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Non-league Football

Basford United

About The Mill Ground
20169869173_fe7321f333_hThe ground is located at the Mill Street Playing Field (sometimes known as Recreation Ground), the entrance to which is actually some quarter of a mile from Mill Street itself. The origin of the name of the playing field comes from when it was first laid out in the 1950s and the nearby Mill Street football ground, which was the home of Basford United from 1935 until 1990. The site of the ground is now occupied by housing.

The club are certainly on the way up and you can see signs of a nice Non-League stadium growing up too.  The main changing room block offers some cover for those standing, whilst a small covered stand offers some seating behind the goal, whilst there is a covered terrace on the far side.  There is a bar and refreshment counter, with some bench seating by the side of the pitch.  Tall trees border the pitch to the north, with fields to the south and west.  The main club house is outside the ground.

How to get to The Mill Ground
From M1 Junction 26 – Follow A610 to Nottingham for 1.3 miles, passing over one roundabout. Turn left at the second roundabout by the Gateway Hotel onto Cinderhill Road following signpost to Bulwell.
After a quarter of mile turn right into Bagnall Road, and a further half a mile turn left into Greenwich Avenue, the entrance to the ground is straight ahead.
20764588296_5d7ec14ff0_kFrom the north – A60 – Entering Nottingham via the A60, turn right onto the B6004 Oxclose Lane (signposted to Basford). After 2.2 miles, pass over the level crossing and continue onto David Lane. After a quarter of a mile turn right onto Bagnall Road and a further quarter of a mile turn right into Greenwich Avenue, the entrance to the ground is straight ahead.
From the south – A52 – Entering Nottingham via the A52, continue along the Ring Road A6514 following signs to Mansfield for approximately two miles, until the junction with the A610 is reached. Turn left onto the A610 (signposted to M1). After 0.8 miles turn right onto Stockhill Lane (B6004).  Continue along Stockhill Lane for a third of a mile, turning left at the mini roundabout into Mill Street and then turning left into Bagnall Road. After a quarter of a mile turn right into Greenwich Avenue, the entrance to the ground is straight ahead.

BY RAIL – The nearest major rail station is Nottingham. The easiest way to travel to the ground from Nottingham station is by tram – see below. Leave the station following the signs to the tram stop at Station Street.
Bulwell station on the Nottingham to Worksop Robin Hood line is the closest rail station to the ground, about a mile away.

If arriving at Bulwell make your way to Basford either by tram or bus. If the weather is good and you feel like a stroll, follow the River Leen footpath to Basford, which brings you past the ground.

BY TRAM – If travelling by tram make sure you have a ticket before getting on, as they are not available on board. Tickets are available from machines at each stop.  Highbury Vale tram stop is next to the playing field. Leave the tram stop following the signs to Neston Drive, (if arriving on a Hucknall bound tram you will need to cross over to the Phoenix Park bound platforms) where the sign points right to the path to Neston Drive, turn left to cross the tram tracks and descend the steps. Either turn right to follow the footpath through the houses to Greenwich Avenue, turning left when at the road, the ground is 200 metres on the left, or turn left to follow the footpath between the River Leen and the playing field to the ground.
It is also possible to leave the tram at David Lane, the stop before Highbury Vale if travelling from Nottingham. Leave the tram stop, turn right on to David Lane and continue on to Mill Street. Either turn right onto the footpath to Bulwell Market Place just after the garage and follow the footpath for about quarter of a mile to the ground, or continue along Mill Street, turning right into Bagnall Road and after a quarter of a mile right again into Greenwich Avenue. Nottingham Express Transit (tram) website

BY BUS – Nottingham City Transport (NCT) services 70 City – Bulwell and L11 Arnold – Beeston stop at the end of Greenwich Avenue. NCT Service 71 City – Bulwell to Percy Street. Turn right at the mini roundabout into Mill Street, left on to Bagnall Road. After a quarter of a mile turn right into Greenwich Avenue.
NCT Services 68 City – Snape Wood or 69 City – Hempshill Vale to Basford Crossings. Cross the level crossing on to David Lane then follow the directions from the David Lane tram stop above. NCT website

If using public transport, the Kangaroo ticket allows unlimited travel on any bus, train or tram and bike all day in Greater Nottingham. Adult cost is £4.50 day (September 2014) and tickets can be purchased from any bus driver, train conductor or tram ticket machine.

Admission to The Mill Ground

Admission is £6 for Adults, £4 for Concessions and £1 for Under16’s.  Programmes are available inside for £1.50, teamsheets 20p.

Our last visit – August 2015
With the mighty Rooks making their longest league trip of the season to deepest Suffolk at Leiston, I volunteered to go and retrieve the youngest Fuller’s from my in-laws in Newark.  This annual ritual normally involves having to re-educate them on certain aspects of every day life, such as how to use electricity, eat with a knife and fork and not to douse every food item with gravy.  It also gave me the opportunity to enjoy a night out in Lincoln, with £1.99 pints a norm, with The Current Mrs Fuller and a football away day on the Saturday.

20764588296_5d7ec14ff0_kBut where to go?  Northern Steve had to work so I would be flying solo.  I ruled out a visit to North Ferriby United in protest to their owners, laughed at the amount Notts County wanted to watch a League Two game (and the fact that their ticketing website was down) and had been to the likes of Grimsby Town, Boston United and Alfreton before.  One new name caught my eye – Basford United down in the Evostik League Division One South.  Promoted to the league at the end of last season as Midland League Champions, the club are probably best known for featuring not one, but two Hendries, Stuart and Lee.  Yep, that Lee.  The 38-year-old former England international is still on the books at the Mill Ground along with his younger brother Stuart.

Just one line below on the list of fixtures was Carlton Town v Leek Town.  Carlton was at 4 O’Clock on the map of Nottingham, essentially on the right side for my trip back up the A46.  Google Maps said that with a fair wind, no Sunday drivers and a run of green traffic lights I could get between the two grounds in 16 minutes…or a half-time break.  Would be rude not to do a Souness (“One half and he’s off) and cover two games.  First stop – north Nottingham and the home of the Shipstones Beer, back in the suburbs after a twenty year holiday in Burton-on-Trent.

Basford United 1 Stocksbridge Park Steels 2 – The Mill Ground – Saturday 22nd August 2015
With the sun shining, there can be few better ways of spending a Saturday afternoon than watching Non-League football.  From the moment I arrived at The Mill Ground you could sense that this was a club who were starting to make their move up the Non-League pyramid.  Smiles all round as you enter, buy a beer, order a sausage cob (had to use my local dialect look-up app for that).  Whilst it was only game 3 of the season, the visitors arrived from Sheffield with a 100% record.  However, it was the home side who did all of the early running, having an early goal disallowed for offside and commanding the midfield, thanks to the impressive Jermaine Hollis.  They got their reward just before half time when Rob McCormick scored on his debut.

20764573206_079dc6bb40_hThe second half report comes courtesy of Basford United’s website as I headed off to Carlton.

“Basford again started well in the second half and had chances to extend their lead but as the game wore on, Stocksbridge began to find their feet and they equalised through sub Richard Patterson on 69 minutes.  Five minutes later United were awarded the perfect opportunity to go back in front but substitute Stuart Hendrie’s penalty was saved by substitute keeper David Reay.

Both sides then continued to push for a winner but it was the visitors who then snatched all three points in the first minute of stoppage time, as Hinchcliffe’s 30 yard thunderbolt crashed off the underside of the crossbar and into the Basford net.”

Carlton Town 1 Leek Town 3 – Stoke Lane – Saturday 22nd August 2015
If you plan to visit Carlton Town in the future and use Google Maps, don’t.  Because it will direct you to Stoke Lane but the wrong side of possibly the most ludicrous 10 metre section of road known to man.  Outside the entrance to the ground is a small stretch of road that is a bus only route, meaning if you are coming from any direction bar the A612 you will need to go on a 3 mile diversion just for a 3 second journey.  I’m sure some local counsellor is feeling very pleased with himself about putting that in place.

20797791321_ca638e0faf_zAnyway, due to the unforeseen diversion, my arrival at Stoke Lane meant I had missed the first few minutes of the second half.  Once again, I rely on the official match report to fill in the first 47 minutes:-

“Carlton came out of the blocks fighting as Leek struggled to get into the game. With Daniel Gordon setting the tone, as he ran into space and delivered a shot that was just wide of the post. Then the away side were struggling to get the ball away, but the best the Millers could offer came from Nangle, as he dragged his shot wide of the target.

Josh Rae was then the latest player to cause a threat, as his cross seemed to be destined to meet Daniel Fletcher, but Chris Martin was able to parry the shot just before the striker got there. Then a few moments later Fletcher had a second chance from a Tom McConway corner, but his header went out of play for a goal kick.  Then finally the hosts broke the deadlock, as an error of judgment from Martin ended up with the ball at Nangle’s feet, who turned Dan Shelley as he cut inside, to then launch a shot onto the left boot that Martin could only get a hand to, before the ball rippled the net.

However, the lead wasn’t to last long, as Tim Grice managed to find himself through one-on-one, after a pass from midfield. With the striker taking the ball round Curtis McDonald, before gathering his composure, and slotting it into the bottom corner.  Before the break, Carlton had another chance to take the lead, as again, Martin played the ball straight to Nangle, but this time his effort, on his right foot was just over the crossbar.”

20764526866_24f8edd4a3_kThe bright blue skies were slowly being eaten up by dark, grey thunderous clouds.  On the pitch Leek Town looked the stronger of the two sides, controlling the midfield and constantly looking at a ball over the top of the back four. Grice was the main threat and he didn’t hesitate when presented with a one-on-one chance, as Conor Green was unable to deal with his header, and the striker didn’t wait for McDonald to come out, instead just smashing the ball into the back of the net. Grice completed his hatrick with a fine solo effort when it appeared that the opportunity had gone with ten minutes left.

As the final whistle blew, the seventy or so fans made a hasty retreat before the rain fell.  It had been an interesting afternoon, getting another couple of perspectives on how other’s approach Non-League match experiences.  For both home side, the start to the season hadn’t been ideal.  However, nothing is decided in August.


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