Saturday, 1 October 2016


1 OCTOBER 2016 --- 3PM
Three second half goals for Swinton Athletic settled this local derby after the teams had shared 2 goals at half time. An early lead for the visitors from Ross Johnson was cancelled out by Justin Greenwood before the second half saw Joe Dungworth grab a brace with the goal of the game sandwiched in between a 25 yard screamer from Darren Walker.
As ever the week had been spent looking at a selection of games and last week the chance of covering the first Sheffield County Senior game had come onto the radar finally though having popped along to Birstall.  This week the list saw Swinton appear again with a tantalising derby against local rivals Denaby Utd.  The league has a step 7 status but I was a little perturbed by the website associated to the competition showing just a referee allocated to this game and with the likelihood of no programme and probably no admission it seemed a weird situation having been used to all of the above being a must in the Central Midlands Football League a fellow step 7 league.  However as Friday and then Saturday arrived the blog had become like a moth to a light constantly flying towards this fixture. 
So by Saturday morning there was a plan a quick journey from base station over the Derbyshire border to Sheffield for a day out in South Yorkshire.  The plan was to arrive and spend a little time in Denaby first and after departure at Conisbrough station at 1150 rather than make my way to the road I ventured off the arrival platform to take a little look at what had become of the former Earth Centre which was a eco style centre and park built on the former pit site designed to re invigorate the area, sadly the project failed.  The site and its buildings are now taken up by the Kingswood Learning organisation a sharp reversal down the lane to the main road soon had me arriving in Denaby Main.  Many moons ago on Saturday days out to Edinburgh to Tynecastle to see Hearts I used to connect with the east coast train at Doncaster and in those heady days of the 1980s before passing Conisbrough there was a set of large floodlights that always grabbed my attention.  Within the mid 80's having discovered non league football the first ground I visited outside of my local area was Denaby Utd and their Tickhill Sq ground the site of those imposing floodlights.
The sad demise of the former club is well documented on various sites so I wont go into them here but needless to say this was a great chance to go back down memory lane.  Having visited 3 or 4 times there were just small changes to the area with some new builds and the loss of a pub, visited previously, opposite the old Empire in the village.  Times are still hard in this former mining area and the massive Denaby and Cadeby Miners Welfare is still in situ by the former ground which is now used by Denaby Main also in the Petes Patisserie League while Utd are playing at Old Rd but currently are away from their base and playing at Balby Carr. 
The imposing St Albans Church remains a focal point for this ground on the very perimeter of the penalty box with a ground that has now lost its former main stand, floodlights and much of its spectator railings.  Opposite the main stand is a new covered terracing which replaces a former stand that even I didn't see in my previous visits.  The ground was falling into disrepair before Utd folded after their dispute with the Welfare over continuing their ground use but this was a superb venue with a club of dedicated locals, oh yes and one of the better programmes in the non league too.  Having revisited my memories and breathed it all in for a while I had decided to walk back to Mexborough.
While walking out of the village you cant help but see the young people growing up with little idea of the past glories of this village and all that made it successful had been wiped away in those troubled days in the 1980s.  Passing out of Denaby and through Coalpit Rd a short walk later found us in Old Denaby and then Ferry Boat Lane took us over the railway line, the River Don and then the Canal at Mexborough Bridge lock.
Having arrived in Mexborough the destination for todays game after a small walk around the town centre which was quite busy but as with my own local area showing the signs of past glories never to be re visited.  There are some really interesting buildings above eye level and of course The Montague Hotel which in 1907 gave accommodation to Stan Laurel who was performing at the nearby Prince of Wales Theatre.  The Old Market Hall adjacent to the hotel was bustling with customers but I managed to locate a seat and got the biggest plate of Scampi peas and chips I've ever had in a Wethersponons.
Contemplating todays game at the Mexborough Athletic Sports Club and this local derby that just a mile to the west is Swinton who now play at Hampden Rd against their very near neighbours Denaby Utd, indeed last week they had greeted Denaby Main and gained a 3-0 victory.  Swinton last season had secured The Doncaster Cup at The Keepmoat Stadium and last weekend saw their first league victory.  Denaby Utd since reforming in 2011 have had mainly promotion after promotion and last seasons success in League 1 sees them back at senior non league level for the first time since 2002.
Just short of 2pm and a short walk away and the steep climb onto Hampden Rd was achieved and the back of the pavilion has a gated tunnelled entrance to the ground having located this I decided to walk around the perimeter ground wall which led me back to the sports club and a further entrance into the ground.
Mexborough Town the last senior team had left the pitch in 1993 and this ground saw 2 other named Mexborough sides play here indeed in 1972/73 Town reached round 3 of the FA Trophy losing out to eventual winners Scarborough 3-1 in front of just short of 2,000 supporters.
As ever a quick tour of the ground entering via the pavilion on Hampden Road you would find to your left a large 2 level pavilion with a score board aloft its roof for the cricket pitch which is immediately in front of you making this of course a 3 sided ground.  The changing rooms are used for the football and off we go to the left behind the Hampden Rd goal a deep 4 stepped terrace which all the way round as about 5 foot of rough standing in front of it before the spectator railings which are well adorned with a healthy selection of current advertising boards.  The far touchline sees the terracing continue and the highlight of the ground a superbly dominant and well kept main stand.  Behind the goal at the far end of the ground the sweep of terracing continues and once again you can only imaging the memories its holds from some of the big Mexborough Town games of old.
Before the game there was time to catch up with James Benfold from Denaby who keeps up a nice website and also produces a programme for the club a sterling effort well done.
Referee Jack Mason had arrived and it was good to catch up with him he would have is work cut out today with no linesman allocated but overall as a neutral I thought he had a good game.  There was also time to say a quick hello to Athletics manager and as ever in this part of the country it was a friendly bunch of people all ready to pass the time of day at this game.
To the game then and this Petes Patisserie, there's something you probably wouldn't associate with South Yorkshire, League and it was an good start from both sides before the visitors broke the deadlock a flicked on clearance was superbly met by the on running Ross Johnson who fired past Jordan Watson in the home goal after 14 minutes.
The game was flowing from end to end but with little end product in the goalmouth however 10 minutes before half time Swinton were on level terms when a right wing cross was headed home by Justin Greenwood to take the teams in at half time with a score line of 1-1.
The second half saw the deadlock continue until 67 minutes when Joe Dungworth headed in at the back post to give Athletic the lead and much as Denaby tried to come back it was the home side who looked to have gained the confidence booster now.
Then the moment of the goal worth the admission money alone, if there had been one, time approaching 78 minutes on the clock substitute Darren Walker picked up the ball 25 yards out and lashed home an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the Denaby goal to make it 3-1.
With 3 minutes remaining and the torrential downpour of the previous 5 minutes subsiding Swinton capped of a good day with a 4th Drew Sandon weaved his way in off the left hand side and pulled the ball back for Dungworth to drive home his second of the game.
Having enjoyed the last 10 minutes or so from the expanse of the terracing here at Hampden Rd there was sadly little stoppage time and referee Mason was soon calling full time signalling me a walk back down through Mexborough to the station.
Arriving with a good 15 minutes to spare all that was left was to negotiate Rotherham Central were the train predictably became full to bursting with Newcastle fans on their way back from The New York Stadium.  With a quick change at Sheffield the blog was back at base station just over an hour after leaving Hampden Rd.
Having seen the league fans coming back from varying games at Sheffield station I wouldn't swap them for non league days like this a great look around Denaby and Mexborough all capped off with an entertaining game of football.

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