Carlton Town – Bill Stokeld Stadium

Written by Max

Ground #36

Ben Stokeld Stadium – Carlton Town FC

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – Nottinghamshire Senior Cup Semi Final

Carlton Town (Step 4) 2-1 Nottingham Forest u23s

Attendance: Unknown?

Entry: £7

Carlton Town FC were formed back in 1904 as Sneinton FC and in their early years were known as ‘The leading amateur club in Nottinghamshire’. In the early 1990s the club were looking to go to the next level and therefore needed a proper ground to play at. This saw the club move to their current home on Stoke Lane in Gedling. In 2002 the club decided to change its name to Carlton to reflect the change of location and help them fit into their new home. The ground was named after the former Chairman of the club Bill Stokeld. The club currently find themselves battling at the top of the Northern Premier League Division 1 Midlands at step 4 of the non league pyramid.

Today saw Carlton come up against a Nottingham Forest academy side in the Semi Final of the Notts Senior Cup. After a great evening at Selston in the last round we jumped at the chance to see another big night for a local non league club in our area.

The game started with the hosts on top, but as in the previous round the team from Forest looked dangerous on the counter attack. On the 15 minute mark the game sprung into life with Carlton hitting the post followed by the visitors forcing a great save from the Carlton keeper. 10 minutes later and the reds had the lead scrambling the ball in from close range. The game then evened out and we went into half time with Forest ahead.

As the second half began, the rain got heavier but we didn’t mind as Carlton piled on the pressure winning corner after corner. We were onto about corner number 5 in a row as finally the pressure paid off, they were back in the game! It was all Carlton now and almost immediately afterwards a cracking effort from around 20 yards crashed off the post!

There really seemed to be only one team that was going to win it and just 5 minutes after equalising the Millers had taken the lead! The fans behind the goal went mad and the group of kids came out with one of the best chants of all time as they ironically sang ‘2-1 to the famous team’!

After a few tense moments in added time the side from Step 4 managed to hold on and secure their place in the final! A great night for the club in every way with a bumper crowd seeing a great performance from the guys on the pitch. Hopefully some people liked what they saw and the club can get some more people cheering them on in their promotion push in the remaining games this season.

Now to rate our night at Stoke Lane:

Location: 3/10

Carlton’s ground is actually in the neighbouring Town of Gedling around a 20 minute walk from Carlton’s Train station and Town centre. It is actually closer to Gedling than Plains Road which is Home to Gedling Miners Welfare FC!!

The ground is at the end of a long road which sadly contains no pubs! There is a small car park so get to the ground early. If not you may end up like me on a previous visit when making a 3 point turn to go back to find on road parking I went into a bus lane with a camera. Lovely £30 fine, thanks Gedling Council!

Kit: 8/10

The Millers play in a popular combination of yellow and blue. This years includes blue shorts and socks with a bright yellow shirt which fades into blue towards the bottom. A really smart kit and one I would buy myself if I was a fan!

Facilities: 4/10

The bar at Stoke lane is in a large portakbin building on your right as you enter the ground. Although not the most inviting looking from the outside the club have given the interior a lick of paint in recent times and it has created a decent little area for fans to congregate before the game. There was also a pool table and screens showing sky sports. Out front were a variety of benches which many of the bumper crowd were making use of.

Look: 3/10

With this being our first reviewed ground at step 4 we were unsure about this one. The ground is pretty basic though with just the one stand behind the goal containing around 150 blue and yellow seats. There is hard standing around all 4 sides as you would expect at this level, along with a small covered area where the roof of the changing rooms extends out creating a unique terrace.

Behind one goal was a mini pitch which was used throughout the game by many of the young kids in attendance. Most spectators though, stood in the flat standing directly in front of the bar for easy access! We both liked the design of the bricks spelling ‘CTFC’ on the side of the changing rooms. Can’t beat little touches like that!

Food and Drink: 8/10

As we walked into the ground we were greeted with the smell we have been waiting for ever since starting this blog…..The legends at Carlton had only gone and put on a BBQ for the game!!!! We both went for a cheese burger with fantastic caramelised onions. It’s not very often I finish a burger at the football and want another one but today that was how I felt, amazing!

Sadly no Dark Fruits at today’s game and the drinks in the bar could perhaps have been a little more varied but that didn’t stop us enjoying a couple of pints of San Miguel and cider for Emma! We will certainly be back, not only for the football but for the food! Get that BBQ out every week please!

TOTAL SCORE 26/50

We both really enjoyed our visit to Stoke Lane for tonight’s game. A ground and a club that we had been meaning to get to for a while and we are glad to have finally ticked it off our list! It may not be the most exciting ground in the world, but that doesn’t matter when you have a great evening with a great group of supporters. It was great to finally meet a few faces we have come to know on twitter including Carlton fan Jason Simpkins and the now famous Clifton All Whites Keeper Beau Watson. If you haven’t seen his viral video yet search for him on twitter, you wont regret it!!

As far as the game itself, it was great to see Carlton come from behind to book a place in the final and we look forward to hopefully following them into the final whenever/wherever that may be!!

A final mention to the competition itself. With teams being entered from Forest, Notts County and Mansfield the Notts Senior Cup is a really great asset to local football. Days like today will help clubs like Carlton (as it did Kimberley & Selston earlier in the year) raise funds to help the clubs grow, improve or maybe even just survive a bit longer and that can only be a good thing. And who knows, maybe some fans of the professional teams that have followed the tournament this year will realise just how good the non league game in this area is and may start to follow it themselves.

If you would like to see where this places The Millers in our Non League Leaderboard click here: NON LEAGUE

If you’d like to see the Football League grounds we have visited click here: The 92

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