Posts Tagged ‘Ford Quarry’

Sunderland West End v Easington Colliery, Friday 28th January 2022, 7.45pm

February 2, 2022

I’d looked at heading to a game at Ford Quarry earlier in the season but spotted that you needed a covid pass to get in. At the time I was in limbo due to having had a couple of Sputnik jabs whilst in Russia that were preventing me from being further vaccinated in the UK. As the Russian vaccines aren’t recognized in the UK I was struggling to provide any sort of evidence that would get me into events such as a tenth tier football game taking place outdoors with fewer people in attendance than you’d find wandering around Aldi.

Eventually I took matters into my own hands and, by not mentioning my previous jabs, managed to get a couple of Moderna shots at walk-in centres. I’m now eligible for covid passes and once I get a booster I’ll probably, with five vaccinations, have been jabbed more often than most Gennardy Golovkin opponents.

After all of that it turned out that I didn’t need a covid pass after all for the Ford Quarry. I just needed to provide them with my contact details. Once I’d done that I was through the first set of turnstiles and after handing over a fiver admission charge I was soon through the second set and pitch side.

Ford Quarry is just off St. Luke’s Road in Sunderland and so the drive to the game had all been very familiar. My Dad grew up on that road, just a little further along from the Ford Quarry turn-off, and it’s a journey from Norton that I must have done at least two or three hundred times, mainly more than thirty years ago.

Quite a lot of the area just off the A19 has changed since then and it looks as if the old Echo offices have gone. When returning back to Teesside on a Saturday night after visiting my grandparents I was always keen to look out for the neon character up on their wall that signified the Sunderland result by the position of his arm and facial expression.

The photo is of my great-grandad at the house in St. Luke’s Road with what looks like a clay pipe. You don’t see many people smoking those these days.

The fixture between Sunderland West End and Easington Colliery was in the second division of the Northern League. Both teams are fairly new at that level and I suppose I still think of them as being Wearside league clubs. The Northern League, for one reason or another, has opened up and engaged with the pyramid to a much greater extent in recent years and as clubs make the moves upwards to the Northern Premier and the National leagues, it creates space for the likes of these two.

There’s a reasonable chance that both side might progress again this season with visitors Easington going into the game in third place in the table with West End just a point behind in fourth.

The conditions weren’t ideal for football with a strong wind blowing from one end of the pitch to the other. Any empty Quavers packet blew past me at a pace that would have triggered a speed camera and any passes hit in that direction didn’t need a lot of weight on them.

It was cold as well as windy with most of the two hundred or so crowd well wrapped up. A fair few kept warm by raging at the match officials. The lino on our side copped a bit due to his close proximity whilst the ref got similar treatment mainly because that’s what always happens but also because he let a lot go. Mind you, if he had blown for more fouls I’m sure he’d have got stick for that too.

Easington had the best of the opening half-hour, culminating in a ‘goal’ being disallowed for a marginal offside. The lino abuse hadn’t fully died down before West End broke away and opened the scoring. I thought the away keeper made it easier for the striker by leaving a big gap to one side but it was still a tidy finish.

At half-time I went into the clubhouse for a cup of tea and a warm. I missed winning two bottles of vodka in the draw by a single number. It was won by the fella sat next to the bloke who did the draw. That made handing over the prizes a simple task.

I watched the second half from behind the goal at the clubhouse end as I thought that there might be better shelter from the gale. There was a lot of pressure from Easington and a few missed chances before Sunderland ran out the clock with some convenient injuries to hold on for the win.

The three points were sufficient for them to swap places with Easington and move into third place in the table.

Sunderland U14 v Hartlepool U14, Friday 28th January 2022, 7.30pm

January 29, 2022

As a ground hopper who keeps a tally of games that I’ve attended I love it when I get a new ground as a bonus. This one came about as I was up at the Ford Quarry in Sunderland for a Northern League game. Ford Quarry is a newish venue with three pitches in close proximity. The kids game was on pitch 2 and as I waited for the match on pitch 1 to begin I had a brief watch.

As you’d expect for an academy game the players all had a decent touch. After all, they should be the best players of their age in their town. Maybe Sunderland, as a former Premier League team, has an academy that casts their net even wider.

One thing that stuck me was the different sizes of the players. Some looked their age or younger, others could have been grown blokes. It reminded me of our kickabouts on Freddy Natt field on those occasions when we were joined by the blokes spilling out of the Centenary fresh from their Sunday lunchtime sessions.

I’ve no idea what the score was or even which was the better team as the main event was due to start but I did wonder how many of those lads might make it to the Stadium of Light or the Victoria Ground and whether any will end up on the next pitch along in a Northern League game. Either is good.