A return visit to Shirebrook but this time to see the incumbent team and not Bolsover their tenants as I did before. It was also Shirebrooks last game of the season with Bolsover at home this weekend in their last game. As you arrive at the ground the field in front, that is the car park, is fenced off for the whippet racing that has been the highlight of the Easter weekend and most probably had more spectators than the 107 at the match.
Shirebrook had over Easter gained the one point they needed not be relegated with Bolsover and the team were lazily kicking the ball about in the warm up while their opponents Campion were being drilled and went back into the changing room 15 minutes before the off while Shirebrook ambled off in dribs and drabs right up to 5 minutes before kick off. It was evident that this is a youthful Shirebrook team with a smattering of experience while Campion looked the part of Champions elect sitting on top of the table.
After such a glorious Easter the evening temperature was falling as a watery sun dipped down into a greying horizon. The pitch slopes greatly from end to end and is now patchy after a hard season of two teams playing their full fixtures on it.
Campion are a Bradford team from the Manningham area who started in 1963 in Sunday football and switched to Saturday district football in 1976. They have made steady progress through district football and developed the ground facilities including a club house and floodlights in 2016 when they entered the Toolstation Northern Counties East League.
There have been Shirebrook teams for over 100 years but the current club dates back to 1985 when it was formed as Shirebrook Colliery changing its name to Town in 1991 when the colliery closed. It has played in the Northern Counties East Leagues for nearly 20 years but recently has found it hard to progress further with a limited amount of resources.
Shirebrook Town FC 1 Campion FC 1
Campion started strongly but Shirebrook matched them and were very quick on the break. The first half ended even with neither team having a clear cut chance. Just before the break Shirebrooks player of the season goalkeeper Levi Owen went off with what looked like an ankle injury and was replaced by another youngster.
Within two minutes of the restart Campion were ahead after a mix up in the Shirebrook defence left the goalkeeper no other choice but to run out of his area to compete for a ball with his head. A miscued header and what looked like some shirt tugging left Auden Day free to run on to the ball and stroke it into the net for Campion to lead. I expected the flood gates to open but Shirebrook showed a lot of resolve and again matched their opponents. As Campion pressed more and more out of the blue Robbie Savage from 35/40 yards out volleyed a pass into the top left hand corner of the goal past the goalkeepers outstretched hand, a goal of the season strike.
Campion seemed most likely to score again but resolute defence particularly from the Shirebrook number 5 Carter Widdowson, my man of the match, meant it ended all square. A great result for the Shirebrook youngsters but a lost 2 points for the visitors who now face a last game away to second place Grimsby Borough in a winner takes all match.
It was worrying to read later on the Shirebrook Town twitter feed ‘The club would like to thank everyone involved for getting us over the line and hopefully we will be playing NCEL football next season.’
The chips here are currently leading the chip league and this serving with thick hot gravy did not disappoint. Thank you ladies for such a treat.