Tuesday 15th September 2020 19.45
United Counties League One
Lutterworth Athletic 1 Northampton Sileby Rangers 2 HT: 1-0 Att: 150 (hc)
Atkinson 17 : Koriya 55p, 65
from Hall Park
In the space of eight days Dave and I had done a brace of Lutterworths. Town last week and Athletic this. It was very much an aptly named Groundhog Day for us. Same pick up time, same fast uninterrupted journey, same Fish and Chip shop, similar comments about the town’s anchor tennant – Angel’s Touch Massage. Did this signify a new style of ruthless efficiency in our groundhopping. Would the Wellingboroughs be up next? Whitworth and Town?
This time, we ventured into the pub called The Shambles, a famous and old pub just off the town square. We opted against it the first time on account of the hew hassle involved in doing what were once normal things. However, it was anything but a Shambles with a nice pint of Eagle IPA and friendly and covid efficient service. Athletic’s ground is further north than Town’s. Town is within Lutterworth itslef to the north, whereas Athletic is even further north in a rural farmland area.
These two non-league team towns are more common than you think, like twin primes and binary star systems. And they have been very much intertwined with each other over the years. They have similar histories and even swapped grounds at one point. The Atho were founded in 1983; were promoted to the East Midlands League after finishing runners-up in the Leicestershire Senior League in 2011-12 and then transferred across to the United Counties League the following season.
Lutterworth Town are much older, dating back to the 1920s, but they have only recently made the step up to the UCL, from the Leicestershire Senior League, in 2016-17 and are now in the Premier division. Athletic installed lights at their Dunley Way ground in 2005, but couldn’t use them. In 2011 they moved to the floodlit Hall Park Ground, displacing Town, who then moved in to Dunley Way, and have now got round the lights issue, somehow.
This ground is slightly bigger than Dunley way and has an altogether more established feel. An nicely liveried long thin main stand sits on the far side, rising four benches up. Aside from this, there were no more structures but a smart white perimeter fence made it look very professional. Entrance was a special 50% discount rate of £2.50 and it felt like you were ripping them off at such prices.I topped it up with a match programme, which itself was only a quid.
The main stand proved very popular as did the near side with virtually everyone congregated in these two sections. The game was interesting and hard fought; certainly worth the £2.50 entrance fee – Lutterworth opened the scoring, maybe against the run of play and held the lead until half time. Sileby Rangers, their former name before affixing Northampton to their title, weedled their way back into the game, Koriya scoring both, first from a pen and then a sidefoot on 65 for the winner – probably the right result.