Interim Chip League 2022/23

Football ClubScoreComments
Shepshed Dynamo801st of the season
Shirebrook Town79Friendly staff as always
Denaby Main79Great for such a small club
Quorn74Warm welcoming club house
Aston Villa72Well organised
Harworth Colliery68Freshly cooked
Hallam FC60Long, long queue
Ilkeston Town58Underwhelmed
Worksop Town58Disappointed
Dearne and District0No Chips
Richmond Town0No Chips
Wells -next-to-Sea0No Chips
FC Stratford0No Chips
Horbury0No Chips
Loughborough Students0No Chips, great vegan sausage roll
Melbourne FC0No Chips, good bar facilities
Sheffield Town0No Chips, 1st game at Kiveton, getting organised
Dodworth Miners Welfare0No Chips, hot pork pie and mint sauce!
Linby Miners Welfarw0No Chips, loved the club house
Chesterfield FC0No Chips, plenty of other food
Swinton0No Chips, new ground develpments
Prescott Cables0No Chips, amazing hot pot pie
Selston0No Chips, pie and gravy was amazing
Staveley Miners Welfare0Didn’t rank chips
Dinnington FC0Queue too long, must go back

Disappointing this season so far with only 40% of the grounds doing chips. Hopefully this will be rectified in the next few months. This may be the last season of the chip league as I may rank the catering in general next year.

It’s cold at Harworth but the football kept us warm.

Continuing my journey to some ex mining football clubs I ventured to Harworth Colliery F.C. in the northern corner of Nottinghamshire very close to the South Yorkshire border.

I recently attended a talk at Worksop Library about the history of Harworth Colliery and its interesting history by David Amos a Nottinghamshire mining historian. The pit had an chequered past having been developed by a German company in 1913 and at the outbreak of war caused a lot of local intrigue. Some locals were convinced that the owners were going to install surveillance and disruption on the A1 which is very close. The German sinkers were interned and the pit was nationalised during the war and sold to Eastwood based Barber Walker Co after it. They ran it until nationalisation and was latterly developed as a super pit which never lived up to its promise, being closed in 2006 when under the ownership of UK Coal. The football club was started in 1931 playing locally but rising to the prestigious Yorkshire League in 1946 where they stayed for 4 years before droping back into local South Yorkshire Football.

By the 1980’s they had progressed well to the Northern Counties East League but were relegated after a short while droping back to the Central Midlands League but were again promoted back into the NCEL in 2018 after 32 years. This uplift was only to last one year and they have stayed in the Central Midlands League since being proud to develop young talent in the Under 21’s, reserves and senior team.

What is noticeable is the development of the ground over recent years, situated off Scrooby Road along with other sports pitches and not far from the modern Bircotes Leisure Centre, the large tarmacked parking area is exceptional.

The land around here is very flat and on entering the ground this is continued with a lovely thick grass covered pitch. There are new LED floodlights, Toms tea rooms, a Shaft Side bar with outside fan zone, a small 50 seat covered stand on one side of the pitch mirrored by a similar standing area opposite. I’m sure the facilities go a long way in attracting the 118 hardy souls who were there to watch. You had to be hardy as the car temperature said 6 degrees but the biting strong wind blowing straight down the pitch cut you in quarters not half. This was despite the sunshine and clear blue skies.

I have written about Staveley Miners Welfare before having visited the ground more than once. They have been going for over 100 years.

Harworth Colliery FC 2 Staveley Miners Welfare Reserves 2

Saturday 14th January 2023. Kick off 15.00 pm

Central Midlands League North Division

5th v 7th, Colliery v Miners

Harworth Colliery orange shirts, black. shorts: Staveley blue and white vertical stripes shirts with blue square on the back, blue shirts.

Immediately it was noticeable that it was two young teams and both displayed some good skills in a well matched first 10 minutes despite the windy conditions. It was however the home side who scored first when with 13 minutes gone a Staveley defender turned in his penalty area and lost the ball to Bailey Lowe who made no mistake in finding the net.

Staveley did not lose heart and they drew level on 22 minutes when a ball was chiped over the top of the defence for Charlie Bingham to run on and score placing the ball across the goal keeper.

The pitch was drying with the wind and 1.1 at half time was a fair reflection of play.

8 minutes into the second half the Staveley substitute for the centre back, who had been injured through a tackle in the first half that had resulted in a booking, brought down a Harworth player, Mason Laws, in their penalty area. It seemed to me a soft penalty but it was dispatched easily by Bailey Lowe , sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Harworth were now on top but the visitors equalised on 65 minutes when the Harworth defence momentarily stopped appealing for a free kick. Staveley kept going and the ball was put through to Reece Clegg who fired it into the top of the net.

Staveley took the initiative for the rest of the game partly helped by a 10 minute sin binning of Harworth’s number 10 who appeared to argue with a linesman and the fact that he had been booked in the first half for kicking the ball away. Despite his return to play and some substitutes Harworth were on the back foot and the woodwork saved them in the last few minutes.

The end to end game had helped to fight off the biting wind along with the facilities that gave some shelter and the opportunity for warming food and drink. With players as young as 16 you have to say that there is luckily some great future talent coming along.

The chips were cooked for me and they were hot, crispy, tasty with no oily after taste. A good score of 68 would have been higher but sor a soggy inside.

You have to deal with disappointment following the Villa.

After my first game of the year with my daughter I followed it the next day by driving south in rain, again, to meet my son and one of my grandsons in Birmingham. My Grandson thought he was going to see me to give me a Birthday card for an impending Birthday. We met in a local car park and walked through redeveloped streets to Villa Park, where we told him he was going to see Aston Villa. His face beamed.

The rain had stopped luckily and even in the damp gloom of early evening the stadium looked magnificent. A walk around the ground lead us to the Villa shop where we joined a long queue to get in and another one to pay. Here I bought him his first scarf as I had his Dad at a similar age. This end of the ground will be re-developed next year along with a new shop. The shop had at least 10 pay stations and was doing brisk business. Villa like many Premiership clubs have upped their game over recent years and must now generate large incomes from merchandise. We showed him the statue of William McGregor regarded as the founder of the League systems in the UK and probably worldwide.

Tickets for the FA Cup third round game we had come to watch were £20 everywhere and we had chosen to sit high up in the Trinity Road Stand. Villa Park is now so different in that everything shines in its cleanliness, even the toilets. The last time I visited Villa they had no chips but this time they were there and with a Balti Chicken pie were today’s Sunday lunch as I would not be back home till 20.30. The large queue for food was soon dealt with and the pie was hot, full of filling and tasty and the chips were a delight too, hot, golden, thick, soft in the middle and tasty for a score in my chip league of 72. If the centre had been a little harder they would have been the best chips for years.

The grandson had previously been to Milton Keynes, Northampton and Sielby Rangers and complained about the seats at Villa that they were not padded like Milton Keynes, a stadium worth visiting if you get the chance.

Aston Villa have won the FA cup more than many but in recent years they never get beyond this early round. The 29000 Villa fans thought that this year the omens were good as they had been drawn against Stevenage who were second in their league, three divisions lower. They also had their new manager Uni Emery considered to be a cup specialist.and came into the game on the back of beating Spurs two nill only days before.

The game started with supporter enthusiasm but the side to side, crab like football by the home team soon dulled the fans excitement. The missed shots by Phillipe Courtinho, the balls last seen in Sutton Coldfield and the completely off form Leon Bailey were a portent of what was to come. Often Villa players had twenty to thirty yards in front of them that they could have easily run into but chose to knock it sideways to team mate who would knock it sideways again until it came all the way back to where the ball had started. The deadlock was broken on 33 minutes when Morgan Sanson received the ball on the right side of the penalty area and showed some class by coolly slotting the ball past the diving goalkeeper. Sansons goal was good to see as his time a Villa seems to be coming to an end having been overlooked by three managers and it gave Villa the half time lead.

The home side continued their domination of the ball but never came close to adding to their tally as the home crowd became more and more restless. It seemed that simple footballing skills had deserted Villa and this came to haunt them on 85 minutes when Dendonker dallied and failed to clear a ball in the centre of the penalty area and then grasped the shirt of Stevenage’s Campbell to stop him from shooting. After an age, 3 minutes of VAR review, Reid stepped forward to send the Villa goalkeeper the wrong way to level the score and Dendonker was sent off..

Worse was to come within 2 minutes when Stevenage were awarded a corner after the momentum had swung their way and Villa were still reorganising after Dendonker had left the field and their two full backs had been replaced due to injury. The corner on the right was quickly passed along the ground to the totally unmarked Campbell who had all the time in the world to run on and fire the ball past the Villa defenders and under a despairing Olsen. Stevenage lasted out the added time for a famous giant killing and deserved the win. The Villa Park faithful half-heartedly booed their team off but they didn’t have the energy to protest, worn down by a second rate performance.

Stevenage supporters rightfully stayed to savour every second of their magnificent win as the Villa fans streamed out. There was no grumbling as the fans walked away just a resignation as to their defeat brought on by an inept lacklustre performance by those on the pitch and perhaps Unai Emery’s first major mistake in fielding 8 changes from their previous game and not taking the FA Cup and lower positioned teams as serious as they should have been.

When my Grandson made it home he responded to his Mum’s “did you enjoy it” with “I don’t want to go to Villa again”. looks like that was a wasted scarf.

Sunday 8th January 2023 16.30 kick off AstonVilla 1 Stevenage 2

Derby Singh Brothers win at home away.

Having missed Kimberley Miners Welfare for my first match of the New Year due to a waterlogged pitch I planned to meet my daughter to see Derby Singh Brothers at home in the semi final of the Derbyshire Cup against Melbournre Dynamo. A day before the game was switched to Melbourne and the drive there was through driving rain until 20 minutes before the end. Even driving over the river Trent made me feel apprehensive as the level was near the top of the banks. Walking towards the distant pitch you had to dodge the sodden grass but when we reached it the surface was drained and looked ideal for football. Infact the sky had cleared to a bright blue and with a little wind it was the ideal day. The pitch with a very slight slope from end to end was covered with thick undulating grass and to add to it there was a great view over some of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the Trent vslley as well as planes from East Midlands Airport taking off over you.

This is the Melbourne Sports Complex which is home to Melbourne Town Cricket Club, Melbourne Tennis Club, Melbourne Rugby FC and Melbourne Dynamo FC with a central modern two storey changing rooms and bar area that is open 7 days a week. A brilliant community venue.

While the rugby players chanted motivational chants Derby Singh Brothers kicked off against Melbourne Dynamo FC in the DerbyshireFA Divisional Cup South 2022/23 Semi-Final.

I had noticed Derby Singh brothers last year as they were promoted to the Cebtral Midlands League 1 South but missed a visit for some reason.

Derby Singh Brothers FC 2 Melbourne Dynamo FC 2

Derby Singh Brothers go through to the final 3.2 on penalties.

Saturday 7th January 13.30 pm kick off.

Derbyshire Divisional Cup South – Semi Final played at the Melbourne Sports Complex

Derby Sing Brothers from mid table of the Central Midlands League South Division v Melbourne Dynamo from second of the Central Midlands League Division One (West)

Derby Singh Brothers, Dark Blue shirts and shorts with white collars, Melbourne Dynamo, Blue and Black vertical shirts with black shorts.

Derby Sing Brothers started the game the strongest but it was Melbourne who took the lead when Jack Goodband received the ball on the right of the penalty area, moved forward, drew the goalkeeper and lifted the ball into the net.

It fell to Derby Sing Brothers’ number 9, Darnell Smith, to equalise on 17 minutes when he took the ball wide and slipped the ball between the goalkeeper and his left post. But it was Melbourne who went in at half time in the lead when on 37 minutes Carl Allsop rose above the rest from a free kick to head goal wards. The Singh Brothers keeper seemed to have it covered but the ball slipped out of his hands into the net. Melbourne had taken their chances whereas Derby had created more but not made the best of them.

Melbourne held out under pressure for 22 minutes in the second half until Derby Singh Brothers number 7 played a beautiful cross along the ground which was met by Tyla Johal who squeezed between two defenders to score. having equalised they now put on more pressure and stout defending, great goalkeeping and the woodwork kept them out.

With a draw at the final whistle the dreaded penalties took place and when both teams missed their first attempts it looked like a long shoot out. Derby however took the lead on the next round and two great saves by the Derby goalkeeper, making up for his earlier mistake, saw them through eventually 3.2.

This was a great game for the level of football, good facilities and great footballing weather. Melbourne although they lost could be proud of getting the game on considering the recent weather and that they had held a team a division higher than themselves. derby Singh Brothers showed some good skills at time s but must know that their poor finishing nearly cost them the game. 60 plus fans were on hand to see an exciting game that seemed over in a flash. It turned out to be a great start to the season and one worth waiting for.

My football year 2022

As always I looked forward to a great year of watching football but it didn’t start well with a very dull 0.0 draw between Heanor and Selston. The cobwebs were however blown away at Hucknall where they scored 10.

The following week I found myself in Spennymoor along with some long distance fans from Plymouth who at half time had smiles on their faces as they led one nil.Unfortunately they were reduced to tears and a long miserable drive home as the home side swept to an FA trophy win in the last ten minutes of the game. The mid winter month of January ended in a warm clubhouse in Rossington who lost the match but won the tie as heir opponents had played an ineligible player. It was also a night to remember for a tasty chicken and mushroom pie, mushy peas and gravy.

What a February, criss crossing the country from Poole where penalties were the difference to an evening game on top of Emley Moor. It was windy up there but that didn’t stop Emley putting 4 past Knaresborough. I didn’t win the meat raffle or all of the others I entered in 2022. A few days later I was back in the North East to watch Esh Winning who lost. But this is one of those iconic grounds to visit but it was the troubadour ‘Miserable Les’, a local poet and folk singer, who talked me through all things local for two hours and made it one of the highlights of the season. The chips at the local coal fired fish and chip shop added to the enjoyment.

March started with ‘WOW’ a visit to Loughborough Students. The facilities here within the University campus are amazing for this level of Non League football, well worth a visit.They also have a great team on and off the field that has a very progressive attitude.

I traveled next to nearby Eastwood which also have good facilities but an unusual sloping all weather pitch. The teams performance didn’t match the set up. This was followed by a visit to one of my favourite grounds in Belper but this time to see Belper United not Town who play on the same pitch although I have heard gossip that they will not be there next year. Belper beat Hinkley in a very competitive match. Onward to Mansfield Hosiery, you have to go just for the name, where I found a very homely, friendly club in a housing estate. There were no chips here but the hot chocolate on a cold evening was a warming sensation. Mansfield Hosiery’s win eased their relegation worries. March continued in Newcastle-under-Lyme on a beautifully hot clear day that would have graced mid summer.If only the football would have been as joyous. Still more in March which closed at Chesterfield where England’s under 19 team beat Portugal to qualify for the European finals which they went on to win in Croatia. I was impressed by the silky skills of Tim Iroegbunam who will be a full England star sometime soon.

The showers in April were turned on at half time in the match I watched at St Josephs Rockware Worksop when the referee abandoned the match due to a touch line altercation. However the full 90 minutes were played at Carlton in Nottingham where the home team beat Belper Town in a scramble for play off places. Easter Monday found me in Mexborough for the 125th Montagu Cup the oldest of its kind still being played. The game was between Dog Daisy United and Scawthorpe Athletic which the away team won 3.4. A very exciting game but I will remember the day as a great family fun event that must be visited again. The organisers even went round the ground with the cup letting fans have their photo taken with it. The large crowd was down to their dedication and commitment. April ended with a Welsh experience, first to see Llandudno’s last game of the season where although they beat Llangefni 6.1 they still finished second in their league.On the way back home I was lucky to get a ticket, via Southend, to visit the up and coming Wrexham who were pushing to get back in the Football League. This is the oldest ‘International’ ground still in use where their current high profile owners have big plans for the future. Wrexham won 1.0 but later failed in the play offs. One negative was the poor conditions I experienced in the away section. Their goal of redeveloping the ground cannot come soon enough.

May was perhaps the highlight of the year when I visited Barrow-in-Furness where I met my daughter completing the full current 92 Football League grounds, I was there at the start and the finish. Brilliant achievement but the drama of Northampton winning three one away and so achieving automatic promotion was bettered by Bristol Rovers incredulously winning seven nil to pip them by goal difference. It is a very strange game at times.

No football in June but in July I watched a UEFA womes Euro’s game which France beat Italy 5.1. France’s first half performance was out of this world and I expected them to go on and win the competition easily. Up stepped England and blew everyone away.

I sneaked a pre-season friendly later in July at Wells-next-to-sea where the rock hard ground and crispy grass seemed to inhibit the football and it became the first ever game I have left before the end. However if I am in that area again I would like to go to see a competitive game.

So a new season and the month of August found me at Shepshed Dynamo for an early round of the FA Cup. No goals meant a replay in a poor game. Shirebrook next as I gave them a chance to regain the Chip league, they won the game but the chips lost. Richmond in North Yorkshire next to see them play in a Weirside League game, new to me. Disappointing as they had moved to a school 3G pitch from their iconic ground under the castle, progress.

A much more traditional ground at Quorn and a a friendly warm clubhouse. They unfortunately lost to Heanor by three goals with the shouting and language of the visitors leaving much to be desired.

September started with an M1 trip to Selston a village in Nottinghamshire on the Derbyshire border where the ground shares facilities with the cricket club. The moon shining brightly couldn’t help them in their 3.1 defeat by Belper United. After a complete lack of organisation I found myself getting to Denaby Main late but enjoyed the football in what was the start of a longer dive into the Sheffield and Hallamshire League. Ilkeston up next for an evening game where I again gave a club the chance to regain their chip league top status but again a disappointment. What had changed was a 3G pitch and a digital program.They won competently 2.1.

October saw a run of three Sheffield and Hallamshire clubs. First Sheffield Town who were playing their first game at the newly agreed ground share at Kiveton. This was followed by visiting Dearne and District near Goldthorpe, this is a progressive community club running numerous teams. With future ground improvements this is are a team to watch. Then finally to Dodworth Miners Welfare where a true entrenched community spirit still thrives. Staying with the ex mining community theme I visited Linby Miners Welfare in this pretty Nottinghamshire village. A great history packed club house here, I wish I could have stayed for the after match curry and rice. I ended the month in Stratford on Avon to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and a visit to Stratford Town’s ground where FC Stratford play in the Hellenic League. Again a 3G pitch and an improbable late comeback for the home team to win.

An unbelievably wet journey and biblical rain through the match as I visited Horbury just off the M1 south of Wakefield.

Just promoted to the Northern Counties East League their facilities just meet requirements but they look to make forward strides in the future and definitely one to go back to on a drier day in the future. Hallam drew Bury in the FA Cup which Bury won on a replay so when they drew each other in the FA Vase I decided that it was one to see. Again a large crowd turned up in the Sheffield suburbs and again it was tight with Bury winning on penalties to go through. The rain had continued but Worksop Town’s game on their 3G pitch was on as they tried to maintain their top spot in the Northern Premier League East, this they did with some style under the lights. The following week back to Loughborough Students to see if they could remain unbeaten in the League and top of the United Counties League. They did that in style winning 5.1 against Heanor. Finally a trip to Prescott to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ again but this time at the Shakespeare North Theatre meant I could see Prescott Cables take on high profile and high flying Macclesfield. Macclesfield edged it but it was Prescott’s 10 man display for 70 minutes that caught the eye.

So into December and the end of the year I finally made it to Swinton which again is in the Sheffield and Hallamshire League and making changes to their ground to hopefully progress in the future. It was here on top of the hill that I finally decided that winter was with us. Mid month I watched Chesterfield FC go out of two cups on consecutive nights. Monday at Staveley Miners Welfare’s ground to Belper United in the Derbyshire Senior Cup and Tuesday at home to Coalville in the FA Trophy. The end of my football year was on Christmas Eve when I watched Dinnington Town lose to unbeaten table toppers Retford United. Great crowd of 390 at this redeveloped 3G ground.

Another fantastic year and I can’t wait for 2023 hopefully it will be as exciting and enjoyable as 2022.

Good cheer all round at Christmas Eve football.

With very little football scheduled in England for Christmas Eve the Central Midlands League, 10 promotions from the Premier League, gave their clubs the choice of playing or not. Dinnington Town and Retford United agreed to play and were well rewarded with a crowd of 269, much, much higher than normal. There was the fact that Dinnington had won five in a row and were third, at home to Retford United, who were top and so far undefeated in the league although they only just maintained that record last time out when they equalised in the 90th minute against Haworth Colliery.

The large mainly male crowd may also have been helped by getting a pass out with the children to be out of the way. It may have been because after the torrential rain that swept across the UK the day before, Christmas Eve was a beautiful sunny day, with clear blue skies but with a chill wind. There also seemed to be a good many groundhoppers taking advantage of visiting Dinnington where the midday kick off didn’t disrupt the day too much.

I decided to go to see if Retford could maintain their record against in form opposition and because the ground had been majorly updated since I was last there. A new 3G pitch has been installed with new floodlights and tarmacadam hard standing on three sides. Gone are the covered areas but I’m sure that is a future priority not only for the fans but to achieve ground grading criteria. What has been achieved is outstanding and gives the club a firm financial base to progress.

They have also updated the facilities by the fact that you now enter the playing area via the resource centre which provides food an drink before, during and after the game. This was not available before and is a great idea to bring together two community assets. There is also unusually a Post Office in the building. The bowls club is also next door.

The new pitch does appear to slope slightly from end to end and is covered with multi coloured lines marking out various smaller pitches for juniors.

Dinnington Town 1 Retford United 3

December 24th 2022, kick off 12.00 (Midday). Central Midlands League North Division

Dinnington Yellow shirts with black edging and fading with black shorts. Retford United Grey shirts with darker grey vertical stripes and grey shorts.

Dinno v The Badgers

The game was very competitive as expected but it was Retford who created the best chances. They had a disallowed goal on 20 minutes and hit the cross bar 7 minutes later when the rebounding ball was just scrambled away only to be hit back in but only into the side netting. Dinnington had their own period of pressure and were denied by a point blank save by the goal keeper on 32 minutes.

Retford though went ahead on 41 minutes when a cross in from the left was met by the number nine Joe Froggat who tapped in. This seemed to coincide with the sun disappearing behind some cloud which certainly increased the chill factor. It was soon colder for the home side when in the last minute of the half a Retford player was fouled in the penalty area and Mark West took charge and dispatched the ball into the net for Retford to lead 2 Nil at half time.

As the teams walked off the pitch the Dinnington Manager walked over to argue with the ref and was shown a yellow card, unfortunately this added to one he had collected earlier for the same offence and he was red carded and sent off.

Dinnington came out in the second half with renewed vigour and deservedly pegged a goal back after ten minutes of the restart when Brad Sedgwick collected the ball near the penalty spot and struck it straight into the top right hand corner of the goal. They continued their pressure and for a while Retford looked a little rattled.

With 21 minutes left Retford’s impressive Mark West was put through on goal and running on to the ball he clipped it across the home keeper, Best, into the top right hand corner. This goal steadied Retford and they kept control of the game until full time.

Retford went home with their unbeaten league run intact but Dinnington played well and showcased their great new facilities that will surely improve the game of football for the community in the future.

The officials should also be commended keeping very tight control of the game and the referee was quick to explain any of his decisions on the pitch. All in all a happy start to Christmas.

Déjà vu Football.

Tuesday 20th December 2022, Technique Stadium Chesterfield, FA Trophy Kick off 19.45pm

Having been to see Chesterfield FC bow out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup the night before I thought I would give myself an early Christmas present and watch two games in two days.

I don’t know why turning up for an evening game is so magical, but it is.

Chesterfield’s FA Trophy match against Coalville Town FC had been postponed on Saturday due to the hard ground and to ensure that fixture congestion would not build up it was quickly rescheduled for Tuesday night. The draw had already been made for the next round and each team knew that a win would bring them an away tie with the winners of Banbury v Bognor Regis which was being played on the same night.

The evening was so different from the night before in that there were now clear skies and the temperature had dropped by 7 degrees.

This stadium, one of the newly relocated grounds of the past 10 years, is one of the best, which was amplified by the fact that England under 19’s have played here in the last 12 months. Those who will remember Saltergate will have loved its homely charm, but it’s cramped near town centre location could not survive and the housing that has replaced it gives no indication of football’s cultural loss. The Spireites have not had a good time in the new stadium having dropped down to the National League but the club is now more focused locally and on a much steadier foundation.

Coalville Town play in the Southern League Premier Division Central which is two levels below Chesterfield. They have been a successful Non League Club for some years since originally establishing in 1926 and have been known as Ravenstone Miners Athletic, Ravenstone Swifts and Coalville Town from 1998 when they moved into the Town after having local difficulties in being able to install floodlights.

When I looked at the program and heard the teams over the sound system I had that eerie feeling that I’d seen this before, in fact at Staveley the night before. Chesterfield were not playing their first team but their second stream squad which when I compared it to who had featured in their league games this season there was little comparison. There was a place for Lawrence McGuire, brother of the England centre back who I had seen previously play for Illkeston Town.

Chesterfield FC 1 Coalville 3

Isuzu FA Trophy Third Round Proper

Chesterfield, Light Blue Shirts , White Shorts: Coalville Town, White and back vertical stripes to front of the shirts, plain white back with black shorts.

This seemed familiar as Chesterfield stroked the ball across the back finding no outlets for a final pass while Coalville buzzed around as if their life’s depended on it. Coalville also played quick tempo direct running and passing that unnerved the Chesterfield defense. All the same as Belper the previous night.

It was no surprise that Coalville took the lead on 10 minutes when their number 2, Alex Dean, took the ball past defenders and crossed it beating the goalkeeper for Ashley Chambers just to tap in. This brought some response from Chesterfield who seemed stung by the visitors and they drew level 8 minutes later when a curling free kick from the left was met by George Wilkinson at the far post.

The night was getting colder and I thought that Chesterfield would now show their dominance and take control of the game. They did however fall back into their previous lethargic pattern and Coalville renewed their lead on 22 minutes when a poor clearance by the home defense meant the ball fell to Tom McGlinchey who curled the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the net. Again the goal sparked a Home response but Coalville looked well prepared and organised and little came of some shots from long range.

Coalville were worth their 2.1 lead at half time and within 5 minutes of the restart were 3.1 up when Ash Chambers again scored with a deflection after some good interplay with McGlinchy after Banks sloppily gave the ball away.

Chesterfield and Coalville made changes but there was little change to the pattern of play and the outcome. Many of the Chesterfield fans had drifted away before the final whistle but the away fans stayed to celebrate. Coalville are off to Banbury in the next round but Chesterfield’s two matches highlighted that they have little in depth beyond the first team. Hopefully at the end of the season they will be in with a shout of promotion otherwise these two games will be seen as a waste.

There were 2107 fans there with 287 from Coalville but listening to the reaction in the main stand when they scored I think there were a few more away fans than identified.

The Mini Freeze is Over.

Monday 19th December 2022: Staveley Miners Welfare Ground, Staveley Derbyshire. Kick off 19.30 pm

As the freeze of the past ten days ended I noticed a game not far up the road at Staveley. Chesterfield FC had hired the all weather pitch to play their previously twice postponed ‘Derbyshire FA Senior Challenge Cup’ match. It was to have been played at Clay Cross’s ground but was postponed on 6th December due to a waterlogged ground and the 13th due to a frozen pitch.

Staveley had not missed out like other teams because of hard pitches and the drainage was more than adequate to cope with the change in temperature, a balmy 13 degrees and the slight drizzle that soon wet you through if you stood out in it.

Chesterfield’s team was styled as a Chesterfield FC XI as they were playing many youngsters as a group of their fans just behind me in the stand told me. They said that the only first team squad player was the goalkeeper Luke Chadwick.

This I’m sure was a disappointment to the Belper United players who would have loved to have pitted their skills against a team four promotions away from them. However it was understandable that Chesterfield were in this position as their FA Trophy game was postponed from Saturday and was to be replayed the next night. Chesterfield have also won through three rounds of the FA Cup, twice against League opposition, and now face a mouth watering home game against Championship team West Bromwich Albion in early January. They are also sitting third in the National League with games in hand with Notts County and Wrexham above them, this league is in my mind the hardest, most competitive to get out of in the pyramid structure.

The facilities as always are first class at this venue and the Chesterfield fans were expressing their admiration and comparing it to some of the grounds in their league. I had a coffee and some chips before the game but they did not come up to their usual standard and I will not comment further than say they were cold and I resorted to some tomato sauce to help them down.

Chesterfield FC XI 0 Belper United 3

3rd in National League v 14th in Unuted Counties Premier Division North

Chesterfield in an unusual all light green kit: Belper United all blue ki with a white flash across shoulder and down the arms.

You sometimes know the result of a game early on and this was no exception. Belper immediately showed that they wanted the win and pressed forward down the wings with some intensity and direction. Chesterfield however played the ball out of defense slowly from side to side and were overwhelmed by hungry opponents. How Belper didn’t take the lead on 12 minutes was a mystery. A corner for them was awarded after Chadwick had managed to tip a shot over the bar and when it came into the box it was met with some ferocity hitting the bar and bouncing down to a group of player of which a Chesterfield player managed to scramble it away.

Chesterfield did come more into it at the mid point of the half but they lacked any cutting edge and didn’t bother the away teams defense. The left full back for Belper was now playing more as a constant overlapping winger and one of his crosses was headed just over on 35 minutes. But two minutes later the inevitable happened as he again flashed in a cross which this time was met by Josh Gregory who right footed put the ball beyond the diving keeper into the left hand corner of the goal. So a deserved half time lead for Belper who came off the pitch to torrential rain.

Chesterfield were a little more direct after the restart but within 10 minutes another attack on the left made it to the goal line and the cross was rolled along the ground past the despairing goalkeeper for Richard Hanslow to tap home for Belpers’ second.

Belper played out the rest of the game with ease and made it three nil when yet another cross from the left was loop headed over Luke Chadwick’s dive by Jack Tyson.

The one bright spot for Chesterfield was the performance of the number 3, Archie White, according to the team sheet, who didn’t give up all night and provided many of their better plays.

Great to be back after the freeze and I would expect that Belper will have a harder game away against Gresley in the next round even if that club is a Division lower than them.

Art of the Terraces

Art of the Terraces – Football / Fashion / Art

Walker Gallery Liverpool, From 5th November 2022 to 12th March 2023.

This exhibition traces The Casuals, supporters of the late 70’s to the early 90’s. The Casusls wore their own brands and styles that had an initial base in tennis and golf wear that evolved. It was later to take up the trainer as the must have footwear with Adidas the favoured make and then specific ranges if they could be sourced.

The fashion had to be seen at the match and had its roots ‘Up North’ in the industrial cities that were reeling from the Thatcher Governments policy of closing heavy industry. The music fashion and art of the time was a reaction to this that gave a sense of purpose at a time of often little hope.

Although the exhibition is predominantly fashion and art focused there is some mention of the the growth of fanzines that were at times critical of the clubs and the game and also highlighted the music of the times.

Thegrounds were also important with their fading facades and names like the ‘Cow Shed’ the ‘Rookery’.

This was aĺ to change with the tragedies at Bradford and Sheffield.

The all seat, hospitality boxes and the birth of the Premiership with eye watering ticket prices and a disconnect with the huge sums of money that entered the game and often the players wages.

This is not nostalgia but a really well put together exhibition that not only informs but males you think.

If you have the time and are in the area it is well worth it.

Winter finally comes to football in Swinton.

Saturday 3rd December, Swinton Community Sports Ground, Barton Road Swinton, Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire

I finally made it back to Swinton after my abortive visit in September. We were then experiencing beautiful Autumn sunshine but this dull grey day seemed an age away. The ground is situated on the edge of a housing estate on the side of a hill and the 6 degrees seemed colder as the wind blew up the valley from the school down below.40 brave people had turned up despite Christmas events and shopping and the draw of the world cup on the television.

The pitch slopes slightly from end to end and is mainly flat with the surface showing some mud after the constant rain and previous games.Next to the pitch are training pitches that can be used by the seniors as well as a good junior set up for this community involved club.

The senor team this year have returned from exile after playing at the Mexborough ground and a new stand is being constructed to meet the grading standards of the league.

Swinton was one of the many coal mining towns in the area which I have been visiting recently, the area goes back at least as far as Roman times and was famous for its pottery industry in the 1800’s when Rockingham Pottery was world famous. The factory ceased production in 1842 but gave the world the style, Rococo after the factory name. Now light industry, warehousing and call centres have become staple industries of the whole area.

There is little about Swinton Athletic F.C.’s history with football having been played in the town in the 19th century. They joined the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League about 1990 where they have played since, often in either division . They have been active locally and have won the local Montagu Cup on 8 occasions starting in 1964.

Their opponents Hepworth United come from a village near Holmfirth and joined the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League in 2016 having previously played in the Huddersfield League. The club has been going for over 100 years in this farming village with locals also formerly employed in nearby textile mills.

I sat down on the girders that are part of the ground improvements as the teams came out and today at this level 10 league wins away from the Premiership there was only a referee to take charge of the game with no line officials.

Swinton Athletic 2 Hepworth United 0

Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League – Premier Division.

Swinton all blue kit that had some subtle vertical darker stripes on the front. Hepworth black shorts with vertical black and white striped shirts.

The chat amongst the fans was that both sides are without a few regulars with work and family Christmas commitments taking precedence.

Hepworth were first to put pressure on their opponents particularly down the left side but poor finishing let them down. Often if you don’t take your chances you will be punished and on 19 minutes the ball bobbled through to Swinton’s number 9 who placed it onto the right hand corner of the net between the keeper and the post.

Just 2 minutes later and a high ball in from the right was miss headed by a Hepworth defender and it fell again to number 9 who made no mistake with the gift to make it 2.0.
For the remainder of the half Swinton were the better side but couldn’t add to their tally by half time.

With a cold bum from sitting on the girder for the first 45 minutes I decided to have a walk round and watch the second half standing up. It was then the chill wind blowing up the hill hit me and I decided that winter was finally with us, late this year.

Hepworth were again fastest off the blocks and were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes for a blatant hand ball. However after what seemed an age the keeper dived the right way to save a weekly hit attempt. Hepworth shyness near goal continued, even the woodwork wasn’t helping when they hit the crossbar in the dying minutes.

Swinton deserved their win because they had taken their chances, surely Hepworth won’t miss so many this season.

There were no chips or catering facilities at the Swinton ground but next door is Park View Bar where you can get a drink and I believe some food before or after the match. For me this time it was a coffee and a packet of crisps. Swinton also entertain their team and the visitors there afterwards. Swinton have a long way to go but they are making some steps along the road at this community ground.