Sunday, 10 December 2017

QUALITY GOALS WIN IT FOR FC CAVALIERS

FC CAVALIERS 3 GEDLING SOUTHBANK 0
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE SENIOR LEAGUE PREMIER @ FOREST SPORTS ZONE
9 DECEMBER 2017 --- 3PM
FC CAVALIERS V GEDLING SOUTHBANK
On a bitterly cold afternoon the quality of FC Cavaliers three goals not only warmed up the watching spectators but added three more valuable points to the home sides total as they stayed in touch with the leading group at the top of the Nottinghamshire Senior League Premier Division.  A superb double strike from David Kolapo and a wonder finish from Bayleigh Reid did the damage that meant Gedling Soutbank were unable to raise any comeback.
As ever approaching the weekend the weather was the big factor to intervene with Saturday footy with the snow at base station nicely iced over games looked increasingly doubtful to take place and with a heavy overnight frost forecast even where there was no covering games would definitely fall foul of inspections and so it proved to be.  Thankfully FC Cavaliers home ground on Gregory Boulevard was a 3g surface and had been on the agenda for a while and as long as there was no covering of snow the game would hopefully take place.  Here thanks goes to Cavaliers manager Martin Hickey whose responses on Friday sealed this as the game to cover on Saturday.
Option for travel was by bus to Alfreton with a quick change onto a Rainbow 1 service to Bobbers Mill for a pre match meal[!?] in one of my favourite Big M's today did not disappoint and with a smart car emblazoned with Macs in the car park I did envisage Ronald being on the premises, although I have to report he was not to be seen.  As good as ever in this relatively new Macs and while there checking the games being postponed all around there were just two others on in Nottingham at Gedling MW and Dunkirk.
BEN GATES SOUND SCULPTURES
Walking along the long Gregory Boulevard and diverting off to Hyson Green Asda for a quick look around, back onto the main thoroughfare the New Art Exchange building was discovered.  Looking very busy and with a well occupied café I did consider a visit being now only just after 1.30pm.  But of interest outside was Ben Gates Sound Sculptures who had set up with a display of weird and wonderful everyday objects to play in an astonishing musical performance.
NOTTINGHAM TRAM OFFERS A CONVINENT WAY TO ARRIVE
The far end of this massive recreation area, Forest Fields, offers a park and ride system and a tram link to the city centre just a mile away and so its quite convenient to arrive by this mode of transport from the railway station if you are so travelling.  Forest Fields offers a large park area that is also the host of the Nottingham Goose fair a massive fairground that sets up over the whole site in early October each year.  The name apparently was gained after geese were driven from Lincoln to Newark for an historical trade fair a large collection of years ago.
ENTRY TO THE SPORTS ZONE
Amazingly the outlying park pitches were setting up for their 2pm kick offs interesting to see the local players just getting on with playing.  To the top end of the area towards the Mansfield Rd end is the Sports Zone with out door Astroturf pitches and then the main block a two tiered building offering changing rooms and at the higher level the main 3g pitch for todays game.
CHANGING ROOMS AND TOP DECK ENTRANCE TO THE 3G.
Firstly this does have a semi feel of a ground yes its caged in but the side by our exit from the host building is all tarmac hard standing with low fencing apart from 6 foot high fencing in front of the changing rooms to protect the glass I guess.  So for a steady little crowd its fairly comfortable to watch proceedings without the feel of not being at a football ground.  Nottingham Forrest have a large connection here through their community trust and I guess are probably owners or leasers of the site which as clearly received the usual funding from a wide selection of sources.
RESPECT HANDSHAKE
FC Cavaliers were formed in 1978 and have played under a few guises including British Caribbean's, Caribbean Cavaliers and now FC Cavaliers.  Approaching their 40 year anniversary it was a pleasure to speak to Karl White one of the original founding members and have a brief chat in the second half, great to see his enthusiasm and continued interest in the club.  Before the game manager Martin Hickey had made a few minutes for a chat and catch up on Cav's season so far, thanks to both of you it was nice to meet you.  While on the greeting front it was also good to catch up with referee Fanran Meng who had previously meet when he was assistant referee at Gedling MW earlier in the season and Andy the assessor today from Newark.  Also good to catch up again with Paul who I see on an irregular basis and is as ever a wealth of information on many grounds that I have not so far visited and some good tips followed at the end when we journeyed back to base town after the game.
Todays visitors Gedling Southbank newly promoted from division 1 were toying with the wrong end of the league but looked resplendent in their superb red and white striped kit, whereas the green kit of FC Cavaliers is a not too often seen colour in todays game.
DAVID KOLAPO CELEBRATES HIS FIRST GOAL
To the game and it started at a fair old pace with FC Cavaliers clearly on the front foot and they found themselves 2 up inside 15 minutes first on 8 minutes Kolapo curled in a lovely finish from 20 yards out before seven minutes later his one on one with visiting keeper Daniel Cockayne led to Cavaliers second.  With the keeper racing out Kolapo challenged for the waist high ball and as the ball was cleared to around 40 yards out on the inside left Reid took it under control before converting the ball from a difficult high set position into the Gedling net for an excellent finish.
BAYLEIGH REID RECEIVES THE CONGRATULATIONS ON HIS GOAL
It looked a question of how many but slowly Gedling stemmed the tide and got a foothold in the game but they were unable to create too much of note against a lively home side.
GEDLING SOUTHBANK IN POSESSION
The second period saw the visitors take some early possession but Cavaliers were holding them out and there was little to worrying the home side, as the game opened out it was Cavaliers who looked increasingly threatening with some slick fast flowing football non more so than the third goal.  A sweeping move found Kolapo on the left he cut in to the box and fired into the far bottom corner of the Gedling net for his second.
Unfortunately the front man could not find the opening for his hat trick but Cavaliers did go close with just 7 minutes remaining when Keba Drame struck a lovely effort from 20 yards only for the post to interrupt what would have been another superb goal.
FC CAVALIERS ON THE ATTACK
The cool weather had become an increasingly notably factor in the afternoon but the small crowd were warmed by three wonderful goals and some excellent football and once again this season the Nottinghamshire Senior League had provided a game of enjoyable quality.
A quick dash to Victoria bus station saw a prompt departure to connect in Derby, this time, with an arrival back at base around 7pm.

Monday, 4 December 2017

NEWARK BATTLE FOR FIRST ADDITION TO POINTS TALLY SINCE AUGUST

NEWARK TOWN 1 AFC BENTLEY 1
CMFL NORTH @ STATION RD
2 DECEMBER 2017 --- 3PM
STATION ROAD GROUND
Enter the festive month and Newark who collected their first present of a league point after this spirited draw against high flying AFC Bentley, it was to be the first time the Nottinghamshire side would trouble their points tally since a solitary win in August.  After Alex Irwin had put the visitors ahead you may have expected the home teams heads to drop but they were having non of it and equalised just before half time through long serving Ian Wade. 
A chance to cover a new ground that should have been visited, well ages ago really was supported by an end to the frosty weather and early communication with Newark secretary and CMFL publicity officer Richard Lane who confirmed all was ok.
NEWARK CASTLE AND THE RIVER TRENT
Here is the travel paragraph so for those not bothered-blah, blah, blah late trains and packed.  For those that are interested in all things transport an on time arrival at base station had started worryingly with a play bus parked near base displaying the manic face of Sponge Bob Square Pants all over the front of the vehicle.  Train to Nottingham was through on time but an all stander, with a comfortable change onto the next service on the Leicester to Lincoln route, which has a near 20 minute wait in Castle city there was the opportunity to acquire a seat.  This would be a direct service to Newark Castle one of the two stations in Newark although the other Northgate was silent to East Coast traffic due to engineering works.  The decision had been made to take an hour or so to look around Newark before departing to their current home at Collingham Fc and of course upon departure apart from the castle and modern council offices one of the first things you notice provides the knowledge that you must have arrived in a town of some note, yes a Waitrose.  Being from the north I often like to pop in just for a walk round mind you to see how the other half live, with little time though today it was off over the bridge that allows passage over the river Trent by the castle and into the important part of any trip.  Fish and Chips had been missing from the blog for a few weeks and todays research had shown that a trip to Middlegate would find a good one.
COLLECTION TIME THE FOOTBALL CLUB, THE CHIPPY, NEXT THE CAR
A strange coincidence has occurred some may call it an obsession but the last three games, including todays, will have seen the opposition being AFC Bentley and by a strange revelation the name of todays chippy?  'Bentley's', the overall impression is of a smart take away and sit down emporium with the fryer having on his Fleetwood Mackerel T shirt, see what he did there, I was ready for a few more play on words as we ventured around the streets of Newark.  The food I here you cry well the cost was £6.30 and for the overall impression this was a little dear although a good portion the fish was rather bland anyway here am I commenting on price I must have become an adopted Yorkshire man as well as a Bentley fan!
Newark is a town I've visited on many occasions but its a quintessential English town market place encased in shops, town hall, church, alleyways and quirky coffee shops.   After the Fleetwood Mackerel experience I did notice a few interestingly named shops including New Ark Pets, Newark News, N. V Us Cards, Pasatbility and then a bus advertising local outlet Roy Walker Carpets, I bet its a laugh a minute there.
FOR THE TRANSPORT BUFFS
The decision had been made to take the 67 bus service operated by Wrights out to the ground, even though Collingham station is around 5 minutes from todays venue, it often gives a feel for the area and apart from a straight main road run out to our destination it did give a feel for a very busy town that took us 20 minutes to clear the edge of town retail park.
Departing the service at the top end of High St I did notice the village chippy was still open this would have been the calling point but I could not find any opening times for the business so had opted for Newark, although it did cross my mind just to try a bag of chips!  A walk around started by the old stone cross and a fascinating fact of over 62 listed buildings in this village and trekking along the adjacent Low St this became very clear with the display of fantastic quirky and interesting properties non more so than the Malthouse with its massive sloping roof.  Approaching White Hart Lane I could see no floodlights or developments taking place, I cut back through the delightful named Temperance Lane I just could not resist it!  The quirkiness of this wonderful village was further highlighted with said lane just about able to take a car width however somebody in highways had made the decision to put a broken white line marking down the middle of the road!
A DRAMATIC ENTRANCE TO THE GROUND WELL TO THE LEFT BY THE TROLLY PARK ANYWAY
After popping into the newsagent for a Newark Advertiser and reading the village notice boards there was still time to visit the large Lincolnshire Coop for a quality chocolate brownie for 'afters' and this proved a good options because to the left hand side of the store is one of the entrances to the ground, the other being off of Station Road.
Newark Town are thankfully still representing the town here at Collingham around 5 miles away from their home base its forever a disappointment to me that a town of its size does not have its senior team representing it within its boundaries.  With Newark Flowserve also just off the edge of the town in Balderton playing in the Notts Senior League it would be good for local councillors and MP to get together and sort this out either to upgrade their juniors site or get this club back into the cracking little town of Newark.
TODAYS LINE UPS
However they do have a nice venue with Collingham at their Station Road ground which has a wonderful function suite above the changing rooms and now added on bar area at ground level and after paying the £3 admission and popping in to purchase it gave a clean and impressive view of the club.  The ground is fully enclosed although meshed fencing offers a view from behind both goals the station end is not accessible with the pitch very tightly enclosed within its lengthways boundary although the Coop end does offer standing behind its goal.  The far side with the dug outs I guess is out of bounds but does offer grass standing with the main side being the clubhouse which offers a fair amount of standing cover.
Before and during the game today it was great to catch up with, once again, James Irwin, Dave and Julie Hughes from AFC Bentley and the ever welcoming and previously mentioned Richard Lane.  There was also chance to make re acquaintances with current and former Bentley secretary Nigel Bates.  As per visits to The Avenue it was always a warm greeting from Nigel and today was no different.  It has to be mentioned he was looking resplendent in his John Motson jacket, he did ask me to mention it or was it don't mention it I forget now!
NIGEL BATES DISPLAYS THE JOHN MOTSON JACKET ON ITS WORLD TOUR
To the game then an increasingly dark afternoon by the time we reached kick off it was not to be the best of starts for bottom club Newark when Matty Hughes supplied the cross for Alex Irwin to head in at the back post to make it 1-0 to the visitors and at this point you wondered how many.  It was the turn of Irwin to turn supplier for Josh Paskill but his effort was saved by Luke Sheldon in the home goal.  As we approached half time Newark who had kept their heads and tempo up and made it 1-1when Kyle Nicholson floated a free kick off the right that Dominic Senior pushed over for a corner, from the quadrant kick Ian Wade was on hand to head home.  Bentley raised their game to the challenge and on the stroke of half time Sheldon saved from under his bar with a follow up effort cleared off the line Newark were grateful for interval.
MATTY HUGHES ASSIST FOR THE OPENING GOAL FOR BENTLEY
The second half was an end to end slugfest as both sides gave their all although struggling for much free flowing football we did see the bar struck and shots blocked non more so than when brothers Josh and Thomas Johnson had efforts blocked in the same move for Newark.  In the final stages both sides looked for the winning goal but on the full time whistle a selection of both sides players dropped to their feet this had not been a pretty game but the effort expelled received a standing ovation from the respectful spectators.
NEWARK ON THE BALL
Of course for Newark this was a major achievement to hold the third placed club and may just start an upturn in their fortunes, beware other struggling clubs.  For Bentley this has to be seen as a missed opportunity to add three more points to their total for the top of the table push.
MORE MATCH ACTION WITH NEWARK CLEARING THEIR BOX
Having decided not to run for the 4.54 train a quick Lucozade in the bar and a chat allowed a leisurely departure for the 5.44 all stopper to Leicester with a change at Nottingham.  For the second time in a few weeks the dark and edge of village station saw me being the only passenger to board the train.  While waiting for its arrival it was strange to see an old guy approaching coughing his way down Station Road thinking he would be a fellow passenger but on this dark night he just arrived to unlock a push bike from its platform parking bay and after cursing at the lock for a while he boarded and pedalled away into the dark distance.
Seat gained and after a comfortable connection in Nottingham another seat secured, luxury, base station was achieved just shy of 7.30pm after an enjoyable trip out to Newark and Collingham that had been spent in the company of some more genuine non league fans.

Monday, 27 November 2017

BENTLEY SECURE THE DERBY WIN OVER ASKERN

ASKERN 0 AFC BENTLEY 2
CMFL NORTH @ MANOR WAY
25 NOVEMBER 2017 --- 3PM
MANOR WAY HOME OF ASKERN FC
A goal in each half from Josh Paskill and Alex Irwin was enough to secure Bentley the points, local bragging rights and more importantly the lofty position of third in the CMFL North.  On a bitterly cold afternoon the four miles that separate these two neighbours produced a battling performance from the visitors who with an inexperienced side played some good floor football and finally saw off the challenge of Askern.
After a weather watch week the frost was not as bad as forecast and soon disappeared allowing this original choice to remain in play with the chance of a first visit to Askern and surprisingly the viewing of AFC Bentley who were of course the opposition at last weeks Appleby Frodingham encounter.  Todays transport was, as ever, fulfilled by overcrowding and the lateness of all bar one service the final bus from base town to base.  Chesterfield station on a Manchester Utd home day is always a busy sight especially for the four carriage option to Sheffield with standing spot secured I was grateful to alight at steel city with the awaiting crowd so large that I'm not sure they would all be able to board.  Still a quick dash to an adjoining platform and onto the late leaving Scarborough bound train with a seat!
ASKERN A GATED VILLAGE
Doncaster an impressive town centre and Frenchgate Centre allowed me half an hours browsing time before disappearing into the dark space that is the all covered interchange a smart facility but how it needs some daylight.  The lack of a station in Askern, closed many years ago, necessitated an Arriva bus service 405 to the village and of course it was 20 minutes late in but we were soon off, thankfully, up the A19 through todays visitors Bentley's village and running through Toll Bar and finally into Askern where departure from the aquamarine double decker was by Askern Lake.
A quick look around found a community run library sadly closed, it is of course Saturday afternoon, remnants of the old railway station platforms and for food time a Cooplands.  The food outlet is a Doncaster version of Greggs that a few years ago got into some difficulty and a lot of the stores further afield from their base closed but Askern still had one and without a fanciable chippy the last spicy vegetable pasty was devoured.  Over the road to the lake which is a superb asset for the area with a lakeside café, just closing, also adding to the facility.
3 IN 1 THE LAKE, PIT WHEEL AND OVERSEN BY THE WATER TOWER
At the head of the road junction at this point is an under renovation of a half pit wheel because as with most villages around these parts the colliery played a major part in its life and development finally closing in 1991 also visible over the road on the hill side sits a large water tower.  Its a focal point but maybe not one that adds to the aesthetically pleasing nature of the village although an Askern official did tell me in his younger days how the lads used to climb up it, health and safety hey who needs it?  After bypassing the former cinema now closed down from its attempted current trading there was a short time to visit the Coop for a sweet!
The walk back south of the centre towards Manor Way found me arriving at the Miners Welfare in need of a comfort break thankfully I got in but there were 'members only' signs everywhere I was going to have a drink but when I found another on the entry to the bar area I chickened out, mind you the club was packed solid with about 3 patrons.
TERRACE STAND FROM BEHIND THE FAR GOAL
Unable to see a clear way into the adjacent football ground I tracked back to the A19 and entered by the cricket ground which seemed the main way in and to find a gate entrance from the welfare in a previously shielded position.  The notable thing about the cricket ground was the superb chain link fence which I guess had found its way there from the colliery.
With admission and programme secured a quick ground tour to the right are a selection of cabins and outbuilding type structures the first is the tea bar of which I made use on a couple of occasions and was met by the pleasant lady giving up her time to serve the cold masses, around 28.  Beyond was a toilet block and behind grounds mans storage, this whole side has wide hard standing and a nice if slightly set back seated stand to the far goal we are into grass standing territory.  Down the other touchline is a small but adequate covered stand with behind it running large pylons carrying the areas power.  Back to the main entrance and the pavilion for the cricket club doubles back with the lower end used by the football club for changing facilities the whole ground has a feeling of space with much grass encompassing the boundary for warming up on.
OVERVIEW OF PROCEEDINGS WITH TODAYS PROGRAMME
Askern in recent history ran under that wonderful title of Askern Villa that must have caught a few out while earwigging conversations but in there recent branding they have reverted back to plain old Askern for life back in the CMFL after a brief dalliance with life in the NCEL.  There was signs of the Villa reference with a large welcome to sign having the defunct name covered and what looked like part of the 'v' bar taken out on the gates.  A brief view of the programme gave a worrying sign of the tough uncompromising attitude of these South Yorkshire villages which read 'player hospital in Askern Welfare Club after the match' WHAT! It was then that I realised the 'ity' had got lost and they were after all a friendly club, of course.
HERE COME THE TEAMS
Before the game as the weather was dropping cold a conversation was struck up with Dave and Julie Hughes whose son Matt was playing for Bentley today and here I must say a massive thank you for going out of your way to drop me back at Doncaster station forecourt after the game.
ASKERN KEEPER JONES SAVES FROM THE SPOT
So to the purpose of the visit the game and with increasing cold shutter finger and poor red numbers on black and white Askern shirts that were not clear it would be a struggle.  After an even opening in which Bentley were more than holding their own a penalty came the visitors way on 27 minutes when
Josh Paskell was felled from behind but Jack Varley saw his kick saved by Danny Jones in the Askern goal.
PASKILL [10] OPENS THE SCORING
The visitors did though almost immediately quell that disappointment by taking the lead when a free kick off the left was headed deep for Paskill to finish neatly striking into the far left hand corner. 
The second period of an increasingly cold game allowed me a brief time to catch up with Bentley official James Irwin a pleasure to catch up with all things non league and of course CMFL and Bentley.  It proved to be the correct moment as young Irwin, Alex, coolly struck the ball past the out coming Jones to make dad and the Bentley following joyous.
THE LIGHTS AND WARM BACKDROP
Arrival back at Doncaster, thanks again Dave, met with an on time departing Northern Rail service needless to say it was late in Sheffield and by the time the connecting service left it was late and we were back to standing again.
ONE LAST LOOK AT THE MAIN STAND OVERSEEING MATCH ACTION
The final journey of the day was by bus and guess what it was on time!
An enjoyable day on a very cold afternoon this had been an enjoyable visit to north of Doncaster to an interesting little village plus the chance to catch up with Bentley for the second week running.

Monday, 20 November 2017

APPLEBY FRODINGHAM LATE COMEBACK SHOCKS BENTLEY

APPLEBY FRODINGHAM 3 AFC BENTLEY 3
CMFL NORTH @ BRUMBY HALL
18 NOVEMBER 2017 --- 3PM
AN OPENING GOAL FOR BENTLEY BUT EVEN AT 3-0 THEY WERE NOT SAFE FROM A COMEBACK
A stunning comeback from Appleby Frodingham 3-0 down with 20 minutes on the clock and seemingly chances not been taken and looking at 'it was just one of those days quotes' when up stepped captain Tom Wilson with a brace and a penalty from Luke Robinson secured a deserved point in the fifth minute of stoppage time.  For Benltey this must have felt like a defeat and for the third Saturday running the blog had witnessed a home side come back from behind to gain something from the game.
A visit to Appleby Frodingham Fc had been on the cards for a while but in the list of 'to do's' it was one of those that always fell off the schedule but having met some of the merry band of their supporters at Renishaw this season I was encouraged to make the trip.
Heading north a quick change a Sheffield allowed a change onto the express service through to Cleethorpes stopping a couple of stations short in Scunthorpe at just after mid day the arrival allowed a nice bit of down time to take a further look at the town.
THE MASSIVE EXPANSE OR THE SCUNTHORPE STEEL WORKS IN THE DISTANCE
Previous visits to Bottesford, Glanford Park and the former Old Show Ground had made the town reasonably familiar and I opted for a walk to a nearby vantage point to take some views of the steel works before a walk through Frodingham district of the town to the works entrances.  It really cannot be put into words the size of this industrial complex and looked at from an aerial shot the area is about the same size as Scunthorpe's town centre.  In its day I'm led to believe it employed around 20,000 but now that figure as dropped to just over 3,000, indeed on a previous visit last year the whole site was under threat but luckily some preservation has taken place.  This is vital because if one industry sums up a town like Scunthorpe the loss of the works would be devastating on a similar scale to the pit closures.
THANKFULLY A REMINDER OF A PAST GROUND SO MANY TOWNS FAIL TO DO THIS
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly a film title that probably sums up todays visit, firstly the good is definitely the friendly Appleby Frodingham Football Club and the superb sports facilities on site with the adjacent Central Park offering a resplendent contrast to the town.  The bad and the ugly, sorry, is Scunthorpe town centre without being too harsh it has little in the way of redeeming features, the whole centre is one long shopping street into a indoor precinct and enclosed market.  With many closed and bordered up units the whole experience was summed up by an elderly gentleman wandering the streets in a red and white onesie with Christmas hat adorning his head strolling around in a rambling fashion.  Having found the two possible fish and chip shops researched I decided to wide berth them both and head off for a picture of the stone within the Sainsbury's grounds that marked the site of the former Scunthorpe Utd Old Show Ground, the home of England's first cantilever stand in the 1950's.  I well remember watching Wolves in I think a Sunday fixture in the 80's when Brian Little was in charge of the visitors and taking up a position in the said stand.  Still long gone now and probably not even remembered by many of todays younger footy fans.  With a shortage of lunch it was then that I decided I could take up corporate hospitality in the former main stand region that now was the supermarkets café.  A 20 minute wait was offered and accepted only for it to be nearer 45 minutes and when the fish and chips arrived it was a distinct case of trying to find much of the sea fairing animal.
THE IMPRESSIVE CLUB AND CHANGING ROOM FACILITIES
Time for the stroll out to the game arrived and the 'App Frod' sports complex at Brumby Hall is really impressive with a whole selection of sports on offer from bowls to tennis and football to cricket, to name just a few.  The site was formerly associated with the steelworks that brought together Appleby and Frodingham into partnership for an early name for the works before British Steel days.  The site is now owned by the council after a deal was struck to build the adjacent Pods Leisure Centre although the buildings are leased back to the sports clubs and just to keep a level on it all the steel works has a major representation on the operating body.  The bar and function rooms facilities are massive and obviously tell their own story of days gone by having got past the door security buzzer I popped in for a lemonade and a look around.  Unfortunately here there appeared not to be a single board representing the clubs and works history which would have been of interest to the visitors because there was and still is a clear attractions to this whole complex.
SEATING READILY AVAILABLE
To the ground then and a side entrance brings me into first contact with committee member Glenn who offered a warm welcome and some history and with programme and admission sorted the ground to the left offered hard standing and a small Atcost stand before access to the behind goal area is not allowed.  Coming back towards club that overpowers the whole ground we have a nice terraced area with a wide selection of changing rooms on offer the hard standing continues around behind the opposite goal and over to the far side with the whole pitch neatly railed off.
PRE MATCH WITH BRUMBY HALL IN THE BACKGROUND
The whole ground is of a smart and workmanlike appearance and of course shows its former NCEFL status by its overall impression.  Before kick and during half time there was a chance to catch up with secretary and long term club man Dusty who offered me some information on the set up and the steel works.  Its been said before but people like Dusty and Glen are what makes non league work and their encouragement to others is a credit as well as their welcome to visitors.  In a week of the BBC releasing their annual study into the price of football tickets at professional clubs why more supporters who are being priced out of the game don't take in a trip to their local non league side is a mystery to me.  Today for £3 both Afc Bentley and Frodingham put on a sterling effort that in entertainment matched any of your football league fixtures.
REFEREE SIMON SWAIN LEADS THE TEAMS OUT
To the action and with both sides just off the pace at the top a win would be vital and with that in prospect should set up a good encounter.  It was Bentley who struck first, second and third on 20 minutes Josh Paskell set up Luke Flannagan to convert before Matty Hughes made it 2-0 slotting past the out coming Jordan Quibezl in the home goal.
FIRST HALF ACTION
Half time arrived with the home side in need of a turn around in fortunes and they started strongly forcing back Bentley but as the clock drifted on the chances that fell their way didn't rustle the back of the net and as so often happens the opposition take their chances.  Great pace from Jack Varley allowed him to cross low to Alex Irwin who converted unmarked in the middle to you would have thought put the game behind doubt.  Still The Steelmen plugged away to try to get something from this fixture and a goal did arrive on 70 minutes when Tom Wilson headed in at the other end Irwin struck the bar.  It was all action now as the home side threatened but Bentley remained a clear danger on the break in the second minute of stoppage time Appleby Frodingham pulled back another what looked like consolation goal when Wilson got his second firing past the visiting keeper James Brookes.
FRODINGHAM JUST ABOUT IN CONTROL
With the tempo further increased and as the game entered the fifth minute of stoppage time Zak Shipman weaved into the box only to be bundled over in the box from behind and referee Simon Swain had no doubts in awarding a penalty and coolness personified in Luke Robinson saw the comeback completed as his penalty struck the back of the Bentley net.
An exciting finale to this game that looked way out of the home sides reach at 3-0 down but it was probably about the correct result but for Bentley they will feel like they had lost this game I'm sure.
CLOSE THE GATE ON YOUR WAY OUT
A steady walk back to the station found the 5.08 train slightly late and allowing me to board it and arrive in Sheffield just under an hour later and with a comfortable change for departure to base station this had been an enjoyable afternoon watching a first game at Brumby Hall the home of Appleby Frodingham.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

ENTERTAINING DRAW FOR ASHLAND AND AWSWORTH

ASHLAND ROVERS 2 AWSWORTH VILLA RES 2
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE SENIOR LEAGUE DIV 1 AT KINGSWAY PARK
15 NOVEMBER 2017 --- 7.30PM
ACTION FROM THE ASHLAND GOALMOUTH
Just when you are not expecting it one of the most enjoyable games of the season comes along on a damp and misty Kirkby in Ashfield evening.  The chance to visit Kirkby in Ashfield and their only senior football team was helped by the old days kick off time of 7.30pm and what a little gem it was.  The visitors led 2-1 at the interval but in an end to end second half it was Ashland who early on found the deserved goal that gave both sides a more than fair point apiece.
Kirkby in Ashfield closely associated with neighbouring Sutton in Ashfield, but locals assure me there is much rivalry between the two has seen both fail to sustain a senior non league football team in recent years.  Following on the various forms of Sutton Town through Ashfield Utd etc. the clubs in their varying guises moved from former homes in Sutton, now an Asda, to Lowmoor Rd here in Kirkby and then along the way onto the Hosiery Mills Ground on the Huthwaite border.  A very simplistic overview for what was a complicated history also featuring North Notts and Oakham Utd in the mix somewhere.  With Sutton now sporting Mansfield Hosiery Mills at the ground of the same name its neighbour here in Kirkby offers up Ashland Rovers playing at Kingsway Park.
Approaching by a quick change in Alfreton the departure was at Kirkby Cross about 1 mile from the centre more or less adjacent to the stone monument that gets the area its name.  The walk to Kirkby in Ashfield was via what felt a dark and uninspiring road over the railway station bridge and approaching the town I had turned down the first chip to visit The Fryer, much recommended, but after seeing the queue and shortage of time I disappointingly had to save this one for another day.  There was a quick time to catch up with the superb cricket action depicting the towns own sporting hero Harold Larwood in bowling action to Don Bradman from the famous bodyline series now appropriately situated by the towns new superstore, close by the town offers a tiled wall of its history and sporting sons and daughters too
CRICKET IN THE DARK KIRKBY'S OWN HAROLD LARWOOD
Reversing back to leave the main road to take up Hodgkinson Rd we are soon entering the impressive gates of Kingsway Park which offers a floodlit football pitch plus enclosed all weather pitch today taking a hockey training session, beyond this a are a couple of further football pitches.  Behind the goals are the changing rooms for all the facilities, the main grass pitch offers no furniture to report save for a high meshed fence behind the changing room goal and one touchline offering the same to separate from the all weather pitch, the other two sides are outer 3 foot wood barrier fence.  Its a damp night with the near goal mouth already showing up the winter sports lack of grass in this area allowing a fair degree of mud to decamp on the home keepers kit in the warm ups.
A SILHOUETTED KINGSWAY PARK ENTRANCE
Joining in the company tonight of Dave Burnley fan extraordinaire and Malc from the excellent 'on the road, blog featuring Notts and Derbyshire non league and whose fixture line up had brought me here tonight.
The visitors got off to a storming start with the lead after 13 minutes when Matt Walker drew the keeper to fire home but shortly after it was all square when the impressive Danny Bircumshaw drove home cutting in off the right from 14 yards.  It was the visitors who went into half time ahead when Tom Palmer lashed home the a lose ball in the penalty area.  An entertaining half just got better in the second period which within ten minutes saw Ashland deservedly equalise when Bircumshaw got his second with a quality finish again off the right hand side of the box unleashing a finish into the roof of the net.  The game flowed from end to end with some cracking football which saw Awsworth have an effort cleared off the line before they struck the post through Danny Fry, this was not too rule out the contribution of Ashland who continued to threaten.
A fair result from a game that surprised for this level with real energy and effort from the players there should also be a mention for referee Derek Spray who allowed play to continue and produce this entertaining encounter.
DAVE FEATURES FOR THE SECOND TIME IN A FEW WEEKS AND ON A SMALL BURNLEY BADGE TO SHOW
With 35 minutes for the return bus there was a chance to visit Ocean Blue fish bar for a small bit of fish cake and chips research thanks to Dave who dropped me off outside.  Return connections were completed successfully and the three off us 'hoppers' all agreed this was a visit that had proved well worth it.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

NORTH GAWBER COLLIERY STAGE CUP FIGHTBACK

NORTH GAWBER COLLIERY 6 RENISHAW RANGERS 2
SHEFFIELD & HALLAMSHIRE COUNTY FA SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP @ WOOLLEY COLLIERY RD 11 NOVEMBER --- 2PM
MAIN STAND AT WOOLLEY COLLIERY RD
A remarkable comeback from North Gawber in which Carey Welford hit 4, sent them through to round 3 of the Senior Challenge Cup, from 2 down they finally came to life after half an hour to go in one goal behind.  The second half produced a game changing moment when it looked certain the home side would be reduced to 10 men after keeper Louis Butcher hauled down Brandon Ashmore who was through on an open goal, referee Taylor interestingly produced only yellow.  Three goals in the last five minutes exaggerated any difference between the two sides in what had been an exciting and close tie.
Never a fan of county cups this one though would be the third one in a row!  Following a couple of Derbyshire Senior Cup ties this fixture looked mouth watering with the visitors from The Central Midlands League South on a roll after a disastrous start to their debut season now having secured a five games unbeaten record taking on Sheffield County Senior side North Gawber Colliery.  Made more interesting by the fact that Renishaw are a Derbyshire side based in South Yorkshire playing at Kiveton Park and North Gawber Colliery playing at Woolley Collieries former ground are as close to West Yorkshire as you can get football wise.  There is the added twist that last season Renishaw were competing in the second division of the County Senior League.
SPARK LANE FORMER HOME OF NORTH GAWBER COLLIERY FC
In the early days of this season a fellow ground hopper, Paul, had suggested North Gawber Colliery Fc as a good visit and so being on the radar a look at the transportation to Woolley showed that Darton station would be the aim today, also of interest having passed the station and remembered the row of terrace houses, Fountain Sq, that sit prouldy looking over the platforms.  Arrival today was via a change at Sheffield and at around 1140 the first point of call was a quick look at Darton via a viewing of the tightest of bridges that run back under the railway line and up to Woolley Colliery Road.  Firstly though there was time in the schedule for a roundabout trip to the ground via Mapplewell and the site of the former North Gawber Colliery of course demolished and now awaiting more houses.  A top of the bank is the former ground of todays home club on Spark Lane with a stand still in situ now graffiti strewn, the ridge also offers an excellent view back to Barnsley.  With the waft of Fosters Bakery filling the nostrils it was time to seek out the chip ole which would be Aqua Fish Bar in the village.
THE COSY AQUA FISH BAR WITH SCRAPS THOUGH
As ever research was undertaken and for the first time for a while there were even scraps, for the uninitiated batter bits, walking back through the shopping precinct a strange spot.  The butchers was run by the Birkinshaw's, the bakers by the Birkinshaw's however I do have to report though that I could not find the candle stick makers.
NORTH GAWBER COLLIERY MEMORIAL ADJACENT TO THE FORMER COLLIERY
Delicacy completed it was time to walk towards the ground and down Bloomhouse Lane I failed with the camera!  Let me take you back to a few years ago Arriva Train Wales toy dog dressed as a dinosaur by doting owner and I couldn't bring myself to take the picture.  Fast forward today mobile scooter full pelt up the hill with owner encouraging in training greyhound on a lead by his side, again I just couldn't do it and guess what a few minutes later he went back down the hill and I still couldn't do it!  Walking down Bloomhouse Lane the old friend that is Emley Moor TV tower came into site something that I spent most of the cricket watching summer viewing but it was a shock today I didn't expect it, hello old friend.
STONE PLINTH AT THE APPROACH TO LONG ROW AND TOP ROW
With the ground at the junction of Woolley Colliery Rd it was time for a quick right to visit Woolley Colliery Village and its rows of terrace houses that would have served the pit just over the road, now a new modern housing settlement taking the name Woolley Grange.  At the approach to Low Row and Top Row is a memorial, a mini set of headstocks with a plaque to all the former miners of Woolley Colliery, a similar reminder is also situated in the Coop at Mapplewell for the miners of North Gawber Colliery.  Woolley Colliery though had two famous employees from leaving school in 1953 a 15 year old Arthur Scargill started working at the pit and for the next 20 years he advanced within the NUM before becoming President.  There is also a big sporting connection with Dorothy Hyman the Olympic runner from the 60's working as a tracer within the offices.  She retired at 24 but after releasing her autobiography 'sprint to fame' gave up her amateur status and when she decided to comeback could only compete at national level, a strange status when you look at todays athletes who seem to be sponsored to the hilt.
GAWBER KEEPER BUTCHER PUNCHES CLEAR
Back to the ground passing the former colliery site to our right and apart from the new settlement much of the land still lies in ruin after the pit closed n 1987, desolation to the mining communities still awaiting new employment or development on a large scale makes a sad show after 30 years the political decisions were made but the future was bleak.
As with most pits the sports ground was by the colliery and here Woolley Miners Welfare Cricket Club offer us a smart white building with changing rooms and atop these a bar offering a superb view of the cricket pitch.  The cricket club merge with Barnsley last season and now only the thirds and fourths play here plus the Sunday side.  The football pitch to the far end of the cricket was the former home of Woolley Colliery FC who up until 1990 were competing in the NCEL before folding an all too big a coincidence I guess that just after the pit was lost so too was the football club.
RENISHAW BENCH OVERVIEWED BY THE NORTH GAWBER CREW
Today though is a new era with North Gawber Colliery Fc moving to the ground which is fully railed off the near side has small paving to stand on but the grass is taking a hold around these.  The whole pitch is railed off although with some areas needing a trim people chose to stand within, on the near side is a small stand/shelter which I'm still not sure if its a the dug outs or for the watching supporters.  The best till last is a large stand with unseated concrete terrace steps with too the rear a bench seat across the back row, it's a typical NCB stand from the time of the pits with similar at Bentley and of course todays visitors Renishaw Rangers Kiveton Park ground.
The game today sees little information on the home side who seem to have no social media output at all which is a shame because they have a steady little set up and today produced a very entertaining game for the 32 spectators.
RENISHAW ATTACK THROUGH COLLEY
Renishaw took the lead after 5 minutes good work from Ryan Owen saw Ashmore fire home.  Karl Colley had two excellent chances to extend the lead first a save by Butcher and then the wrong side of the post kept the score line static.  North Gawber went as close as you can on 21 minutes when Liam Marsden struck a 25 yard free kick that flew back off the left upright.  Renishaw extended their lead on 25 minutes when Matt Morton set up Daniel Talbot to fire home.  By this stage Renishaw were comfortable and it looked as though North Gawber had still not come out of the changing rooms but slowly the home side got a foot hold into the game and pulled a valuable goal back before half time through Carey Welford.
NORTH GAWBER COLLIERY CLEARING THEIR DEFENCE
Renishaw started strongly with Chad Lake putting in a good cross that Butcher punched away well in the home goal.  The controversy followed shortly and it would be a game changer the home side keeper raced out to meet the advancing Ashmore 25 yards out firstly looked to have fouled him in the initial challenge and as the striker tapped the ball past the keeper to fire into an open net the Colliery number one tugged at his shoulder and the visiting player fell to the floor. Referee Taylor consulted with his assistant who was further away and after sorting out the free kick beckoned the keeper and rather leniently showed a yellow card.  The scores were level on 57 minutes a Matt Blakey corner off the left was inch perfect for Nicky Baxter to rise and power his header home.  The flow of the game seemed to be going towards the home side when referee Taylors assistant flagged for an innocuous looking challenge from Renishaw's Jason Markell on Callum Mackie protests aside it was still a penalty.  Up stepped Marsden with a delay midway in his run up but as the ball looked to be going goal bound visiting keeper Steven Booth guessed right and pulled off a smart save.  Back came Renishaw Jake Longley saw his effort cleared off the line by Jake Bedford, their was a feeling of two heavy weight boxers slugging it out now as the action moved from en to end. 
The home side took the lead for the first time on 77 minutes when Welford took the ball down and charged on to fire home for a lovely display of control.  With the visitors going to 3 up top Jack Farrow crashed a 25 yard effort off the underside of the bar and onto the line as the ball fell away Morton saw his effort saved by the home keepers leg.
BOOTH WATCHES ON AS RENISHAW CLEAR THEIR LINES
The simplest of goals on 88 minutes extended the home sides lead keeper Butcher cleared Welford headed on and Baxter drove home to make it 4-2.  Booth pulled off an excellent one handed save onto the bar from Marsden before tow goals in stoppage time.  First Mackie crossed for Welford to finish in front of goal for his hat trick and then the same partnership proved the further undoing of Renishaw Mackie stormed though looking a few yards off side but Welford kept his cool to fire home for his fourth.
A harsh score line on the visitors but this had been a tremendous battle with both sides contributing to a very entertaining game.  The time was right to leave back down Woolley Colliery Rd towards Darton station a few minutes away and for the first time in ages the blog was the only passenger to board.
Once again a County Cup game had produced a very entertaining afternoon, I really must change my views, and overall this had been an interesting visit spent north of Barnsley, pop along and take a look it comes recommended.