Long Eaton leave it very late.

The stand out game of the day to me was at Long Eaton just West of Nottingham. Long Eaton United were at home to Hebburn Town in a promotion chasing game.

Long Eaton vie with Grantham as to who is the most southerly in the Northern Premier League East and play at Grange Park with a 3G pitch and other grass pitches on the site. As I pulled up players were leaving the NJD Community Arena after playing junior games on the 3G pitch, vacating the large car park for the Senior game to follow.

The car was showing a heady 13.5 degrees even though there were light grey clouds covering the sky. The ground was very tidy with a big seated stand on one side, a terraced covered area on the opposite side and good hard standing around the rest of the pitch. The refreshment kiosk greets you as you go through the turnstiles alongside the club house. I was disappointed to find that with such an interesting game and good facilities there were only 248 there.

I sat high up at the back of the stand and behind the goal to my left I could see the cloud machine you pass on the M1, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station. The grass pitch looked very flat but was beginning to see the scars of a long season.

Hebburn Town were started in 1912 as the ‘Reyrolles’ works team plying local football in Jarrow. Having moved within leagues they eventually changed name to Hebburn Reyrolles in 1986 and two years later to Hebburn when they joined the Northern League. They yoyoed up and down leagues for some years having added the “Town’ name in 2000. They continued steady progress and highlighted with an FA Vase win at Wembley in 2020 against local rivals Consett. They were promoted to the Northern Premier League East, their current location, after the recent league reorganisation in 2021.

A team called Long Eaton St Helens played in the Derbyshire Alliance in 1907 and played in local leagues for around 20 years before disbanding. Long Eaton Town were established in July 1949 and spent many years in the Central Alliance, before moving to the Midland League in 1961.

In 1982 they were founder members of the Northern Counties East League, with the merger of two leagues. They stayed there for 7 years before opting to move to the Central Midlands League but by 2002 they were back in the Northern Counties East League.[9] They moved up to the Premier Division before changing leagues again in 2014 to the newly formed Midland League. Their nomadic days continued when reorganisations moved them to the Premier Division North of the United Counties League in 2021 which they won and were promoted to The Northern Premier League East where they sit today. They now hope to move up again via the play offs

Long Eaton United 3 HebburnTown 2

Saturday 18th March 2023. 15.00 pm Northern Premier League East. 4th v 2nd

Grange Park, Long Eaton, The blues v The railwaymen

Long Eaton, Royal Blue and black vertical stripes on the front of shirt, all blue on the back with black shorts: Hebburn Light blue shirts with white shorts.

Hebburn were a disappointment, sitting second in the league they had no answer for Long Eaton’s quick inter passing forwards with Fearon continually causing trouble on the right and setting up chances with good crosses.

It was no surprise that a cross led to long Eaton’s first goal. It was nodded down by walker to Cursons who appeared to miss kick the ball but it came back to him to just tap in with no one challenging.

Long Eaton continued to make chances and converted one just on half time when a flick header put Jamie Walker through who drew the keeper and slid the ball along the ground into the net for a two nil lead for the home side.

Hebburn had made one positional change by switching a different defender to marshal Fearon and when Long Eaton’s centre back went off with a shoulder injury and the away side subbed on two forwards the game changed. Hebburn took control and hit the bar, sent free kicks just over and scored on 70 minutes when Daniel Moore rose above everyone else to head the ball down into the goal. The ball was cleared off the line but the linesman who was in the correct position gave a goal as it had crossed the line.

Hebburn kept pressing and were awarded a penalty on 83 minutes when a player was tripped in the box. Olly Martin sent the keeper the wrong way as he hit the ball just inside the left post.

With the clock ticking over into added time Hebburn conceded a freekick to the right of the goal and Jamie Walker left footed stroked the ball past the Hebburn wall just inside the post for the winner. Hebburn after completely turning it around in the second half had themselves to blame for defending the free kick sloppily and coming up against a superb strike from the Long Eaton. If these two sides meet in the play offs it will be anyone’s game.

Great refreshments bar with a good variety on offer served in a helpful manner. The chips were red hot, crispy, golden, great taste and not greasy. If anything slightly overcooked but still a very good score of 69.

Football could be at your corner shop.

You may live in a neighbourhood where you have an RS McColl, McColls or Martin’s newsagent as a local shop. There are over 1100 of them, many with a post office within and more recently some have been changed to Morrisons Daily. More will now follow with last year’s takeover by Morrisons but they have also announced that 132 will be closing.

So what is this to do with football. Well it was all to do with a man from the St Rollox area of Glasgow named Robert Smyth McColl.

Robert was a promising footballer who started playing for a junior club called Benmore in 1892 at the age of 13. Two years later he moved to the amateur club Queens Park and success there led to a lucrative move to Newcastle United with a signing on fee of £300 of which he invested £100 into business with his brother Tom.

He stayed there until 1904 when he was transferred to Rangers, where he played for another 3 years before returning to Queens Park to see out his career. In that career he scored goals at almost one every two games. In one game near the end of his playing days, he scored 6 at Hampden Park, a record that still stands today. In fact he scored on average one a game for the 13 games he played for Scotland. He is still the only man to score three goals against all of the Home International teams.

Robert Smyth McColl finished his international career in a 4-1 victory over England at Celtic Park a year before he opened his first R S McColl store. He continued to increase the store portfolio until he retired in 1951, seven years before his death in 1958. A cup competition was named after him, the RS McColl cup junior football competition. – which is still played for today.

So if you are a football fan enjoy your McColls store until it is revamped and renamed.

Fields of Dreams and Broken Fences

Fields. Of Dreams and Broken Fences (Delving into the world of Non-League Football) by Aaron Moore

Published in 2022 by Pitch Publishing

This book was an easy read about Aaron Moore’s recent football adventures either side and during Covid.

There are 13 chapters taking in the losers in the great covid cancellation sacandal, the journeys of players into Non League football, the growth and decline of clubs, finding a level in the woman’s game and individuals visions and passions.

Aaron’s book is mainly about the South East of England with occasional forays north in particular Vauxhall Motors on the Wirral. Non the less it covers the Non League game and fraternity very well and once started it is hard to put down.

I believe it to be his first book and I will look out for anymore in the future.

It’s not all plain sailing at the top.

I drove 18 miles to Retford United and the contrasts were amazing, no snow and a temperature of 7.5 degrees whereas at home it was six inches of thawing snow and 2.5 degrees. There were Grey skies and a light wind but it felt almost tropical compared to the previous few days.

Retford was one of the games on that were near to me and I thought I would catch up with the Central Midlands North League leaders as they move towards a promotion to either the Northern Counties East Division 1 or the United Counties Division 1. There are a few overlapping anomalies at the border of these leagues which I’m sure the FA will sort in future seasons. Retford had been undefeated in the league until last time out and were playing a hard to beat Bentley side. I estimated about 100 were there to witness the outcome.

Retford’s ground is on the edge of town surrounded by fields and has a very large car park to the front of the stadium. The pitch slopes slightly from end to end, has a few undulations and a very good grass cover for the time of year. There is a covered seated stand on one side with the changing rooms, club house, administrative rooms and a food kiosk on the other. Behind one goal there is covered standing and open standing at the other.

Retford United have been going since 1987 and were formed to provide football in the town after the demise of Retford Town. They have had a meteoric rise to the Northern Premier League Premier Division and back down again to where they are today. After their fall they are now aiming to progress back up the pyramid and catch up neighbours Retford FC.

AFC Bentley are mere infants in the Non League world having been born out of Brodsworth Welfare FC and Bentley Colliery FC in around 2015. They have set up as a Community club and run teams at all levels. The club has consolidated its position in the league and is quickly updating it’s facilities to move up the leagues in the future.

Retford United 2 AFC Bentley 1

Saturday 11th March 15.00pm kick off.

Central Midlands Football League North

Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire DN 22 0DR

1st v 8th

Retford, white shirt backs with vertical black and white fronts, black shorts: Bentley, green shirts and shorts.

The game was competitive from the start and the referee took some verbal chat from the away side. Retford looked quick when they went wide and on 13 minutes a ball through on the right to Mark West was clipped back along the ground for Charlie Baird to back heel it into the net for the lead. Retford seemed to relax after this and allowed Bentley to grow in confidence. Despite West hitting the post and Retford’s left back causing some good defending from his long throws Retford were unable to add to their tally by half time.

Bentley were the dominant team in the second half and with 18 minutes gone of the second half they swarmed forward overwhelming the Retford defense for them to be able to score by the left hand post.

For all of Retfords huff and puff they could not find a way past the resolute defence and some fine saves by the goalkeeper, Danial Lister, from West and Barlow.

Bentley had a player sin binned and one sent off both of which I believe were for dissent. Their trainer too was yellow carded and with all of the stoppages there was a long period of added time. A few minutes before this Max Pemberton rose to meet the ball from a corner and planted it downwards into the net for what had looked an improbable win.

Retford did not seem to have the swagger they had when I saw them demolish Dinnington on Christmas Eve. Perhaps it is the expectation of being champions that is weighing on them that has seen their first defeat and making hard work of this game. Mark West too, their prolific scorer, is stuck on 99 goals for the club and just can’t get over the line.

The chips were hot, skins on, crispy, tasty with no greasy after taste. A good score of 66.

Battle of the football titans.

Bishop Auckland v Whitley Bay to many would not seem a top match but this was a game I had looked forward to.

Both teams play in the Northern League and were in good positions to win the league but have in recent weeks fallen away. Why then my title, well both have an illustrious history that can’t be matched by any others at their level of football.

Bishop Auckland appeared in eighteen FA Amateur Cup finals during its 80 odd year run, winning ten, before that competition became the FA Vase of which Whitley Bay have won four, three in a row in 2009, 2010 and 2011. No other teams has won as many.

Bishop Auckland’s ground is modern on the edge of a large retail park that is growing in size across the already busy main road. The centre of Bishop Auckland has that very run down feel which has new grant money to try to regenerate it. One idea currently up for consultation is to build a new multi million pound bus terminal to help turn things around. I think the money would be better spent on increasing affordable busses to serve the expanding and ultra busy retail park which might help to take some of the cars away.

The afternoon was grey with a cold bite in the air at 3.5 degrees which had not put off the 346 who had made it to the match. The ground has good facilities with a large seated stand on one side, more uncovered seating behind one goal and covered terraced standing behind the other. There is a food kiosk with a good range of food and drink, tarmacadam parking area and a hospitality area which I did not look into. The club also have their own shop in town in the cultural quarter, an area that boasts the refurbished town hall/theatre, Mining Art Museum, Spanish Art Gallery, Auckland Tower, El Castillo tapas restaurant, Auckland Castle, grounds and gardens and soon to be opened Faith Museum, mostly part of the Auckland Project that has been driven by the philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer. The football shop has all types of historical artifacts and information about this important club and if time had permitted I could have spent much longer there.

Bishop Auckland trace their history back to 1882 when theological students studying at the castle formed a team called Bishop Auckland Church Institute but a dispute meant a break away club, Auckland Town, was crated in 1886 and from this Bishop Auckland Football Club. Their iconic quartered shirts of light and dark blue represent the colours of those original students from Oxbridge. Auckland Town were founder members of the Northern League but it was as Bishop Auckland that they were members from 1893 to 1988 and 2006 to date. They spent the other years in the Northern Premier League which at that time was only one league away from the Football League. They moved to their current ground in 2010 after nearly a decade of ground sharing. This is a very brief history that touches the very surface of their many cup and League triumphs and the players who represented their country or went on to play for clubs at the highest level.

The present Whitley Bay team was formed in 1950 named Whitley Bay Athletic as members of the Northern Alliance League and joined the Northern League as Whitley Bay FC in 1958. Like Bishop Auckland they can boast many cup and League successes but it is those FA Vase wins that set them apart from others.

Bishop Auckland FC 3 Whitley Bay FC 0

Saturday 4th March. 15.00 kick off. Northern League. 3rd v 4th. Bishops v Seahorses

Heritage Park, Stadium Way, Bishop Auckland, DL 14 9AE.

Bishop Auckland, Shirts, bark blue and light blue quarters with dark blue shorts: Whitley Bay, shits have black shoulders and neck that graduates into yellow with black shorts.

There was 1 minutes silence for ex manager, Tony Lee before the game who had served the club for many successful seasons in the past.

The 1st 15 minutes were edged by the Seahorses who gained the upper hand in midfield and down the left and should have had a penalty when Elliot Day was tripped but somehow kept his balance to tamely shoot at goal. I’m sure that if he had gone down the referee would have had no alternative but to point to the penalty spot.

The home side did have the ball in the net just after but this was ruled as offside. Bishops now came more into the game but what struck me most was the best long ball passing I have seen anywhere all season from both sides, great to see it successfully executed rather than some of the pedestrian crab like playing out of defence that is the current trend.

With the game poised for half time in the 4th minute of added time Marcus Giles received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and his shot was cruelly deflected past the away goalkeeper who was going the other way for 1.0.

Bishop Auckland kicked down hill in the second half on the undulating good grass pitch and took control from the start. They doubled their lead after 67 minutes when some neat inter-passing on the left corner of the penalty box gave Lewis Johnson the space to cut inside and hit a right foot curling shot round defenders and the goalkeeper into the right hand corner of the goal.
It was all over ten minutes later when substitute Callum Patton was put through and he drew the keeper and tapped the ball to his left where Dean Thexton was free to stroke the ball home for a three nil win.

The win for The Bishops keeps their League title hopes alive and I saw a competitive, skilful game, thank you. My man of the match was Whitley Bay’s Elliot Day who created chances on the left, defended well, was vocal in marshalling his colleagues but was subbed off around 70 minutes when he seemed to injure his leg after an awkward tackle.

The officials had a good game and they say that when policemen look young you are getting old well the girl running the line looked like she could have been my granddaughter. However she took some stick from the home fans for offside decisions. not her age or sex and was confident to hold up play for an off ball incident that gained a player a booking.

Finally the chips, of which I am embarrassed to comment, they were cold and soggy and I threw most away. A score of only 33. Perhaps I was given the end of a batch that had been cooked sometime before I bought them.


A grey day in Hemsworth.

After some United Counties League games I returned to see a Northern Counties East League game at Hemsworth, south e8ast of Wakefield.

I have seen Hemsworth play at home before but they actually played away in an F.A. Cup game because their ground was not available at the time. Now it is a modern flat synthetic pitch with picturesque white fencing around the pitch.

Hemsworth Miners Welfare were playing Handsworth F.C. from Sheffield who have also had a 3G pitch fitted in recent times. Whereas in the past playing at home on a 3G pitch could be an advantage there are so many now that this has disappeared.

It was a very grey day with a hint of rain in the air that turned to drizzle by the start. The ground is next to a cricket pitch reached through a housing estate where you find ample parking. The neat ground has hard standing all round and on the side with the dugouts there is a seated covered stand. On the other side are a brick built changing room and hospitality facilities that have a bar and cafe, next to this is a modern building of offices and rooms to hire.

The Hemsworth Miners Welfare Club is relatively new having been founded in 1981 from the disbanded Hemsworth Colliery F.C. They initially played in local Barnsley and Doncaster Leagues but moved up to the West Riding League around 1996. They made progress into the Northern Counties East League in 2008 after considerable ground improvements. They have maintained that level of football but increased the facilities adding to the hospitality area, a 3G pitch and teams in all ages and categories of the game as well as a tech academy school. A true community club through a community effort.

Handsworth are an even younger club evolving into existence in 2014 after the merger of Hansworth F.C. and Worksop Parramore. The new club started life at the Northern Counties East level which Worksop Parramore had previously inhabited. 2019 was another major landmark in the clubs history when they returned to their Olivers Mount location in Sheffield which has seen a new 3G pitch installed along with pitch side facilities. These facilities are now being used by the many teams that the club run or hire their facilities to.

Hemsworth Miners Welfare F.C 1 Handsworth F. C. 0

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

Saturday 18th February 2023 15.00pm kick off

The Wells v The Ambers 6th v 11th

Hemsworh in all blue v Handsworth in all red.

Hemsworth just edged the start of the game as the drizzle turned to rain and the wind blew down the pitch behind them. Their pressure built and after hitting the post two point blank saves by the away goalkeeper stopped them taking the lead.Handsworth though did have some chances with one opportunity hit straight at Hemsworths keeper. The two goalkeepers continued to shine in the gloom and were the reason it was all square at half time.

Both clubs continued their endeavours after the break as the rain stopped and the wind eased. Shortly after the restart the Handsworth number 9 was sin binned for what seemed to be arguing with the referee. This didn’t change the to and fro of the game which despite the competitive play lacked a spark to ignite the 140 spectators.

With 7 minutes left a cross from the home sides Washington caught Handsworth completely out of shape and of the three Hemsworth players that had found uncontested space it was Ben Gelder who rose to head the ball into the net for a one nil lead and the win.

Hemsworth had gained the three points in a contest that was destined for a draw. Perhaps it was the dull grey day that had dulled my appreciation of the football.

The chips were hot, chunky, tasty, not greasy but a bit anaemic scoring a good 78. Unfortunately the coffee was very weak but it was at least hot and welcome on the blustery day.

The long march to football.

Dropped off by my wife at Southwell City F.C.’s ground early I was drinking a coffee in their new immaculate club house when my phone went. It was my wife to say that when I left the car I had taken the keys with me and she was now parked outside Southwell Minster on double yellow lines and couldn’t restart the car. Initial panic turned into let’s get this sorted but a quick check on Google showed me she was 1.7 miles and 33 minutes by foot away.

Southwell had moved to their new out of town site in the Autumn of 2021, 18 months ago. A taxi would be the answer but after 4 calls and the only chance of collection was by a firm in Newark and they were 30 mins away my decision to start walking was vindicated. 25 minutes later, I reached her, not too much talk of my stupidity, as we quickly drove back to the ground to have only missed a minute. The loo unfortunately called me and coming out of the clubhouse I found that Sothwell had taken the lead. Time to relax and watch the football.

As I said earlier the Centenary Sports Ground is new and still being developed and it certainly looks the part with good car parking space, lovely club house incudingva large TV showing the West Ham v Chelsea game and hard standing for fans. Evidently a seated stand should be erected soon. It’s a shame that only 91 people had paid to see the game and see the home team take on the league leaders, Aylestone Park. Aylestone had only lost three games in the league and their free scoring antics had created a 99 goal difference.

The pitch has a slight slope from side to side and being so new the grass was wearing and the surface caused the ball to bobble. A few years cutting and the use of rollers will create a good surface.

Aylestone Park are a relatively new club being formed in 1980 as a Sunday League club and soon added Saturday football in local Leicestershire Leagues. Things took off from 2010 with a new ground and two years later promotion to the East Midlands County League. The recent national reorganisation has brought them to their current league where if the run in to the end of the season goes as well as results so far should see them move up a step to match their improved facilities.

Southwell City were formed in 1893 but early records are sketchy with the club believed to have played in the Newark area. The team was devastated through casualties in the Great War and although football was played in Southwell it wasn’t until its reformation in 1955 that the current club truly emerged. They joined the Notts Football Alliance in 1957 where they stayed until the end of the 2002/03 season, when a move to the Central Midlands League was completed. On their journey the football club merged with Southwell United Youth Football and Southwell Amateurs and have created a Community Charter club that caters for all grades of the game. This has been achieved through developing their old and new grounds. Winning the Notts Senior League last season gained them promotion to the United Counties Division One.

Southwell City 3 Aylestone Park 4

Saturday 11th February 2023. 15.00 p.m. kick off

14th v 1st. Zebras v The Park

Southwell, black and white verticsl striped shirts, black shorts: Aylestone Park, red shirts and red shorts.

I missed the first goal in just 3 minutes scored by George Cudwell to put Southwell ahead. This jolted Aylestone into action and they exerted maximum pressure for an equaliser especially down the left through Aaron Nuttall. Within 10 minutes Nuttall was brought down for a penalty which Tendai Daire took. The goalkeeper dived to his left and kept the ball out but Daire’s momentum kept him running on to blast it home for 1.1.

Within ten minutes Nuttal had scored when the ball had fallen to him after some heavy pressure in the goal mouth 1.2.

Aylestone’s quick skillful forwards kept pressing but it was the home team who hit back on 33 minutes when a long throw caused panic in the visitors defense and lead to a corner that was taken by Oliver McCourt . The corner sailed over everyone straight into the net to put both sides level 2.2. The all out attacking football continued to half time and it looked like any one could win it in the second half.

Aylestone looked sharper immediately after the restart and within 3 minutes they were ahead when Tendai Daire rose above everyone to place a strong header into the net from a corner 2.3. The away side made it four on 66 minutes when Mathew Laugham scored by heading over the advancing goalkeeper into the net after a beautiful cross from the right 2.4.

Aaron Nuttall continued his harassment down the left and drew a yellow card for Edward Munton who had replaced his previous marker.

This superiority was not capitalised on when at the other end a balll in from right caused indecision by the away defense and the Zebras forward, Morgan Shevlin ghosted in to place the ball along groud between many legs for 3.4.

It was now end to end and Aaron Nuttall, referred to as ‘nutter’ by away fans drew another foul from Edward Munton and a red card.

Aylestone held out and despite the difference in league placings there was little between the sides. What a great game and a further example to me that the United Counties Leagues are getting stronger and stronger.

Alas no chips but a coffee instead having forgone the four varieties of pies on offer due to yet another weight loss program.

Non-League Day 2023

This years Non-League day is on the 25th March when there are no Premiership games and few EFL due to Internationals.

Many clubs come up with innovative ideas to encourage people through the turnstiles, so look out for your own local teams games on 25th March. Often there are discounted admission prices to entice you along. Some clubs tie it in with raising money for a charity.

Non-League Day is attributed to James Doe who suggested it in 2010 and it has grown every year that it has been scheduled. The football authorities and the senior clubs all support it.

One club getting in the spirit of the day is Emley, good luck to them.

The football was hectic and I was exhausted by half time.

I saw that there was a hurriedly rearranged fixture between Kimberley Miners Welfare and Anstey Nomads who are bearing down on league leaders Loughborough Students with a hat full of games in hand. So I journeyed south with the anticipation of a good competitive game. Even the program was online because Kimberley didn’t have time to get it printed. Luckily the game was on despite the early morning frost but there was still a chill in the air on a clear night.

Kimberley’s ground is very close to the town centre and is just off the main street surrounded by housing. I found my way to the entrance past the Stag Inn, the sponsors of Kimberley, down two alleys whilst all along being able to see the brightly light stadium.

The facilities are ample for this level but look like they could do with some updating should they progress. There is a club house, changing room and an outside bar, not open for the evening, along with some low level covered seating one side and a covered standing area behind one goal with signs on the floor saying don’t stand in this area. The pitch slopes slightly from end to end and side to side in the far corner and the grass covering is beginning to show the effects of the playing season.

Kimberley Miners Welfare have been in existence for nearly 100 years having been formed in 1926 by the Miners Welfare.They played in different leagues around Nottinghamshire until 2014 when they joined the East Midlands Counties League. The league was disbanded 7 years later and they were placed in the United Counties League Division One, due to the Non-League reorganisation, which they won at their first attempt. They now play at the highest level of football they have ever achieved.

Anstey Nomads were started 20 years after Kimberley being born out of a Methodist Church team and adopted their current name just after. They have mainly played in local Leicestershire Leagues moving up to the East Midlands Counties League in 2008 and the United Counties League in 2018 where they gained promotion to the Premier Division that was split into North and South in 2021. They too have reached their highest league level so far.

Kimberley Miners Welfare 1 Anstey Nomads 1

Tuesday 7th February 2023, 19.45.p.m kick off. United Counties Premier League, Division North.

The Stag Ground, Kimberley, Nottinghamshire, Miners v Nomads 8th v 2nd

Kimberley, red and black vertical striped shirt front, all red at back with white shorts: Anstey, all navy blue shirts and shorts.

With the flood lights glowing in the clear sky it was difficult to make out the referee from the away team but those on the pitch seemed to have no problem as he controlled this pulsating game from the off.

Anstey stamped a superiority on the first 25 minutes though they were repulsed by a committed home defense with their number 3 being heavily involved in vital tackles and blocks. This pattern of play continued, with some very fast breaks by the home side, until the 34th minute when an Anstey free kick from the left corner of the penalty area by Corey Armeni was whipped in. The Kimberley goal keeper looked to be about to pluck it from the air when the ball appeared to be deflected passed him, the stunned look on his face said it all. The to and fro football went on until half time when I retired to the club house for another coffee and to calm down.

Anstey Nomads returned to their dominance in the second half but some well placed balls to the wings meant the fast Kimberley forwards exerted continuing pressure but their lack of a clinical last touch near goal restricted their chances. The continued pace, particularly from Kimberley’s number 7 now caused the Nomads more and more problems and this resulted in more fouls.

When a Kimberley player burst into the box on 80 minutes he was up ended before his shot was put away. You could feel the tension as James Shaw coolly waited and struck his penalty to the left of the goal keeper to make it all square.

Although there was much endeavour the game ran out a draw on what turned out to be a pulsating game that deserved to be a level in the end. The players must have been exhausted after total commitment by both sides and a pace that left me breathless if not them. What an enjoyable game that was watched by only 108 spectators, for those who stayed away they missed a great game.

Unfortunately no chips at Kimberley, I was jealous when two girls left half way through the first half to nip to the local chip shop and then came back and ate them near me. The smell was torture.

Bottom of the table clash produces some great football.

A local trip to Kiveton was rewarded by a well contested game with lots of skill at this bottom of the table encounter. I also went to give a previous winner of my chip league a chance to regain their title.

The Kiveton Miners Welfare Club are very new only having taken over the reigns of Renishaw F.C. in the last few years. They are developing a community club that has already added youth teams to their set up.

Phoenix AFC on the other hand started life 100 years ago in the Sheffield and District Works League as Steel, Peech and Tozer. They adopted the Phoenix name in 1971 then playing in the Hallamshire County Senior League. They merged with fellow league members Ash House in 1995 to become Ash House Phoenix which ,lasted only two years before they disbanded and resumed as Phoenix. This lasted until 2007 when difficulties meant another reorganisation and a move to the Central Midlands League where they sit today.

Kiveton Miners Welfare FC 3 AFC Phoenix 1

It was a grey day with a gentle breeze that brought just over 30 people to the park on an afternoon dominated by rugby on the television. The end to end sloping pitch looked really well with the grass just lightly cut and rollered to give a pleasing striped effect.

Central Midlands League Premier Division North. Saturday 4th February, 14.00 pm kick off

13th v 15th (Last Place in the division)

Kiveton, red shirts and black shorts: Phoenix, yellow shirts and green shorts.

Kiveton kicked downhill in the first half and unlike the train that sauntered past on its way from Sheffield to Worksop they were soon in their stride.
On 9 minutes they were ahead when a through ball was met by 7 who steadied himself and as defenders caught him up he moved the ball to his left foot and curled it into top left of net.

Some continuous attacks down the right were rewarded on 33 mins when the right back burst forward passed the ball on and the team mate took it to the byline and dragged it right across goal line to be tapped in at far post for 2 nil.

The home side were unlucky not to go farther ahead after 37 minutes when they hit the right hand post with a header from a corner. For all of Kiveton’s superiority four minutes later a Phoenix corner from the right was cleared to another Phoenix player who shot and after some pinball in the goal mouth was finally hit home by Chris Hopkins into roof of the net for 2.1
A good half of football that was really enjoyable for this level.

After 10 minutes of the second half a Phoenix player was sin binned for I believe inappropriate language which led to them coming under severe pressure and it was a surprise to all that the officials did not react to penalty appeals for Kiveton when on 17 minutes their centre forward was bundled down in the penalty area. Phoenix though settled themselves and started to have the best of play but they could not find an equaliser and Kiveton put the game to bed on 37 minutes when a ball was clipped over the Phoenix goalkeeper for a home player to nod it in for their third.

Phoenix finished the game on top and with minutes to go the Kiveton manager was red carded.

A really enjoyable game and there must be some good teams above this bottom of the table struggle as there was plenty of talent on show.

Finally the chips, these were cooked to order, McCains, were red hot, tasty, no greasy after taste and soft in the middle and presented superbly in a paper container. Unfortunately they were not as good as last weeks Bradford chips but scored a brilliant 81.