Helicopter Dreams

Helicopter Dreams – the quest for the Holy Grail.

Written by Ron Ferguson, Published by Northern Books.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed ‘Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil’ by Ron Ferguson I looked into his other books and found two others that interested me. Firstly I read ‘The Reluctant Reformation of Clarence McGonigall’ from Steve Savage publishers 2003. This short (126 page) story about the last years of the Reverend J Clarence McGonigall MA BD in the Scottish Kirk. He rails against the church being taken over by marketing gurus who talk about customers and targets. His travails get him into trouble on lots of fronts but this grumpy, antagonistic man has a good heart and a great passion for what he believes. I won’t say more just buy the book and have a smile in a cosy chair by the fire with a wee dram.

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You will remember from my blog about ‘Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil’ that it was about Cowdenbeath FC and their disasterous season of 1992/93 when they were relegated having been promoted the year before. It was as much a social history of the club, the town, the religious and political scene and most importantly the players and people.

Well this is about the 2005/06 season which starts badly but the arrival of a manager from Finland transforms them into promotion battlers. This book is more about the games, team and past players as Ron Ferguson inducts ex players into his ‘Hall of Fame’. There is also some more local and family history. I do not want to give away the ending of the book but it’s a good read.

Reading all of the books Cowdenbeath has seeped into my conscioisness and I now have to check on their results. Perhaps one day I will visit.

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A new football experience for me.

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Missing the football experience I decided to watch a live streamed non league game. It was easy to chose one as St Albans City, unbeaten in the National League South, were playing away at the top team Dartford.

For £6.99 the game was good value although there were a few initial streaming issues. The fact that there was only one camera and no replays did need some adjustment. The commentary was also provided by Dartford supporters who didn’t seem to see the controversy of their penalty award midway through the second half although the disbelief from the St Albans players and a subsequent booking for arguing seemed to show a different side to the decision.

Charlie Sheringham’s penalty was magnificently palmed out by Michael Johnson diving to his right.

It all seemed to be playing out to a goalless draw when on 90 minutes Shaun Jeffers hit a 35 yard missile that hit the cross bar and bounced down and back into the net. This was almost identical to one he hit roughly ten minutes earlier that crashed back off the bar

There were four minutes more to play but two individual substitutes by the away team made this drift on to 6. St Albans retained their unbeaten start to the season but made little progress in the table having played less games than their near rivals.

Dartford had more possession throughout the game probing down the wings especially on the left. Throughout though St Albans were continually dangerous and often played some neat pretty passing moves that Dartford found hard to defend.

I would do this again and I can see this continuing when crowds are back. Particularly for fans like me who live a 130 mile drive away from Clarence Park.

I have seen on St Albans’ social media advertising that for their streamed home games you can also buy a digital program. Perhaps they can team up with a fast food company to deliver some food and coffee prior to the game and at half time, this would be the ultimate as long as there are chips.

Bloody Confused!

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Written by Chuck Culpepper

Published by Broadway Books; 2008

I am normally lucky in finding a football book in Oxfam and this time in Oban.

The book was a ‘Bound Galley – Not for Resale ‘ which I had never heard of before. It turns out a ‘Bound Galley’ is the pre-publication version of an upcoming published book that is a printed, perfect bound book. The cover of the Bound Galley may be the four color cover of the book to be published. In some cases the covers are printed on color stock and contain information useful to marketing the book to reviewers, bookstore distributors and buyers. This description is taken from The Country Press Inc. Website.

However this book had been sold at least twice. Once by a Community Thrift Store for 2 dollars in the USA and then £1.49 in Oxfam.

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Perhaps the reason for it being once sold in the USA is that the book is about a successful American sports writer who had attended the most iconic sporting events in the world and comes to Britain to absorb the Premiership football scene.

Initially Chuck Culpeper visits grounds and games to decide who to follow and stumbles on Portsmouth where he sees them survive a relegation battle in April 2006.

Chuck returns the whole of the next season and where possible follows them home and away. He not only reports on the games, the stadiums and locations but also the fan base culture that is the true soul of the English game. He was also tired of the stale state of reporting and organisation of the NFL, NBA and the MLB.

He finds a league structure that has ‘relegation’ some thing very strange in his home countries sports set up where franchising of clubs is the norm. Interestingly it is this franchising that has produced the recent proposals by the American owned Premier League teams as they try to protect their investment and dictate the future structure of our senior league or a European ‘Super League’.

He picked the best modern season to support Portsmouth who battle to achieve qualification to European football. How their fans would wish to be back in that position having endured so much frustration and trauma since these heady days.

Chuck makes friend with a group of supporters and is welcomed into their world which includes attending matches with a blue bear.

This is a well written book that is easy to read and drives you on the journey and you feel the emotions that the fans go through.

If you want a Football fix in these days of no spectators this book will take you there.

Gladiators show their metal.

With the new Covid lockdown coming in just over 24 hours, which will close down most of Non-League football for at least a month, I headed to Coalville where they were entertaining Matlock in a very interesting third qualifying round F.A. Trophy match. It was also mid way for myself Daughter and Son to meet to see one another.

Coalville is in the East Midlands not too far South of East Midlands Airport and as the name suggests was an ex mining town and was right in the centre of the North Leicestershire coal mining district.

The ground is just off the centre of town through an area of older terraced houses and where a new housing estate starts there is a turn into the carparks. The ground is a good standard considering that they have only been in Coalville since 1995 and further building is on going behind one goal.

The evening was clear with a large moon in the sky and a very slight drizzle in the air which felt cold to the bone. The football was soon to warm the spectators. The pitch looked wet with long grass cover and was overall flat but with some undulating areas.

Coalville moved from Ravenstone, where they were formed in 1926 as Ravenstone Miners Athletic, because they could not develop the ground and have since moved up the football pyramid from local football to now being members of the Southern Premier Division Central of which they are currently top. They were moved into this League in 2018 during one of the many restructurings. Although Matlock is only 30 miles North of Coalville they play in the Northern Premier League, Premier Division. So both teams were of the same level but North v South.

In Coalville’s history since relocating they have been losers in an F.A. Vase final at Wembley and reached the first round proper of the F,A, Cup in the 2004/5 season when they lost away to Wycombe Wanderers, all in all a good cup tradition. Matlock in contrast won the F.A. Trophy back in 1975 but have since not managed to regain those high standards. I have written previously about Matlock’s history (formed in 1878) in a previous post as they are my go to game on Boxing Day.

Coalville Town FC 3 Matlock Town FC 3

Coalville Town FC 2 Matlock Town FC 4 Decided on Penalties

Coalville immediately took control of the match which was played at a fast pace and it was no surprise that a brilliant through ball found Tim Berridge who didn’t hesitate to smash it into the net for the lead. Although Matlock had chances it fell to Berridge again on 37 minutes to run onto another fine pass and outsprint the Matlock defence to calmly place the ball past the advancing Matlock goalkeeper, Shaun Rowley. Half time soon came and Coalville looked comfortable with their two goal advantage. 

There was an amazing start to the second half when within a minute Matlock had one back as Reece Kendal evaded a group of defenders to head in a bouncing ball that should have been cleared. The momentum seemed to change immediately and Matlock gained the upper hand and equalised 7 minutes later when a pin point left foot free kick was met by Spencer Harris to head home. 

Matlock continued to have chances but Coalville hit the woodwork and the pace continued with chances for both sides. With only 15 minutes to go another great cross from the left was again met with the head, this time Declan Walker, and the ball flew just under the bar to give the Gladiators the lead for the first time in the match. There was no relaxing and Berridge the scorer of Coalvilles first two goals turned provider when he was able to place the ball to the back post where it was met by Luke Shaw for the equaliser, Wow.  There were plenty more thrills but no further goals and although the crowd of 362 would have relished extra time being played this year all ties are decided by penalties if the scores are equal at 90 minutes.

The penalties were taken at the end with the most Coalville fans and social distancing went out of the window as they encouraged their hero’s. Shaun Rowley made two excellent saves and Matlock didn’t miss any of their spot kicks to run out 4-2 winners.

What a great competitive game that showcased some very good football although the defensive coaches of both sides will have some things to say when next the player meet. Unfortunately we have no idea when football at this level will be able to continue and Matlock await a date to play away at Coleshill in the next round.

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The chips looked good for just £1.50 and crinkle chips too. However although hot they were greasy and I could still taste what they they were cooked in at half time. A disappointment and a low score of 58.

Cobras football entrances Vics.

Having misheard the Google maps directions I was up against the clock and I could see in the distance the lights of Clipstone FC but it was the eerie menacing dark enormous shadows of the mining headstocks in Clipstone that take your breath away. The giant mining towers built in 1953, the largest in Europe at the time, were closed in 2003 and now are grade two listed buildings. Locals have been campaigning to keep and develop the site, which is part of the local Welbeck Estate, for some years.

Entering the ground with just 10 minutes to kick off I went straight to the Cobra Cafe door where strict Covid procedures followed those at the entrance gate. I joined the queue as each portion of chips were fried. They were just ready for eating as the teams ran out. They were very hot, tasty, crispy but with a soft inside and did not taste of the oil that they had been cooked in, overall for £1.80 a treat and a score of 77 for my chip league.





After yet another wet October day, looks like the wettest October on record, the evening had become still and you could see stars in the sky on the drive to the match. But being clear it was getting colder and a feel of winter was in the air.

This is a very compact friendly ground with other sporting activities adjacent to the main road that runs through the village. The surface of the pitch is basically flat with a few undulations, as with all pitches this season the grass cover was immaculate.

Clipstone were known as Clipstone Welfare until 2013 a name they had chosen in 1955 having previously been Clipstone Combine. They have been a successful local Nottinghamshire side and reached the Nothern Counties East League only to have dropped back to the East Midlands Counties premier Division in recent times.

Borrowash Victoria can trace their history back to 1911 and their current football level is the highest they have achieved.

Clipstone FC 4 Borrowash Victoria AFC 0

The game was soon competitive with the home side having most of the attacking play although Monty Parkes in goal for Clipstone made a great diving save to tip the ball over the bar.

Just two minutes later Charlie Dawes received the ball on the left with plenty of time to attack the Borrowash goal and score high into the net. He was on hand again 8 minutes later when from the left touchline he cut in field to make it two nil placing his shot into the corner of the net to the goalkeepers right.

Although Monty Parkes made another great save similar to his first, Borrowash did not threaten further and it was the home side who went in two goals up at half time.

Borrowash Victoria came out early for the second half and after a team chat and a huddle looked set to take the game to their opponents. However this resolve soon gave way as a ball to Josh Pickering allowed him to rush past the defender and hit an inch perfect pass from the right for Jack Warwick to stab into the net.

Clipstone dominated play and a corner from the left with 10 minutes left was met by Lewis Warwick who headed an unopposed ball into the net for a comprehensive victory.

The 106 who attended went home having seen good value for their money

A new era for Football in Handsworth

I have seen Handsworth F.C. play at home before when they played at Sandy Lane in Worksop and I wrote before about their journey under the blog ‘Metamorphosis of a Football club ‘., August 2019

Now they have returned home to Oliver’s Mount where they have installed a new artificial pitch, new changing rooms and other facilities that are nearly finished. The newly revamped ground is top quality with a tarmac path around the perimeter. A new entrance will finish the works.

You reach the ground by turning off the Sheffield Parkway (the link road between Sheffield Centre and the M1) and taking the Darnnal turning off the roundabout. A right hand turn roughly half a mile down the road and a further right brings you to Oliver’s Mount a steep suburban road which you have to climb to the end to find the ground and the football complex. You have driven in a huge U from leaving the Parkway and now the traffic of the evening thunders past one side of the pitch. There are large car parks for use for the senior club and also the many children’s and youth teams that play here. This is one of the best football development set ups in Yorkshire.

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Although the very catchy sign says Handsworth ‘Real Football Made in Sheffield’ this is right on the Rotherham Sheffield border. Rotherham centre is one side of the M1 and Sheffield the other but Rotherham’s boundary stretches half the way down the 8.9 km Sheffield Parkway and you will see the Handsworth ground behind the trees where the boundary signs are. It’s also noticeable that the road here is Rotherham Council and needs re-surfacing whereas the Sheffield end is tidy and reflects their welcome to their city.

It was great to go to my first evening match of the season which I always find more atmospheric and exciting. The rain of the day had stopped leaving a cloudy but still evening and the new surface glistened with water droplets. The new era of artificial pitches looks like being the new standard. The teams warmed up in the goal area not needing to move away from that area so that the pitch doesn’t cut up and there were numerous mobile goals and nets on the pitch perimeter so that training and youth games can be played on the surface all week 24/7 if needed.

Both teams were playing in yellow tops which was confusing but the officials obviously felt that they could cope. Handsworth were at home to Bottesford Town who are based on the southern edges of Scunthorpe with the game being a Northern Counties East Premier Division league fixture. Bottesford Town were started in 1974 and have steadily progressed through various leagues reaching the Northern Counties East Division One in 2006 and gained promotion to the Premier Division only 4 years ago.

Handsworth F C 5 Bottesford Town F C 1 

Handsworth were off to a flying start and within 2 minutes  Hobson was clear through and should have done better but for the outstretched boot of the goalkeeper which resulted in a corner. From the short corner it was swung in and headed back across goal for Parkin to easily tap in to give the home side the lead. The flood gates did not open for Handsworth and there were chances for both sides and it was Bottesford who went in at half time with the forward momentum, having been on top for the last ten minutes of the half.  

 

As with the first half within  two minutes there was a goal, this time for Bottesford when a low pass into the box was met by the diminutive number eleven, Hutson, who calmly guided it home, this was due reward for the away teams best player. 

Another two minutes and Handsworth re-took the lead when what appeared to be a speculative cross found Smith who was able to squeeze it into the net by the post  from a deflection. Bottesford did not give up and continued to make chances but Handsworth were out of sight 5 minutes later when Radford received the ball outside the penalty area, alluded three away defenders and hit a stunning shot high into the Bottesford goal net. At 3-1 it was all over and made worse by a questionable penalty decision when Mackie and a defender collided going for a high ball and a penalty was awarded which Howarth tucked away. 

Still Bottesford made chances and two were created by substitute Cross who could not make his efforts decisive. This seemed to sap the Poachers and they were pressed back and not surprisingly with 2 minutes left Handsworth made it 5 when Howarth found himself with acres of space and fairly cracked the ball into the net.

A great win and display from Handsworth but Bottesford lying second from bottom in the league table look to have enough skill the climb higher.

The chips from a well presented club house were fried, very hot, tasty and only £1.80, There actually seemed too many but that may have been because I had eaten some ‘tea’ a few hours earlier. A score of 75.

 


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Handsworth FC

Dynamo’s football charged right to the end.

Loughborough Dynamo are located just outside the town just near junction 23 of the M1 which is being totally remodelled to prepare for the building of approximately 3500 new homes. They were at home to Bury Town F.C. in the second round qualifying of the F.A. Trophy on Saturday 17th October.

The ground is in a very pretty leafy suburb, within a whole sporting complex which from what I could see includes other football pitches, an outside basketball court,tennis courts and a bowls club. The skies remained grey and overcast with the drizzle of early morning long gone. The pitch looked beautiful with an immaculate playing surface and the Covid restrictions were well organised and I felt relaxed. A microlight flew over the ground to provide unscripted pre match entertainment.

Both sides were evenly matched, Bury play in the Isthmiam League North Division winning both of their League games and Loughborough in the Northern Premier League Division One South East only losing one of their 6 starts.

Loughborough Dynamo were formed in 1955 by pupils at the local grammar school who wanted to play football rather than rugby and took the Dynamo name from Moscow Dynamo who were playing a series of friendlies at that time. The club played in many local Leagues and broke through into the Northern Premier League in 2008 where they still play.

Bury Town, formaly Bury St Edmunds, by contrast, are one of the oldest teams in the country having been formed in 1870 with one of their players being in the first ever F.A. Cup final playing for the Wanderers and he also played for England against Scotland in the first International. They changed their name to the current one in 1885 and have had an up and down journey twice spending some time in the Southern League but relegation and finnancial difficulty saw them drop down the pyramid system. A climb back to the Southern League resulted in them being moved to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2010 but five years later they were relegated to their current level.

Loughborough Dynamo 1 Bury Town 0

Loughborough took control of the match from the start and within 20 minutes the Bury goalkeeper Joe Rose had made three amazing saves but despite being in control the teams were still level at half time.

The same pattern ensued in the second half but continual forays down the right started to become predictable and the Bury defence were able to counter these without gaining any real attacking momentum. Considering the score remained 0-0 the game was absorbing and the time seemed to fly by with Curtis Burrows effort for Loughborough hitting the post with 5 minutes left.

After another right wing play on 89 minutes Dynamo gained a throw in near the Bury corner flag. For the first time Danny Gordon tried a long throw into the Bury penalty area and after some different efforts to score and defend, like a pinball machine richocheting around, and another Joe Rose save, Alex Steadman hit home the winner. Despair for Bury, jubilation for Loughborough and on the pattern of play a deserved win.

The chips were very hot, tasty, a good colour and cooked in a fryer. They were served in a comfortable club house with a view of another game on an adjoining pitch. A score of 80 was very good.

Local Welfare Derby

I looked at the F.A. Vase Cup draw and was drawn towards two Miners Welfare teams playing each other. Hemsworth Miners Welfare F.C. v. Nostell Miners Welfare F.C. but Hemsworths pitch had been dug up to lay a new artificial one which meant Nostell were playing at home away. The home advantage may help to even up the fact that Nostell play in the First Division of the Toolstation Northern Counties East whereas Hemsworth are in the division above, the Premier Division. There was also the added ingredient that these two teams play only 4.3 miles apart, a true local derby.

To get to the Nostell ground you have to drive through some housing off the main road at New Crofton.  There was plenty of parking in the leafy surroundings of the Crofton Community Centre which appeared to have more than one ground a bowling green and a very good club house. Teams of all ages play here and everywhere was tidy and spotless. Covid restrictions still in play and a one way system led me into the ground and I decided to give the club house a miss but found a quieter food and drinks counter. 

The pitch must be one of the most secluded in the country one side bounded by a bank with a small seating area and  other three sides by mature trees which were swaying in the strong breeze. At one end of the flat pitch leaves were falling changing the green long grass into a mottled green and yellow patchwork. 

Most of the small 108 crowd were huddled under the covered seating area as the rain turned to bright sunshine and back to rain throughout the game. 

Hemsworth Miners Welfare F.C. was formed in 1981 after Hemsworth Coliery F.C. had folded but they soon gained promotions within the local leagues to be elected to the Northern Counties East League in 2008 and four years ago were elevated to the Premier league after being Champions of League 1.

Hemsworth have become a truly community club and their current laying of an artificial pitch will give greater access to everyone to play and in all weather’s. It should also generate an extra income stream.

Please if you have time watch this video made about Hemsworth by Barnsley F.C. It epitomises what a Non League club does within it’s community. One quote from the video says “Non League is honest “.         https://twitter.com/i/status/1182611803798245376

Nostel Miners football can be traced back to the 1890’s and the Miners Welfare formed in 1928 when the current land that is used today was bought. The club have played for most of their history in local leagues and in 2006 were promoted to their current League. Since the demise of the local pit the club has become  a community club.

Hemsworth M.W. 3 Nostril M.W. 0

Hemsworth took control of the game from the start and hit the bar and missed simple chances before they took the lead on 23 minutes when the ball was whipped in from the right after a corner on the left and Josh Wright nodded the ball unopposed for them to take the lead. 

Five minutes later the game was held up for some time as a Hemsworth player, Josh Wright, went down after a clash with what looked like a knee injury. After shouts of pain and treatment a stretcher was called and he was carried off the pitch. 

Hemsworth’s midfield continued to dominate the play and they finished comfortably ahead at half time.

Within 2 minutes of the restart Nostells no20 was sent off for a very strong tackle which left them with a mountain to climb and 5 minutes later Hemsworth doubled their lead when no.7

Valladolid Collins was able to tap the ball home following a good pass from the left.

The game was put beyond Nostells reach on 66 minutes when Hughes with his first touch, having just been brought on ,cut inside, steadied himself, and from 5 metres out curled the ball along the ground inside the post for an unassailable 3 goal lead.

That’s how it stayed at the end of 90 minutes so the away home team were unable to create a giantkilling upset and Hemsworth gained local bragging rites.

The snack bar was very reasonably priced and the chips were cooked separately and were mega hot, crispy, golden, good quantity and above all tasty. Only slightly below last week’s Ilkeston standard with a score of 83. Either the chips are getting better or I need to get out more.

 

Rain fails to wash out F.A. Cup.

With storm Alex sweeping across the country it was a case of sailing on the motorway until junction 26 and the heavy traffic on the A610 towards Ilkeston turned out to be for IKEA rather than turning left at the roundabout to Ilkeston like me.

The ground is reached over a one way traffic light controlled bridge over the Erewash 0canal leading to a large car park.

The river Erewash runs down the other side of the ground but the playing surface looked to have coped with the downpour. The pitch was flat and like other pitches I have seen this year has great grass cover.

Ilkeston FC’s badge shows the past coal mining tradition in the town but iron and steel production along with textiles were all important in it’s growth but all have almost now disappeared. For the second week in a row the home team are called the Robins.

The ground is very tidy and has good cover with a stand in one corner of the ground. There are two snack bars and a big bar/function building all of which were very busy.

The game was an F.A. Cup Second Qualifying Round between Ilkeston Town F.C. v Hanley Town F.C. Ilkeston play in the Northern Premier League Division One South East, one level above Hanley who play in the North West Countries League Premier Division.

Ilkeston Town F.C. have only been in existance since 2017 taking up the local mantle from Ilkeston F.C. who had only been reformed in 2010. The current team having been elected to the Midland Football League won back to back promotions before last season’s results were expunged and their support and ground could see them progress further over the next few years.

Hanley Town, one of the town’s that make up the Potteries has had a team since 1882 but this club hails from Sunday League football in the 1960’s and played most of their football in the Cheshire Leagues and after being denied entry into the North West Counties League in 1988 dropped back to regain momentum in the the last 10 years and reach Division One and the Premier Division of their current league.

Ilkeston Town 4 Hanley Town 1

Ilkeston started the game with intent and looked strong for the first 10 minutes with penetrating runs down the right wing. However as Hanley came more into the game they took a shock lead when number 9 for Hanley nodded the ball down to Nial Cope who buried it in the net under the goalkeeper after 20 minutes.. Hanley were now more adventurous but we’re undone 14 minutes later by Zak Goodson who received a ball on the right side of goal, beat an advancing defender and placed the ball home inside the post. Only 3 minutes later Zak Goodson again cut back a ball for Nat Watson to shoot the home team into the lead. Hanley upped their game but Ilkeston went in ahead at the break.

Hanley continued to push forward in the second half and had a shot cleared off the line but this left them exposed at the back and Ikeston came close as well. On 70 minutes Hanley bought on the ex Premiership player Richardo Fuller and within two minutes he had made an impact being brought down in the penalty area after some clever footwork. He stepped up to take the penalty and after a shimmy he struck the ball towards the right corner but Ross Currant in the Ilkeston goal made an amazing dive to his left to save the spot kick.

This seemed to sap Hanleys energy and resolve and Ilkeston pushed more and more on goal and were rewarded on 83 minutes when it was Zak Goodson again who controlled a pass and curled his drive into the centre of the Hanley goal to increase their lead. Then with minutes to go Nial Cope of Hanley was sent off for upending an opponent in the penalty area and Alex Troke put it away to make it 4 – 1 for Ilkeston who were into the next round. Hanley looked good despite the score line but their resolve waned after the penalty miss and heavy legs caught up with them.

 

On such a miserably wet day I was thankful for the £2 portion of chips which were amazing. They were hot, golden, tasty and I had to resist a second portion. A great score of 85 that will take some beating this season.

 

Swallows swiftly fly past Robins.

A trip to Selby to see Selby Town play Swallownest in a Northern Counties East League Division One fixture had the background of rapidly increasing Coronavirus infections but the game was on with Social Distancing and Track and Trace regulations.

Selby is an historic market town with a beautiful cathedral but as you drive in from the East you pass the gigantic Drax Power Station that dominates the sky line. The cooling towers will however be demolished in the future with the move towards more environmental energy generation.

Selby Town have been in existence since 1919 although a team of the same name and nickname had been dissolved nearly 10 years before. They were once in the Northern Counties East LeaguePremier Division but have spent most of their time at their current level.

Swallownest started life as Aston F.C. only 14 years ago changing their name to Swallownest Miners Welfare F.C. and in 2016 to Swallownest F.C. They have progressively moved up to their current level. Swallownest is on the outskirts of Sheffield in the middle of an ex mining area.

This is a compact ground tucked away down a street of pretty terraced houses and entry through the gate reveals a pretty flat surface with amazing thick grass cover. The only disappointment is the weather with its grey skies and blustery cold North wind. But a coffee and Kit Kat, no chips, from the newly built wooden refreshments hut and a seat out of the wind behind the goal soon makes the world OK. There are no prawn sandwiches on offer here, pork pies, sausage rolls, scratchings, Bovril and more. The 177 stalwarts in the ground used this and the bar to good advantage all afternoon helping the coffers of this community club. It was good to see the good mix of ages in the ground with perhaps 25% below 20 years old.

The Robins are in their all red and the Swallows in all blue with white shoulder flashes.

Selby Town F.C. 2 Swallownest F.C 3

It only took Swallowness 8 minutes playing against the wind to take the lead when Nathan Morritt was put through to slide the ball between the legs of the exposed goalkeeper. Swallownest kept control of the game and were worth their second goal when Matt Morton headed home a good cross from Alex Nightingale after a short corner. With the half coming to the end Charlie Clamp of Selby was put through for him to easily score to the right of the goalkeeper to make it 1-2 at half time.

Within a few minutes of the restart a revitalised Selby released Flanagan on the right edge of the penalty area and he curled the ball into the top right of the goal. After a period of Selby pressure a high ball into their penalty box was taken down well by Thomas Cropper who smashed it into the net for Swallownest to take the lead again.

Swallownest took strong advantage of the wind behind their backs and their dominance led to a penalty for them which was blasted over after 84 minutes. Despite some pressure from Selby they didn’t create any further chances and the away team were worthy winners.

It was the Selby keeper who impressed me with his distribution and none of the goals could be put down to him. I would expect to see him playing at a higher level in the not too distant future.