As regular visitors of the blog will have noticed, write ups and visits have been few and far between in the past few months due to an increased work load. I have plenty of blogs to publish in coming months, but for the time being I’ll have to leave you with a trip to deepest darkest Yorkshire; Ossett to be precise.
Ossett Albion are a team that I knew a bit about due to friend of the blog Ben Hall regularly attending their matches in the Evo-Stik Division One North. I’d promised him that I’d attend an Albion match soon, so much so that we came close to arranging a friendly between themselves and Atherton Collieries during pre-season.
With a free day in my calendar and with Colls not in action I grabbed the opportunity to tick another ground off with adopted NPL side Curzon Ashton. Aaron and Lewis picked me up from home at 12:45 before we bombed it down the motorway in order to reach the idyllic Northern setting for football well before 15:00.
With traffic unpredictable on the motorway, Aaron took it upon himself to drive through Huddersfield. The now graduated journalism student claimed he knew Huddersfield like “the back of his hand” after going to University there. It wasn’t long before we got lost and did a detour past Huddersfield Bus Station which by the looks of it could benefit from being blown up and rebuilt.
At ease in the back of his car – accompanied by a cluster of newspapers from March onwards and rubbish from various McDonald’s branches throughout the North West – we pushed on, enjoying the sounds of Two Door Cinema Club; my soundtrack of choice.
As has been a running theme with our groundhopping adventures this season we opted to reach the ground without a GPS. Easy right? Head in the rough direction of Ossett… which I assumed was near Bradford (I don’t know why) and then look out for some floodlights! We passed the National Coal Mining Museum and discussed whether we should spend the afternoon there instead, but it only seemed to be me who was up for it. Nevermind, I’ll get there one day.
With a towering grey sky pursuing us over the hills of northern England we arrived in Ossett. I spotted a cluster of floodlights and soon found myself shrouded in an air of disappointment when I realised that they belonged to a railway depot of some sort. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Luckily, Lewis remembered his way to Queens Terrace when we reached the main road and we pulled into the substantial car park with plenty of time to spare. The entrance to the development reminded me of a local NWCFL ground in Daisy Hill where a small passageway leads to the ground.
Queens Terrace consists of a football ground and an adjoining cricket pitch with traditional pavilion. Think of it as a Matlock type ground, but with a solid brick wall between the two. As we parked by the wooden picket fence which rings the cricket pitch our favourite future Mathematics teacher Joe Lawton arrived.
We hiked into the ground together and I paid £4 for admission along with £2 for a matchday programme. The programme provided coverage for three festive matches (an easy solution for all programme editors out there). It was well presented, but at £2 I would have expected far more content.
Once in the ground, I found Ben straight away as he waved at me rather romantically from behind the goal. The mandatory handshake was performed before I wandered around the ground taking photographs. Queens Terrace struck me as a basic ground, slightly lacking in character, but one that certainly serves its sole purpose. The highlight of the ground has to be the clubhouse which is very nice and offers a fantastic view over the pitch.
The main stand at Albion consists of 120 covered seats which are split into two sections by a tunnel like entrance which pokes its way through the middle. As the stand is so close to pitch, walking access is provided by a corridor which runs along the back. It was rather cosy when sheltering from the wind and rain at such altitude.
Behind the far goal is the newest addition to the ground – The Peter Mountain Stand. Built at the Orchard End of the ground in 2010 it was named after founding member of the club Peter Mountain after his death in 2012.
Opposite The Peter Mountain Stand is The Healey Road End which comprises of the changing rooms, clubhouse, press box and a covered terrace.
The weather began to close in as the two teams warmed up on what was an already saturated pitch. Curzon Ashton sat second in the league going into the match; four points behind leaders Warrington but with three games in hand. Ossett on the otherhand were bottom of the league having only claimed 10 points in the first half of the season. However, despite their respective league rankings there wasn’t much between the two on the day.
The match started brightly with the home side keen to attack their opponents from the off and were rewarded for their efforts on seven minutes when Darol Lucas was fouled in the area. The referee was given no other option but to award a penalty. Ryan Harrison took the spot kick but saw his shot saved by Curzon goalkeeper Hakan Burton who had made his way back into the team.
Harrison wasted another chance to take Albion into the lead later on in the half when poor defending allowed him all the time in the world to fire past the goalkeeper. Unfortunately for the striker he snatched at the ball and it ballooned into the hands of Burton.
The Ossett striker was left rueing his lack of precision minutes later as Niall Cummins set up Luke Horrocks to take the lead. It was a good counterattack from The Nash and credit has to be paid to Horrocks who finished well under pressure.
Half time arrived, allowing all of us to regain some warmth after being subjected to harsh winter winds throughout the first half. I nipped into the refreshments area hoping to purchase a Bovril. What I received can only be described as gravy. The lad had given me a cup of gravy. No sooner had I had a taste and taken my ‘beverage’ outside it began to form a skin. Meanwhile, Aaron was sat there laughing – enjoying his authentic Bovril which he had bought roughly a minute before me. I went back and asked for it to be swapped as it “didn’t look or taste right”. I felt like a right awkward sod. My second attempt at having a Bovril didn’t go much better as I was given what looked like a more diluted version of the gravy I had just been given. Not one to moan* I gave up and took my drink outside before then throwing the contents over the fence into the cricket ground.
Bovril-less we took our positions for the remainder of the match. The home side started the second half as they began the first. Pressing and attacking promotion chasing Curzon incessantly. Ryan Harrison crossed the ball into Darol Lucas who slotted the ball past Burton just seven minutes after the interval to bring the scores level.
Cummins saw his header bounce back off the Ossett crossbar minutes later but that’s as close as Curzon came until later on in proceedings.
Fifteen minutes from the end and Matty Kay and Mark Bett came on for Matty Warburton and Luke Horrocks who had both struggled somewhat on the claggy surface. The new duo made an immediate impact as Curzon began to take control of possession; creating more chances.
Curzon took the lead with five minutes to go. Kay it was who drilled the ball into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the box after being set up by Niall Cummins. Bett looked to have sealed the points in the final minute of the game after he broke free of the Ossett defence and chipped the ball over the advancing Wood in the Albion goal.
Dales Kelly made it a nervous period of stoppage time for the travelling Curzon faithful as he scored practically from the restart. Curzon however held out and were able to celebrate properly when confirmation came through from Clitheroe that league leaders Warrington Town had lost; the gap had been closed to one point. Ossett could count themselves unlucky not to have taken anything from the match as they more than held their own against one of the more dangerous teams in the division; outplaying them at times.
As we sat in the comfortable clubhouse reflecting on the day we all agreed that it had been worth the journey. I don’t know whether the Curzon fans were saying that as they’d had a perfect day results wise, but I know I certainly enjoyed myself as a partial neutral. The people at the club were all lovely and hospitable and epitomised a football club which sits in northern heartland. I’ll be in no rush to return to Ossett, but I certainly will do at some stage.
Ossett Albion: Albion : Wood, O’Neill, Nicholson, Holt, Gay, Birch, Henson, Walsh, Kelly, Lucas, Harrison
Goals: Lucas 52, Kelly 90
Subs not used: Jones, McGuire, Grech-Brooksbank, Ferguson, Marsh
Curzon Ashton: Burton, Bembo-Leta, Minor, Hunt, Woodford, Young, Rowney, Walker, Cummins, Warburton (Kay), Horrocks (Bett)
Goals: Horrocks 39, Kay 85, Bett 90
Subs not used: Dale, McDonagh, R. Watson
- DISTANCE TRAVELLED TO GROUND: 45 miles
- ADMISSION: £5
- PROGRAMME PRICE: £2
- PIE: On a diet