Ground Number: 621
Tuesday 20th September 2016
Tividale 0-8 Walsall
Walsall Senior Cup 1st Round
TIVIDALE FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
TIVIDALE FC were formed in 1954 and originally played in local leagues such as the Handsworth & District and Warwickshire & West Midlands Alliance. They made the step up to the West Midlands Regional League in 1966. Originally playing in its second tier, they earned promotion to the Premier Division in 1973. They stayed here until 2011, save for a few seasons in the early 90's when they returned to Divison 1 due to the lack of floodlights at the ground at the time. That 2010/11 season saw them have a great year, champions with 97 points and scoring 123 goals in the process. That earned them promotion to the Midland Alliance and saw the most successful time in the club's history. By 2014 they were promoted again, this time to the NPL Division 1 South. Despite an excellent 8th placed finish in 2014/15, last season saw them finish rock bottom with just 5 wins all season. This season has seen the struggle continue, with them yet to win and sitting well adrift at the bottom of the table.
In the FA Cup, their debut season of 1975/76 saw a memorable run to the 4th Qualifying Round as they defeated Heanor Town, Enderby Town and Alfreton Town (after a replay) before a narrow 3-2 defeat away at AP Leamington. They lost both of the FA Trophy games that they have played in but in the FA Vase they reached the 5th Round as recently as 2012, going out to Peterborough Northern Star. Local cup honours include the JW Hunt Cup in 2014 and the Walsall Senior Cup in 2003.
This groundhop was decided on Saturday evening, following Wycombe's 1-0 win over Stevenage. I'd met fellow hopper Anwar at the game and he was finally available for our first groundhop together since July. Back to that game, it wasn't one I was looking forward to and as a result I didn't get there until 2.30, around an hour later than normal. However, I had no problem getting my normal parking spot and the place was still as deserted as it usually was. What followed was probably the reason for the low attendance - the usual dull fare, though we did at least grind out a win, which was only our second win in 16 league games. When I got home I had a look at the fixtures available. My requirements were simple - one with no decent pubs near it, as I wasn't planning on drinking, and none of the few unvisited teams that I still had standing in the FA Cup. Tividale v Walsall seemed a decent option, and thankfully Anwar was happy to do this one.
On the day of the game I was on my day off as usual and it was the usual walk down town to pick up some stuff for the game tonight. I came back and had lunch while watching some episodes of Citizen Smith, a Sitcom I have got into recently, on Youtube. I looked at food options for tonight's game and decided that a revisit to AK Grill the same place Anwar and I went to before Cradley Town last season seemed the best option. I spent the rest of the afternoon updating my Groundhopper App. It looked a long slog at first, with well over 600 grounds and several more games to enter, but upon leaving at 4PM, I'd got it down to 225. I met Anwar at 4.30 and we were soon on our way. It was a decent journey, with only 10 minutes delay and most of that was getting out of Aylesbury. We arrived at AK Grill, our dinner place in Halesowen at 6.25 and I had a Piri Piri Panini meal whilst Anwar had a curry. It took a while and we didn't leave till 7. At least it was worth the wait though, delicious and with chips and a drink for £4.
We got to the ground at 7.15, paying £5 to get in and £1.50 for an excellent programme. After taking some pictures of the ground we took a place standing along the side. We got talking to the Walsall fans that had made the short trip and were pleased to discover that ex-Wycombe loanee Jason McCarthy was doing very well for them. They also informed us that 10 of the 11 players starting for them tonight were first teamers. With Tividale doing poorly some 7 levels below them, it looked as if it may be a long night for the Midland Leaguers and so it proved to be. Below are descriptions of the goals, plus highlights, courtesy of the Walsall FC YouTube channel.
3: Close range effort by Amadou Bakayoko - went in off the bar after home keeper Kriskinans parried the initial shot (0-1)
14: A Walsall cross-shot by Josh Ginnelly from the right went straight in (0-2)
44: Tividale's number 6 gave the ball away, from there it was a good run and finish from Amadou Bakayoko to get his second of the night (0-3)
47: A deflected own goal wrongfooted Kriskinans, who had made several good saves earlier on (0-4)
55: Good run and shot from Maziar Kouhyar who finished well from around 10 yards (0-5)
56: A well-worked goal resulted in Josh Ginnelly getting his second from around 12 yards.(0-6)
61: Another well-worked goal resulting in a close range finish (0-7)
72: Saving the best goal till last, Amadou Bakayoko thunders a great shot into the top left hand corner from around 25 yards (0-8)
The result and goals reflected the balance of play, and in truth, Walsall were quite wasteful. Tividale had some chances of their own however and can consider themselves unfortunate not to get a goal on the night. It had been a good evening at a nice friendly club, and the well-priced entrance fee and excellent programme certainly helped this. By the time we left it was 9.40 and we put the radio on to listen to TalkSPORT and their coverage of the League Cup games on the way home. It made the journey pass pretty quickly and I dropped Anwar off in Aylesbury at 11, getting home myself just over 20 minutes later. I had work at 4 in the morning, but even so, I needed an hour or so to wind down before I could drop off to sleep. At least I don't have as far to go tomorrow for my next game at Northampton ON Chenecks v Wellingborough Town.
THE BEECHES is a traditional non-league venue and is pretty decent for the level that Tividale play at. Situated in a housing estate, there isn't a huge amount in the immediate vicinity of the ground, and parking is a bit sparse. This doesn't matter too much though, as the facilities at the ground are decent. Though I didn't use the bar, it's large and spacious with Sky TV and football stuff on the walls. It has a decent range of real ales, plus Strongbow and Thatchers Gold for cider drinkers. The tea bar has a decent looking range of food compared to most at this level.
The ground itself is open on 3 sides, but the one stand that that there is, is excellent. It stretches the whole length of the pitch and has enough room for 200 seated and around 500 standing under cover. The ground has a nice few touches to it, and you'll get a nice welcome and a great value day out, so it's well worth a visit. The programme is also very good, with plenty to read and full of information and stats. There is also supposed to be a club shop, but I didn't see it when I visited.