Nantwich Town
Jackson Avenue

Ground No. 89
Visited - Sunday 12th March 2006
Result - Nantwich Town 2-1 Pickering Town
Competition - FA Vase Quarter-Final
Attendance - 698

The FA Vase Quarter-Final between Nantwich and Pickering was originally due to be played 8 days earlier, but because of heavy snow it was postponed, which gave me the opportunity to see another ground.

With the weather still not especially great, there was some concern about the rescheduled fixture, but after calling the club up on the morning of the game, I was glad to hear that it would indeed go ahead, and so set off to the train station to catch the train northwards. Despite a slight delay, it wasn’t a long journey, firstly to Crewe, and then change there for the short ride to Nantwich itself, arriving into the town at about 2pm.

It wasn’t a long walk to the ground from the station, no more than 10 minutes, with the ground being located at the bottom of a small cul-de-sac, just on the edge of the town centre. From the outside, it’s probably the least imposing ground I’ve come across on my travels, with the only signs that it is a ground being the two turnstiles and exit gate. This was a slight let-down, but once inside, I was greeted by a fairly pleasant scene, typical of that level of non-league.

Behind both goals, is hard standing, with the turnstile end having a car park, and a small clubhouse tucked away in the corner. On one side, running for about half the length of the pitch is a small, covered terrace, where most people seemed to congregate during the game. Opposite is the Main Stand, which is raised above the pitch, and has a small area of seating above the dressing rooms. Centred on the halfway line, this stand is the most impressive feature at the ground, and offers an excellent, uninterrupted view of the action.

After having surveyed the ground, I found a place to stand in the terrace, and before long, the match eventually got started. Nantwich started the brighter, and could have been ahead early on after hitting the bar, but it wasn’t long before they did take the lead, when from a corner, Matt Blake rose highest to head home. After this, Pickering seemed to get more into it, but with no real threat up front, the scores remained the same until the break, with few chances of note to mention.

In the second half, the visitors seemed to have most of the possession early on, and should have equalised after about 50 minutes, when one of their strikers missed an easy chance in the box. After this early onslaught, the game soon settled back into the pattern of the first half, with neither team really threatening each other. Despite the prize of an FA Vase Semi-Final at stake the match looked to be petering out into a dull win, until with just 5 minutes to go, substitute Danny Griggs picked up the ball on the edge of the area. Twisting one way, then another, he eventually found space for himself in the box, before firing across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner of the net. It was a great goal, and sealed the victory for Nantwich in the style you would expect of such a match. Nantwich could have had another goal in injury time, but were denied by a good save from the Carl Silburn in the Pickering goal, so when the ref finally blew his whistle, it ended 2-0 to the home side.

Moving the game to a Sunday was obviously a good idea by the club, as there were a lot of fans from other clubs around, including Crewe (who must have made up half of the crowd), Bolton, Man City, Camel Laird, Halesowen and finally a good following from Pickering, with their fans dotted all around the ground. Despite this, there wasn’t a great atmosphere unfortunately, even though there were nearly 700 in attendance.

After leaving the ground, it wasn’t a long a walk back to the station, and once there, after chatting to a few other groundhoppers, the train eventually arrived, and got back to Crewe, where there was only a short wait for the connection.

Overall, it had been a good day out, and well worth making the trip. The ground wasn’t the best, but it was in quite a pleasant setting, and with a bumper crowd in attendance it certainly helped add to it. If/when the new ground materialises, it will be a shame to see another unique ground go for a (no doubt) bland, no-frills design.

Outside the Ground

The Main Stand

Rear of the Main Stand

The Far End

The Far Side

The Clubhouse

The Near End

The Far Side

The Main Stand

The Far End


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