With the Appleby Frodingham match postponed due to the heavy rain I decided as I was in Scunthorpe to go and watch Scunthorpe United at home to Port Vale in League Two. It is over 30 years since I last saw Scunthorpe play at home and that was just before they moved to their new stadium at Glanford Park. This stadium is now outdated with views obscured by stanchions and when built was easily accessed at the end of the M181 (a spur off the M180) but now blocked in by a Retail Park. To my surprise the club have gained planning permission in July to comprehensively rebuild the ground one stand at a time from the 9000 capacity to 11000 all seater. As well as the ground transformation 160 starter homes are to be built and business space to rent in all of the new stands will be made available. Scunthorpes already good parking facilities will be improved and I hope the council work with the club to create a better traffic plan for the area.
With only four and a half weeks left till Christmas and the rain just easing most cars were heading to the established Saturday afternoon sport of hunt the bargain at the Retail Park. You needed to fight through this throng of cars headed to the shops to get near the ground which was visible just beyond the shops bright lights.
There were more people going to the shops than the nearly 3400 who made their way into Glanford Park. The crowd seemed disappointingly low to me but perhaps there is a light on the horizon. If more people want to shop online then they will be looking for a new/old experience for Saturday afternoons. Perhaps here the clubs below the Championship can take a leaf out of the Premier League Women’s teams in offering discounted tickets to fill stadiums that increases merchandise, food, drinks, raffle tickets and future ticket sales that generates the same or more income and creates the atmosphere that encourages better play and a warm community spirit.
With the rain having finished about an hour before kick off it left grey heavy skies with a damp atmosphere but no wind. What a wet, rubbish Autumn this has been and we have a week yet to get to Meteorological Winter. The pitch however looked in good condition, very flat with great grass cover and there was good noise despite the ground being just over a third full.
Both teams have never been higher than the second tier of the Football League system despite both being over 120 years old. They find themselves playing now in the fourth tier.
Scunthorpe United 2 Port Vale 1
Port Vale only one off the promotion places were favourites against Scunthorpe who were just hovering above the relegation zone, but Scunthorpe had not lost at home in all previous eight competitions.
Scunthorpe looked the better team from the off and both Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa looked dangerous on both flanks. Eisa looked to have scored on 25 mins when cutting in from the left his fierce low drive was touched onto the post by Scott Brown in goal for the visitors and out for a corner.
Eisa was again involved when he was fouled just in his own half but the referee played the advantage which fell to Port Vale after only two passes and as the home side froze Port Vale strung some passes together and Jake Taylor took his chance well to give them the lead. The crowd and home players were silenced as they looked to the referee to call the play back for the foul but he pointed to the centre circle.
Scunthorpe were not phased by this and kept up the pressure and a run and an accurate pass on 37 minutes by McGahey from the right found Kevin Van Veen (a Harry Kane look alike in all respects) who effortlessly planted the ball in the back of the net. All level at half time Scunthorpe now seemed to have the momentum.
Only 7 minutes into the second half Van Veens pin point corner caused mayhem on the goal line and Brown could only knock the ball down for Ngosi Ntlhe to tap in for his first goal for Scunthorpe.
Scunthorpe could well have added to their score and when Abo Eisa was subbed off late in the game he was awarded the man of the match. Despite the impressive fluent forward play my man of the match was Rory McArdle who was tireless all over the pitch.
As I left the ground a melee of all players broke out at the Port Vale end and I later found out that the referee had red carded both David Worrall of Port vale and Mathew Lund of Scunthorpe.
Disappointingly there were no chips at Scunthorpe but the cheese pie was so tasty. It was also amazingly hot and foolishly I burnt the roof of my mouth.
It was a change and enjoyable to watch this level of football but I will hopefully make another attempt to visit Appleby Frodingham by the end of the season.