Friday 7th September 2012 ko 7.45pm
FA Cup First Qualifying Round
WORKSOP TOWN 0
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 2 (Aujla 57 Allott 62)
Pie, Peas and Chips £4
A trip to Sandy Lane is one that quite a few people thought I’d done years before and for a long time I thought I’d missed out on. When the landlord kicked the club out after a rent dispute, to exile at Hucknall then Ilkeston then Retford, life looked bleak for the club where Chris Waddle ended his playing career. But then the Sandy Lane ground was bought by Parramore FC who settled here, changing their name to Worksop Parramore, and they invited Worksop Town back home for the start of last season.
This former coal mining town is in Nottinghamshire, but has a Sheffield postcode. With the demise of coal mining, the area saw mass unemployment, but with firms such as Wilkinson’s and Premier Foods basing their distribution arms here, taking advantage of the excellent transport links, the town has had something of a renaissance in recent years. Famous people who hail from here include actor Donald Pleasence, former England manager Graham Taylor, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, golfer Lee Westwood and murderer Neil Entwistle.
The somewhat convoluted ownership of the ground gives a clue as to why the fixture was being played on a Friday night. Ostensibly Parramore were due to play on the Saturday too, so you’d have thought it was a simple case of landlord pulling rank on the tenant? Not quite, as Parramore sometimes take the Friday slot when there’s a clash, and judging by the attendance, augmented by a few hoppers, it’s not a bad tactic.
The ground has a large main stand, but sadly the covered terrace opposite has been demolished. Behind that is a rubbish tip, which a few young boys climbed to get decent view of the action. When they got bored they lit a fire and ran off. So if you think these pictures have more atmosphere than normal, it’s just the foul-smelling smoke! Not that the smell put me off the staple football in this part of the world. Pie, Peas and Mint sauce is a classic of the non-league scene in the East Midlands, and it would have been rude have me not to indulge.
The game pitted 2 Northern Premier League Premier Division sides against each other, and in the case of Frickley, a side with a real quirk. They’re the former Frickley Colliery side, from South Elmsall, the other side of the A1(M) from Doncaster. But here’s the thing, the actual hamlet of Frickley is little more than a row of houses, so given that Frickley have played in the Conference, has club from somwhere so small ever played so high up? Perhaps Hoffenheim, but that’s a completely different set of circumstances.
The game looked a home banker with Frickley having just the one draw to show for a slow start to the season, and Worksop did have a goal disallowed after 9 minutes, Steve Towers’ header being judged offside. The first half saw more or less consistent home pressure, to the extent that Worksop keeper, Boston United legend Paul Bastock was barely involved.
That changed in the second half as Frickley found a novel way to disturb their hosts. That’s right, they roughed them up! On two occasions the benches cleared after a late challenge and twice the referee and linesmen had to separate the warring factions. It worked though, as Gavin Allott set up one goal and scored the other. It was his run and cross from the right teed up Inderjeet Aujla to slide home from 6 yards out. 5 minutes later he picked the ball up in the middle of the Worksop half before sprinting down the right flank before cutting in and firing an angled shot past Bastock.
The game finished to a chorus of boos from the home faithful who clearly had expected much better. Much to consider it would seem for the home management. I was just glad to get the place ticked off!