On 13th September 2009 I went to watch the second oldest football club play at the oldest football ground in the world in the oldest cup competition in the world. Hallam of the North East Counties met Burscough, who are 2 levels higher and play in the Unibond Premier.
Today was my second visit to Hallam after going in March 2008 to watch them play Pickering Town.
Hallam still play on the original ground, Sandygate, which is where they have played since the club formed in 1860 and the ground is officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest football ground in the world.
After a busy day previous, going to watch Gainsborough Trinity lose to a strong Southport side, we only decided to go up to nearby Hallam FC when we saw in the paper that their game had been moved to the Sunday due to a cricket game being played on the ground that Saturday.
It was a nice day and we arrived early as we always do. After taking some photos we went into the Hallam social club and had a drink.
The most impressive part of the ground was the main stand which had the only seating in the ground and holds 248 when full and this is where we sat for the match.
One very noticeable problem was the big slope on the pitch. Burscough seemed to win the toss and chose to shoot uphill for the first half so they would have the advantage of shooting downhill in the second half (you dont get those tactics in the Premiership!).
As the match began both sides looked quite evenly matched and that is how it stayed all through the first half with the half time score being 0-0.
However in the second half Burscough tactics of shooting down hill worked and after having pretty much every chance of the early parts of the 2nd half, they finally scored on the 63rd minute when after the ball boundced around the 6 yard box and Byers managed to put the ball home. 16 minutes later it was 2-0 to Burscough and that looked like it was it for Hallam.
On the 87th minute Burscough made it 3-0 and on the 90th it was 4-0 when Bayliss stuck the ball home after a free kick was swung into the box. Today’s attendance was 135.
I had a good day at Sandygate, the oldest football ground in the world and its just a shame Hallam couldn’t have scored and made a bit of a game of it but Burscough looked a very good side in the second half and the 2 divisions difference really showed towards the latter part of the match.
See below for pictures
The entrance to Hallam FC
In the social club
Our view from the main stand looking uphill
Some loyal Burscough fans came to Sandygate with there flag
You can see the cricket boundry going through the pitch on this photo!
Burscough score there 4th goal of the game