Nantwich Town
The Weaver Stadium

Ground No. 131
Visited - Monday 27th August 2007
Result - Nantwich Town 3-1 Gresley Rovers
Competition - Northern Premier League, Division 1 South
Attendance - 526

The summer of 2007 had been a momentous time for Nantwich Town. Firstly, promoted from The North-West Counties League to make up the numbers for the new NPL 1st Division South, they had also left their ground of 123 years, the picturesque Jackson Avenue which was earmarked for (surprise, surprise) a housing development. Having visited Jackson Avenue, I’d really liked the place, and was sad to see it go, but all the same, was looking forward to visiting their new £3.5m development at Kingsley Fields.

Being a Bank Holiday, the trains were less frequent than normal, but I still managed to make the journey from Wolverhampton into leafy Cheshire in about an hour, changing in Crewe before arriving into the quaint market town on the banks of the River Weaver, from which the ground takes its name from.

Whilst built on the edge of town, thanks partly to Nantwich not being a particularly big place, it didn’t take long to walk from the station, going through the town centre and completing the journey at a leisurely pace in the bright holiday sunshine.

Set back from the road, there is a big car park and the back of the Main Stand that greets you, looking very smart, if slightly bland thanks to a lack of signage (perhaps something that will be remedied in time). After going in, then the ground still feels quite spacious, despite being completely enclosed. The two ends are uncovered, with hard standing running around all four sides. Cover is provided on the far side with a small terrace that runs for about half the length of the pitch, centred on the halfway line and set back from the touchline. Opposite is the much more impressive Main Stand, with 7 rows of seats, again it is centred on the halfway line, this time only running for about a third of the length of the pitch. All of the grounds facilities are based here, including changing rooms, and accessed via a door at the top of the seating area, the clubhouse, although it’s difficult to call it that, as it is more like a bar, looking very smart, and a huge step up from what resembled a scout hut at Jackson Avenue!

Having taken a few pics, I had a quick drink in there and read the programme before the game was due to start.

Nantwich hadn’t started the season well, losing their two opening games plus most of their pre-season matches, and the programme somewhat reflected that with a negative feel to several of the articles. Unfortunately it was written prior to their 3-0 victory against Sheffield 48hrs previously, and from the kick-off it seemed more like this that the team were thinking of as opposed the results prior to it, and the home side had a bright start to the game, eventually going ahead in the 17th minute when Glyn Blackhurst opened the scoring with a nice finish from close range. Gresley weren’t lying back and tried to pressure the hosts, but they always looked vulnerable at the back and thanks to some poor finishing were lucky not to be 3-0 down by the time Nantwich eventually got their second through Blackhurst again, who headed home a free-kick just before half-time.

In the second half the game was more even, marred by mistakes from both sides with Gresley nearly getting one back after a poor back pass left the home goalkeeper under pressure to clear, with his kick rebounding wide off a Gresley striker, but Nantwich wrapped the game up on 78 minutes when Ashley Carter broke into the box and fired home to make it 3-0. The action wasn’t over there though, and the visitors (who had been followed down by an impressive support) got one back in bizarre circumstances when Dave Kocjak in the Nantwich goal seemed to save a shot from Paul Edwards, only to carry the ball over the line to give the visitors a consolation. That was soon marred though when in injury time, midfielder Tom Groves picked up a second yellow after a rash foul which left the Derbyshire side to finish the game with 10 men before referee Steve Castle (also from Wolverhampton) put them out of their misery.

After leaving, I made my way home getting back with no problems, the trains running fairly well for a Bank Holiday, which makes a nice change!

Overall, it had been quite a good trip. The ground, whilst in need of a few touches here and there to give it a bit of distinction looks quite good and very smart, vaguely reminiscent of a smaller version of Northwich’s Victoria Stadium, or the Marston’s Stadium at Hinckley. It’s a huge step up for the club from Jackson Avenue, so if they can match it on the pitch, then they look to have a bright future ahead of them, indicated by the sizable crowd in attendance which was double their average of last season (notably there seemed to be a lot more women and families than you usually see at non-league games, less one man and his dog, more one woman and her kids!)

The Turnstiles

Rear of the Main Stand

The Club Shop

The Main Stand

The Main Stand

The Near End

The Far Side

The Far Side Terrace

The Far End

The Main Stand

The Far Side Terrace

The Weaver Stadium Panoramic 1

The Weaver Stadium Panoramic 2


No comments:

Post a Comment