Match Details: Denaby United 5 – Shafton Villa 2 (D&DSL D1)
Destination: Old Road, Conisbrough, Doncaster. South Yorks, DN12 3ND
Competition: Doncaster & District Senior League, Division One
Attendance: 75-ish (head-count)
Programme: £2.00 (special 40-page full-colour issue)
Pre-Match Build Up: Last Saturday saw The Dribbling Code head down to Old Road in Conisbrough, to watch the reborn Denaby United take on Shafton Villa in the second tier of the Doncaster Senior League. The clash pitted the division’s top two teams together, and was to all intents and purposes a ‘title-decider’, with the winners looking at a clear run at the top in the last couple of weeks of the season. I’d been hoping to squeeze in a visit to watch Denaby in their first season back in senior football anyway, and once it was announced that a special commemorative programme would be issued for this game, done by former editor David Green, a date was made with both destiny and Denaby.
Off The Pitch: Denaby have spent their first season back using Old Road playing fields in Conisbrough (the village next door to Denaby), which has five pitches in it in total. United use the main pitch, which is situated next to the pavillion – handy today for getting some shelter from the repeated rain outbursts, and also meaning that refreshments and merchandise was available pitchside. Aside from a temporary rope down each side, the pitch is basically an unenclosed park pitch, which will be okay for them again next season in the Premier Division, but would mean they need to look elsewhere after that if they wish to progress up the pyramid to leagues such as the Central Midlands or Northern Counties East. The ground is about a mile away from Conisbrough railway station, which is served by an hourly service running between Doncaster and Sheffield. Otherwise, the X78 bus from Doncaster runs frequently and stops on Old Road very near to the ground.
With both teams already assured of promotion, the thing at stake today was the race for the First Division title. So while the league normally uses a neutral referee plus an official from each club as linesmen, today we had a full complimnet of three neutral officials taking charge. I think the referee must have forgotten to bring something important with him this afternoon mind, but more of that later. The new-look Denaby are managed by Paul Noonan, whose son Dan also plays for the team (though wasn’t in their line-up today). Elsewhere, chairman Paul Nielson and secretary Steve Pugh are among those who have helped get the club up and running and looking at a dream start from their first season back. As well as the aforementioned David Green, whose name will be familiar to anyone who read the club’s award winning matchday programme back in the 1990s-era, long-standing fan Barrie Dalby, who co-wrote the book documenting the club’s history for its 100th anniversary, was also present today. And there is a definite feel of a club looking to pick up where it left off, with a very young side on the pitch, but many old faces still involved or giving them support from the sidelines.
Denaby took an early lead today thanks to a fine volley from distance by top-scorer Ryan Oakley. He duly celebrated with a double somersalt, and let’s just say that his finishing with the ball is far better than his gymnastic ability, which saw him end up on the floor in a heap and a few people worrying for his safety! Shafton duly came back at the homesters though, and after 17 minutes were on level terms thanks to James Thompson, who nipped onto a through ball ahead of the Denaby keeper and prodded the ball past him low into the left-hand corner of the net. No further scoring took place before half-time.
After the break, Denaby took hold of the game though – first through a penalty, with Oakley getting his second of the game and again only narrowly avoiding a self-inflicted injury during the ensuing celebrations. Soon after this, a goal from open play by Steve Ellor made it 3-1, and then around the hour mark a tap-in from Oakley following a darting run to the near post made it 4-1 to Denaby and pretty much game over. Shafton rallied briefly though, and pulled a second goal back through Ben Pearson, but Denaby then capped a fine team performance when Ellor scored his second and Denaby’s fifth with a neat side-footed finish following a cross from the left-wing. Meanwhile, a brief punch up between two opposing players somehow went uncarded by the referee. And following a blatant kicking the ball away elsewhere, and a scything tackle which definitely warranted a booking and would nowadays be a staright red in the Premier League, none of which saw the ref reach for his notebook, we collectively came to the conclusion that Mr.Brown must have forgotten to bring his cards with him today! A good game to watch though, especially considering the level the Donny Senior League operates at, and a few casual observers who don’t normally attend games here were impressed at what they saw today.
After today’s win, Denaby now lead Shafton by one point, with Denaby having four games left to play and Shafton just two games remaining. So two more wins will definitely be enough to secure the title for Denaby. As it proclaims on their webpage and on the front of today’s programme, Denaby United Are Back!
For further information on Denaby United, check out their facebook page at:
Or the club’s official webpage at:
The programme issued for the above game is also available by mail order while stocks last.