Sunday, 11 November 2012


Saturday 10th November 2012
Central Midlands League Division - North
Stonelow Playing Fields, Shireoaks Road, Dronfield, Derbyshire

After a few can't be arsed efforts regarding the blog over the past few weeks I have made a conscious effort to do a proper report for today's game.

With no time restrictions in place my choice of game is based upon which direction to head to, and after heading south-west to Coventry last Saturday it is time to head 'up north' again on the M1. My first port of call to find a possible fixture is the Central Midlands League (CML), and one fixture stood - Dronfield Town v Phoenix and decision made. A rarity in the case that plans were not changed due to my indecision!!! The CML is a league that I have ventured into a lot over the years which is helped by the location of a lot of the clubs, and also the amount of clubs that have competed in the league over the years.

Since my visit to Long Eaton United for an FA Vase tie in 1998, Dronfield Town will be the 54th CML club that I have seen play a home fixture over the years. I am not going to bore people into listing them all but three were visited last season, Pinxton, Clifton (now Clifton All Whites) and Belper United. After today there are five different clubs and six different grounds that I have still yet to visit in the CML, of which hopefully two more will be visited after Christmas.

The town of Dronfield is located in north east Derbyshire, with the town comprising the settlements of Dronfield, Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston. It is situated in the valley of the River Drone, lying between Sheffield and Chesterfield and has a population of over 21,000 inhabitants.

According to Google maps it should take me 1 hour 15 minutes to make the 58 mile journey north, and this was pretty much how it turned out with the traffic being light all the way there. The route took me up the M1 to junction 29 before heading east on the A617 towards Chesterfield.  When in Chesterfield I took the A61 north in the Sheffield direction, before turning onto the B6057 into Dronfield itself. Local roads took me the car park, the entrance of which is on Shireoaks Road in front of Coal Aston Cricket Club. The pitch is set below the cricket pitch and the entrance is down some steps. The club use the cricket pavilion before the game and at half time to serve refreshments and food, and a cup of coffee was only 60p. There is a small stand on the near side of the ground, with the dugouts being opposite. There are no floodlights at present but the club do have planning permission for them, conditions apply though regarding the useage of them. They have managed to purchase a second hand set from one of the nearby universities and are currently in storage at a local firm before the club get them erected.

Dronfield Town are one of a number of football clubs that compete in the town, the main one is that of Sheffield FC who are the oldest football club in the world. They play their home games at the BT Local Business Stadium which is located on the Sheffield Road (B6057) at the northern edge of the town. Two other bearing the Dronfield name are AFC Dronfield Woodhouse and Dronfield Woodhouse FC who compete in the top division of the Hope Valley Amateur League.

At the start of play Dronfield are fourth in the league table with only one defeat in their twelve league games, some eight points behind leaders AFC Mansfield with two games in hand. Phoenix who are based in Brinsworth, South Yorkshire have twenty points from their thirteen games.

The game served up was average fare for the CML - I have seen a lot worse (FC 05 v Easington United in February 2010) but also seen better. Dronfield game plan of getting the ball down and playing football was in contrast to the harrowing and hassling approach from the visitors. Very few clear cut chances were created but on nineteen minutes the home side took the lead. A shot from about twelve yards from right midfielder Dan Wood crept inside the far upright past a flat footed keeper. No further goals in the first half and it was 1-0 at the break.

The second half was only nine minutes old when Dronfield doubled their advantage, which following a mix up in the Phoenix defence allowed a simple tap in for John Doran. Around the midway point of the half Dronfield rightly felt aggrieved at having a perfectly good goal disallowed, as the assistant on the near side put his flag up for a player who was offside but made no attempt to play the ball, but did not allow play on for a player coming from an onside position. After this stroke of good fortune Phoenix went and got a goal back just two minutes later to make it an interesting last twenty minutes. Dronfield stepped up a gear and made it 3-1 with nine minutes left. Following some good work and a cross down the left Cal Mawby was unmarked inside the penalty area and applied a simple finish.

Admission: £3
Programme: £1
Attendance: 36 (head count)

I'm glad I made the effort to pay Dronfield a visit as around mid morning I had my CBA hat on and was deliberating on whether to stay local for a game. Dronfield are a very friendly club and was made to feel welcome by the small band of volunteers that help keep clubs like this afloat. 

For any readers on this who are on twitter Dronfield Town can be followed @DronfieldTownFC
43 photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow below:

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