Date of Visit: Saturday 15th October 2016
League: Cymru Alliance
Ground Number: 37 [Re-visit]
- Distance Travelled: 11,7 miles
- Travel Time: 25 minutes
- Club Name: Buckley Town Football Club
- Ground: Globe Way Stadium, Buckley, Flintshire, CH7 3LY
- Club Nicknames: The Claymen; The Trotters; The Bucks
- Club Colours: Red shirts with white trim, red shorts, red socks
- League Position: Cymru Alliance – 9th position [14/10/2016]
DIRECTIONS & CAR PARKING
From Buckley Town Centre:
The Globe Way ground is situated to the north east of Buckley. To reach the ground from the town centre, take the B5127 Mill Lane/Liverpool Road and head out of Buckley towards Ewloe. Roughly a mile down the road, there should be signs pointing to the right for the industrial centre, recycling centre and football ground. Head onto Globe Way and the ground should appear on an elevated plateau on the right hand side about a third of a mile down Globe Way road.
From the A55/A494:
Get onto the A494 and take the turnoff sign-posted for Ewloe / St.David’s Park. On the roundabout, take the Mold Road B5127 exit and follow the road around over the A55. Continue on the road for about a mile and the Globe Way junction will appear on the left-hand side.
From Buckley Train Station:
The train station is located on the eastern outskirts of Buckley and about a 25 minute walk from the ground. Head down Station Road and continue over the crossroads, venturing down the rural Drury New Road. Eventually you will encounter houses and reach a T-junction where a left turn is made, before making the first turn on the right (the Parrot Inn should be nearby). Travel down Burntwood Road before turning left down Mount Pleasant Road, passing the Spencer Industrial Estate entrance on the right, and taking the next right turn onto Globe Way. The ground entrance should be a couple minutes’ walk down Globe Way on the left-hand side.
Car Parking Information:
There is a small car park at the ground although this gets full fairly quickly. The best option for car parking is to either to park along Globe Way, or in the small car park for the Etna Park nature park. This is situated halfway between the junction and the ground on the right hand side.
Club Established/Founded: 1977
- 1 x Cymru Alliance Champions
- 1 x Cymru Alliance League Cup Winners
- 6 x NEWFA Challenge Cup Winners
Highest League Finish: Cymru Alliance – 1st [2004-05]
- Cymru Alliance – 12th
- Welsh Cup – Round Four
- Welsh League Cup – Round One
Buckley was one of the earliest towns in Wales to embrace football, with records of the game being introduced into the town around 1860. The first team to form in the town was Belmont Swifts, who would later evolve into the better organised Buckley Victoria Football Club. Playing at their ground at Mill Lane, Buckley Victoria would be regular competitors in those early Welsh Cup competitions taking on such local pioneering teams as Mold Athletic, Wrexham Victoria and Rhyl Athletic. They would also compete in the Anglo-Welsh competition, “The Combination”, for a single season, by playing in the 1900-01 season. They would complete their only season in the Combination in 11th position (out of 12 teams).
Buckley Victoria was eventually replaced by the Buckley Engineers, who would embrace the ‘Vics’ winning mentality by accumulating a large amount of silverware during their existance. The highlight of their amazing trophy haul was three Welsh Amateur Cup [now FAW Trophy] victories that was achieved in 1906 and 1907 with a 4-1 wins over Portmadoc and Aberystwyth respectively, and another win over Aberystwyth in 1911 by a single goal.
Buckley Town Football Club would appear in the town in 1887 (not related to the current Buckley Town) and would achieve success of their own by winning the Wirral & District League and Pike Challenge Cup in 1898. By 1925 they had joined the Welsh League (North) division, and in 1937 went on to win the North Wales Amateur Cup. An impressive achievement considering all other Buckley-based teams were either folding completely or suffering extensive lean patches – a glimmer of success in a dark period for Buckley football.
After the Second World War only two Buckley-based teams existed, with just Buckley Wanderers and Buckley Rovers playing competitive football in the town. Rovers initially struggled in the lower divisions of the Welsh leagues whilst the superior Wanderers side joined the Welsh National League Division 1 in 1949. Buckley Wanderers would finish second in the table on two separate occasions (including their debut WNL season where they were runners-up to Chirk AAA) before eventually winning the WNL title in the 1955-56 season, scoring over one hundred goals in the process.
As the 1960’s began, Buckley Rovers would join their Buckley counterparts in the Welsh National League First Division, having risen through the local leagues. The WNL First Division was then the highest level of football in North East Wales, thus having both teams in the top tier created a halcyon period for Buckley football. For that first season with both Buckley teams competing, Wanderers would again finish runners-up to Chirk AAA whilst Rovers would conclude their debut season in ninth position for the 1960-61 season.
The 1970’s experienced a change in the fortunes of the two Buckley clubs as Rovers would supplant Wanderers as being the more successful Buckley team in the league. From 1974-75, Buckley Rovers achieved a runners-up finished tailed by a third place finish in the WNL table, whilst Wanderers achieved 10th and 13th in the same seasons. Alas by the 1976-77 season, both teams were starting to struggle in the WNL as results began to deteriorate, with both teams finishing in the bottom half of the table. Identifying that having two sides playing in the town was detrimental to the future success of both sides, Buckley Wanderers and Buckley Rovers agreed to merge together to create Buckley Town in the summer of 1977.
The initial period of the merger would start adequately for the Buckley “super-club” as they finished in 9th in their debut season. However results started to deteriorate and by the early 1980’s the club found itself in the second tier of the WNL pyramid after getting relegated in the 1984-85 season by finishing in 15th position. Their stay in the WNL Second Division would only be a brief one before they returned back to the pinnacle of the WNL pyramid, by finishing as runners-up to Llay Welfare in the 1986-87 season.
Buckley would continue to play in the WNL Premier Division until the 1992-93 season when they managed to once again claim a runners-up spot, finishing a point behind league winners Penley, but would gain promotion up to the recently-established second tier of Welsh football.
Buckley Town would make their debut in the Cymru Alliance in the 1993-94 season (they have played in the league ever since) and would consolidate their position by finishing in 12th place from the 18-team league. For the whole of the 1990’s, Buckley would always finish in the bottom half of the table and often flirted with relegation back to the Welsh National League. Their best league finish during this period would be in their debut season, with the club ending up as low as 18th in the 1995-96 season (having conceded 107 goals).
The dawn of the new Millennium would be the precursor to the dawning of the second “golden age” for Buckley football as Buckley Town would experience their greatest period of success in their history. The Claymen would become one of the strongest teams in both the Cymru Alliance and North East Wales as a whole, claiming numerous pieces of silverware in the 2000’s. They would claim the North East Wales FA Challenge Cup on six separate occasions throughout the 2000’s, whilst also winning the Cymru Alliance League Cup in the 2003-04 season.
Cup victories coincided with improvements in their league form, with Buckley continually improving on their Cymru Alliance performance each season between 2002 and 2005. A third place finish in 2002-03 was quickly followed up with a runners-up placement the subsequent season. The crowning glory of Buckley Town arrived in the 2004-05 season when the Claymen finally reached the peak of the summit by concluding the season as champions of the Cymru Alliance.
Despite finishing as Cymru Alliance champions, Buckley Town declined promotion to the Welsh Premier League on financial grounds, claiming the required ground improvements to WPL standards and increased travel costs would be too much for the club to commit towards. The refusal of promotion would ultimately have a negative impact on the club, with The Claymen receiving unfair criticism for a “lack of ambition” from the local media and some supporters, whilst a number of players moved to other clubs who harboured ambitions of playing WPL football.
Initially Buckley would produce a solid defence their Cymru Alliance title when finished the season in the runners-up spot, three points behind new league champions CPD Glantraeth. However the club’s ‘golden era’ has concluded and a period of inconsistency now reigned at Globe Way as the Claymen would finish in 9th in the 2006-07 season, before finishing in a lowly 14th position for 2007-08 – their lowest league finish in the 21st century. Improvements were made the following two seasons as Buckley would claim an eighth place in 2008-09, before returning to the correct end of the table by finishing in fourth position the following season.
Inconsistency has continued into the 2010’s with the club finishing as high as third place in the 2011-12 season, but as lowly as twelfth in two separate occasions. This ‘feast and famine’ aspect of Buckley’s fortunes can be clearly identified over the past couple of seasons when Buckley somewhat overachieved under the management of Tom Taylor, and claimed a brilliant fourth position in the 2014-15 season. However they finished last season’s campaign in a lowly twelfth spot having won only a third of their games throughout the schedule in what proved to be a tumultuous season for the Claymen.
- Sat 10th September: CPD Penrhyncoch (a) 3 – 1
- Tues 13th September: Gresford Athletic (h) 2 – 5
- Sat 17th September: Llanfair United (a) 0 – 1
- Sat 24th September: Flint Town United (h) 1 – 1
- Sat 8th October: Barmouth & Dyffryn United (a) [Welsh Cup Round 1] 2 – 0
This season has been a turbulent time for Buckley Town, with the financial situation at the club being precarious and volunteering help becoming scarcer. As a result the club sent out a public SOS to the local community to back and support the club in any way possible to avoid the unthinkable possibility of the club potentially folding. Thankfully the response was hugely successful from the local community with the club accepting a large number of new sponsors, whilst new volunteers offered their help to the club and breathing new life into the once great Flintshire outfit. Furthermore, over 440 season tickets were sold prior to the season commencing which brought some well needed coffers into the pot.
In addition the club had a change in management for the 2016-17 season after previous manager Tom Taylor resigned towards the end of the previous season. Former Buckley Town and Blackburn Rovers player Ben Chamberlain returned back to Globe Way to take the reins of the Claymen. No stranger to local football, he was the manager of Argoed United before being the assistant manager at Holywell Town last season.
It has been steady progress for Chamberlain this season having brought in a large number of players in the summer months. Prior to the game against his former team-mates, the Claymen find themselves in ninth position in the table, picking up three wins and two draws from their nine league games so far. Their last win the league was an impressive 3-1 away victory over recently promoted side Penrhyncoch at Cae Baker. A brace from Asa Hamilton and an own goal from Owain James ensured the points would return back to Buckley.
However the past three league games have been tough for Buckley, picking up only a single point from a potential nine points available. A heavy defeat against Gresford Athletic at home was compounded by a close defeat to Llanfair United at Llanfair Caereinion four days later. Despite those disappointing results, the Claymen could take some positives from their previous league game as they managed to claim a point against the impressive Flint squad at home. It looked as if the Silkmen had cruelly grabbed the points after an injury time goal from Richie Foulkes, however a sensational equaliser from Brad Cole in the fourth minute of injury time ensured the points were shared between the Flintshire rivals.
With confidence high having claimed a last-gasp equaliser against Flint, Buckley continued to gain more confidence and maintain momentum by claiming an important victory in the Welsh Cup against a determined Barmouth & Dyffryn side. Having seen the game postponed the previous weekend due to a torrential downpour and subsequent waterlogged pitch, Buckley had to be careful the following weekend as it was a potential “banana skin” fixture against the Welsh Alliance Division 1 side. However a debatable penalty dispatched by Mike Cronshaw and a goal from Staige Davies were enough to overcome the dogged Barmouth side, and ensured the Bucks would take their place in the second round of the Welsh Cup.
THE OPPOSITION – HOLYWELL TOWN
- Wed 14th September: Denbigh Town (h) 2 – 1
- Sat 17th September: CPD Porthmadog (a) 0 – 1
- Sat 24th September: Conwy Borough (h) 3 – 1
- Sat 1st October: Coedpoeth United (a) [Welsh Cup Round 1] 8 – 0
- Sat 8th October: CPD Penrhyncoch (a) [CA League Cup Round 1] 2 – 3
Holywell’s recent form has been fairly decent for their second season in the Cymru Alliance. Despite a disaapointing away defeat to high-flyers Porthmadog at Y Traeth, the Wellmen have managed two league victories from their past three league games with impressive wins over Denbigh Town and Conwy Borough. October has seen Holywell play two cup games away from Halkyn Road with Holywell winning the Welsh Cup game but losing the Cymru Alliance League Cup fixture.
A heavy defeat of Welsh National Premier side Coedpoeth United in the first round of the Welsh Cup gave the Wellmen confidence going into their first visit to Cae Baker this season. However Penrhyncoch are a formidable outfit at home and have made Cae Baker a fortress to opposing teams, and on this occasion managed to scrape a valuable 3-2 win over the Wellmen. It was a significant fixture for Holywell as it was the ground where long-serving player and captain, Steve Thomas, made his debut as a 16 year old over 10 years ago.
Despite the defeat by Penrhyncoch the previous weekend, Holywell would be going into the fixture with Buckley in full spirts. Over the past couple of seasons, Globe Way has been a happy hunting ground for Holywell Town as they have claimed victories in past two visits to their Flintshire rivals’ ground. The first victory came in the Third Round of the 2014-15 Welsh Cup when the Wellmen, then playing in the Welsh Alliance, was drawn against Cymru Alliance team Buckley Town. In one of my earliest groundhop blogs [the first Buckley blog can be found here], Holywell completed a cup shock by defeating their higher opponents by the single goal. A Tony Roebuck header being the difference between the two sides on that occasion, and earning myself a cool £20 off then Buckley manager Tom Taylor!
In last season’s scheduled league game, the result was more emphatic when Holywell, having defeated Buckley 11 days previously in the Welsh League Cup, achieved an impressive 4-1 victory over the Claymen. All the goals being scored in the first half and coming via headers by Dafydd Griffith and Connor Littler, a Tom McElmeel penalty and a Graeme Williams strike. The consolation goal from Buckley coming from a coolly finished Ben Howarth shot.
In the reverse fixture back in late March, Buckley would claim a point against their opponents at Halkyn Road. Marcus Davies would give Buckley the lead but a Connor Littler goal late in the first half ensured the points would be shared in their previous encounter. That result would be the start of Holywell’s poor finish to the season when they only managed two wins from their final eight league games to finish 5th in the Cymru Alliance table.
Going into this Flintshire derby game, Holywell’s manager Johnny Haseldin was looking to give debuts to two new signings, Matthew Hurdman and Shaun Tuck. Central midfielder Hurdman was signed on the Wednesday prior to the game and comes with plenty of experience having played for Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League, and signed from current WPL side Cefn Druids. Whereas former Witton Albion, Warrington Town & Colwyn Bay striker Shaun Tuck, has been signed from North West Counties Premier side AFC Liverpool to bring an additional goal threat and hopefully score plenty of goals for the Wellmen.
- Name: Buckley (English); Bwcle (Welsh)
- Population: 15,700
- County: Flintshire
- Nearest Major Settlements: Mold [2 miles west], Connah’s Quay [4,2 miles north], Chester [9,4 miles east], Wrexham [10,6 miles south-west]
- Nearest Train Station: Buckley
Buckley is the second largest town in Flintshire in terms of population (behind Connah’s Quay) and is located just two miles east of the county town of Mold. The town is situated up in the hills of Flintshire, approximately 130-150m above sea level, and can provide great views of the Dee Estuary and Cheshire Plan beyond. Because of its higher altitude, the town is more prone to snowfall in the winter months in comparison with the other Flintshire towns in lower lying areas and nearer to the Dee Estuary.
Due to its close proximity to the Welsh-Englsh border (situated just six miles away), Buckley has become a commuter town for those working in the Deeside Industrial Zone, Wrexham, Chester and beyond. However the town does has a number of small industries to provide employment, with the only large scale industry and employer being Hanson Cement, based in nearby Padeswood. As a result of the commuter town status, the town has great education facilities with four primary schools and a high school (Buckley Elfed High School) situated within the town.
Buckley is famous in the local area for its annual celebration and march called the ‘Buckley Jubilee’. The Jubilee has been running unofficially for well over 200 years, although ‘officially’ from 1856 when the Buckley Temperance Society first sanctioned the march. The term “Jubilee” first being used for the march in 1871. Held on the second Tuesday of every July, the celebration starts off in the large common ground called “The Common” before leaving the common and marching around the town. The march is conducted by the town’s Sunday Schools, Scout and Guide troops, as well as the local schools, with the numerous contingents of the march carrying banners.
The town is also known for its Tivoli nightclub (known locally as “The Tiv”), which has been a venue for many famous bands playing live there over the years. Famous bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the 1970’s to Oasis, Radiohead and Super Furry Animals in the 1990’s have played live at the venue. Since a renovation and rebranding in 2000, few bands play live there anymore with the emphasis of the club’s music policy switching to commercial and pop music. Despite this, the venue is still a popular venue for music lovers from the local area.
Buckley is also home to two professional footballers in recent times with former Sunderland, Stoke City and Welsh international defender Danny Collins, and current Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross growing up in the town and playing for Buckley Town’s youth teams.
There are many sources where Buckley’s name could originate from. As Buckley’s foundations are based on an Anglo-Saxon settlement, it is possible the name could derive from the Old English ‘bok lee’, meaning ‘clearing in a beech wood’. However it could also derive from the Welsh description of bwlch y clai meaning ‘clay hole’ which is also possible considering the industries the town would become famous for.
Buckley would become a significant settlement within North East Wales as it became an industrial heartland for pottery and coal mining between the 17th and 19th centuries. The town became a popular location for coal mining due to the many geographic faults in the local rock formations that allowed seams of coal to be mined directly from the surface. In addition, its heavy clay soil was ideal for producing excellent quality pottery and as well as manufacturing high quality bricks. Its bricks were so highly regarded, they were transported across the United Kingdom and as a far as the United States resulting in brick production to become extensive in the town.
As a result of the extensive mining and brick production being prevalent within Buckley, a great number of people moved into the area to find work within the ever increasing coal and brick industries. With a large amount of workers coming from Ireland and Liverpool, it gave the town both a distinctive accent and dialect which was being spoken until the last half of the 20th century. Even though the dialect is not spoken today, there is plenty of evidence of it being recorded through the books of noted linguist and Buckley resident, Dennis Griffiths.
Even though coal mining and brick production were large employers within Buckley, the town would become synonymous with the production of various fire-clay and pottery products. Pottery and earthenware products have been produced in the town since the reign of Elizabeth I, when they were taken by donkey to either be sold at the large Chester market or exported around the country via the River Dee. Pottery manufacture became so significant in Buckley that by the start of the 19th century, there would be as many as 14 potteries based in the town. However the industry would sadly deteriorate in the first half of the 20th century, with both World Wars and the Great Depression of the 1930’s causing many companies to cease production, resulting in the last pottery kiln to fire up in the town in 1946.
GLOBE WAY GROUNDHOP
Weather Conditions: Overcast but mild
- Entrance: £5.00
- Programme: £1.50
- Bacon Bap: £1.50
- Cup of Coffee: £1.00
- Pin Badge: £3.00
For the third season in a row, I would be making an autumnal visit to Globe Way to see Buckley play at home against a Flintshire team. The first visit was a Welsh Cup game against my hometown side, Holywell Town, in which game the Wellmen managed to grab a 1-0 victory, and I managed to win a £20 bet from the then Buckley manager [see original Buckley blog here]. In last season’s visit, I saw them get beaten 1-3 by another Flintshire side, this time Flint Town United, on the officially allocated ‘Non-League Day’. It was also the game where I met up with the ‘rock and roll groundhopper’ Matt Harrison of Lostboyos fame [his blog on his Buckley visit can be found here] and was also the day Wales qualified for the 2016 European Championships. A fine day all round!
For the third Saturday of October, I would be obviously heading up to Buckley this season to see my team Holywell Town take on one of their local rivals in the Cymru Alliance. I always enjoy the local matches especially as Holywell had so few of them whilst they played in the Welsh Alliance, so the excitement of head to a local rival’s ground in the league is always exciting for me. Plus I was feeling confident we could get something from the game considering Globe Way has been a venue were Holywell have produced some top quality performances over the past couple of seasons.
Setting off from 94th Minute HQ about quarter to 2, arrival at the ground was roughly about 2:10pm, with a good 20 minutes spare prior to kick off. As per usual, parking spaces were limited so the car was parked on the Globe Way road, as many other supporters had done so, and decided to take the short walk towards the entrance of the ground. Entry for this Cymru Alliance game was the average league price of £5, whilst the complimentary match programme would cost a further £1.50.
The match programme was an excellent read with plenty of information about the current teams, the history and statistics of both sides, as well as a round-up of the previous weekend’s league fixtures. Not to mention details on the club’s reserve team, as well as providing upcoming fixtures for the first team. Certainly a great read and a vast improvement on the programmes that I had bought in previous visits. Undoubtedly one the best programmes I have read this season anyway!
As I went through the turnstile, they had someone selling Buckley Town merchandise for reasonable rates. I had been aware they were now selling merchandise from a Twitter post earlier in the week, so I was eager to purchase something to add to the collection. Despite the temptation to purchase a Buckley Town mug for just £4, I decided against it on this occasion and just bought a pin badge for £3. I was glad to get a BTFC badge for the collection as it was one of the few clubs from Flintshire I hadn’t got a badge for (the other major ones from Flintshire being Gap Connah’s Quay, FC Nomads and surprisingly Greenfield).
With badge safely acquired, a trip to the snack bar was the next port of call in the ground. As mentioned in my previous blog, the snack bar is located on the end of the changing room complex that overlooks the pitch on the entrance side of the ground. From the snack hatch, I bought myself a bacon bap and cup of black coffee for just £2.50 = an absolute bargain. The bacon baps from Buckley are always an absolute treat, and you can never go wrong for £1.50 also. A bacon bap (complete with a splash of brown sauce) and a coffee at the football, is there anything better??
Whilst thoroughly enjoying eating my bacon bap, which was soon wolfed down as it was that nice, I had a good look around the ground and it was great to see so many people had turned out for the game. As per usual, the Holywell contingent were in full force with their red & white striped scarves draped around their necks, which is always pleasing to see on an away day. But it was great to see so many locals had turned out for the game, and that interest has picked up for Buckley once again after the scare during pre-season. In my opinion, Buckley are a club with so much potential and could potentially be a Welsh Premier League side if they wanted to progress to the national league. The potential support is there in the town and the ground is constantly improving making it one of the best in the league.
Buckley has two recently-built covered stands which allow supporters to sit and watch the game. The main stand is situated on the road side of the ground and holds about 400 seats, whilst on the opposite side of the ground is a smaller stand which has about 100-150 seats. Both stands had a large number of Buckley and Holywell supporters seated in them which again showed there was large interest in this derby game. Not to mention the elevated veranda located next to the clubhouse was full of supporters wanting to watch the game whilst drinking a few alcoholic beverages! One of the best places to watch football in the Cymru Alliance in my opinion haha.
Alas there would be no drinking for me this afternoon and so I decided to stand with a number of Holywell fans who had congregated behind the goal next to the entrance. It was by the entrance that I caught up with my mate Bradders, who is a Buckley native and one of the locals who purchased a Bucks season ticket. I hadn’t seen him in ages as he has been jetting to far flung destinations in Europe for work, so it was nice to have a chat with him about his work trips and the upcoming game. I thought better about making a bet with him over whose home team would triumph in this encounter though. After coming out on tops last time I betted on this fixture, I didn’t want to tempt fate nor be out of pocket for the rest of the day haha.
I did have a chuckle concerning some headwear that one of my friends had brought with them to wear during the game. My friend Anna claimed that her the bobble of her bobble hat was made with real racoon fur (as claimed by the hat seller in Liverpool). After some joking about needing a leash for it in case it decided to run off, it was discovered that the Liverpool hat seller had perhaps span her a yarn. It was revealed that the bobble was not made of racoon fur but a combination of China’s finest acrylic…animal rights activists can now breathe a sigh of relief!
With coffee in hand and sufficient fuelled for the game with some of Flintshire’s finest bacon baps, and the risk of Anna’s hat scurrying off averted, the teams soon descended from the changing rooms and down onto the field of play. Buckley would be in their home strip of red shirts with white stripes down the side, red shorts and socks. Holywell would be playing in their away kit which was the same template as the Buckley home kit but used a pastel sky blue instead of red. Fair play, the sportswear Macron must do some good trade by selling kits to clubs in the Welsh leagues!
Refereeing today’s match would be former Welsh international forward Cheryl “Fozzy” Foster, who would be making her debut appearance at The Globe. Cheryl had played as a striker for Bangor City, Liverpool and Doncaster Belles in an illustrious career which seen her capped internationally also. Making her Wales debut in 1997 as a seventeen year old, she earned a record 63 caps for the Welsh team before retiring from playing and subsequently becoming a referee. A rare path for any former footballer to follow, especially a former international but a hugely refreshing and hopefully pioneering one that other players will follow in the future.
Since retiring from football in 2013 and taking the required refereeing courses, her progress has been exceptional but certainly well deserved. Foster now regularly referees in the Cymru Alliance and highly regarded as an official, and this year saw her included on the FIFA women’s international list of football referees and joins Charlotte Carpenter as Wales’ second FIFA referee. Certainly the perfect example of the (goal) poacher becoming the game (and law) keeper!
MATCH DETAILS – FIRST HALF
It would be the visitors who would start the brighter of the two teams with debutant Shaun Tuck being heavily involved in many of the Wellmen’s attacks during the first half. The first clear chance of the match fell to Holywell after just eight minutes when Lee Healey managed to advance unopposed down to the left flank and fire a low cross from the byline into the box. Unfortunately Tuck was unable to break the deadlock with this opening salvo as he was unable to get a good connection on the ball, allowing the Buckley defenders to successfully clear the ball from danger.
Tuck would have another goal scoring opportunity a few minutes later when he drifted into space that appeared in the Buckley area to launch a shot at goal. It had the Buckley goalkeeper Adam McGee completely beaten but his effort could only bounce off the post and ricochet out of play for a goal kick.
The Buckley defence continuously failed to cope with Tuck’s movement effectively, and the forward would inevitably convert a goal-scoring chance on his third opportunity after eighteen minutes of play. It would also be on the best goals of the season so far! Captain Steve Thomas distributed the ball from midfield to Tuck who had come deep to collect the pass. At which point he rapidly advanced towards the Buckley goal, causing havoc and mayhem in the home’s defensive line. Tuck would dribble and craftily jink past four defenders before shooting low across goal and firing the ball into the back of the net. A well-deserved lead for the Wellmen, with Tuck producing an impressive debut so far!
Buckley Town 0 – 1 Holywell Town
Five minutes after taking the lead, and Holywell almost doubled their advantage through striker Lee Healey. Once again he broke clear of the Buckley defence to line-up an attempt on goal, but his fierce shot was superbly saved by Adam McGee. Buckley were on the ropes at that moment and needed to find a way back into this game otherwise the game would quickly drift away from them!
The response of the home side was impressive as they would start to claw their way back into the game to make the encounter a more equal affair. After enduring relentless Wellmen pressure, the Claymen would finally have their first chance around the half-hour mark through a set piece just outside of the penalty area. Shaun Tinsley stepped up and attempted to curl his effort into the top corner of the goal, although the home keeper John Rushton was equal to the effort and managed to deflect the ball away from the danger zone. Buckley would have another effort a few minutes after their first clear-cut chance through Jake Skyner. However his attempt to reduce the arrears ended up going wrong as his attempt scorched over Rushton’s crossbar.
Both teams would have half chances before the half-time break, with fellow debutant Matty Hurdman perhaps coming the closest to scoring for either team. However the official Cheryl Foster would soon conclude the half ensuring the Wellmen went into the break with the goal advantage, and an advantage which can be considered they deserved!
HALF TIME: BUCKLEY TOWN 0 – 1 HOLYWELL TOWN
During the half time period I had noticed that the Lostboyos ultra sticker [which can be seen in its full colour glory in Matt’s blog from last year] was still on the floodlight nearest to the entrance. Alas the sticker had seen better days, with someone having made rather unsuccessful attempts to peel the label off the floodlight, as well as the elements fading the sticker to a white box.
MATCH DETAILS – SECOND HALF
No doubt Buckley wanted to start the second half on the front foot but after five minutes of the second half, their plan went out of the window as they conceded a second goal through a corner. Steve Thomas whipped a dangerous cross towards the penalty spot and defender Ryan Davidson rose above everyone to head the ball into the Buckley net. Despite the efforts of the home defender on the line, the header was too powerful to hinder and the attempted goal line clearance only helped the ball fly into the net.
Buckley Town 0 – 2 Holywell Town
With Buckley still reeling from conceding a second goal, the home side would find their disadvantage increased seven minutes later through the efforts of the impressive Shaun Tuck. The debutant latched onto the ball on the edge of the penalty area, perfectly controlled the ball before turning and slamming the ball past McGee in the Buckley goal. It was Tuck’s second goal of the afternoon and Holywell’s third of the game, and they were no more than what the Wellmen deserved!
Buckley Town 0 – 3 Holywell Town
Three goals down and Buckley threw caution to the wind as they attempted to create an opening which could kick-start an unlikely looking comeback. The Claymen thought that they had created that opener through a Shaun Tinsley strike, but the home support could only see the shot agonisingly saved by Rushton in the Holywell goal. However on the 66th minute, the glimmer of hope the Buckley support prayed for appeared and it appeared from a bizarre phase of play. Steve Thomas attempted a backpass to Rushton but his pass was too hard and deflected off Rushton’s outstretched leg to deflect the ball into his own net. An absolute howler from the league’s best defensive outfit!
Buckley Town 1 – 3 Holywell Town
The own goal raised Buckley’s spirits as they could see an opportunity to pressurise their opponents and perhaps get something from a game which was drifting away from them. Firstly Asa Hamilton blasted wide from a corner, whilst former Wellmen Dan Drazdauskas fired over the crossbar from a central position. Buckley were getting nearer and nearer to making the game a more interesting affair!
Although Buckley were becoming more of an attacking threat in the second half, there were still gaps appearing in their defence for Holywell to exploit. Lee Healey surged into the space on the right hand side of the penalty area attempting to cross the ball into the penalty area for the advancing Davidson to connect onto. However the cross was punched away by McGee but only as far as to Healey’s position, as he latched onto the loose ball and fire a low ball towards the corner of the goal. Unfortunately for the former Bangor City striker, the ball just curled a little too much and deflected off the post for the second time.
With twenty minutes remaining, Healey’s efforts would finally be rewarded as he grabbed a deserved goal and ended all hopes of a Buckley fightback. Healey advanced with the ball towards the Buckley penalty area whilst holding off the challenge of the home centre back. Showing great strength and commitment, he held the defender off just enough to shoot low past the diving McGee to restore Holywell’s three goal cushion. The three points would be returning back to Halkyn Road this afternoon!
Buckley Town 1 – 4 Holywell Town
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the home side this afternoon, Shaun Tuck would compound their misery when the completed his debut hat-trick on the 75th minute of the game. Goalscorer Healey provided assistant as he passed the ball to Tuck who had ghosted into some space in the Buckley penalty area. Having enough time to control the ball, he slammed the ball past McGee to cap off a perfect debut for his new club. It looks like a new fan favourite has been born as he ran towards the ‘Holywell Ultras’ congregated behind the goal.
Buckley Town 1 – 5 Holywell Town
Even though the result had been unquestionably decided this afternoon, both teams continued to attack with Buckley hoping to make the scoreline more respectable whilst Holywell saw an opportunity to increase their inferior goal difference in the league. Healey had another opportunity to score his second of the game but could only blaze his shot over the crossbar. However the majority of the remaining chances were created by Buckley as they looked to restore some pride from this afternoon’s encounter. Firstly Asa Hamilton fired over the crossbar for Buckley before he brought out another top save from Rushton with another fierce goal-bound effort. Finally a dangerously positioned free kick was taken by James Rumsey although it was comfortably gathered by Rushton.
That would be the final action of the game as Cheryl Foster (who had a good game officiating in my opinion) blew the whistle to finally conclude the afternoon’s action. An excellent performance from Holywell who, for the second consecutive season, would claim a big victory at their Flintshire rival’s ground.
FULL TIME: BUCKLEY TOWN 1 – 5 HOLYWELL TOWN
It would be a great result for the Wellmen who would once again get a decent result at Globe Way for the second season in a row. The win would see Holywell climb one position up the table to fifth position, equal on twenty points with rivals Flint Town United and Guilsfield. However having the inferior goal difference compared with the other two teams. This match would also see them score nearly a third of their league goals this season, raising their goals total to 17 goals – the lowest amount in the top half of the table!
Despite their lack of goals this season, they continue to have the best defensive record in the Cymru Alliance having only conceded seven goals in ten league games, and are only three points from Prestatyn Town and Caernarfon Town at the top of the table on 23 points. This win against a Flintshire rival sets them up nicely for their next fixture, which is another Flintshire derby game. This time they will be at home against Mold Alexandra, who have come into some form after a difficult start to the season.
As for Buckley, the heavy loss would be a huge blow for confidence especially after the decent performances from the previous two games. The loss saw the Claymen stay in ninth position but with a negative goal difference of -12. Next up for Buckley is a mid-week match against newly promoted side Ruthin Town, who are languishing at the bottom of the table with just a single point to their name after ten games. Certainly a winnable game to regain some confidence into their stuttering season, but also a potential banana skin for them that could see their low confidence snowball should they experience defeat to Ruthin.
Overall I enjoyed my re-visit to Globe Way as it is one of the better grounds in the league and I would recommend everyone to go visit the ground as it is constantly improving. Having drinks on the elevated veranda next to the clubhouse is worth a visit alone ha! Plus the volunteers running the club are very welcoming and friendly, and it is great the club is on the rise off the pitch after the huge uncertainty concerning the future of the club in pre-season. I hope Buckley continue to strengthen both on and off the pitch and wish them all the very best for the rest of the season!