St. Ives Town FC
Date: 12th July 2016
St. Ives Town 2-1 Peterborough United XI
St. Ives Town FC - History
St. Ives Town were founded in 1887, joining the United Counties League for a brief period in the early 1950s, before dropping out in 1952. Eventually, the club rejoined the United Counties League in its Division 1 at the end of the 1985/86 season. They stayed in this league until the 2004/05 season, when they earned promotion to the Premier Division.
After a series of strong finishes in the United Counties League Premier Division - St. Ives never finished in the bottom half in their eight seasons at that level - the club earned promotion to the Southern League Division 1 Central at the end of the 2012/13 season after finishing 2nd in the Premier Division. Another promotion followed three seasons later, with the club winning the play-offs to earn promotion to the Southern League Premier Division, which they are currently competing in for the second consecutive season.
In the FA Cup, St. Ives have made it as far as the 2nd Qualifying Round on three occasions, the most recent of these being this season (2017/18), when they beat Coalville Town in the 1st Qualifying Round before losing to FA Cup experts Stourbridge. In the FA Trophy, the club achieved their best run last season, reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round after beating Carlton Town and Leek Town before losing to King's Lynn Town. In the FA Vase, the club's best run came in the 2011/12 season when they reached the Quarter Finals: after beating Long Eaton United, Peacehaven & Telscombe, Tunbridge Wells and Gresley, the club lost 3-0 away at Staveley Miners Welfare. As well as this, the club also reached the 5th Round in three consecutive seasons (2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10).
After a long break before pre-season, with the only football being the Euros (in which England were inept as ever), I was eager to get back underway with groundhopping as quickly as possible. As such, when I saw this fixture pop up - alongside strong rumours that an old friend of mine from school would be playing for the Peterborough United team - I immediately suggested it to my dad and, with it being local and easy to get to, he agreed to go.
However, our way to the ground wasn't particularly easy, as we got lost several times in the streets of St. Ives before eventually finding the ground around 20 minutes before kick-off. I went around and took some photos, before we went to sit in the main stand by the time the game kicked off. However, some annoyingly loud children - a large party of them - meant we decided to move into the smaller Atcost stand.
As for the game itself, I don't remember much about it, other than the fact that it was a typical pre-season affair, in which Peterborough took the lead in the first half before St. Ives equalised. Then, right at the death St. Ives scored a winner from a corner, much to the chagrin of my old friend from school, who was in goal for Peterborough in the second half. Peterborough manager Grant McCann was also present, presumably watching to see if any of the Peterborough youngsters could be called up into the first team.
For a ground at Step 3 (again, speaking from my limited experience here), Westwood Road is probably one of the more basic there, but this is perhaps unsurprising given the club's recent rise up the leagues. However, the ground does have a lot of character at least, with an old main stand on the far side containing seating for around 200, as well as another stand on the near side - which the clubhouse is inside of - which has a mixture of seating (around 30 seats, at a guess) and standing. Other than this, there's a wooden area of cover one side of the main stand, with a 100-seater Atcost on the other side; by the looks of it, these are much newer additions to the ground, which were likely added to satisfy the ground graders.
The rest of the ground is open hard standing, with the ground having an overall capacity of 2,000. The record attendance at the ground was 1,523 for the play-off final against AFC Rushden & Diamonds in 2016, which St. Ives won to earn promotion.
Cambridge City FC - who currently play in the Southern League Division 1 East - also currently groundshare at Westwood Road, while they wait for the construction of their new ground in Sawston to be complete (the planning application for this has only just been approved in the last month or so, so it's likely that Cambridge City will be at Westwood Road for the next couple of years at the very least.