Near the top of a hill overlooking Stocksbridge I parked and crossed the road to the home of Stocksbridge Park Steels, Bracken Moor Sports and Social Club.
The tail end of storm Erik rushed me towards the local stone club house and entry to the ground. Built into the side of the hill this picturesque ground is shared with the local cricket club with movable fencing the cricket side of the pitch to enable ground grading. The views from the stand and clubhouse are magnificent of the local moors.
The club claims to be the highest placed Non-League team in South Yorkshire but their poor form of late and the good form of rivals may bring that to an end this season.
Both teams were formed by mergers of other local clubs Pontefract in 1958 and Stockbridge in 1986 although other local football clubs had been in existence for a lot longer. Stockbridge as a community club have been successful in running many teams in Senior and Girls & Boys Junior football.
The large stand has great views with large wooden seats that are cast offs from an upgrade at Hillsborough. The pitch was flat but you could see from the sidelines that it was muddy after the recent heavy rain.
Stocksbridge Park Steels FC 0 Pontefract Collieries FC 5
Pontefract gained the first advantage by playing with the strong wind in the first half and their more competitive attitude meant they were well on top and it was no surprise that with only ten minutes gone Eli Hey nodded home the parried save of the goalkeeper after a free kick. They were unlucky not to score again on 17 minutes when they hit the post but only minutes later a cross from the left was met again by Eli Hey and it was two nil. Nicholas Guest had time to draw the goalkeeper to make it 0-3 at half time.
The clubhouse bars upstairs were plush , warm and busy. It seemed that most of the fans in the stand were from Pontefract but here were the Stocksbridge fans watching the match in the comfort of the bar with their pint. There was even a more luxurious lounge bar.
Pontefract in the second half were again first to the ball and more committed in their tackles and play, their fourth came after some good play on the right by number 17 and a pinpoint pass to Vaughn Radford to give him plenty of time to place the ball beyond the keeper. It was all over and a bit of a rout when on 88 minutes Eli Hey controlled the ball with a reverse pass into the path of number 2, Jack Greenhough, who was steaming through and slammed the ball home.
Once again, No Chips but four types of pie with Mushy peas, including a vegetarian option. The area where the food was served was spacious, clean, airy with a view of the pitch. The food was hot, tasty and served by a happy team. great atmosphere.