I decided that in the heat I would stay very local and visit Shirebrook Town who were at home to Selby Town in a Toolstation Northern Counties East Division One game. I had also decided that with the continuation of my chip league I would re-visit previous winners to give them a chance to regain their crown.
It was very hot registering 34 degrees in my car as I parked it under the shade of a Hawthorn tree. The sky was a bright blue but there was a hint of a breeze which might help the players as well as the agreed fluid breaks. The grass area in front of the stadium was like my previous visit laid out for whippet racing or training, poor whippets in the heat.
After going through the turnstile I could soon see that the whippet track had more green grass than the pitch which like other games this season was yellow and crisp with a little green in the goal areas, in fact better than the previous week at Shepshed.
I have written about the history of both theses teams before but would mention that this is Selby’s 103rd year although football had been played in Selby in previous years. They were the only team to have played in all 62 seasons of the Yorkshire League, being founder members, before it merged to form The Northern Counties League. Selby had started their League campaign better than Shirebrook with two wins and a defeat to Shirebrook’s 2 draws and a defeat.
Shirebrook Town 1 Selby Town 0
Shirebrook played downhill (although not a big slope) in the first half and although both teams competed hard neither gained an advantage.
This all changed on 20 minutes when a melee in the middle of the park was defused by the referee calling the drinks break and after consulting he sent a Shirebrook defender off for what looked like retaliation after being pushed in the back.
Shirebrook had till now edged the game but Selby now had the man advantage and they looked like taking the lead but for a last minute timely tackle with an open goal beckoning. The clearance found Josh Deveraux on the right who just kept running to the by line near the goal mouth and cut a shot across the goalkeeper for the ball to be nestling in the back of the net. One nil to the ten men of Shirebrook which they fiercely defended until half time.
The game had become a very tetchy affair since the sending off with the officials decisions being constantly challenged by the benches, in particular the home team. The heat, uneven bounce of the hard pitch, constant verbal’s and the dogged resistance from Shirebrook all added to the tension.
After 55 minutes an off the ball clash of heads led to a lengthy delay and the players from both sides leaving the pitch with what looked like nasty head injuries.
Selby kept pressuring but failed to make any decisive attempts on goal. Shirebrook held on even with 11 added minutes for what was a courageous and hard won game.
The chips as always at Shirebrook served by a very friendly happy team were very, very hot (cooked fresh), golden, crispy on the outside and soft inside but a light greasy aftertaste left me to give a score of 79 one less than the previous week at Shepshed.