Destination: College Grove Sports Ground, Eastmoor Road, Wakefield, WF1 3RR
Attendance: 200 (including around 80 from Chorley)
Admission: £7.50 including a free programme (General admission)
Programme: £1.50 (24 pages /7 ads)
Directions: College Grove is around 5 minutes walk from the bus station, in a direction heading away from town. After crossing the main road (A61) and passing The College pub on your right, turn right down Albion Street. Then take a left at the bottom of Albion Street onto College Grove Road, and finally right onto College Grove View. The latter is shown on most maps as a cul-de-sac, but actually ends in a snicket which leads to the entrance to the ground. If driving, then leave the roundabout at which the A61 joins the A642, heading north up Pinderfields Road, and the ground is a couple of hundred yards away on your left. Get lost, and Pinderfields Hospital or Queen Elizabeth Grammar School are the two main local landmarks nearby.
Off The Pitch: College Grove has been home to Wakefield FC since the start of the 2006-07 season (at which point they were still called Wakefield-Emley FC). The ground is part of a larger sports complex with two main pitches, which are currently used for football and hockey. Previous to this, the site housed cricket and rugby, though the demise of Wakefield Cricket Club in 1989 meant their section was turned over to hockey, and the folding of Wakefield RFC in 2004 led to their pitch being used thereafter for ‘proper’ football instead.
There was a girls hockey match going on at the same time, which seemed to get almost as big a crowd. They got a couple of stray footballs hoofed onto their pitch; thankfully we didn’t get any stray hockey balls coming over. Wakey’s typical crowd seems to include only about 60 or so regulars at the moment, and the ground is a bit thin on atmosphere at a result – what there was today was all provided by the vociferous travelling contingent.
Facilities within the ground include a clubhouse with a bar, but no permanent refreshment cabin – instead there was a baked potato van parked behind one goal (I can see Andy Robinson ending his career here..). No club shop either, though a few items of merchandise (shirts, scarves and badges) can be bought from behind the bar instead.
On The Pitch: Chorley were second in the table, and Wakefield just above the relegation places at start of play. Chorley looked miles the better side – poured forward as a unit/good passing moves, etc, whereas Wakefield had a Peter Crouch-esque centre forward and their slim chance of goal action was via the sky. Chorley were only 2-1 up at half-time though (ex-leaguer Matt Jansen probably the pick of the players) + somehow Wakey played really well in the second half and snatched an equaliser with 10 mins to go, after putting together the best move of the game with a long string of passes. After that, despite grumbles from their own fans who could sense more joy, they played for time and it ended 2-2.