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Armthorpe Welfare 1-0 Rainworth MW 18.8.21

Journey – A Roughly 40-45 minute drive from where we are based saw us head down the M1 to Junction 32 where we were able to jump onto the m18 and head towards Armthorpe via the A630. As you drive through Armthorpe keep your eyes peeled for the entrance to the ground on the left as before you get to Morrison’s. Traffic was not an issue and we were moving the whole way. Because of the location of Armthorpe driving is your best bet with public transport being a difficult way to get to this ground. As this was our first trip to Armthorpe we were full of anticipation to watch a side who have started really well in the league and through an excellent social media presence – Social Media of the Year Award winner – do so much so well already off of the field.

Welcome – 10 We walked down a passageway to the left of a Morrisons store and were guided to the ground by the classic floodlights (more on that later) shining down over the summer skies. At the end of the passageway we found the entrance to the ground, the actual turnstile is not in use but is still there and is a lovely little bit of football history. As we passed by the turnstile we received a lovely welcome from an old boy sat at a desk with his makeshift change box and a smile on his face. On the desk you had everything you’d want as a newbie to the ground, programmes, raffle tickets all in one place. After a brief conversation we stocked up on raffle tickets and a copy of the programme and were advised about where we could get our hands on some refreshments before the game. There were plenty of volunteers at the entrance to the ground and after merely being in the ground a matter of moments the sense of ‘community’ that this club has was tangible, you can’t honestly say that about many football grounds at any level. That sort of community feel makes you root for the club before they’ve even kicked a ball and is quintessentially what the beautiful game is all about.

Stadium – 7 As you enter the ground you can clearly see the improvements that have been made in recent years. New signage when walking towards the pitch, signage on the changing rooms too which have inspirational quotes again alluding to the importance of this club to its community. To your left is the main Philip Mitchell stand, there is a covered area behind the goal on the right and opposite the main stand is the classic wall dugouts with a “Come on Wellie!” sign to the left of them. The paying surface was in superb condition and congratulations must go to the ground staff for that, hopefully after the harsh non-league winters we’ll be able to say that the pitch is in just as good condition at the end of the season but it looked like a carpet under the lights! After our walk around the pitch we decided to set up camp in the main stand for the first half. The main stand has a charismatic aura to it with it hosting benches rather than seats, we love anything like this that makes a ground stand out from others. However the real showstopper here is the floodlights, 3 out of the four are different from one another and they’re classic English floodlights, the sort you always wanted to space around your Subbuteo pitch as a kid on Christmas morning. One of them even doubles up as a phone mast so you’re guaranteed a decent internet signal at half time and I doubt even the new Spurs stadium can manage that! In theory the mast should be another nice little earner for the club too which is great. The best way to describe this stadium’s set up is ‘honest’ it’s simple but effective and as we were to find out later that evening it’s a great venue to be watching two honest teams really go at it against one another.

Clubhouse - 8 Now it’s important to know that this is more of a “bar” than a clubhouse as such and although small, it is a very tidy place to grab your refreshments from! Over the lockdown the club worked hard to rejuvenate this space and it looks really smart. There is a good range of seating and a TV in there allowing you to check which team let you down on your football coupon come full time! The tables are incredibly unique too, the staff have done an excellent job of decorating them with the club badge and they look brilliant! Professional clubs take note! These themed tables were superb, and it made for a great little place to enjoy some food and a few beers during our evening at the club. It’s one of the smaller clubhouses in the area but serves its purpose as well as any other we’ve been to! Beer – 7 There are a range of beers available from the Marra Falcons Bar but if you’re expecting anything out of the pump then you’re out of luck. To the best of our knowledge the bar isn’t open much during the week meaning it makes little sense to stock a beer cellar with kegs. The bar makes up for this with a good range of quality beers in bottles and cans including Corrs, Budweiser and even Guinness cans with the surger. There are also wines and spirits so all are catered for. This is a practical solution that means that supporters can enjoy a beer without the club overstretching themselves. Sensible, and we like that! Food – 10 Yes, we’re calling it! A perfect 10 for the food at Armthorpe Welfare! Only Swallownest can boast having claimed a perfect score before in this category! We headed over to the bar at half time to enquire about food available and the staff informed us that they had steak pies, sausage rolls and chips on the menu. We asked for a steak pie and were then asked if we wanted chips with that.

Yes please!

Mushy peas?

Yes please!


Yes please!

We then ordered a couple of beers to wash the grub down with and set up at one of the Armthorpe tables

previously mentioned. The food was tremendous, and the staff were efficient, polite and great with their service, showing us where the cutlery and condiments could be found. The pie was full of meat and the chips were lovely and crispy too! It was exactly what we needed after heading over straight to the ground from work. The Steak pie, chips, gravy and mushy peas came to £4 and we are salivating just writing up our review about it! Next time you go to Armthorpe, makes sure that’s on your order! You won’t be let down!

Programme – 10

As discussed previously in the review the matchday programme was readily available on entrance to the ground and it was a superb read! There are many games across the season for our local clubs and it really is testament to the volunteers and staff at these clubs that they’re able and willing to get a programme out each matchday for the supporters to enjoy. The programme has everything you’d expect from your matchday publication but on top of that it includes so much more than that! We particularly enjoyed the programme notes from Vice -Chairman Kirsty as she discussed the recent heroics of Hallam FC physio Shannon Brooks and highlighted the fundraising cause for defibrillators across the football community. The club directory and honours board was a great read at the start of the programme too. The full Welfare fixture list was available as well as comments from the manager, news on the fixtures of the day and an excellent match report from the Wellie’s away victory over Shirebrook Town written by Stephen Pinnock. To round off the programme there was a round up of the local goings on in the NCEL which goes to show how on the pulse the media team are at Armthorpe Welfare. This might not be printed on glossy paper or be full colour but the content is brilliant, so we do not feel the need to mark this programme down at all, the programme reflects exactly what and who the club are; honest custodians of the community. Well done Armthorpe!

Match Quality – 8 With Armthorpe winning two out of three of their league games so far we were expecting a tough clash against a Rainworth side who were much improved from the team they had put out against the Wellie in the league cup one week prior to this fixture. The game began with the Armthorpe Welfare Junior side leading out the team which again shows that this club is all about serving its local community. The first half was a cagey affair and Wellie Goalkeeper Callum Fielding made an excellent challenge in a one-on-one situation to deny Rainworth. Originally the referee had deemed this challenge a foul but thankfully the linesmen stepped in to rectify the referee on this decision. In the second half we decided to place ourselves just be the dugout which can always be an entertaining vantage point! Wellie upped the tempo and went ahead after a Rainworth defender handled in the box. Up stepped Adam Baskerville to convert the penalty and net for the third consecutive game.

Baskerville's penalty to put the Wellie 1-0 up. In truth Wellie should have extended the lead further after a flurry of excellent crosses lacked the decisive touch to send them goal bound. Rainworth plugged away to try and get the equaliser but in truth Fielding was rarely challenged and the Wellie continued their excellent start to the season that sees them rise to 5th place in the league. Lee Morris will be pleased with the result but possibly even more pleased that it was the opposition manager who was the one being riled by the referees decision making (which makes a nice change!) All in all as 1-0 victories go we really enjoyed this battle between the sides and this really sets up for Doncaster Derby clash

between Rossington Main and Armthorpe with both sides in good form going into Saturday’s clash. Admission -10 £5 for a night of entertainment, to watch a team willing to put a shift in. What is there not to love? It is incredibly rare to find another form of entertainment for an hour and a half at such good value that non-league offers so we massively encourage you to take a visit to Armthorpe, sample the football, the ground, the community ethos and of course the Pie and chips! Also it’s worth buying a few tickets to the raffle as we walked home winners with a bottle of wine! This is a must visit ground and we are really looking forward to our next trip back to Armthorpe and we will definitely make this a regular occurrence throughout this season! With that community spirit leading everything that the club does we see no reason why Armthorpe Welfare cannot continue to go from strength to strength this season. UP THE WELLIE! Full slideshow below.

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