Having driven down the winding Lees Lane through the chicanes of parked cars you arrive in the South Normanton Athletic FC. Car park.
It’s FA Cup day and South Normanton AFC are at home to Coalville Town FC in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
The first thing that hits you as you pass through the turnstile is the lush green pitch that slopes down from one end to the other. It’s warm in the sun but some dark clouds look ominous as they rush past. The ground is on the edge of town, with open views from its hilltop position and breezy aspect.
South Normanton are nicknamed the Shiners and Coalville the Ravens. This dates back to the fact that Coalville were first formed in 1926 as Ravenstone Miners Athletic and played in the village successfully in local football. as their progress continued a dispute with the local Parish Council about the erection of floodlights meant a decision was made to move the whole team from the small village to nearby Coalville in 1995. The erection of the floodlights at their new ground meant that they could make further advances up the leagues and today play in the Premier Central Division of the Southern League at Step 3 level.
South Normanton AFC play in the Premier Division of the Midland Football League two levels lower than Coalville. Like Coalville South Normanton were formed in 1926 as South Normanton Miners Welfare which they changed in 1990 to South Normanton Athletic FC. Following a fire, lack of money and an ageing committee they were forced to fold but since a new start they have been able to steady the ship and have settled into their current level.
South Normanton Athletic FC 0 Coalville Town FC 1
The game took some time to establish a pattern where Coalville showed their higher status through some neat interpassing in midfield. Coalville didn’t cause any direct threats in open play but a series of corners caused problems for the home team with the visitors taller defensive players coming forward to attack outswinging balls. Jack Duggan (No5) should have done better when he headed over with a strong header. However he was my man of the match with a command of the defence and a near perfect game. South Normanton were pleased to go in at half time level having played against the wind in the first half.
The Shiners midfield gained the upper hand at the start of the second half but Coalville were still the most dangerous again from corners. With it looking like the tie would go to a replay some neat interpassing between substitute Leandro Browne and Tom McGlinchey in the penalty area gave McGlinchey the chance to roll the ball past Curtis Hall on 87 minutes.
Jubilation for the few travelling Coalville supporters but some consolation for the home team in that they had held their own against a higher placed club in the football pyramid system.
South Normantons food facilities were good with a friendly club house and a food stall that had outside tables and chairs . the kiosk was being run by one man who was doing a sterling job as his usual helper was working. As the queues lengthened some reinforcements arrived. The chips were deep fried but mine came from a tray in the oven which meant they could have been hotter. Great value and the best so far this season with a score of 60.
The nickname ‘Shiners’ derives from the mid-1750s when South Normanton was at the heart of the ribbed stocking industry. The people involved in this craft worked long hours sitting at their windows on wooden stools, so much so that the backsides of their trousers became very shiny making them instantly recognisable as coming from the South Normanton area; since then local people have been referred to as ‘Shiners’. Taken from