I continued to tick the boxes in the non-league section of my ground hopping ambitions with a visit to National League North side AFC Telford. A new ground to add to the ever-growing list is always an incentive to drag myself out of bed on a Saturday morning, but with the clouds glazing over and train station feeling a million miles away, I really wish I hadn’t had bothered.
After we somehow managed to make it to the Shropshire town of Telford with a couple of hours to spare, the issues would soon ensue. Discovering we had arrived at the wrong station in Telford got the ball rolling. A trek to McDonald’s would follow, only to find out the WiFi was as bad as our sense of direction and wouldn’t be working any time soon. So with this in mind, we hedged our bets and caught the next bus across town towards what we hoped would be somewhere in the vicinity of AFC Telford Football club.
Shockingly we made it, but with little time to spare, a quick gasp and we were just a two-minute walk from New Bucks Head, but to our surprise when we made our way towards the pitch the teams were yet to appear, this meant I could finally scoff my face with a finely made cheese roll.
Moving on to the football…For a sixth tier side it is an excellent facility, one fully seated stand, and three terraces, only two of which were open for the league match against Salford. There was barely a seat to be found, but luckily me and Sam squeezed out selves away in a corner, tapping along to the beat of the Salford faithful’s drum.
Former Crawley full back James Hurst was a constant threat in the opening quarter of an hour, his pace and power causing all sorts of problems for the Salford rearguard. A fingertip save from Jay Lynch would deny the full-back opening the scoring early on. Against the run of play Salford would take the lead, Simon Grand tapping in from point blank range following a succession of dangerous corners.
The advantage would soon be doubled as last campaigns FA Cup hero Richie Allen wriggled his way past the Telford defence and James Poole was there to collect his fourth goal of the season. Football League veteran Poole was the antagonist for many of the excellent play Bernard Morley’s side produced and should they clinch promotion, his experience could be vital in an all time high for The Ammies. With disappointment ringing around the ground we decided to call it a day, even Big Dave Hibbert couldn’t save us this time.
I’m sure once you know your way around Telford it could be fairly simple to navigate. But for two rookie ground hoppers like me and Sam, we were far out of our depth. The horror show of a night would finally draw to a close at 20:02 after one failed train journey and a quiet taxi wide home. I think I might stick to walking next time.