Local non-league w/c 2 May 2016 for Step7 + below

Although the likes of the NPL and NCEL have now come to a close for this season, there are still plenty of games taking place over the next couple of weeks at Step 7 and below. Here’s a weekdays compilation for the 4 main West and South Yorkshire Leagues – as always, please double check on the individual league websites for any news of late amendments to the list below.

Doncaster Senior League: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=573334513

Sheff Co Senior Lg: http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/shcsl/LeagueFixtures

WRCAL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=655123831

WYL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=991443655

Also worth a mention on Saturday 7 May the  Castleford FA Cup final takes place at Kelingley Welfare (2.30pm) between Kellingley Welfare and  Pontefract Town.


Mon 2 May
WYL Prem  Beeston St.Anthony’s v Oxenhope Rec   6.30        St.Anthony’s Rd
WYL Prem  Carlton Athletic v Horbury Town       6.30        Carlton Cricket Club
Dist Cup  Field v Campion                       2.00        Eccleshill Utd FC
Dist Cup  Wetherby Ath v Thorpe Utd             4.00        Selby Town FC

Tues 3 May
DSL Prem  Brodsworth Welfare v Sutton Rovers    6.30        Bentley Colliery
DSL Prem  Kinsley Boys v FC Graceholme          7.30        Kinsley Stadium
DSL D1    Balby Rec v Hemsworth Elite           6.30        Balby Carr Academy
DSL D1    Doncaster Deaf Trust v Denaby Utd Ac  6.30        Donc Deaf College

Wed 4 May
SCSL Prem  Millmoor Juniors v Wickersley        6.00        Grange Park
SCSL Prem  North Gawber Colliery v Oughtibridge 6.00        Woolley MW
SCSL Prem  Swinton Ath v AFC Penistone Church   6.00        Mexborough Ath Ground
SCSL D1    Kingstone Utd v Millmoor Jnrs Res    6.00        The Fleets
SCSl D2    Sheffield Lane Top v Bawtry Town     7.00        Civil Service Ground
WRCAL Prem  Golcar United v Huddersfield YMCA   6.00        Longfields Rec
WRCAL Prem  Lower Hopton v Lepton Highlanders   6.00        Woodend Road
WRCAL D1    Westbrook YMCA v Holmfirth Town     6.00        Lawnswood YMC
WYL D1     Aberford Albion v Headingley         6.30        Bunkers Hill
WYL D1     Featherstone Colliery v Leeds Mods   6.30        Featherstone MW
WYL D1     Ilkley Town v Old Centralians        6.30        Ben Rhydding Sports Club
WYL D1     Stanley Utd v Thornhill              6.30        Stanley Rodillians Rugby Club

Thur 5 May
DSL Prem   Sutton Rovers v AFC Graceholme       7.30        Askern Welfare
Dist Cup   Hartshead v Howden Clough            7.30        Ossett Town FC

Fri 6 May              
DSL Prem Div Cup final at Askern (7.30pm) Dunscroft Utd v Kinsley Boys
SCSL D1    Byron House v Wombwell Main          6.00        SWD Olive Grove
WRCAL Prem Campion v Huddersfield YMCA          6.00        Manningham Mills
Dist Cup   Oxenhope Rec v Wilsden               7.30        Silsden FC

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Non-League fixtures, w/c Mon 25 April 2016 (Step 7+ below)

Here’s a list of this week’s non-league football fixtures in West and South Yorkshire in the four main Step 7+below leagues, compiled from the following four sets of fixtures:

Doncaster Senior League: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=573334513

Sheff Co Senior Lg: http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/shcsl/LeagueFixtures

WRCAL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=655123831

WYL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=991443655

Fixtures were checked on Sunday, but please double-confirm on the relevant page before setting out! Also I tend to omit reserve fixtures, so if your interested in those, there are likely to be be some additional games in the lower divisions of the above.

In addition to league games, there are also a couple of cup finals to chose from on Friday, and one in the SCSL on Monday.

Mon 25 April
SCSL Pr    Houghton Main v Millmoor Jnrs         6pm        Middlecliffe Lane
SCSL Pr    Thorpe Hesley v Frechville CA         6pm        Rockingham Community Centre
SCSL D1    Byron House v Wombwell Main           6pm        Norton Playing Fields
SCSL D2 Cup Final  Grimethorpe Sports v Jubilee Sports  7.30pm  Worksop Sandy Lane

WRCAL D1   Westbrook YMCA v Campion Res          6pm        Lawnswood YMCA

WYL Prem   Otley Town v Beeston St.Anthony’s     6.15       Old Showground

Tue 26 April
DSL Pr     Dunscroft Utd v Armthorpe Markham Mn  6.30       Dunscroft Welfare
DSL Pr     Sutton Rovers v Kinsley Boys          7.30       Askern Welfare

Wed 27 April
SCSL D2    New Bohemians v Grimethorpe Sports    6pm        SHU Sports Ground
SCSL D2    Sheffield Lane Top v Treeton Terriers 6pm        Civil Service Ground

WRCAL Prem  Campion v Halifax Irish              6pm        AA Van Hire Stadium (Manningham Mills Sports)
WRCAL Prem  Golcar Utd v Lepton Highlanders      6pm        Longfields Rec Ground
WRCAL Prem  Littletown v Huddersfield YMCA       6pm        Beck Lane
WRCAL Prem  Lower Hopton v Lepton Highlanders    6pm        Woodend Road
WRCAL Prem  Ovenden West Riding v Salts          6pm        Natty Lane
WRCAL D1    Westbrook YMCA v Steeton Res         6pm        Lawnswood YMCA

WYL Prem  Brighouse OB v Oxenhope Recreation     6.15       Hipperholme & Lightcliffe School
WYL Prem  Pool v Field                           6.15       Arthington Lane
WYL Prem  Robin Hood Ath v Horbury Town          6.15       Coach & Horses Ground
WYL D1    Featherstone Colliery v Thornhill      6.15       Featherstone MW
WYL D1    Ilkley Town v Whitkirk Wanderers       6.15       Ben Rhydding Sports Club
WYL D2    Ossett Common Rovers v Howden Clough   6.15       Illingworth Park

Fri 29 April
DSL D1 Cup final at Yorkshire Main (7.30pm) Denaby Utd Academy v Hemsworth Elite. 
West Riding County Cup final at Fleet Lane, Woodlesford (7.30pm) Beeston St Ants v Carlton Ath.
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Non-League fixtures, w/c Mon 18 April 2016 (Step 7+ below)

Having just cobbled together a list of this week’s non-league football fixtures in West and South Yorkshire in the four main Step 7 leagues for my own planning purposes, I thought I’d share… and providing time allows, I also intend to do this for the next few weeks till the season ends.

Leagues covered are the West Yorkshire League, West Riding County Amateur League, Doncaster Senior League and the Sheffield Senior League. The usual caveat applies – i.e. please check with the individual league websites first, rather than assuming the info below is still correct! This list is simply intended as a calendar planning type-device.

Doncaster Senior League fixtures: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=573334513

Sheff Co Senior Lg: http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/shcsl/LeagueFixtures

WRCAL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=655123831

WYL: http://full-time.thefa.com/ListPublicFixture.do?divisionseason=991443655


Mon 18 April
SCSL Prem  Thorpe Hesley v Swinton Ath       6pm   (Rockingham Community Centre)
SCSL D1    Silkstone Utd v Caribbean Sports  6pm   (Silkstone Rec Ground)
WYL Prem   Hunslet Club v Carlton Ath      6.15    (Hunslet Club)
WYL Prem   Field v Robin Hood Ath          7.30    (Field Sports & Social)


Tue 19 April
DSL Prem   Dunscroft Utd v Kinsley Boys       6.30
DSL Prem   Sutton Rovers v South Elmsall US   7.30
DSL D1     Doncaster Deaf Trust v Askern FC   6.30
Wed 20 April
DSL Prem   Brodsworth Welfare v Rossington Main   6.30   (Bentley Colliery)

SCSL Prem  Frechville CA v Penistone Church    7.45pm    (Handsworth)
SCSL Prem  Houghton Main v Thorpe Hesley      6pm        (Middlecliffe Lane)
SCSL D1    Davy v Kingstone Utd               6pm        (Davy Sports Ground)
SCSL D1    Silkstone Utd v Denaby Main JFC    6pm        (Silkstone Rec Ground)
SCSL D1    South Kirkby Coll v Denaby Utd     6.30       (South Kirkby MW)
SCSL D1    Wombwell Main v Ecclesfield Red Rose   6pm    (Wombwell Main Cricket Club)

WRCAL Prem   Halifax Irish v Steeton        6pm          (West Vale Playing Fields)
WRCAL Prem   Lepton Highlanders v Huddersfield YMCA  6pm (Lepton Sports & Social)
WRCAL Prem   Salts v Campion                6.15         (Salts Sports Ground)
WRCAL D1     DRAM Community FC v Honley     6pm          (DRAM Sports Centre)
WRCAL D1     Newsome v Holmfirth Town       6pm          (Primrose Hill)

WYL Prem     Leeds City v Wetherby Ath       6.15        (Adel WMC)
WYL Prem     Pool v Otley Town               6.15        (Arthington Lane)
WYL Lg Cup   Brighouse OB v Carlton Ath      7.30        (Storthes Hall)
WYL D1       Headingley v Ilkley Town        6.15        (Weetwood Playing Fields)
WYL D1       Leeds Modernians v Hartshead    6.15        (Cookridge Lane)
WYL D1       Old Centralians v Whitkirk Wanderers  6.15  (West Park Development Centre Fields)
WYL D2       Barwick v Normanton Woodhouse Hill    6.15  (Chapel Lane)
WYL D2       Huddersfield Amatr v Howden Clough    6.15  (Old Earth)

Thurs 21 April
SCSL Rosehill Cup Final Handsworth Parra Res v Grimethorpe Sports 7.30  (Penistone Church)

WYL Lg Cup   Horbury Town v Beeston St Anthony’s  7.30   (Crofton Community Centre)

 

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Sat 19 March 2016, Barton Town OB v Worksop Town (NCEL Prem)

Match Details: Barton Town OB 2 2 Worksop Town (NCEL Premier Division)

Goalscorers: [Barton T] Danny Norton (46), Henry Gill 89; [Worksop] Conor Higginson (22, 27)

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Location: Marsh Lane, Barton-on-Humber, DN18 5JD
Admission: £5 (Programme £1.50)
Attendance: 180
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Ground Overview: Continuing in the Dribbling Code’s quest to cover all of the region’s non-league clubs, today’s mission was to set the controls for Barton-on-Humber. The town lies on the south banks of the River Humber (meaning that if you’re coming from north of the river, a £1.50 each-way toll is charged to cross the glittering showbiz Humber Bridge), and is is roundabout a mile inland – hence the Swans nickname, I guess! For public transport users, it is really close to Barton-on-Humber railway station, though trains run very infrequently, and the more feasible option may be to travel to Scunthorpe instead, and then get the hourly bus which takes around 40 mins.
Situated next to the cricket club (but in an entirely separate complex), there is a fairly sizeable car park at the Marsh Lane ‘Euronics stadium’. The ground seems perfectly appointed for this level of non-league, with a nice indoor bar / clubhouse which overlooks the pitch, shows half-time league scores on telly, etc. Covered accommodation for spectators comes courtesy of a fairly wide seated stand across the halfway line, and a small amount of stepped terracing behind one of the goals.

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Match Report: As a couple of weeks have now passed before I’ve had chance to write this up, I won’t attempt to go into much detail on what happened on the pitch. Worksop Town came into today’s game with either an outside chance of promotion, or clutching at straws, depending on who you spoke to. The players and the management certainly still believed, and set about Barton like they knew a win was a must. Conor Higginson was ever-dangerous and by half-time had bagged two goals to put the visitors in a comfortable lead.
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Looking at their website, Barton seem to have quite a number of players out through injury at the moment. Despite this, they came out for the second period driven to do themselves justice, and whatever the management team of Dave Anderson and Mally Parker said at half-time was worth the man-of-the-match award in itself, as up till then Worksop were coasting. Maybe the visitors took their foot of the gas a bit, but Barton were like a different team.
Within a minute of the restart, Danny Norton had bagged a goal back, and from then on, the game was very nip-and-tuck. With Worksop torn between hanging onto their lead but sensing that a third goal may be needed, it really could have gone either way. Both sides had some good chances in the closing stages, but it was Barton who made the decisive breakthrough. With just a couple of minutes left on the clock, Henry Gill struck the equaliser, and the 2-2 final scoreline was a fair reflection on what had happened on the pitch. Worksop had the quality, but too many sloppy passes or lapses in possession had cost them the win. Barton had showed that hard work and endevour and team spirit can get you just as far and deservedly got something out of the game, much to the delight of the home fans.
For Worksop, that’s probably their realistic hopes of promotion over for this season, but equally importantly, they have just secured another season at Sandy Lane, so all is not doom and gloom. I’m sure they’ll be back stronger next year.
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Full photo gallery at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedribblingcode/albums/72157664310682874

Twitter updates: @dribblingcode

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Sat 26 March 2016, Grimsby Borough v AFC Emley (NCEL D1)

LATE LOBENDHAN WONDER STRIKE GIVES BOROUGH BLOW JOB CLIMAX

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Match Details: Grimsby Borough 1 – 1 AFC Emley (NCEL Division One)

Goalscorers: [Grimsby] Renzie Lobendhan (90+); [Emley] Steve Cooper OG (71)

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Location: Bradley Road Community Stadium / Football Development Centre, Grimsby, .
Admission: £4 (Programme £1)
Attendance: 85
Ground Overview: The complex is a good 30-40 mins walk from Grimsby Town rail station if coming by train (buses runs every 5 mins though to the roundabout at the end of Bradley Road), otherwise there is ample parking at the ground for drivers. Originally the Bradley Community Stadium and now know as the Football Development Centre instead, the site is currently home to both Grimsby Borough and Cleethorpes Town, who share what has been designed as a community resource. My tour guide for the afternoon told me that before its redevelopment a decade or so back, t’was all just pitches marked out on fields here, so the work included enclosing and railing a pitch, installation of two stands, and the building of a clubhouse / changing rooms, as well as installation of an adjoining all-weather pitch as well. It seems like it gets well used by a variety of local teams, also including the ladies side which Grimsby Borough now run.

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Match Report: The mighty mix of wind and rain that was ‘Storm Katie’ hit the region in the usual timely Bank Holiday manner on Good Friday afternoon. The rain wasn’t too bad, but the wind blew a continuous gust across the game which made silky football all-but-impossible to play. To wit, dead balls began moving; good passes became throw-ins; and anything much over head height was destined to sail out of play over the dugout side, as the players fought a losing battle against the elements. As an aside, why do the Met office always seem to pick women’s names when warning of the likelihood of a sudden occurrence of havoc and destruction? (Rhetorical question, natch!)

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Today’s game pitted promotion-chasing AFC Emley versus relegation-threatened Grimsby Borough. Whether it was the weather I dunno either, but there certainly wasn’t much at all between the two sides today. Emley were considerably below par (or maybe they were sublime but for the wind making most things wayward) and an uneventful first half saw perhaps the only real chance (a close range shot  from Emley’s Ash Flynn) expertly saved by Scott Drury in the Grimsby goal.

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That the only winner thus far was the wind, was confirmed by the increased proportion of the crowd who opted to watch the start of second half through the clubhouse windows, rather than venture back outside. Things improved slightly on the pitch though, and midway through the second period, the visitors managed to snatch the lead, albeit fortuitously. Ruben Jerome skipped down the right, sent over a cross towards Ash Flynn, which Boro’s intercepting Steve Cooper could only manage a to slice goalwards, and it promptly whizzed past the keeper from all of seven or eight yards out. Emley would then fancy their chances of holding out for a slender victory, but reckoned without the intervention of a force even more powerful than galeforce Katie.
If ever a player was aptly named for providing a lob at the end, Renzie Lobendhan would be that man. So perhaps Boro’s managerial duo knew what it would take to match the gods this afternoon when sending him on as a second-half substitute. Deep into stoppage time, there was really nothing on when ‘the Lob’ (as I am now referring to him as) picked up the ball only just inside the opposition half. He then unleashed an almighty meteorite of his own, which would need to be inch perfect to be anything other than the last kick of the game. Against the odds, at the last minute came the realisation from all around that it appeared to be sailing over the Emley keeper’s head yet maybe low enough to stay in play. Emley’s number 1 Adam Lawlor I think managed to get a fingertip on the shot, which then hit the underside of the bar and bounced round about the goal line. From my vantage point back near the halfway line, it looked like it had maybe crossed the line, but then when the keeper caught the ball as it dropped back down again, I’d assumed he’d managed to save it. However, the officials gave a goal, and Boro’s hi-tech 100% accurate goal-line technology (i.e. one of their fans who was stood just behind the goal) confirmed in as unbiased terms as possible that the goal was “good”. Definition of a wonder goal: “I wonder if I can score from this far out?” “I wonder whether it’s in or not?” It was.
Mayhem ensued, as the ref immediately blew for full-time and the home side piled on ’the Lob’ in front of their dugout, and formed a human pyramid which though technically wouldn’t win any cheerleader awards, seemed entirely fitting to celebrate what must surely have been the home club’s ‘Goal Of The Season’ winner.
Later that evening, England won 3-2 in Germany and people gushed over Kane’s Cruyff turn, Vardy’s disguised backheeler, and Dier’s headed piledriver. If only they could have witnessed Lobendhan’s lob from so far out he was practically in the car park, then, and only then, could they have justifiably claimed to have seen the highlight of the day. His profile on the club website currently has the tagline: “more fines than minutes on the pitch.” Surely he now deserves a Get-out-of-jail-free card, and a re-write?

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Twitter updates via @dribblingcode

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Sat 12 March 2016, Pontefract Collieries v Nostell MW (NCEL Prem)

Match Details: Pontefract Collieries 1 Nostell Miners Welfare 1 (NCEL Premier Division)

Goalscorers: [Ponty] Nigel Danby (80); [Nostell] Steve Smith (2)

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Location: Skinner Lane, Pontefract, West Yorkshire
Admission: £5 (Programme £1.50)
Attendance: 65
Ground Overview: See previous reports from Ponty for more info; the ground is pretty much unchanged (though every year they seem to have to rebuild a bit more of the perimeter wall – either due to high winds or local neds on stolen bulldozers). One change in the surroundings is at the ‘car park field’ side there is a small new housing development, and what appears to be some sort of rather unsightly new build warehouse next to it (the latter is the green ‘box’ with yellow edges on the above pic).

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Match Report: Despite their close proximity, this was as far as I can remember, the first time I have ever seen these two teams plays each other. Since Ponty got promoted last year, they now both sit in the same division – though sadly both are also facing a battle to avoid the drop, with Nostell sitting second-from-bottom and Pontefract just four places and three points above them. So a local ding-dong relegation battle in effect.
Both clubs have recently taken evasive action to try and escape the relegation trapdoor. Ponty have Liam Radford and last season’s top scorer Aaron Moxam back at the club, and another returning striker, Kingsley Wetherald, on the bench. Up the road in Crofton, Nostell boss Paul Lines resigned at the start of February, with Under-19s manager Kevin Allsop also taking on the first team on initially an interim basis.
As a contest, this was a great game to watch, and highly absorbing throughout… though there were more late tackles on show than any game in my living memory! It was through effort and desire rather than malice though, coupled with a heavy pitch and a wee bit of ‘legs not quite able to keep up with the mind’ on a few occasions. It was no surprise though that there were a raft of bookings and one sending off notched up.

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Nostell got off to a dream start, taking the lead with less than two minutes on the clock. Steve Smith found himself in some space on the left side of the box with the ball at his feet, and fired confidently past Ponty keeper Liam Corbett. In general it was the away side who looked the more potent when going forward, so it was a tad disappointing that a policy of slowing things down to a snail’s pace from then on in was chosen as a tactic in dead ball situations, when keeping the momentum up and going for a second goal against a Ponty side who were often there for the taking seemed a much better option. Inevitably, as the game wore on, Ponty became the more determined of the two sides to score, and by the time their equaliser came on 80 minutes, Nostell had lost their grip on the game, and ended it hanging on for a draw instead. By this point they were also down to ten men after sub Devonte Morton had managed to get himself sent off within five minutes of coming on, after some jiggery-pokery with a Ponty player whilst waiting for a free kick to come over, which left his opponent face down on the ground.
A wholly absorbing game though, which you couldn’t take your eyes off for one second for fear of missing a key moment. Ponty’s fighting spirit was epitomised by centre-half Nigel Danby, now also acting as assistant manager of the club. Not the quickest or most technically gifted player on the pitch by a long chalk, but the rock at the back, focus of every corner, and source of the piercing cry of “Danbyyyyy’ss!!” whenever the ball was in the air within 20 feet of him. After being jostled out of any headed opportunities, he eventually got his moment with a 25-yard direct free kick, which became the source of a Danby piledriver. If he isn’t already nicknamed ‘The Tank’, then he should be.
Elsewhere, I thought Ponty looked a bit disjointed up front compared to the last couple of times I’ve seen them, which was surprising given their recent addition of a previously potent strikeforce. Indeed, of the two sides, going on this performance, Nostell look more like they have the required creativity going forward and a reliable enough defence to put up a good fight against relegation, and just need to tighten up in a couple of areas and maybe alter their mindset against holding on to slender leads. Hopefully for the sake of two local sides, both can have good run-ins though, between now and the end of the season.
As ever, the Colls’ tea hut was Premier Division class for hot food and a brew, though disappointingly the barrels in the bar were all kaput and it was canned beer only beforehand. Also worth mentioning for anyone visiting Ponty in the near future, as well as Wetherspoons and the Robin Hood which should have a decent selection of ales available, the ‘under new management’ Tap & Barrel just up the hill on the way into town has re-opened and is worth a look too in its new guise.
And now, The Gallery:-
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Daaannnbyyyyyy’s!!!” – Big Nige blasts a 25-yard screamer which just clipped the inside of the far post on its way in, for Ponty’s Roberto Carlos-esque equaliser. I gather such things are a rarity – to wit, the bloke who fetches the stray balls had already got the gate open in readiness for retrieving it from the adjoining field! Meanwhile, in fairness Nostell’s cause was not helped by the ‘3 man wall’ seeming to have a couple of rather large gaps in it! (are players nowadays really taught to put both hands behind their back when defending a free kick, rather than a combination of linking arms and protecting the crown jewels?)

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(Nostell had a golden opportunity to win the game in the second half, but Ponty’s Liam Corbett guessed correctly and so easily kept out Matthew Johnson’s penalty.)

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‘The Tank’ launches himself at the Nostell rearguard

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(As well as the now long-gone colliery, the power station in the background is also on borrowed time. Meanwhile the local zero-hour + 12-week contract warehouse job market is booming)

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More photos from the above match available online at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedribblingcode/

**Blog updates available via @dribblingcode on Twitter.**

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cropPicture 420 smlMore photos from the above match available online at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedribblingcode/

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Sat 13 Feb 2016, Dronfield Town v AFC Mansfield (NCEL D1)

Match Details: Dronfield Town 1  AFC Mansfield 2 (NCEL Division One)

Goalscorers: [Dronfield] Blake Owen (43); [Mansfield] Grant Allot (47), Joe Butler O.G. (87)

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Location: Stonelow Playing Fields, Dronfield, South Yorks, S18 2EU.

Admission: £4

Attendance: 56

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Club & Ground Overview:  Although there has been a senior football team in Dronfield dating as far back as the 1860s, and indeed a couple of previous ones named ‘Dronfield Town’ over the years, the present club of this name are a reasonably new club formed in 1998 out of the renaming of Dronfield Sports Junior FC. The club subsequently added a senior team in 2000-01, which initially joined the Hope Valley League, eventually going on to field in excess of 25 different teams, including many junior, girls and ladies sides. In 2009-10 they joined the CML, and finished runners-up in the CML’s Premier Division in their first season. A big step forward in their development came with the approval of planning permission for floodlights, and with the addition of a small seated stand and clubhouse as well, combined with success on the pitch the club was able to fulfill its ambition of joining the NCEL in 2013.

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At a non-league level, the club currently competes slightly with Sheffield FC who are a mile up the road at the Coach & Horses ground at present, though with ongoing plans for Sheffield Club to move back to their home city, this can only be good news for the future development of Dronfield Town, who I’m sure could do with a bit more local support, to go with their decent set up and what seems like a solid structure around the club.

 

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After what has seemed like weeks and weeks of persistent rain (which always peaks on a Saturday morning too), finally Dronfield had a home game go ahead for the first time since early November… though only just, as any more rain and their pitch would surely have been too water-ridden to pass as playable. Thankfully though, today’s game got the go-ahead and the marching AFC Mansfield band rolled into town as Dronfield’s opponents.

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dronfield (9).jpgMatch Report: Now I’ve only watched a few games in Division One of the NCEL this season, but from what I’ve seen, Hemsworth seem some distance ahead of any other team. This means that probably about half the clubs in the division have a chance of taking one of the other two promotion spots up for grabs, and Mansfield will definitely be looking to bag one of those having performed as solidly as anyone in the chasing pack.

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Not that there was much at all between the two teams today. Mansfield probably had the slight edge on possession and opportunities, but came up against a man-of-the-match worthy performance from Dronfield keeper Keiran Marsh, particularly in the second half when he made a string of fine saves.

Before this, it was the home side who, first of all hit the post through Callum Mawbey, then got their noses in front via a goal from Blake Owen five minutes before half-time, Owen latching onto a through ball and beating the offside trap to slot home. After the interval, and now kicking down the slight incline at Stonelow and towards the goal which had retained most water, Mansfield fought back with an equaliser coming within a few minutes via a Grant Allott header from a corner.

As the game wore on, the cold began to bite and the increasingly gooey state of the pitch was epitomised by the Dronny keeper setting off on a mission to join their attack for  a corner, only to give up part-way ,after he seemed to be travelling further downwards than forwards!

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Dronfield would probably have been happy with a draw, however Mansfield it was who snatched the win via a touch of good fortune. Although constant danger Ryan Williams seemed the most likely to initiate the breakthrough via a series of marauding runs down the right wing, it was a move down the opposite flank and cross by Nathan Swindells which undid the Dronny rear guard. With Marsh having kept out his opponents steadfastly, it was the onrushing luckless outstretched leg of his own skipper Joe Butler which prodded the ball beyond him from four yards out and handed the points to Mansfield.

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