Padiham vs Bootle, FA Vase 2nd Round, 12/11/16, The Arbories

Well my plan to attend a game in every round of the FA Trophy didn’t last long. In the normal rules of these sorts of challenges, you pick a team and follow them until they get knocked out and then you follow the team who knocked your original team out, until they also get knocked out or they reach the final. However I was planning to do it differently, as Kendal Town had been drawn away at Nantwich, and I didn’t feel up to travelling all the way to Nantwich, so instead I planned to go and watch Ramsbottom, as they are a lot closer, however their match was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Which limited my opportunities a fair amount, as there didn’t seem to be a lot of FA Trophy matches being played around Chorley.

So instead I decided to go and watch a match in the FA Vase, another competition where I’m not sure whether I’ve ever watched a match before. As a result of this, my challenge has changed and I will now be attempting to go and watch a match in each round of either the FA Trophy or FA Vase which will culminate with going to the finals of these competitions, as hopefully the FA will do the same as they did last season and play them on the same day at Wembley. Although, I might be able to get to Ramsbottom’s re-arranged FA Trophy game, so the challenge might not be over yet.

With the Ramsbottom game falling foul of the weather, I took that as a sign of things to come with games falling foul of the weather left, right and centre as we get further into winter. As a result I found myself scouring Twitter for any signs of this game being called off, however I was delighted when Padiham’s twitter confirmed that it would be game on. After a half an hour drive from Chorley, I found some street parking by the ground, and wandered to the ground. The ground is tucked away behind a pub and some houses, and stands next to Padiham’s cricket field. It cost £6 to get in today, and a further £1.50 for a programme, once through the turnstiles my next port of call was the clubhouse, where I paid £3 for a pint of Carling, and managed to get my hands on a teamsheet.

The Arbories is a fantastic ground, it’s a little on the tight side, with not a lot of room around the ground, however the club have made fantastic use of all of the space available to them. The views from by the dugouts are superb, with plenty of countryside and greenery in sight of the ground. On entrance in to the ground, you emerge behind one of the goals, with a stretch of covered terrace to the left of you, and the clubhouse to the right. Beside the clubhouse stands the Main Stand which provides the only seats for the ground, this stand straddles the halfway line, and further along this touchline stands a small covered terrace. Behind the far goal is a stretch of hard standing, which is bordered by a stretch of houses. Along the other touchline, stand the dugouts, and in the corner, nearest to the turnstiles, stands another stretch of covered terracing. All in all Padiham have a ground to be proud of, it may be small, but it suits their needs, and is obviously well looked after by the volunteers associated with Padiham FC.

Padiham were formed in 1878 and were among one of the first clubs in Lancashire and as a result of this they were well supported, attracting a crowd of 9,000 for a match against neighbours Burnley in 1884. At this time their ground was on the banks of the River Calder, hence the nickname, the Caldersiders. The club also use the nickname the Storks. Padiham were one of the first clubs to support the legalisation of professional football, however this was to backfire as they were unable to compete with teams in larger, nearby towns, such as Blackburn, and in 1915 the club folded, and lay dormant until 1949, when the club was resurrected with the opening of the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground, a crowd of 1,777 were in attendance when Padiham played their first game of the season in the Lancashire Combination Football League. In 1982, they became found members of the North West Counties League, but they left the league in 1990, and returned in 2000 after spending, approximately, £500,000 on upgrading the Arbories, and were to finish in the top four of the second division in 2003 and 2005. Padiham were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2013 to 2014 season after winning the NWCFL Premier Division in the 2012 to 2013 season. But they were to return to the NWFL two seasons later following relegation. Currently they find themselves in 7th position in the league, 11 points behind 3rd placed Bootle, who they faced today. With former Chorley favourite James Dean up front for Padiham, they are a team with the potential to get forward and score, as shown in their last match, when they beat Winsford United 4-2.

Today’s visitors Bootle, were originally formed in 1880, and their main rivals at the time were a certain Everton FC (whatever happened to them?), as only one team from each area were allowed to join the Football League, they found themselves competing against the Toffees for the prestigious place, and unfortunately lost out. In the 1889 to 1890 season Bootle became founder members of the Football Alliance which slowly became the Football League Second Division, In 1892 the Football Alliance merged into the Football League, and Bootle were founder members of the Football League Second Division, however despite finishing 8th, the club dropped out of the league due to financial issues, and were, ironically, replaced by a new local club, Liverpool FC (Who?).  Bootle were resurrected in August 1947, as local councillors identified the potential, popularity and talent on show in the Bootle JOC league. The promise of sponsorship money brought great optimism, and the issue of one shilling shares further boosted club finances, and in the 1948 to 1949 season the club joined the Lancashire Combination. In 1953, the current club were formed as Langton, and after a successful spell in the Liverpool County Combination, Langton requested a name change and became the latest incarnation of Bootle FC. Bootle were another one of the founder members of the NWCFL, as the Cheshire County League merged to form the NWCFL, and Bootle became members of the First Divison (now known as the Premier Division). In 2000 the club were relegated to what was the Second Division (now known as the First Division). Further relegation was to follow in 2002, as the club dropped in to the Liverpool County Combination, and the doors closed on their Bucks Park ground for the final time. With a new ground on Vesty Road, the club were elected back to the NWCFL Division Two in 2006. In 2009 the club won the championship, and promotion back to the NWCFL Premier Division, where the club have remained ever since. As I have already mentioned the club currently occupy, 3rd position, 3 points behind 2nd placed Atherton Colleries and 5 points behind leaders Runcorn Town.

With this being the weekend of the 11th of November, grounds up and down the country held a two minutes silence in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in combat. I would love to write about how the silence was well respected, and by the majority of people in the ground it was. Unfortunately though there were a couple of adults near myself, who were old enough to know better, who carried on a conversation for the first 30 seconds of the silence. Now I don’t mean to sound rude, or angry, but how can you be so stupid and inconsiderate to not realise that the rest of the people in the ground have gone silent? Is it really that hard to shut your mouth, pay your respects to those that have lost their lives defending your right to watch football and live the way you want? Honestly? But that’s the icing on the cake really, because these were the type of men that if a child or younger person had spoken or made a noise, they would have gone off on a lecture about how disrespectful the younger generations are, when in reality I heard no children during the silence, just these men who were old enough to know better. Anyway rant over, let’s get on with the game, and finally thank you to those who observed the silence with the respect it deserved.

During the first half I paid a £1 for a raffle ticket with the prize being a bottle of Whiskey (or Whisky), however as normal I wasn’t a winner and my thoughts of sipping on the Whiskey (or Whisky) to keep warm came to an abrupt end.

In the 22nd minute, Bootle opened the scoring, the ball was played into the box, and the Padiham keeper seemingly dropped the ball, although from where I was stood there was a hint of a foul on the keeper, Bootle’s number 7, Kieran Haligan, capitalized on the loose ball, and his shot hit the bar, with the rebound falling for Bootle’s number 9, Steven Jones who nodded the ball home at the far post.

There was an element of poor sportsmanship before the break, as one of the Bootle players went down injured, he remained down in the centre circle, as the Padiham players continued the game, which in all fairness they had all rights to do so. The Bootle players were livid, and finally one of them seized the ball and booted it towards the touchline, almost hitting the ref in the head in the process, however the ball held up in some mud near the touchline, and finally one of the Padiham players put the ball out. The injured Bootle player received treatment, and the game continued with Bootle giving the ball back to Padiham. Now it’s not actually in the rule book that the ball has to be put out of play when a player is injured, and Padiham were well within their right to continue to play.

Half Time: Padiham 0-1 Bootle (Jones 22)

At half time I headed around to the toilet, and found myself having to crouch to use the urinal as my head touched the ceiling when I stood up straight. I then decided to head to the refreshment hut, and purchase some food to keep me going for the second half, in the end I opted for a burger and a can of diet coke which cost me £2.60 in total, and to be fair it was good.

Padiham made a change at the break with their number 7, Joseph Whittington, being replaced by their number 12, Christopher Turner. Padiham then made a second change in the 68th minute, with their number 9, Aaron Taylor, being replaced by number 14, Aurelian Gohoreanu.

Bootle resumed the second half the way they had finished the first half, by dominating the attack, and coming close on a couple of occasions to furthering their lead, however due to a combination of good defending and wasted chances the score remained the same.

The next substitutions were made by Bootle, as they replaced their number 3, Michael Carberry, with their number 12, Michael Ordish, in the 74th minute, and in the 82nd minute they replaced their number 11, Ryan Coy, with their number 14, James Howell.

In all fairness to both sides, Bootle should have found themselves at least 3 goals in the lead, however they wasted a number of good chances, with one chance seeing one of the Bootle attackers clear through in the box, but he could only hit the post with the keeper well beaten.

Bootle finally doubled their lead in the 84th minute, as the Steven Jones, Bootle 9, chased down a loose ball, and forced one of the Padiham defenders to pass the ball back to his keeper, unfortunately for the Padiham keeper, he fluffed his clearance, and Carl Peers, the Bootle number 10, seized on the loose ball to slam the ball home from six yards. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Padiham keeper, as no-one enjoys seeing a keeper make that kind of mistake.

Bootle and Padiham made their final changes in the 89th minute, as Bootle’s number 9, Steven Jones, left their field to be replaced by number 16, Daniel O’Connor, and Padiham replaced their number 4, Daniel Murphy, with their number 15, Samuel Firth.

Before the end of the game, I got chatting with a Bootle fan, with the main topic of conversation being about the abuse referee’s receive, I’m rather happy to report that today’s ref didn’t receive a lot of abuse, if any at all, as he had a rather good game. But I think my conversation with the Bootle fan really sums up what I love about Non-League football, I’d never met the bloke before, but a love of Non-League football, had us chatting like we’d known each other for ages.

Final Score: Padiham 0-2 Bootle (Jones 22, Peers 84)

Following the final whistle, I made my way back to my car, and made the quick journey home. Luckily the roads were clear, and I was back home within half an hour of leaving Padiham.

Victory for Bootle, obviously sees them progress to the next round of the FA Vase, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for their next fixture in this competition, hopefully they’ll draw a home fixture, although if they don’t I think I’m going to take a trip to Bootle anyway. Defeat for Padiham, means that they will now be able to focus more on the league, and potentially a return to the Northern Premier League. Padiham’s next home game sees them welcome 1874 Northwich on Saturday 19th November, and if you are able to, I would certainly recommend that you pay a visit to Padiham, as it is a wonderful ground.

As I said in the previous blog, I will be donating 50p for every goal that I see during the month of November to the Movember cause, with any hat-tricks adding an extra £5 to the total, however due to work I will only be able to get to 3 games in November so I have decided to extend this until the end of December, and I will also be including the goals scored in the Skelmersdale vs Kendal match, which means that the total currently stands at £3.

Attendance: 290

Cost: £14.10

Movember Total: £3

Hat-tricks seen so far: 0

Padiham Twitter:

Bootle Twitter:



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