Saturday, 14 August 2010
Ground 124: Lenton Lane, Greenwood Meadows
Formed in 1987 by the amalgamation of Greenwood FC and Meadows Albion, Greenwood Meadows currently play in the East Midlands Counties League, step six on the non-league pyramid. Squeezed between a two-all draw with Holwell Sports and a trip to Thurnby Nirvana, today's visitors were Winterton Rangers, members of the Northern Counties East League and home to Hull City Reserves, in the FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round, a mere 1,260 minutes from a trip up Wembley Way.
The Lenton Lane Ground is located on, surprisingly enough, Lenton Lane, which runs between a roundabout at the end of the Clifton Bridge to the banks of the River Trent, passing three non-league football grounds (Pelican, Greenwood and Dunkirk), a cricket pitch, golf club, and a super-posh restaurant on the way. The record attendance of 302 came as part of a world record Groundhop against Radford in 2004. Magic of the cup or no magic of the cup, this afternoon's attendance was no more than a tenth of that.
I got to the ground ten minutes for kick-off. "For Greenwood?" asked the man on the solitary turnstile. "It's just we've had loads through asking for Dunkirk." As the players walked out of the clubhouse the clouds opened and the entire crowd - all thirty of us - hurried to the only bits of cover - two iron-roofed stands, one with paint-spattered wooden benches, the other with two rows of plastic seats, that ran either side of the dug outs on the near side of the pitch. Waist-high ply-wood boards had been hammered into the grass instead of advertisement hoardings. The Horizon Tobacco Factory, home of John Player cigarettes, and menacing grey clouds made up the remainder of the view.
Winterton's support looked to have taken up their full 25% ticket allocation and at least eight seats on their team coach, but on a slippery surface it was the home side who made the fastest start. Two minutes in a mishit lob had the keeper flailing like a man trying to catch mosquitoes in a malarial swamp. Four minutes later it was two: Winterton throw, tackle, through ball, goal (raking shot being the appropriate technical term). It took the visitors to the quarter hour mark before they hit back with a gently chipped free kick that went straight through the goalkeeper's hands. "Shocker," was the view from the touchline.
Two-one at half-time, the equaliser came twenty minutes into the second half. A simple long ball split the Greenwood defence and the side of a boot did the rest. Three minutes, and one near miss from the home side, later it was three with a virtually identical move. The Greenwood players started arguing among themselves; Winterton just repeated the trick. Four-two - and Greenwood Meadows had nothing left to give.
Winterton for the Cup?
Date: August 14th 2010