as such, it was off to the twitterverse’s chosen contest.
Just about avoiding the early morning rain showers, a quick change through Manchester was undertaken before we were heading onwards towards Derbyshire. Eventually arriving at just before mid-day, it soon became apparent that we may be reliant on a Wetherspoons until after the clock had passed that magic midday stroke. But, this changed with the discovery of the early starting Norfolk Arms and, after a quick trip to the local Boots and dodging a group of marauding Vespa riders, we were straight through the door for a couple of pints of Holt’s Crystal Gold.
With the early kick-off about to get underway and the pub filling with United fans, I decided it’d be better to move on and head for said ‘Spoons which Dave, being a Chelsea fan, would probably have been somewhat thankful for. The Smithy Fold (within an old mill or something) is definitely one of the nicer ones out there and it combined well with the usual Punk IPA for myself. Our whistle-stop tour was soon to continue, though, with a trip over to the Brook Tavern. It looked pretty decent from outside but wasn’t quite to our overall taste within.
Due to the lack of interesting options, our stay was brief (though did yield us the chance to see United break the deadlock in South Wales) and with the clock now approaching 2pm, Dave reckoned we should head closer to the ground and, namely, to the Friendship Inn that sits just around the corner from the ground and not quite where you’d expect to find a pub. Be that as it may, this was probably my favourite of the ones visited pre-match, helped along markedly by the fact it was selling the superb Big Wave Pale Ale.
The kid wearing the Gengar hoody notwithstanding, not much was really up for report in here and we reckoned we may as well head up to Surrey Street and have a pint in the ground pre-match, a real rarity for me! After almost losing £15 to the wind, I was safely guided to the turnstiles without further faux pas and soon handed over £8. But, disaster! No programmes remained due to the printer breaking down, meaning around fifteen or so only had been up for grabs for these lucky punters. However, Dave, being a Tooting native, was kindly sorted an issue later in the day…..
The refreshing pint of Dark Fruits (albeit in a plastic container) saw us through to kick-off, with Dave deciding he wanted to head for “The Trenches”. No, this isn’t any sort of strange toilet nickname, but is instead how the covered standing area behind the goal and alongside the clubhouse/tea bar/changing rooms is known. It once housed the more vocal fans, I seem to remember, though these were seemingly absent from the crowd today, who were in good number. The rest of the ground features a further two stands, a seated stand towards the near corner and a further covered terrace on the opposite side, straddling the half-way line, with a little more terracing protruding from beyond the roofed area. As for Glossop NE’s story, well it’s a long and chequered one…
Glossop North End FC was formed in 1886, initially playing friendly matches prior to joining the North Cheshire League in 1890. They’d go on to use professional players in 1894 whilst competing in the Combination (finishing runners-up & third in their two season stint) before joining the Midland League for a further two seasons, again finishing with a best of runners-up.
Glossop, as they’d be known from their stint in the league (to avoid confusion with Preston) through to 1992, would go on from there to join the Football League in 1898, being third time lucky in the application process whilst under the guidance of chairman, local cotton magnate Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, who’d later go on to hold the same role at Woolwich Arsenal. Indeed, the family line continues to have links with the club to this day with Peter Hill-Wood currently being a patron of the Hillmen. In joining the league, Glossop became the smallest town to host a Football League outfit (before being ousted by the area around Forest Green only this year) and remains the smallest to have hosted a top-flight club.
Their first Football League season was a highly successful one, the club finishing as Division 2 runners-up to Manchester City and achieving promotion to Division 1. However, their tenure in the top-flight only spanned a single season, prior to the Hillsmen (as they were then known) returning to the second-tier. Here they’d remain through to the end of the 1914/’15 season, whereupon the club was later disbanded due to WWI.
Reformed at the cessation of hostilities, the club had spells in both the Lancashire Combination (one season) & Manchester League in the period between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second. They’d end up winning the Manchester League title once in 1928 and also added the league’s Gilgryst Cup to their cabinet on three separate occasions.
After the end of WWII, Glossop re-joined the Manchester League and won a fourth Gilgryst Cup title (1948) prior leaving their original North Road ground in 1955 and moving into their present Surrey Street site. Since then, the club have had spells in the Lancashire Combination (nine seasons) and the Manchester League once more and became founders of the Cheshire County League (winning promotion to Division One as Division 2 runners-up in 1981) before also becoming founder members of the North West Counties League after the following season when the league merged with the Lancashire Combination. Glossop would spend the majority of their time here in the First (latterly Premier) Division, bar a spell from 1988-1992.
After staving off the threat of folding during the latter part of the 1980’s and early ’90’s, the club’s fortunes began to change and the Hillmen began to challenge more at the top of the table than languish towards the bottom of it. Following the name revert to Glossop North End in 1992, success would come in the form of the Manchester Premier Cup in 1997 vs Trafford at Old Trafford & 1998 at Maine Road vs Radcliffe Borough and the Derbyshire Senior Cup in 2001 vs now defunct Glapwell. Past this, little in the way of silverware was to follow in the next decade, though Glossop did get themselves to Wembley in the FA Vase, ending up as runners-up to the then Vase specialists Whitley Bay in the 2009 competition.
Despite this, Glossop still struggled to get themselves out of the Counties and it would take until 2015 to do it, and then despite a large backlog of fixtures towards the end of the campaign. After managing to reel in the 21-point deficit to the top, he club also won the NWCFL League Cup and returned to Wembley once again for the Vase final, but again would fall at the final hurdle to a Northern League outfit, this time North Shields. 2016 saw Glossop easily make the step up to Step 4 and the NPL Division 1 North, finishing up the season in 4th position and taking a spot in the play-offs, eventually losing out to Northwich Victoria in the semis. Last season saw the departure of boss Chris Willcock, despite a decent 8th position finish, with Paul Phillips and Steve Halford taking the reigns.
Just 15 minutes after arrival of the officials, the game got underway with the visitors grabbing the early initiative, despite coming up against the confusing matter of a Matt Russell in both full-back positions. Yes, both #2 and #3 for Glossop North End were Matt Russell. Madness. Anyway, just a few minutes in, an effort from a corner had to be cleared off the line by a Glossop defender, which may well have been one of the Russell pairing. Despite this early chance, little else was fashioned through the first half-hour, with only a sole Dale Johnson effort for the hosts threatening a goal.
But, with the thirty-minute mark passed, a couple of corners would lead to the opener. Jack Tuohy’s delivery found Elliot Harrison (whom Dave had already picked out as a danger man early in the game) and the winger planted his header beyond Glossop ‘keeper Paul Phillips (who has previous in this competition, having been a key part of the Droylsden squad who made it onto TV a number of years back) and into the net, to give the visitors the advantage.
Mossley did have a scare towards the end of the half, Liam Ellis’ header being ruled out for offside as Glossop pushed on to try to restore parity, but the Lilywhites saw out the remainder of play to head into the dressing rooms with the slight advantage. For us, it was to the food bar where we had to settle for a hot dog, due to the pies having run out at the time we’d got there. They were back on fairly swiftly but, having already tasted the fine offerings up at Surrey Street, I wasn’t too upset by the lack of pastry.
The most memorable part of the half-time break was definitely the disgusting way in which Marko Arnautovic was announced to have been sent off. The PA system crackled into life with the words “Marko Arnautovic has been sent off for elbowing….” before the commentary was broken by the announcer’s words “the raffle ticket seller…”. Awful scenes, though his bending of time and space definitely needs looking at.
It was Glossop who had the ball in the net again early in the second period, but an infringement on the visiting ‘keeper just prior to the goal by “scorer” Ben Deegan saw the powerful frontman’s effort chalked off. This would prove to be a fatal error, as Mossley would soon double their advantage, Danny McLoughlin being felled at the end of a surging run. With the foul in the box, the due penalty was awarded and skipper Tom Dean stepped up. His spot-kick was kept out by Phillips, but fortune was against the ‘keeper as the ball immediately returned to the feet of Dean who stroked home the equaliser. This would prove to be the last action for Phillips too, as he appeared to chuck the ball into the celebratory scrum and was duly sent off for the transgression.
This pretty much ended North End’s hopes and Mossley comfortably saw out the remainder of the tie to book their place in the First Qualifying Round. Post-match, it was back to the clubhouse for a quick one (and receipt of programme), plus the witnessing of a strange half-skirmish between a member of each side just outside the bar. No idea what really sparked it, but there was certainly some annoyance going around.
We soon departed, along with the Mossley boss who had a quick chat about Lilywhites and Dave was more than happy to tell him about how he’s adopting the Tameside club due to the links through the nickname before we headed back to the high street for a couple of further drinks, in the Globe and the station-neighbouring Star Inn. The former was a brilliant little pub and well worth a visit if you find yourself in these parts. However, time had caught up with us and it was time to catch the train back to Manchester for the short 25 minute hop.
A final quick one to waste away some time in the Grand Central alongside Oxford Road station completed the trip, before a return to my parents’ bar, where we’ve got to know Dave from on his sporadic visits up, made it signed and sealed off. All in all, it had been a really good day out. Glossop’s a decent town, the game was definitely watchable and Surrey Street is always a ground I enjoy visiting. As it is, it’s the Lilywhites of Mossley who progress and they’ll host the winners of tonight’s (at time of posting) replay between West Didsbury & Chorlton & 1874 Northwich. The arch draws ever closer….
Value For Money: 7