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Sheffield FC 2 Selby Town 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 21/04/07

Sheffield finished their season this afternoon with a 2-2 draw at the Bright Finance Stadium. With the team already assured of promotion it was a carnival atmosphere for the 450 plus crowd who gathered in the warm weather to pay homage to the team for an incredible season.
 
It was the home side who dominated from the start with plenty of possession but no end product. So it was quite a shock when the Robins took the lead just after the twenty minute mark, STEVE DAVEY firing home with the Sheffield defence stood watching. The hosts were soon level though as, barely five minutes later, some fine work by Holmes on the left saw the winger release Powell, whose deep cross found PETE DAVEY rushing in at the back post and his shot gave Mitchell no chance. On the half hour mark a quick free kick by Smith caught the visitors unaware and the ball was scrambled away with Wilkins lurking for the loose ball. The resulting corner saw Powell head over  from six yards out.
  
The second half was just three minutes old when the hosts finally took the lead, Wilkins feeding the ball to POWELL, the striker finishing coolly despite the attentions of a desperate defender on his back. Mitchell then pulled off a good save to deny Winter, whose header was bound for the bottom corner. It was Winter again just before the hour mark,  when a well worked move from defence found him on the edge of the area, his shot only just over the bar. With 75 minutes played, Powell then had a chance to extend the lead as he anticipated the bounce of the ball over a stranded defender, but his shot was well wide of the mark. Once again the visitors struck against the run of play and it was STEVE DAVEY who got the goal, his shot beating the stranded Holmshaw. From the restart Sheffield almost regained the lead as Mitchell tipped the ball onto his bar, the rebound causing havoc in the Robin's area where Connor hit the ball against his own post before Pete Davey's final shot went the wrong side of the post. The visitors almost stole all three points near the end with a shot which Holmshaw managed to palm away to safety.
  
With Retford unbelievably losing at Thackley (having themselves lost 11-1 at Armthorpe a couple of weeks ago) it could well  be a case of 'what if ?' regarding wining the title, but it now looks over and done with. The main priority of promotion has been achieved. It's certainly been a season of high drama. So at long last it's goodbye to the Northern Counties East League and 'Hello' Unibond. The hard work starts now for Macca as he looks to strengthen the squad for next season.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Poll Not Taken
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Thorpe (Dolby), P.Davey, Powell (Ward), Wilkins, Holmes (White). 
Selby Town: Mitchell, Reid, O'Brien (Hart), Connor, Staley, Dawson, Lyon, Adams (Whitehead), Russell (Towler), S.Davey, Fox.

Retford United 2 Sheffield FC 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 14/04/07

Having secured promotion to the Unibond League on Easter Monday, Sheffield travelled to Cannon Park knowing nothing less than three points would do if they were to keep alive their hopes of landing the championship over second-placed Retford United, with the hosts just three points behind with three games in hand. Dave McCarthy once again shuffled the side, Captain Tom Jones coming in for his first start since the end of December after injury and with Jon Boulter still feeling the effects of his knock at Garforth last week, Pete Davey deputised in the left back position.
 
On a very hot day it was the home side who had the first real opportunity with Chambers heading goalwards, but the effort was safely gathered by Holmshaw. Just after the ten minute mark the visitors had a good chance when Vill Powell pounced on a ball over the Retford defence but his shot was well wide of the mark. There were chances at both ends in these early stages with both Ford and Holmes hitting freekicks that were either just wide or in Holmes' case, bringing a fine save out of Retford keeper Kingston.
  
Sheffield started to take more control and were having the bulk of the possession, but could not breech the defensive pairing of Simpkins and Colley. Both sides appeared to be glad of the half time whistle to get back to the shade of the changing room.
 
Sheffield had probably the best chance of the game two minutes after the restart when Ward found the ball at his feet in front of goal with just the keeper to beat, but his shot was blocked with a good reaction save by Kingston. The ball fell back into Ward's path and despite Ward taking it around the keeper he also took it wide of the goal and the chance was lost. With the game crying out for a goal, it was somewhat against the run of play that it was the home side that were the first to strike. A free kick on the Sheffield right was floated into the area and it was HARVEY who got his head to the ball first to glance it into the corner out of Holmshaw's reach. This seemed to inspired the Badgers who now started to attack the Sheffield side with more vigour as the visitors were forced to go forward if they wanted to get anything from the game.  On the 75 minute mark Ward found himself in space but his shot was scuffed. Holmes was the next to try, his jinking run ending with a shot over the bar. With time running out it was time to introduce some 'fresh legs' onto the field, Wilkins and White replacing Powell and Brownrigg. Dolby joined them a short time after replacing Ward. Despite these three skillful players, and the fact that the home side were playing their fourth game in eight days it was very strange, and extremely frustrating to the large travelling contingent to see the team knocking the ball long, which was easy pickings for the Retford centre backs. With five minutes to go the game was killed off as once again the pacy HARVEY ran into the box and drilled the ball home, giving Holmshaw no chance.
 
So, with champion aspirations now finished, the team can at least enjoy their promotion status as runners up next week as they take on Selby Town in their last league match of the season. Let us hope it will be the last ever match in the Northern Counties East League as the team go from strength to strength. Congratulations must also be given to Retford United, who have proved formidable opponents this year and will probably continue do so next season if their ground achieves the necessary grading.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Tom Jones
 
Reford United: Kingston, Ludlam, Wright, Ford, Simpkins, Colley, Duffield, Chambers, Godber, Harvey, Chappell (Ashton). Unused Subs: Falmery, Wooley.
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Smith, Davey, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Brownrigg (White), Robinson, Ward (Dolby), Powell (Wilkins), Holmes.

Sheffield FC 3 Armthorpe Welfare 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Monday, 9/04/07

Click below to see action from Sheffield's 3-1 win over Armthorpe.

Coupled with defeat for Selby Town at Sutton, Sheffield guaranteed themselves a  promotion spot with a convincing win over a young Armthorpe Welfare side this afternoon.
 
On a bright, sunny day it was an electric start with three goals inside the first six minutes. GAVIN SMITH opened the scoring for the home side after just two minutes when his shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection to send the ball over Fraser who was left stranded. Armthorpe responded immediately and were level two minutes later when  HOLDEN fired in from just inside the area. Then, on six minutes Dolby threaded the ball through to Vill Powell whose cross found CHRIS WHITE unmarked in the six yard box to slam the ball home. It was frantic stuff as Sheffield piled on the pressure with Powell, Marsh and Ward all going  close. Fraser was having to work overtime to keep the Sheffield attack at bay, making a fine save from Rob Ward. Man Of The Match Darryl Winter was next to try his luck as he came charging in to get on the end of a loose ball, only to see his shot deflected wide. Powell then had a header cleared off the line. Sheffield had to make an early substitution as Ian Robinson went off carrying an injury to be replaced by Andy Brownrigg, the ever versatile Pete Davey taking over the left back position just vacated by the injured player. Just before the half hour mark Sheffield's lead was extended when White's corner ended up in the net as it came off the head of Armthorpe defender Iley. Sheffield were well on top, giving the Armthorpe defence little respite as Dolby dribbled the ball into the area before squaring it across where a mass scramble finally saw the ball go wide of the post. Marsh again posed a threat at a set piece, but once again his header was just the wrong side of the post. The approach play by the home side was by far the best seen for several weeks and players were queueing up in the area to get on the end of the crosses. Ward was the next to benefit but headed just over. This was swiftly followed by Brownrigg who powered a header against the bar with the keeper well beaten. On the stroke of half time Holden unleashed a shot for the visitors which was safely gathered by Holmshaw.
 
A half time substitution by Sheffield saw Darren Holmes enter the action in place of Miles Thorpe. The home side almost increased the lead just after the restart when a harmless lob into the area from the lively Chris Dolby caught the keeper unawares, the ball bouncing over him, but also the wrong side of the post too. The team settled down to contain the visitors and hold on to their advantage, no doubt still feeling the effects of a hard game two days ago and appeared content to 'drop down a gear'. Jamie Holmshaw was called into action when he plucked the ball out of the air to deny a goalscoring opportunity. Fraser then saved well from the onrushing Ward and did even better a few minutes later to tip away a header from Brownrigg. With five minutes to go some good work by the front two, Ward and Powell, saw Ward put the ball into the path of Powell, but his shot cannoned off his fellow front man who was continuing his run. With just minutes remaining Morley had an opportunity to reduce the arrears but Holmshaw anticipated his move first to clear the danger. With the full time whistle moments away Copeland had a shot which hit the Sheffield bar, but it was too little too late for the visitors.
 
With the main goal of promotion now secure, the team still have a slim chance of finishing as champions, the 'decider' being next week when they travel to play Retford United. Whatever the outcome though, today is a significent moment in the club's 150 year history as they can now look forward to a place next season in the Northern Premier League for the very first time. 
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darryl Winter
  
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Smith, Robinson (Brownrigg), Davey, Marsh, Winter, Thorpe ( Holmes), Dolby, Ward, Powell, White. Unused Sub : Wilkins.
Armthorpe Welfare: Fraser, Page, Mascall, Iley (Morley), Wheeler, Dorgan, Ashton (Copeland), Ireland (Sibenge), Holden, Preston, Muirhead. 

Garforth Town 2 Sheffield FC 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 7/04/07

With next seasons league structure now verfied by the FA, this was a game with everything to play for. Garforth, unbeaten in their last six matches at the Genix Healthcare Stadium, while Sheffield hoped to continue their fine away form which had seen them collect maximum points on the road in their last three away matches.
 
The game started at a furious pace and it was only minutes old before the first stoppage occurred, with Boulter receiving a kick in the head, the referee not even blowing for a foul. Minutes later Renshaw was late challenging Holmshaw which resulted in the centre back cum striker being booked along with Club skipper Craig Marsh for the visitors. On the footballing side it was Powell who had the first chance of the game, his shot easily saved by Kyle Sutcliffe, the former Liversedge stopper. With less than ten minutes played the visitors were reduced to ten men when skipper Marsh appeared to be shown a straight red card for throwing an elbow at one of the Garforth players. After that it was backs to the wall stuff for Sheffield as the home side pressed forward their one man advantage. The cause not being helped with the game being played on the hottest day of the year so far on a poor pitch. The visitors were struggling to get the ball forward and on the occasions they did manage it the opportunities came to nothing, not helped by a pitch that was bare in places and uneven in others. Just after the twenty minute mark the home side took the lead. A long throw from the Sheffield right was headed out of the area but BROMPTON hit a fierce shot fron 25 yards that gave Jamie Holmshaw no chance. After the earlier challenge on Boulter, the defender had to be substituted. The Sheffield full back suffering from concussion and earning him a trip to the local hospital and an overnight stay. This meant a reshuffle of the side giving Garforth more space in midfield with Ian Robinson having already dropped back to cover for Marsh, midfielder Darren Holmes was brought on to cover the full back position. Despite their man advantage there was very little to choose between the sides in what was a very scrappy first half hour, not helped by some over officious refereeing. Garforth doubled the lead on 28 minutes when some slack marking in the area allowed KELLY to nip in and head home unchallenged.
 
The second half saw the game settle down more and Sheffield started to pass the ball about but were fortunate that Renshaw shot wide when presented with a golden opportunity in front of goal. The striker was then denied by a fine save from Holmshaw shortle after. Sheffield's best move of the half came just before the hour mark ending with Winter bringing out a diving save from Sutcliffe, Club's first real effort on target. Ward replaced Wilkins to give the side some fresh legs. Powell should have put the visitors back into the game after Winter's header at the back post fell invitingly into the six yard box, only for the striker to somehow put it over the bar. Sheffield were having their best spell of the afternoon with Ward the next to try his luck, shooting just wide of the post. The burly striker then had a goalbound header turned round the post by Sutcliffe. With less than five minutes left White hit a shot from the edge of the area that hit the outside of the post. At this stage the home side were more than happy just to defend in numbers until the final whistle.
   
So once again it's a roller-coaster ride to the the finishing line and despite the disappointment at Garforth the team can take heart from the second half performance when up against it, and promotion is still in their own hands. Next up is Armthorpe Welfare on Easter Monday when a win coupled with a draw or defeat for Selby at Sutton will be enough to give Sheffield a top three promotion spot. 
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Pete Davey
 
Garforth Town : Sutcliffe, Turner, Hussain (Simpkins), Kamara, Brompton, Harding, Williams, Kelly (Twitchen), Renshaw, Carrick, St. Juste (Hitchins.
Sheffield FC : Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter (Holmes), Davey, Marsh, Winter, Thorpe, Robinson, Powell, Wilkins (Ward), Dolby (White).

SO NEAR, YET SO FAR AS REF SPOILS SHEFFIELD FUN

Sheffield FC 0 Sutton Town 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 31/03/07

Although Sutton have failed to come out on top in the last three meetings between the two clubs, the visitors recorded their sixth away game unbeaten to continue their recent run of good form and frustrate Sheffield this afternoon at The Coach  Horses Ground.
  
The game was played in bright sunshine but with a fairly strong wind blowing towards the Dronfield end.  Sheffield were the first to show with Robinson firing over from a corner. The home side then had a narrow escape when a slip by Davey let the visitors in, but Blunt's shot was just that, being safely gathered by Holmshaw. Winter almost got on the end of a cross from Dolby, and then Ward went close, heading over from Robinson's free kick. At the other end Lee found himself with a good shooting opportunity but the effort was well wide. The visitors then had a free kick on the edge of the area that was rifled across the face of the goal by Blunt, but no one was on hand to get the final touch.
 
There was quite a bit of officious refereeing from Mr. Street which resulted in a speight of bookings although there was hardly a malicious foul the entire first half. Chances were at a premium and defences were certainly on top as the half wore on. The best clear cut chance of the half fell to Alonso five minutes before the break. He made space on the edge of the area and fired in a low, hard shot to the near post, but Holmshaw reacted quickly to save.
  
The second half saw the home side more determined to force the play and an early 'free for all' in the visitors box saw the ball enter the net, but the referee had already blown for an infringement (see above clip). It was constant pressure now from Club, with Sutton content to defend in numbers. Sutton were then reduced to ten men as Blunt was shown the red card for a second bookable offence. Despite the numerical advantage, the home side were finding it very difficult to break down the visitors defence.
 
Dolby then went close, chasing a through ball from Smith but his first touch was just too strong and allowed Sutton keeper Walker to gather at the players feet. With just over five minutes remaining a Dolby free kick eventually found Winter at the back post, but once again the home side were out of luck as the effort was headed wide. Powell was brought on to replace Ward, but the striker had little time and few chances to be effective, his one contribution being a header that lacked power to trouble the keeper. The last chance fell to Winter, who hit a blistering shot from the edge of the area, only to see it rebound off the back of Wilkins.
 
Sheffield are certainly not making things easy for themselves in the effort to clinch the championship, and with just four games now remaining, must aim to gain maximum points from these 'Cup Finals', starting at Garforth next Saturday.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Pete Davey
 
Sheffield FC : Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Winter, Thorpe, Robinson, Ward (Powell), Wilkins, Dolby Unused Subs: T. Jones, White.
Sutton Town : Walker, Whitehead,Magee, Dooley, Ashford, Fisher, Blunt, Sutton, Lee (Simms), Massingham (Mitchell), Alonso (A.Jones).

Sheffield FC 1 Maltby Main 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 27/03/07


A gritty second half performance from Maltby thwarted Sheffield's hopes of coming away with maximum points, tonight at the Bright Finance Stadium, frustrating the home side's title aspirations with a solid defensive display. After going ahead on thirty minutes through Vill Powell's thirteenth goal in a Club shirt, it looked as if Sheffield would go on and build on this lead with some impressive attacking football, only to see scores levelled a minute from the break through an Ashley Longstaff
header. Sheffield should have regained the lead, and had more than one opportunity to do so, but a fine backs to the wall display by the visitors ensured they left Dronfield with a precious point for the third season on the trot.

The signs were that Sheffield would dominate this game right from the off, and a clever corner tactic between Gavin Smith and Chris Dolby saw the latter dribble the ball to the edge of the area before letting a shot go, only to see the ball cleared off the line by Jordan Stocks. Dolby was instrumental in much of the first half activity, and it was his free kick that found Ian Robinson unmarked in the middle, with his header troubling Oliver Schofield who needed two attempts to snuff out the
danger. Maltby's efforts for the opening were confined to breakaways, even though they looked dangerous, the best they achieved was a header which was directed straight into the hands of Jamie Holmshaw. On the half hour mark Sheffield took a deserved lead, once again it was a Dolby free kick that caused the mayhem, with Gavin Smith meeting the ball to hit
the post before POWELL steered the rebound in from close range. Sheffield thought they'd wrapped it up moments later, with another Dolby free kick being forced over the line by Smith, only for referee Murphy to rule it out for an infringement. Just before the interval Main drew level, quite against the run of play after Club failed to clear their lines, with the ball coming in from the left wing to be met by LONGSTAFF unmarked at the back post.

Sheffield came out after the restart determined to make amends for this brief lapse, and should have regained the lead early doors when the lively looking Wilkins put the ball across to Dolby on the penalty spot, only to see his first time effort skewed wide of the mark. Club piled on the pressure and were starting to create some chances, with Schofield denying Wilkins who shot straight at the keeper and following a jinking run by Dolby, palmed over the top from a stinger from Daz Winter. The
game from hereon in was punctuated by the whistle of Mr Murphy, not allowing flowing football of any kind, and suiting the defensive tactics of the visitors, who were able to snuff out everything the hosts threw at them. Man-of-the-match Wilkins was trying his damnedest to get past the Maltby backline, and nearly came up dividends after a solo run left five players in his wake, before the end shot whistled past the upright.
As time progressed the visitors became more and more adventurous, with the frontline seeing more of the ball, and with it more opportunities to snatch a shock winner. The dependable Scott Somerville was looking dangerous as always, and caused a few missed beats in the home ranks when he was allowed the fraction of space he needed to unleash a shot on goal, fortunately for Club Jamie Holmshaw was on hand to make a brave and solid block. Sheffield could have snatched this late on, with Ian Robinson having a shot that beat Oliver Schofield for once, this time Mark Coggin was on hand to steer the ball away from the line.

So five games left to go for Club, and it would be prudent to expect more of the same in the majority of these games, with teams coming to the BFS hoping to come away with a point. Maltby have had a recent habit of coming over this way and frustrating Sheffield, and it was no surprise they came away with a point, making the title run in all the more tense. With Retford grabbing all three points up at Eccleshill tonight, the gap is back to nine points with three games in hand, by no means an
easy task for them - but nonetheless achievable. All Sheffield can do now is win all their remaining games, a tall order it must be said, but if this happens then the pressure will be well and truly on the Badgers.
Next up for Sheffield is a home game with Sutton Town, we snatched the points down at their patch, let's hope we do the same come Saturday tea-time.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - David Wilkins
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Winter,
Brownrigg, Robinson, Powell (Ward), Wilkins, Dolby (White). Sub Not Used: Jones.
Maltby Main: Schofield, Coggin, Staniforth, Longstaff, Mitchell,
McCormick, Hobson, Stocks, Somerville, Kay, Fletcher. Subs Not Used: Riley, Eades, Turner.

Sheffield FC 1 Glapwell 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 24/03/07
 
A goal twelve minutes from the end of this contest from Daz Winter was the difference between two tightly matched teams this afternoon, at a cold and blustery Bright Finance Stadium, as Sheffield beat Glapwell 1-0 for the third season in a row. Making his return to the starting eleven for the first time in eight games, Winter capped a wonderful midfield display by catching just about everyone in the large attendance unawares, striking a clinical shot from fully 25 yards giving Neil West little or no chance in the Glapwell goal. In a game of very few chances both teams played some good fair football, whilst Glapwell will feel they deserved more than they ended up with after ninety minutes, giving a very good account of themselves - proving their push for a potential UniBond slot is no fluke whatsoever.
 
Despite being a lively encounter from both sides, with each doing their fair share of pressing the opposition's area, neither side really created anything of note in the opening period. Chris White went close for Sheffield after about thirty minutes, whilst Daz Winter saw a shot deflected straight at Glappy keeper West not long after, with neither of these causing any real concern in the visitors' ranks. Rob Ward was showing a great deal of energy up front for Club, along with Vill Powell, with Ian Robinson and Winter doing well in the middle - but nothing these created really put the Glapwell defence truly to the test. At the other end Holmshaw didn't really have much to do, but just before half time he had to be at his best to deny both Ian Brown and Craig Housley, who both had shots blocked within a frantic thirty second period in the Sheffield eighteen yard box.
 
Holmshaw had to make the first proper save of the second half too, blocking another effort from Ian Brown from point blank range, to frustrate the visitors once again. Glapwell thought they'd taken the lead shortly after this, after the ball was forced over the line to the delight of the away support; however this was ruled out by referee Hutchinson for pushing. Sheffield eventually started to impose themselves on the game as time pressed on, and Gavin Smith went reasonably close with a shot from the edge of the area, but with twelve minutes remaining on the clock the deadlock was finally broken. After some more sustained pressure by Sheffield the ball was pumped back across goal, the ball was laid of by Powell into the path of WINTER, who amazed just about everyone by striking the ball low and hard from 25 yards giving Neil West no hope - even though he managed to get a finger on the ball. All that remained for Club was for them to stay focussed and not concede; however the hosts hearts were pounding a bit quicker when Colin Cockerill's free-kick sizzled inches over the bar, just enough away from the target to give Sheffield all three points.
 
So yet another narrow win, another big attendance at the BFS, another three points in the bag and a step in the right direction. Eleven points the gap is between Sheffield and Retford, with the Badgers having four games in hand having another blank Saturday, setting the season up for an even more exciting finish. Next on the horizon is sixth placed Maltby Main on Tuesday, who were the league pace-setters earlier in the season, and a team who won 4-2 this afternoon at home to Arnold Town. Another tight game on the horizon no doubt, with everything still to play for, and anything can still happen.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darryl Winter
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Winter, Thorpe (Brownrigg), Robinson, Ward (Wilkins), Powell, White. Sub Not Used: Jones.
Glapwell: West, Smith, Hollingworth, Gaunt, Hodgkinson (Cantrell), Roebuck, Cockerill, Burdett, Sherlock (Rimmington), Brown, Housley. Sub Not Used: Leslie.

Eccleshill United 0 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 20/03/07

Sheffield were once again went in the Bradford area, their second visit in four days and again came back with all three points and a clean sheet.
     
On a freezing night it was the home side who kicked off, with a couple of early half chances scrambled away. It wasn't long before the league leaders took control, with both Robinson and White going close with shots. Then Robinson was almost through again after a one-two with Ward, but the keeper was just a yard quicker to gather the ball safely from the midfielder's feet. The deadlock was broken in the eighteenth minute when White's free kick was only parried by Morris and WARD was on hand to slot the loose ball home, with the aid of a deflection. Twenty six minutes and the game was virtually over as this time Robinson swung a free kick into the area and SMITH rose unchallenged to head home. Man Of The Match Ward then had a good shot on the turn which the keeper managed to gather at the second attempt. Both Powell and Ward were stretching the home defence with every attack and Powell had a glorious chance to get on the scoresheet when a mix up in the home defence saw the ball at the strikers feet just to the right of the goal, but he shot into the sidenetting with the goal at his mercy.
  
The second half saw the visitors carry on where they left off, Powell again creating space, but shooting over the bar. Ward then made a strong run through the defence from Turners long kick, but was thwarted in the end  by Morris. The rare chances that Eccleshill created were easily dealt with by the impressive Turner, restricting the home side to long range efforts in an effort to get on the scoresheet. At the other end, Marsh was unlucky when a Sheffield free kick was fumbled by Morris, but the ball wouldn't drop quick enough and the captain's effort was blocked. The resulting corner saw Brownrigg send a powerful header goalwards, but Morris was well positioned to save. That was Brownriggs last contribution as Manager McCarthy introduced Darryl Winter, for his first outing since his recent injury. Robinson then had a break down the right, sending over a near post cross that Powell just couldn't convert. On any other night the striker would probably have been celebrating a hat-trick, but tonight it just wouldn't go in. Wilkins had a run out for the last few minutes replacing Powell.
  
With Retford's 3-0 win over Garforth tonight , it keeps the top two sides eight points apart, but more significantly, it now looks like a two horse race, no doubt those other teams closely involved at the top of the table will think differently.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Rob Ward
 
Eccleshill United: Morris, Ferrand, Waite (Higman), Brown, Cornwall, Philip, Broughton (Mazurke), Dempsey, Hamlet, Hudson, Brady (Edwards).
Sheffield FC: Turner, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Brownrigg (Winter), Thorpe, Robinson, Ward, Powell (Wilkins), White. Unused Sub: Jones.

Liversedge 0 Sheffield FC 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 17/03/07

Chris White goes close with this first half free kick at Liversedge (click above)

The age old saying from Jimmy Greaves that "Football is a funny old game" was right on the nail this afternoon as far as Sheffield supporters were concerned. After three games without a win, an own goal was the difference between the two sides as the visitors kept up their fine away record .  One major line up change for 'Club' was Ross Turner in goal for the injured Holmshaw.
 
The game kicked off with the Sheffield kicking into the sun and against a strong wind. It was Club who were first to settle down and White's shot in the eighth minute was safely gathered by Liversedge 'keeper Lee Ashworth. The home side then went close, a break down the left saw Sheridan slip the ball past the oncoming Turner, only to see it cleared off the line, the resulting clearance landing at the feet of Evans whose shot was deflected over the bar. After that it was the visitors who controlled the game throughout. Robinson went close with a header, and when Liversedge did mount an attack the confident Turner was dealing comfortably with any danger and marshalling the defence to good effect. There was one anxious moment when he raced out of his area to the touchline, but his determination to win the ball resulted in the clearance sailing into one of the gardens of the surrounding houses. With just over 20 minutes on the clock there was an early substitution as Brownrigg replaced Holmes. It was then down to Ashworth to show his prowess as he came out to punch clear from a White free kick. The winger then went even closer with a free kick which just went the wrong side of the post (see YouTube clip). The last action of the half saw Turner pluck the ball out of the air as a cross was delivered into the area.
  
With the wind (and now rain) in Sheffield's favour they started the second half by pinning the home side back. Man Of The Match Robinson was influencial on the right, feeding the ball to the forwards and it was he who almost set up Ward, whose shot on the turn went narrowly wide with the keeper well beaten. Smith was next to try, with his long range effort on target, but easily gathered by the keeper. In a game where clear cut chances were at a premium, it looked as though it would take something spectacular or lucky to break the deadlock, and so it proved. Just before the hour mark, a White free kick into the area was scrambled clear and MARSH hit a drive which Maltas could only help into the net, over the despairing dive of Ashworth, and no doubt the Sheffield Captain will claim it as his goal. Liversedge started to press forward but the visitors defence were dealing with the sporadic attacks effectively. With just under ten minutes remaining Ward almost doubled the lead when his 25 yard looping shot was goal bound for the top corner, but somehow, Ashworth managed to recover his ground to make a fine one-handed save and tip the ball round the post. Liversedge had a couple of efforts off target and that was it. A scrappy game but the right result.
 
So, for the third year on the trot, Sheffield leave the Claybourne ground with all three points in the bag. Another bonus for the visitors was Retford losing at home to Selby and Garforth only managing a draw, the two chasing clubs playing each other this coming week. So it's a case of 'catch us if you can'. Next stop is Eccleshill on Tuesday (weather permitting of course !)
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Ian Robinson
 
Liversedge: Ashworth, Jefferson (Hewitt), Waller, Sheridan, Sparks, Jaggen, Quinn, Evans (Buckley), Flynn, Whittaker, Maltas (McKenzie).
Sheffield FC: Turner, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Holmes (Brownrigg), Thorpe, Robinson, Ward, Wilkins (Powell), White. Unused Sub: Jones. 
 

Sheffield FC 1 Retford United 4
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 13/03/07

If this was supposed to be the title decider, well you may as well stick black and white ribbons on the trophy now, as Retford well and truly outclassed Sheffield at the Bright Finance Stadium this evening. Fortunately for Sheffield this wasn't a decider of any kind, although it hasn't helped their own title aspirations in any way, with Club's lead now slashed to five points with the Badgers having three games in hand. Three first half goals had the game wrapped up by the interval, with Ben Chambers, Mick Godber and Lee Holmes all grabbing goals, whilst in the second half Neil Harvey made it "Retford four" for the second week running with Club new-boy Ian Robinson grabbing a consolation just before the end.
 
After a reasonably even opening Retford took the lead on thirteen minutes; a seemingly harmless cross into the Sheffield box saw Holmshaw look to be impeded, the ball spilled kindly at the feet of CHAMBERS who had the easiest of jobs to tap home - with the Sheffield defence livid with the decision. Midway through the half Sheffield were pressing forward, a long ball-cum-clearance sailed over the Sheffield back-line leaving them flat-footed, GODBER caught the ball in full stride and slid the ball under Holmshaw for a second. Just before the half time whistle the ball fell out on the wing, about 25 yards out and not the easiest of angles, HOLMES had what may be considered a speculative shot on goal - the ball went past Holmshaw and in off the post. 3-0 - and Retford looked for all the world worth the scoreline.
 
Two minutes into the restart saw another long ball that caused hesitancy amongst the Sheffield defence; HARVEY nipped in between keeper and defender, and placed the ball into the empty net. Club finally got a shot on target on the hour mark; substitute Rob Ward driving one straight at Chris Kingston, whilst efforts from Powell and Holmes followed without much fruit. Seven minutes from time White broke down the right wing, finally got in a cross that caused the Retford defence some concern, and ROBINSON tapped in at the back post from about six yards out - by this time though the result was well beyond even talking about.
 
There's still a trip to Cannon Park on the horizon for Sheffield, hopefully by that time it will give a clearer indication as to how vital that game is really going to be, but for the time being it's advantage Retford. The visitors looked a class better in just about every department, and rather than pouting and thinking the game is all done, it will be a true indication as to the strength of the Club spirit over the next few games - starting with Liversedge on Saturday. Time to forget tonight and bounce back - quickly!
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Brownrigg, Marsh, Davey (White), Thorpe, Robinson, Powell (Lopes), Wilkins (Ward), Holmes.
 
Retford United: Kingston, Ludlam, Wright, Ford, Simpkins, Colley (Farmery), Duffield, Chambers (Shaw), Godber, Harvey (Ashton), Holmes.

Sheffield FC 1 Glasshoughton Welfare 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 10/03/07

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Influential midfielder Chris Dolby (pictured above) picked up a first half injury

Sheffield were back in league action today, and looking to get back to winning ways after their midweek cup defeat. On a mild afternoon there was a place in the starting eleven for new signing Ian Robinson.
 
Sheffield were the first to show, with Wilkins stubborn in his persistence to keep the ball in play by the corner flag, however his cross was headed away. It was one way traffic in the first fifteen minutes with the hosts finding play particularly fruitful down the right wing where Smith and Dolby were combining well in a number of moves. It was almost 20 minutes before Glasshoughton had their first serious attack and Holmshaw had to be at his best to block a shot from Stuart Dove. It was the visitors who again went close just before the half hour mark  when Croad's shot was safely gathered by the keeper.  Just after this Sheffield were forced into an early substitution as Dolby limped off, to be replaced by Holmes. White then had a shot that was wide of the mark. With ten minutes of the half remaining, Robinson burst through the Glasshoughton defence only to be brought down on the edge of the area, the referee deemimg it unnecessary to issue a yellow card to the offending player. The resulting kick was tamely hit by Wilkins, straight into the arms of Cowell. Despite the hosts having most of the possession, it was Holmshaw who was the busier of the keepers, as once again he was in the right place to tip away a rasping shot from Britten. Just before the break he coaes to the rescue again, gathering the ball from the feet of the onrushing Fox, and taking a knock for his efforts, a fact not appreciated by Brownrigg who ended up in the referee's book (along with Fox) for a spot of 'handbags' to finish the half all square.
 
Once again was Sheffield attacking first, with Cowell doing well to punch a corner clear. Dove then had a great chance for the visitors, his mazy dribble seeing him drive the ball goalwards only for Man of the Match Holmshaw to once again come to Sheffield's rescue, turning the ball away for a corner. The resulting kick found Jamie Thompson unmarked, but his header was wide of the mark. Sheffield then had to make another change, this time Brownrigg was withdrawn, to be replaced by Marsh.
  
Powell took the ball to the edge of the area and squaring it to White, but his shot was just wide of the mark. This was the last action for the winger as Manager McCarthy went for broke and brought on Rob Ward and play with three strikers. It was just what the fans needed as the game livened up considerably. On 70 minutes Powell made a great run , but with players waiting in the box he decided to shoot and the ball went high, wide and not very handsome into the wood !  With fifteen minutes to play the deadlock was finally broken. Unfortunately for the home fans it was Glasshoughton who found the net. Yet another Sheffield attack broke down, the visitors launched a counter-attack and it was that man DOVE once again, who lobbed the ball over Holmshaw and into an empty net as the keeper had committed himself on the edge of the area. Holmshaw redeemed himself a minute later when saving well from Sadler. With time running out, Sheffield threw more men forward in search of an equaliser, and with three minutes left the home fans finally had something to cheer about. Some fine work in the middle of the park saw Thorpe send over an inch perfect pass into the area and WILKINS was on hand, his diving header beating the outstretched hands of Cowell. Not to be outdone, the visitors almost scored straight from the restart as Holmshaw had to be at his best to tip over a shot from Dove. Sheffield were then given a free kick on the edge of the area but Powell's shot was wide of the mark. With time running out, the hosts had a glorious chance to grab all three points. However, with players free in the area, Powell decided to go for glory and shot woefully wide when others players were better placed. In added time Glasshoughton were unfortunate not to grab all three points when Dove hit the crossbar from a freekick.
   
Overall, it was another point gained in the quest for promotion, and, to be fair to Glasshoughton, they defended resolutely and deserved at least something from the game. With both Retford and Garforth winning, the pressure is well and truly on and next Tuesday's home game against Retford will certainly not be for the faint-hearted ! 
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Brownrigg (Marsh), Davey, Robinson, Thorpe, Dolby (Holmes), Powell, Wilkins, White (Ward).
Glasshoughton Welfare: Cowell, Mattison, Inderjeet (Shelton), Thompson, Stevenson, Brown, Sadler, Dove, Croad (Higgins), Fox, Britten. Unused Sub:- Banhan.

Sheffield FC 0 Retford United 4
Presidents Cup Semi Final
Wednesday, 07/03/07
 

The battle for the NCE Premier Division championship was put to one side tonight at the Bright Finance Stadium, as the two favourites battled out this cup fixture, with the visitors coming out on top to avenge the loss they suffered at the hands of Sheffield in the F.A. Cup earlier in the season.
  
Both sides settled down well, despite the heavy conditions. Defences were certainly on top in the early exchanges with chances at a premium, although White was unlucky having got behind the defence only to lack any power in his shot. Just after 20 minutes the hosts had a great chance to grab the lead when a sweeping move found Holmes six yards out, but his effort was well saved by Kingston and the follow up by Ward hit the post and out for a goal kick. Ward almost made up for that miss when through on goal, but a brilliant tackle by ex-Sheffielder Greg Wright averted the danger.
  
It was then Retford who started to dominate proceedings, as first Holmshaw had to be at his best to tip a Duffield header onto the bar and then Colley went even closer as his effort hit his own player when goal bound. Despite all this, the half remained goal less.
  
Retford were the first out of the starting blocks for the second half as they took the game to the hosts and it came as no surprise when, ten minutes into the half, Ryan FORD opened the scoring with a blistering drive which gave Holmshaw no chance. Retford doubled their lead five minutes later when Godber found room just inside the area to turn and square the ball across goal for the easiest of tap ins for CHAMBERS. With the game slipping out of Sheffield's grasp, Manager McCarthy introduced young Under 19 prospect Lee Gregory into the action and rested Dolby. However , once again it was the visitors who were celebrating as a Duffield free kick found the home defence statuesque as CHAMBERS rose unchallenged to nod the ball home.
  
Ward gave a glimmer of hope to the home supporters as he rose for a header, only to see the ball go narrowly over the bar. Substitutions were now coming thick and fast and Cressey was given a run out in place of Boulter. With ten minutes to go, Sheffield had a great chance to get at least a consolation goal when Gregory raced on to a through ball, but the experienced Kingston did enough to put the young striker off  and keep his goal intact. Tom Jones was then brought on, to ease himself back into competitive action at the expense of O'Carroll. With two minutes left  a flowing move from the visitors saw Lee Holmes wrap up the scoring for the night, for a memorable victory for the Badgers, who now how a two legged final to fit into their busy end of season schedule.
   
A final appearance would have been nice for the faithful followers, but the early exit from all this season's cup competitions looks like being a blessing in disguise as the team have been totally focused on pole position in the league. No doubt next weeks home league fixture against Retford will be a much  more full blooded affair as both teams look for the points at stake to take them nearer to the title.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darren Holmes
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter (Cressey), Brownrigg, Davey, Marsh, O'Carroll(Jones), Dolby (Gregory), Ward, D. Holmes, White.
Retford United: Kingston, Ludlam, Wright, Ford (Harvey), Colley, Simpkins (Burton), Duffield, Chambers, Godber (Ashton), Kerly, L. Holmes.

Brief snippet of second half action from Sheffield v Pickering Town

Sheffield FC 1 Pickering Town 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 24/02/07
 
Sheffield were pushed all the way this afternoon by a very brave and lively Pikes outfit, but were value enough to come away from the Bright Finance Stadium with all three points, taking Club ten points clear of Retford following the Badgers' postponement against Garforth Town. Both sides had enough chances to win the game, but the difference between the two teams came in the 67th minute, when David Wilkins nipped in to score the vital goal - his eighth since donning the colours of Sheffield. Making a return today for Sheffield was Rob Ward, making a second half substitution appearance, after spells with Buxton and Dinnington Town earlier this season.
 
On an unsurprisingly heavy pitch, both teams were quick out of the blocks, having efforts on goal early on. The best came in the tenth minute, when Vill Powell showed great strength and balance to shoot on the turn, only to see Pikes' keeper Kev Martin turn the ball round the post with an equally good one-handed save. Georgie Rose could have done better moments later, after being left in space on the right hand side, but his shot was blasted wide of the mark from a narrow angle. Neither side created much for quite a long period after that, and it took until ten minutes before the interval for the game to come truly to life, with both sides having opportunities to break the deadlock. Probably the best of these was when David Wilkins capitalised on a wayward defensive pass, shooting from the edge of the area, only to see Martin come to Pickering's rescue once again - this time tipping the ball over the bar. Chris Dolby also came close to opening the scoring, placing a shot just outside the post, whilst Steve Baxter and Ricky Greening combined well only for Jamie Holmshaw to block well after closing all the options down.
 
The second period started like the first had, with Wilkins coming fractions from a goal, after twisting and turning before seeing his shot deflected - trickling inches from the post. At the other end Baxter caused Holmshaw to pull of another great save, this time the Pikes' striker hitting a crisp shot on the turn, with the Sheffield stopper turning the ball round for a corner. Sheffield were making all the pressing at this point though, and several attacks upfield amounted to nothing, but soon that pressure was made to tell. Midway through the half Chris White made another darting run down the left wing, cutting in to the box, before crossing the ball across the face of the goal where WILKINS was there with the vital touch to stab the ball home. Pickering weren't going to lie down unfortunately, and made for a few nervy moments for Club, going close on more than one occasion. Greening and Baxter combined once again, this time Baxter's finishing let him down as he lashed the ball over, whilst Chris Batchelor crossed a ball to substitute Liam Salt who headed just over the bar. Sheffield almost wrapped things up nicely in stoppage time, when Chris White's solo run down the middle eventually saw the ball break kindly for him; his shot though was inches wide of the mark once again.
 
Not the most convincing win Sheffield will have this season, but at this stage of the season a win is a win, and three more points closer to UniBond football. With Retford not playing the gap has now stretched to ten points, with the Badgers having four games in hand; however their fixture list is looking a helluva lot more congested than that of Sheffield's. And it is the top two who meet on Tuesday evening at the Bright Finance Stadium, this time a Presidents' Cup Semi-Final tie, arguably not the most important fixture between the two this season and how much of a pointer this will be for the rest of the season remains to be seen.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darren Holmes
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Brownrigg, Davey, Holmes, Thorpe, White, Powell, Wilkins (Ward), Dolby. Subs Not Used: O'Carroll, Marsh.
Pickering Town: Martin, McCauley (Brown), Vasey, Pallender, McNaughton (Eeles), Rose, Gildea (Salt), Biggins, Baxter, Greening, Batchelor.

Former 'Clubbie' Lee Broster denies Vill Powell

Arnold Town 0 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 17/02/07

Normal service was resumed at Gedling Road as Sheffield got back to winning ways and increased their lead at the top of the table.
 
After the early exchanges it was the home side who had the first opportunity, a free kick which was cleared away for a corner. White then had a snapshot which went just wide of the post. With three ex-Arnold players in the visiting ranks, it was always going to be a lively contest, the latest aquisition Wilkins being 'welcomed' back with some pretty hefty challenges. Once again Arnold stalwart Broster (making his 200th appearance for Town) was in fine form, as shown when Wilkins sneaked in front of a defender to get his head to a Gav Smith cross, only to be thwarted by the big mans fine save.
  
On a very cut up pitch, it was hard for the visitors to play any of their flowing football, with the ball sticking at the vital moment when in the final third of the field. Club were having much the better of the play though and controlling the game. The breakthrough came after 23 minutes when Smith sent a long ball forward and it was POWELL who ran onto to it and held off a defender before slipping it past the stranded keeper. Arnold had a chance to draw level straight from the restart but Sutton put his header wide of the goal. Arnold then had one of the best moves of the game as Hall, Haskins and Law linked up, taking the ball from the edge of their own area, but Holmshaw was on hand to cut out the danger. The visitors were still positive going forward, but were unable to make the final ball count.
 
The second half saw the home side once again on the attack as Sutton's header was safely gathered by Holmshaw. Sheffield were then unfortunate as Wilkins raced through, only for the referee to blow for offside from a very late call by his assistant. Once the game had settled again the visitors started to carve out chances as the home side pushed forward for an equaliser. The next goal would be crucial, and it was Sheffield who got the decisive break. Boulter's long ball found Powell who took the ball into the area and drawing Broster out of position before squaring it across to man of the match WILKINS to tap home. A fitting response from the striker to silence the home fans. The striker then turned provider as he set up Holmes, but his sidefoot shot was way over the bar. Despite their efforts, the home side just couldn't breach the Sheffield defence which was solid throughout. At the other end, Powell was out of luck when his shot on the turn was parried away by Broster. He then had a golden chance when one on one with the big keeper, but the chance went begging. With just under ten minutes left it was Dolby who was next up at the shooting range as a lay back from Wilkins saw his fierce shot sail over the bar. In added time the home side probably had their best spell of the game, pinning the visitors back in their own area with Holmshaw having to dive at his near post to turn the ball away for a corner. From the resulting kick the Sheffield No 1 blocked the shot on the goal line. In time added on, Roney broke down the left and sent over a teasing cross into the area which Powell just failed to reach.
 
With a series of home matches coming up our, fate is in our own hands.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - David Wilkins

Arnold Town:- Broster, Clifford (Archer), Davies, Clarke, Peet (Wright), Thomas (Branson), F.Smith, Hall, Sutton, Haskins, Law.
Sheffield:- Holmshaw, G.Smith, Boulter, Brownrigg, Davey, Holmes, Thorpe, White, Powell, Wilkins (O'Carroll), Dolby (Roney) Unused Sub : Cressey.

Whitey Takes A Tumble !!!

Well Played Wilko !

Carlton Town 3 Sheffield FC 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 03/02/07

BAD TO WORSE....CARLTON GO TWO UP FROM THE SPOT
Chris White is close.....but not close enough
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Injury hit Sheffield's twelve match unbeaten league record was ended in dramatic fashion this afternoon at Stoke Lane, losing 3-0 to the last team who beat them way back in October, Carlton Town. In what was Club's first visit to the Nottingham outfit's ground, the odds were stacked against them before the game even kicked off, as Sheffield's injury woes were further compounded with Gary Townsend, Daz Winter and David Wilkins all missing from the starting line-up - along with the already ruled out Tom Jones. After a pretty uneventful first half on what might be considered the most difficult surface this season, things livened up somewhat in the second period as Anthony Howell broke the deadlock with a splendid goal early on, before some pretty questionable refereeing decisions gave the home team a one man advantage - with Matt Roney being dismissed for an altercation with David Jephson. Things were made even worse as two goals in the final five minutes gave the scoreline a perverse slant, a penalty from Danny Blair and another from Howell, making the result even harder to swallow.
 
To say the Stoke Lane pitch was uneven is an understatement, but as the adage goes - it was the same for both teams. Even so, Sheffield started the brighter of the two, and were the first to go close. A long punt up field by Jamie Holmshaw left the Carlton defence looking flat-footed, Vill Powell held the ball up before laying off to Chris White, and White was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the area deflected onto the post. Carlton's mixture of physical tackling and an ultra-defensive offside trap was doing a good job thwarting any threat Sheffield were liable to pose, with the linesman's flag appearing to go up every other minute, whilst Club were limited to one shot by Darren Holmes early on which was comfortably dealt with by Steve Brealey in the Town goal. Sheffield were clearly dominating the game, although it has to be said Carlton didn't look like they posed much of a threat at all, as Craig Marsh and Peter Davey mopped up everything that was hoisted their way. One worry for in the first half for Sheffield though was when Jamie Holmshaw suffered somewhat in a pretty robust 50-50 challenge, one that saw the visiting keeper hobbling for much of the first half, fortunately for Sheffield he was able to complete the game and performed admirably in the process.
 
Four minutes after the restart Carlton opened the scoring, but not until Sheffield had carried on where they'd left off, pressing up field without any final result. Another attack had broken down and Miles Thorpe was dispossessed in midfield, the ball was swept out to the left wing where HOWELL cut in from the wing, before hitting the ball with the outside of his boot leaving Holmshaw with not much chance at all. The goal seemed to come out of the blue, and pretty much against the run of play, but soon after Carlton hit the Sheffield bar - and then questions were being asked about "bogey teams" and the like. As with the fixture at the Coach and Horses, once in front Carlton knuckled down to a very frustrating and physical defence, one that was both highly effective and with some challenges being hefty - quite tense - all mixed in with the unpredictability of the undulating pitch it didn't make for good viewing. From this point it seemed the officials seemed to lose control of the contest, and many of the decisions left many present baffled, whilst in turn adding to the frustrations of the visitors. Sheffield's best opportunity to draw level came when Darren Holmes won the ball in midfield, played Chris Dolby into space who in turn whipped the ball across the face of the goal, all it needed was the slightest of touches and it would have been a different story (perhaps) but as Chris White slid in - he was unable to get that vital redirection the ball needed.
 
Brealey then produced a top class save, tipping an effort from White over the bar, but twenty minutes from time came the event that summed up the whole day. Carlton's David Jephson and Club's Matt Roney tangled for the ball on halfway near the touchline, as both stumbled it appeared Jephson stamped on Roney who in turn reacted, a minor scuffle erupted which was quelled in seconds by players of both sides - the referee then for some reason produced a red card for Roney whilst only a yellow for Jephson when it clearly appeared to be a "six-of-one" situation with both equally to blame. With the one man disadvantage Club had an even bigger uphill struggle on their hands, and all the while allowing Carlton more space as they pushed in vain for an equaliser, and Howell could have added to Sheffield's woes if he had been better with two relatively easy chances. Five minutes before the end came the final straw, Joe Irons took the ball into the Sheffield box, brushed off two challenges successfully and then fell over - the referee awarding a penalty, which BLAIR dispatched with some aplomb. For the first time in a long while there felt an air of resignation in the Sheffield ranks, today was never going to be their day, and it came as no surprise two minutes later when HOWELL added to the total slotting past Holmshaw to put the final nail in the coffin.
 
It all may sound like sour grapes, but with the injuries, the pitch and a refereeing performance that resembled the pitch; this was a day truly to forget. Only the biggest one-eyed-biased Sheffield supporter would truly believe the unbeaten run would go to the end of the season, it was never going to happen and even promotion winning teams lose games, today was always going to be one of those games. With Retford winning today against Brodsworth (no surprise there really), the gap has now closed to a manageable seven points with three games in hand, and those two games against the Badgers on the horizon are looking all the more vital. Today's result means statistically Carlton appear to have cracked the secret of how to beat Sheffield, and stop them scoring to boot, hopefully they won't share that secret with anyone else. Next up is a game with Maltby, hopefully on a flat pitch with a full squad - and a decent referee...
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Pete Davey
 
Carlton Town: Brealey, Thomas, Jephson, Cane, Martin, Irons, Ball, Gent, Chaplain (Atkins), Blair, Howell. Subs Not Used: Fletcher, Winfield.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter (Brownrigg), Marsh, Davey, Holmes, Thorpe (O'Carroll), Roney, Powell, White (Gregory), Dolby.

Sheffield FC 5 Long Eaton United 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 27/01/07

Sheffield marched on at the top of the league with a resounding win, that, on paper looked  easy , but in fact was a case of two very different halves.
 
Both sides needed time to settle under the conditions of a bright sunny day, but a pitch which was heavy underfoot. Smith had an early opportunity but a well timed tackle saw the ball cleared to safety whilst at the opposite end Boulter was on hand to clear the danger when Holmshaw was left stranded. It was clear that Sheffield were suffering from their enforced break of postponements as the visitors took the game to them and at this stage any neutral would have been hard pressed in deciding which team were the league leaders.
 
With 19 minutes on the clock Long Eaton made the breakthrough when a lofted ball into the area found Aiden BRADY lurking at the far post to rifle the ball home despite the best efforts of Holmshaw to deny the nippy winger. Sheffield's misery was doubled just three minutes later when Holmshaw gave away a free kick just to the left outside the area.  The resulting kick was punished by ALLSOP who rose unchallenged to head home. This seemed to wake up the home side at last, who realised they were in a game. Thankfully  one player had been awake since kick off ochestrating things.That man was Chris Dolby who was running the midfield and it was appropriate that on the half hour mark he should be the one to get Club back into the game with the bit of luck that changes games. Vill Powell made an excellent run into the opposition box, and, just as he seemed to overun it he stuck out a leg sending the ball rebounding off the keeper and a defender and straight into the path of DOLBY whose shot trickled over the line. Four minutes later and the scores were level with an almost identical move. This time Powell's pass saw DOLBY hit the foot of the post, but the ball rebounded back to him and this time he made no mistake.
 
With their two goal lead wiped out in the space of five minutes United started to crack under the pressure of the home side and were glad to get into the half time break on level terms.
  
As a stern faced Dave McCarthy led his players back onto the field, no doubt after giving the team a tonguelashing it was the Sheffield team we know who emerged for the second half as they totally dominated the next 45 minutes.  Man of the match Dolby almost crowning his display with a cheeky lob which the keeper had to tip over. From the resulting corner the hosts took the lead they were never going to relinquish. Dolby's kick was floated to the near post and TOWNSEND was on hand to head home. Dolby then sent a screamer of a shot just wide of the post with the keeper rooted to the spot. In fact, Sheffield were now adopting a 'shoot on sight' policy in which Powell, Wilkins and Dolby were all unlucky with efforts either just wide or too high. The lead was further increased on 65 minutes when WILKINS hit a free kick from the edge of the area along the ground and into the corner of the net with the Long Eaton defence all at sixes and sevens. The scoring was completed on 82 minutes when substitute RONEY rifled the ball past the hapless keeper with his first touch of the ball.
  
In the end a satisfiying afternoon's work, although physio 'Snowy', celebrating ten years at the club, will have his work cut out as Townsend, Winter and Wilkins all limped off at the final whistle. With first team places now at a premium for the run in I'm sure non of them want to spend too long on the treatment table.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris Dolby
 
SHEFFIELD F.C.:- Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Marsh, Davey, Winter (D.Holmes), Thorpe, Dolby (Roney), Powell, Wilkins (C.White), Townsend.
LONG EATON UNITED:- W.White, A. Holmes, McGinty, Allsop, Hallam(Downie), Strzyzewski, Chambers(Spencer), Wilkinson, Aaron Brady, Buick, Aiden Brady. (Unused Sub :- Beldham

Sheffield FC 4 Thackley 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 13/01/07

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Vill Powell about to stroke the ball home to finish off Thackley with Club's fourth goal

Sheffield breezed to a comfortable win over struggling Thackley this afternoon, at a windswept Bright Finance Stadium, without really getting into top gear. Goals from Gary Townsend and Darryl Winter in the first half, and David Wilkins and Vill Powell in the second gave the hosts a convincing victory, and could have doubled that number with near misses and wasted chances. Thackley were never at the races, and although they gave Jamie Holmshaw enough to keep warm, they never looked like threatening the league leaders at any stage of the game.
 
Club took the lead inside the first minute on the first attack of the game, with the visitors still looking shaky after conceding six the previous week; unable to clear the ball Wilkins was able to dig the ball out of the mle into the path of TOWNSEND who struck the ball cleanly past Onitiri from the edge of the area. Thackley were having trouble even competing in the opening stages, and nearly conceded again seconds later after some hesitant defending allowed Wilkins to nip in behind the defence, unfortunately for the Sheffield striker he was unable to make the most of the one-on-one situation and lobbed the ball wide of the goal. With the wind blowing at gale-force behind Sheffield in the first period, many of the lofted balls over the nervous defence were going astray, and to be honest it didn't make for pretty viewing. The scoreline could have took an embarrassing turn as Thackley finally started to get in amongst the game, and skipper Craig Marsh nearly gifted the Bradford outfit an equaliser by passing a stray ball across the face of his own area, Sean Clifford intercepted and it took a marvellous stop from Jamie Holmshaw to keep Club in front. Holshaw had to be on hand to deny Clifford once again moments later, as a break from youngster Andy King set the visitors on a rare attack, a through ball found the Thackley striker and it took a brave stop at his feet to avert a certain goal. Sheffield finally got round to doubling their lead five minutes before the interval, as a deep cross from David Wilkins found Chris Dolby at the back post, the ball was headed back across goal to WINTER who had the pleasure of tapping the ball in to the goal with Onitiri stranded.
 
Despite playing into the teeth of the gale in the second period, Sheffield looked to be more in their element, relying on a more composed passing game that had the visitors on the back foot from the word go. Five minutes in Chris Dolby and Vill Powell combined to put Gary Townsend in space, and it took an excellent one-handed save from Ashley Onitiri to keep the score down, turning the shot around the post for a corner. Thackley's best effort came midway through the half, as substitute Damien Melvin broke down the left wing before unleashing a dipping wind-assisted shot that left Holmshaw beaten for the first and only time in the game, with the ball hitting the Sheffield crossbar. If anything this served as another wake up call for Sheffield, and in the 73rd minute they went three up as the ball found WILKINS on the edge of the area, the shot looked to be tame but somehow the ball squirmed embarrassingly underneath the 17 year old keeper and into the net. Four minutes later some more weak defending let Sheffield in for another goal, the wise old head of Simon Oliver let the visitors down gifting a poor back-pass to POWELL who had the luxury of rounding the keeper, ignoring the unmarked Wilkins in the middle to slot the ball home. Club could (and probably should) have racked up more in the latter stages, Daz Winter came close to converting an excellent Chris White cross that had the defence in tatters, whilst seconds later Darren Holmes showed some neat touches before going very close with a shot from the edge of the area. Moments after this Holmes hit the post with the defence mesmerised, and both Chris White and David Wilkins tried their hand at the acrobatic at crosses, when a better contact or technique would have more than likely have resulted in a goal - having said that the game was won a long time before these and are hardly going to matter come the season's end.
 
Overall it was easy for Sheffield, and most people would have expected a scoreline like this, especially when facing a very young (average age - including 31 year old Simon Oliver - under 20 years old) Thackley side and each sides relative form. But all games have to be won, and Sheffield did exactly that - with a good deal to spare - and given the next game for the Clubbies is that "six-pointer" against Retford on Tuesday (who also romped to a 6-2 win this afternoon), this will be seen as a nice little exercise for the table toppers. Even looking at the opposition faced today, there were plenty of strong performances out the there this afternoon, and mentions must be made for a solid midfield display from Dolby, Winter, Townsend and man-of-the match Thorpe - not forgetting a reassuring game from Holmshaw in goal. So ten games unbeaten in the league now, and the gap between first and second stretching to twelve points, a good day at the office one might say.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Miles Thorpe
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Marsh, Davey, Winter, Thorpe, Dolby (White), Powell (Roney), Wilkins, Townsend (Holmes).
Thackley: Onitiri, Backhouse, Firth, Oliver, Leach, White (Larkin), King, Coubrough, Clifford, Walters, Matthews (Melvin). Sub Not Used: Shah.

Mickleover Sports 0 Sheffield FC 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 6/01/07
DARRYL WINTER JUST OVER WITH THIS FIRST HALF HEADER AT MICKLEOVER
The game of the day saw the NCE Premier League's top two teams cancel each other out in a game of missed opportunities.
Sheffield were dealt a blow before a ball had been kicked when influencial skipper Tom Jones was ruled out with a hernia, which could see him miss the rest of the season. The captains role was taken by the recalled Craig Marsh, an able deputy if ever there was one.
   
It was the hosts who were the first to show with North firing wide. Townsend responded for Club, but his shot was also wide of the mark. Mickleover were having the better of the early exchanges as North once again was presented with an opportunity but his hurried shot was wide of the mark.  Sheffield finally got to grips with the slippery conditions and started to play the ball about and Winter was unlucky as he ran onto a cross to head over (see YouTube clip above). Sheffield had increased the pressure on their hosts and were dominating the latter stages of the half with Wilkins finding space on a number of occasions, but the final ball wasn't decisive enough to break the deadlock. His best chance was a shot on the turn, but Hateley produced a brilliant reflex save to tip the ball over the bar. Just before the break the visitors were denied a penalty when Vill Powell had his ankles clipped twice in the area while trying to make space for a shot, the striker being too honest in trying to stay on his feet when it would have been more clear cut if he had gone down in the box.
MICKLEOVER DEFENDER HEADS OVER HIS OWN BAR
It was a similar pattern in the second half, as Mickleover once again started with a couple of attacks which were adequately dealt with by the Sheffield defence. In fact it wasn't until well into the half until Holmshaw had to make his first telling save of the day as he gathered Dunn's effort at full stretch. Townsend then found himself free on the left of the penalty area and chose to cross the ball into the area when a shot would have been the better option. For all their efforts there had been very little on target by either side. The intoduction of Dolby started to resolve this as, first of all, he looped a cross deep into the Mickleover area and it needed an expert headed clearance from under the bar to save a certain goal. The best effort of the day saw him drive a rasping shot from thirty yards which had Hateley beaten all the way. Sadly for the large Sheffield supporting contingent, the cry of "Goal" was changed to sounds of anguish as the ball hit the bar and flew over to safety. So the game remained goal-less and to be fair, I'm sure both teams would have settled for a point before a ball had been kicked. It still leaves Sheffield in the driving seat, continues their unbeaten run to nine games and maintains their ten point lead at the top.
 
Next up are Thackley at The Coach & Horses, who took part in an amazing 6-6 draw with Shirebrook today.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Miles Thorpe
 
Mickleover Sports:- Hateley, Wood, Holness, Barrett, Blount, Wilson, Gummer, Dunn (Lyons), Law, North, Holmes. Unused Subs; Gibson, Middleditch.
Sheffield:- Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Marsh, Davey, Winter, Thorpe, White (Dolby), Powell, Wilkins, Townsend (Holmes) Unused Sub: Roney
Shirebrook Town 0 Sheffield FC 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 30/12/06
 
Sheffield splashed their way to three points in the last fixture of 2006, with Chris White grabbing the vital goal, in the top versus bottom clash this afternoon at Langwith Road. On a pitch that resembled a quagmire more than anything else, the game proved that the old adage that the conditions can be a great leveller were true, as Shirebrook turned out to be a harder hurdle than would have been anticipated. On a day where the rain lashed down for the full ninety minutes, the game only being passed fit after an early pitch inspection, both sides played out a tremendous contest where goals were always going to be at a premium. The game breaker eventually came on the hour mark, with Chris White angling the ball home, giving Club a ten point lead at the top of the table going into the New Year - with Retford a further three points behind with four games in hand.
 
On a very wet pitch it was always going to be difficult to play decent football, and with most other games falling by the wayside in the locality, it was a fine testament to the Shirebrook groundstaff the game even took place. Even so both sides went at each other, despite finding it hard to even stay on their feet, with Sheffield as expected pressing early on with a few dangerous corners. Shirebrook for their part playing down the slope made it difficult for Club to clear their lines, forcing some very scrappy defending and a bit of a goalmouth scramble ten minutes in, but to be fair Holmshaw was seldom tested. On 15 minutes a wicked shot from Chris White cutting in from the right wing, caused Louis Sprigg a great deal of difficulty, with the keeper seeing the ball very late and doing extremely well to turn the ball round the post. Other than that the first half as expected was pretty dour, with Gary Townsend's header from a Chris White corner probably the closest Sheffield came to scoring, with Chris Rhodes coming closest for the hosts with a stinging shot that brought the best out of Holmshaw.
MILO BITES YOUR LEGS
In the second period Sheffield made the most of the slope, causing Town to be on the back-foot for much of the half, and Club totally dominating proceedings without actually looking like scoring. Chris White put a free-kick just over the bar before the hour, but moments later he was to make the most telling contribution to the game, with his twelfth goal of the season. A first time ball by man-of-the-match Jon Boulter down the left channel found Vill Powell, a twist and a turn saw Powell fish the ball out and across the goal, and at the back post was WHITE who after a little mle stabbed the ball past Sprigg. Not the prettiest of goals, but it settled Club down enough to calm the game down to a sensible pace, although the second goal that would have sealed it never came. White came close to adding to the score with a free-kick that was fumbled by Sprigg, with Powell just too late in getting to the rebound, whilst Powell went close himself in the dying moments heading just wide. Shirebrook were still able to cause a few nervy moments, with Holmshaw spilling a free-kick under severe pressure from substitute Powell, fortunately no-one was able to turn the loose ball home. Things could have been wrapped up in injury time as White broke down the field for the umpteenth time; Powell put the ball back across the face of the goal, with a Shirebrook defender just putting the ball wide of his own post.
 
Overall this will be one that Club will be glad to get out of the way, three points in the bag and the game finished without any serious incidents along the way, ensuring it will be other teams with the fixture back-log as the season progresses. It was also a credit to both sets of players who helped get the game finished in such treacherous conditions, both played extremely fair, with no reckless challenges giving the referee - who also deserved an equal amount of credit - any cause for abandoning the game. So next up is a visit to the team currently sitting in second spot - Mickleover Sports next Saturday - who were also able to get three points in the bag this afternoon and steal a march on Retford, winning 3-1 at Glasshoughton.
 
BTF Man Of The Match - Jon Boulter
 
Shirebrook Town: Sprigg, Rhodes, Tagg, Chamberlain, Starkey, Wall, Jones (Rowbottom), Naughton, Cullen, Priestley (Powell), Naylor. Sub Not Used: Roper.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, T.Jones, Davey, Winter, Thorpe, White, Powell, Wilkins (Roney), Townsend. Subs Not Used: Marsh, D.Jones
ALMOST AN OWN GOAL AT SHIREBROOK
Here Come The Boys....Or Marshie Marshie Give Us A Wave
Hallam 1 Sheffield FC 3
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 26/12/06
Vill makes it 3-1 from the spot and it's all plain sailing now for Club
It might have been dull, damp and predictably miserable at Sandygate this afternoon, but to the players, officials and followers of Sheffield Club it was a pretty pleasant day all round thank you. In what is looking more and more like the last time these two great old clubs will meet in a league fixture, Sheffield came from behind to extend their winning Northern Counties run to seven games, whilst ending Hallam's eight match unbeaten run in all competitions - which ironically started with a Senior Cup win over Club. Things started badly for the visitors with Peter Davey turning the ball into his own goal, although the game soon turned around with goals from Gary Townsend in the 26th minute, Chris Dolby on the hour and a Vill Powell penalty in the 69th minute. Hallam's day was made even more harrowing when young Anthony Wilson was sent off twenty minutes from the end for a second bookable offence; however the game was long beyond the Countrymen by this point, with Sheffield coasting it to the full-time whistle - and even having the luxury of missing two relative sitters before the end.

With Sheffield playing up the notorious slope, it was they that started the stronger, pushing the hosts onto the back foot straight away. But as things tend to do in these games, the possession and territory counted for nothing, especially as Hallam made their first attack of the game on four minutes. A break down the right saw the ball land at the feet of ex-Clubbie James Tevendale, with the visiting skipper Tom Jones in close attendance, the ball was stabbed back across the six-yard box where it somehow hit Peter Davey's leg and ended up in the back of the net for an OWN-GOAL. On the whole the goal spurred neither side into action, and to be honest the game seemed to lack direction, with both sides content to clear their own areas by any means possible. The flat feel to the game was slightly punctuated by a bit of push-and-shove match 15 minutes in; a free kick into the box was routinely dealt with by Sheffield's Jamie Holmshaw, but Anthony Wilson seemed to think the ball was still fair-game - barging the Sheffield keeper, and proceeding to a little wrestlemania session. This incident was dealt with by the referee with a yellow card each for the two players; however this little indiscretion would catch up with the Hallam youngster later in the game. Sheffield started to impose themselves a little more threateningly onto the game, with Vill Powell coming close with an overhead kick, and Gavin Smith stabbing a Jon Boulter cross via a David Wilkins’ flick wide of the target in the 25th minute when a goal looked the more likely outcome. A minute later and the scores were level, again Smith was involved threading the ball to Powell who turned the ball into the middle of the area, a goalmouth scramble ensued and TOWNSEND was there to nod the ball home to the delight of the travelling support. In all fairness Hallam barely threatened the Sheffield goal in the first period, but that's not to say the table-toppers had the game their own way, as some pretty nervy defending left Club treading on very thin ice. Some hesitance in clearing the ball upfield seconds before the break left Sheffield facing a dangerous situation, with the attempted clearance landing at the feet of Billy Rowley, fortunately for the visitors his shot was tipped onto the post by Holmshaw.

You can guarantee a game at Sandygate is usually described as a game of two halves - and this one turned out to be no exception. Okay - so Sheffield dominated the first half, but not convincingly - but the second half there was only one team in it. From the off the visitors' intentions were clear, the confidence and assuredness had returned, and some decent attacking football was on the menu. An early Chris Dolby free-kick was flicked on by man-of-the-match Daz Winter, the ball fell to Vill Powell, and his shot was tipped onto the post by Martin Taylor. On the hour came the moment that will be considered the point of no return for Hallam, a long ball was met on the edge of the area by Taylor, the clearance was weak (to say the least) and landed in the path of DOLBY who lofted the ball high over the keeper - and crucially under the bar - from at least thirty yards out. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the hosts, and when seconds later they ventured up the hill on another rare attack, Gavin Hunter's cross was met by Anthony Wilson's swing - Jamie Holmshaw was at hand to ensure they stayed un-stuffed. Sadly for the hosts they were well and truly stuffed on 69 minutes, Gavin Smith looped a cross over into the box, Vill Powell nodded the ball goalwards only for the ball to strike the hand of another ex-Clubbie John Drennan. There was no doubt in the referee's mind this was a penalty, and there was no doubt in the mind of POWELL who dispatched the spot-kick low and hard into the left hand corner, sending Taylor the wrong way into the bargain. The game was over as a contest now, all Sheffield had to do really was shut up shop and play out time, but more salt was rubbed into the Hallam wounds when Anthony Wilson charged into Tom Jones with the ball long gone, the referee weighing this up with the earlier offence on Holmshaw and chose to serve another yellow card - Wilson's second - and leaving the home team with a literal mountain to climb. Hallam never threatened the Sheffield goal again, and whilst Sheffield could have settled for the scoreline, they continued to press. Gary Townsend set Vill Powell up on a plate with five minutes to go; sadly Vill sent that little beauty into orbit, whilst minutes later Powell was set free again on goal - this time Taylor came to the rescue blocking the striker's path. Either way the win was assured, and the vast majority of the Boxing Day crowd left Sandygate satisfied - very satisfied.

Whilst it would be easy to sit here in retrospect and type up a really gloating report, this was never an easy contest, the scoreline was fair - and some could say flattered a very under-performing Hallam side - especially given their recent form. As it was a strong second half performance from Sheffield ensured the points left S10 and headed in the general direction of S18, with some notable displays from the midfield of Townsend and Dolby, with Winter and Thorpe really bossing the middle of the park. This result knocks Hallam down to fourth spot, whilst Sheffield march on to the New Year at the top of the pile, safe in the knowledge this position will be kept regardless of Saturday's results. So - a great performance from everyone involved, and a special mention for substitute Darren Holmes, who despite not playing on the field, kept the side motivated with his non-stop warm up. Ahhhh Derby wins - don't you just love 'em?
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darryl Winter

Hallam FC: Taylor, Reynolds, Drennan, Willis, Winfindale, Dickman, Hunter (Knaggs), Wilson, Bates, Tevendale, Rowley. Subs Not Used: Ellis, Wainwright.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Davey, Winter, Thorpe, Dolby (White), Powell, Wilkins, Townsend. Subs Not Used: Holmes, Marsh.
Well Played Boys - Come On Macca, Give Us A Wave

Sheffield 2 Shirebrook Town 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 23/12/06

Click on the YouTube link below to see the teams run out. Sound is recommended as you will hear the tannoy announcer name the sides.
 
 
Father Christmas was in attendance at The Coach & Horses on Saturday, courtesy of the match sponsors, although this particular Santa looked more like a bank robber on a heist. Fortunately this didn't extend to the pitch where an almost totally outplayed Shirebrook side put up a spirited performance against the league leaders but who failed with any potential smash and grab raids.
 
Sheffield dominated the entire game although basement side Town made it hardwork in the opening half. Chances for the home side were limited although new signing David Wilkins will perhaps feel he should have done better in the 15th minute when having pounced on a ball and rounding the keeper proceeded to place his shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy. However, the ex-Arnold man, looking extremely sharp, did get himself on the end of a Gavin Smith cross in the 27th minute to glance the ball across goal into the far corner of the net to put the league leaders in control. Shirebrook's only real effort of note in the first half being dealt with relatively comfortably by Jamie Holmshaw.  
 
Club were playing their usual one touch passing football, which was particularly evident down the right hand side around Man of the Match Chris Dolby, Miles Thorpe and Gav Smith. A swift move in the box on the hour mark involving Smith and Dolby ended with Smith's effort being blocked by the now busy Shirebrook keeper and Club were starting to turn the screw. However, despite this dominance Sheffield were unable to apply the killer touch and a scramble at the other end almost proved costly with Club perhaps a little fortunate to clear the danger.
 
The home side had to wait until the final minute before the supporters could breath a little easier, and how appropriate it was for Dolby to seal it. Vill Powell , on as a second half substitute (being saved for Boxing Day ?), played a neat one two with Smith but as the ball came back to the usually sharp marksman, the striker missed his kick and the ball ran kindly to Dolby who stroked the ball home with ease.
 
So, Club were not totally convincing but perhaps doing all that was required with a bigger battle ahead on Tuesday against third placed neighbours Hallam. Hopefully Sandygate will witness a performance worthy of potential Champions in waiting, and of course we're not refering to Guy Glover's team. Perhaps Santa would like to join us again ???!!!
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris Dolby
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Gav Smith, Boulter, Jones, Davey, Winter (White), Thorpe, Dolby, Wilkins, Townsend (Powell), Holmes. Unused Sub: Roney
Shirebrook Town: Sprigg, Rhodes, Tagg, Charlesworth, Shaw, Wall, Jones, Naughton, Farrell, Priestley, Naylor. Subs: Starkey, Roper, Cullen.
  

Sutton Town 1 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 16/12/06

Sutton go one ahead in the ninth minute
The old adage that teams that win Championships grind out results even when they're not playing well was possibly in evidence in Sutton on Saturday. 
 
On a heavy pitch following substained spells of rain during the week, Dave McCarthy elected to go with the same team that had torn Brodsworth apart the previous week. Hat-trick man Dave Wilkins had to be content with a spot on the bench alongside Chris Dolby and Darren Holmes.
 
Club's first half performance was lacking in fluency, with the ball spending long periods of time off the floor and with distribution particularly poor. Sutton were marginally better during this period, scoring once through Richard Jeffrey in the ninth minute and also hitting the bar (see video clips). Certainly Jamie Holmshaw in the visitors goal was much the busier of the two keepers, making potentially match winning saves in both halves. Indeed Sheffield's second half performance pretty much served up more of the same. Quality very much at a premium. However, Club were maintaining the single goal differencial, and with potential match savers on the bench this was to prove crucial.
 
The double substitution of Wilkins and Dolby just before the hour mark was to prove the turning point in the game, and once again proved how much of a squad game this seasons performances have become.
 
Wilkins was looking sharp and Dolby was his usual influencial self on the right flank. However, the final ball was still poor and time was running out for the league leaders. Time for Dolby to emerge.
 
Following a Dolby corner in the 84th minute, the ball was cleared back to the feet of the experienced wing man, and the substitute whipped in a lovely bending cross which was powerfully headed home by Vill Powell. Less than a minute later  and Dolby was put clear in the box on the right hand side, and while the home defenders appealed for the offside decision, Dolby calmly bent the ball round the hapless Walker into the far corner of the net. Mission Impossible ? It had certainly seemed that way two minutes before but with the travelling support not quite sure how Club had conjured up such a massive changearound it was a simple case of the experienced Sheffield heads playing out the last five minutes of time.
 
Dave McCarthy put the result down to discipline. Possibly, that and the number of potential match winners currently found in the squad. With a double header against basement side Shirebrook coming up, with a visit to Sandygate to play Sheffield's other high flyers sandwiched inbetween, the possibility of establishing a double figure points lead at the top of the table looms large. The opportunity for promotion has never been greater. Will the players grasp the opportunity ? Only time will tell.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Gav Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Davey, Roney (Dolby), Powell (Holmes), Townsend, White (Wilkins).
A first half shot from Matt Roney (?)
Another first half effort, this time from Chris White
Sheffield 5 Brodsworth MW 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 09/12/06

Gary Townsend hits the Brodsworth bar with this first half effort
Well there are debuts - then there's this one! Welcome to Sheffield Football Club Mr David Wilkins! Sheffield's new record signing made the start everyone hoped for, coming on with just under an hour played, and twenty minutes later he's not only opened his scoring account - he's netted his first hat-trick in the red of the boys from the BFS. Yes Club ran riot really, and if it wasn't for the heroics of Broddy stopper Tim Whitehouse, they could have run into double figures - it was a ridiculously one-sided contest between the league leaders and the Premier Division's perennial strugglers. However it didn't look like it was going to be a stroll in the park for Sheffield early on, with the visitors making the hosts wait 44 minutes to break the deadlock, before allowing Gavin Smith to get a typical poacher's header. In the second half Brodsworth simply capitulated allowing Wilkins to make his dream debut with goals on 65, 70 and 76 minutes, with Gary Townsend adding to the total in the 73rd minute.
 
With the rain that had plagued Dronfield over the past week, the fears this game would fall foul of the weather never materialised, although it did mean the game would be contested in some pretty heavy conditions. Even so the game went ahead as expected with Sheffield having complete domination over possession and territory, with Vill Powell hitting the side-netting early on, and Gary Townsend pulling a snap shot just wide of the post. Brodsworth had to resort to some pretty desperate defence, and despite Chris White going close with an effort from the edge of the box and Vill Powell's diving header from a Matt Roney cross, there was no breakthrough for the home side. Both Roney and White had the defence on the back-foot with their lively runs down the flanks, and whilst the visitors were causing the Sheffield backline little or no issues, Jamie Holmshaw had to be alert to ensure Brady Roberts' free header didn't give Welfare a shock lead with a great stop. With frustration growing in the home camp and half time fast approaching, the prospect of it being "one of those days" loomed large on the horizon when Tim Whitehouse spectacularly tipped Gary Townsend's drive onto the bar, and out for a corner. From the resulting corner Jon Boulter played the ball in, after a few touches in the middle it returned out to him on the wing once more, and with the usual accuracy expected from Boulter the ball was returned into the middle where SMITH was able to head home with no-one from the visiting defence in attendance.
 
The second half saw Club in mean mood, and when Daz Winter hit the post from 25 yards out and Gary Townsend tapping in the rebound, it looked like the expected goal-fest was about to kick-off - even if this was ruled out for offside. Then enter Wilkins - replacing Vill Powell - and within minutes the ex-Arnold Town star was on the scoresheet. Matt Roney making another darting run down the right wing crossed a dangerous ball into the middle, Gary Townsend headed the ball back across goal, and there at the back post to tap in from a yard out was WILKINS - all too easy. Five minutes later and Sheffield were at it again, this time Roney making David Woodcock look a fool by leaving him on his backside, a fantastic shot striking the foot of post and bouncing out to WILKINS who once again tapped into the empty net. Three minutes on and the rout continued, TOWNSEND strolling through a static defence before unleashing a rather tame looking shot from the edge of the box, so tame it left everyone staring at the ball as it rolled into the net to make it four-nil. Three minutes later the scoring was complete, although Whitehouse delayed the inevitable by a few seconds by tipping a Wilkins effort round the post for a corner - and from the resulting Boulter corner, Townsend flicked the ball on and WILKINS was there to head home from close range. But it could have been more - Townsend showed some pretty twinkle-toes to skip through the defence before rattling off a great shot, again Whitehouse saving the Broddy blushes, whilst substitute Darren Holmes put the ball through to Wilkins who once again brought the best out of the Welfare keeper. Oh, and Gary Townsend also hit the post - as I said, one-sided or what?
 
A great debut for Wilkins then, but also great performances of note from Roney, Townsend and Winter amongst several others. Being honest though, Brodsworth had no answer to anything Sheffield threw at them, and looked nothing like a team that had put Club to the sword back in August. This was revenge of sorts, but anyone who expected anything less than a comprehensive Sheffield victory this afternoon would be sorely misguided, it truly was a massive mis-match. And with this win Sheffield extend their lead at the top of the table to five points, with Maltby losing 6-0 at home to Glapwell and Retford engaged in Vase action, it really was a day to make hay while the sun shone. Next up for Sheffield is a trip down Huthwaite way, where they will be up against Sutton Town, a team who will be looking to bounce back from a very disappointing goal-less draw against Club's opponents the week after - bottom of the table Shirebrook Town.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Dave Wilkins
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter (Thorpe), Davey, Roney (Holmes), Powell (Wilkins), Townsend, White.
Brodsworth Welfare: Whitehouse, Hodgson, Royal (Yates), Darker, Woodcock, Hill, Whaley, Morton (Pickering), Barnet, Bates, Roberts. Sub Not Used: Wotton.

Selby Town 1 Sheffield FC 3
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 02/12/06

Pictured Above - The lads celebrate Chris White's blockbuster of a second goal. The faces on the Selby bench say it all
 
With Trev tied up with his Travels, and yours truly on camera duty and no notes taken, yet another opportunity for a match report with a slight difference.
 
Looking through a camera lens doesn't allow time for picking up on those important little details, such as who put the cross in, or what did he do to warrant a booking. However, even with a camera between me and the action nothing could disguise the well deserved victory for Sheffield at one of the clubs potential challengers for a promotion spot at the end of the season. However, in truth, on this showing Selby were much less of a challenge than on our previous visits and apart from one or two occassional forays in the visitors penalty area rarely a threat. What was a surprise was the lack of fight shown by the home side during the ninety minutes, although the Selby Assistant Manager appeared to attempt to make amends for this after the final whistle. The chants of 'Sheffield, Sheffield, Top Of The League' from the travelling fans grew even louder following this unsavoury incident.
 
On a pitch that in places resembled a paddy field, Sheffield always found it difficult to run with the ball in their usual free flowing manner, however it was this cut and thrust attacking style that saw Club quickly establish a two goal lead with just twenty minutes played. Gary Townsend stabbed the ball home after just twelve minutes, and Chris White surprised pretty much everyone eight minutes later with his rasper of a drive from outside the area. Jamie Holmshaw was rarely troubled at the other end with the Sheffield defence looking fairly solid, although a free kick was just wide. Having played several minutes of stoppage time the home side clawed a goal back though Gary Jones, and we feared the worst for a second half onslaught from the home side.
 
With just two minutes played of the second half the stuffing was quite literally knocked out of the Selby side with what may turn out to be one of the best timed goals of the season for Club. Before Town had had any chance to apply pressure on the Sheffield goal, Vill Powell broke away to hit a peach of a shot across the Town keeper into the opposite corner of the net. From this point on it was pretty much all Club, and at one point the home side was in such disarray that the Town centre back sliced his kick against his own bar with the keeper well beaten. Steve Davey was unfortunate with a shot that hit the post, whilst Lee Gregory, making his debut for Club as a second half substitute, almost scored with his first touch  On a better pitch Club would probably have made one of their many second half forays pay, but in the end had to be content with the two goal difference, three points, and a place at the top of the table. 'Oh what fun it is to see Sheffield win away' indeed.
 
Personally I think the side is yet to hit top form this season, yet here we are, league leaders in early December and with Brodsworth to come along with a double header with strugglers Shirebrook at the end of the month the potential to establish an important gap at the top is great. Let's hope we don't let the opportunity go begging. 
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Gavin Smith
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Gavin Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Davey, Dolby (Roney), Powell (Gregory), Townsend, White. Unused Sub: Holmes
 
 

Armthorpe Welfare 0 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 21/11/06
 
Two goals in five minutes early in the game were enough to ensure Club claimed maximum points and reduce the gap at the top of the table to just one point. Clinical finishing and quick thinking were in evidence for both goals as Sheffield quickly gained a major foothold. Darryl Winter's 20 yard drive in the seventh minute following pressure from Chris Dolby's corner set the ball rolling. Five minutes later and the hosts pressed the self destruct button as the referee was forced to penalise a back pass. As the Armthorpe defence stood around in confusion the ever alert Pete Davey quickly took the kick laying the ball off to Gav Smith who clinically drilled the ball home. For the remainder of the game Welfare were pretty much in charge, playing some pretty good football that augurs well for the future for such a young side, however some pretty woeful finishing ensured that Ross Turner finished his short two game stint in Club's goal with a clean sheet. Throughout the remaining seventy nine minutes Sheffield were reduced to relying on breakaways and for much of the time it would have been difficult for the neutral supporter to determine which side was sitting second in the table. Club did have occasional spells of pressure without once really testing again a badly injured goalkeeper who was struggling with a muscle tear originally sustained over a month ago. Indeed when the Welfare stopper was eventually beaten again, an unfortunate Jon Pickess was on hand with a superb block from Winter's pile driver to keep the score to more realistic proportions.

Club are now in a strong position at the top of the table, without having really played to their true potential, but some of which will have to be realised on Saturday when a strong Retford side visit the Coach & Horses for what promises to be a potentially early season six pointer.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Tom Jones
 
Sheffield: Turner, Gavin Smith (Townsend), Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter (O'Carroll), Davey, Dolby, Powell, Holmes (White), Pickess.
 
 

Durham City 1 Sheffield FC 0
(Played At Esh Winning FC)
FA Vase Round Two
Saturday, 18/11/06
 
Sheffield bowed out of the FA Vase this afternoon, losing by a single - and very hotly disputed - goal on a very difficult surface in chilly Esh Winning, making it their third cup exit in the space of ten days for the boys from the BFS. A goal in the 73rd minute from Neil Campbell was the difference between two very evenly matched sides, played on a field nine miles from Durham's regular Archibalds home ground due to FA regulations, where chances were at a premium and on many other days would have probably ended in a goal-less draw. Both sides found the going very hard on a pitch that seemed to suit no-one, and whilst all players on both teams gave their all, it was always going to be either something special - or something controversial - that would take one side to the next step. On top of all this was Club's apparent goalkeeper shortage, with both Holmshaw and Bonnington unavailable for selection, it was up to Ross Turner to step up to the plate in a Sheffield number one shirt for the first time in three years - and he didn't do a bad job too, but sadly couldn't do enough to keep Club from making another cup exit in the North-East.
 
The game started in a very energetic style, with both teams showing some very enterprising football that belied the quality of the pitch underfoot, with Chris Dolby, Jon Pickess and Vill Powell all giving the home defence plenty to think about. The best effort Sheffield had, and probably the only one that really made James Winter in the Durham goal do anything like hard work in the first half, was a shot from his namesake Darryl in the 13th minute - a rasper from 25 yards that had the keeper full length to palm the ball wide of the post. What followed this was barely worth mentioning, the game turned scrappy, with the referee punctuating the game's flow with several needless whistles that seemed to aggravate the home support somewhat. As the half drew to a close Durham found themselves creating a couple of opportunities, and must have been wondering how they failed to go into the break without a goal under their belt, after two chances in as many minutes went begging for the home side. First up was Steven Richardson, who having capitalised on some rare sloppy defensive play from the visitors found himself one-on-one with Turner, and somehow managed a precision placed shot past the post when scoring looked a formality. Moments later Richardson turned provider, playing the ball through to Neil Campbell who too only had the keeper to beat, this time it was Turner who denied a home goal with a fine stop. Just before the break Sheffield had their turn to spurn a golden opportunity, with Dolby ripping the home right defence to shreds before crossing a deadly ball across the face of the goal; Powell and Pickess were steaming in and even the slightest of touches from either would have given Club a deserved lead - neither did, and both teams went into the interval goal-less.
 
With Durham kicking down the slope in the second period, it was they as expected who were doing the majority of pressing, yet like Club in the first half they were unable to produce the final telling touch that would break the deadlock. And it was Sheffield that looked to be the most likely to score - if only for a bit more luck - as on the hour mark a goalmouth scramble saw Gav Smith and Pickess unable to turn the ball over the line, before Chris Copeland and Leon Ryan somehow smuggled the ball to safety with the home keeper looking on helplessly. Vill Powell put in a telling cross, one that for once had a Sheffield player wide open and free of the attentions of the big Durham centre-back pairing; however Pickess' free header was a little too off-target for the visitors' liking. Then as destiny would have it in situations like this, City got a goal against the run of play, and in hindsight a pretty sickening one in light of comments from both sides after the game. With just over fifteen to go winger Thomas English found himself open on the left hand side, put over a cross-cum-shot that had Ross Turner a full stretch, the keeper couldn't make contact with the ball - but CAMPBELL did - and crucially so, turning the ball in from close range. From this reporter's point of view it was impossible to doubt the validity of the goal; however it was enough to be the telling difference that saw Durham progress and Sheffield exit, a story that will be told a hundred times up and down the country this season. Sheffield almost drew level immediately, Darren Holmes set off on a dazzling run that saw him jink past five players, three fouls (and subsequent advantages) before succumbing to a vital last ditch tackle by Chris Copeland that saved Durham's bacon and denied the game a moment of Holmesie magic. With time running out Sheffield threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the hosts, but as tends to happen in games like these, the clock was Club's worst enemy and a third cup exit was on the cards.
 
This was probably the most disappointing of the three cup exits, not because of the performance, but because of the nature of the exit. Sheffield were by no means second best in this tie, and could count themselves very unlucky to dip out, especially given the circumstances of City's winner and the standard of the surface. The winning goal was described by many witnesses on both sides as "a good three yards offside", and the irony couldn't be lost on many of the visiting contingent that this tie had to be switched from a "state-of-the-art" artificial surface, to a pudding of a pitch that suited the oval ball game rather than a good on-the-ground passing game. In effect whilst the dream of the possibility of playing on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium in May has withered away, it gives Club the opportunity to concentrate on matters of a league nature for the rest of the season, whilst many of the Club players' performances today give hope that the run of bad results may be the blip every good season experiences. Ah well, back to league football again on Tuesday, and a trip to the Wellie in Armthorpe!
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris Dolby
 
Durham City: Winter, Harrison, Copeland, Dodds, Bowes, Ryan, Chapman (Oliver), Graydon, Campbell, Richardson, English. Subs Not Used: Walmsley, Rafferty, Pitt, Fenwick.
Sheffield FC: Turner, Smith (Townsend), Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Davey, Dolby, Powell, Pickess (White), Holmes (Roney). Subs Not Used: Brownrigg, O'Carroll.

Nostell Miners Welfare 3 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East League Cup Round Two
Saturday, 11/11/06
 
A last splash goal by Ben Gilbert gave Sheffield their second cup exit inside four days, as NCEL newcomers Nostell Miners washed away any doubts about their credentials, with a worthy performance over their higher league visitors. At an absolutely rainswept Crofton Welfare Ground, Nostell streamed into a two goal lead after the break, with Danny Highley opening the scoring on 58 minutes and Darren Holmes turning into his own-goal ten minutes later. Sheffield stunned the home side by pulling level, with goals from Vill Powell on 74 minutes and Chris Dolby ten minutes after that, and almost completed a remarkable turnaround before Gilbert snatched the winner at the death.

The first half saw very little in the way of action at all, with a gale-force wind making good football almost impossible to produce, thus neither side created much of noteworthiness. Craig Stephens probably had the best chance of the half, with Jamie Holmshaw blocking at the Nostell forward's feet, and it could be argued that the hosts also created the better opening - however the finishing was wayward at best. The closest Welfare came to scoring was about thirty minutes in, after Michael Long threaded the ball neatly through to Ben Gilbert, with the final effort firing across the face of the goal. As for Sheffield - having the wind behind their backs hardly served as an advantage, and the closest they came to threatening the scoreboard was a drive from Chris White that was safely gathered by stand-in keeper Gav Ainsley, followed by a long-distance effort from Gary Townsend which whistled just wide of the mark.

The teams emerged from the half time break to be met by a completely different set of weather conditions to be coped with - an absolute deluge - and within minutes of the restart the pitch was soon covered with areas of standing water. Perversely this made for better football from both sides, despite the conditions making the contest something of a lottery (or a leveller depending on your viewpoint), and it was Nostell who took to the initiative just before the hour mark. Ben Gilbert picked the ball up just inside the Sheffield half, threaded the ball through to HIGHLEY, who made the whole scoring thing look remarkably easy by slotting the ball past Holmshaw. Club almost drew level straight from the restart, with Vill Powell being left open by some sloppy defending, and it took a brilliant one handed save by Ainsley to ensure Nostell kept the lead. The Sheffield bench decided to give the whole game a massive shake-up ten minutes after the goal, making a triple substitution that was destined to make an immediate impact on the game, sadly not the way they wanted it. Twenty seconds later Ben Gilbert pushed the ball down the wing to Michael Long, the midfielder planted the ball back into the middle to where Gilbert was racing, only for Darren Holmes to intercept the ball and divert it past Holmshaw for an OWN-GOAL.

Despite the scoreline Sheffield didn't look out of it and were pushing Welfare back at every given opportunity, in what had now turned into an interesting end-to-end contest, and with fifteen minutes remaining they got their reward. Substitute Chris Dolby was causing the Nostell defence all manner of new problems, and it was he who put the ball into the near post, with POWELL getting his head in at the right place to turn the ball home. The underfoot conditions worsened as the game progressed and Club were looking the most likely to score next, with Chris Dolby and Vill Powell combining once again moments after the goal; Dolby threading the ball to Powell who rode a couple of tackles before seeing his shot blocked by the feet of Ainsley. With six minutes to go there was nothing Ainsley could do to stop the visitors drawing level, a long throw into the box caused mayhem, the ball was only half cleared and landed nicely at the feet of DOLBY standing in gallons of space - there was only one outcome, and that was a goal. Sheffield started to press for an unlikely winner, and should have taken the lead after Dolby set up Powell once again, with the Sheffield striker through on goal the shot was sadly straight at the keeper. With everyone making plans for extra-time (and even penalties), the Nostell boys pushed up for one last foray into Club territory, and came up with the winner. Chris Robson took the ball on the right wing, drilled the ball across to GILBERT who forced the ball over the line to the delight of the home support, leaving Sheffield with no opportunity to respond with the whistle going seconds after the restart.

No-one can begrudge Nostell the win this afternoon, like Sheffield they performed manfully to produce a half-decent game of football in treacherous conditions, and on a day when other ties in this competition were abandoned due to the conditions. Whilst this will look to everyone not present at this game as a massive shock result, the truth was the game was a lottery from start to finish, and could have gone either way - as it was it went to Nostell, and they took the honours deservedly in the first of hopefully many meeting between the two clubs.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match  Andy Brownrigg

Nostell Miners Welfare: Ainsley, Dawson, Jackson (Robson), Hewitt, Watts (Samardija), Wilkinson, Long, Rushton, Stephens, Gilbert, Highley (Johnson).
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Marsh (Dolby), Jones, Brownrigg, Winter, Holmes, Davey, Powell, Townsend (Pickess), White (Roney).
Hallam FC 4 Sheffield FC 3
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Round Two
Wednesday, 08/11/06
 
Sheffield's hopes of a third successive season lifting the Senior Cup were sent to an early grave at a windswept Sandygate, as ex-Clubbie James Tevendale turned out to be the star attraction, scoring twice as Club lost out by the odd goal in a seven-goal chiller. After starting the game at a whirlwind pace, Sheffield were blown away by Tev's brace, along with goals from Scott Bates and Gavin Hunter. Club took the lead as early as the fourth minute from Chris Dolby, after Chris White had missed a penalty moments earlier, whilst White made amends of sorts by scoring shortly after the break. Hallam turned the game around completely, scoring three goals between White's and Dolby's efforts - plus one more, and a late goal from Daz Winter proved to be scant consolation for the cup holders.
 
The slope at Sandygate has produced some pretty high scoring games of late, and the way this games started it looked as if the trend would continue, as Sheffield started the game giving the hosts literally a big hill to climb. With just two minutes on the clock Vill Powell and Chris White combined down the right to set White free on goal, with only the keeper Scott Dinnigan to beat, White looked to have done enough to take the ball around the keeper to tap in - only for the keeper to cynically haul the Sheffield man down. Dinnigan was spared a red-card, and to add insult to injury for the visitors, White's spot-kick was weakly shot at an easy height for the keeper to stop. Two minutes later Club eventually did take the lead as Chris Dolby crossed in from the right; Chris White swung at the ball and missed - completely foxing Dinnigan - with the ball nestling in the net and DOLBY taking all the plaudits. Any thoughts that this would turn into a cakewalk for Club were sadly put to on side, and on the quarter hour mark Hallam drew level with HUNTER controlling a free-kick excellently, pulling the ball down, turning and curling the ball over Holmshaw for an excellent equaliser. Sheffield had a couple of chances to regain the lead; Vill Powell was well blocked by Dinnigan after being put through on goal, whilst Chris Dolby had a free-kick sail just wide of the mark after being brought down on the edge of the area. Just after the half hour Hallam took the lead they were never going to lose, and of all the people to score it was the one with the shortest odds - James Tevendale! A long ball from left midfield sailed over to the right wing and behind Jon Boulter, leaving TEVENDALE in acres of space, and with plenty of time to compose himself the ex-Sheffield player drilled the ball under the body of Holmshaw. If that wasn't disappointing enough, two minutes before the interval Sheffield conceded a goal of comedy proportions, only this was one "comedy" that wasn't very funny. Anthony Wilson steamed down the right wing, played the ball into the middle and following a piece of calamity defending, the ball was cleared haphazardly against TEVENDALE and into the net.
 
The way the second half started gave the Sheffield followers a glimmer of hope it wasn't all over, as the visitors pressed the home side onto the back foot for the opening stages, although never really testing the Hallam defence too much. Ten minutes in though Sheffield got the break they were looking for, Darren Holmes swung the ball in to the box, it was only half cleared as far as WHITE on the penalty spot who shot the ball into the corner. But if you thought this meant "game-on" you'd be mistaken, as straight from the kick off Hallam went down the other end, some more hesitant Sheffield defending ensued and BATES drilled the ball in from just inside the box. Club were playing far below their potential at this point, and Hallam could have extended their lead if only they'd been a little more clinical with their finishing, thankfully though they weren't. Anthony Wilson forced a good reflex save from Jamie Holmshaw, whilst Tevendale could have got a well deserved hat-trick after being put through on goal after a slip at the back, only his finish let him down with his lob over Holmshaw clearing the bar. With nine minutes to go Sheffield got a lifeline, as Vill Powell squared the ball across the edge of area to WINTER, who blasted a venomous shot to grab a goal he at least had earned. Hallam did enough to hang on to the lead, and coupled with a needless delay a minute from time where the referee stopped play to ensure to have the ball inflated to correct levels, this turned out to be an unexpectedly painful evening's entertainment.
 
As with all dynasties this one had to come to an end sometime, and sadly it had to happen at Sandygate of all places, but even though this was one of Sheffield's least convincing displays of the season - they still weren't a million miles away from taking this tie into extra time. But defeat has to be taken with dignity - a word that could hardly be applied to Hallam Manager Guy Glover, whose reaction towards a contingent of Sheffield followers, both at the end and during the tie, was disappointing to say the least. Whilst the Hallam players did our rivals proud, their manager did anything but - very sad behaviour it has to be said. Next for Club is a trip into the unknown - new boys Nostell Miners in the League Cup, a team also smarting from a Sheffield Senior Cup tie exit.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darryl Winter
 
Hallam FC: Dinnigan, Wainwright, Drennan, Ball, Wilfindale, Hunter, Lopes (Knaggs), Wilson, Bates, Tevendale, Rowley. Subs Not Used: Hayden, Longstaff.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Winter, Holmes, Davey, Powell, Dolby (Pickess), White (Roney). Sub Not Used: Brownrigg.
Glapwell 1 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 04/11/06
 
Two goals in the space of two second half minutes swung the game Sheffield's way this afternoon at Hall Corner, in an emotionally charged encounter which saw tempers from both sides pushed to the limits, eventually seeing the visitors close the gap at the top to just one point. Goals from Peter Davey (54 minutes) and Gav Smith (56 minutes) in the second half cancelled out and overturned a goal in the first half, against the run of play from Ian Brown after 29 minutes, but it was events away from goal-scoring that caused the main talking points of the afternoon. An off the ball incident between Glapwell's Mark Sherlock and Club's Tom Jones that led to the Glapwell striker being carried from the field, an ambulance called and all manner of "eye-witness reports", left a sour taste in the mouth and muddied what was a spirited performance from both sides.
 
On a very difficult and uneven surface, it took both teams quite a while to get going, and neither Neil West or Jamie Holmshaw were called on to do anything in the first twenty minutes at all. Despite Sheffield playing down the slope and dominating pressure, the first effort of the game didn't come until midway through the first half, with Neil West palming out a shot from Vill Powell. Just before the half hour mark, Club's Gary Townsend strode through the defence unopposed, and could count himself unfortunate not to open the scoring after West came to Glapwell's rescue with another fine stop. Even more unfortunate was straight from the keeper's kick down field, Jon Boulter misjudged the header clear allowing Ian Brown through on goal, with BROWN showing great composure to lob the ball over the advancing Holmshaw into the net. Brown could have added to the tally moments later, after being put through by Mark Sherlock, this time Holmshaw was up to the task at hand to pull off a fine save. Sheffield could have levelled things just before the break, with Peter Davey working in combination with Gavin Smith on the right flank, allowing Smith free on goal and forcing West to make another crucial stop. Then came the "Sherlock incident" - which to be honest I did not see, nor did many others in reality - so I personally can't comment on serious incident this factually, therefore I won't - needless to say there are many present who claim they did witness the incident and will have their own views on the matter.
 
The second half started with quite a bit of underlying tension; however once the game got properly underway, Sheffield carried on where they left off by pressing the host's goal. It didn't take long to breach the home defence, and within seven minutes of the restart Club were level - a ball into the middle by Gary Townsend was not cleared effectively by the Glapwell back line, and when the ball came out to DAVEY he showed great skill and composure to spin the ball out of West's reach with a shot from fifteen yards out. Moments later Club went in for the kill forcing a corner on the next attack, Boulter worked the short one with Gav Smith on the left, and SMITH took the ball a few yards before sending in a dipping cross-cum-shot which took a deflection off a Glapwell head on the way thus taking the ball away from West and leaving him with no chance. At 2-1 to the good Sheffield started to control the game more, and despite a few rare chances from the home side, Club never looked troubled. Glapwell's best chance of getting anything from the game came from substitute Adam Moran midway through the half, put through on goal with an almost golden opportunity to level things up, back came Jon Boulter to make the vital challenge to send the ball to safety. Sheffield had their chance to wrap things up entirely when the last substitution from Macca - Roney - burst down the right wing to send in the perfect cross for fellow substitute Chris White in the middle, somehow though with a gaping net White managed to head the ball over the bar. Fortunately this wasn't vital, and sadly it wasn't the biggest talking point of the afternoon...
 
League football takes a back seat for a short while, as Sheffield set off for three cup ties on the road, all inside ten days. First up for Club is the small matter of the defence of the Senior Cup, local-rivals Hallam standing in the way of Club's attempt to "three-peat", Wednesday night at 7.30pm. Following that is a trip into the unknown for Sheffield in the League Cup, a little journey up Wakefield-way to Crofton, to face NCEL new-boys Nostell Miners Welfare. Finally a week on Saturday a trip up the A1 to Durham in the FA Vase is on the horizon, all part of a little distraction before out next league outing and our fifth consecutive away game on the 21st at Armthorpe Welfare.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Andrew Brownrigg
 
Glapwell: West, Lesley (Gee), Hollingworth, Gaunt, Streatham, Roebuck, Parker (Cockerill), Rhodes, Sherlock (Moran), Brown, Rimmington.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones (Marsh), Brownrigg, Winter, Holmes, Davey, Powell (Roney), Townsend, Pickess (White).
 
Att: 130.

Sheffield FC 0 Carlton Town 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 31/10/06
 
It was more "trick" than "treat" for followers of Sheffield tonight at the Bright Finance Stadium, as Club blew the chance of going top of the table, enduring a Halloween nightmare at the hands of Carlton Town. A 79th minute strike from Chris Atkins stunned the home side, after the hosts suffered a frustratingly unlucky first half, followed by a second half being stifled by the highly organised visiting side. Sheffield were left counting the many missed opportunities, then when it looked like the most likely outcome was a goal-less draw, the Lions hit with the sucker punch to finish the first encounter between these two teams with all three points.
 
After an opening where both sides took some time to settle down in the chilly conditions, the first opening came to the home side on the quarter hour mark, as Gary Townsend struck the post from the edge of the area. What followed was a sustained period of Sheffield pressure, with the team with meanest defence in the league were really being put to the sword, weathering some pretty direct bombardment from the hosts. Gary Townsend almost turned provider midway through the first half, digging out a cross to find Vill Powell, who did excellently to get an awkward header very close. Gavin Smith found himself with an opening in the area, following a Chris White free-kick, though the Sheffield defender was unable to get enough contact to trouble Steve Brearley in the Carlton goal. Moments later Chris White did make Brearley earn his pay, with the keeper doing well to tip a strong looking shot wide of the post, and it looked as if Town were leading a charmed life from the resulting corner - as Jon Boulter planted the ball onto the head of Tom Jones, only for Carlton's captain Grant Brindley to block the ball when it looked to be heading in. The visitors never looked as though they were going to cause much trouble in the first period, and it took to five minutes before the break before they got a shot worthy of note, although Martin Ball's effort after being found open on the right was poor at best. Just before the half time whistle came Club's best opportunity, Chris White's free-kick causing mayhem in the box, only for Gavin Smith to hit the bar in the mle.
 
Sheffield started the second half with a couple of good shouts for penalties, firstly when Gary Townsend was hauled down by Grant Brindley as the Sheffield man burst into the area, the second a few minutes after as David Jephson clearly handled the ball - needless to say referee Mr Sutton of Belper didn't see the decisions in the home teams favour. Carlton obviously looked to be satisfied with heading back to Nottingham with a draw, having set themselves in a defensive formation for much of the game, but having bore the brunt of the storm they started to get adventurous and caused Club some issues up the other end. Joe Irons saw his header flicked over the bar by Jamie Holmshaw, who had to impose himself more as the game progressed, whilst Sheffield best chance of the half came following a nervous keeping moment from Brearley that Darren Holmes should have done better with. As time progressed the likelihood of Sheffield getting the game-breaker were looking more and more remote, with the visitors frustrating the Sheffield attack by putting two men on Vill Powell, and with ten minutes to go pulled the trump card and snatched what turned out to be the winner. Steve Chaplin sprung the offside trap, hared down the right wing unopposed, and squared the ball into ATKINS who made absolutely certain slotting the ball beyond Holmshaw. Almost immediately Carlton could have added insult to injury with an almost identical break, this time Martin Ball sprinting clear, again in the middle was Chris Atkins but this time his shot sailed over the top. Club's frustrations were being brought to the boil as the game slipped out of reach, with very few chances being allowed to be created by an even tighter defence, the best opportunity falling to substitute Matt Roney after breaking clear on the right wing - with the option of Jon Pickess and Vill Powell in the middle or shooting on goal, the winger seemed to do neither, a point that summed up the frustrations of a highly difficult game.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Brownrigg, Winter, Holmes, O'Carroll (Roney), Powell, Townsend, White (Pickess). Sub Not Used: Marsh.
Carlton Town: Brearley, Thomas, Jephson, Brindley, Michael, Irons, Ball, Gent, Chaplin, Atkins, Hollis. Subs Not Used: Peel, White, Coole.

Sheffield FC 1 Liversedge 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 28/10/06


A late Vill Powell goal ensured Club secured their second "six-pointer" in a week, as they finally beat Liversedge in a home league fixture for the first time in four years, to increase the pressure at the top of the table. In a typically intense encounter between these two rivals, Sheffield did just enough to scrape past the post, after creating the majority of the game's chances. Club never really looked to be threatened at the back, whilst creating some good efforts at the other end – hitting the post twice, having a penalty appeal waved away – before the prolific Powell helped to stretch Sheffield’s unbeaten run to nine games.

Right from the start Sheffield looked as though they were up for business, and a "route-one" ball sailed over the defence to allow Jon Pickess in on goal in the opening minutes, sadly the finish wasn't up to scratch but it gave hope we were on for a repeat of Club's Tuesday night antics at Pickering. 'Sedge as always looked a threat that shouldn't be taken lightly, and when Mark Brady was found in space early on you felt this could be one of those days, but when his weak shot went safely into the arms of Jamie Holmshaw those fears were eased a little. Darryl Winter was causing his share of problems for the visitors, bustling in midfield as normal, whilst causing issues in attack. A shot from Winter midway through the half caused very little concern for the dependable Kyle Sutcliffe in the Liversedge goal, but when Matt Roney's corner minutes later beat everyone in the area to present Daz with a free header, you'd expect a better finish than the one that left the Sheffield player with his head in his hands. With a pretty stiff breeze behind them in the first period, Club were making the most of the conditions and had the visitors on the back foot, and Eugene Lacy's men had Lady Luck to thank on more than one occasion before time was blown for the interval. A wind assisted free-kick from Chris White had Sutcliffe at full reach, with the keeper making an excellent one-handed save to keep the stalemate, whilst skipper Darren Holmes produced the perfect cross for Gavin Smith at the back-post - somehow Sutcliffe tipped this onto the post, before slapping it away for a corner in some desperation. Holmes also added to the list of people to test the 'Sedge keeper, dribbling past what seemed an endless number of yellow shirted players, before shooting straight into Suttie's grateful hands. As for Liversedge in the first half - well they went towards the Sheffield goal, but produced very little - the best effort probably coming from Danny Lowe, who had a bit of desperate shot from distance that went straight to Holmshaw.

The second period saw Liversedge pressing more and more, probably aided by the conditions, but in truth they never really tested Jamie Holmshaw at all in the whole half. The "makeshift" defence (and I don't mean that in an unkind way - they've performed wonderfully in the enforced absence of Tom Jones and Craig Marsh) of Andy Brownrigg and Peter Davey kept everything 'Sedge had to throw at them, and even when the visitors troubled the box in any way, the defence was quick to mop up anything remotely dangerous. At the other end Sheffield always looked a threat, even when the danger didn't look that real - a prime example being when Darren Holmes did well to dig a cross out on the by-line, with Vill Powell doing even better to get his head to the ball and missing the target by inches. Sutcliffe didn't look to be as confident as in the past and some sloppy handling could have cost his side dearly, dropping the ball on more than one occasion and slapping the ball unconvincingly from a hopeful Sheffield cross into the path of Darren Holmes, the Club captain almost leaving egg on the visiting keeper's face by chipping the ball a fraction over the bar. Luck was definitely on the visitors' side midway through the half as once again Sheffield hit the post, this time Matt Roney found substitute Gary Townsend at the back post, and after doing the hard work by deceiving Sutcliffe and landing him on his backside GT somehow managed to hit the upright. Either one goal was going to do it or it was going to end in frustration for Club, and the more the game went on the more it looked like the latter, especially after referee Mark Jones waved away Sheffield's appeals for a penalty when Danny Lowe looked to have handled Chris White's shot. But with ten minutes to go came the match winning moment - Chris White was freed down the right, his cross fell at the feet of Vill Powell who showed the composure you'd expect from the Sheffield front-man, POWELL held the ball up before turning in one move to leave Sutcliffe floundering and the ball tucked up nicely inside the post.

The win takes Club to second place, three points behind pace-setters Maltby Main, although they do have two games in hand. One of those is the Tuesday night encounter at the Bright Finance Stadium against Carlton Town, with a win in this game giving Sheffield top spot on goal difference, although based on the fact the Lions made easy work of local rivals Arnold this afternoon, this isn't something to be taken for granted. Even so the game sees both Tom Jones and Craig Marsh return to the fold, something that is bound to give Dave McCarthy a selection headache, and an enviable one at that.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Andrew Brownrigg

Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Brownrigg, Winters, Holmes, Roney (Sidebottom), Powell, White, Pickess (Townsend). Sub Not Used: O'Carroll.
Liversedge: Sutcliffe, Crossley, Lowe, Hussain, Sparkes, Farrand, Marshall, Mumbley, Carney (Hamlet), Khalifa (Haigh), Brady (Buckley).

Pickering Town 2 Sheffield FC 4 
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 24/10/06
 
A blistering opening 30 minute spell by Sheffield ensured all three points headed back down the A64 to South Yorkshire tonight.
 
Jon Pickess set up Chris White for his eighth goal of the season in the sixth minute, the winger shooting with ease across Kevin Martin into the bottom corner of the net. In the tenth minute Vill Powell saw his speculative shot just under the angle of bar and post slipping through the despairing keepers grasp, the ball dropping behind Martin and over the line. The referee's assistant signalled hand ball in the area in the 20th minute and up stepped Chris White to increase his lead at the top of the goalscoring charts, sending the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot. If what was being witnessed seemed incredible more was to follow just before the half hour mark. A Chris Dolby corner was met by Andy Brownrigg at the back of the six yard box, the defender slicing his attempted effort at goal back to Dolby at the corner flag. Dolby's second cross was then met by the head of Brownrigg, having thrown himself amongst the mass of legs and feet in the box and sending the ball powerfully past Martin. If Club were having a small slice of luck in front of goal it was mainly due to their total domination of the opening half hour, playing the ball around with total control and confidence and often leaving Pickering chasing shadows.   
 
Town were showing little at the other end but in the 43rd minute they worked their own little slice of luck, Mark Swales shot taking a deflection off Brownrigg and giving Holmshaw no chance. Gavin Smith almost made it five for Club on the stroke of half time, but having side stepped Kevin Martin in the six yard box the defender then poked his shot agonisingly wide. Half time arrived and the late Town goal had given the home side just a glimmer of hope as we waited for the anticipated second half attempted fightback.
 
Although Club lost much of their early momentum and control, in the main the defence dealt comfortably with everything Pickering began to throw at them in the early stages of the second half. With twenty minutes remaining hesitation in the Sheffield defence left Holmshaw stranded and Swales took full advantage of the gift to reduce the deficite further. Attempts on the Pickering goal were now pretty much non existent as Club appeared content to weather the storm and play out time to claim the maximum points and goal difference needed to move the side into third place in the table. What better way to celebrate a 149th birthday !!!
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jon Pickess
 
Pickering: Martin, MacAuley, Brunton, O'Reilly (Rose), McNaughton, Pallender, Greening, Dickenson, Baxter, Swales, Towse (Salt). Unused Sub: Wash.
Sheffield: Holmshaw, G.Smith, Boulter, Davey, Brownrigg, Winter, Holmes, Dolby (Roney), Powell (Townsend), White, Pickess (Sidebottom).
 
 

Glasshoughton Welfare 2 Sheffield FC 2
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 21/10/06

 
A late Jon Pickess goal proved to be a get-out-of-jail card for Sheffield, as they came from behind to grab a vital point in their promotion chase, after falling behind twice at Glasshoughton this afternoon. On a glorious autumnal day, Club found themselves up against it on a very difficult surface, and were a goal in arrears after only 43 seconds of the game through a Gary Skelton goal. Gary Townsend pulled one back for the visitors shortly after, but Michael Linnekar restored the hosts lead on 28 minutes. Despite dominating for most of the game, Sheffield weren't able to breach the Welfare back-line, that was until super-sub Picko came on and did his bit four minutes from the end.
 
It had shades of Thackley this one at the start, a dodgy surface and a goal from the home side before Club had even settled, as in the opening minute SKELTON found himself in space on the left and coolly lobbed Jamie Holmshaw from the corner of the area. Club responded the way Club usually do, and a constant bombardment from the visitors' attack duly followed, with Gary Townsend going closest shortly after the restart. In the 9th minute skipper for the day Darren Holmes snatched possession on the edge of the 18-yard box, squared the ball under very little pressure to Gary Townsend, and TOWNSEND had little trouble sliding the ball beyond the diving Lee Cowell to level the scores. What followed was a vibrant bit of pressure from Sheffield with Townsend going close to giving Club the lead on several occasions; the best chances being a solo run from the Club forward which ended with the ball in the side netting, and another with Chris White setting Townsend through only for Cowell to block the end shot. Once Welfare had weathered the barrage, they too had their chances to go up the other end and do their share of troubling the defence, with Stuart Dove having a shot deflected wide of the mark and Alex Higgins also going close. Glasshoughton finally regained the lead following a period of pressure where Club just couldn't clear their lines, Ashley Brewer saw hit shot well blocked on the edge of the area, the ball fell out to LINNEKAR out on the wing who was in acres of space and casually lobbed Holmshaw from the left wing into the goal. 2-1 could have been worse before the break for Sheffield, and it certainly looked as if the early domination they'd had faded with the goal, as both Richard Wheelhouse and Gary Skelton were both denied by some good keeping from Holmshaw.
 
Kicking down the slope in the second period, Sheffield looked to be more assured than they finished the first period, and Glasshoughton could have easily been pegged back if not for some good stops from Lee Cowell in the Welfare net. Gavin Smith got on the end of a Chris Dolby free-kick, with the defence at sixes and sevens with the lively midfielder's delivery; however Cowell was on the spot to get down well to smother Smith's shot. Man-of-the-match Vill Powell managed to dig a cross out of nowhere inside the box, lofting the ball to Townsend at the back post, who rose above everyone to head the ball inches over the bar. The assistant referee Sharon Smith was causing a great deal of frustration from the Sheffield front-line with a very nervous display that gave little confidence she was in control, with some extremely late flagging decisions and very questionable calls, giving quite a bit of anger from everyone with a Club allegiance. However it was the referee Jason Knowles who gave the most controversial call of the day, following a blatant foul where Skelton grappled Powell to the ground, a decision that could have been compounded as Alex Higgins broke up the other end of the pitch and hit the bar. The Chris Dolby - Vill Powell combination was causing Welfare all kinds of problems, and after yet another stop from Cowell -this time with his legs - denied another attempt from Powell, it looked as though the clock would beat Sheffield. That was until four minutes before the end, with substitute Matt Roney breaking down the wing evading several heavy tackles, referee Knowles overruled a flag from assistant referee Smith to play advantage, the cross came in PICKESS dug the ball out of the long grass and stabbed it past Cowell. It was just desserts to be fair, but Glasshoughton almost had the chance to go straight up the other end and regain a last-gasp lead, Michael Linnekar crossing to Danny King in the middle - fortunately the header was weak and wide of the target.
 
On any other day Sheffield would have won this game easily, and given the amount of pressure they had today probably should have, but today wasn't one of those days. Glasshoughton gave a gutsy performance and deserved their point, they'll also probably think they deserved all three, but to be honest that would be pushing things too far. Next up for Sheffield is a massive game away to high flying Pickering Town, a fixture that normally is a little spicy to say the least, and they too will be wanting to make amends following a 3-2 home reverse against Eccleshill United today.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Vill Powell

Glasshoughton Welfare: Cowell, Liversedge, Wilkes, Brewer (Newton), Surtees, Stevenson, Wheelhouse, Dove (King), Higgins, Skelton, Linnekar. Sub Not Used: Croad.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter (Pickess), Davey, Brownrigg, Winter, White (Roney), Dolby, Powell, Townsend, Holmes (Sidebottom).

Sheffield FC 1 Hallam FC 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 14/10/06
 
Hallam snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat at the BFS this afternoon, when ex-Clubbie Jason Tee grabbed a fortunate equaliser at the death, after it had looked as if Sheffield would walk away with all three points from the "World's Oldest Derby"™. A Vill Powell header broke the deadlock in the 68th minute, and Sheffield could have had more if not for some last ditch stops, blocks and saves from the Hallam defence. The Countrymen though did dominate possession in the game, although a closer look showed they gave Jamie Holmshaw very little trouble throughout the ninety minutes, and it took the cruellest of deflections to finally get the point the visitors will no doubt claim they deserve.
 
The first half was a real stop-start affair, with the referee punctuating play with some pretty needless whistles, and it made the game anything but fluid. The opening minutes saw the Hallam defence looking very shaky indeed, and if not for some misfortune in the way of stumbles, Sheffield's Chris White could have found himself clear on goal more than once. Darren Holmes and Vill Powell were troubling the visitors' back line, and had the defence rocking on their heels, yet never really tested Martin Taylor. Hallam finally got into their stride midway through the first period, taking charge of the possession and penning Club in their own half, but for all this domination the best they had to offer was a weak shot by Ritchie Lopes that went straight into the grateful arms of Jamie Holmshaw. Despite this living up to its reputation as being a passionate fixture, the referee was extra lenient when it came to bookings, and given some of the tackles and whistles it was surprising that both sides escaped the first half with only one booking each. The large crowd weren't exactly being entertained, however Vill Powell managed to raise the noise levels with the best chance of the half when he mugged Lee Wifindale in possession and hared unopposed towards goal, his shot in the end was beaten out by Taylor with Chris White unable to finish the rebound.
 
As with the end of the first period, Hallam began the second dominating possession, however the best they had to show for all their efforts was an early effort by Chris Dickman that was easily beaten out by Holmshaw. Even though they spent much of the half in their own part of the pitch, submitting possession far too easily, it was Club who really looked the more dangerous in front of goal and in reality with more luck could have taken the lead on more than one occasion. Vill Powell had a shot blocked away with the rebound falling to Andrew Brownrigg; the Sheffield midfielder's shot however was deflected wide of the mark by the intervention of Phil Reynolds' right foot, with the keeper absolutely helpless. Powell had another chance shortly after, with substitute Chris Dolby putting the ball into space with a neat little nick, unfortunately the prolific front-man wasn't able to get enough contact on the ball. A goal seemed to be brewing as far as Sheffield were concerned, and when a Darren Holmes corner midway through the second half was met by a powerful header from skipper Tom Jones, it took the knees of Gavin Hunter on the line to stop the ball hitting the back of the net. Either a goal was coming or it was going to be a frustrating afternoon, and from the resulting corner the outcome seemed to indicate the former, as Holmes worked with Dolby to send the ball right under the bar for POWELL to get the vital header over the line from a yard out. From here it looked as if Hallam were going to be taken to the cleaners, and when Holmes put Gary Townsend through on goal, it took another block from Taylor to stop the game being put out of reach. The visitors were rocking and Jon Pickess nearly added to the scoreline a few minutes before the end, after being put through by Powell the lively substitute managed to avoid being wrestled to the ground by Gareth Clayton to get a shot on goal, again Taylor coming to the rescue. It proved to be a vital stop too, as the sucker punch was served as Hallam went right down the other end, Sheffield failed to clear the ball far enough to safety, up popped TEE to unleash a shot that looked to be heading nowhere until the deflection steered the ball into the net beyond Holmshaw.
 
It doesn't take a genius to figure out as far as Club were concerned this was two points dropped, on many other days Sheffield would have won this fixture with ease, and given the number of opportunities that went by the wayside due to some pretty awful luck this should have added to the list. As it was when you have the ball cleared off the line, deflected wide, have shots tipped over the bar, you can bet your bottom dollar the dice will fall against you with a fluke at the other end. After the game Guy Glover was a very happy man, and no doubt felt that given all the possession, a draw was the least his side deserved to come away with. Sheffield Manager Dave McCarthy summed his opinion up after the game very succinctly - "they had three shots on target..." Macca, it just wasn't our day!
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Vill Powell
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones (Pickess), Marsh, Brownrigg (Dolby), Winter, Davey, Powell, White (Townsend), Holmes.
Hallam FC: Taylor, Reynolds (Ball), Clayton, Drennan, Wifindale, Dickman, Knaggs (Mason), Hunter, Bates, Lopes, Rowley (Tee).

Thackley 1  Sheffield FC 3
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday, 10/10/06
 
Club cruised into second spot tonight following a victory that was as easy as it looked on paper, despite falling behind to a goal in the opening minute of the game, Sheffield responded with three goals of their own to head back down the M1 with all three points in the bag. Missing Tom Jones from a calf strain picked up in Saturday's win at Nelson, Sheffield were hit cold straight from the start, with Andy Howland making the most of some defence slackness to give Thackley the lead. That lead was short-lived, and by half time had been switched, as Sheffield hit back with goals from Gary Townsend and Andrew Brownrigg. The result was put beyond doubt in the second half, Gavin Smith on target with his fourth of the season, with the Bradford outfit unable to offer any real kind of threat at the other end.
 
Thackley isn't renowned for having the best surface in the league, and coupled with the defensive shake-up Sheffield were stunned inside the first minute of the game, with HOWLAND pouncing on a shot parried out by Holmshaw to stab the ball home. Not the best of starts again for Club, but this time they weren't long in replying, less than a minute to be exact. Vill Powell picked up the ball at pace on the right, threaded the ball across the goal to TOWNSEND, who finished with a great strike for his third goal of the season. Thackley looked visibly shaken by the response and found themselves on the back foot straight away, with keeper Matthew Everard blocking Vill Powell's shot, and finding himself fortunate that Chris White's rebound wasn't as accurate as some of his efforts of late. The home defence truly were at sixes and sevens, and Powell could have extended the lead from the first of many "flapped at" corners by Everard, this time his reflex stab as the ball fell at his feet scraped past the post. On 18 minutes Jon Boulter's corner was again flapped at by the home keeper, who looked less confident under pressure as the game progressed, and BROWNRIGG struck the ball home from twelve yards out to open his account - and more importantly give Sheffield the all important lead. After falling behind Thackley looked as though they had started to settle, as Backhouse sent Ettienne on some excellent runs down the right hand side, with Andy King also a telling presence down the opposite flank. It was King who really tested Holmshaw the most in the first half, although his best shot was easily saved by the Sheffield stopper; whilst five minutes before the interval Thackley almost equalised with a carbon copy of the first goal with Nicky Matthews' shot being parried into the path of Simon Oliver - this time the shot went woefully wide.
 
Club continued to consolidate their domination of the game in the second period, and despite losing Craig Marsh at half time, the visitors never looked like relinquishing the lead. Chris White found Gary Townsend with an excellent cross-field pass, and after an even better bit of control on the chest by Townsend, the resulting shot just skimmed across the face of the goal. If that was close an effort moments later was even closer, as Darren Holmes sent a slide-rule pass through to Vill Powell, this time the shot scraped the top of the bar. If Thackley were rocking, on the hour mark came the knock out punch, leaving the hosts out for the count. A Dean Sidebottom free-kick was sent into the mix, Gavin Smith in his trademark fashion ghosted into space to get a free header on target, Everard managed to beat the ball out only for SMITH to smash in the rebound. At 3-1 there was to be no coming back, although Sheffield almost gifted the home side an opportunity following a mix up from two of the goalscorers (Smith and Brownrigg) at the back to allow Nicky Matthews a clear run on goal, sadly for the Thackley man the shot was weak and straight at Holmshaw. Club were so dominant at this point it was a surprise they never added to the score; substitutes Jon Pickess and Dean Sidebottom combined well for the latter to deliver an inch perfect cross into the middle, Powell was there to head goalwards however how the ball went wide is a mystery to everyone - it didn't look like it was going to be the Sheffield forwards night in that respect. As the game was entering its dying moments, Sheffield went closer still as from another "flapped at" corner Daz Winter got a shot on target, only for Thackley's star defender James Riley to "head" the ball from the line - although what he knew about it was little or nothing.
 
The win (as stated earlier) takes Sheffield into second spot, two points behind leaders Maltby Main, with two games in hand. Next up in the list is a home game this Saturday, the derby fixture against local rivals Hallam, which takes on a little more significance than usual. If the results go the right way for Club, Saturday night could see them top of the pile, although it shouldn't be as much of a cake-walk as tonight's game was. With neither the central defensive partnership of Jones and Marsh completing the game, all eyes will be on the fitness of these two, as a no show from either could prove to be vital.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Andy Brownrigg
 
Thackley: Everard, Ettienne, King, Larkin, Riley, Firth, Howland (Shah), Oliver, Reilly, Matthews, Backhouse: Subs Not Used: Buros, Ward.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Davey, Marsh (Sidebottom), Brownrigg, Winter, White, Powell, Townsend (Pickess), Holmes. Sub Not Used: Tevendale.

Nelson 0 Sheffield FC 1
FA Vase Round One
Saturday, 07/10/06
 
A dramatic injury-time penalty from Chris White was just enough, after a hard fought battle against North West Counties outfit Nelson, to take Sheffield FC into the draw for the Second Round of the FA Vase. Club could count themselves fortunate to even have a chance of victory, as Nelson dominated lengthy periods of the game, and they had to thank Jamie Holmshaw for saving the day on more than one occasion in the first period. In the end it was down to Club's superior energy levels, and for once a bit of lady luck that won the day, with Vill Powell being tripped in the area by substitute Chris Ridehalgh to set up White's opportunity to win the game.
 
The first period was a half Nelson were in the ascendancy right from the word go, as James Coonan had the first shot in anger in the first minute of the game, with the ball sailing just over Holmshaw's crossbar. Nelson's David Gray was the one player to shine for the hosts, and he would feel he should have done better early on when he found himself in space on the right hand side; however his attempted lob was excellently stopped by Holmshaw. The Sheffield stopper came to the rescue midway through the half, turning a dipping volley from Robbie Smith over the bar, even though it looked more reflex than judged it was still a quality save. Nelson appeared to be in full control and must have been wondering what it would take to breach the Sheffield defence, as moments later Jason Jones became the latest to be denied, after being found in acres of space it took another stop from Holmshaw to keep the deadlock. Nelson's best chance of the half came just before half-time, again Gray was the instigator as he hit a thunderous drive against the crossbar, Holmshaw was well beaten this time - however he was on hand to block the rebound from Darren Fullard.
 
It looked to be more of the same after the restart, as Robbie Smith dragged an early shot just wide of the goal, but it wasn't long before Sheffield finally started to get a grip on proceedings. Gavin Smith had a shot saved by Nelson's Simon Hewitt, the first real thing the keeper had to do all afternoon, and it didn't look too convincing as he palmed the ball away rather nervously. For all their pressure though Sheffield never really tested Hewitt, although they could feel rather aggrieved at the decision of referee Michael Denton not to award a couple of "clear-cut" penalties - firstly as Vill Powell headed straight onto the hands of Duncan Bennett, and shortly after when the Club forward was hauled down just inside the area. As it was Sheffield kept on plugging at a visibly flagging Nelson defence, with White having a couple of good chances; the first after being threaded through by Powell, his shot going straight at Hewitt - the second after Chris Dolby weaved the ball to his feet, only for the shot to skim over the bar. Both managers must have felt this game was destined for extra-time, as both only utilised one substitute in the ninety minutes, obviously with one eye on fatigue setting in during the inevitable additional thirty minutes. As it was fate would destine this wouldn't happen, as Nelson brought on the energetic Chris Ridehalgh for either a final burst or that extra spark in extra-time, in the end his first contribution to the game proved to be the decisive one. Once again Vill Powell made another surging run into the box, jinking and turning to try and get the ball across the face of the goal, Ridehalgh however was a little rash in his attempted challenge and scythed Powell down giving referee Denton no option but to give the big decision. Up stepped WHITE, and despite the best attempt by Hewitt the ball was out of the keeper's reach, with it the Vase dreams of the Lancashire outfit were dashed.
 
Although many of the home side would argue the penalty was unjust, the fact so many chances were squandered when they were in charge of the game must bear the crux of the blame, it should have been wrapped up much earlier. After the game Sheffield manager Dave McCarthy said "in this competition you need a bit of luck - and today we got some (and it makes a nice change)!" And to be honest I couldn't agree more, Nelson gave a good account of themselves despite their lowly league position, but Sheffield got a chance and took it. Let's hope the "lucky streak" continues, with all eyes on the draw at FA headquarters on Monday - no doubt a trip to Newcastle is on the cards?
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw
 
Nelson: Hewitt, Alderson, Fullard, Richardson, Scott, D.Bennett, Smith, Coonan, Jones, Gray, Chapman (Ridehalgh). Subs Not Used: Derbyshire, L.Jordan, T.Jordan, A.Bennett.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones (Dolby), Marsh, Brownrigg, Winter, Davey, Powell, White, Holmes. Subs Not Used: Townsend, Tevendale, Sidebottom, Pickess.
 
Att: 129

Gedling Town 2 Sheffield FC 5
Presidents Cup Second Round
Tuesday, 03/10/06
 
For the second game in succession Sheffield went goal happy against a team from Nottingham, this time rattling five past Division One outfit Gedling Town in a pretty one-sided Presidents Cup tie, making it thirteen goals in three games for the boys from the BFS. Leading the destruction was Chris White, whose two goals and non-stop running gave him a deserved man-of-the-match award, with the other goals coming from Darren Holmes, Gavin Smith and Jon Pickess. Missing from the starting line-up was Vill Powell, who was cup-tied from the game, but even without him Sheffield looked a class or two above their hosts, and were even able to give Gedling a goal start through Nicky Kennerdale before ripping them to shreds.
 
The game got off to worst possible start for the visitors, as after five minutes KENNERDALE received the ball on the edge of the Sheffield area, eventually steering a shot beyond Darren Bonnington with the aid of a little deflection. Sheffield then started to assert themselves on the game, with Gavin Smith having a chance go wide, whilst Darren Holmes blasted a shot directly at Paul Wilson in the Gedling net. On the twenty minute mark Club were level, after WHITE received the ball just inside the left side of the area, after turning three defenders inside-out he showed great balance and presence of mind to loop the ball over Wilson. The pressure was primarily coming from Sheffield now, and Holmes managed to force a great one handed save from Wilson, after his shot was deflected. Jon Boulter was causing difficulty for the home defence with some excellent crosses into the box, one giving Peter Davey a clear free header that sadly went straight to the keeper. Gedling though were also giving a good account of themselves, with Dominic Jones having a great performance - forcing Bonnington into making a terrific one-handed save - whilst Lance Simpson should have done better when he found himself in acres of space on the left, instead of flashing his shot wildly across the goal. A minute before half time Sheffield got the lead they were never going to lose, White once again mesmerised the home defence down the left, set the ball into the middle to HOLMES - who lashed the ball home from the edge of the box, giving Wilson no chance at all.
 
If Sheffield dominated the first half, it goes without saying they ruled the roost even more in the second, and started in a very positive fashion. An early corner from Jon Boulter rattled the cross-bar, leaving everyone in the middle stranded, and moments later another Boults' corner found the head of Gavin Smith who headed inches wide. A couple of minutes before the hour mark Gav found the target, ghosting in to beat the offside trap following a poorly cleared free-kick, SMITH was able to keep his head and slot the ball coolly under the body of Wilson. Five minutes later a thunderous shot from Daz Winter was beaten away by Wilson, getting down excellently to apparently turn the ball wide, however sniffing at the back post was WHITE who slammed the ball home from the tightest of angles. Normally with the score at 4-1 you'd expect Club to take the foot off the gas a little, but not in this case as White nearly grabbed his hat-trick seconds later, taking the ball round Wilson only to hit the ball into the side netting. The hosts tried to rally but were having no joy getting beyond the Sheffield back four, with only Dominic Jones causing any real threat, and he could have got himself on the scoresheet if not for a couple of bad finishes. With ten minutes to go Gedling eventually got a consolation, Tim Hogg crossed in from the right, only for Tom Jones to turn into his own net for an OWN-GOAL. Sheffield weren't finished and seconds after the restart, Dean Sidebottom placed a slide-rule ball through to PICKESS, who with a little fortune and a lucky bounce squeezed the ball under the keeper to wrap things up.
 
Sheffield become the first team to get through to the semi-finals with this win, and if this form continues, there won't be many left in the competition to fear. Next up is a trip to Nelson in the Vase, a team who are struggling somewhat of late, Club will no doubt start as favourites - but as we know far too well to take anyone lightly in this competition is far too dangerous.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris White
 
Gedling Town: Wilson, Pratt, Jepson, Hogg, Widdowson, Cotton, Jones, Spiers, Kennerdale (Anderson), Turner (Vickerton), Simpson. Sub Not Used: Davies.
Sheffield FC: Bonnington, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, Winter, Davey, Townsend (Tevendale), White (Pickess), Holmes (Sidebottom).
Sheffield 5  Arnold Town 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 30/09/06
 
In an eventful match it was Sheffield who sparkled at the Bright Finance Stadium this afternoon grabbing a hatful of goals. New striker Vill Powell making a man of the match home debut by scoring a hat trick and setting up the other two goals. On the team front, Bonnington replaced Holmshaw in goal and it was a return to the side for Darryl Winter after his suspension. Up front, Townsend made way for Powell to make his first start at home in Sheffield colours.
 
There was a sombre start before kick off as both sets of players and fans impeccably observed a minutes silence in tribute to long serving committee member David Fletcher who passed away earlier in the week.
 
When the action got underway it was Arnold who were the first on attack with Watson firing over from the edge of the six yard box. At the other end Holmes was unlucky when his turn and shot was blocked by an inrushing defender. Sheffield then had to weather the storm a little as the visitors pressurised the defence, Clifford coming close with a rasping shot which was just over the bar.
 
It was then the home side who took the game to the visitors. Some good work by Powell saw him slip the ball past Arnold stopper Broster and into the path of Davey, but his shot was well blocked. Arnold then cleared the ball after a melee in the area. Broster then showed his class by parrying a shot to safety from White after the Sheffield forwards shot took two deflections in it's way goalwards. On 31 minutes the deadlock was broken and it was debut boy POWELL who did the damage. Finding space just inside the visitors area, he showed both strength and speed to hold off a defender as well as get to the ball before Broster and sliding it into the far corner.
 
It was an open and entertaining game with both sides creating numerous chances but it was Sheffield, and in particular Powell who was taking them. In very similar circumstances to his opening goal, it was POWELL once again who got on the scoresheet again after 42 minutes when Holmes slipped the ball through to the striker for a clinical finish after evading two defenders to take the game into the break two goals to the good.
 
The second half saw Brownrigg with the first real chance, heading over from a corner. With a two goal cushion Sheffield were starting to play the ball about, making Arnold chase the game. In fact the hosts were pinning back the visitors and after a succession of corners Jones had a half volley well saved by Broster.
 
In the 72nd minute Sheffield got their third goal of the game. After breaking up an Arnold attack, Boulter released a long ball forward to Powell on the left wing. This time the striker turned provider as his pin point cross found the feet of the inrushing CHRIS WHITE,  the strikers powerful shot finding the net despite the efforts of former Club favourite Broster. Three minutes later and White's corner into a crowded area saw POWELL first to the ball to powerfully head home for his hat trick.
 
With ten minutes left Arnold made a rare sortie forward and Nick Hall really should have done better when heading wide in front of an open goal. Sheffield were not content to just play the game out though and Powell was almost on the scoresheet once again when Gavin Smith's cross saw the Man Of The Match sending his glancing header just wide of the upright. In the 83rd minute it was Powell's assist that found substitute Chris Dolby who fired into the roof of the net, the midfielders shot taking a slight deflection on the way. Arnold gained a consolation goal in the 90th minute with a fine shot from WILKINS that gave Bonnington no chance.
 
In added time there was then a mass brawl as Arnold skipper Hudson went one step too far by punching a Sheffield player after having first lunged at him with a two footed tackle. In the ensuing melee it was Sheffield defenders Jones and Marsh who were given their marching orders along with Arnold's Nick Hall. The main culprit Hudson cleverly walked away to the half way line thus escaping scott free, along with defender Andy Davies, who clearly frustrated by the afternoons events after being given the proverbial roasting by anyone who cared to run at him, had run  half the length of the field to get himself involved with his own brand of retribution.
  
In the end this was a very satisfying win against a good footballing side, where Sheffield showed their composure, team spirit and most of all, clinical finishing, something that has let uthe side down to our cost in the past.
 
Next up is a breather from league action as the team travel to Gedling Town on Tuesday for their President's Cup quarter final.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Vill Powell
 
Sheffield:- Bonnington, Smith, Boulter (Dolby), Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, Winter, Davey, Powell (Townsend), White (Pickess), Holmes.
Arnold Town:- Broster, Bradley (Dacros), Davies, Hudson, Clarke, Clifford (C.Hall), Watson, N.Hall, Jeffrey, Wilkins, Saxton (Freestone).
 

Maltby Main 2  Sheffield FC 3
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Wednesday, 20/09/06
 

Sheffield left Muglet Lane with all three points after pulling back a two-goal deficit late in the second half.  Manager McCarthy's inspired move of a triple substitution being the key, as all three substitutes scored.

 

There was a double surprise for the Sheffield supporters as the team included the return of Ryan O'Carroll after his short spell at Belper Town and also new signing from Retford United Vill Powell. In very blustery conditions it was the hosts who got the game underway as they kicked off with the wind at their backs. The visitors almost made a dream start in the first minute as Powell's shot was turned away for a corner. But 11 minutes into the game it was the home side that took the lead. From a corner, the ball was played into the near post and Holmshaw fumbled, leaving the simplest of tap-ins for LUKE FLETCHER. At the other end, Holmes's corner was touched on by Smith but unfortunately there was no Sheffield player running in to take advantage of the situation.  Maltby were just edging the play, but neither side was really troubling either keeper with balls being over hit or falling short, depending which way you were kicking.  Just past the half hour mark Powell headed wide from a corner with the keeper beaten.  At the other end, Holmshaw had to be alert to beat down a shot from Stocks. Late pressure saw a Townsend cross well cut out as two attackers were waiting to pounce. Sheffield then had a succession of corners that come to no avail.

 

The second half saw the visitors now with the wind at their backs and they immediately started to dictate the play, Powell being unlucky in a 50-50 challenge with Schofield in the Maltby goal.  The keeper then had to be at his best as Townsend put Powell through, the striker seemingly slipping the ball past him goalwards, only to see his effort defected for a corner.  Holmes then picked out Smith, lurking in plenty of space at the back post, who shot wide from a narrow angl, when perhaps a pass into the area would have been a better option. It was all Sheffield as they had the hosts pinned back in their own half.  Sidebottom almost scored direct from a corner, the ball just going over the bar with the keeper well beaten.  Then, on 63 minutes and totally against the run of play, Maltby doubled their lead.  A break by Paul Turner down the Sheffield left saw him advance into the area where Jones clatters into him, the referee having no hesitation in awarding a penalty.  The kick was fiercely despatched home by SOMMERVILLE.

 

With twenty minutes left to play Sheffield manager McCarthy decided on a triple substitution to change things around, bringing on Dolby, White and Pickess for Smith, O'Carroll, and Townsend.  On 73 minutes Sheffield clawed their way back into the game when man-of the-match Marsh sets a long throw into the Maltby area where DOLBY was the first to react and blast the ball home.  Two minutes later and the visitors were level.  Once again it was a Marsh throw that started the move as he found Dolb,y who this time was the provider as his cross into the area was met with the head of PICKESS to level the scores.  Maltby were reeling from the onslaught as Sheffield went all out for a win, their only respite being a shot over the bar by Hobson when well placed.  On 80 minutes the fightback was complete as a Sheffield free kick was floated into the area.  The Maltby defence were unable to clear it and WHITE was on hand to fire the ball home into the roof of the net.  With the game entering added time, a long throw from McCormick for the hosts caused confusion in the Sheffield area and Hobson shot on target, but Holmshaw got down well to turn the ball away to safety.  The home side piled on the pressure as the minutes ticked away but the Sheffield defence held firm.  Certainly a game of two halves, but a game that needed to be won to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

 

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Craig Marsh

 

Maltby Main:  Schofield, Mudd, Needham, Turner (Davies), Mitchell, McCormick, Hobson, Stocks, Sommerville, L.Fletcher, Riley.  Unused subs: Spooner, T.Fletcher

Sheffield FC:  Holmshaw, Smith (Dolby), Davey, Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, O'Carroll (White), Sidebottom, Townsend (Pickess), Powell, Holmes

 

 

Witton Albion 3  Sheffield FC 2
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Saturday, 16/09/06
 
Sheffield were edged out of this season's FA Cup in controversial circumstances, as they played the last 25 minutes with only ten men against UniBond Premier outfit Witton Albion, after Chris White was sent off for two bookable offences. Albion ran out 3-2 winners, with a brace of goals from leading scorer Adam Warlow sandwiching a Shaun Whalley strike, with Club drawing level twice with goals from Gary Townsend and Chris White. The deciding factor on the day was the sending off of the Sheffield winger, moments after he had scored Sheffield's second equaliser, for a questionable challenge on Witton's Kevin Sanasay. Two minutes later and Witton were in front for a third and final time, a cruel way to exit the country's premier cup competition, and sad given the nature of the game up to that point. Overall Club put on a brave performance and really pushed the Northwich side all the way, in the end however once the one man advantage was given to the home side there was only ever going to be one winner.
 
To say the first half started in frantic fashion is an absolute understatement, Sheffield showed scant respect for a team that is two levels higher in the pyramid, and pressed forward regardless. However they were made to pay on three minutes as Witton scored on their first attack; a clinical defence splitting pass from Shaun Whalley found Kevin Sanasay in acres of space on the right wing, his shot was parried out by Jamie Holmshaw into the path of WARLOW who had the easiest of tasks tapping home. Straight from the kick off Sheffield went back on the offensive, with Darren Holmes getting fouled on the edge of the area; up stepped Chris White with the free kick and up rose TOWNSEND in the box to glance the ball past the stranded Jon Worsnop. A breathless start continued with a frenzy, this was going to be no repeat of the bore-draw at Long Eaton seven days earlier, and both teams were laying siege to the others' goal in turns. Holmshaw pulled off a couple of great stops, the best coming from a strike from distance by Steve Connors, whilst from the resulting corner by Mark Peers both Brian Pritchard and Adam Warlow failed to take advantage with free headers. At the other end another White free-kick left the Witton defence in disarray, the ball sort of fell between Gavin Smith and Jon Pickess, and neither could get the definitive touch to send the ball into the net. Back to the other end, and another testing corner from the lively Peers found Warlow with another free header, this time he found the frame of the goal and Holmshaw had to be quick to beat it away. Shaun Whalley was causing the visitors several problems with his darting runs from midfield, and he managed to find Kevin Sanasay in the middle of the area, Sanasay appeared to control the ball with his hand before turning on the spot to force another terrific save by Holmshaw who tipped the ball over the bar. Ten minutes before the break WHALLEY was allowed to run once to often as far as Club were concerned, breaking down the left hand side into the area, before drilling the ball under Holmshaw into the net.
 
The one goal half time lead was probably a little harsh on Sheffield, especially after contributing to one of the most entertaining halves of football this season, and the second half continued much in the same vein. Two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Darren Holmes, Dean Sidebottom caused all kinds of mayhem down the right hand side before unleashing a terrific cross from the by-line, in the middle steaming in was WHITE to thunder a header home from about two yards out. The journey from ecstasy to agony took about ninety seconds for White, as he picked up a second yellow for a rather innocuous looking tackle on the Witton number ten who writhed around for long enough to see the card produced, then sprang back to his feet - read into that what you will, but that moment was the game winner. It hadn't been a dirty game by any stretch of the imagination, and White had picked up the first yellow card of the game only a few minutes before his goal, for his second foul of the game. The fact that Witton went straight up the field and capitalised on a reorganising side to score, WARLOW being allowed time and space on the edge of the area to shoot a powerful drive beyond the reach of Holmshaw, more or less wrapped up the game. Sheffield didn't give up on the outcome, and carried on pressing regardless, but to be fair the time wasting tactics of the home keeper and the one man disadvantage left them needing to pull some kind of rabbit out the hat. Ridiculously it was the home team that pulled one out of the six yard area, literally! With what appeared to be another delaying tactic by Worsnop, having being booked moments earlier for that offence, the referee called halt to proceedings whilst the groundsman made running repairs to a hole in the six-yard box - only to produce a rabbit from the hole! The delay took the sting out of the game, and Sheffield couldn't get anywhere close enough to the Witton goal to get the vital third equaliser, eventually running out of time and out of the cup. A great performance by the lads, and they thoroughly deserved something a bit better than the result they got, and if the decisions had gone their way at crucial times could have taken this to a replay. Witton will know they've been in a battle today, and any thoughts they had that this would be a walk-over will surely have been washed away with today's game.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Tom Jones
 
Witton Albion: Worsnop, Hockenhill, Brownhill, Pritchard, Barras (Frost), Whalley (Gaghan), Spearitt, Connors, Warlow, Sanasay, Peers. Subs Not Used: Brown, Haughton, Walker.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter (Dolby), Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, Davey, White, Townsend, Holmes (Sidebottom), Pickess (Tevendale). Subs Not Used: Hilton, Roney.
 
Att: 231.

Long Eaton United 0 Sheffield FC 0
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 09/09/06
 
Perhaps it was the fact that the game was played on a warm, sunny day with conditions more akin to either pre-season or the end of term run-in, that this game had all the typical qualities of either one of those contests. Despite pressing the Long Eaton territory for much of the game at a leisurely pace, Sheffield couldn't breach the home side's defence, and with the home side offering very little the result always had the potential to end goal-less. After a first half that offered little at either end, Sheffield came closest to scoring with Craig Marsh hitting the bar, whilst the Blues denied the visitors on two more occasions by clearing off the line. Long Eaton on the other hand never pressed Jamie Holmshaw's goal, with the visiting keeper never having to make a save of any real difficulty, making their third position in the league look very questionable.
 
With Sheffield playing with a stiff breeze at their backs in the first period, they never really got to grips with things, and to be fair neither side forced a proper save from the opposition keeper. Club more or less spent the half camped in the hosts' half, but the nearest they came to the goal was a wayward shot from distance from Chris White, whilst at the other end Lee Sutton had a shot from the edge of the area dealt with comfortably by Jamie Holmshaw. The second period was far more lively than the opening, and the home keeper Darren Keeley had to be called into action to tip a looping header from Sheffield's man of the match Tom Jones onto the bar, with Adam Burton having to hook the ball spectacularly off the line under the attention of the lurking Gary Townsend and getting injured in the process. Long Eaton had a fleeting moment of domination midway through the second half, coming closest through a Danny Belham free-kick into the box that was flicked on by Dave Wilkinson; Adam Burton steamed in at the back post and probably should have done better with the contact on the ball. Chris White sent a hopeful looking cross into the box that caused a fair amount of bedlam; Gavin Smith caused confusion in the home defence, before the ball was steered just wide by Jon Pickess. The introduction of Dean Sidebottom added a bit more of a threat down the right wing, and his free-kick found Craig Marsh unmarked in the middle of the area, powering a header onto the bar that left Keeley and his defenders stood in bewilderment. Moments later Keeley made a rash clearance that left the keeper stranded in no-man's-land, the ball fell to Sidebottom who lofted the ball goalwards, only to see Dan Chambers in the right place at the right time to hook the ball clear to safety. In injury time Darren Holmes had a chance to snatch an unlikely winner for the visitors, with a diving header at the back post going close, but not close enough.
 
It wasn't the most entertaining of games, and on paper before the game a draw would have been considered a good result, but as Long Eaton weren't the most adventurous of teams any repeat of last season's record 8-0 defeat was going to be a pipe dream at best. The draw sees Sheffield drop to eighth in the table, with other results in the league "going against" Club, whilst Long Eaton remains in third. Next up for Sheffield is a trip across to Cheshire, where they face Northwich's Witton Albion in the next round of the FA Cup, who secured a 3-2 away win to Grantham today. It should prove to be an interesting contest, hopefully a little more entertaining than today's game, and hopefully as pleasant weatherwise too!
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Tom Jones
 
Long Eaton United: Keeley, Chambers, McGinty, Allsop, Burton, Wilkinson, Brady, Parker, Leighton (Holmes), Sutton (Wright), Beldham. Sub Not Used: Bradbury.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Davey, Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, Holmes, Dolby (Sidebottom), Townsend, White, Pickess (Tevendale). Sub Not Used: Hilton.

Retford United 1 Sheffield FC 1 aet
Sheffield won 3-0 on penalties
FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Tuesday, 5/09/06
 
There was an echo of a certain game from the recent past at Cannon Park tonight, one where two games and extra time couldn't separate two evenly matched teams, and one where Sheffield came away as victors after a penalty shoot-out with the Club keeper stopping all the spot-kicks he faced to give his team a 3-0 victory. That game back then was a cup-tie against Dunston Federation; the keeper was Darren Bonnington, but the hero of that night could only watch from the bench tonight as Jamie Holmshaw repeated Bonno's amazing feat three years on. But five minutes into the second half the thought of being the hero of the night must have been a million miles away from the mind of Holmshaw, as he dropped a howler that allowed ex-Sheffield legend Mick Godber to nip in and give Retford the lead, fortunately for Club the balance was redressed midway through the second half when Godber's ex-striking partner Jon Pickess nipped in to score his fourth goal of the season. Despite Sheffield playing the majority of extra time with only ten players, neither team could provide the crucial spark to avoid the lottery of penalties, a lottery Sheffield ended up winning with the jackpot a trip over to Northwich to face Witton Albion in ten days time.
 
Sheffield were missing two of the starting line-up from Saturday's stalemate; Jon Boulter out suffering from a knee injury picked up in that game, whilst Andy Brownrigg was out due to a "dental issue". Also out was Chris Hilton with a neck injury, and even though the squad was down to its bare bones, there was still a fair amount of quality still in the starting line-up. Despite Retford also having their share of quality in the line up, only one word could describe the first half - "dull" - with neither outfit really getting close to troubling the scoreboard. James Tevendale managed to get behind the defence and beat the offside trap on the quarter hour mark, skipping the ball across the goal, only to see Stuart Ludlam get a crucial touch on the ball to steer it away from Chris White who was steaming in at the back post. Gavin Smith also headed a corner just over the bar, whilst the best the Badgers could muster was a weak shot from early substitution Mick Godber, who gave Holmshaw very little to worry about. The impression both teams gave was that neither was capable of making the opening, even though both sides had players of impressive and proven reputations, and it was going to take something either special or tragic to alter the course of a dead-cert goal-less draw.
 
What it did take was a moment of tragic proportions; Retford managed an early corner in the second period taken by skipper Ryan Ford that looked to be routinely taken by Jamie Holmshaw, somehow though the Sheffield keeper flapped, missed and the ball ended up in the back of the net with GODBER claiming the vital last touch. Godber had the chance to make it two shortly after, combining with Neil Harvey to set himself one-on-one with Holmshaw, this time the Sheffield stopper redeemed himself for the earlier mistake with a good solid block at the prolific striker's feet. Sheffield though were now spurred on by this opening and were looking the more dangerous of the two although never really looking like having the ammunition to draw level, and when Tevendale took the ball round Chris Kingston only to find himself unable to steer the ball in whilst under pressure, the feeling was this was not going to be Sheffield's day. A double substitution by Dave McCarthy proved to be a major turning point, as five minutes on Tevendale once again got behind the defence this time being brought down by Kingston, however the resourceful striker managed to stab the ball across goal to the waiting PICKESS who was at his required distance - three yards from goal - he doesn't miss those! And Club could have snatched it in the dying moments, Dean Sidebottom's cross was inch perfect, Darren Holmes' diving header was good - but a yard wide - the inevitable extra time it was then.
 
A deciding extra time was always going to be a big ask, and really it only provide a few moments of promise, as both teams started to flag. Mark Ashton provided the best opportunity in overtime for Vil Powell, Ashton's good work down the right wing put the ball to Powell in acres of space who shot wide of the mark; it looked to be an excellent chance but was squandered nevertheless. Dean Sidebottom had a free-kick nervously tipped over by Kingston, and moments later Sheffield were down to ten men as Miles Thorpe dropped out through injury, although at a man short it was Club who started to look more menacing with some pacey attacks. The second period saw Craig Marsh have a powerful header blocked on the line, whilst Matt Roney did what Tevendale had managed to do twice in normal time, taking the ball round Chris Kingston with seconds to go, crossing the ball to Pickess whose flick was scooped off the line by Rob Burton. So as inevitable as extra time was, so was the penalty shoot-out, first to step up was Vil Powell who shot the ball straight at HOLMSHAW. WHITE was first up for Sheffield sending Kingston the wrong way for 1-0, and when Stuart Ludlam placed the ball at the ideal height for HOLMSHAW to knock the ball away, it was looking as though this was going to be the Sheffield keeper's night after all. SIDEBOTTOM made it 2-0 with a classy calm spot-kick, heaping tons of pressure on Rob Burton who had saved Retford moments earlier; it was a great penalty and an even better save by HOLMSHAW who reached it at full stretch to his right. All that was left was for MARSH to step to the plate and not hit it into the next county (as many were predicting), he didn't and showed great composure to beat the keeper, find the net and make it 3-0. Club were through, the players to a man raced to congratulate Holmshaw, and the earlier blooper was well forgotten - the cup dream carries on.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris White
 
Retford United: Kingston, Ludlam, Wright, Ford, Burton, Colley, Holmes, Tyler (Ashton), Harvey (Powell), Duffield, Wooley (Godber). Subs Not Used: Lodge, Wilkinson.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Davey, Jones, Marsh, Thorpe, Holmes, Dolby (Sidebottom), Townsend (Pickess), White, Tevendale (Roney). Sub Not Used: Bonnington.

Sheffield FC 0 Retford United 0
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday, 2/09/06
 
Unibond Premier League side Witton Albion will have to wait a few more days  to see who they play in the next round after today's stalemate at the Bright Finance Stadium.
 
It was a welcome return for former Sheffield legend Mick Godber, along with Greg Wright, who was also in the visitors starting line-up. With constant rain all morning the game kicked off on a greasy surface, with players having to be wary in keeping their footing. Sheffield had the first real chance when White shot over the bar from a free kick. This was quickly followed at the other end by Greg Wright free header from a corner which was also directed over the bar.
 
The strong wind favoured the hosts for the first half, but the driving rain was making conditions difficult for both teams. Just before the half hour mark Ryan Ford had a chance for Retford which he put just wide of the post. The visitors were exerting more pressure now and Holmshaw had to make a fine save to break up another attack. He was almost taken by surprise just after that when a long range free kick out on the byeline had to be tipped away to safety.
  
Meanwhile, man of the match Tom Jones was marshalling the home defence along with Craig Marsh, both  defenders nullifying the efforts of Godber and his strike partner Vill Powell. On the stroke of half time Chris White had a fierce shot from the edge of the area but Kingston had it covered all the way. Townsend then had a similar opportunity but could not break the deadlock.
 
Sheffield had to make a change five minutes into the second half when Boulter was injured in a challenge, his place being taken by Pete Davey. A great ball into the area by White saw Godbers former strike partner Jon Pickess denied his moment of glory, as Kingston raced from his goal line to dive at the strikers feet to cut out the cross.
 
Both sides were visibly tiring, the game stretching from end to end. Holmshaw made a fine save from a free kick and Retford substitute Harvey then headed wide of the mark when well placed. Sheffield were looking for the victory as time was running out and Roney brought a fine save out of Kingston when his rasping drive was tipped over the bar.
  
There was little to pick between the two teams, with both sides having periods of pressure so it could be another tight game for the replay on Tuesday night, but it will be played to a finish. Extra time and penalties anyone ?
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Tom Jones
 
Sheffield:- Holmshaw, G.Smith, Boulter (Davey), Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg, Dolby (Roney), White, Townsend, D.Holmes, Pickess (Tevendale). Unused Subs: Hilton, Sidebottom
Retford United:- Kingston, Ludlam, Wright, Ford, Burton, Colley, L. Holmes (Duffield), Tyler, Godber (Harvey), Powell (Ashton), Wooley. Unused Subs: Lodge, Wilkinson

Sheffield FC 2 Eccleshill United 3
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Bank Holiday Monday, 28/08/06
 
Don't be fooled by the close scoreline, this was one of those days when Club just weren't at the races, and only two late goals gave an air of respectability against a surprisingly good Eccleshill outfit. The Eagles raced into a three goal lead, with James Hansen, Gary Birchall and Mark Burnham finding the mark, and it was only in the last ten minutes that Club truly came to life through goals from Chris White and Jon Pickess. In hindsight with a bit more luck Sheffield could have taken at least a share of the points, if not for some poor finishing, missed passes and touch-and-go offside calls, but in all honesty it wouldn't have been deserved.
 
Club started the game with their customary gusto, getting the visitors on the back-foot early on, with James Tevendale heading over in the first few minutes. It didn't take Eccleshill that long to get going, and it took the first of several good saves from Darren Bonnington to stop them taking the lead, with Chris Rosindale testing the re-called keeper with a long-range effort. Just before the quarter hour mark the visitors broke the deadlock; a free-kick by Andy Philp on the right wing found HANSEN in acres of space, and it was easy for the lanky striker to head the ball home despite Bonnington getting a hand to the ball. Eccleshill certainly found their feet, and had Sheffield looking a shadow of the team that had taken Garforth apart on Saturday, with some quality passing football from the Bradford side. Midway through the half, and a little against the run of play, Sheffield were scratching their heads as to how they weren't level - a cross from Gary Townsend was met by a diving header from James Tevendale, the ball had Paul Morris totally stranded but somehow conspired to hit the bar. As if to rub salt in the wound from this missed chance, the visitors gave notice of what was to come, with Andy Philp shooting from distance forcing Bonnington to make yet another fine save. There was nothing he could do moments later; a fair amount of confusion in the box ensued following a speculative ball into the area, Sheffield failed to deal with it and BIRCHALL was on hand to stab home. Inexplicably Sheffield were going into the dressing rooms two goals behind, with very little sign of turning it around without a major change of attitude from the players.
 
Some harsh words must have been said in the Sheffield dressing room during the interval, the home players emerging a good five minutes before the visitors, and with two tactical substitutions from the home management. But as the first half had ended, so the second half began, with Eccleshill on the attack. Hansen nearly grabbed himself a second goal, after lobbing the ball over Bonnington only to see the ball just miss the target, whilst young Ben Hardy was causing all manner of problems on the flanks with his pace. With twenty minutes left it seemed the game was done and dusted; a free-kick on the edge of the area worked between Darren Holmes and Chris White didn't go according to plan, the ball was picked up by Mark Burnham in his own half, and BURNHAM was able to run sixty yards without a Sheffield player getting near enough to make a tackle - sickeningly finishing the run with a sweet strike into the corner. It was only at this stage that the home players seemed to come to life, creating the first quality move of the game with Darren Holmes and Jon Pickess (who had introduced a fair amount of energy following his introduction at half time - albeit with few results up to this point) combining to set Rob Ward clear in the area, with only the keeper to beat the finish was poor to say the least and could be looked at in hindsight as a "what if" moment. Moments later a Holmes cross forced the first save Morris had to make in the game, Ward met it with a powerful header only to see the ball beaten away, it would however have been ruled offside - but it was a sign of things to come. With seven minutes to go the ever industrious Chris Dolby put an excellent cross into the box, WHITE was on hand with a diving header, again Morris was beaten but this time there was no crossbar to save him. Sheffield were now in their expected place in the ascendancy, and seconds after the goal Ward found the net following a little Pickess flick, again the linesman was there with the flag. It was all Sheffield in the closing stages and the home support was wishing the game had another eighty minutes left to play rather than eighty seconds, and Morris was almost found wanting once again after Holmes set White up for a shot on goal, somehow luck was on the keeper's side as he managed to claw the ball away for a corner. From the corner Morris was flapping again, missing the ball and allowing Tom Jones to head the ball goalwards, giving PICKESS the easiest of poachers' goals from a yard out. Sadly there was only enough time to restart the game, and the home side were left ruing what might have been if only they'd have performed as well for the first eighty minutes as they did for the last ten, but as they say "there's still a long way to go" and plenty more chances to make amends for this display.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jon Pickess
 
Sheffield FC: Bonnington, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Roney (Dolby), Thorpe (Ward), White, Townsend, Tevendale (Pickess), Holmes.
Eccleshill United: Morris, Ferrand, Waite, Dempsey, Cookson, Rosindale, Philp, Birchall, Hansen, Burnham (Fletcher), Hardy. Subs Not Used: Price, Fagan.

Sheffield FC 3 Garforth Town 1
Northern Counties East League Premier Division
Saturday, 26/08/06
 
Sheffield strolled to a comfortable win this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium, despite a late scare by the visitors, to seal all three points over Simon Clifford's colourful Garforth Town side. Three almost identical goals from Sheffield exposed a major flaw in the visitors' defence, and Sheffield were able to capitalise on this, with a goal from Gavin Smith setting things in motion in the first half, with Gary Townsend sealing things up early in the second. Shane Kelsey pulled one back for Town late on, to give the visitors a bit of hope, before Jon Pickess put the result well beyond doubt moments later.
 
Club were the ones to give the earliest pressure, with Gary Townsend coming close in the opening exchanges, hitting the bar from the edge of the area. Townsend was the player to give Garforth the biggest worry at the back, and should have made a better fist of it after being put through one on one on goal after a defensive lapse; sadly for the Sheffield front-man the end effort was rather poor. It has to be said that Garforth looked rather suspect in defence; however the hosts were unable to truly capitalise on it, never really coming close to causing trouble to the scoreboard. At the other end Garforth almost pulled of a surprise in a rare foray into the home half, with Jamie Holmshaw having to pull off a splendid stop from Greg Kelly, after the Garforth midfielder was put through clear on goal. In the 32nd minute though Sheffield got their just desserts for all their pressure, with SMITH ghosting in at the back post to slam the ball home from close range, following a pinpoint cross from Craig Marsh. Garforth had a chance to equalise moments before the break, Andrew Rowan hitting the post after being found free, and Holmshaw living up to his reputation by stopping the rebound.
 
The game was more or less killed off as a real contest after just a few seconds of the restart; Garforth were caught napping as Matt Roney was left free on the right to cross the ball into the box, the ball missed James Tevendale and the whole of the defence and TOWNSEND had the easiest job of all to tap the ball home unopposed. At 2-0 to the good Sheffield were then able to string some quality football together, with Roney and White ripping holes in the fragile looking Garforth defence, whilst Miles Thorpe was majestic directing traffic in a controlling midfield role. Chris White went close to making it three with a free kick just sailing over, whilst Townsend almost added to the score moments after, his shot eventually being deflected wide of the mark. Town keeper Chris Parry helped keep the score down with a series of quality stops that even had the home support showing their appreciation, making a fantastic stop from a Craig Marsh header following another Roney cross, then stopping the rebound from White with an instinctive stop with his feet. Sheffield had the luxury of being able to sit back a little and let the visitors come at them; this however brought a few minor scares with it, with Jermaine Manners going close with a shot and Dan Sheriffe heading narrowly wide. Holmshaw came to the rescue again for Club, saving at full stretch after Greg Kelly fired in a thunderous free kick, following a trip on Karl Rose on the edge of the area. Ten minutes from time the visitors got their just rewards for all their effort, Rose crossing deep into the box, with KELSEY steaming in at the back post to supply the killer touch. Perhaps that was the wake up call Sheffield needed, because Garforth never threatened again as Chris Dolby took control of things, using his experience to settle down any frayed nerves. Firstly Dolby was on hand to force another good save from Parry, and was then instrumental in some quality possession football that saw Garforth unable to get hold of the ball, eventually resulting in the final goal. Some good passing football had the visitors chasing shadows, the ball ended out on the right once more at the feet of Roney, and his low hard cross was met in typical poacher's style by PICKESS who stabbed home from close range. Chris White nearly capped a great performance in the dying moments, with a dazzling solo run culminating in a wicked shot from just outside the area, sadly the ball whipped over the bar - nevertheless the points were secured a long time before.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Miles Thorpe
 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Jones, Marsh, Brownrigg (Roney), Thorpe, White, Townsend (Pickess), Tevendale (Dolby), Holmes.
Garforth Town: Parry, Hitchings (Manners), Harding, Carrick, Jaggar, Turner, Harding, Hewitt (Sheriffe), Rowan (Rose), Kelsey, Kelly.

Brodsworth MW 2 Sheffield 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 19/08/06
 
A setback for Sheffield in this afternoon's encounter, losing despite dominating the entire game. The match started following a pre-match deluge, although the pitch was still very hard and uneven, which was surprising with the season having only just commenced.
 
Sheffield were on the attack straight away and Townsend was unlucky with a glancing near post header that hit the bar. Good work on the right then saw Ward release White, whose shot across the goal evaded the Brodsworth keeper but went just the wrong side of the post. At the other end Lee Dews had a chance when he headed over the bar. On twenty eight minutes and against the run of play it was the hosts who took the lead. From their first corner the ball was swung into the six yard box and keeper Holmshaw's fumble saw him drop the ball and LEE DEWS was on hand to tap home. Sheffield were still pressing forward with man of the match White inspirational. Sheffield then had to re-organise when Davey picked up an injury after being hurt by his own keeper, Jamie Holmshaw. Hilton replacing Davey and moving to right back with Gavin Smith moving into the centre alongside Craig Marsh. A White free kick resulted in a goalmouth scramble but Brodsworth managed to clear the danger. Just before half time good work by Thorpe found White who ran into space and hit a shot that was well saved by Whitehouse in the Brodsworth goal.
  
After the break it was much the same story with Townsend having a shot blocked and Ward firing over the rebound. Next it was Holmes' turn with a quick free kick into the area but he too fired way too high. Brodsworth were resolute in defence and the visitors were finding it difficult to break them down. When they did get though Whitehouse was on hand to deal with the majority of crosses which were poor, to say the least ! The decision to shift Smith to centre back was looking crucial with Club missing the defenders near post runs into the box. Without him there was little movement in the area to upset the physical Brodsworth defence. Sheffield though finally got the breakthrough they deserved on sixty eight minutes. The ball was played in to DARREN HOLMES who ran on towards goal and the wide midfielder unleashed a shot from the edge of the area which found the bottom corner with Whitehouse well beaten.
  
Club were now going all out for the victory with Brodsworth pinned back into their own half, but it was the home side who went back in front on eighty two minutes. A Brodsworth clearance found BRETT LOVELL on his own and amazingly the giant centre forward's shot beat Holmshaw at his near post. In added time they almost embarrassed Sheffield again when Roberts shot just wide with only the keeper to beat.
 
A very disappointing result for Sheffield who will play a lot worse than this on other occasions and pick up maximum points, but if promotion is to be a realistic ambition victories at clubs like Brodsworth are nothing less than a must.
 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris White
 
Brodsworth Welfare:- Whitehouse, Hill, Roberts, Carmody, Woodcock, Wibberley,Longley (Whaley),  Morton (Rotal), Lovell, Dews, Darker(Wormley).
Sheffield:- Holmshaw, G.Smith, Boulter, Davey (Hilton), Marsh, Winter, Thorpe, White, Ward (Tevendale), Townsend (Roney), Holmes.
Sheffield 2 Arnold Town 1
Presidents Cup First Round
Tuesday, 15/08/06
 
It was a swift return to the Bright Finance Stadium for Arnold keeper Lee Broster, after last years successful spell in Sheffield's colours.

It was a lively start by both sides, who are both tipped to be promotion candidates for the coming season. Roney shot over the bar after a good run down the middle, while at the other end Freestone was also just wide with a header. Town were forced to make an early substitution when Jeffrey was unable to carry on after only fifteen minutes.

It was an open game although the hosts were just shading it with man of the match Chris White outstanding on the wing. Time after time he left his marker chasing shadows as he delivered the ball into the danger area for the forwards, only to find Broster on top form once again. Sheffield did however get the breakthrough just past the half hour mark. Former Arnold defender Jon Boulter fed the ball to White who cut inside to get a shot in which Broster did well to save, but PICKESS was on hand to stab the ball home for a typical poachers goal - his first since returning from his long spell on the sidelines through injury.

The second half was less than ten minutes old when the visitors grabbed an equaliser. A break down the Sheffield left saw the ball crossed into the six yard area and as Holmshaw hesitated, WILKINS nipped in front of him to head home. Sheffield came right back with Hilton crossing to Ward, the centre forward's shot going wide. Just past the hour mark Thorpe dispossessed a Town player just inside his own half and found RONEY who ran on to hit a twenty five yard screamer, giving Broster no chance as it flew into the top corner.

Goalscorer then almost became provider as the wingers cross to Ward was brought under control by the big fella and with his back to goal he swivelled round and shot just over the bar. The visitors were starting to press forward to try and salvage the game and Mabon was close with an effort just wide of the upright, while at the other end White was once again close as his shot went over the bar.

Arnold then had a good breakaway that resulted in a corner but the danger was cleared. The last five minutes saw Wilkins again going very close for the visitors as Holmshaw had to palm away his goal bound header for a corner. Sheffield had the chance to put the game to bed in the last minute when they were awarded a penalty but substitute Pete Smith's kick was easily saved by Broster. Thankfully it didn't prove costly, although the visitors did hit the post in added time.

Although the merits of this particular competition have to be questioned, the game gave Dave McCarthy the ideal opportunity to field several players unfortunate to miss out on a place in last Saturdays starting line up. Jon Pickess as always giving 110% and it was a delight to see him back amongst the scorers. Chris White put in probably his best performance since his return to the club thus staking his claim for a place in the starting eleven on Saturday. With Tom Jones also on the verge of returning to the squad, the team selection at Brodsworth will certainly prove interesting.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Chris White

Sheffield: Holmshaw, Hilton, Boulter, Davey, Marsh, Thorpe, Winters, Roney (Sidebottom), Ward (Smith), White, Pickess (Townsend)                                        Arnold Town: Broster, Clarke, Davies, Bradley, Wright, Hall (Thomason), Watson, Freestone, Wilkins, Jeffrey (Mabon), Law (Johnson).

Sheffield 2 Mickleover Sports 1
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Saturday, 12/08/06
 
Sheffield opened their league season with a well fought, but thoroughly deserved victory this afternoon. Manager McCarthy included five of his close season signings in the starting line-up and fit again Pete Davey was one of the substitutes.
 
Mickleover almost got off to a dream start in the first minute when Britton broke down the right and shot just wide of the far post. It was the home side that settled first though and started to play the ball around. Gavin Smith was unlucky with a half chance which bounced just over the bar. With twenty minutes gone Sheffield had the ball in the net through Townsend. Unfortunately the referee hadn't played the advantage, blowing straight away for a foul on Tevendale previous to this. The referee was then very lenient when Winter went in hard on one of the Mickleover players, only for him to receive a blatant kick from the visitor, the referee pulling both players to one side and each getting a yellow card. At this stage the action was mainly confined to the middle of the park with neither keeper having had a serious shot to save. Mickleover once more went close just after the half hour mark when a shot was fired just wide, but Holmshaw had it covered. It was then Club that started exerting more pressure and succeeded in gaining a succession of corners. Gavin Smith then burst through into the area on a run and although his shot beat the keeper, it hit the far post and was cleared to safety. With two minutes to go before the break he again ghosted into the area and Holmes put a cross over which Smith sloted home at the near post, only for the assistant referee to flag for an offside. Sheffield's pressure finally told as they took a deserved lead a minute into first half stoppage time. Once again it was man of the match Gavin Smith doing the damage. Collecting the ball just inside the opposition half, he played the ball out to Paul Smith and the wingers inch perfect cross was met by GAVIN SMITH to power home the header.
  
The second half began with Mickleover trying to push forward, but being thwarted by a well organised defence led by skipper Craig Marsh. On the hour mark the visitors hit back. Mickleover were awarded a free kick twenty five yards out and Pat LYONS shot evaded the hands of Holmshaw for the visitors to equalise. Brownrigg was replaced by Davey, the defender limping off with an injury. Sheffield were pressing forward more now and Marsh was unlucky when his shot was cleared off the line by Holness with the keeper well beaten. It was time for more changes as Ward and White came on to replace Tevendale and Townsend, to give the visitors something else to think about. Not long after the introduction of all the permitted substitutes Sheffield were reduced to ten men when Paul Smith damaged his shoulder and was unable to continue. This didn't stop the home side  going all out for the victory as White went close when Holmes threaded the ball through to him but his effort brought an excellent save by Hateley, palming the ball away for a corner. From the resulting kick Gavin Smith was once more making life hard for the visitors as his goalbound header was saved at point blank range, Hateley doing wonders to keep the ball out, more by instinct than judgement. Mickleover almost stole all three points, when on a rare forage upfield Strzyzewski found himself unmarked on the edge of the area but his shot was well off target. With the game entering injury time, the visitors were intent on holding out for the draw, but Sheffield had other ideas. With 95 minutes on the clock, one last attack saw Gavin Smith cross the ball into the area, with Darren HOLMES charging into the box to head past a despairing Hateley and the two defenders on the line to clinch all three points. There was just time for Mickleover to restart the game before the referee blew for full time.
 
Only time will tell how important these three points are, but the effect of winning the game in stoppage time with ten men will have done wonders to help team spirit for what promises to be a very important season.
 
Man Of The Match - Gav Smith
 
Sheffield: Holmshaw, Gav Smith, Boulter, Brownrigg (Davey), Marsh, Winter, Thorpe, Paul Smith, Townsend (Ward), Tevendale (White), Holmes. 
Mickleover Sports: Hateley, Stevens, Holness, Strzyzewski, Broadhurst, Lyons, Britton, McCaul (North), Waite (Middleditch), Tansley, Gummer. Unused Sub: Gross.
 
 
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SHEFFIELD FC U19s 1 – SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY U18s 2

 

Pre Season Friendly played at The Bright Finance Stadium 1 August 2006

 

Sheffield FC U19’ new squad played it’s first match since the announcement of the partnership between The World’s Oldest Football Club and Hillsborough College and were unlucky to lose a good, competitive game by 2 goals to 1 to the Wednesday Academy Side.

 

From the kick off Sheffield played some attractive football and were playing with some confidence. On 15 minutes Ewan Freeman was put through by Adam Firth and had a great opportunity to open the scoring but Aaron Jameson in the Wednesday goal made a super stop to deny the chance. The Sheffield defence were looking well organised with Lewis Cherrill and Ben Hetherington dealing comfortably with the Wednesday forwards. However they had to thank Will Burkin for a fine save palming the ball round the left post; but on 20 minutes Wednesday’s full back James Kay got behind the back line, and rounded the stranded Sheffield ‘keeper to make it 1 – 0 to the visitors.

 

After the restart Sheffield continued to play good football; Joel Purkiss and Jamie Oxley replaced Ewan Freeman and Adam Firth and the home side began to press for an equaliser. Scott Westney saw his firm shot just go wide and on 35 minutes Sheffield’s efforts paid off when Lee Gregory was put through to score with a very cool and well taken goal. Miles Ridall, Lee Gregory and Jamie Oxley combined to put Jamie through but the Wednesday ‘keeper got down well to his shot.

 

Half Time Sheffield 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

 

Sheffield dominated the first part of the second half and shortly after the restart Lewis Cherrill, Lee Gregory and Joel Purkiss combined nicely to give Lee a half chance – his shot however cleared the crossbar.

 

Will Burkin then made a super save from what looked like a certain OG; and Wednesday were starting to press forward; Lewis Cherrill had to be alert to put the ball behind for a corner; however when Sheffield had the ball they were making good use of it; the passing was good and Jamie Oxley found Lee Gregory with a superb ball but again the resulting effort was off target. The defence had to be on guard again as Wednesday came forward and John Cawley did well to intercept a dangerous cross. Eamonn Chapman was also having a good game at right back.

 

The next efforts in this game, which was providing the 250 plus spectators with a great advert for Academy football, fell to Sheffield; Karl Fox’s pass was flicked on by Lee Gregory to Joel Purkiss but his shot was smothered by the visiting ‘keeper. Later Karl and Jamie Jones combined well with the ball falling to Lee Gregory again, but his looping shot fell the wrong side of the bar.

 

With 15 minutes to go Sheffield legs were tiring and Will Burkin had to make another super stop to deny the visitors a goal. Jamie Jones was also alert to danger and was quick to break down a Wednesday attack. Joe Jerrison also made a couple of vital blocks. Sheffield also had their share of possession and continued to threaten the Wednesday defence; it was somewhat against the run of play that Todd Wood scored the winner on 84 minutes for Sheffield Wednesday.

 

Despite the result the Sheffield side showed that they were capable of good football and were not overawed by a very fit and well organised Wednesday Academy side. We look forward to seeing how they compete in the new North Midland U19 league commencing 6th September with a home game against Teversal.

 

Team: Will Burkin, Joe Jerrison, Ben Hetherington , Eamonn Chapman, Lewis Cherrill  Jamie Oxley, Karl Fox, John Cawley, Joel Purkiss, Lee Gregory, Adam Firth, Jamie Jones, Miles Ridall, Scott Westney, Ewan Freeman, Torren Wilson, Ted Cribley, Jonathan Wild, Lewis Devey

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Saturday 29th August 2006
Sheffield FC 1 (Craig Marsh 45 mins) FC United Of Manchester 0
 
The FC United of Manchester band-waggon rolled into Sheffield on Saturday, but the large payday anticipated by the 'home' side failed to materialise with the smaller than hoped for turnout. Nevertheless, a healthy crowd of around 600 at Don Valley Stadium enjoyed an entertaining and competitive pre-season friendly between the World's Oldest Football Club, Sheffield FC and one of the world's youngest, the Manchester United supporters breakaway side, FCUM.
 
For some strange reason the fans from across the Pennines sang songs from a bygone go(a)lden era at Old Trafford, of Solskjaer and Cantona, rather than focus attention on the players in front of them. On the pitch they even had a Giggs in their ranks, Rhodri, brother of Ryan. Sheffield however, were far from starstruck and ran out worthy 1-0 winners. A Craig Marsh header on the stroke of half time securing the win in this first ever meeting of the sides. An opportunity to extend the lead further was squandered when Rob Ward failed to convert a second half penalty. United had their chances, but in the main their finishing was woeful. They'll certainly have to improve in that area if they're to continue their successful start of last season when they were comfortable champions of the North West Counties League Second Division. The visiting fans however were gracious in defeat, waiting for the home side to leave the field and giving them a standing ovation.
 
Of course this was merely the appetiser to the main course of the 2006-2007 season, when both sides will be looking to secure a place in the Unibond First Division next May. Maybe a more significant payday awaits Sheffield further down the road with the possibility of a league meeting between the sides not too far away. 

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BTF Match Reports