Goodrich Sports Ground

Ground No. 166
Visited - Tuesday 21st October 2008
Result - Goodrich 3-1 Dudley Town
Competition - West Midlands Regional League, Premier Division
Attendance - 39 (h/c)

It’s not often that a ground is more famous than the club that plays there, but in the case of Goodrich, then it happens to be true. Famed for its playing surface, Goodrich sports ground has a history dating back the best part of 60 years with the venue host to many local cup finals, and also presently the home of Wolves women. Nestled in the heart of the huge Goodrich factory complex, then as you may have guessed Goodrich FC are indeed a works team, and the ground itself one of a dwindling number of works grounds left. Originally known as Aero Lucas, then a change of ownership saw them adopt the Goodrich name in 2003, having been known as various adaptations on the Lucas name throughout the ‘90s.

Producing parts for aircraft, then since the name change, the club themselves had been flying (excuse the pun!), gaining promotion in the first year under their new name, and developing the ground to make it suitable for Step 6 football. Despite only living a few miles away, then it was one that I had never got round to visiting, so I was determined to eventually make my way there, choosing the game against Dudley Town to make the trip.

As a rule, I don’t generally go to a lot of night games outside of August/May because of the poor light conditions for taking pictures, but I was in a good mood as I made the short journey through town and up towards the edge of the city where the ground is situated, near to Junction 2 of the M54. After arriving, then from the outside there is nothing to see. Security stop pedestrians from entering the factory site itself, forcing you to go down a long path around the edge of the complex before reaching the back, where the ground is, with several pitches making up the grounds. The main pitch is at the far end, so after making my way over, then it’s a pleasant, if basic sight that greets on arrival.

Hard standing runs around all four sides, with a classic looking pavilion which houses the dressing rooms in one corner, and a small stand on the far side, which on closer inspection turns out to be something quite unexpected… a lorry parked up with its side cut out and a deck of seating put in! it’s not obvious at first, or at least not until you reach the one end which still has ‘long vehicle’ plates and the lights on, as though it could be towed away at any time! If nothing else, then it does provide a good view, which can also be had from the near end, which is raised with a small slope going down to the pitch which even after a period of heavy rain recently, still looks to be as perfect as its reputation.

There wasn’t much time before the game got started, and after the teams came out, both sides seemed up for it early on. Dudley seemed to be doing most of the early attacking, but their efforts went unrewarded, and they were made to pay halfway through the first half when the home side took the lead with a scrambled goal on 29 minutes. They added a second just before the break when the visiting defence was caught stretched, but there was hope for Dudley thanks to their number 9, who scored an absolute cracker shortly afterwards with a volley right from the edge of the area to make it 2-1 at the break. After half-time, then Dudley came out all guns blazing, but they were caught out and after a break at speed, Goodrich found space on the right again, this time their number 7 dragging the ball back after a cross from the left, before blasting it home. With that, then the hosts were content to sit back and take what Dudley had to throw at them, which seemed to be everything but the kitchen sink, but try as they might, nothing was happening in front of goal for the visitors, so after what seemed an age of stoppage time, the referee finally blew his whistle to end the game making it all three points to Goodrich.

Having left, then I got home easily enough, fairly glad to have made the trip. Whilst it might not be the most inspiring of venues, it is a very smartly kept ground and seems to perfectly suit the clubs needs. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of a fanbase, so how far they do end up progressing up the pyramid is open to question, but if they do, then if nothing else, the pitch itself wouldn’t look out of place higher up!

Welcome to Goodrich

The Near End

The Pavilion

The Near Side

The Far End

The Far Side

The Main Stand

Or is it...!!!

Ready for Kick Off


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