Result: Staveley Miners Welfare 2-0 West Didsbury & Chorlton (FA Vase)
Venue: Inkersall Road
Att: 107 (plus 1 spider and many ladybirds)
So, another Saturday, and another football match to watch at another new ground. With the attraction of visiting Staveley’s Inkersall Road calling much louder than Trafford’s not so inviting FA Trophy home tie with Wakefield, I had previously put my name down for the West team coach, and after hitching a lift from my Dad to the Bowling Green, Chorlton, I met up with the mysterious Football Spoon again, and Dan Watkinson (just). In fact, if it wasn’t for me, Dan would have missed the coach having arrived a little after the 11.30 departure time. I think he owes me one there!
We began our trip, then after a slight Dan-related delay. I was armed with some Haribo’s, a copy of F1 Racing magazine, which featured on the cover, along with Fernando Alonso, my sporting hero Kimi Raikkonen. So, 2 out of 2 for my purchases so far, but unfortunately, I had also picked up Fruit Tella’s 1,2,3 range of sweets. Now, there is NO WAY these are Fruit Tella. I will warn everyone now, to stay well away from these!
Right, now that that is established, we can move onto the journey. This saw us coming off the motorway at Denton, and along the haunted road between Sheffield and Manchester, the A628, and A616, past Stocksbridge, Barnsley, and onwards towards Chesterfield. It is here where you will find the small town of Staveley, situated to the north-east of the spiral-spired town. As we pulled into Staveley town, we were greeted by the sight of a butcher selling his meaty products out of his truck, in the car park of a local shop. That is another thing I can tick off my list of previously unseen things I never expected to see. (NOTE: This list actually doesn’t exist!)
Just up Inkersall Road, the ground loo… well, I would say loomed into sight, but it doesn’t. The ground is situated on the right, and somewhat sneaks up on you. It is set back from the road, due to the decent sized car park out front. Now, the perimeter wall of the ground is painted in blue and white stripes and club crests. It does look very impressive indeed, and a shout out to the guys and girls who keep this in condition. Wonderful, striking stuff. After taking a few photos of the exterior, and one of the sign pointing you to the overspill car-park, (which with all due respect, is, I’d expect there out of optimism rather than expectancy), I paid my £5 entrance fee to the lad manning the turnstile, plus a further £1 for the somewhat threadbare programme. But, from my previous experiences of Counties football, this is far from strange.
As I walked into Inkersall Road, the view that greeted me was not at all what I was expecting, in a very positive way. No less than three modern-ish, well sized stands, loomed into view (there, I’ve used loomed now!). Two covered terraced stands face each other from behind each goal. The one at the Inkersall Road end, from which you enter from, contains the dressing rooms and tunnel, and bears the name of the club proudly, as does the far end stand. The ‘main’ stand, which is all-seater, is on the right-hand side of the pitch, as you enter, with the dugouts, the filming ‘Tower’ and a small marquee facing it. The ground is also surrounded by large concrete areas, which, as I found out to my own cost, return the ball back to the pitch without you needing to chase it down on occasion! There was also a big clown face…..Yeah……
Staveley are a recently formed club, and have done pretty well in their short history. Which leads us nicely onto the…
Despite football being played in Staveley for over a century (in 1883, a Staveley side beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 in the FA Cup), the current club has only been in existence since 1962, and only then as a Sunday League side, Nag’s Head F.C. After playing only friendlies for three years the club played in both the Mansfield League (from 1965) and the Chesterfield League (from 1968). In 1989, a Saturday side was formed as Staveley Miners Welfare, and playing at their current Inkersall Road, finished runners-up in the Chesterfield Amateur League, and won the Byron Cup in their inaugural season. Not a bad start! In 1991, the club moved on up to the Sheffield County Senior League, winning Division 3, and then 2 in consecutive seasons. The club then bypassed Division 1, and were welcomed into the Central Midlands League in 1993, with a best finish of third in their 4 season stay. They then upgraded the ground to Counties standard, and joined the Northern Counties East League Division 1 in 1997, finishing runners-up, and earning promotion to the Premier Division. During the ’97 season, the club also picked up the Wilkinson Sword Trophy, beating Harrogate Railway 8-3 on aggregate, over 2 legs.
The turn of the millennium started horrendously for Staveley, as they were relegated from the Premier Division in ’00-’01, then finished bottom of Division 1 the following year, only surviving thanks to re-election by the members of the league. Their struggles with relegation continued for the next couple of seasons, re-election again saving them on both occasions, before fortunes changed a little, and the club finished the next three seasons in mid-table. However, in May 2007, the club almost died, when the committee resigned on mass, and only the efforts of the current chairman, along with a band of volunteers saved the club at the 11th hour. Much effort was put in for the few weeks leading up to the season, to ensure grading was met. They were rewarded with a youthful side finishing a credible 8th! A number of managerial changes followed, the club ending a run of 23-games unbeaten in ’08-’09 with a 4th place finish, including a change of manager in the early stages, and also picked up the Wilkinson Sword Trophy for a second time, becoming the first two-time winners.
A further managerial change followed, but another 4th place finish was attained, and a third Wilkinson Sword Trophy picked up, and this success continued into 2010/11 with the club winning the Division 1, returning to the Premier Division, after an absence of a decade. This season was a record breaking one for Staveley, as Ryan Damms ended as league top scorer with 38 goals, and a record number of consecutive and total clean sheets were recorded. They also reached the last-32 of the FA Vase 2011/12 saw Staveley finish 5th, and continue their Vase success by reaching the semi-finals, losing out to Dunston UTS of the Northern League, 3-2 on aggregate.
From history to the future and, according to the programme, the club hope to attain Evo-Stik football by 2014/15, and have had a 250 seater stand approved. The club have also secured a 25 year lease on the adjacent park, and 4 junior pitches have been brought under the Staveley umbrella.
Onto the game now, I sat just in front of the clubhouse, on the viewing area just in front along with Dan, and some wonderful chips and mushy peas, for £1.70!! Very happy with that! The half was a tight affair, with little to choose between the sides in the first half, but what chances there were, fell to Staveley, who should’ve led at the break. In fact, one home fan, thought this had happened, openly celebrating a goal, despite West’s custodian Ben Simpson clearly stopping the ball. And also, the fact that no-one celebrated should have been a clue!
Half-time, and I was bemoaning the fact I had now not chosen the game at Shawe View, which stood at 3-0, but I got a can of coke and drowned my sorrows. I’m so Hardcore!!
Now joined at the far end by the Spoon, the second half began with a bang. Straight from the kick-off Staveley broke forward, and Matt Thorpe smashed the ball across Simpson and into the far corner. The home side were dreaming of Wembley once more! Richmond Botchey almost drew West level, but his bicycle kick was superbly kept out by the very impressive Martin Dewberry guarding Staveley’s goal, and despite West throwing on Baldwin-Willis and Mitten up front, they continued to threaten the Staveley backline, but the defence, superbly marshalled by the tall Luke Beatson saw off most attacks comfortably, although, West should have levelled when Steve Settle broke through, but poked wide from 8 yards. This miss was to prove costly, as in stoppage time, and with West throwing the kitchen sink forwards, Staveley broke, and were 4-on-1 with Simpson, who must have felt like he was at the Alamo. Despite his best efforts, Pat Lindley carried the ball from half-way, rounded the Grobbelaar like actions of Simpson, and slotted home to send his side into the hat, and received a hug for his troubles!
After the game, a short stay in the clubhouse, decorated with the shirts and signatures of a number of 1966 World Cup winners, amongst others, enabled us to catch up on the scores from the day. Moyes out was the cry as news of Dejan Lovren’s goal for Southampton came through from OT, before we set off to the coach, for beer and chat. As we hit the storm remnants near Stocksbridge, I caught up with ex-Trafford goalkeeper coach, Tony Holmes, chatting about the President’s Cup final at Quorn, and training with tennis balls. Tom Read and Damien Rooney, Trafford’s keepers at the time will know all about this. Tony still has the picture of him with his two charges holding the silverware on his phone too! Tony is actually a Trafford legend! What a night that was, best night I’ve been at footballing wise…..Wait! How did Trafford hijack this blog?! Go away, you’ve had yours…….
My Staveley M.o.M.- Luke Beatson
My West Dids & Chorlton M.o.M.- Ben Simpson
Game: 6- Slow start, improved as it went out
Ground: 8- Really nice ground, especially the clown face
Programme: 4- Not much to speak about really
Fans: 7- Nice, friendly bunch of people
Food: 9- Doesn’t get a whole lot better! Lovely stuff!
Value For Money: 8- Just under £8 in all. Great value
Referee: 4- Struggled a fair amount really. Wasn’t awful, but wasn’t good either.
(DISCLAIMER: Despite Football Spoon’s claims on twitter, I did not murder a ladybird by headbutting it. It flew into my head, and it later flew off.)
Staveley MW: 1.Martin Dewberry, 2.Chris Dickman, 3.Phil Austin, 4.Pat Lindley(1), 5.Luke Beatson, 6.James Colliver, 7.Jamie Smith (c), 8.Josh Scully, 9.Matt Thorpe(1), 10.Nick Hague, 11.Reece Littlejohn SUBS: 12.Michael Trench(p), 14.Anthony Rowley(p), 15.Nathan Whitehead, 16.Ryan Watters(p), 17.Dan Holleworth(GK)
West Didsbury & Chorlton: 1.Ben Simpson, 2.Steve Settle, 3.Scott Jones, 4.Alex Baird, 5.Mark Rogers (c), 6.Anthony Potts, 7.Callum Jones, 8.Daniel Summers, 9.Tyler Ferguson, 10.Lee Malkin, 11.Richmond Botchey SUBS: 12.Kyle Hendley, 14.Tre Baldwin-Willis(p), 15.Thomas Walsh(p), 16.Sam Mitten(p), 17.Conrad Betton(GK)