Result: Westfield United Black 3-2 Southey Wolves (Sheffield u18 League Division 5)
Venue: Millmoor (Sunday 15th January 2017, 10.30am)
Att: 28 (hc)
After missing out on a ground on Saturday, I wasn’t too disheartened. This, dear reader, was down to the fact I had something a little different and somewhat obscure lined up for the Sunday. Not only that, but it was a morning kick-off too, that rarity of things seen in a “real” ground. So, where was it to be? If the surprise has somehow evaded you so far then you’re about to find out…
After getting a lift to a very soggy Manchester in the morning, I was soon on the 9am train to Rotherham, the first of the day and the only one that would enable me to get to the game. So with the most important journey in the book, I again found myself stood up for the vast majority of the journey on a Trans-Pennine Service. Honestly. I don’t know what we pay for.
Eventually the train pulled into Rotherham at just after 10 o’clock and I headed straight for the town centre. Here, I found the Rhinoceros. Unfortunately, the South Yorkshire town doesn’t own its own African beast, but it does have a Wetherspoon’s of that very name and I’d much rather have that. At least I think I would….no, yeah I would. Anyway, the Rhinoceros was fairly basic really and my brief stay in here was lit up by two things; one: Punk IPA and two: a guy ranting to the bar staff about his cloudy Guinness while stating people were lying about what pumps they were using. Ah, a morning with the early starters!
Anyway, I’d eventually tired of being in here and headed off towards Millmoor early as I fancied getting a few pics of the grounds exterior. I did, however, have to force myself past The County, which was serving pints for £2 in order to do so.
After a 10-minute walk over the Don and past the Millers’ new New York Stadium, I arrived at the foot of the road leading to the ground and witnessed a ball flying above the stands. Game on confirmed! However these weren’t the kicks of teams warming up as I’d suspected, the game had actually begun at 10.30am and thus I’d missed out on about ten minutes of action. Cheers to the Full-Time website for that one.
Anyway, once inside, I quickly made sure of the above details from the first guy I came across in the sparsely populated stadium. This, it transpired, was a Norwegian hopper named Anders, who I’d seen tweet about this game about two weeks prior. As such, I decided I’d ruin his day by hanging around with him for the remainder of it!
Millmoor is, of course, the former home of Rotherham United, but now plays host to the Westfield United u18 sides with ‘Black’ being the first team. It is still in decent shape, outside of some weathering on the seating and a bit of inevitable wear and tear, but it is a rather eerie experience watching a game in such a ground whilst the stands sit, mostly, empty. (NB: There will be no pics of the game, on account of the ages of the players. It might have been ok, but I’m not risking lawsuits!).
After watching the early stages of the game in the stand behind the goal, where we witnessed the away side take the lead through the #15 who towered above the defence to head home from a corner. This was swiftly followed by the home side, Westfield, taking the game to their visitors and they struck the woodwork after a low drive and also saw a shot cleared off the line.
Eventually, though, the hosts got what their play had deserved and grabbed the equaliser, as #11 grabbed his first of the game. The forward burst clear of the defence and kept his cool to slot beyond the Southey ‘keeper. However, this wasn’t to be the end of the scoring in the first half and it was the visitors who were to go in at the break ahead, the diminutive #19 fizzing a fine drive beyond United’s bespectacled stopper. 1-2, half-time.
The game had seen myself and Anders heading around the ground and seeking out all the closed-up facilities, including the old club bar. However, this had attracted the attention of the groundsman, who came over to find out just what we were up to! Of course, instead of being all hostile, he approached it nicely and was more than happy to talk to us about the club and the ground and the situation regarding both. Needless to say, at this moment, Millmoor will be around for a while yet!
During our time talking, Westfield had levelled the game once more as #11 nipped in to net his second, reacting first to a rebound following a pretty decent stop by the big, yet agile, Wolves gloveman. 2-2 and for a Division 5 game, the quality was really decent to watch. Despite this, our attentions were soon turned by the discovery of the “Police Detention Centre”, which Anders couldn’t resist posing in front of!
Both sides continued to waste decent positions and chances as the game went on and it wasn’t until the last quarter of the contest that the winner was scored. It was to be #11 once more who was to prove the bane of Southey as he arrived in the box to power a header beyond the ‘keeper and seal both his hat-trick and the win for the hosts, despite a fair amount of late pressure from the gold-clad visitors. A good game came to an end with both sides putting on a quality show, so kudos to them both for that.
With the game finished up, Anders decided he’d head back into Manchester for the evening ahead of his final night of football in the UK on this trip. As such I joined him on the short walk back to the station, as he regaled me with stories of his experiences of disused grounds with one especially amusing. We’ll leave it at that! Anyway, we got back to the station in time for the train back, but the County was calling and its £2 pints were somewhat irresistible!
After a couple of pints of Strongbow in here, it was time to depart from Rotherham and head for our connection back from Sheffield. Unfortunately, this meant a stop off in the Sheffield Tap. Oh, the hardships! After narrowly avoiding a £6 pint thanks to the barman pointing out the price, I opted for a half before joining Anders on the much more economical Aspell ciders.
After a couple of further hours in here, it was eventually time to actually head back to Manchester. Despite having lined up a final drink on our return, I’d somewhat forgotten I was supposed to be “working” in my parents’ bar that night and still needed to eat. (NB: Oh dear). So, this plan had to be cancelled on our arrival at Piccadilly and so we headed our separate ways, Anders to his hotel room and me to flop out in the waiting room at Oxford Road for 45 minutes. Sleep does pass the time nicely though…!
Value For Money: 8