Dodworth’s football melts in the Easter sun.

There is always a great choice of matches over Easter and with it being the final few yards in the marathon season some games gain my attention more than others. I chose to watch a local derby between two teams with mining backgrounds that held the two top spots in the Sheffield and Hallamshire County League.

There are two teams in Wombwell sitting 2nd and 6th in the League, but I ventured to Wombwell Main although Wombwell Town with a go kart track running down one side of their ground looks a must for next season.

Another journey down Dearne Valley way to Wombwells ground in bright sunlight with wispy white clouds littering a bright blue sky was a long way from the dreary weather that has greeted me at many recent games.

After only a generation there is no outward sign of the coal mining that dominated the area. Now there are enormous sheds for delivery companies and their ilk and grown trees that were planted to hide the scars. I’m sure there are still scars in the communities but what I notice is that it has not dampened the community spirit which I have seen on many of the grounds in this area and at the Totti and Montagu cup finals. The brutal closing of the mining, steel and shipbuilding industries in the UK was necessary in a changing world but could have been done with a bit more empathy.

Wombwell Main’s ground is next to a beautiful cricket pitch that is manicured, ready for the impending summer season. There is a well furbished club house for the cricket that opens for football matches. The TV was on, tuned to the early Premier League game disappointingly though there was no coffee or food here. I passed a chip shop near the ground and one of the crowd passed me with a box of fish and chips just before the start of the game, which did tempt me. The changing rooms are in one corner of the football pitch that is on the far side of the cricket ground. The playing surface was of grass that was in great condition for the end of season. It sloped from side to side and wasn’t flat, seeming to mirror the tree clad hills in the picturesque backdrop.

There is no cover here and one park bench to sit, although many were making use of a retaining wall for this purpose. There were a few crush barriers to lean against.

The kick off time was confusing, 15.00 on the F.A’ s League website and on both clubs social media until the morning of the game when it was changed to 14.00 pm. I have learnt with this league to check, check and check again. I even rang the club house at noon to check with them. Perhaps this confusion was why there were about 20 spectators to start the game but 70 plus, of all ages, by the time it ended and Uncle Les’s Ice Cream Van. The van turned up with about 30 minutes left and on the warm day I thought he was there to put his music on and sell ice cream. Instead he parked, locked the van and watched the end of the match.

Wombwell Main 1 Dodworth Miners Welfare 0

Houghton Lane, Wombwell, South Yorkshire S73 8PW

Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior County League 14.00 pm kick off: 2nd v 1st

Wombwell, orange shirts and shorts; Dodworth, royal blue and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts.

1Dodworth MWFC2015232947
2Wombwell Main F.C.1911532838
3Hepworth United F.C.1912252138
4Swinton Athletic1811341636
5North Gawber Colliery1710342333
Prior to kick off

Dodworth were the more organised and dominant in the first half but their finishing was wasteful as they hit four shots over the preventative netting behind the goal into the next field only for the Wombwell subs to chase off to retrieve the ball.

The second half saw much of the same with constant attacks down the wings by Dodworth, especially down the right. Wombwell though responded occasionally and their defence stood firm against aerial attacks.

But as is often the way when one team doesn’t take its chances the other does and on roughly 70 minutes the ball was hit long and just evaded the Dodworths number 5’s attempt to clear, giving him no chance to turn and challenge Wombells’ number 11 who controlled the ball on the left, drove infield and passed across the goal for Ryan Wingrove to score. Dodworth continued to press to the end of the game but their efforts were of no avail and the home side threw open the league title chase to be one of five when if Dodworth would have won they would have looked in a very strong position to prevail. A great afternoons football for free although one of Uncle Les’s ice creams would have topped off the day.

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