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Worksop Town 0 Sheffield FC 2
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Final
Thursday, 08/05/08


So the season ends in a party fashion for Sheffield FC, ending a tremendously eventful season on a high, winning the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup for the third time in four attempts. A goal in each half from skipper (and ex-Worksop player) Gavin Smith saw Club home, in a remarkably comfortable display against higher league opponents, one that saw Club rarely step out of first gear. Whilst the performance is scant consolation for missing out on promotion, it gave a taste of what might have been against opposition from that level, and the prospect that life in the UniBond Premier Division would not have been that scary at all.

If anything Worksop started the liveliest, and it was they who took the game to Sheffield, and should have taken the lead after some early chances. Paul Stansfield's mis-kicked effort fell kindly to David Cockerill, whose first time effort struck the foot of the post, whilst Jamie Holmshaw had to be at his best - tipping over an Andy Boyce header, following an excellent Ryan Ludlam cross. When Cockerill's corner was met at the back post by a diving header from Andy White, it looked a certainty that the Tigers would take the lead, inexplicably though the effort sailed wide of the mark. And that was all Worksop had to offer, as in the 27th minute Sheffield took a lead that they never looked like relinquishing, with the Tigers lacking bite from hereon in. In their first real sortie on goal, Chris Dolby played a neat one-two with Vill Powell, before sending in a neat chip to the back post where GAVIN SMITH was steaming in with a trademark header.

Club looked a class above Worksop on the field, playing a calmer and composed game, soaking up anything the Tigers had to throw at them - with Rob Ward looking imperious at the back. All Town had to offer in the second period was a sole volley from David Cockerill, one that sailed wide of the mark, other than that it was plain sailing for Messrs McCarthy and Walshaw's charges. Sheffield were always the more threatening, and the longer the game went on, the more likely it looked they would get a second goal. Matt Lowton's long ball found Vill Powell, and it took some brave keeping from Dave Ratcliffe to deny the Sheffield forward, diving at Powell's feet as he broke through one-on-one. Ratcliffe was stopping the game turning into a rout, and he had to be at his best to turn a Darryl Winter shot round the post, but in the 69th minute there was nothing the stopper could do to deny Club that inevitable second goal. A corner was whipped across, the ball fell to Peter Davey who stabbed the ball to the edge of the six yard box, and there lurking with goal on his mind was GAVIN SMITH - making no mistake with his effort, in the meantime setting the party in motion. After this Worksop looked spent, their supporters streamed towards the exits once again, and all that was left was for the double-goal-scoring-captain-for-the-day Mr Smith (G) to lift the trophy on behalf of a very happy bunch of people.

The trophy was always going to be a consolation prize after missing out on promotion, but it serves as much more in a historic celebration season, where any silverware would be gratefully received. This season has been memorable in more than one way, and everyone who has pulled on a maroon shirt has contributed in some way, with the final week's events beyond most people's expectations way back in August. But now we know what it's like in UniBond World, next season we won't be the new boys, and if this season is anything to go by - well, 2008/09 will be another rollercoaster ride of emotions, hopefully with happiness and success at the forefront. Here's to next season, enjoy the summer, and we'll see you all again in pre-season!
BTF Club Man of the Match - Rob Ward (yes Rob, you!)

Worksop Town: Ratcliffe, Ludlam, Davies, Akers (Palmer), Boyce, Dawson, Stansfield, Robinson, White, Sansay, Cockerill. Subs Not Used: Smith, Burridge, Jordan, Stothard.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Davey, Winter, Dolby (Holmes), Powell (J.Smith), Copnell (Roney), Ward. Subs Not Used: Townsend, Haystead.
Att: 583.

Time for the travelling hordes to celebrate - Rob Ward's 90th minute equaliser
(unfortunately John and Trev's arms got in the way of the shot of the ball hitting the net !)

Nantwich Town 2 Sheffield FC 2 AET (Nantwich win 4-1 on pens)
UniBond Division One South Play Off Final
Saturday, 03/05/08

It's all over as Smith scores and the Dabbers celebrate (click on image to enlarge)

So it all ended in heartbreak; falling at the final hurdle in the worst possible way, a penalty shootout defeat ends the debut UniBond season adventure of Sheffield FC. After an entertaining, yet tense game, ended all square after 120 minutes - there was only one way to separate these two great teams - and that was through the lottery of spot-kicks. A bumper crowd of 1,354 turned up to the Weaver Stadium baked in glorious early summer sunshine, and they weren't disappointed with the drama on show, as Sheffield dragged themselves back from the jaws of defeat with goals at the narrow end of each half. Paul Smith equalised with the last kick of the first half, after Glyn Blackhurst had put the hosts in front on 32 minutes, whilst Rob Ward repeated the feat at the end of normal time after Dave Walker regained the lead for the Dabbers on 71 minutes. Two periods of extra time couldn't separate the two sides, and when it came to penalties, Welsh keeper Lee Jones turned out to be the hero to send Nantwich into the UniBond Premier Division.

Like Sheffield, Nantwich have suffered somewhat with the pitch this season - ravaged by all the elements during their debut season at the Weaver - so it was no surprise that the surface resembled an uneven dustbowl, with both teams struggling early on to get a grip on their game plan. Nantwich looked the more promising of the two sides, with Jamie Holmshaw the busier of the two keepers, having to save twice from Adam Beasley - the second a fantastic point blank save. Referee Madley was punctuating the game with frequent stoppages, causing a great deal of frustration, especially as he was increasingly influenced by the falling antics of certain players in green - in particular young Mr Griggs. Just after the half hour mark the hosts took a deserved lead, an Ashley Carter cross broke kindly, and there to tuck it into the corner was BLACKHURST. If anything Nantwich looked in control at this stage, and a weaving run by Carter was finished by a Beasley shot, fortunately the ball deflected wide. But as expected Club didn't lie down, and were rewarded on half time as Stewart Copnell was tripped on the edge of the box, which is a bit like awarding a spot kick to PAUL SMITH - who curled it under the wall, after a Copnell step-over, placing it in the bottom corner.

The late goal boosted Sheffield's morale by some measure, and it was the visitors who threatened to go in front; however the breaks didn't fall their way. This was summed up in a nutshell by Vill Powell's strong break, turning a vicious ball across the face of goal, but no-one could make any contact - with even Jamie Smith stretching without joy. The Dabbers went perilously close to regaining the lead, when Phil Parkinson's cross was met by Andy Kinsey's volley, one that rattled the cross-bar and had it shaking for minutes after. If that was fortunate for Sheffield, their luck certainly deserted them twenty minutes from the end, as Glyn Blackhurst stabbed the ball into the box - Club couldn't clear their lines - and there to poke home into the corner was the substitute WALKER. Sheffield certainly didn't give up the ghost though, and could have drawn level after Jamie Smith flicked on a throw onto Peter Davey, with the Sheffield substitute shooting just over. Then Matt Lowton pushed the boundaries of misfortune even further, as his solo run ended with a cross the face of goal affair, again no-one could get that vital touch. The last throw of the dice amazingly turned up snake-eyes for the Dabbers, a corner from the left was met by a mêlée of players, and there to head home was the ever reliable WARD - 2-2 and extra time was looming!

Sheffield could have wrapped it up in the first period of extra time, Vill Powell Blazed over from close range, and Matt Roney shot straight at Jones - on recent form you'd have backed both to have netted with each effort - whilst Chris Clements produced a wonderful save from Jamie Holmshaw, who seemed to have found some great form at just the right time. In the second period the home side went closest, Matt Lowton lost possession to Danny Griggs who skipped away to set up Andy Kinsey, again it was down to Jamie Holmshaw to save the day. And saving the day was the next on the agenda with the inevitable penalty shootout; first up was Kinsey who slotted it home, followed by Paul Smith and Ashley Carter who did the same. When Gavin Smith stepped to the plate, Paul Jones threw himself the length of the goal, tipping the ball onto the post. It was advantage Nantwich now, and with Dave Walker converting his spot kick, it fell to the young shoulders of Matt Lowton to rescue the situation for the visitors. No-one can fault the bravery of the youngster for throwing his name into the hat, and sadly finesse wasn't going to beat Jones, the keeper saved it leaving Richard Smith to plant the decisive kick into the net.

It is a harsh way to exit a competition, and even harsher that it determines a whole season's fixture list, but the result is what has to be abided to. Nantwich are probably the best footballing side Sheffield have faced all season, and they probably deserved to go up on their performances against Sheffield alone, naturally we wish them luck come August. As for Sheffield - well what can you say? If someone had said last August we would be talking about Play-Off finals, taking 300 plus supporters (including vocal backing from Retford fans amongst others) all the way across to Cheshire, and missing out by the width of a gnat's chuff - you'd have been accused of either taking hallucinogens or being over optimistic - but that is what our first venture into UniBond football has brought. Whilst it is obvious everyone at the Club is disappointed with this result, the positives are there for everyone to see, and everyone should feel rightly proud with this season's achievements. So let's dust ourselves down, strap a smile to our faces, and get to Hillsborough on Thursday night to see if this great season can blossom with a bit of silverware.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw 

Nantwich Town: Jones, Donnelly, Kiss (Walker), Smith, Taylor (Suhaj), Parkinson (Clements), Carter, Blackhurst, Kinsey, Beasley, Griggs.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Ingall, Hawes (Roney), Winter (Davey), Powell, Copnell (J.Smith), Ward.
Att: 1,354.

Sheffield FC 4 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
UniBond Division One South Play-Off Semi Final
Tuesday, 29/04/08

Sheffield Football Club marched into the play-off final, where they will meet Nantwich Town at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday, after a convincing 4-1 win over Stocksbridge Park Steels. Two goals each from Stewart Copnell and Vill Powell saw off the visitors, after an impressive performance from the hosts stifled everything that was thrown at them, with a solitary Alvyn Riley penalty the response from the Steels. Club more or less wrapped the game up by five minutes into the second half, and despite a spirited rally from Stocksbridge, it was a game that was under control from the word go.

As you'd expect in a semi-final of any kind, this game started in a very tense fashion, with neither side giving anything away and playing pretty much a tight midfield game. It burst into life though on fifteen minutes, with the first chance of the game being converted, as POWELL took advantage of some slack defending to tuck the ball outside the hand of Siddall in the Stocksbridge net. The match continued to be tight despite the goal, and chances were very few and far between, with the closest being as Gavin Smith's cross was met by the outstretched foot of Vill Powell who diverted the ball just over the bar. Just before the half hour mark Club made another breakthrough, and a delightful one it was at that, as Paul Smith's crossfield ball was met by the half-volley of COPNELL who sent the ball whizzing into the corner. The home support was now in raptures, and although the hosts had played a schedule from hell over the last few weeks, the fatigue barely showed. Eventually Steels broke past the rigid defensive partnership of Rob Ward and Jon Boulter to get some efforts on goal, with Alvyn Riley crossing and Andy Ring header going over the bar, and the best of all seeing a Darren Schofield cross leaving Carl Fothergill the simplest of tap-ins - somehow he miscued embarrassingly to allow Jamie Holmshaw the opportunity to reel the ball in.

Club started the second half looking like a team high on confidence, and high on ability, leaving Stocksbridge looking rather shell-shocked. Paul Smith sent a searching long ball which found Vill Powell; he turned the defence to leave himself on goal, with his shot whipped just outside the upright. Seconds later though the third goal came, this time Stewart Copnell lofted the ball over the static defence, POWELL took the ball on, and finished with a sublime effort slotting the ball under Richard Siddall. At three-nil Club could be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas, but Steels are a team with great talent themselves, and could have pulled one back almost instantly if it hadn't have been for a tremendous save by Jamie Holmshaw. Sheffield still looked threatening and the combination of Copnell and Powell was giving the Stocksbridge defensive line nightmares, with both having near misses within seconds of each other, after some great inter-play between the forwards. Stocksbridge were given a lifeline on the hour mark, as the hosts were penalised for a push in the box, and RILEY converted the spot-kick sending Holmshaw the wrong way. It seemed to give the visitors a bit of renewed hope, and when Carl Fothergill lashed just over the bar, any thought that this WAS over were sorely mis-given. But Club had it under control, and threatened to add to the scoreline even more, as man of the match Vill Powell showed great balance and poise in the box - breaking through several challenges to produce a great save from Siddall. The fat lady started to sing ten minutes from the end, as Matty Lowton burst down the right wing, sending in a sensible cross to give COPNELL one of the easiest finishes he'll ever have - cue delirium! It could really have been that little bit worse for Steels, as Paul Smith sent in a vicious cross that rattled the inside of the far post and out to safety, and inch to the left and it would have been five.

Don't read into this scoreline that Stocksbridge were a poor side, Gary Marrow's charges really played pretty well, as well as they were allowed anyway - with players like Andy Ring and the giant Brett Lovell having standout performances. The truth was Club were awesome and showed that they are a team for the REAL big occasions, and if they could have played like this in EVERY game this season... well, we wouldn't be talking about play-off finals would we? But we are, and next along the line is the biggest game of the season, at the Dabberdome (Weaver Park) on Saturday, where no doubt a big crowd (possibly over 1,000) will be there to give a great game a great atmosphere. Hopefully that will end with the right result, giving the culmination of a great debut season in the UniBond - but whatever the result, everyone at the World's Oldest Club can be rightly proud of a great season with some fantastic memories.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Vill Powell.

Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Ingall, Hawes, Winter (Davey), Powell (Roney), Copnell (J.Smith), Ward.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Siddall, Adams, Schofield (Sidebottom), Lovell, Kennedy, Ring, Richards (Wilkinson), Telling, Fothergill (Oldham), Ward, Riley.

Att: 430

Alsager Town 3 Sheffield FC 3
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 26/04/08
Sheffield wrapped up their regular league season, and an exhausting week to boot, with an enthralling six-goal thriller at the Town Ground this afternoon. After losing a player each in the first minute through a red card, the Bullets and Club served up a feast of entertaining football, with Sheffield producing a storming comeback in the last ten minutes after Alsager roared into a shock 3-1 lead. Goals from Ricky Bridge (20 minutes), Dave Whittaker (56 minutes) and Chris Budrys (74 minutes) looked to have given the hosts all three points, but replies from Darren Holmes (37 minutes), Vill Powell (82 minutes) and Tom Carney (89 minutes) salvaged pride for the visitors who finished the season in fourth spot. Results elsewhere meant that the outcome of this match was effectively meaningless, and with Dave McCarthy having one eye on Tuesday night's play-off game against Stocksbridge, resting key players was the main objective.
The game hadn't even warmed up before the controversy began, as Alsager's Jimmy McCarthy took it upon himself to punch Darryl Winter after an innocuous challenge, and when Winter retaliated by grabbing McCarthy the referee decided that red cards should be merited for both players. It was a decision that set a precedence for an eccentric performance by the man in the middle, and for much of the first quarter it was the official that grabbed most of the attention, with football coming a poor second to the intermittent whistling that punctuated the game. It took a freak goal to liven things up twenty minutes in, as a cross-cum shot by BRIDGE sailed straight over Holmshaw and into the net, giving Alsager a shock lead. Holmshaw made amends moments later, as he had to be at his best to block a shot from Chris Budrys, after being set up by a Ricky Bridge cross. Club looked to be on the ropes at this point, and the fatigue of playing the previous night looked to have taken its toll, as Gavin Smith had to clear off the line from Budrys. The only way Sheffield would get back into this contest was through something special, and eight minutes from the break it was delivered, in the form of a wonderful curving dipping strike from HOLMES that left Town's keeper Jowsey grabbing thin air.
The second half was just over ten minutes old when Alsager re-took the lead, and it was an excellent shot that left Holmshaw floundering, with WHITTAKER the perpetrator with a wicked right foot strike. Club looked a little more composed as they pressed forward in search of an equaliser, and when Matt Lowton put in a testing cross that was stepped over by Liam McMann, James Jowsey had to be at his most alert to deny a fluke goal. But the last thing that was expected straight after was for the Bullets to extend their lead, but that's exactly what they did, breaking straight up the field from the resulting clearance and BUDRYS finished with aplomb past Holmshaw. It looked all over now, and with news filtering through of Nantwich's annihilation of Goole ensuring the result in this game was academic, the match looked like it would be played to a tame finish. Again the assumption was wrong, and eight minutes from time Matt Roney's cross was diverted home by POWELL, and all of a sudden it was game on. A minute from time Liam McMann tripped Darren Holmes on the edge of the area, the free kick was set up by CARNEY, and the substitute curled a beauty in the top corner of the net. Amazingly and against the odds the game was all-square, and with Alsager looking absolutely punch drunk, it took the referee's whistle to put them out of their misery and save them from the ignominy of losing such a convincing lead.
The sad thing about today's encounter was the attendance, a paltry 92 attending, nearly all of whom had travelled over from Sheffield. Alsager are appealing against their demotion and are hoping to overturn the UniBond decision, but without the support of the vocal Far-Side Ultras - noticeable by their absence today - it looks a fruitless exercise. Club end the season in fourth, and face last night's opponents once again on Tuesday night, who themselves ended their season with an unconvincing two-all home draw with Warrington Town. Not much should be taken from today's results, but with home advantage and a couple of days recuperation Sheffield should start favourites, but no doubt Stocksbridge will have other ideas. A big crowd is expected on Tuesday night, and a great game is in prospect, and a place in the play off final against either Nantwich or Grantham is at stake - it's all very exciting, and it is getting to be squeaky bum time. Anything can happen!
Alsager Town: Jowsey, Sanders, Bridge, Brotherton (White), McMann, Leigh, Sobolojew, Whittaker, Budrys, Talbot (Edwards), McCarthy. Sub Not Used: Miller.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, Townsend, Lowton, Winter, Jones, Hawes (Carney), Holmes, J.Smith (Powell), Roney, Ward (Carnell).
Att: 92.

Sheffield FC 1 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
UniBond Division One South
Friday, 23/04/08
A late fluke of a goal all but handed third place to Nantwich Town tonight, as Stocksbridge's Mark Ward ensured that tonight's fixture will almost certainly be a dressed rehearsal for the play-off semi final next Tuesday, with the South Yorkshire Derby ending a one-all draw. A Stewart Copnell goal ten minutes into the second half looked to have secured all three points for Sheffield, and with it an almost guaranteed third place into the bargain, with both teams seemingly coasting towards an inevitable result on a very heavy pitch. But as the game was in its final death throes a free-kick from fully fifty yards was floated in by the Steels' substitute, sailing past everyone in the defence and into the net, sending the tiny band of visiting supporters into raptures.
After last night's postponement of this fixture, the chances of this being played on anything other than a pudding of a pitch were remote to say the least, and the chance of quality football would be remote. Both sides were showing the signs of a hectic close to the season, and in Stocksbridge's case it manifested itself in the forgetting of their kit, having to turn out in Sheffield's third strip - next time boys, you'll have to play in your vest and pants! Sheffield showed first, with Gavin Smith having his header cleared off the line, by the head of Tom Jowitt. Vill Powell took advantage of a Richard Adams slip, following a Darryl Winter through ball, and it took a good block from Steels' version of Tom Jones to save the day. Stewart Copnell hit one inches over the bar, then it was Stocksbridge's turn to run things, with Mark Crossfield seeing his snap-shot saved by Holmshaw. The visitors held the upper hand for much of the remainder of the half, but it was Club which came closest, with Vill Powell having his shot tipped over by Richard Siddall - and Paul Smith being denied by a deflection off Matt Telling.
The second half was set at a much slower pace, with Daz Winter shooting the closest early on after being set up by Gav Smith, but ten minutes into the half it was the hosts that took the lead - with COPNELL showing both strength and composure to hold off the attentions of the defence, before slotting the ball under Siddall. It could - and should - have been two moments later, as Siddall got in a right two-and-eight with his defence, allowing Powell to get the ball back to Winter who shot straight at the keeper. The game from then on was played at a much more relaxed pace, with Club never really looking in danger, but as things tend to pan out in situations like this Stocky got a sucker punch right at the end. A harmless looking free-kick on half way and on the touchline was sent into the box by WARD, Holmshaw missed it, the ball went into the net and the result was set.
Overall this could be argued as a fair result, but as things usually stand in local derbies, both sides will feel hard done to. It appears to have set the stage for the same fixture to be played next Tuesday, Stocksbridge WILL finish in fifth, whilst Club will be looking over a few miles up the road into "Dabber-land" for their result against Goole as Sheffield face Alsager. That game against the Bullets takes place in less than twenty four hours - get some rest.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith (Roney), Lowton, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Ingall (Dolby), Powell (J.Smith), Copnell, Ward.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Siddall, Jones, Jowitt (Riley), Oldham, Adams, Wilkinson, Sidebottom, Telling, Ring, Crossfield (Ward), Beggs. Sub Not Used: Lovell
Att: 310.

Sheffield FC 7 Spalding United 2
UniBond Division One South
Wednesday, 23/04/08
It was a truly "fizzy" night for Sheffield Club tonight, as they went "7-UP" against already relegated Spalding United, at the Bright Finance Stadium. Despite having to come from behind in this one after Ben Garrick opened the scoring for the visitors on seven minutes, it always looked like a bit of a cake-walk for Club, with Jamie Smith leading the way with a second half hat-trick. Goals from Gary Townsend (20 minutes), Paul Smith (23 minutes), Vill Powell (31 minutes) and Asa Ingall (36 minutes) wrapped the game up by the interval, whilst Garrick gave the score a bit more respectability with a consolation on 75 minutes. It could have been a perfect night for Sheffield; however that was dampened by the late win by Nantwich elsewhere, snatching all three points at Kidsgrove in a 3-2 win.
Only a fool would suggest that Sheffield were anything other than odds-on favourites in this one, and the writing was on the wall for the Tulips after less than a minute, as a Paul Smith cross was met by an Asa Ingall header that rattled the frame of the goal. But the visitors obviously hadn't read the script, and on their first foray into Sheffield territory Andy Stanhope's shot from the edge of the area was only parried out by Jamie Holmshaw - making his first appearance since November - and there to stab it home was GARRICK. To be honest the first quarter had the form book turned upside-down, and if it wasn't for a good stop by Holmshaw, Stanhope could have given the visitors a second. On twenty minutes though Club started to impose themselves on the game, and when another Paul Smith cross was headed back across the goal by Asa Ingall, TOWNSEND had the easiest of jobs to head into the empty net. Three minutes later Sheffield got the lead they were never going to lose, and in all fairness it was a bit of a gift from referee Hargreaves, as James Doughty clumsily leapt into Jamie Smith - and from the spot PAUL SMITH sent the keeper the wrong way. It was really all one-way traffic now, and it wasn't going to be a case of "would Sheffield win", more like "by how many?" It was only a matter of time before Club added to their tally, with Jamie Smith hooking wide and Asa Ingall heading just over, the signs were looking ominous for Spalding. In the end it took eight minutes between goals, as Asa Ingall headed against the bar for a second time, the ball fell to Jamie Smith who took time to control and square the ball, with POWELL having the easy tap-in to make it 3-1. And three became four less than five minutes later, again it was the Paul Smith and Asa Ingall combination that caused the damage, with the cross in from the left met by the diving INGALL who finished in a John Arne Riise-esque fashion to beat Doughty. It could be argued that Club took the foot off the gas a little before the break, as it allowed Adam Stanhope to test Holmshaw, and Paul Smith had to pull off a great goal-line clearance after Ben Garrick took the ball round the keeper.

The game was obviously won by the break, so with two games in 72 hours still to be contested, energy conservation and squad rotation was the order of the day. Even so Sheffield had more than a little too much for the Lincolnshire outfit and many will be wondering how the hosts hadn't added to their tally, as Vill Powell gave Jamie Smith the easiest of tap-ins, one that the lanky striker somehow squandered allowing Doughty to scramble off the line. As on Monday though, the introduction of Matt Roney produced an instant goal, and seven minutes into the second period Roney put a deep cross to the back post that was headed home by JAMIE SMITH. With the pace dropping to an almost pedestrian speed Spalding pulled a goal back, and to be fair it was a bit of a gift, as Jamie Holmshaw allowed a long distance shot from GARRICK pass straight through his hands. With ten minutes to go Sheffield made it six, this time a Chris Dolby free kick caused panic in the defence, with JAMIE SMITH stabbing a foot out to direct it home. With three minutes to go the scoring was complete, again Dolby was the provider - this time from a corner - and once more JAMIE SMITH was there, this time rising above everyone to head into the net via a couple of ricochets. Even then it could have ended with eight, as Roney burst through on goal, only to fire wildly over the bar and into the car-park.

This was never a contest, but given the hectic nature of this week, a game like this was a welcome diversion. Spalding have had a torrid season in the UniBond, and Sheffield have been pretty much their worst torturers, running in ten goals over the two games and looking more than comfortable with an under strength side. The vital game comes on Thursday night, as Sheffield entertain an in-form Stocksbridge, with the winners possibly earning a home tie in the play-offs. A point for Sheffield would guarantee the home semi final game, a win puts them in the driving seat for a home final tie too, should they win the semi-final - of course.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Jamie (Thunderbolt) Smith
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Foulkes, P.Smith (Roney), Lowton, Boulter, Jones (Dolby), Hawes, Ingall, Powell (Copnell), Townsend, J.Smith.
Spalding United: Doughty, Rhule, Buckley, Goosey, Pearson, George, Stanhope, Hargreaves, Murphy, Garrick, Orrey (Hone). Sub Not Used: Ward.
Att: 201.

Sheffield FC 3 Parkgate 0
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Semi Final
Monday, 21/04/08

Sheffield marched into their third final in four years, tonight at the Bright Finance Stadium, as they comfortably turned over Parkgate 3-0 with an impressive second half show. Having already eliminated Parkgate's Reserve outfit in an earlier round, Club had no difficulty dispatching the first team, in a pretty one sided encounter. Goals from Stewart Copnell in the 50th minute, an excellent solo effort from Darren Holmes in the 67th minute, and a Matt Roney effort in the 76th minute were enough to wrap things up. It could have been a whole lot worse for the Steelmen had it not been for some outrageous good fortune; however the scoreline was enough to send Club through to the final, where they will meet Worksop Town at Hillsborough.

The first half told a story of a team who were out for the kill, and one of who would hang on for dear life, with a litany of chances going begging for the hosts. But it didn't start that way, as Ryan Johnson went on an unchallenged solo run in the opening minute, one that ended with Martin Kearney having to make a solid stop. After that... well it was all Sheffield really, and to be truthful it looked like it could be a rugby score after the assault Club inflicted on the visitors. A Chris Dolby free kick was headed wide by a curiously unmarked Tom Jones; Vill Powell crossed the ball to Stewart Copnell who hit the bar, and when Dolby gave Powell the opportunity to hook the ball over Liam Copley, it had to cleared off the line by Mark Cooper. And that was in the first five minutes alone, and the attacks kept coming, with Parkgate looking nothing like a side that had comfortably demolished Hallam 5-0 at Sandygate two days earlier. A Chris Dolby corner was met by the head of Tom Jones, who was dominating everything in the opposition box - again the ball had to be scrambled off the line by Liam Copley - whilst Vill Powell saw another effort cleared off the line by Wesley Hill. But instead of going six goals up, Sheffield still couldn't break the flimsy looking defence, and all of a sudden the game went flat. That was livened up though when Sheffield lost Martin Kearney through an ankle injury midway through the half, with the keeper having to be replaced by Danny Haystead, himself not fully recovered from the injury he picked up at Belper Town last Tuesday.
So after a half that promised so much, but delivered so little, it came as no surprise that Sheffield broke the deadlock almost immediately. Chris Dolby played a short corner with Matt Lowton, then put in a cross that had Liam Copley flapping at the ball, with it kindly falling to COPNELL who turned it into the net. Moments later Copnell was denied a second as his free kick was turned round the post by Copley, and then Copnell denied team-mate Rob Ward a goal, when he tipped the ball over the bar with his head when it was bound for the top corner. Mark Cooper came to the rescue of the Steelmen once again, as yet again he cleared off the line, this time from Asa Ingall who had volleyed from Paul Smith's cross. Copnell nearly set Powell up with a good goal, this time the forward just missed the target, hooking the ball wide by inches with Copley well beaten. Then midway through the half the game was over as a contest, as HOLMES set off on a weaving solo run that left ex-Clubbie Bob Moorwood on his arse, before coolly slotting past Copley for the goal of the night. Parkgate's midfield was almost non-existent now, and it seemed that everyone wanted to have a run at them, with Matty Lowton producing the best of these and finishing with a shot that had Copley scrambling to turn it round the post. Fifteen minutes from the end Powell was replaced by Matt Roney, and with his first involvement he made it three, as a Dolby ball over the top found RONEY who took his first three touches of the game before finishing with aplomb - giving Copley no chance and scoring his fourth goal in Parkgate's last three games... only this one was against Parkgate, instead of for them... if you know what I mean!
Probably the scoreline doesn't do justice to the pure dominance that Sheffield had in this one, clearly if it hadn't been for some amazing luck on the part of the visitors, it could easily have ended ten-nil - honestly. But a score like that does no-one any favours, and to be fair the mission was to win this game, one that was achieved comfortably as Club barely broke sweat. So that means that the season WILL go on to May, and Sheffield FC will celebrate their 150th anniversary with at least one cup final, but now the task is to get to the second - the UniBond Division One South play off final. The next step on that little quest is the visit of Spalding United, who will travel up from deepest Lincolnshire on Wednesday to play at the BFS for the first time against Sheffield, a win for the hosts is both expected and needed.

Sheffield FC: Kearney (Haystead), Lowton, P.Smith, Holmes, Boulter, Jones, Copnell, Dolby (Townsend), Powell (Roney), Ingall, Ward. Subs Not Used: J.Smith, G.Smith.
Parkgate: Copley, Harrison, Hill, Patterson, Moorwood, Battersby, Stocks, Grady, Ward, Johnson, Cooper. Sub Not Used: Hobson.

Att: 223

Warrington Town 2 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 19/04/08

Pineapple, or no pineapple on his head, Diego Bassanini was still instrumental in helping his side claim maximum points from Sheffield
It was a frustrating afternoon at Cantilever Park this afternoon, as Sheffield surprisingly lost to Warrington Town 2-1, yet there was still a silver lining as Club's place in the play offs was secured due to results elsewhere. In a game which was mostly dominated by the visitors, two goals against the run of play and some pretty diabolical refereeing decisions saw Warrington win the game, and Club dropping back down to fourth place in the table. A goal from Anthony Daniels four minutes into the second half followed by another from Carl Randall on 67 minutes were enough to give the Wire the game, and despite peppering the hosts goalmouth for the entire second period, a solitary goal from Asa Ingall five minutes from the end was all but a consolation for Dave McCarthy's charges.
The first half was pretty much a non-event, as Sheffield faced the pretty stiff breeze and Warrington made nothing of the advantage, with neither keeper having to make a single save. One slight worry was the removal at half time of the inspirational Steve Hawes with a toe injury, but things were to get a whole lot worse after the restart, as Warrington scored with the first shot of the game. Four minutes into the second half Karl Brown scuffed the ball across the goal to DANIELS, he got some kind of contact on the ball, enough to steer it past Martin Kearney to give a surprising lead. After that it was all Sheffield, yet they were thwarted by a competent display by the Argentine keeper Diego Bassanini, with shots from Gary Townsend and Vill Powell dealt with competently. Midway through the half - and again against the run of play - Sheffield lost possession in a dangerous position, and RANDALL capitalised with a good finish. Club no way deserved to be behind in this game, let alone behind by two goals, and it got all the more frustrating as it went on as Sheffield had two stonewall penalties denied by referee Hilton - with the keeper bringing down Vill Powell the most obvious penalty in a while, yet the referee didn't even award the next best thing in a corner. Five minutes from time Club got a lifeline, as Paul Smith put in another of those corners that has the defence in pieces, and as always INGALL was there to head home at the back post. Sheffield could have got a lifeline minutes later, as Vill Powell got a snap-shot off from a difficult situation; however Bassanini pulled off the best save of the afternoon to turn the ball round the post to ensure all three points stayed at Cantilever Park.
Results elsewhere meant that Cammell Laird got the promotion they missed out on last season, and Nantwich and Sheffield guaranteed their spots in the play-offs, with the most interesting talking point being "who will get third spot?" Sheffield will no doubt be disappointed at this result, and in particular the performance of a referee who had trouble keeping up with play, yet wins in the remaining three games will ensure home games in the play-offs. Next along is a little respite from UniBond football, with a Senior Cup semi final against Parkgate on Monday on the agenda, and a place in the Hillsborough final at stake. After that are games on consecutive nights against Spalding and Stocksbridge, both of whom played against each other this afternoon, with the Steels winning 2-0. Read into that result what you will, both will offer opposition of varying strengths, both of the games will be expected to won by the Sheffield FC side.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Matt Lowton
Warrington Town: Bassanini, F.Smith (Fitzsimmons), Everett, Spearritt, Thomas, Prescott, Daniels (Davies), Brown, Randall, Lamb (Williams), Owens.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith (Copnell), P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Ward, Hawes (Townsend) Powell, Ingall, J.Smith. Sub Not Used: Dolby.
Att: 155.

Colwyn Bay 0 Sheffield FC 0
UniBond Division One South
Thursday, 17/04/08

Sheffield moved into third place tonight, at Llanelian Road tonight, after one of the most entertaining goal-less draws you'll ever have the privilege to see. In a game that was dominated by two players, both of whom seemingly having a point to prove, as the keepers of both teams having the game of their lives. Without question the man of the match was Colwyn's Jamie Speare, who single-handedly saved the North Wales outfit from what could have been a drubbing, thus wiping out the memory of his last encounter with Sheffield. At the other end of the park Martin Kearney grabbed his opportunity with both hands, and whilst he was the less busy of the two stoppers, he made manager Dave McCarthy grateful for the strength in depth in this position.

It was a much changed Sheffield team that started this game, with Kearney making a return to the starting line up at the expense of Danny Haystead, who was missing due to the nasty hip injury he sustained at Belper 48 hours earlier. Returning to the starting eleven in a squad rotation policy were Darren Holmes, Gavin Smith and Rob Ward. Colwyn were the first to take the initiative, with Neil Black forcing a good save from Martin Kearney, after the Seagulls' leading scorer found space behind the Sheffield defensive line. The visitors weren't long in taking their turn to threaten the goal, as first Vill Powell shot into the side netting after being put through by Steve Hawes, then Darryl Winter hit the next shot over the bar. It was Bay however that went closest in the first half, as a Joe Fowler corner beat everyone in the middle, leaving Chris Taylor free to head against the bar. Kearney pulled off a fantastic save towards the end of the half, tipping Black's effort over the top, whilst moments later Speare produced an equally spectacular save from a thirty yarder from Hawes. And in the next episode of "battle of the keepers", Kearney turned another Black effort round the post, frustrating the Colwyn striker for a third time.

The second half was almost entirely dominated by Sheffield, and following a very poor free kick from the hosts was capitalised on by Darryl Winter who galloped the length of the field before laying off to Vill Powell, the forward released a solid shot that was excellently stopped by Jamie Speare. Shortly after Hawes threaded the ball to Powell, who hit a shot on the turn, yet again Speare produced another save. There were chances galore coming Club's way, however a mixture of bad luck and fantastic goalkeeping kept Sheffield at bay, and despite looking as threatening as they had all season - a goal-less draw always seemed the odds-on result. Probably the best chance to break the deadlock came as Vill Powell broke down the left wing, crossing across the face of the goal, with Darryl Winter blazing over from an acute angle. Speare though was the difference between an away win and the status quo, and he produced several further stops of note in the game, frustrating Club at every turn. A Hawes free-kick was met by substitute Townsend's first touch after coming on the field, his flick was turned on by Powell, and Speare pulled off another terrific save from Winter. Powell fed the ball to Townsend, yet again Speare was there to deny a goal, and when Vill laid the ball on to Gav Smith - who pulled the ball wide - it was all but obvious it wasn't to be Sheffield's day.

This was a tremendous effort by Sheffield, especially given the schedule over the last week or so, and (as stated so often) it could have been a whole lot better if not for the antics of the Bay keeper. It has to be said that of all the teams Club have come across this season, Colwyn have turned out to be the most entertaining opponents, and with the most sporting fans in the league. Sadly though it appears this result has opened the door for Cammell Laird to seal automatic promotion, all the Birkenhead outfit need to do is beat Grantham on Saturday, and they will be too far out of Sheffield's reach. Needless to say Club will be aiming to finish in third spot now, to ensure a home play off tie - and if successful - a home tie in the play off final. On Saturday Sheffield travel to Cantilever Park, home of Warrington Town, knowing a victory in this game will seal at least the last play-off spot. Following that is what can only be described as a very busy week, as Club march into the season finale with four games in six days... phew!

BTF Club Man of the Match - Steve Hawes

Colwyn Bay: Speare, Callaghan, P.Williams, Rowland, Taylor, R.Williams, Fowler, Hoolickin, Black (Wright), Quayle, Wade. Subs Not Used: Wynne, Finley.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Ward, Hawes, Winter, Powell, Holmes, J.Smith (Townsend). Subs Not Used: Jones, Ingall.

Att: 215

Belper Town 1 Sheffield FC 4
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 15/04/08

It was an extraordinary result on an extraordinary night, at Christchurch Meadow tonight, as Sheffield FC proved lightning CAN strike twice by beating Belper Town 4-1 on their own patch for the SECOND time this season. What made it extraordinary was the fact that Club finished the game with ten men, and with striker Rob Ward between the sticks, after Tom Jones was dismissed ten minutes into the second half and Danny Haystead went off injured ten minutes later. Sheffield showed what they can do on an excellent playing surface, which looked impeccable despite being subjected to what now seems to be a customary pre-match downpour, racing into the half time break three goals to the good. A goal from Asa Ingall twelve minutes into the game started things rolling, followed by a second from Vill Powell five minutes before the break, and another Ingall strike in injury time. Powell wrapped things up for a short handed Sheffield side fifteen minutes from time, whilst Dick Tracey took advantage of a defensive mix-up to grab a consolation goal on 81 minutes, by which time any worry of the visitors' goalkeeping deficiencies were long gone.

In the first encounter between these two teams in September, Sheffield were two goals to the good inside the first five minutes, and it seemed that the Nailers had learned a valuable lesson that night by the way they started this one. Even so Club still looked threatening with some nice movement and solid midfield play, which saw Vill Powell have a goal ruled out for offside, and Darryl Winter squandering an empty goal chance from near half way after Paul Pettinger went walkabout. But as Belper started to press forward in search of a chance of their own, they were caught with a sucker punch of epic proportions, as Jamie Smith flicked on a Peter Davey cross from the right wing and INGALL slammed home at the back post. The goal evidently stung the hosts, and the nearly drew level moments later as a Scott Lowe free-kick whistled past the post, with Danny Haystead well and truly beaten. The threat Belper posed always ensured that Club had to be on the highest alert, and if it wasn't for some below-par finishing the lead could have been whittled away, with Krystof Kotylo's hooked effort from a Anthony Wilson assist the closest the home side came. The tension on the field was starting to get a little fraught, and Anthony Wilson could count himself to be very lucky to stay on the field, after his blatant elbow flattened Sheffield skipper Tom Jones. But when situations arise like these the best way to reply is with style, and five minutes before the break the style came on show in a big style, Daz Winter's defence splitting pass found POWELL - Cool - Calm - Goal! At 2-0 Belper looked absolutely shell-shocked, and when Anthony Wilson lobbed the ball past Danny Haystead to an empty goal, Tom Jones' all-too-cool method of watching the ball hit the post gave the impression that it wasn't going to be Town's night. And in injury time that theory was given massive credence, with Jamie Smith's cross watched by all and sundry across the face of the goal, and once again poaching at the back post was INGALL. And there was even time for Sheffield to go close to grabbing a fourth, as Vill Powell went inches away from scoring, after his toe-poke went just the wrong side of the post.

In the bar before this game it was said that there was absolutely no way that Sheffield would go into the break 3-0 up at half time again, yet that's exactly what happened, and it wasn't as if Belper had played poorly - it was just a well organised Club outfit that was playing a class above. The Nailers tried and tried to break down a well drilled defence, and with Danny Haystead in good form saving an Anthony Wilson header from a Danny Hudson free-kick, little looked to be going the way of the hosts. But ten minutes in a little lifeline was offered, following a Jon Boulter trip on Wilson, Tom Jones lashed out leaving the Belper player on the floor - the referee immediately brandished a red card, giving Belper the break they needed. If that break wasn't enough, moments later they got another as Vill Powell was cynically hauled down by Paul Pettinger with the goal at the striker's mercy, this time referee Meredith decided a yellow card was appropriate. But still the breaks kept on coming Belper's way, this time Ross Hannah saw his effort brilliantly save by Haystead, who then had to leave the pitch after suffering some severe discomfort. On came Rob Ward to take his place - he's a striker... and a defender... now he's a keeper - is there anywhere the big lad can't play? And with someone like Ward in the goal and with a man to the good, you'd expect that Belper would dominate proceedings from hereon in, but just a minute later Ward's goal kick was flicked on to POWELL who strolled in to make it four after Richard Haigh had played the Sheffield striker onside. Nine minutes from the end Belper got their consolation as a bad clearance found its way to TRACEY, for once the opportunity wasn't wasted, and the substitute slammed home from ten yards out. It may have signalled a late revival, but Sheffield had other ideas as three minutes later Tracey saw his volley brilliantly saved by Ward, and when Karl Ashton missed what was probably the easiest open goal of the season - well it summed tonight up to a tee, and he couldn't even blame the pitch!

After results like this it is easy to crow and beat your chest about how great the team is, but it proved that when the crunch is coming in the play-offs, Sheffield WILL be the team to watch. Mathematically automatic promotion isn't out of Sheffield's reach, although it must be said that Cammell Laird must be odds-on favourites to take second spot, and with Nantwich losing to Stocksbridge tonight - third spot looks the most likely finish. One thing that has to be mentioned about tonight's game was the critical calls by Mr Meredith, and this is not a criticism of his performance, in the way that Wilson's blatant assault on Jones and Pettinger's "professional foul" on Powell only merited yellow cards - whilst Jones received a straight red for his offence. I'm in no way trying to defend the indefensible with the Sheffield captain, but the other two offences were also worthy of equal justice, it just seems that those two calls spoilt a good performance by the man in the middle. But that aside Club can look forward to Thursday as a team in form, but it also seems that Colwyn Bay will be a bigger hurdle to jump, as they are turning out to be proper dark-horses with their impressive 3-1 win at Brigg Town. Hopefully Club can turn in an equally good performance as tonight's, and hopefully Thursday will also see lightning strike twice, with Sheffield emulating the result way back on October 6th.

Belper Town: Pettinger, Harcourt, Haigh, Kotylo (P.Smith), Hobson, Lowe, Walker (Tracey), Stevenson, Wilson (Ashton), Hannah, Hudson.
Sheffield FC: Haystead (Ward), Davey (G.Smith), P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Jones, Hawes, Winter, Powell, Smith Jamie (Dolby), Ingall.

Att: 189

Sheffield FC 2 AFC Ajax Amsterdam 0
150th Anniversary Celebration Game
Sunday, 13/04/08
Sheffield Football Club's 150th anniversary celebrations continued with a highly impressive victory, this afternoon at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground, as they romped to a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 victory over a young and very skillful Ajax outfit. Goals in each half from Jamie Smith and Vill Powell set Club up with a momentous victory, despite spending much of the afternoon in a rear-guard action, and if it hadn't have been for offside rulings it could have been even an more impressive scoreline. A good crowd of over 5,000 were in attendance to watch the events unfold, and whilst today's game never had the side attraction of the great Pelé to draw in curious spectators, nevertheless it was an impressive crowd on such a dull day with other attractions to compete with.
It was always manager Dave McCarthy's intentions to utilise his squad today, with the idea being to give every player about half a game each, especially given the important business of trying to get promotion into the UniBond Premier Division amidst a frantic end to the season. The way this manifested itself was that Sheffield started the first half with a relatively strong side, with many of the players backing up from the previous day, so it was no surprise that the Dutch side were the most dominant from the start. But given this dominance, they showed very little in the way of threat around the goal, with their shooting having... shall we say "slecht doel" (bad aim). So it didn't seem in the least bit surprising that it was Club that took the lead on 19 minutes, as Chris Dolby made a clever little turn to bamboozle the defence, before squaring to JAMIE SMITH who had the easiest of tap-ins. Ajax's football was pretty to say the lead, but sadly for them there was no end product, still they seemingly had Sheffield pinned in their own area with no way out for the home side. Despite the lack of pressure and possession it was still Club who were the next to trouble the notepad, when the Dutch keeper handled outside the area and Chris Dolby took a quick free-kick, one that sailed just over the bar.
With the expected substitutions starting to trickle through, the second half had a totally different complexion to the way the first had panned out, and with it Sheffield looked a little more threatening. Early on in the half Club had the ball in the back of the net, with Chris Dolby taking another quick free kick to Rob Ward; however his "goal" was ruled out for a very dubious offside call. That was just a taste of what was to come, as just before the hour mark Darren Holmes played a ball through to Vill Powell in the box, the first effort was blocked but nothing could stop the second as POWELL made no mistake with the rebound. A few minutes later the Bramall Lane support was on its feet again, as Matt Roney's cross was met by the most sublime of volleys by Mr Powell - bulging the back of the net - again, Mr Offside Flag was there to deny another notch on the pole. Ajax tried to get back into the game, and despite going close a couple of times - hitting the bar and being denied by Martin Kearney in a one-on-one - the Sheffield defence (despite its changes) was far too stubborn to concede anything like a goal, and Club were able to say they had a famous scalp under their belts.
No doubt there are plenty of people who questioned the wisdom of playing such a fixture at such a vital time of the season, but after this weekend it can be safe to say that many of those doubters will have been silenced, and many of the 4,500 additional supporters in attendance today will have been both entertained and impressed with the performance of the World's Oldest Football Club. The young Ajax squad were excellent ambassadors and showed the spirit of total voetbal is far from dead, and they made more than a few friends with a display of great skill and enthusiasm, it was just a shame for them that they couldn't produce an end product to add gloss to a great display. To them can we say "vele dank aan fantastische Ajax Amsterdam voor het helpen van ons onze 150ste verjaardag vieren" - and for Sheffield FC, it caps a wonderful year of celebrations and worthy time in the limelight as the only club in the world than can say it has played club football for 150 continuous years. Without argument the World's FIRST Football Club.
Sheffield FC: Haystead (Kearney), G.Smith (Lowton), Boulter (Hadfield), Davey, Winter (Holmes), Jones (Boden), Hawes (Ingall), Dolby (Liversedge), J.Smith (Powell), Townsend (Roney), Ward (Copnell, Thorpe).
AFC Ajax Amsterdam: Ouwerkerk, Danso, Tillema, Schell, Antonia, Huijsman, Resida, Lachman, Olijve, Zeegelaar, v.d Meulen, Jongebloet, Burger, Claasen, Apau, Lazic.
Att: 5,137.

Sheffield FC 2 Gresley Rovers 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 12/04/08
Vill Powell manages to get his shot in despite the close attention of the Gresley defence
Sheffield continued their assault on the play-off positions with another win, this time against Gresley Rovers at the Bright Finance Stadium, with Club running out 2-0 winners. On a heavily sanded pitch following the recent deluge, this was a game that was ground out with some hard work - and although it took time to finally overcome the opposition - the result was never in doubt after the hosts opened the scoring. That was in the 58th minute, with Chris Dolby getting his second in as many games, whilst Jamie Smith helped improve his confidence with a very well taken second goal in the 77th minute. The Moatmen gave a good account of themselves, and they must be pleased with the improvements they've made since the last encounter with Sheffield, but on the day they were no match for a seemingly revitalised Club outfit.

The heavy conditions were always going to be a contributory factor to any incidents in this game, and it has to be said the ground staff did excellently to even get the game under way at all following a pre-match downpour, but early on it seemed to suit the visitors more than Sheffield. Gresley looked to have most of the possession in the opening half, but all they really had to show for this domination was an effort by Brian Woodall, which was well stopped by Danny Haystead who was making his return to the starting line up following his Thursday rest. Despite not ruling the roost on the pitch, Sheffield were better at creating chances, although none of them ended in a goal. Chris Dolby set up Stewart Copnell, who curled his effort just over the bar, whilst Vill Powell went even closer from a Peter Davey through ball by actually hitting the bar. Paul Smith created probably the best opening for the hosts, sending a pinpoint cross-field pass onto the head of Darryl Winter who headed it straight at David Clarke, and Clarke produced an even better save from a Chris Dolby volley after being fed by Vill Powell.

Their first half efforts seemed to have taken their toll on the Gresley players, and even from early on they looked a tired outfit when allowing Stewart Copnell to nip between Jamie Hood and Dave Clarke, with Copnell taking it to Vill Powell who couldn't get the ball from under his feet in the muddy area with the goal at his mercy. Rovers still had an air of menace about them and could have pulled one out of the bag, when Stefan Marshall played Jordan Nadat in, with the left winger shooting into the side netting. Just before the hour though saw an inspired substitution (of sorts), as Dave McCarthy introduced Jamie Smith into the affray and it was an instant impact for the lanky substitute as he picked out Pete Davey with an excellent defence splitting cross field pass, he in turn laid it off to DOLBY whose deflected shot from the edge of the area crept into the corner. Club seemed to settle at this point, but were put a little on the rack as the Moatmen had their best spell, forcing Danny Haystead to really earn his corn. After stopping an excellent Shaun Ridgeway shot from distance with an equally good save, Haystead had to regain composure to pull off another block from an impressive bicycle kick by Miles Chamberlain, and moments later he had to be brave to get his body in the way of a Stefan Marshall effort from Gavin Saunders' corner. As Rovers started to tire even more, Sheffield started to turn the screw, with the possession finally swinging almost all the home team's way. The fresh substitutes were finding loads of space, and were combining to great effect, with Rob Ward finding Gavin Smith with an excellent example - the final shot though is better not described. Midway through the half Sheffield wrapped things up, as Ward again turned through ball specialist supplying Jamie Smith with a great effort, SMITH showed pace and strength to hold of the defence and stayed cool enough in difficult conditions to steer the ball into the corner.

So this is another one off the list of games to play, and to be fair for once it wasn't the Sheffield players who looked the most tired, this week that award goes to the Bright Finance Stadium pitch. Even though there is no first team action in Dronfield for the next nine days, there are still games to be played in the interim, giving the groundkeeping team a massive headache keeping it playable. Fortunately that is one more headache than the coaching staff seem to have, and have now seemingly figured a good system out of how to get the rest of the games played, whilst still keeping the players fresh and match-fit. And they'll need to be as the games keep coming, with a Tuesday night trip down to Belper Town next on the list, who must be smarting from today's 4-1 thrashing at play-off rivals Nantwich Town this afternoon. Elsewhere in the play-off zone Cammell Laird, Grantham and Stocksbridge picked up much needed wins, with Goole losing and Colwyn Bay being pegged back by the champions Retford - meaning Sheffield remain in fourth behind the Lairds and Dabbers, with Grantham and Goole holding the last two places. One final word on today's game was that of the referee Mr Newman - normally in these pages a mention of the referee is normally paired with a controversial decision or bad performance; today though Mr Newman allowed the game to flow impeccably, going almost unnoticed unless he was needed. An excellent display worth mentioning when often it seems we are burdened with sub-standard performances - a big thank you goes to that gentleman and his assistants.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Danny Haystead

Sheffield FC: Haystead, Davey, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Jones, Winter, Dolby (G.Smith), Powell (Ward), Copnell (J.Smith), Ingall.
Gresley Rovers: Clarke, Groves, Roberts, Chamberlain, Hood (Hollis), Mellon, Ridgeway, Saunders, Marshall (Hemmings), Woodall, Nadat (Sleath).

Att: 365.

Sheffield FC 4 Kidsgrove Athletic 1
UniBond Division One South
Thursday, 10/04/08

Sheffield moved into fourth place tonight, at a rain swept Bright Finance Stadium, with a comfortable win over Kidsgrove Athletic. Following last week's 4-1 drubbing in the Potteries, Club turned the tables with an identical scoreline, although it has to be said it could have been a lot more painful for the Staffordshire outfit had the hosts not taken their foot off the gas in the second period. Goals from Asa Ingall, Tom Jones, Vill Powell and Chris Dolby did the damage for a Sheffield side that seemed in cruise control for much of the game, whilst Michael Lennon got the solitary reply for the visitors.

Club made several changes from the side that suffered at the hands of Cammell Laird on Saturday, most notably Martin Kearney making a return between the sticks in place of Danny Haystead, whilst Kidsgrove made two minor changes to the team that looked such a confident outfit a week ago. On a stodgy pitch following a heavy downpour moments before the kick off, it was the home side that looked the most competent, with Grove looking a sad shadow of their last showing against Sheffield. The only surprise about Club taking the lead was that it took so long, as ten minutes in Chris Dolby whipped in a cross from the left wing, finding the head of Asa Ingall unmarked in the middle - and in inimitable style INGALL buried the ball at the second attempt after James Coates could only parry his first effort. The domination of the home side was pretty much apparent as Kidsgrove seemed to offer very little opposition, leaving acres of space for an energetic Sheffield midfield to create a shed load of chances, with Daz Winter providing the pick of these with a shot that fizzed past the post. 25 minutes in came a highly interesting moment as Matt Elder challenged Stewart Copnell in the area, with the Sheffield forward going over the referee "awarded" a very harsh penalty against the visitors' number two, but after consulting with his assistant he overturned this to a corner - much to the confusion of both sets of players. Regardless of this Paul Smith took the corner, and everyone on both sides stood in admiration, as JONES headed home from ten yards out. It was wave after wave of Sheffield attacks now, and following a quickly taken Paul Smith free-kick, Vill Powell saw his effort well blocked by James Coates. On the half hour though the game was over after some more excellent build up play, Peter Davey lobbed the ball into the middle, Asa Ingall challenged Coates forcing the keeper to produce a sloppy punch which fell invitingly for POWELL to hook home. Kidsgrove did look as though they could make a game of it as Nigel Edwards shook the bar with an excellent long distance effort, whilst Liam Shotton always looked a danger, forcing a decent save from Martin Kearney.
It was obvious at this point that the points were well and truly in the bag for Sheffield, and with this the hosts visibly took their foot off the gas, giving the visitors a greater percentage of possession. Kearney had to be at his best again to deny Shotton early on after the restart, making an impressive save from the Kidsgrove player's header, but it only delayed what seemed to be an inevitable goal. Ten minutes into the half Ashley Hill took advantage of some slack defending to take the ball outside Kearney, before squaring the ball to LENNON, who slotted the ball home from close range. But any hope the visitors might have had was soon extinguished, as on the hour Copnell held off a challenge on the edge of the area to lay the ball off to DOLBY, with the midfielder coolly placing the ball into the corner. At 4-1 it was job done and for the last thirty minutes the biggest threat to Sheffield was the rain, as Kidsgrove failed to produce anything like the quality of a week ago, with the strutting and spirit notably absent from the visitors' play. The chances mostly came Sheffield's way, but only one chance from Jamie Smith - which forced a good one handed save from Coates - meriting anything worth noting.
Overall this was a stroll in the park against a real Jekyll and Hyde team; Kidsgrove were really poor and Sheffield took real advantage of this, giving them a nice relaxing ninety minutes (for once) in a hectic schedule. As stated earlier Club overtake Grantham to go into fourth spot, with Nantwich in third the next on the horizon, three points ahead having played two games more. Next along is the visit of Gresley Rovers, who will no doubt be itching to get some kind of revenge for the 3-0 drubbing down at the Moat last month, and are in a little bit of form after giving Stocksbridge a bit of a kicking last weekend.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Vill Powell

Sheffield FC: Kearney, Davey, P.Smith, Lowton, Boulter, Jones, Winter, Dolby (J.Smith), Powell (Ward), Copnell, Ingall (Townsend).
Kidsgrove Athletic: Coates, Elder, Eyre, Beeston (Matranga), Kielthy, Edwards, Hill, Baker, Shotton, Lennon, Hadland. Subs Not Used: Jones, Everall.

Att: 208

Cammell Laird 4 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 05/04/08
Cammell Laird all but confirmed their place as runners-up in the UniBond Division One South, as they turned out winners in an entertaining game at Kirklands this afternoon, winning 4-1 over promotion rivals Sheffield FC. Despite what could be seen as a repugnant running theme in Sheffield's recent fortunes, the 4-1 scoreline hardly reflected a game that had more effluent tidal changes than the River Mersey itself, and the visitors could count themselves very unfortunate to end up on such a scoreline. Leading the way for Lairds was Mark Reed who scored a goal in each half, whilst they were supplemented by strikes from Ian Cooke and Chris Nezyania, with Club's response came from Stewart Copnell. At first glance it looks as if Lairds dominated this game, but the scoreline was grossly inflated by two goals in injury time, and it must be said that Club looked a much better proposition than their recent form suggests.
Lairds started with the stiff breeze at their backs, and whilst it has to be said Sheffield didn't really dominate matters, they weren't exactly overawed by the high-flying hosts. What did come as a surprise was the fact that Lairds took the lead on eight minutes, when Derek Ward crossed a free kick in from the right, with COOKE catching the vital glance on the ball to steer it into the corner past Danny Haystead. Midway through the half the lead was doubled, and almost from an identical situation, when an Eddie Jebb cross from the right was met by a REED header that was likewise diverted beyond the Sheffield stopper. The two goal lead was a little harsh given the circumstances the game was being played in, as Club looked to be the better of the two sides, but as they say it is the score that matters rather than balance of play. Regardless of cognition matters it was Sheffield who looked more likely to be next on the score sheet, and Stewart Copnell finally made Lairds' keeper Paul Whitfield do some work, forcing the stopper to produce a top draw save to maintain the status quo. At the other end Danny Haystead blocked an effort from Mark Reed, following a good Chris Adamson cross, whilst Sheffield's Chris Dolby will be wondering how he wasn't on the scorers list after his volley was blocked by a Lairds defender - getting a block on a sure-fire goalbound volley.
The breeze picked up considerably in the second period, and with this Cammell found it increasingly difficult to break out of their own half, and with this advantage Sheffield were pressing from the off. The chances were quick to come, and most of which were down to the inventiveness and adventure of the Sheffield players, with the hosts lucky not to concede. A quick free kick from Paul Smith found Chris Dolby in space, his shot was blocked out as far as Rob Ward, and his goalbound effort was blocked by Gary Townsend - talk about wrong place, wrong time! The chances weren't exactly flowing at the moment, but when Rob Ward set up Gary Townsend with an opportunity that went just over, there was a feeling that Club would break their duck shortly. A triple substitution by Dave McCarthy shook things up somewhat, but when Paul Smith floated an inch perfect free kick from fully fifty yards found a diving Asa Ingall's header, Paul Whitfield's top class save gave the impression luck wasn't on Sheffield's side. Ten minutes from the end Club saw a ray of hope, as Steve Hawes controlled a long ball, picking out COPNELL in the box who coolly slotted past Whitfield. Sheffield threw everything forward in a last throw of the dice that could get a vital point, but as sucker punches go in injury time, the way this finished beggared belief. As the stoppage time board was being shown, substitute Chris Nezyania skipped a challenge on the left wing, squaring the ball to REED who steadied himself to place the ball home for Lairds' third. Moments later adding insult to injury, Club were caught out by some wayward wandering, as NEZYANIA latched onto the ball to walk home into an empty net - giving the scoreline a bizarre slanted look.
So with Retford winning the title this afternoon - congratulations to them - the win gives Cammell Laird an almost insurmountable lead in second spot. Whether that means automatic promotion or not remains to be seen, but as the other results fell into place this afternoon, it didn't seem such a tragic result. Manager Dave McCarthy said after the game "I can't believe we lost a game after we had so much possession, it was only a coupe of lapses in concentration against a decent side,that cost us so dearly. Either way,I still believe we are a good bet for a play-of position!" The run-in still seems to be a big ask, with lots of travelling still to be done by a bunch of players, who have day jobs besides the task of playing a game every other day. After two defeats on the road, a trip to North Wales is the last thing Sheffield's players wanted, but that is what is next on the menu. And following the Colwyn Bay trip is the visit of Kidsgrove two days later - the games just keep on coming...
Cammell Laird: Whitfield, Ward, Lynch (Clampitt), Rendell (Sheehan), Collins, Jebb, Reed, Cooke (Nezyania), Hay, Adamson.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, Winter, P.Smith, Davey, Ingall, Jones, Hawes,Dolby (Powell), Copnell, Townsend (Boulter), Ward (J.Smith).
Att: 149

Kidsgrove Athletic 4 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Wednesday, 02/04/08
Goal-happy Kidsgrove continued their scoring spree, by adding another four goals tonight at Hollinwood Road, against a particularly weary looking Sheffield FC side. After a pretty even start to the match, the turning point in the game came just before half time with a header from two goal hero Steve Jones, one that seemed to knock the stuffing out of Club. Adding to Jones' brace was recent signing from Norton United Liam Shotton, along with a fortunate strike from Richard Eyre, whilst an equaliser from Rob Ward turned out just to be a mere consolation when the final whistle was blown. Regardless of fortune, Kidsgrove were good value for their win and looked nothing like a team that was looking nervously over its shoulder, more like a team that was in a rich vein of form. Sheffield on the other hand - well they looked like a team who were playing their fifth game in twelve days.
Sheffield were missing Asa Ingall from the starting line up, due to a family bereavement, and a shuffle in the side saw a return to the side of Darren Holmes. Neither side seemed to have the cutting edge early on, despite the home side making much of the so-called advantage of the slope, but it was Kidsgrove who broke the deadlock in the thirteenth minute. A corner was won after a little period of pressure, Richard Eyre put a ball across which was only partially cleared by the visiting defence, and SHOTTON struck the ball sweetly into the top corner. It was no more than the home side deserved at that point, but it stung Sheffield into an immediate response and they should have done better following an excellent Paul Smith cross which found an unmarked Darryl Winter in the middle of the box, somehow though the midfielder failed to get his header on target. Shotton was proving a handful at the other end, and it was his tenacity that robbed Gavin Smith of possession to leave him in a one-on-one situation with Danny Haystead, this time though he was denied by a great stop by the Sheffield keeper. Whilst Grove looked threatening up front, they looked decidedly frail across the back, and in the 26th minute the scoreline was leveled. Gavin Smith put the ball into the middle, it was half cleared as far as Daz Winter who hit a firm shot which James Coates could only parry, and feeding on the bits like a true poacher was WARD to tap in from close range. At this point Sheffield threw everything at the hosts bar the kitchen sink, but their pressure counted for nought, and in turn this left themselves open at the back. Taking advantage of this was Liam Shotton who went close a couple of times, the second time producing a great stop from Haystead, but the deciding point came just as half time approached. Michael Lennon made some space down the left with a good run, whipping the ball into the box, where he found an unmarked JONES who flicked a header into the corner of the net.
Club going into the break level at half time would have possibly left them with the momentum to build on this, more than likely looking favourites to go on and get something out of the game, conceding when they did seemed to knock the stuffing out of the team leaving them looking very leg weary. It could have been very different if Darren Holmes' shot wasn't tipped over by Coates, the one save he really had to make in the game, but after that it really was all Kidsgrove. On 64 minutes the task was made all the more mountainous, as Michael Lennon progressed once more down the left, rolling the ball into JONES who drilled the ball under the body of Haystead. Phil Hadland could have added to the tally, but he slotted the ball just wide of the mark; however ten minutes from the end Kidsgrove well and truly wrapped up the game with a fourth. A free kick wide on the left was taken by EYRE, the ball was floated across the area and with no-one getting an apparent touch, the ball went directly beyond Haystead and into the net. It could have been a whole bunch worse for Sheffield, as the home side now buoyed with self confidence were trying shots from all parts of the pitch, with Shotton hitting a rasper on the turn just over.
On the whole Kidsgrove looked like a side with no pressure on them, and with relegation now a distinct unlikelihood, they played a game with a great deal of confidence. Club on the other hand looked a very tired side, labouring in several positions on the pitch, and the recent game tally really showed. The worrying thing now is that that game tally continues at an amazing game every other day, with eleven fixtures in twenty-one days, and it is going to take a real toll on the players' fitness. Next though is a bit of a break for Sheffield - two days off - before traveling to the Wirrall to meet Cammell Laird. This game is bound to shape how the season is going to finish for Dave McCarthy's charges, a six-pointer if you like, as this game is likely to decide who gets the automatic promotion spot seeing as the champions Retford United failed to attain the sufficient ground grade. Hopefully they will have recovered enough to add to the previous two league wins earlier in the season, but even though Club hold an apparent Indian sign over Lairds, it will be a really tight contest.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Coates, Elden, Eyre, Beeston, Kielthy, Morris (Matranga), Jones (Hill), Baker, Shotton (Everard), Lennon, Hadland.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Winter, Jones, Hawes (J.Smith), Townsend, Powell, Holmes, Ward (Copnell). Sub Not Used: Dolby.
Att: 122

Sheffield FC 2 Colwyn Bay 0
UniBond Division One South
Monday, 31/03/08
Sheffield finally have their foot well and truly in the play-off door now, after tonight's 2-0 victory over their visitors from North Wales, but they could count themselves a little on the fortunate side in the way the goals came about. A 25th minute goal from Paul Smith gave Club the lead, although it has to be said with a huge helping of luck, and the same could be said about Sheffield's second goal five minutes from the end by substitute Jamie Smith. For their part the Seagulls gave a great account of themselves again, playing some very enterprising and entertaining football, making the defeat - and subsequent trip back across to Colwyn Bay - all the harder to swallow.
After the rains that hit Dronfield over the weekend, it was a nice surprise to see the expected quagmire never materialised, and great credit must be given to the ground-staff. Club were out of the blocks like a shot, and had the ball in the back of the net inside the first minute from a corner, sadly though the referee disallowed Tom Jones' header for pushing. Sheffield looked the most likely to break the deadlock, with Vill Powell receiving a fantastic ball over the top by Paul Smith, the ball however was lost under the striker's feet and couldn't get the shot away. The lead eventually came Sheffield's way after 25 minutes and it seemed that Lady Luck had given them special dispensation to use one of their fortune cards with this one, as a PAUL SMITH free-kick from just outside the area rattled the post, bounced back out onto the back of James Speare's head and into the net. Lucky it may have been, but it was no less than the hosts deserved, and it seemed they could drive on and cement the win. The visitors though had other ideas, and they started to take the game to Sheffield, causing a few moments of serious concern to the home team. Mark Quayle rattled the bar with a wicked shot from the edge of the area, whilst Joe Fowler must have been kicking himself as first Danny Haystead denied an effort with a great save, followed shortly after by a deflection by Matt Lowton that took the ball just wide of the goal. The best opportunity for the Welshmen though came in the dying moments, as Lewis Callaghan found the ball landing at his feet with the goal gaping, only to skew the ball dreadfully wide.
The second period continued the fast and frenetic pace, with both sides going at each other with loads of energy, but neither able to create anything of real note. Chris Dolby hit a venomous shot from twenty yards out that went close but just off target, and on the hour Gary Townsend and Darryl Winter combined to set up Vill Powell, his first time effort also going just wide. The game never looked like producing another goal to be honest, and once again the Sheffield defensive line put up a stern line that was never likely to be breached the longer the game went on, but five minutes from time Club got another slice of luck to wrap the points up once and for all. A cross in from the right from Gary Townsend was met by James Speare under a challenge from Jamie Smith; the keeper got a hand to the ball but could only push it onto the shoulder of SMITH, who must have known very little about it at the ball trickled into the net. At 2-0 there was no coming back for the Seagulls, and for the second game running Sheffield kept a clean sheet, something of a nice trend to keep up at this vital part of the season. And the games keep coming for Club; with a little trip over to Kidsgrove the next on the agenda - in less than 48 hours time - it really is starting to get rather busy for Dave McCarthy and his men...
BTF Club Man of the Match - Tom Jones
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Dolby (Townsend), Powell (Copnell), Ingall, Ward (J.Smith).
Colwyn Bay: Speare, Callaghan, P.Williams, Walker, Rowland, R.Williams, Fowler, Olsen (Wade), Black, Lawless. Subs Not Used: Wynne, Finley.
Att: 353

Spalding United 0 Sheffield FC 3
UniBond Division One South
Saturday 29/03/08
Sheffield bounced back from their Easter Monday defeat with style, at the Sir Halley Stewart Field this afternoon, swatting aside bottom of the table Spalding United with ease. Club romped to a convincing 3-0 victory, without ever really having to get out of first gear, and could have added more in a wind affected game. Leading the way with a man-of-the-match performance was Vill Powell, who managed to score a goal in each half, whilst he turned provider for Club's other scorer Asa Ingall. Sheffield always looked in control in this game, and despite having long periods of possession; Spalding never troubled the visitors and must be seriously concerned for their own UniBond future as safety slips further away.
The wind always was going to have some bearing in the way this game was going to go, and Sheffield found they were going to play into the teeth of the gale for the first period; nevertheless it was the visitors who looked more menacing early on. From the first Paul Smith corner of the game it was apparent that Spalding had a fair few frailties in the middle of defence, and Club should really have taken an early lead, as Tom Jones found himself unmarked in the middle only to head wide of the mark. The Tulips could have taken a shock lead and had more than one opportunity to open the scoring, as firstly Danny George headed over an Andy Stanhope corner, then Danny Jezeph showed great strength to hold off Matty Lowton before making Danny Haystead pull off a great save at full stretch. Spalding had their best opportunity to go in front after twenty minutes, as Danny Hargreaves timed his run to beat the offside trap, squaring the ball to Jezeph who shot straight at Haystead. That was it as far as the threat of a shock result was concerned, because moments later a long ball found Vill Powell in an advanced position on the left, he beat off the defender's attentions to lay a simple ball across the six-yard box for INGALL to tap in with his left foot - like a salmon, apparently. Just before the half hour mark it was all but done for the result, as Rob Ward flicked a through ball onto POWELL who hit the ball first time, James Doughty in the Spalding got both hands to the ball - but somehow even this wasn't enough to stop the goal. The hosts did have one more chance of note, when Hargreaves' shot was deflected wide of the goal by Lowton with Haystead flat-footed, but it was Sheffield that finished the half well on top and well in control.
Club never seemed to get out of first gear in the second period, and even with the stronger wind behind them, they never really turned the screw that could have turned this game into a rout. Spalding were the first to have a chance on goal, with Hargreaves finding himself on goal, but he somehow panicked and bent the ball wide of the goal. Midway through the half Sheffield should have extended their lead, as a through ball caused all manner of disarray in the hosts' box, but no-one from the Sheffield side seemed to be able to put the final touch in the mêlée  to finish the move. Having the wind at their backs seemed to be doing Sheffield no favours in their approach play, conversely though it was hardly doing Spalding any favours in clearing their lines, and twelve minutes from the end a clearance by James Doughty blew back  towards him giving Club a throw ten yards from the line instead of reaching halfway. Chris Dolby took the throw, it was flicked on by Rob Ward, and in the middle hooking the ball beyond a helpless Doughty was POWELL to make it 3-0 and game over. The Tulips seemed spent at this point and it looked like Club could add to the tally at any time, with Paul Smith making Doughty pull off a great save shortly after, following the left back's rifling shot from the edge of the area. The shaven headed Danny Hargreaves looked like Spalding's only hope of grabbing a consolation, yet it appeared every time he got a sniff of goal his composure left him, as showed when he broke up the field and flashed his shot into the stratosphere with only Haystead to beat. Whilst Sheffield's stopper was having to watch the ball fly into the Focus car-park after every shot, Spalding's was performing heroics to keep the score respectable, and he pulled off the save of the day (not including the one by the match reporter) when he tipped the ball over the bar after the wind caught Gary Townsend's cross and nearly carried it into the top corner of the net.
So as expected Club returned to winning ways, and could easily have ended up with a five or six goal victory if not for some great stops from the home keeper, maybe more if they'd stepped up a notch as well. But the target was to come and get three points, and that is what was achieved, and with the other results going their way Sheffield now find themselves in the last play-off berth. Amazingly of the top nine, only two teams won this afternoon - Retford United and Nantwich Town - meaning Club go into another important week safe in the knowledge that all the teams (Retford excepted) can be caught and overtaken. Two wins from the midweek games could put Sheffield in fourth spot, although caution must be taken in the fact that Monday's opponents Colwyn Bay have had a free weekend following another postponement, and Wednesday's opposition Kidsgrove Athletic hammered Club's play-off rivals Goole AFC 4-0. But spare a though for today's opponents, whilst Sheffield are looking at the possibilities of advancing up the pyramid, Spalding find themselves nine points adrift at the foot of the table with only six games to go - I'm afraid this spring doesn't bode well for these Tulips.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Vill (the Power) Powell.
Spalding United: Doughty, Hone, Buckley (Garrick), Raworth (Orrey), Pearson (Rhule), George, Stanhope, Hargreaves, Murphy, Jezeph, Forbes.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lawton, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Dolby (Townsend), Powell (J.Smith), Ingall, Ward (Copnell).
Att: 104.

Stocksbridge Park Steels 4 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Easter Monday, 24/03/08

Sheffield's play-off hopes hit a set back today at the Look Local Stadium, as they fell victim to a shock result against local rivals Stocksbridge, losing 4-1 in front of the Steels' highest crowd of the season. After what could only be described as a nightmare first half, Club amazingly went into the break three goals behind, despite having dominated possession, and having a penalty awarded. Hero of the afternoon was Stocksbridge's Alvyn Riley, who led the way with a hat-trick - two of which were penalties - whilst the villain of the piece was undoubtedly Referee Madley, who somehow deemed it fit to let Steels' Andy Jefferey stay on the field despite the keeper being the "last man" when he flattened Vill Powell, and awarding two very generous penalties the way of the hosts. The scoring was completed by a great strike from Matt Telling in the 24th minute, whilst Vill Powell gave Club a ray of hope just before the hour, although it was never going to be enough as Stocksbridge did more than enough to hold out.

The first quarter of the game was as uneventful as any this season, with neither side looking like breaking the deadlock, although Sheffield looked the liveliest of the two teams despite not really troubling Steels' Andy Jefferey. The hosts looked most threatening from a long throw, which caused a bit of disturbance in the middle of the visitors' defence, before Matt Lowton hooked the ball to safety. Club also caused some worries for Stocksbridge, as Ian Richards cleared off the line from a Gavin Smith free-kick, with Jeffery beaten all ends up. Steels took the lead in the 24th minute and to be fair it came against the run of play, as Sheffield failed to clear their lines effectively, the ball fell to TELLING a good distance out who struck the ball sweetly into the corner. Three minutes later came the biggest talking point - and arguably the turning point - of the game, as a long ball saw Vill Powell get between the keeper and his defenders, Jeffery literally "took out" Powell giving referee Madley no doubt in awarding the penalty. What the referee failed to impose was the fact Jefferey was the "last man" and a tap in goal was what was to follow, and in awarding a dubious yellow card instead of the expected red he gave Stocksbridge the life-line they needed, and justice was far from served when the keeper produced an excellent double save from Paul Smith. It was pretty obvious from this point that it wasn't Sheffield's day, and after yet another heavy challenge on Powell, Paul Smith saw his free-kick rattle the cross-bar. Sheffield peppered their hosts with an all-out attack, with Gavin Smith guilty of a glaring miss with a free header, after being picked out by another Paul Smith cross. The problem with the all out attack meant Sheffield were susceptible to the break, and Stocksbridge took full advantage of this to get their second three minutes before the interval, as the ball fell to RILEY on the left who showed great composure to slot past Haystead. To make matters nigh on impossible, Steve Hawes clipped Alvyn Riley in the area in injury time, with RILEY placing the ball in the middle to give Steels an unlikely 3-0 interval lead.

Club needed an early goal to get anything from this contest, and again they nearly got caught out on the break, with Jamie Vardy squandering a glorious chance to kill the game when through on goal. The pressure continued from the visitors, with the ever-energetic Darryl Winter nearly grabbing himself a deserved goal from a Matt Roney corner; however the header ended up in the side netting. The goal eventually came Sheffield's way twelve minutes in, as Winter knocked a corner back across the goal, in the middle was POWELL to prod home. Club pressed on but found the Stocksbridge defence more resolute than anything they'd come up against in a while, and Winter found himself denied by Jefferey when his shot was grappled to safety at the second attempt, but the threat the swift Stocksbridge forwards posed was always going to give an adventurous side problems. Twenty minutes from the end that threat killed the game, as Jamie Vardy was challenged by Paul Smith in the area, and despite the defender looking like he got a clear contact on the ball the referee decided a penalty was a nicer option. Again RILEY put the ball down the middle, effectively this knocked the stuffing out of Club, and at 4-1 down there was no coming back. It could have been worse for Sheffield, as a Vardy took advantage of some sloppy football to put a great cross into Andy Ring who slotted home, which would have been great for him if it hadn't been ruled out for offside. Ring had another opportunity to give the scoreline an even more slanted view, this time Haystead was able to block the shot, but by this stage the result had long gone.

We can look at this game in one of two ways: The first is to bemoan the fact the crucial refereeing decisions went against Sheffield - Jefferey should have walked, and as a result of this the penalty save wouldn't have happened, as despite how good Darren Schofield (most likely to take the shirt) had performed in the past when called into the job in his time with Club, the odds of matching the composed performance of Andy Jefferey were slim. On top of this the penalties awarded Stocksbridge were generous to say the least; however it doesn't take away the fact that they managed to get into those situations with some wayward play, nor the fact they were smart enough to take advantage of some naïveté in dangerous areas. The other way to look at this would be to say Stocksbridge played this like a book, taking a leaf from the performances of Carlton Town against Sheffield in the past, with some solid defence absorbing everything and hitting Club when least expected. Overall it has to be said that Steels deserved the win, even if the scoreline flattered the hosts, and all of a sudden they find themselves in the mix for a play off spot. Sheffield are still in sixth place, three points outside the zone with four games in hand on fifth place, with fourth place only eight points away with seven games in hand. Those games in hand though need to be won, starting with Wednesday's home game against strugglers Kidsgrove Athletic, followed by next Saturday's trip to bottom team Spalding United. On paper these look like easy games, but both of these teams managed to do on Easter Monday what Sheffield failed to do - winning comfortably - so nothing is to be taken for granted.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Darryl Winter

Stocksbridge Park Steels: Jefferey, Adams, Schofield (Carter), Lovell, Kennedy, Beggs (Wilkinson), Richards, Telling, Ring, Vardy, Riley. Sub Not Used: Ward.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, Boulter (Dolby), Lowton, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Roney, Powell, J.Smith (Ward), P.Smith. Sub Not Used: Townsend.

Att: 511.

The Belper defender waves bye-bye as Paul Smith leaves him on the deck 

Sheffield FC 0 Belper Town 0
UniBond Division One South
Good Friday 21/03/08

Sheffield welcomed ex-players John Hobson and Pete Smith back to the Bright Finance Stadium for this afternoons match against play-off rivals Belper Town writes Trev. Sheffield started the game with almost the same side that finished so strongly against Carlton in midweek, with Jamie Smith once again starting as one of the substitutes. It was the hosts that had the first serious effort of the day when Dolby's through ball found Ward, but his shot was just wide. Belper came back with Stevenson having a tame header saved and then were unlucky when a well driven cross into the box from Hudson was just beyond the outstretched foot of Lowe, lurking at the far post. The game was not being helped by the adverse weather or the poor state of the playing surface which made it difficult to play the ball around, resulting in both teams hitting high hopeful balls forward at every opportunity. A Paul Smith free kick just before the half hour mark almost gave the large Bank Holiday crowd something to cheer, but Ingall had the ball whipped away from him just as he was poised to head home. A long ball forward from the Belper defence then saw Wilson give chase as Haystead ventured out to meet it, the striker being stopped in his tracks by Gavin Smith, who received a booking for the obstruction. Wilson then found himself in the book for 'diving' a few minutes later. Five minutes before the break a quick free kick from Paul Smith found Ingall free in the area but he was quickly closed down and the chance was lost. The last positive action of the half came on the stroke of half time when a break through the middle saw Dolby release the ball to Paul Smith who put the ball into the area for Powell to shoot, but his effort hit a defender and went wide for a corner, Ward heading the resulting kick over the bar.

There was little between the two sides in the second half. Belper substitute Appleyard shooting straight at the keeper with a weak effort just past the hour mark, whilst a mix up in the visitors defence allowed Dolby a free shot that was wide of the mark. The game livened up in the last fifteen minutes with first, Lowton having to clear off the line from Hannah, then Appleyard missing the target with a header after Haystead could only parry Stevenson's shot. Wilson was next up for the visitors as he headed wide with the goal at his mercy and Jones had to be alert to clear the ball off the line as Belper wasted yet another attacking opportunity. At the other end, the substitution of Dolby for Roney saw the home side mount several attacks, especially from the right with Roney's fresh legs getting the better of the Belper defence. Jamie Smith was also brought into the action, taking over from Ward. With ten minutes to go a scramble in the visitors area saw the ball at the feet of Jamie Smith, but he fired high over the bar. Then a great run from midfield by Paul Smith came to an abrupt end when he was brought down by a cynical foul from Kotylo, his direct free kick going wide of the mark. With just over five minutes left a great pin point cross into the area found Jamie Smith unmarked but his weak header caused no danger to the visitors. The last action of the day found Roney outrunning his marker before sending a low cross into the area but it was just beyond Jamie Smiths reach. Overall this was a pretty dour encounter, which was reflected in the number of supporters unable to pick a man of the match nomination. Next up is the local derby at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Easter Monday.

BTF Man of the Match: Tom Jones

Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, Paul Smith, Lowton, Ingall, Jones, Hawes, Dolby (Roney), Powell, Boulter, Ward (J.Smith). Sub Not Used: Winter.
Belper Town: Pettinger, Colliver, Haigh, Kotylo, Hobson, Lowe, Hudson, Stevenson, Wilson (Pete Smith), Hannah, Rushbury (Appleyard). Sub Not Used: Walker

Att: 422

Sheffield FC 3 Carlton Town 2
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 18/03/08
Sheffield finally broke the Carlton Town hoodoo tonight, at the Bright Finance Stadium, as a superb pair of Vill Powell strikes moved them back into the play-off zone. Goals in the 58th minute and 70th minute, along with a Darryl Winter goal on 13 minutes, were enough to ensure Club grabbed all three points in a superbly contested affair. Carlton managed to draw level on 25 minutes through Darryl Thomas, and whilst young Terry Hawkridge produced the goal of the night in injury time, there was only going to be one winner. It could have been an even more impressive scoreline, if it hadn't been for a fantastic penalty save by Alessandro Barcherini from Paul Smith's kick, luckily in the greater scheme of things this didn't matter that much.
The confidence that comes from having the Indian Sign over a club was pretty much in evidence early on in this game, as Carlton were the only team in it for the opening periods, and they created quite a few openings in their periods of pressure. Phil Bignall had the opportunity to open matters, when he was put a free header wide of the mark, whilst Darryl Thomas will have though he should have done better with a wild and wayward shot with the goal at his mercy. Danny Haystead was having to be at his best, and produced a couple of telling stops, most notably from a Martin Ball shot. Just before the quarter hour mark and against the run of play Sheffield took the lead, as WINTER beat the offside trap that has been so effective against Club in previous meetings, and keeping his composure coolly lobbed Barcherini to give Club an unexpected advantage. It wasn't long before the Millers got their just reward, as Sheffield failed to clear their lines from another period of sustained pressure, the ball came to THOMAS who swept the ball home. Whilst they were turning the screw at the front, at the back Carlton's frailties were there for all to see, and their reliance on the offside trap was looking decidedly shaky, Chris Dolby was the next to exploit this and should have done better with his one-on-one with Barcherini. At the other end Haystead made certain the scores remained level with a superb save, knocking a Darryl Thomas shot onto the bar, how the ball stayed out is anyone's guess.
Despite losing Daz Winter at half time with a calf injury Club came out after the interval with a totally different attitude, and had a goal ruled offside in the opening minutes, as Vill Powell squared to Asa Ingall in the middle. The pressure was soon to tell, and just before the hour Sheffield got their reward, as a long ball was met by a "Van Basten-esque" volley from POWELL that left Barcherini floundering. The goal seemed to lift the hosts, and they started to pepper the Carlton goalmouth with all kind of issues, so it was no surprise when they extended their lead with twenty minutes to go. Again it was the ball through the middle, again it was POWELL on the receiving end, and again he finished with style and a confidence that left the keeper with no chance. Carlton still looked a threat, and Haystead was earning his wages at the other end, denying a great strike from Dean Gent with another great save. The man of the moment though was Vill Powell, who was causing no end of problems for the Carlton defence, in particular David Jephson (who was getting quite a bit of stick from his Dronfield school pupils behind the goal) who couldn't contain the forward and wrestled him to the ground. Referee Haycock had no doubt in awarding the spot kick, and Paul Smith was expected to dispatch it with his usual aplomb, but Barcherini had other ideas pulling off a spectacular save to tip the ball over the bar. The points never looked in doubt for Sheffield from hereon in, and despite a spectacular strike in injury time from thirty five yards by HAWKRIDGE - with a celebration to match - the victory was never in doubt and the bogey was finally lifted.
So as all good things generally come to an end, so do bad things, and the win elevates Club into fifth place in the league. Carlton have obviously figured the way to stifle Club, but tonight that tactic was never going to work, and Sheffield played it to their advantage this time. Whilst it won't go down as the most one-sided contest, Sheffield always looked in control from half time onwards, but the Millers still had the threat of stealing something from the game they didn't deserve. It means Sheffield go into a testing Easter period in fine form, and with games against Belper Town and Stocksbridge over the weekend, it represents a very interesting juncture of the season.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Vill Powell
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Davey (J.Smith), Winter (Boulter), Jones, Hawes, Dolby, Powell, Ingall, Ward. Sub Not Used: Roney.
Carlton Town: Barcherini, F.Smith (Chaplin) Jephson, Brindley, Martin, Marquin Smith, Ball (Mark Smith) Gent, Bignall (Hawkridge), Thomas, Brady.
Att: 244

Nantwich Town 1 Sheffield FC 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 15/03/08
Nantwich completed a league treble over Sheffield this afternoon, at a very rainy Weaver Stadium, with a 52nd minute goal from Andy Kinsey the difference on the day. In a very tight contest, and on another treacherous playing surface at this ground, there were very few chances of note. Despite having the majority of the pressure in this game, Sheffield could not capitalise and create any clear cut opportunities, with the Dabbers' defence stifling any creativity up front. The loss - whilst not hampering Club's promotion bid too much - halts a run of five games unbeaten, and slowing the momentum that had been built since the last game at Nantwich, leaving Sheffield still outside the play-off zone in seventh place.
With the previous defeat here still fresh in the memory, Sheffield were the first out of the blocks, and nearly went in front inside the first fifteen seconds. Vill Powell burst down the left flank, fired the ball across the face of the goal, and with Darryl Winter steaming in at the back post it was the unlikely figure of Nantwich's Danny Griggs that came to the rescue, hooking the ball off the line and over the bar. Of the two sides it was the visitors who looked the liveliest, but despite this the home defence were putting up a stern wall which Sheffield found tough to break down, with a shot from Jamie Smith from the edge of the area the closest to breaking the deadlock. Midway through the half Sheffield thought they had taken a deserved lead, after Asa Ingall headed the ball over Lee Jones into the net; the referee however had other ideas disallowing the "goal" for a push. The Dabbers had their chances as they managed to get a foothold in the game, with Paul Smith having to head off the line, following a shot from Dave Walker. The best effort of the half for the hosts though came just before the interval, as Andy Kinsey showing power and determination to battle through four Sheffield challenges, sadly for him the final shot when clear on goal lacked the same direction and commitment.
The continual rain made an already awful playing surface all the more difficult, and coupled with some fussy refereeing from Mr Castle and theatrical tumbles from certain Nantwich players, Sheffield soon found themselves frustrated and penned in their own half. Seven minutes after the restart and Nantwich grabbed the lead, as a free-kick came in from the left finding KINSEY at the back post, he headed back across the goal and over Haystead into the far corner. On the balance of play to this point Sheffield could find themselves hard done to falling behind in this fashion, and as expected came back at Nantwich straight away, with Lee Jones pulling off a terrific one-handed save from a Paul Smith free-kick. But that energy and creativity was short-lived from the visitors, as the game developed a very predictable and pedestrian pattern, with Nantwich more or less shutting up shop at the back. Even with the hosts inviting Club to come at them, the final pass was never a chance creator, and they were never allowed any space to get that final shot on target. Conversely Nantwich did nothing at note at the other end, with the centre back partnership of Tom Jones and man-of-the-match Matt Lowton (whose performance today belied his age) mopping up everything that was sent that way, and Danny Haystead having literally nothing to do. But at the end that mattered Sheffield could not find the vital goal to draw back level, and as time eventually ran out on the visitors, it was mission accomplished for Nantwich.
Whilst the loss was disappointing, it has to be said the day's other results didn't do Club much harm; however it now looks as if Retford United are safely home in the title race. Nantwich are now in fourth place, though only sitting four points ahead of Sheffield, who crucially have five games in hand. Without wanting to sound too over confident, Sheffield now look likely to finish comfortably in the play-off zone, given the small amount of points needed with a large number of games remaining. That though is subject to getting enough wins along the way, and putting this game behind them, the next game (weather permitting) is at home to another one of Sheffield's bogey sides - Carlton Town - hopefully Club can earn their first ever win over the Nottingham outfit, to really put the pressure on the teams above.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Matthew Lowton.
Nantwich Town: Jones, Donnelly, Taylor, Smith, Dicker, Robinson, Carter, Linford, Kinsey, Walker (Kiss), Griggs (Black). Sub Not Used: Mahmood.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Ingall (Dolby), Jones, Hawes, Winter (Roney), Powell, J.Smith (Ward), Davey.
Att: 453.

Sheffield FC 2 Brigg Town 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 08/03/08
How does he miss ? Pete Davey fires over.....and then asks himself the question

Sheffield cruised to an easy win this afternoon at the BFS, beating the Zebras of Brigg 2-0, on a day more suited to kite flying than playing football. In conditions that were always going to hamper footballing styles, Sheffield wrapped things up in a lively first half, with Tom Jones scoring with a header and Daz Winter capping a man-of-the-match performance with an excellent strike just before the interval. The second half though was spoiled from a sporting point of view, as the game was punctuated by some truly bizarre decisions from referee Simmons, who failed to allow the game to flow - frustrating players on both sides, the coaching teams and paying spectators. In the end though Club earned the three points that were fully deserved, moving Sheffield up into seventh spot, and making the teams in the play-off berths look nervously over their collective shoulders.
Whether having the wind behind you is an advantage or not is always a subject for discussion, but nevertheless Sheffield were lucky enough to have this advantage for the opening half, and it was they who started to pile on the pressure. The hosts were the first to get going, and some good work from Jamie Smith saw him shrug off a defensive challenge, before laying the ball to Peter Davey whose first time strike hit the post with Damien Steer well beaten. Brigg were not going to lay down and let Sheffield walk all over them, and they proved their worth five minutes later as they forced a great save from Danny Haystead, with forward Rick Day providing the shot. Midway through the half Haystead was beaten by a shot from Jack Muldoon, from the edge of the area, luckily for Sheffield though the ball also cleared the bar. This little foray seemed to wake Sheffield up somewhat, and they started to turn the screw over the next few minutes, created a few chances that eventually bore some fruit. A Jamie Smith cross was met by a first time shot by Asa Ingall, who unfortunately hooked his effort straight at Steer, and seconds later Daz Winter saw his effort from the edge of the area cleared off the line by Dan Barrett. Just before the half hour mark Club got their just rewards, as a Paul Smith corner caught Brigg half asleep, with JONES allowed a free header with which he made no mistake. Sheffield kept on plugging away and once again Daz Winter found himself denied with a goal-line clearance, this time stopped by a header by Jack Muldoon, nearly knocking the head off the Brigg player. It seemed only a matter of time before Sheffield would get a second, and when Jamie Smith and Vill Powell set up Peter Davey with a relatively easy finish, the fact the ball was skewed high and wide of the gaping goal was more of an achievement than scoring. The miss was made irrelevant seconds after, with Jamie Smith holding the ball up for WINTER who struck a thunderbolt from the edge of the box, this time there was no goal-line clearance as the ball rattled the underside of the bar and in.
Club had to face the wind in the second half, and naturally found it harder to get the ball up the other end, but composed defending from Matty Lowton and Tom Jones - plus some assured handling from Dan Haystead - meant that Brigg rarely threatened the Sheffield goal. Paul Grimes and Lee Cochrane both had efforts that were worthy of being called shots, but both of these were gobbled up by the Sheffield stopper with ease, with Haystead hardly looking troubled. The game though had become a rather stop start affair, with Mr Simmons' frankly strange decisions baffling everyone present, and frustrating everyone who had wanted to witness a good game of football. Needless to say this spilled over onto the pitch, with tempers starting to boil over, and both understandably angry benches being asked to calm down by the man-in-the-middle. I could start to list the obscure calls the official called, but I won't turn the report over to his performance, instead I'll try to highlight the best points of a forcibly dull forty-five minutes. Jamie Smith lashed the ball over the bar for Sheffield, and after the referee had decided to call play-on as two players lay injured after a collision in the centre circle, Jamie Smith and Daz Winter got the ball mixed up under their feet to allow Steer to gather the ball. And in possibly the best moment of the half, substitute Rob Ward, Daryl Winter and Peter Davey combined to set up Vill Powell with a chance - which sadly was blasted high and wide.
So another three points in the bag for Sheffield, and as stated earlier this moves them up another place into seventh spot, after Carlton dropped points this afternoon. Not much can be said about the performance, other than the fact Club played very well, when the play was allowed to flow. Naturally everyone will be feeling confident after yet another game was turned into an easy win, making it eight goals without reply, and nine points from nine in the last three games. Next along is a midweek game against the North Wales boys Colwyn Bay, and given the fact that four of the top five meet each other in midweek, if results go the right way Sheffield could find themselves sitting pretty in third spot. But as we all know, football is a funny old game, and it is best not to count our chickens... and so on.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Daz Winter.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Ingall, Jones, Hawes, Winter, Powell, J.Smith (Ward), Davey. Sub Not Used: Roney, Dolby.
Brigg Town: Steer, Spall, Barrett, Borland, Hope (Maxwell), Cochrane (Jackson, Nicholls), Helliwell, Osman, Day, Muldoon, Grimes.
Att: 274.

Sheffield FC 3 Brodsworth Welfare 2
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Quarter Finals
Tuesday, 04/03/08

Two goals in the last fifteen minutes from substitute Rob Ward was enough to see Sheffield into the semi-finals of the Senior Cup tonight, after overcoming a very spirited performance by an in-form Brodsworth at the BFS, and after having to come from behind twice in the game. Club were frustrated by a well organised and highly "un-Broddy" Brodsworth, despite having the majority of the pressure, and it took an inspired triple substitution from the Sheffield bench to finally tilt the game their way. Goals in the 76th and 85th minutes from Ward gave Sheffield the edge, after Welfare had raced into the lead ten minutes before the break with a goal from Shaun Gorman, a 50th minute penalty from Paul Smith restored parity temporarily before Broddy regained the lead three minutes later from Liam Wilkins. Adding to the frustrations in the first half was a floodlight failure, and although it didn't cause any impact on the outcome of the game, it DID bring back memories of the last time the lights went out at the BFS - when the visitors were once again Brodsworth!

Club started well in this one, but despite the pressure they weren't showing anything like the cutting edge of the last two outings, and a well set defence was showing why they were undefeated in 2008. Sheffield had their chances, as Gavin Smith put a free kick into the wall, the ball came out to Vill Powell who caused worry in the area before the ball was scrambled to safety. Asa Ingall had a free header directed straight at Jamie Allen in the Brodsworth goal, whilst moments later another goalmouth scramble was cleared up field, catching Dan Haystead going walkabout however that chance went begging for the visitors. Then midway through the half - it went dark - very dark - as the lights failed, giving a break of fifteen minutes where the 106 people present were left to entertain themselves the best way they could. Luckily the problem was sorted in reasonable time, ensuring the game could continue to a finish, and the game carried on in the same vein with Brodsworth's strong defence holding up very nicely. Ten minutes before the interval a shock looked on the cards, as the ball fell nicely to GORMAN who showed great style to hit the ball on the turn, driving the ball under the body of Haystead.

It looked a whole different ball game in the opening minutes of the second half, as Sheffield came out of the blocks flying, with Welfare literally chasing shadows. Five minutes in Brodsworth conceded a cheap penalty, as Phil Worsefield bundled Vill Powell over in the box; Paul SMITH had no issue blasting the ball beyond Allen. But if you thought that was the end of the visitors you'd be wrong, Josh Wright had a shot turned away by Haystead, and moments later they were rewarded as WILKINS slammed home a cross from the left wing to restore Broddy's well earned lead. To be honest the Woodlands outfit looked good value for their lead, and despite pressing forward relentlessly, Sheffield were denied any opportunity to get anything on goal. Then Messrs McCarthy and Walshaw took the bold step of throwing on a triple substitution, and after a short time their gamble had been repaid, with two of the three combining to draw Club level. Matt Roney's introduction had Phil Worsefield run ragged on the wing, and fifteen minutes from time it was a cross from Roney - after the winger had chased down what looked like a lost cause - finding the head of WARD who doesn't miss those. Now Club were level it sparked a new wave of confidence and seconds later they could have taken the lead, as Paul Smith won possession on the edge of the area, Powell laid it on unselfishly to Ward whose shot was deflected painfully the wrong side of the post. All of a sudden after a lacklustre showing, Sheffield came to life, and the chances were coming thick and fast. Matt Roney's cross saw Vill Powell tee up Peter Davey, his shot was just wide, and Powell should have wrapped things up after a one-on-one saw the striker come off second best. Five minutes from time though Sheffield got the goal they were threatening, Gavin Smith's cross evaded everyone in the middle, and there with a flick-header was WARD to nod home. It could have been even more convincing for Sheffield, as in the dying seconds man-of-the-match Paul Smith threaded the ball through to Vill Powell, again though the finish was blasted well over the bar.

When this draw was made before Christmas, a home tie against Brodsworth would have heralded an expectation of a virtual walkover with goals galore, the fact it was never going to be that is testament to the improvements the NCEL Premier perennial "whipping boys” have made. They looked organised, energetic and at times very threatening up front, and gave Sheffield a good game. The truth is though Sheffield coasted along in a low gear for much of this contest, and when they needed to they moved up a gear, doing just enough to win the game without stretching themselves too much. Club now join UniBond Premier team Worksop Town, NCEL Premier outfit Parkgate, and following an 8-0 demolition of Hallam FC - from NCEL One, Dinnington Town - in the semi finals. One of those three stands between Sheffield and another appearance at Hillsborough in the final, all of whom are likely to cause a problem, all of them beatable. We await the draw with baited breath...

Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Davey, Jones, Ingall, Dolby (Roney), Powell, Wilkins (Ward), Townsend (Boulter). Subs Not Used: Carney, Kearney.
Brodsworth Welfare: Allen, Stannard, Worsefield, Pickles, Sanderson, Jones, Hewitt (Mooney), Wright, Wilkins, Gorman, Hunter (Bracey). Subs Not Used: O'Neill, Williamson.

Att: 106.


Club go one up - Townsend to Powell, back to Townsend (above), Townsend shoots, the keeper parries, Jamie Smith follows up to score. More photos from Quorn on the 'Action' page
Quorn 0 Sheffield FC 3
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 01/03/08
Two first half goals from Jamie and Gavin Smith plus a third from Steve Hawes late on saw Sheffield record their second 3-0 victory on the road in a week. It was a 'welcome' return to his previous club for 'keeper Danny Haystead and there was also a first start for Jon Boulter, filling in for the suspended Paul Smith. Also missing through suspension were Darryl Winter and Stuart Copnell while Matthew Lowton was unavailable for selection. Chris Dolby  also started the game for the first time since November after recovering from injury.
It was almost a dream start for the home side, who were kicking with a very strong wind behind them when from the off the ball was floated into the area and missed by everyone, hitting the inside of the post before being scrambled away. Powell then did well to wriggle free of his marker and send the ball into the area but there was no one there to convert the cross. His next effort was a shot straight at the 'keeper.  Good work from Adam Brown saw his cross find the head of Quorn centre forward Justin Jenkins, but his header was wide of the mark. Sheffield took the lead on 19 minutes when Haystead's clearance was won by Townsend who battled his way through two defenders before releasing Powell to drive into the area, his return pas saw Townsend's shot blocked but JAMIE SMITH was on hand to prod the ball home. Quorn responded  as Haystead had to tip a shot over the bar but back came Sheffield with Jamie Smith once again trying his luck with a first time shot wide of the mark while Townsend also saw a good chance fly over the bar. Quorn's cause was not helped by the withdrawal of 'keeper Michael Payne, suffering from an injured left shoulder, striker Justin James having to take over between the posts. The visitors doubled their lead on 36 minutes when a Dolby through ball into the area was chased down by Jamie Smith and Jenkins, Smith getting there first ahead of the substitute 'keeper and being upended for a penalty. Up stepped GAVIN SMITH who made no mistake from the resulting spot kick. The home side tried their best to get back into the game late in the half, White, Hearn and Plummer all having good efforts on target, but Haystead was in no mood to do his former side any favours, pulling off some fine saves to keep the score 2-0 at half time.
Sheffield started the second half with the elements, in theory, now in their favour, but it was doing little to help the side as balls were constantly being overhit as they got carried by the wind. An early substitution saw the introduction of David Wilkins replacing Jamie Smith and 'Wilko' was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet following up a Vill Powell shot that Jenkins could only parry. At the other end Hearn did well to get a shot in which Haystead cleared away. On the hour Boulter floated a lovely ball into the path of Powell but his effort was wide of the mark. With Quorn pushing forward to get something from the game it was more open for the visitors and Wilkins was the next to benefit, finding space and rounding Plummer before slipping the ball across the area, Powell arriving just a second too late to get that vital touch. At the other end Hearn was again the danger as Haystead had to race out of his goal to stop the attack, it seemed like these two were having their own personal battle. With 15 minutes left to play Powell slipped the ball through to Wilkins who ventured goalwards only to be stopped by the 'keeper and a defender, the ball running free and despite regaining his balance his shot was underhit and cleared away. Sheffield's victory was complete on 84 minutes when a great cross from Roney (on for Dolby) found Man of the Match Steve Hawes running in to place his diving header into the roof of the net. Wilkins had a late effort which he lobbed over the bar. With time virtually up Ward was introduced at the expense of Powell who had run his legs off all day and caused the home defence no end of trouble.There was little time for Ward to get into the action before the referee  brought the game to an end.
Next up for Sheffield is a home tie against Brodsworth MW on Tuesday in the S&H Senior Cup Quarter Final. 
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Steve Hawes
Quorn FC: Payne (Turner), Shaw (Peryer), Plummer, Squire, Carter, North, Brown(Goold), Goodman, Jenkins, Hearn, White.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, Boulter, Davey, Ingall, Jones, Hawes, Dolby(Roney), Powell (Ward), J.Smith (Wilkins),Townsend.
Att: 129.
Gresley Rovers 0 Sheffield FC 3
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 26/02/07
Sorry for the delay - late home and earthquakes - usual story.
Sheffield finally got back to winning ways tonight, after a run of four games since collecting maximum points, and they did it in style by comprehensively demolishing Gresley at the Moat Ground. From the moment this game kicked off Club were in total control, dominating the match in every area of the pitch, and could have won by a much more convincing scoreline if not for some wayward shooting. Such was the one-sidedness of the game, it was easy to forget that this game was played in high winds, and on the type of undulating surface that doesn't normally Club's style of play. Goals from Gavin Smith (36 minutes), Peter Davey (57 minutes) and man-of-the-match Vill Powell in injury time were enough to send all three points to the other end of the county, whilst Rovers were limited to one solitary shot on goal in the entire ninety minutes.
Gresley's cause wasn't helped before this game due to injuries, with both Danny Blair and goal-machine David Blenkinsopp missing from the action; however Sheffield's cause wasn't helped with absence of their injury list which had taken Stewart Copnell and Rob Ward out of consideration. Either way it was the visitors that took the early initiative ahead of their higher placed hosts with some early chances falling their way, Vill Powell being played through the middle only to blaze wide, and Jamie Smith was unlucky to shoot just off target after winning possession on the edge of the area. Paul Smith also had a shot flash inches wide of Dave Clarke's post, after battling through three players to get free on goal, whilst Powell had another shot narrowly go over after holding off a challenge to hit the ball on the turn. Gresley really were not offering anything up front, and despite Paul Edwards putting the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, it was a constant battering by the hard working Sheffield side that caught the eye. To be honest it was amazing that the visitors hadn't broken the deadlock before this point, and if it wasn't for some eccentric finishing from the forwards, it could have been wrapped up by this point. This was never more evident than when the ever industrious Steve Hawes put Jamie Smith through on goal, and with only keeper Dave Clarke to beat, he struck the ball wildly out of the ground - causing damage to a local resident's satellite dish! The frustration of these misses was tempered by the fact it was clear Sheffield were going to score imminently, and with eight minutes to the break the scoring began, as a well-rehearsed Paul Smith free-kick was met by the head of Gavin SMITH who gave Clarke no chance.
The second half saw more of the same, with Sheffield pressing forward, and Gresley doing their best to scramble their lines clear. Again though it looked like luck had deserted Sheffield, with Jamie Smith's cross picking out the versatile Peter Davey at the back post, somehow though the resulting volley managed to hit the post and bounce to safety. Just before the hour the points were made safe as Vill Powell showed strength and tenacity to hold off player coach Tony Hemmings, whipped the ball across the face of goal just missing Jamie Smith, and slamming home from a yard out was DAVEY. Even with the game all but safe Club kept on coming at the hosts, and yet again Jamie Smith was left ruing another miss, this time after being put through one-on-one by a Asa Ingall through ball. Sheffield were relentless in their pounding of the Moatmen's goal, and contributing to the forwards' hard-working performance was an excellent display from the middle four, and it was a midfield combination that nearly made it three - as Peter Davey planted a pin-point thirty yard cross onto the head of Daz Winter, only the fortunate positioning of Dave Clarke denied a classic goal. I'm sure you get the picture now, Sheffield were on top, the chances were coming by the hat-full and Gresley weren't being given an inch of room by the back pairing of Tom Jones and Matt Lowton. Jamie Smith combined with Vill Powell who shot just over, and with fifteen minutes to go the hosts finally managed to get a shot on target, with Paul Edwards' effort comfortably dealt with by Danny Haystead. After all his hard work on the night it was disappointment when Jamie Smith finally put the ball in the back of the net, as referee Hayward pulled the game back for an offence by Vill Powell on Dan Douglas. The introduction of Gary Townsend almost bore immediate fruit, as his first touch was a volley that brought the best out of Clarke, and moments later the other substitute Matt Roney had his shot deflected just wide by Douglas. In the dying seconds though it was game over, as Roney crossed the ball to Townsend at the back post, he put the ball back across the goal to POWELL who tapped in a truly well deserved goal - sounds easy, but in truth summed up by one word - "clinical".
At last Sheffield showed their true credentials, and although many will point out this was against a weakened Gresley side, it has to be said you can only play against what is put up in front of you. And they did it with great composure and confidence, with every man involved in a blue shirt doing their bit, and read back through the report - every man in the side made at least one positive contribution to the game. In fairness Gresley looked nothing like a side that occupies a play off spot, but then again Sheffield never let them either, and it cannot be understated enough how one sided this game was. Club are now back into eighth spot in the table, and are clearly breathing down the necks of the teams above, with several games in hand. Next up on the road is a trip to Leicestershire to Farley Way, home of tenth placed Quorn, and if this game has given Sheffield the momentum and confidence restoration needed - it should be a great game.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Vill Powell
Gresley Rovers: Clarke, Groves, Hemmings, Chamberlain, Douglas, Slater, Sleath (Rowntree), Ridgeway, Marshall (Hanson), Edwards, Mawby (Hollis).
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Lowton, Winter (Roney), Jones, Hawes, Ingall, Powell, J.Smith (Townsend), Davey. Sub Not Used: Dolby.
Att: 192.
Jamie Leaves The Badgers Defence Trailing In His Wake
Sheffield FC 1 Retford United 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 23/02/07
Club Are Turning The Screw Towards The End Of The Game But Vill Fails To Capitalise With This One On One

It was honours even today at the Bright Finance Stadium as Jamie Smith scored his first goal for the club to cancel out Dan White's earlier strike for the Badgers. The game ending on a downward note with Retford's Neil Harvey being stretchered off to hospital after a collision with Danny Haystead with what looked like a possible neck/back injury (later reports confirming Neil is okay).There was  a home debut in defence for young work experience apprentice from Sheffield United, Matthew Lowton. A minutes silence was held before kick-off in memory of Dave Moxon, ex Sheffield assistant manager who passed away midweek.
It was a somewhat subdued start from both sides, the excitement beginning in the 10th minute when a harmless cross into the Sheffield area almost found it's way into the net when Davey tried to kick it out but hit his own post instead. Jamie Smith then went on a run at the other end but took a touch too many and ended up firing into the side netting. The opening goal arrived on 13 minutes when a Retford corner was not cleared properly and Ford hoisted it back into the area where Dan WHITE was on hand to volley home. Sheffield responded with another Smith run, this time being denied a shot on goal by a well timed tackle. The resulting corner saw Jones' shot cleared off the line. Retford were having the major share of possession at this stage with Owens particularly causing trouble with his speedy runs on the wing. On the half hour mark a Paul Smith free kick was allowed to bounce in front of Turner, the keeper having to palm the ball down before getting it under control. Another run from Jamie Smith resulted in the striker steering a shot the wrong side of the post from the byeline. Retford then had a chance when a Sheffield attack faulted and full back Ludlam broke away upfield and into the opposing area before laying the ball off to Ford whose shot brought out a fine reflex save from Haystead. Back came Sheffield, and skipper Jones was on hand to get his head to a Paul Smith free kick but the effort went over the bar. Retford almost doubled the lead with the last action of the half when a header was scrambled away off the line.
Sheffield were first to show after the break when Winter's cross was met by Townsend, but his nearpost header went wide of the mark. Ward then had a good effort when his shot on the turn was saved by Turner, the 'keeper doing his former team mates no favours by being in fine form. Retford then went close after 55 minutes when Harvey's shot was well blocked by Haystead, the rebound falling back to the Barbadian international to head goalwards only to see Jones clear the danger. The introduction of Powell and Copnell just past the hour mark gave the Badgers some more thinking to do as Sheffield stepped up the momentum as they strived for an equaliser. Powell did well moments later harrassing White, who was dispossessed and the striker's shot come cross was just missed at the far post by the outstretched foot of Winter. A Sheffield free kick from Copnell was fired into the Retford wall but the rebound fell kindly for the home side as Hawes floated the ball into the middle of the area and Jamie Smith beat his marker but his header was just over. Retford were now well and truly on the back foot and hanging on, looking just to clear their lines and some desperate defending saw Copnell on the end of two or three somewhat reckless challenges. With 15 minutes left to play Sheffield finally got the breakthrough they deserved when a Paul Smith free kick was floated into the area and Jamie SMITH was on hand to stoop low and head home and break his scoring famine. With minutes remaining Powell once again found a way through the Badgers defence but this time chose to cross into the area when a first time shot would have been the better option.
A Retford attack then saw the ball break to the league's leading scorer Neil Harvey who attempted to beat Haystead to the loose ball, both players colliding into each other and Harvey taking a nasty tumble over the top of the 'keeper and landing awkwardly. The game was held up for the player to receive treatment but it was deemed serious enough to call an ambulance and a delay of 25 minutes ensude while the medics arrived and eventually were able to move him onto a stretcher and take him to hospital for treatment.
As expected the game lost it's momentum and once it was restarted both teams played the game out although not before Haystead gave his home supporters apoplexy by hitting the ball at Goddard while trying to clear his lines. Fortunately the ball went out for a goal kick.
Altogether a draw was a fair result as Sheffield's somewhat subdued first half performance was turned around by their determined second half display. Smith's goal will now lift the pressure off him and Lowton made a confident debut. Next up is a trip to Gresley Rovers on Tuesday in a bid to take points off one of our play-off rivals.
BTF Club Man Of The Match: Matthew Lowton
Sheffield FC: Haystead, Davey, P.Smith, Lowton, Winter (Roney), Jones, Hawes, Ingall, J.Smith, Townsend (Copnell), Ward (Powell).
Retford United:Turner, Ludlam, Simpkins (Farmery), Ford, Chambers, White, Hindley, Fisher, Goddard, Harvey (Chappell), Owens (Littlejohn) 
Attendance: 580

A late corner proved fruitless for Club as they searched in vain for an equaliser at Nantwich

Nantwich Town 3 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Wednesday, 20/02/08
Sheffield suffered yet another set-back in their promotion bid tonight, as they lost 3-2 at the new Weaver Stadium to fellow play-off candidates Nantwich Town, after looking set for an unlikely win with three-quarters of the game gone. On probably the worst surface Club have played on in some time, one with several unsafe patches in one half of the pitch, it was Nick Farquarharson who was hero of the hour with an excellent hat-trick. Farquarharson opened the scoring on 23 minutes, before Stewart Copnell equalised with a sweet goal three minutes before the break, and the turn around looked complete for Sheffield as Asa Ingall headed home after 61 minutes. The Nantwich striker though turned things back around with a highly contentious goal on 72 minutes, before completing his hat-trick and grabbing all three points, with a breakaway goal three minutes from the end.
Things looked difficult from the start for Sheffield, and the Dabbers had the visitors on the back foot from the off, with the "sandy half" of the pitch looking impossible to clear from defence. Nantwich had the better of the opening exchanges, with Nick Farquarharson outpacing emergency defender Rob Ward to cross into the middle; however the finish from Andy Kinsey was sliced over the bar. Kinsey got one on target moments later, but it took a great save from Danny Haystead to deny the forward, and just after Danny Griggs was allowed time and space to lash a fierce shot just wide of the mark. Sheffield's attacks were few and far between as they struggled to fight their way out of the quagmire, and they were limited to one effort from Stewart Copnell midway through the half as he made an excellent solo run; however that effort culminated in a shot that frankly lacked bite. Almost immediately Nantwich went up the other end of the pitch, with the through ball landing to FARQUARHARSON, who showed great composure to slot the ball beyond Haystead. It could have got a lot worse for Club, as Griggs' header was saved excellently by Haystead, but amazingly Sheffield went into the break level with a goal moments before the break. A long ball caused confusion between keeper Lee Jones and his defender, and taking opportunity of this hesitancy was COPNELL who nipped in between the two, deftly lobbing the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Sheffield started the second half a lot more lively than they played in the first, but it was the home side who had the first chance of the half, with Ashley Carter having the opportunity to regain the lead only to slice the ball wide with the goal gaping. With Club attacking the boggy half, Nantwich were taking their turn to try digging themselves out of the trenches, and it was the visitors' turn to start getting the chances falling their way. A Jamie Smith lay-off saw Daz Winter side-foot the ball narrowly wide, and just on the hour mark Club got their just desserts as thy gained the lead, with INGALL rising up at the back post to bundle a Paul Smith free-kick into the net with a header. Steve Hawes went close with a shot that went just over the bar, and at this stage it looked like Club had got this game under control, despite not performing to their full potential. The home supporters on the other hand were getting increasingly frustrated with the referee, and some of his decisions regarding some of the challenges that were going in from the visitors, which were made to look worse due to some of the theatrics on show. He was their best friend with twenty minutes to go though, as FARQUARHARSON beat an offside trap with the defence stood still - at least two Nantwich players were stood in an offside position - and it left the forward in a one-on-one situation with Haystead which was won with ease to make it two each. Frustration started to get a hold of Sheffield now, and whilst it was they who were doing the majority of the pressing, they couldn't capitalise. The introduction of Vill Powell saw an extra spark in the game, and he nearly set up Matt Roney with a chance, sadly that was lashed wide. With three minutes left Club were stung with a sucker punch as a Paul Smith free-kick was cleared back up the pitch, FARQUARHARSON picked up the long ball and raced through on goal, capping a wonderful performance with a composed finish. It could have been worse for Sheffield, as Danny Griggs was allowed a shot on goal, once again it was Haystead who came to the rescue.
Overall this was a game that looked like Sheffield wanted to get out of the way at all costs, hardly any of the team performed to their potential, yet a lot of that could be argued as being down to the treacherous surface. No doubt Nantwich will claim that it was the same for both teams, but on the day it was obvious it was more suited to their style of play than Club's, with the visitors having difficulty coping from very early on. Either way, Nantwich deserved the points on the balance of play, and must be asking why they have lost so many games during the season based on their two performances so far against Sheffield. This loss makes it one point from a possible nine on the road in the last week for Club, where five or more would have been expected, and with the Badgers being next on the cards on Saturday at the BFS - it is going to need a massive improvement to get things back on track.
Nantwich Town: Jones, Donnelly (Taylor), Kiss, Smith, Taylor, Parkinson, Carter, Blackhurst, Kinsey (Beasley), Farquarharson, Griggs. Sub Not Used: Dicker.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Ward, Winter (Townsend), Jones, Hawes, Ingall, J.Smith, Copnell (Powell), Roney. Sub Not Used: Dolby.
Att: 328

Grantham Town 3 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 16/02/08
Sheffield lost their first league game since November this afternoon at the Meres, coming off second best after a below par performance against the Gingerbreads, losing 3-2 and ending the game with ten men. In a less than impressive display Club fell behind early on to a goal from Grantham skipper Brendan McDaid, but drew level midway through the half through a goal from their own skipper Tom Jones, only to go in at the break behind from an excellent strike from substitute Tom Byrne. Things were made even worse for the visitors on the hour after some suicidal defending allowed Sam Mullarkey the gift of a third goal, and whilst Sheffield tried in vain to get back into the game, it took a late penalty from man-of-the-match Paul Smith to give the scoreline a little more respectability. To make a frustrating afternoon even worse for Club, a scuffle in the last ditch attack saw Stewart Copnell receive his marching orders along with Grantham's Adam Sturgess, coincidentally something that happened in Sheffield's last defeat.
The game started as an open affair with both teams having good chances in the opening exchanges; Jamie Smith went close flashing a shot across the face of goal, whilst Jason Turner should have done better when the ball fell kindly at his feet only to see his shot blocked easily by Danny Haystead. Grantham's cause looked to have taken a bit of a stumble when they lost Sean Conn on ten minutes, but as it turned out his replacement Tom Byrne produced what was to be a storming performance, and on fourteen minutes their fortunes took a turn for the better when they took the lead. Rob Norris put a cross into the back post from the left, only moments after nearly catching Haystead out with a free-kick that hit the bar, unmarked and with time to spare McDAID was there to head home. Ten minutes later though Sheffield were deservedly level after their best spell of the game which saw some good pressure, a corner from Paul Smith eluded the entire Grantham defence, and at the back post was JONES who stuck out a foot to get the vital touch to send the ball into the roof of the net. Club were well and truly on top at this stage, and long range shots from Gavin Smith and Paul Smith went agonisingly close, the latter causing Mario Ziccardi something to think about. Eight minutes before the break though it was Grantham who regained a lead they wouldn't lose, and quite against the run of play, as Sheffield failed to clear their lines effectively - the ball falling as far as the substitute BYRNE who stuck as sweet a shot as you'd like, giving Haystead no chance at all.
The second half saw Grantham more or less in control of matters, frustrating any creativity the visitors tried, and winning just about everything in the middle of the park. The closest Club came in the opening quarter was following a pin-point long through ball from Paul Smith, finding Jamie Smith beyond the defence, with the forward shooting just wide. On the hour mark though any work Sheffield had put in to this point was wasted in five seconds' worth of defensive mayhem, as firstly Peter Davey lost possession on half-way to Sam Mullarkey, the striker was then allowed to run half the length of the pitch before seeing Haystead come rushing out of his goal - MULLARKEY was left with the easiest of tasks of taking the ball round the keeper and walking the ball into the net. Things could have been a lot worse for Sheffield, as the Gingerbreads' best player Byrne set up Mullarkey in the middle, with the resultant shot deflecting just wide. In response Sheffield put up a bit of resistance in attack, with Paul Smith seeing his effort from a free-kick deflected wide, this however was far too rare an occurrence to cause Grantham any doubt they would end the game with anything less than all three points. Two minutes from time Sheffield were given a glimmer of hope as another Paul Smith free-kick was flicked onto the arm of a Grantham player by the head of Tom Jones, referee Sutton had no doubt in awarding the penalty, and it was SMITH who crowned a great display by slotting home the spot kick with ease. With time running out Sheffield threw everything forward in search of an unexpected point, and in the midst of a mêlée started with an innocent collision between Rob Ward and Mario Ziccardi, a minor scuffle broke that saw both Stewart Copnell and Adam Sturgess receive their marching orders.
This was another one of those games that comes along once every now again, one of those that is best quickly forgotten, and one of those that should be taken as a warning there are no easy games a this level. Club never looked comfortable this afternoon, and whilst this should only be taken as a hiccup in a great season, it puts a sizeable dent in their promotion aspirations. Grantham are nothing like the team that were expected to be pre-season favourites, but today they were gifted three points by a side who should have taken at least something from a fixture like this, and hopefully this game will get it out of their system and Sheffield will be back on track as soon as possible. But next up for Club is a run of difficult fixtures, starting with a trip to Nantwich on Wednesday, followed by a home game against leaders Retford. These will be the games that should give an indication whereabouts Club will end up on the ladder come the season's end - and an answer to the question of whether Sheffield are title candidates, play-off hopefuls, or merely also-rans.
Grantham Town: Ziccardi, Gowshall, Revill, McDaid, Sturgess, Dixon, Cann (Byrne), Fleming, Mullarkey, Turner (Gilbert), Norris (Minnett).
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Davey, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Ingall (Roney), Powell, J.Smith (Ward), Townsend (Copnell).
Att: 233.

Brigg Town 2 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Wednesday, 13/02/08

Sheffield came away from the Hawthorns with a point after goals from Darryl Winter and Gavin Smith but having squandered the chance to grab all three points by letting a two goal lead slip away. Club included former Zebra Asa Ingall, whilst Town had former Clubbie Juliano Capuano in their line up.
The first chance of the game fell to Brigg when a ball whipped in from the byline was headed across goal, but no other forward was there to take advantage. It was the visitors who then started to create the openings with Powell's first time volley being saved at the second attempt by Merrick. The Sheffield forward then beat the offside trap but blasted the ball over the bar from six yards out with the goal at his mercy. On a crisp, clear night and a decent but greasy playing surface it was the visitors who were playing the better football at this stage with Jamie Smith and especially Vill Powell creating all sorts of problems for the home defence with their running off the ball. They weren't having it all their own way though as Day saw his effort just trickle wide of the post. The breakthrough came on 25 minutes and it was the Sheffield who were the first on the scoresheet. A slip by Barrett letting in Powell, who having drawn the 'keeper out of position floated over a pinpoint cross to Jamie Smith. His header was cleared off the line but the ball fell to the in rushing Darryl WINTER who wasted no time by smashing the ball into the net. It was no more than Club deserved at this stage and Powell almost doubled the lead a minute later but Merrick was on hand to smother his shot. With ten minutes of the half remaining Brigg played a well worked free kick that had Haystead at full stretch to tip the ball around the post, the resulting corner being easily dealt with. With two minutes to play a long kick out by Haystead found Powell in open space. As Merrick came out to challenge him, the No 9 managed to loft the ball over the 'keeper but it rolled agonisingly wide of the post.
Sheffield were on the attack straight from the restart with Townsend jinking his way through the Brigg defence, who were more than happy to merely concede a corner. However, the resulting kick was floated over to the back of the area where Gavin SMITH was on hand to knock the ball goalwards and Merrick made a complete hash of things to allow the ball to go under his body. Jamie Smith then put a shot into the side netting, having done all the hard work setting up the chance in the first place. With a two goal lead and the plethora of chances wasted in the first half it looked like Sheffield had this game sewn up, but the Zebra's had other idea's. On 55 minutes a cross from the right into the area was met by the head of MAXWELL who made no mistake with the chance. Three minutes later and the game was level as Rick DAY ventured toward goal unchallenged before firing in a shot into the corner of the net. The visitors were well and truly rattled at this stage as Brigg started to dominate proceedings. A double substitution just past the hour mark saw Dolby and Ward brought into the action at the expense of Ingall and Jamie Smith, which seemed to help the visitors who started to come back into the game, although the clear cut chances on offer were few and far between. The Sheffield defence were having to work very hard to keep the Zebras at bay. Dolby had a half decent chance after a one-two with Ward but that was the last positive contribution of the game as the referee brought the game to an end.
Although Sheffield didn't lose the game, they will feel that they did 'lose' two points with the game initially appearing out of sight of Brigg by half time with a plethora of good chances squandered in front of goal. However, next up is a trip to Maggie Thatcher country as the team take on Grantham Town.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Steve Hawes
Brigg Town:Herrick, Spall, Barrett, Borland, Hope, Cochrane, Muldoon, Capuano, Day, Maxwell, Grimes. Unused Subs: Jacklin, Hellewell, Mclean.
Sheffield FC: Haystead, G.Smith, P.Smith, Davey, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Ingall (Dolby), Powell, J.Smith (Ward), Townsend. Unused Sub: Foulkes.

Sheffield FC 3 Alsager Town 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 09/02/07
Sheffield cruised to a comfortable win this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium with two goals from Asa Ingall and a Paul Smith penalty.
Dave McCarthy gave home debuts to new signings Danny Haystead in goal and four figure sum money signing, midfielder Steve Hawes, from Worksop Town. Gary Townsend was a late inclusion due to Darren Holmes injury during the warm up. Chris Dolby returned, on the bench after his recent injury layoff.
It was the visitors who had the first effort at goal straight from the kick off when McMann headed wide. Powell then saw his shot on the turn just go over the bar.. Winter was the next to test his shooting, breaking from midfield and unleashing a shot which just shaved the wrong side of the post. Dundass then shot over the bar for Alsager from a free kick on the edge of the area.. A smart move then from the home side saw Powell release Jamie Smith on goal but his chip was just over the bar with the 'keeper stranded. Alsager went close on 25 minutes when a free kick by Miller was whipped in and Haystead completely missed it, but luckily for the home side there was no one there to get on the end of the cross and it went behind for a goal kick. Sheffield finally got the breakthrough they deserved just past the half hour mark when a Paul Smith corner was delivered into the area where Jones was on hand to head goalwards and INGALL was first to react to stab the ball into the roof of the net. Two minutes later and the lead was doubled. This time a Gavin Smith free kick was cleared out of the area but Paul Smith was first to the ball to loft it back into the area and once again it was INGALL who backheaded it towards goal, the ball taking a deflection off Budrys to wrongfoot the 'keeper and roll into the net. Three minutes before the break the game was effectively over when Powell was brought down in the area when racing through on goal, Brotherton being very fortunate to only receive a yellow card. Up stepped Paul SMITH to dispatch the ball into the corner of the net despite Intihar guessing the right way and getting a hand to it.
The second half seemed little more than a training session as Sheffield controlled the game and created enough chances to win by a far bigger score, but the only time the ball ended up in the net was from an effort from Jamie Smith but he had already been flagged for offside. Alsager offered very little in attack, the closest they came to scoring was a header from Brotherton. In fact Haystead's first real save of the second half came in injury time.
A well earned three points sets the team up for their next challenge which see's them with three away matches on the trot, starting at Brigg Town on Wednesday.
BTF Club Man Of The Match  Asa Ingall
Sheffield FC:Haystead, Gav Smith (Foulkes), Paul Smith, Davey, Winter, Jones, Hawes, Ingall, Powell (Ward), Jamie Smith, Townsend (Dolby).
Alsager Town:Intihar, Reeves (Millington), Stokes (Proffitt), Dundas (McCarthy), Brotherton, Espley, Sanders, Sobolojew, Budrys, Miller, McMann.
Attendance: 256

Retford United 5 Sheffield FC 0
Presidents Cup 3rd Round
Tuesday, 29/01/08
Sheffield were at last able to get this three times postponed Presidents Cup tie at Retford United out of the way tonight in a game that was always more of an irritant than a priorty to the club.
Club brought in new signing from Grimsby Town, Luke Foulkes at left back, whilst another new signing, Tom Bellingham from Gainsborough Trinity, was named as one of the substitutes.
This was to prove to be a strange game. No doubt Manager McCarthy stressed to his players before kick off that their priority had to be the league, and probably emphasised the need for nothing silly. However, there were to be several meaty challenges in the early stages, the majority of which it has to be said coming from the Sheffield side. Daz Winter in particular guilty of a cynical foul that ended with his name in the referees note book. However, the whole nature of the game was to change significantly in the space of ten first half minutes when the hosts roared into a four goal lead, with ex-Hallam striker Mick Goddard prominent, hitting a hat-trick in six minutes. Nothing of course that Sheffield hadn't suffered before of course ! Goddard's first in the 28th minute was an easy shot under little pressure, the second in the 34th minute a back post looping header, and a minute later the No 10 went round Holmshaw to complete the hat-trick. Ryan Hindley decided to stake a claim for his share of the glory with the fourth goal in the 38th minute, although some woeful defending put the opportunity on a plate for the Retford man. It hadn't been entirely one way traffic, with former Sheffield keeper Ross Turner forced to make two fine saves, whilst a goal line clearance following a corner ensured the home side went in at the interval with their goal intact.
With the game lost, Dave McCarthy made wholesale changes for the second half with all three substitutes introduced and Rob Ward moved into a defensive role as the side played with a back three, pushing full backs Smith and Foulkes wide in midfield. However, the game pretty much degenerated into a practice match for both sides, although Goddard was able to extend his goal haul for the evening to four in the 56th minute with a simple finish. The final half an hour seemed more like an hour for the small Sheffield contingent in the crowd and it was with blessed relief that the final whistle came.
Nights like this will quickly be forgotten and forgiven if the ultimate aim of a play off spot, or dare I suggest automatic promotion, is achieved. However, lessons can still be learned from tonight and hopefully Club will do a little more to ensure Mick Goddard doesn't quite have it all his own way when the two teams meet yet again, this time in the league at The Coach & Horses next month. The fans sang 'can we play you every week'. Let's hope it comes back to haunt them.    
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Vill Powell
Retford United : Turner, Wright, Cowan (Farmery), Staton, Chambers, White (Chappell), Hindley, Fisher, Godber, Goddard, Owens (Scott).
Sheffield FC : Holmshaw, Gav Smith, Foulkes, Davey, Winters (Holmes), Jones, Ingall, Wilkins (Jamie Smith), Powell, Townsend (Bellingham), Ward.

Sheffield FC 0 Quorn 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 26/01/07
After a three week lay off due to bad weather, Sheffield finally got back into competitive action against Quorn this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium.
With the departure of Karl Colley to Alfreton Town, Pete Davey slotted in alongside captain Tom Jones in the middle of defence and it was a home debut for recent signing Jamie Smith up front. It was a tentative start as both sides got used to the heavy pitch which started to cut up almost straight away. The home side were having the better of possession in the early stages, Holmes having a sidefoot effort deflected wide. At the other end Goodman made sure Holmshaw was alert, the 'keeper gathering the midfielders shot with ease. Copnell then scuffed a first time volley after being set up by Holmes and Jenkins had a great chance to put the visitors ahead, but his shot was over the bar. Just before the half hour mark Jamie Smith had a run down the wing, cutting inside to shoot, but again, just off target. Man of the match Paul Smith then combined with Holmes, who released the ball to Jamie Smith to run onto, his cross into the middle  being cleared. A Gav Smith corner was the next to trouble the visitors as the near post effort was headed on by Ingall to Jones, who had the ball whipped off his toes at the second attempt as the skipper was about to shoot. Copnell then brought a good save out of Hoystead, the Quorn captain defecting the ball just beyond the reach of the lurking Jamie Smith. The visitors could have gone into the break a goal to the good, but a double save from Holmshaw made sure both teams ended the half goalless.
Within a minute of the restart, hesitancy in the Qourn defence allowed Jamie Smith to nip in, but he was thwarted by the 'keeper. At the other end, the visitors had a trio of good chances but all were wasted as they sailed wide of the mark. Jamie Smith once again had a good run goalwards but he shot  wide when under pressure from his marker. Just past the hour mark and the lack of games could be seen on the home side as they started to labour, giving Quorn more incentive to go forward, the visitors having a free kick well saved by Holmshaw. Jones went close for the home side when his header was pounced on by Hoystead as the ball almost squeezed under him. Copnell then had a glorious chance when beating both the offside trap and the advancing 'keeper only to try and play the ball into Jamie Smith who was surrounded by four defenders, when a shot at an open goal would have been the best option. Fresh legs were needed and Vill Powell was brought on at the expense of Copnell, his first contribution being to bring out a good save from Hoystead who defected his shot for a corner. Sheffield were now pressurising the visitors and Powell did well to dig out the ball from the corner and send over a cross which Jamie Smith headed the wrong side of the post. Tempers became frayed in the last minute when a meaty challenge by Gav Smith on Julien saw the pacy winger retaliate and shove the defender to the ground, the referee having little option but to show the red card for raising his arms.
Although Sheffield had enough opportunities to win the game, overall a draw wasn't so bad considering the three weeks inactivity they've just endured. Next up (hopefully) is the midweek trip to Retford for the thrice postponed President's Cup tie when more match practise will stand them in good stead for the oncoming glut of league games.  
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Paul Smith
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Davey, Winter, Jones, Thorpe(Wilkins), Ingall (Townsend), J.Smith, Copnell (Powell), Holmes.
Quorn: Haystead, Carter, Plummer (Brown), Squire, Wigley, Griffiths, Darby, Goodman, Jenkins (Turner), Hearn, Julien. Unused Sub: North
Attendance: 352

Gateshead 3 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond League Cup Round Four
Saturday, 05/01/08
Club ended their debut campaign in the UniBond League Cup with a 3-2 defeat at high-flying Premier Division Gateshead, after giving a performance that Dave McCarthy can be proud of, having gone in at half time two goals behind. A 11th minute penalty from Paul Thompson gave the Heed the ideal platform, this was built on by James Dudgeon who doubled the lead on thirty minutes, and it looked like Club were going to be in for a hiding. But a gallant second half display from Sheffield made the game a real contest, with the lead being narrowed to one goal by Vill Powell fifteen minutes from the end, only to see the gap return to two goals minutes later through David Southern. David Wilkins replied to reduce the gap, and Gateshead were left hanging on as the visitors bombarded the goal, seeing a fleet of chances go begging. The Tynesiders did enough to hold on for the last few minutes, but the Dronfield outfit can be more than pleased with an excellent display.
Sheffield started brightly in the opening quarter as Paul Smith went close with a shot from distance; however within seconds Gateshead broke clear up the other end, with Tom Jones committing himself with a rash challenge on James Harwood. The referee had little doubt in awarding the penalty, up stepped THOMPSON and planted the spot kick just outside of Martin Kearney's reach, giving the hosts the lead. Leon Wainman made a couple goal saving tackles, showing that he wasn't so much a fish out of water in the right back position he found himself in due to Gavin Smith's injury, and kept a dangerous looking Gateshead forward line in check. Club had an excellent chance midway through the first half, as debutant Jamie Smith put Vill Powell through on goal, but the keeper did enough to block the final chance. Gateshead's front line looked potent, threatening on just about every attack, and Ian Robson had a great chance to double the early lead seconds after - with his finish just going outside of the post. Sheffield too had their moments, showing some good touches, but sadly they couldn't get the vital finish. Gateshead made it two on the half hour, as a well worked corner set-piece saw Wayne Phillips and Jamie McClen put the ball into the middle, and there was DUDGEON who stuck out a foot to divert the ball over Martin Kearney's head. Seconds after Wayne Phillips nearly embarrassed Kearney with a cross from the left, the ball looked to be floating harmlessly over the bar but dipped at the last second, making the Sheffield stopper make an emergency tip away from goal. Gateshead were starting to look very comfortable, but a good solo run from Leon Wainman, and a shot from Stewart Copnell that whistled just over the bar gave the home side notice this could be harder than anticipated. Not the best half of football from Sheffield, but it has to be said, Gateshead look an excellent outfit and Club will need to pull out something pretty special out of the hat.
Club obviously had to come out of the blocks fastest in the second half, and would have been hoping for better after some early pressure, with Jamie Smith setting Stewart Copnell up with a great chance that was skewed sadly wide of the mark. Gateshead still looked a dangerous proposition going forward and could count themselves unlucky not to extend their lead even further, as Ian Robson was allowed to run a full fifty yards without a challenge, with his shot at the end just whipped wide of the post. It was end-to-end stuff at this point, and Darren Holmes went close as he saw his diving header saved by Ian Aitken, after a great cross by Vill Powell. Gateshead started to get the game under control, but it was Sheffield that should have added to the scoring next, as substitute David Wilkins out-muscled the defence - only to see Aitken smother his attempt on goal, not once but twice. Club grabbed a lifeline as Gary Townsend sent a defence splitting pass with fifteen to go, putting Vill Powell through one-on-one with Aitken, this time POWELL showed the composure needed to calmly walk the ball into the net. That hope though was short-lived as Gateshead were awarded a free-kick on the left, after some more classy play from the live-wire Robson that attracted a trip from the Sheffield defence; from the free-kick SOUTHERN struck the ball through the nest of players directly into the goal with Kearney clearly unsighted. If you thought that was it then you'd be wrong, seconds later Club went on the offensive once again as Townsend turned provider again, whipping a great cross in that WILKINS turned in. The chances were coming thick and fast, with Robson creating down the right and sending a ball across the face of the goal that needed the slightest of touches from Phillips to convert, and up the other end Vill Powell had a shot deflected goalwards which was watched onto the post by Copnell when a touch would have given a deserved equaliser. The luck certainly not on Club's side as in the dying minutes Leon Wainman put a fantastic cross in after a battling effort on the right, Wilkins met it with a clean header that was headed off the line with Aitken well beaten. Despite late pressure from Sheffield, they couldn't grab the goal that would take the game to extra time, and Gateshead held out to progress into the next round.
There are many positives that can be taken out of this game, the team performed as a great unit, whilst missing key players such as Karl Colley and Gavin Smith. Leon Wainman played excellently in an unfamiliar role, whilst Jamie Smith gave a promising debut before being replaced, and man-of-the-match Peter Davey and Tom Jones performed well in the middle of defence. An exit at this stage of the cup shouldn't be taken as a disappointment, it gives Club the opportunity to get back the real bread and butter of climbing back into the promotion frame, and earning some League points. Next up for Sheffield is another trip to our "friends" in North East Nottinghamshire, this time it is a Presidents Cup tie, and if Club can turn in a performance like the one in the second half up here - well, it should be entertaining!
BTF Club Man of the Match - Peter Davey
Gateshead: Aitken, Gate, Talbot, Hutchinson, Dudgeon, Robinson (Baxter), Robson, McClen (Bowey), Thompson, Harwood (Southern), Phillips.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, Wainman, P.Smith, Davey, Ingall (Townsend), Jones, Thorpe, J.Smith (Wilkins), Powell, Holmes, Copnell. Sub Not Used Taylor.
Att: 217
Meanwhile back at the BFS the Reserves had a better day of it, beating Thorncliffe 7-0, with Moore (4) McKenzie, Lipka and Eskante the scorers for Sheffield.

Retford United 2 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 01/01/08

The much awaited trip to the table toppers ended all-square this afternoon, at a pretty foggy Cannon Park, in a game that was a game of three thirds if anything. The first thirty minutes was dominated absolutely by Sheffield, who played some of the best football of the season in this period; eventually getting their reward with a goal on 17 minutes from Stewart Copnell. The middle third was all Retford, who came back into the match, and swung the game their way with two goals - one in the 58th minute from Mick Godber and one in the 64th minute by Neil Harvey. The final third was as even as anything, a real end to end finale, with Leon Wainman making the scoreline as even as the contest with an equaliser five minutes from time. The Badgers ended the game a man short though, as Ryan Ford became the second player to take an early march against Club over the festive period; however the sending off did little to give Sheffield the advantage in the final few seconds.
As expected this fixture attracted the biggest attendance of the season to Cannon Park, as everyone expected this to be the Badgers' biggest challenge to their title aspirations, and they weren't to be disappointed. Club came out of the blocks on all cylinders and could have had an early lead, as ex-Badger Vill Powell held off the defence to tee-up Asa Ingall, with the Salmon's shot scraping the outside of the post with Chris Kingston in the Retford goal beaten. Sheffield pressed without any end result, but had the hosts chasing shadows, whilst keeping them on the back-foot with all the pressure. Some more hard work by Powell, who at this stage was dominating that part of the field, set up Stewart Copnell who in turn blazed the ball inches over the bar. Club needed to make this pressure pay before frustration set in and just after the quarter hour mark they came up trumps, as some excellent work in the middle saw COPNELL pick up the ball and absolutely skinned Matt Fisher, leaving him the easiest of tasks of walking the ball round the prone Kingston to give a well deserved lead. Powell and Copnell worked well together seconds after, combining and allowing Copnell to let another rasper go, this time Kingo had to be at his best to pull off a fantastic one-handed save - one that probably turned the tide for the game. Retford were starting to come into the game more and more, and they managed to tighten up their slack defence and spend a bit more time pressing up at the other end, although it had to be said despite all the pressure the front pairing of Godber and Harvey looked far from impressive.
The second half saw Retford still dominating, but this time Harvey was looking much more like the player we expect to be playing, and he was starting to create a lot more down the right hand side. Sheffield keeper Martin Kearney was having to do much more as well, and he looked a more competent force in the area than he had against Stocksbridge, and he came to Club's rescue when he made a brave stop at the feet of Steve Owens when a goal looked certain. Sadly he could do much about the goal that drew Retford back level just before the hour mark, as Harvey broke down the right and sent the ball across the face of goal to ex-Clubbie GODBER, who having done nothing  else of note in the ninety minutes infuriatingly kept up his fantastic scoring record against Sheffield by stroking the ball home. Sheffield went up the other end, and could have re-taken the lead, as Copnell saw his effort cleared off the line by Ben Chambers. As tends to happen in these situations, failure to take your chances against quality opposition will result in them scoring, and five minutes later Retford did - with HARVEY rising first and highest to get the vital flick to divert a free-kick home past Kearney. It became a yo-yo game now, with both teams throwing men forward in an attempt to either save the game - or make it safe - depending on your point of view. With five to go it was Sheffield who got the breakthrough, with a throw in on the left resulting in a bit of keepie-up by the Sheffield players, ending in Copnell kneeing the ball onto WAINMAN who swept the ball beyond Kingston. As the game was entering its final throes, Ryan Ford went over the top in a challenge on substitute Matt Roney, giving referee Knee little option but to show a red card.
So it was honours even in the end, and to be honest that was a fair result on the balance of play, but it does little to the positions in the table. Retford remain top, although Cammell Laird close in a little, whilst Sheffield remain in seventh spot - fifteen points behind top spot, with five games in hand. Next along for Club is a trek up to Brendan Foster country, Premier Division Gateshead "Heed's" 2-1 defeat at lowly Whitby. That is followed by another trip to Cannon Park next Tuesday, this time it will be the President's Cup, hopefully that'll serve up a result a little more favourable than today's.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Stewart Copnell

Retford United: Kingston, Wright, Farmery, Ford, Chambers, Simpkins, Owens, Fisher, Godber, Harvey (Goddard), Duffield (Chappell.) Sub Not Used: Ludlam
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley (Wainman), Ingall, Jones, Thorpe (Roney), Davey, Powell (Wilkins), Holmes, Copnell.

Att: 383.

Sheffield FC 4 Stocksbridge Park Steels 3
UniBond Division One South
Wednesday, 26/12/07
It was goals galore at the Bright Finance Stadium, as Asa Ingall's 82nd minute header proved to be the difference in a seven goal thriller, one that saw Sheffield come out on top against this season's local rivals. It was a real see-saw first half, with both sides grabbing three goals each, and the lead changing sides three times. Gavin Smith opened the scoring for Club in the third minute of play, but after eighteen minutes the hosts were behind, as a gift goal for Mark Ward and a well earned one for Alvin Riley put the Steelmen ahead. Six minutes later and it was Sheffield who got their noses in front, with an excellent strike from man-of-the-match Paul Smith and one from Vill Powell taking it to 3-2, but Steels were level five minutes from the break with another Riley goal. The second half saw the goals almost dry up, but there was still a great battle between two determined teams, before the "Salmon" put all three points in the safe. There was sour note for this keenly contested game, as Stocksbridge skipper Ryan Ludlam got his marching orders for a pretty vicious two footed lunge on Gary Townsend, a challenge that was well out of character with the rest of the game.
After the wet holiday period, the pitch was understandably heavy underfoot, so it always looked as if today's game was going to be a turgid game rather than a fast passing game that suits the Sheffield outfit. Even so Club got the ideal start after only three minutes, as the Stocksbridge defence held off Gavin Smith, allowing SMITH enough time and space to let a sweet strike go from twenty-five yards that left Andy Jeffrey no chance at all. At this point it looked as if Sheffield were going to have it all their own way, with the Steels' defence failing to pick up the most routine of markings and allowing Tom Jones an unchallenged header shortly after the goal, one that could have doubled the lead if not for a fortunate ricochet in defence. But that premise was proved to be unfounded, as on twelve minute the visitors were given a gift that even Santa would have thought to be unlikely, when Martin Kearney inexplicably dropped the ball under no pressure at all at the feet of WARD who waltzed the ball into the empty net. The hosts must have been overcome with the sense of charity, as six minutes later they gifted RILEY all the space in the world to run at the defence, holding any challenges at bay the Stocksbridge player managed to slot the ball past Kearney. But that lead only lasted a mere three minutes, as Club pushed forward for an equaliser a free-kick was awarded by referee Roberts, one that Paul SMITH was happy to curl home from twenty yards. It seemed the goals were coming thick and fast, and when three minutes later Vill Powell and Gary Townsend played some intricate one-twos on the edge of the box, a shot from POWELL was only going to end in one place - in the top corner giving Jeffrey no chance once again. With Club pushing to make the game out of reach, in turn they left the back a little exposed, and they could count themselves lucky not to concede after the ball struck the post and bounced gratefully into the arms of Kearney. That luck wasn't to last though, as with five minutes to the break Sheffield failed to clear their lines effectively, the ball fell to RILEY who pumped in a cross-cum-shot that was left by all and sundry to curl into the far corner - leaving the home support wondering how many more Christmas gifts were they going to hand out before the end?
The answer to that was not many, as the half time team talk ensured that enough was enough, and with it the number of chances the visitors was going to get dried up. But fortune wasn't on Club's side just yet, as Daz Winter failed to show for the second half with a badly bruised foot, whilst Gavin Smith hobbled off three minutes after the restart with an injury of his own. Neither side created much, although Paul Smith put in some telling corners that had the visitors scrambling, with the hosts really piling on the pressure. On the hour mark though things started to get a little tasty, as one or two heavy tackles were starting to fly in, with Ryan Ludlam overstepping the mark with a nasty two-footed lunge on Gary Townsend - one that left the referee little or no option but to produce a straight red for the Steels' skipper. With a man disadvantage Stocksbridge were doing everything to ensure they came out of S18 with at least a point, and Gary Marrow's men were literally throwing themselves at the ball in a valiant rear-guard action, and Club were more or less frustrated at every point. Matt Roney sent in an excellent cross that Stewart Copnell hooked over, Paul Smith sent an inch perfect corner in that Tom Jones headed just wide, whilst the icing on the cake came when Vill Powell's certain goal was blocked by the foot of Richard Adams - who it just so happens was strewn out in the six-yard box injured. It looked as if luck would dessert Sheffield this afternoon; however from the resultant corner from Powell's fluke-ishly stopped effort, up rose INGALL in a mêlée of players to head home to the relief of everyone in the Sheffield ranks. It could have ended more emphatically for the hosts, with Roney and Powell both shooting over, with the best chance coming as Roney whipped a wicked cross across the face of the goal - and with the merest of touches needed in the middle, Powell couldn't get any part of his body to it, despite being inches from the ball.
So the first UniBond Derby went the way of Sheffield, and without any bias I can add deservedly so, but credit must go to Stocksbridge. They battled manfully throughout the ninety, and whilst they always had an uphill struggle after Ludlam's dismissal, it always looked that Sheffield had the upper hand. Questions must be asked about the three goals Sheffield conceded though, and whilst they didn't matter in the overall scope of the result, the way these were gifted were totally out of character - probably why it was such a shock for those watching. But those are in the past, and next up is the next chapter of y chwedl llyfr Cymraeg, and Saturday's visit of Colwyn Bay. The last two encounters have had their fair share of entertainment, let's hope chapter three sees more of the same, with a similar number of goals in the scored column as today's game - but not so many in the conceded one...
BTF Club Man of the Match - Paul Smith
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith (Copnell), P.Smith, Davey, Winter (Roney), Jones, Thorpe, Ingall, Powell, Holmes, Townsend. Sub Not Used: Wainman.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Jeffrey, Ludlam, Oldham, Adams, Kennedy, Telling, Richards, Brown (Carter), Vardy, Ward (Ring), Riley.  Sub Not Used: Beggs.
Att: 461

Shepshed Dynamo 0 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Saturday 22/12/07

Sheffield got back to winning ways after their enforced break as they completed the double over Shepshed at the Dovecote, with goals at the end of either half from Gavin Smith and Gary Townsend.
The game got under way in bleak conditions, with 'club' kicking into a strong wind and driving rain, Powell having an early opportunity go wide after a defensive slip. Wilkins was then foiled by a timely interception by the home 'keeper while at the other end Dynamo centre forward Clarke had a header cleared away. The weather conditions and uneven pitch weren't helping matters for either side with little opportunity of any flowing football for the sparse crowd to enjoy. Guiney had a shot just over for the home side and Ingall had a free header for the visitors, but put it straight at the 'keeper. Sheffield were starting to dominate at this stage and Powell was unlucky when his effort hit the bar after Jones had directed a header back across the area from a Paul Smith corner. With five minutes of the half remaining Wilkins brought out the best save of the half from Hateley when his crisply hit volley was tipped away by the 'keeper. There was a scare at the other end when the defence seemed to hesitate, allowing Clarke in, but the strikers toe poke was just the wrong side of the post. Sheffield finally got on the score sheet just before half time. Some good inter-passing down the left wing between Paul Smith and Vill Powell saw the striker move into the box and play the ball into the middle and GAVIN SMITH was on hand to stab the ball home.

The second half had Sheffield with the wind and rain at their backs and almost made full use of it when a long ball forward found Powell unopposed, but the striker dwelt on the ball too long and Millns was able to get a challenge in. Dynamo were by no means out of it and substitute Williams tried his luck from long range but Kearney was able to gather the shot with ease. It was the home side who were dictating the play now as Sheffield sat back. Thankfully, man of the match Tom Jones and his fellow defenders were up to the task as displayed just past the hour mark when Kearney pulled off the save of the match, a fine one-handed reaction save at his near post. Then Jones was on hand to head an effort off the line, quickly followed by Winter having to do the same thing. The introduction of Roney seemed to give Sheffield more of an outlet as the tricky winger made use of his pace to beat a defender but shot wide. With less than five minutes to go it was Roney again who was causing the danger, this time taking the ball around the 'keeper but his shot was blocked on the line. The game was well and truly wrapped up on the stroke of half time when Jones cleared the ball from defense and, as everyone stood waiting for an offside call Sheffield's 'super' sub Gary TOWNSEND was first to react and chased the ball forward, lobbing it over the stranded Hateley and into the net. It was his second goal in consecutive games from the bench, both of which were against Shepshed. The enforced lay-off due to recent postponements clearly showed on the players, but hopefully this will have given them the much needed match practice to sharpen up their skills for the holiday period, starting with our first derby of the season against Stocksbridge at the Bright Finance Stadium on Boxing Day.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Tom Jones

Shepshed Dynamo: Hateley, Whitehead, Fletcher, Munn (Williams), Millns, Frecklington, R.Powell, Guiney, Clarke, A.Jones (Parr), Peel (Banks).
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Davey, T.Jones, Ingall, Thorpe, V.Powell (Roney), Holmes, Wilkins (Townsend). Sub Not Used: Dolby.

Att: 128

Sheffield FC 1 Shepshed Dynamo 0
UniBond League First Division South
Saturday, 01/12/07
An 85th minute header from Gary Townsend was the deciding factor in this war of attrition, this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium, as an injury hit Sheffield Club saw off the spirited challenge of Shepshed Dynamo. Club were without skipper Tom Jones for this game, having been injured early on in Tuesday's FA Trophy tie against Colwyn Bay, along with Chris Dolby who was another casualty of midweek with a groin injury. The week's heavy rain had made the pitch extremely heavy in places, and despite cutting up pretty badly, both sides contributed to an entertaining - if not flowing - game of football. In the end it was a very even physical match, with the hosts probably just shading it in terms of possession and chances, and the scoreline probably reflects the balance of play.
The cold biting wind affected much of the game, adding to the already difficult conditions, with Club having the "advantage" in the fist period. Even so Dynamo were out of the blocks like lightning, catching Sheffield cold early on, with Chris Parr forcing an excellent one-handed save from Martin Kearney inside the first thirty seconds. Ten minutes in and Parr was at it again, and Kearney was denying him again, this time from a close range stab as Sheffield were struggling to clear their lines. Eventually Club started to push the ball forward, and with it came their first chance as David Wilkins found himself free on the left wing, digging out a cross that was met by a glancing header by Stewart Copnell that was steered just wide of the post. The best chance of the half for the home side came when Asa Ingall nodded the ball through to Vill Powell who had managed to shake his markers off and give himself a clear run on goal, with only Gary Hateley in the goal to beat, the finish though was disappointing to say the least as the ball was shot straight at the keeper's legs. Seconds after this the visitors were up the other end, with Andy Jones seeing his shot blocked; it really was end-to-end stuff at this stage. If anything Shepshed were the better team in the first half, and Sheffield's struggle wasn't helped when emergency defender Rob Ward had to be replaced after just 18 minutes, meaning yet another re-organisation of the side for messrs McCarthy and Walshaw. Dynamo were taking full advantage of this settling down period, with Martin Kearney finding himself to be a very busy man, having to be called into action in particular to tip the ball over from Lee Mellon's shot from 25 yards out. Ten minutes before the break Sheffield had a massive escape with Chris Parr again being the danger-man, out-manoeuvring Karl Colley in the middle before letting a shot go from the edge of the box that had Kearney beaten all ends up, the ball struck the foot of the post before bouncing kindly into the keeper's hands.
If luck was on Sheffield's side in the first half, it certainly wasn't in the second, as their attempts to get back on top were thwarted by a series of frustrating decisions from the officials and some backs-to-the-wall defence from the visitors. The first ten minutes didn't offer much in relation to chances on goal, but eventually the hosts started to find their way through the middle, with Shepshed finding themselves on the back foot. A corner fell out to Karl Colley, who placed a delicate little ball to Darren Holmes that belied his size, Holmes jinked his way through the defence - like the Holmesey of old - eventually dinking a little shot with the outside of his foot, sadly it also hit the outside of the post. Luck was against Club again five minutes later when a Matt Roney corner was met in the middle by Colley, his header looked destined to find the back of the net, somehow though Tommy Leighton was on the line for the visitors who headed the ball onto the underside of the bar - then as fortune would have it - out to safety. Vill Powell was the next to turn provider as he danced his way into the box, placing the ball across to Stewart Copnell, his shot though hit David Wilkins rather than the back of the net. Moments after Powell was through again, this time he took one too many touches of the ball, before firing straight at Hateley once again. Don't read into this that it was ALL Sheffield - it wasn't - and Shepshed spent quite a fair bit of time in the hosts' half, they just didn't seem to create that many chances. When they did, they did it properly, with Chris Parr hitting a shot from long distance that hit the post - it wasn't going to be the youngster's day really. Ten minutes from the end came the change that decided the game, with Gary Townsend making his first competitive first team appearance of the season, coming on for Stewart Copnell. Within five minutes he had made his mark big style, Matt Roney pumped the ball into the middle, up rose TOWNSEND to meet the ball with his head to turn it home. That was all it took, all the home team needed to do was hang on for the last five and it was job done, and they did it successfully to grab a deserved win in a difficult game.
Shepshed looked a side far better than the one that is depicted by the league table, obviously the new manager Lee Wilson has brought a winning mentality with him from Gedling Town, and the return at the Dovecote in three weeks time will be an interesting game to say the least. The win doesn't do much as far as the table is concerned, Sheffield still staying in fifth, despite two of the teams above Club (Goole and Cammell Laird) losing their games this afternoon. Next up for Sheffield is a trip to the other corner of Derbyshire, to the Moat Ground in Church Gresley, where they will meet a Rovers side smarting from a 5-1 hiding at Grantham. Hopefully if the injury situation improves, it will be another notch in the post for Club, if not I guess it will be another tough hurdle to overcome the hard way.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter (Holmes), Ward (Roney), Ingall, Davey, Powell, Wilkins, Copnell (Townsend).
Shepshed Dynamo: Hateley, Whitehead, Pell (East), Munn, Booth, Frecklington, Banks, Mellon, Jones (Adelukan), Parr, Leighton. Sub Not Used: Mottishead.
Att: 247.

Sheffield FC 2 Colwyn Bay 2 - Colwyn Bay Won 4-3 On Penalties After Extra Time
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday, 27/11/07
With a place in the first round proper at home to Burton Albion there was everything to play for in tonight's replay. Sheffield welcomed back Karl Colley after his suspension, but, surprisingly there was no place available for Stuart Copnell, either in the starting line up or on the bench. The match was late starting due to the Colwyn players having been held up in traffic after an accident on their way over the Pennines.

The game got off to a spectacular start with Kearney acrobatically saving from Olsen after the Seagull's skipper had been gifted the ball with a mis-placed header from Colley. In fact the late arrival seemed to have little effect on the visitors as they were the first to settle. Fifteen minutes in and Sheffield had to re-think their tactics as Jones limped off, to be replaced by Wilkins with Rob Ward falling back in to a defensive role. A good move down the left hand side for Colwyn saw the ball whipped across the area for Quayle, whose effort was just over the bar. At the other end, Sheffield's first serious effort came when Davey laid the ball back to Winter, his first time thunderbolt being gathered by Speare at the second attempt. The Welshmen took the lead just on the half hour mark when a harmless looking shot from Mark QUAYLE somehow squirmed out of Kearney's grasp and into the net. The home side kept pressing for the equaliser but were thwarted time after time by the linesman flagging for offside as Colwyn held a high defensive line. However, just before the break the game was tied. A through ball by Dolby saw WILKINS beat the offside trap and slip the ball beyond the 'keeper and into the net.

The second half saw Sheffield make a good start, gaining two corners in quick succession, Speare doing well to clear the danger. Then it was Kearney's turn to keep the scores level as he parried a shot from Lawless to safety. The game was much more even at this point, both sides having plenty of possession. Kearney was again at his best to save from Olsen whilst at the other end; Powell did well to dispossess Williams on the by-line as the defender was trying to shield the ball out, Speare having to make a good save. Colwyn then had Sheffield on the back foot, the home defence struggling at times to get the ball clear. Wilkins almost doubled his tally when his shot was slightly deflected, Speare having to re-adjust to make a fine fingertip save. He was on hand again a minute later when Dolby's corner was cleared to the edge of the area where Winter once again let loose with a fierce shot. That was the last chance of normal time. On an energy sapping pitch, the last thing the players needed was extra time, but the game had to be played to a conclusion and, with just two minutes on the clock Adam WADE went on a run down the right, cut inside and unleashed a cracking shot into the top corner to restore the visitor's lead. Major controversy was to follow five minutes later when Wilkins once again slipped through the offside trap and rounded the 'keeper, this time though Speare brought the striker down, and with everyone waiting for the whistle to blow the referee indicated 'play on'. The game was held up for a good few minutes as the players remonstrated with the referee and his linesman, Wilkins getting booked for being too vociferous. The incident certainly seemed to fire the home side up as they battled for every ball and minutes later they got their just reward when, after some sustained pressure DOLBY fired in a shot hard and low from the edge of the area to level the scores. Speare had to be at his best then to save a glancing header from Wilkins.

The second half of extra time saw chances fall at both ends as, with the players tiring there was more space to move the ball, but both 'keepers were determined to make sure they conceded no more goals in open play. So it was going to be decided on penalties and it was Sheffield to start the lottery off, with Paul Smith scoring to put the home side in front 1-0. Lawless was the first taker for Colwyn, his shot being saved by Kearney 1-0.  Up stepped regular penalty taker Rob Ward, but his shot was over the bar (his second penalty miss on the trot). 1-0. Murt then leveled the score for the visitors. 1-1. The teams then traded goals with Powell and Wilkins being successful for Sheffield while Olsen and Quayle did likewise for Colwyn. So, the last of the regular spot kicks and Matt Roney steps up to blast it straight down the middle, Speare got his hands to it, but , thankfully for the home supporters could only direct it into the roof of the net. Would Kearney become the hero of the night with a last kick save? Unfortunately the answer was no as Armstrong steers his kick into the corner of the net. So it went to sudden death and it was Colley up first for Sheffield, but he pulled his shot wide of the post. It was left to Steve Wynne to grab all the plaudits as his kick hit the back of the net, sending the group of travelling Seagulls fans into ecstasy. So, Sheffield's Trophy exploits are over for this season and, once again, a team arriving late at the Bright Finance Stadium go home with a win. It's back to league action on Saturday at home to Shepshed Dynamo.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Paul Smith

Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones (Wilkins), Thorpe (Ingall), Dolby (Roney), Powell, Ward, Davey. Subs Not Used: Townsend, Holmshaw.
Colwyn Bay: Speare, Wynne, Williams (Walker), Armstrong, Boardman, Callaghan, wade, Olsen, Quayle, Murt, Lawless. Subs Not Used: Roberts, Finley.


Colwyn Bay 1 Sheffield FC 1
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday, 24/11/07
Club find themselves in the draw for the first round proper in the FA Trophy, after they earned a 1-1 draw in North Wales, bringing Colwyn Bay back to the Bright Finance Stadium for the replay on Tuesday. The game started badly for Sheffield, falling behind in the third minute to a Neil Black goal, but matters were levelled five minutes later when Rob Ward scored his ninth of the season. Clubbie stalwart Andy Turner travelled across to the game and reports...
A minute's silence was observed impeccably at the start of proceedings today at Llanelian Road where Colwyn Bay entertained Sheffield FC in this FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round tie following the death recently of Margaret Jones, a stalwart of the club for many years. The weather was cloudy, cool and at times rainy and with a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch, it made play sometimes a little difficult. However, we were in for an entertaining game. As early as the second minute, Powell went close to opening the score with an attempted chip over the Bay keeper, but Speare plucked the ball from the sky and set his men on their way up field, which found Club flat footed as BLACK beat the offside trap on the right hand side, came inside and with the deftest of touches wrong footed Kearney at the seaward end of the ground to put the Seagulls into an early lead. Sheffield re-started the game an pressed for an equaliser, but a lot of loose ball prevented them from making headway until a Dolby corner caused confusion in the box, with no-one really getting hold of the ball until it found its way on the right to Thorpe who delivered a brilliant cross which was met by the head of man of the match WARD to level the score on the 8th minute. During the rest of the half, both sides created some good chances to take the lead, notably Powell, Wilkins and Dolby, whose efforts sadly fizzled out. Kearney had to react quickly to save at the feet of Blake, who was lively all game and at the centre of most of the home side’s endeavours. The 28th minute saw Callaghan and Jones come together in a 50/50 challenge, with Callaghan coming off worst and ushered the Bay Pyshio to the centre circle. A number of chances missed brought the half time whistle of Mr Dunne ever closer, virtually on the stroke of 45 minutes; Ingall committed a nasty tackle on Lawless and was fortunate to only receive a booking. Ward had an outstanding half playing in the back line.

Early in the second half, Sheffield nearly took the lead through a good shot by Powell after good work by Wilkins, closely followed by a good attempt by Winter. Chances came and went, the best of which for the home side when Callaghan had a terrific shot cleared of the line by a Sheffield defender, and Crowder went close with a long range effort. Both Smith’s were involved in a lot of good things, but ultimately the final ball was not decisive enough from the forwards. Wainman came on for Wilkins with 10 minutes to go and fresh legs almost made the difference when he was given a half chance to wrap it up when put though by Powell with just 2 minutes to the end. In the dying seconds, Sheffield kept their opponents by their corner flag as they knew that a replay was becoming an ever more reality on Tuesday evening at Bright Finance Stadium, a game which will surely see us into the next round.

BTF Club Man of the Match - Rob Ward

Colwyn Bay: Speare, Wynne, Williams, Brandreth, Boardman, Callaghan, Crowder, Olsen, Black, Quayle (Murt), Lawless, Subs Not Used: Wade, Roberts
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Thorpe, Winter, Jones, Ingall (Davey), Dolby, Powell, Ward, Wilkins, (Wainman) Subs Not Used: Roney, Townsend, Holmshaw.

Att: 222

Sheffield FC 0 AFC Goole 0
UniBond League First Division South
Saturday, 17/11/07
It was stalemate at a packed Bright Finance Stadium this afternoon as the teams in third and fourth positions fought out a goalless draw. With Colley still suspended Ward was once again used as a utility defender alongside Jones and Kearney regaining his spot between the posts.

Sheffield had the first effort of the afternoon when Ingall brought a full length save out of Parry. At the other end. Goole centre forward Karl Rose then saw his diving header saved by Kearney. Rose's next contribution saw him take the long walk to the dressing room after being sent off after an off the ball altercation with Jones. The game was lively enough, especially in midfield where Ingall and one time Sheffield target Brad Hill were having a fine tussle. It was Ingall again who tested Parry in the visitors net, this time shooting over. The keeper was again on hand to tip away a corner with the Sheffield attack bearing down on him. The visitors had a good chance not long after that but the shot was way off the mark. Sheffield were making the numerical advantage count, pinning the visitors back in their own half. Just passed the half hour mark Powell headed the ball down into the path of Copnell and his first time volley flew just over the bar. With five minutes of the half remaining Golle almost snatched the lead when a corner ball saw Chapman rise above the defence and head goalwards only to see his effort cleared off the line. Just before the break Ingall lost his marker and fed the ball to Winter, who's first time drive from 35 yards flew just over the bar.

The second half got off to an explosive start, when, inside a minute Sheffield were awarded a penalty. Sheffield kicked off and the ball was fed deep into the Goole area where Powell was on hand to bring it under control, only to be brought down by Chapman. Up stepped the normally reliable Rob Ward but his kick was saved by Parry, the striker also finding the keeper in his way to block the rebound before heading over the bar. This seemed to spur the visitors into life as Bray went close, Kearney saving the strikers effort. At the other end Wilkins had Parry scrambling to gather the ball as his shot looked to be heading into the far corner. Despite being a man short it was Goole who were looking more in control of proceedings, ex-clubbie Dean Sidebottom striking the bar from 25 yards with Kearney left stranded. Bray then had a good run at the defence before crossing the ball, Sidebottom again the dangerman in thr area but this time it was scrambled away by the defence. Just after the hour mark Chapman went close with a header from Mclean's free kick. Sheffield were having difficulty mounting an attack as every long ball out of defence found the home strikers isolated with no support, allowing Goole time to numerically overwhelm them and regain possession. With 20 minutes left it was that man Sidebottom once again shooting on sight and,once again smashing his effort against the bar. At the other end Wilkins did well to find space to send over a cross for Powell, lurking near the penalty spot, the striker going for the spectacular volley which was wide of the mark. Into the last quarter of the game, and with the visitors now visibly tiring Sheffield 'upped' their game and Powell was guilty of wasting a good chance after a good run down the inside channel, prefering to shoot from a tight angle when there were players better placed. Ward almost made amends for his earlier penalty miss when a pin point free kick to the back post by man of the match Paul Smith found the striker unmarked,but his header went the wrong side of the post and into the side netting. That was effectively the last decent chance of the game, the visitors content to run the clock down at every opportunity.

With no midweek game coming up it gives the players time to rest and recover from injuries before taking a break from the league once again next Saturday, travelling to take on Colwyn Bay in the FA Trophy.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Paul Smith

Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Thorpe, Winter, Jones, Wilkins, Ingall, Powell, Ward, Copnell (Roney). Unused Subs: Wainman, Dolby.

Goole: Parry, Fawcus, Mclean, Hill, Jenkinson, Chapman, Sidebottom, Jackson, Rose, Bray (Ninje), Buttle (O'Neill). Unused Sub: Danby

Sheffield FC 4 Lincoln United 2
UniBond League Challenge Cup Round Three
Tuesday, 13/11/07
Sheffield were presented with the "UniBond Team of the Month" award before tonight's game, and showed exactly why they won that accolade, turning in a great all-round performance dispatching Premier Division Lincoln United from the UniBond League Cup. Two goals from Asa Ingall, plus one each from Vill Powell and David Wilkins saw Club return to winning ways after the disappointment of Saturday's trip to Carlton - putting them into the last sixteen in their debut foray into this competition. Missing a list of regulars as long as your arm, Sheffield always seemed to have the game in hand, and thoroughly deserved their passage into the next round. A barnstorming first half performance had Lincoln rocking as the hosts ran into a convincing two goal lead, but somehow Club slacked off enough to allow the visitors level with two goals from Ben Good, but the true reflection of the game was restored as Club finished the stronger of the two.
Despite Lincoln being one division higher than Club, the feeling was that the hosts would be favourites, especially based on recent form. The visitors didn't enter the game with the best preparation, having parted company with manager John Ramshaw the previous day; however his temporary replacement in assistant manger Chris White would have been more than delighted with the way his charges started the game. The Whites started strongly, and Scott Huckerby forced an excellent block by Martin Kearney, after being put through on goal in the opening minute. Kearney also had to be at his best seconds after, displaying some terrific reflexes after Tom Jones poked the ball back goalwards a little too strong, with the keeper tipping the ball over the bar. In the eight minute Sheffield made a march up the field, and took the lead in spectacular circumstances when INGALL planted the ball in the top right hand corner of the net from fully twenty five yards, leaving the visiting keeper Ben Scott beaten all ends up. The goal catapulted Sheffield into the ascendency, and Stewart Copnell nearly doubled the lead as he shot from the edge of the area, only a foul on the Sheffield striker stopped him being on target. From the resultant free-kick Paul Smith struck the bar, again Scott was nowhere near the ball, and moments later Copnell set up Ingall who rattled the bar from the edge of the area. Club were well and truly in control, and the chances were coming thick and fast, with the visitors really riding their luck. Stewart Copnell went close after a solo effort, whilst a Paul Smith cross was only just missed by the stretching Daz Winter; the borderline between 1-0 and a hat full was really wafer thin. On the half hour mark Sheffield got their just desserts, as David Wilkins showed a "never-say-die" attitude to dig a cross out on the by-line, and POWELL showed great agility to dive and head home a spectacular and deserved goal. Three minutes later the visitors were handed a very generous lifeline by the referee, as Huckerby fell down on the edge of the box under pressure from Miles Thorpe, with Mr Thompson deciding awarding a penalty was the order of the day. I guess you could say justice prevailed, as Danny Brooks blazed the ball into orbit, but the decision obviously rattled Club as a few seconds later the lead was halved. The ball was picked up by Justin Jenkins just inside the Sheffield half, he threaded an inch perfect ball behind the hosts' defensive line finding GOOD who produced a left foot finish to suit his name, rounding Kearney to slot home. Despite this Club still finished the stronger, and Daz Winter had an opportunity to restore the two goal lead after being put through by Vill Powell, Winter's shot though was tipped over by Scott.
The second period saw a positive and confident start from the hosts, and the way they were playing it looked as if there could be plenty more goals to come, but the next one came quite against the run of play in favour of the visitors. Ten minutes into the half Lincoln earned a corner, Danny Brooks delivered it from the right, and GOOD bundled the ball home from close range. After the hard work of the opening hour, it seemed amazing to see Sheffield only level at this point, and on the balance of play Club could justifiably feel they should have held a goal lead at the very least. They had to wait until midway through the second half to get their rewards, as a long ball from Gav Smith found David Wilkins who beat a very ordinary attempt at an offside trap, and the forward showed great composure to square the ball back across goal to INGALL who stroked home his second of the night. The Lincoln defence were livid with the lack of a flag from the officials, which was understandable given the variety of interpretations given on the night, but on both occasions the ball was played through a white shirt was goal-side. The visitors did manage to find the back of the Sheffield net, as Brooks ran through to slot past Kearney; however that was ruled out for offside. To be honest the Whites were starting to press the Sheffield defence more than at any time in the game, and with the pressure they left themselves rather exposed at the back, as they found out to their expense fifteen minutes from the end. Lincoln had a corner which Brooks whipped into the middle; the ball was collected routinely and launched up field, sadly for the guests the keeper Scott made a huge cock-up trying to head clear and left WILKINS with the easiest of tasks of walking the ball into the empty net. That was it as far as scoring was concerned, but Kearney still had time to pull off the save of the match in the closing minutes, as Andy Toyne saw his header tipped onto the bar by the Sheffield keeper.
To say this was a much improved performance goes down as an understatement, underpinning the theory that Saturday's loss at Carlton was a blip from a very tired side, and showing the true class of a very exciting Sheffield outfit. It really could have been more for both sides, and it could be described as being a classic cup-tie, with the bar being struck on no less than three occasions. Dave McCarthy will no doubt be pleased with the display tonight, and there are some interesting names left in the hat that will give his side a great challenge in the next round, hopefully the draw will be kind enough to see Club march into the last eight. Next along on the UniBond Road is the visit on Saturday of Goole AFC, a team we have met twice already this season, both of those encounters ending favourably for Sheffield.  A win in that game will see Club return to third spot in the UniBond Division One South, but as we all know, it will be anything but an easy game in store.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Asa Ingall
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Thorpe, Winter, Jones, Ingall, Wilkins, Powell (Roney), Ward, Copnell (Wainman). Sub Not Used: Holmes.
Lincoln United: Scott, Foyle (Giles), Brooks, Glarvey, Brown, Toyne, Mallinson, Huckerby (Douglas), Jenkins, Screaton, Good. Sub Not Used: White.
Att: 150 (approx)

Carlton Town 4 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 10/11/07

After the Lord Mayor's Parade... well you know the rest. A tired looking Sheffield side were bashed by their bogey side Carlton Town, at a cold and windy Stoke Lane this afternoon, with the Millers running out 4-1 winners. Goals from Fabian Smith just before half time, Martin Ball just after the break, and two in the last five minutes from Darryl Thomas and Aiden Brady saw Town home, whilst an own-goal from David Jephson on the hour was Club's only response. To make matters worse Stuart Copnell saw red after 70 minutes, following two of the harshest yellow cards ever, making this a pretty forgettable end to one of the most memorable weeks in the Club's history.
On paper this looked to be the ideal fixture after such a hectic week for Dave McCarthy's boys, Carlton languishing in the lower reaches of the table, but as we all know from last season Carlton have the ability to raise their game when Club roll into town. The danger signs were there early on, as the hosts stifled the Sheffield attack by playing a high defensive line, with the visitors getting caught offside frequently. The first chance fell to the home side, when a speculative cross-cum-shot by Martin Ball left everyone staring at the ball as it hit the bar, luckily bouncing to safety. The workmanlike Carlton side were bossing the game and when Dean Gent's defence splitting ball found Darryl Thomas, you feared the worst, fortunately the finish was rather poor. Sheffield had their moments, Stewart Copnell and Vill Powell combined to set Rob Ward in, only for a fortuitous deflection from Dominic Jones to see it wide. Steve Chaplin had a couple of chances to give the Millers a lead; firstly he headed just wide, then moments after he had a shot go close. Frustration was taking a hold on the visitors, with the referee not helping matters by making the game a stop-start affair, and helped even less by handing out yellows to Asa Ingall - and bizarrely to Stewart Copnell for applauding straight after. It had to be said that Club looked as jaded as I've seen them in quite some time, as they seemed to toil against a hard working side who were first to the ball every time, so it came as no surprise that with ten minutes to the break Sheffield conceded. Aiden Brady picked up the ball on the left flank, cut inside and crossed a ball that looked routine for Jamie Holmshaw, somehow though the ball squirmed under the keeper giving Fabian SMITH the easiest of tap ins.
What I failed to mention in the first half was Sheffield were playing up the slope and into a pretty stiff breeze, the scale of this advantage wasn't made apparent until the second period, as Carlton found it difficult to clear their lines. But before Sheffield could take advantage of the conditions, they had fallen behind even further, with only three minutes on the clock. Once again it could have been avoided, as Jamie Holmshaw was caught going walkabout on the Carlton left wing, Steve Chaplin got to the ball first and whipped in a cross that BALL forced in from close range. Now Club had their backs up against a wall, and if they were to maintain their long undefeated record they needed something very special - or a fluke - which they got on the hour. A long ball up field looked as though it would be tidied up by David Jephson, as he headed the ball toward the keeper Brearley came out to collect, only to see the ball trickle past him into the empty net for an OWN-GOAL. It took this gift to spur the visitors into life and Jephson came to his side's rescue minutes after, clearing off the line from a goal bound Asa Ingall header, paying back after his gaff moments before. Sheffield's momentum was brought to a shuddering halt in the 70th minute, as Stewart Copnell chased a through-ball that appeared to have beaten the offside trap, failing to keep the ball in play at the end. At the point Copnell went through he looked towards the linesman who had no flag up, as he chased the ball he did not look at the linesman again who by the time he had reached the ball had decided to flag; the referee decided the ball was kicked away in dissent so produced a yellow - Copnell's second - and consequently a red. With the man advantage Carlton were favourites to hold out till the end, but Club almost grabbed an equaliser as Paul Smith's cross left everyone in defence standing like rocks, with Vill Powell heading just wide. The Millers went on the offensive towards the end and Club were looking pretty stretched, with Carlton nearly grabbing a third, as Fabian Smith's cross was headed against his own bar by Paul Smith. The third finally came, and once again it was a defensive error, as Jamie Holmshaw fumbled the ball allowing THOMAS to slam the ball home. To add insult to injury Carlton grabbed a fourth in stoppage time, as BRADY cut inside Karl Colley, and seeing his shot deflect off the defender past Holmshaw.
I'm not going to dissect today's performance, or go into any great autopsy debate about the game, it sometimes happens like this. Club had four games in a week, a schedule that would normally be expected in the latter weeks of April, when everyone is in the same boat. Carlton played a very clever game-plan (again) and deserved all three points, but somehow I feel that things could have been much different for Club this afternoon, if we had finished the game with eleven men. The frustrating point around Copnell's red, whether it was justified or not, was the inconsistency showed by the referee seconds after when Rob Ward kicked the ball away after being flagged offside - this time no card was shown. This isn't a moan at the officials on the day, just a point that if a word was good enough for Ward, why wasn't commonsense applied to Copnell? So the result sees Club drop to fourth, albeit only by a point and with two games in hand, and that advantage is held over Sheffield by Goole - the team next on the line in League action at the BFS next Saturday. Next up is a league cup tie against Lincoln United on Tuesday, and I'll finish on a bright note - after a day like today, it was a good job we didn't have the cameras following us for a change...

BTF Club Man of the Match - Paul Smith

Carlton Town: Brearley, D.Jones, Jephson, Brindley, Martin, F.Smith, Ball, Gent, Chaplin, Thomas, Brady. Subs Not Used: Bignall, M.Smith, Farrell.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith (Roney), P.Smith, Colley, Winter (Wainman), Jones, Ingall (Wilkins), Copnell, Powell, Holmes, Ward.
Att: 90

Sheffield FC 2 Internazionale (Milan) 5
150th Anniversary Celebration Match
Thursday, 08/11/07

What a night that was! A massive crowd turned up to Bramall Lane to pay homage to the World's Oldest Club, forcing the game to be delayed by fifteen minutes, with guest of honour Pelé wow-ing the spectators leading the teams on to the pitch. 48 hours earlier Club had been playing in front of just forty hardy souls at Parkgate, tonight though they were the focus of attention from the world's media, with cameras from around the globe - and our own budding television reporter Billy Surr - capturing every moment. And they were far from disgraced, earning an ovation from the massed audience for an entertaining performance, giving their Italian guests a real run for their money. In the end Inter ran out 5-2 winners, with two goals from Mario Balotelli, one each from the guest of honour's namesake Pelé, Goran Slavkovski and substitute Gianluca Litteri. The biggest cheers though came as the part-timers who carry on the greatest name in football found the back of the net, with Montenegro International Ivan Fatic deflecting home a Stewart Copnell strike, and Rob Ward heading home twenty minutes into the second half. In the end the result was never going to matter, for everyone there it will be a night to remember, and for everyone involved with the Club it was a very proud moment to savour.
Internazionale were represented by the majority of their Scudetto winning Primavera squad, with the addition of World Cup Winner Marco Materazzi who was making his first appearance since getting injured playing for Italy against Hungry in August, and young Portuguese International prodigy Vitor Hugo Gomes Passos - otherwise known as Pelé. "Primavera" literally means "spring", and there was nothing Spring-like about the conditions at beautiful downtown Bramall Lane, with a biting wind chilling the crowd to the bone. Sheffield started really lively, and Peter Davey was the first person to have the honour of having a shot in anger, with his rasper drawing "oohs" from the crowd. Three minutes into the game Inter had the ball in the back of the net, with Mario Balotelli lobbing Jamie Holmshaw, but that was ruled out by referee Howard Webb for offside. A minute later Club were trying to re-write the expected script, as Darren Holmes split the Italians' defence with an excellent pass to Vill Powell; however Slovenian keeper Vid Belec put an end to that fairy-tale by saving the Sheffield man's shot on goal. A few minutes later Matt Roney sent an effort into the Bramall Lane stand's row ZZ, but in the tenth minute everything went back to that script, as Inter took the lead they wouldn't lose. A shot from distance by Goran Slavkovski was stopped by Jamie Holmshaw; unfortunately the ball came back out to BALOTELLI, who had no trouble tapping home from close range. Ten minutes later the score was doubled as PELÉ took a free-kick from twenty-five yards out, he drove that straight into the wall, but when the ball rebounded back to give him a second bite of the cherry he made no mistake striking the ball as sweet as you'd like past Holmshaw. Pelé was starting to steal the show, and it wasn't the "Pelé" you'd expect, running the show in midfield and let an absolute cracker go from fully forty yards out that must have given Holmshaw plenty to think about as the keeper blocked it. To be honest at this stage Jamie Holmshaw was probably the busiest player on the pitch, and he was shining on this massive stage, producing some wonderful stops to draw applause from an admiring crowd. Firstly he produced a fantastic point-blank save from Mario Balotelli, and moments later Hungarian International Attila Filkor was put in by Goran Slavkovski; once again "Shilts" came out on top with another great stop. Club had their opportunity to open their account, when Darren Holmes sent a cross over the middle; Vill Powell's header though was off target. Club were by no means over-awed out there, but two minutes before the break Inter showed their clinical side as they pounced on a defensive slip, with a three against one situation Inter always looked like scoring - and they did, as Balotelli unselfishly squared the ball to SLAVKOVSKI who tapped in.
Club had been by no means disgraced in the first half, but the class of their visitors was there to be seen and admired, and it was obvious why they are the reigning Italian Champions at their level. That class was even more evident six minutes into the second period as Inter went four goals up, this time it was a low hard drive from BALOTELLI, after the Sicilian found himself in acres of space. Anyway, that's enough for the time being about Sheffield conceding goals; let's talk about us scoring for a change. Dave McCarthy decided to start making some changes, firstly introducing Stewart Copnell and Rob Ward on the hour mark, and all of a sudden Club looked a more threatening proposition for Materazzi and co. Three minutes after this change Sheffield broke their duck, as COPNELL took a shot from twenty yards out, the ball took a bit of a wicked deflection from defender Ivan Fatic to take the ball past Vid Belec and inside the post - you can call it an own goal as much as you like, but I'll lay any money "Cops" will claim it, and I for one am not going to argue with him. Two minutes later Club got a free kick on the left; Chris Dolby floated it into the middle, and up in the middle of the mêlée rose WARD to nod home. All of a sudden it was game on, the volume levels raised a notch as the locals sensed a gutsy comeback, and Sheffield looked a confident team. Club nearly closed the gap even further, as Gavin Smith and Stewart Copnell combined in the corner, with Copnell's fierce cross just missing that vital touch from Rob Ward to turn it in. It was pretty much in evidence now that the celebration was in full flow, and everyone on the pitch was really enjoying themselves to the full, with some flowing football on show from both sides creating a great spectacle. Belgian International Ibrahim Maaroufi brought the best out of Martin Kearney, with the midfielder's long distance drive being tipped over by the substitute keeper, again to the appreciation of the locals. Three minutes from the end though there was nothing Kearney could do about Inter grabbing a fifth, with LITTERI taking the ball in his stride to strike home from twenty yards out, wrapping up the scoring for the night. In the dying seconds Copnell nearly grabbed a third for Sheffield, beating Belec on the chase for a through ball and lobbing the keeper (with the keeper taking one where it hurts in the process - much to the amusement of the Inter bench), only to be denied by French defender Nicolas Desenclos who hooked the ball off the line.
So you have to say the night was a great success; a great game, a great and illustrious attendance, seven goals and some scintillating football from both sides that would have done our forefathers proud. It was also the culmination of the great work that has been done by Messrs Tims, McCarthy, Walshaw et al - work that they can be proud of. And it was also a proud moment for all the players involved tonight, a night they can remember and tell their grandkids about in the future, the night they played against the mighty Inter Milan - against players who will no doubt be famous in the years to come. And a night they all got to shake the hand, and embrace in some instances, the greatest player of all time - Edson Arantes do Nascimento KBE - Pelé. Most importantly for everyone involved with Sheffield FC - whether it be player, official, volunteer, director or die-hard supporter - this was a night when you can say "We were there" on the night the World's Oldest Football Club celebrated being the first to reach 150 years old, and our proud little Club were in the spotlight. And no doubt many of us will be there on Saturday, at the Bill Stokeld Stadium home to Carlton Town, following and keeping the Club going long after the cameras have gone. So here's to the next 150, happy birthday Sheffield FC, I'll see you all at the bi-centenary in 2057 - I intend to be there, do you?

Sheffield FC: Holmshaw (Kearney), G.Smith (Wainman), P.Smith (Townsend), Colley (Harvey), Winter (Carney), Jones, Davey (Dolby), Powell (Ward), Holmes (Wilkins), Thorpe (Copnell), Roney (Ingall).
Internazionale: Belec, Filippini (D'Angelo), Desenclos, Materazzi (Perissinotto), Fatic, Maaroufi (Papa), Krhin (Schiavini), Pelé (Gerbo), Filkor, Slavkovski (Napoli), Balotelli (Litteri).

Att: 18,471.

Parkgate (Reserves) 0 Sheffield FC 2
Sheffield & Hallamshire FA Senior Cup 2nd Round
Tuesday, 06/11/07

Two first half goals from Matt Roney took Sheffield comfortably past Parkgate Reserves tonight at the Roundwood Pavilion, scoring after three minutes and nineteen minutes, to take them into the third round of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup. It was a comfortable night for a strong Club outfit, who played well within themselves after making the result safe, and can look forward to Thursday night's festivities having cleared this hurdle with ease.

Sheffield fielded a strong first team line-up and got off to the perfect start when, with only 3 minutes played a ball into the area from Paul Smith found RONEY running in unchallenged to fire home past the Walsh. Next it was Kearney's turn in the visitors net to get into the action, gathering well at the feet of Gould. Winter was next up for some goalmouth action as he headed against the bar. After the early exchanges the home side settled down and started to have the better of the play, Kearney saving from Gould and then having to dribble himself out of trouble after being put under pressure from his own defenders. The visitors then took control once again as RONEY finds space on the left of the area to shoot hard and low into the net to double Sheffield's lead. The winger almost completed a hat-trick son after as his in-swinging corner was missed by everyone and just went the wrong side of the far post. Parkgate were then forced into an early substitution with Gould limping off to be replaced by Smith. On the half hour Mark Rodgers found himself in space on the edge of the visitors’ area, but his first time shot was wide of the mark. Soon after, Sheffield produced the best move of the game. The ball was picked up in defence by Paul Smith who fed it to man of the match Roney, who played a one-two with Copnell before passing to Ward, the striker holding the ball up before laying it back to Colley who's side-footed effort was just the wrong side of the post. Not to be outdone, Parkgate's best player on the night Taylor then forced Kearney into making a full length save, the 'keeper also having to make an instinctive save just before the break.

The second half saw the visitors play within themselves, giving the Steelmen little opportunity of breaking down a solid defence, whilst up front a great cross into the six yard box from Roney saw Winter head goalwards, only to see his effort palmed onto the bar by Walsh and away to safety. A change in personnel just after the hour mark saw Powell, Wilkins and Carney on for Copnell, Ward and Roney. With fifteen minutes of the game left, Powell cushioned a header into the path of Winter, but the midfielder shot wide of the target. Powell then had a good chance near the end, but was thwarted by a last gasp challenge as he was about to unleash his shot.

So, a comfortable win in the end, with Sheffield doing just enough to make the game safe and no doubt looking forward to the festivities on Thursday at Bramall Lane against Inter Milan to an end the 150th birthday celebrations.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Matt Roney

Parkgate Reserves: Walsh, Davenport, Garret, Knight, Baldwin, Baker (Ramsden), Taylor, Rodgers (Reading), Gould (Smith), Barnett, Newey. Subs Not Used: M.Szczepkowski, B.Szczepkowski.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Wainman, Ingall, Copnell (Powell), Roney (Carney), Ward (Wilkins). Subs Not Used: Townsend, Holmshaw.
Att: 40 (approx)

Sheffield FC 3 Kendal Town 2
FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
Saturday, 03/11/07

Sheffield Club continued their successful march in their debut FA Trophy campaign, with a comfortable 3-2 victory over Kendal Town, after an entertaining afternoon's football at the Bright Finance Stadium. Goals from Asa Ingall (29th minute), Gavin Smith (64th minute) and Rob Ward (67th minute), put Sheffield in the driving seat after falling behind to a seventh minute goal from Lee Mulvaney. However the game ended in disgraceful scenes from the visiting side, after Peter Wright converted an injury-time consolation goal from the penalty spot, Mulvaney was then shown a red card for punching Martin Kearney and after the final whistle the visiting team searched for retribution in an astonishing show of aggression. Up to that point the game had been played in a great spirit, with both sets of players playing some great football, but lingering memory of Kendal's first ever visit to Dronfield will be that of a visiting side with terrible discipline.
Club were without Daz Winter and Stewart Copnell through suspension for this important tie, along with the injured Chris Dolby and Jon Boulter, and replacing Jamie Holmshaw in goal was Martin Kearney. It couldn't have been a worse start for Sheffield too as Kendal really caught the hosts on the hop, when MULVANEY beat the offside trap to find himself in the clear, and showed great composure to walk the ball round Kearney to slot the ball into the empty net. Sheffield tried to force themselves back into the game, but it wouldn't break for them, and the closest they came was when Vill Powell forced himself into space before shooting just over. Town were looking the more composed of the two teams and really took the game to their lower league opponents, with Gareth Arnison looking a real handful up front, and it was he who should have extended the lead on at least three occasions in the first half. Firstly he was denied by Kearney after a fantastic shot on the turn, whilst minutes later he lofted a shot just over the bar, and Kearney came to Sheffield's rescue once again with after the forward cut in from the right wing to let a fearsome shot go. Just before the half hour mark though the tide suddenly shifted, as a Paul Smith corner was met by a powerful salmon-like header from Asa Ingall, that was blocked and after Karl Colley knocked the ball back INGALL was there to toe-poke the ball home from ten yards out. All of a sudden it was Sheffield that was bossing the game, and Club will be asking themselves in retrospect how they managed to go into the break level, as the chances came thick and fast. Town's skipper Tony Hallam got into a right state with the keeper David Newnes, with the ball finding itself at the feet of Rob Ward and an empty net in front of him, somehow though the ball struck Hallam and bounced fortuitously into the hands of Newnes. Powell and Darren Holmes combined for some quality football, with Holmes sending an inviting cross to Peter Davey at the back post, fortunately for Kendal the ball ended up in the side netting. Powell was starting to get everywhere and his flick header nearly put Ward in again, this time Ward's lob over Newnes went just a little too far, so at the interval the score remained level.
The impetus of the closing stages carried forward into the second period, with Sheffield truly in charge of matters, and playing some entertaining quality football. Even so it took some time for the hosts to get a good effort on goal, with the best chance coming after Ward battled for possession in the corner before Davey whipped in a class first time cross, and Powell getting on the end of it with a diving header that was just off target. Midway through the half Sheffield came to life with two goals in five minutes, and both were the result of some excellent build-up play, which more or less put them out of sight and into the next round. The first was as clever a goal as you'll ever see, with Rob Ward taking advantage of some bad positional play by Tony Hallam with a quick throw, the ball was smartly nodded back by Powell to Gav SMITH who volleyed the ball home without breaking stride. If that was clever the next was the height of coolness under pressure, as Paul Smith dinked a ball into Powell once again, who this time hit the ball with so much venom Newnes couldn't hold onto it - and WARD showed so much calmness and composure to walk the ball round the stranded keeper and defender to slam the ball home. That was it as they say, and Sheffield could afford to sit back and soak all the pressure up, with Colley, Ingall and Jones mopping everything up that came their way. So comfortable was it that Kearney had very little to do, apart from a couple of routine saves from Michael Cole and Peter Wright, both of which were sorted out with ease. As full time approached Tom Jones hauled down substitute Zak Clark, in the third of four minutes stoppage time, and referee Kavanagh had no doubt but to point to the spot. WRIGHT planted the ball hard and straight down the middle, and in the usual pantomime of a late penalty Kearney tried to slow play down by withholding the ball from the opposition, not exactly sporting but not deserving of the hook from Mulvaney that flattened the keeper. Naturally the little winger had to walk, and the game was played out for the final seconds, with Kendal needlessly a man short. Amazingly as the final whistle blew, all mayhem broke loose as the skipper Hallam decided to seek retribution for the late dismissal of his player (who also made a reappearance in the mêlée), with both sets of players squaring up in the centre circle and the referee having to sort out the mess.
So Sheffield deservedly progress into the next round, and to be fair Kendal played an excellent part in making this a thoroughly entertaining game, sadly though they spoilt this memory with their antics after the whistle. Club produced the goods when it mattered, whilst it would be unfair to single out any one player's performance, Asa Ingall put in a sterling performance when Sheffield's backs were up against the wall. Vill Powell was tireless as ever and deserved the supporters' man-of-the-match acclaim, whilst Jones and Colley were masterful in the middle of defence, the Smiths were awesome on the outside and Davey, Thorpe, Holmes and Ward battled for every little scrap - oh, and Martin Kearney did his bit too with some quality saves. Overall this goes down as a memorable game, if not for all the right reasons, and kicks off a massively varied week ahead for Club. Next up are the mighty Parkgate Reserves in the Sheffield Senior Cup, and next Saturday it is a trip to last season's bogey side Carlton Town (who lost today 3-2 at Belper Town), and in between those two fixtures is another game against some Italian chappies...
BTF Club Man of the Match - Super, super Vill, super Vill Powell.
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Ingall, Jones, Thorpe, Davey (Roney), Powell, Holmes, Ward (Wainman). Subs Not Used: Carney, Townsend, Sayles.
Kendal Town: Newnes, Forbes, Byrne (Woods), Hallam, Whittle-William, Cole, Hobson (Clark), Warburton, Arnison (Henry), Wright, Mulvaney. Subs Not Used: Dyson, Wilkes.
Att: 208

Sheffield FC 1 Grantham Town 0
UniBond President's Cup 2nd Round
Tuesday, 30/10/07 

Grantham Town paid their second visit of the season to the Bright Finance Stadium and once again ended up defeated in this President's cup encounter thanks to The Smiths.

There was very little to distinguish either side in the early exchanges, the referee being uppermost in people's minds with his constant blowing up for minor infringements when commonsense should have allowed the game to go on and advantage played. It was on the quarter hour mark before the first shot in anger was unleashed, this coming from Holmes, whose effort was just wide of the mark. Soon after, Ward latched onto a ball to create an opening but his shot was also off target. Just past the 20 minute mark Grantham had a great opportunity to take the lead. A corner to the back post found Atkinson unmarked but his header went over the bar. At the other end it was Colley’s turn to try his luck, as Paul Smith's corner found the burley defender, but his effort went narrowly wide. On the half hour mark The Smiths finally unlocked the Grantham defence. A free kick in the middle of the park by quick thinking Paul Smith found Gavin SMITH ghosting in at the back post to volley the ball home for yet another contender for goal of the season. The visitors were then lucky not to have Dixon sent off for raising his hands at Roney, shoving the nippy winger over in an off the ball incident. The referee deciding it only warranted a yellow card for the over worked defender. Similarly the home side were fortunate not to be down to ten men when Wainman made a reckless challenge on Ziccardi. It was Roney who was involved in the final action of the half, latching onto a loose ball 25 yards out to fire just wide.

The second half saw an early flurry by Sheffield, which ended when Colley's header was gathered by the 'keeper. Five minutes later Ziccardi was almost embarrassed when Colley's free kick from the half way line almost caught the 'keeper by surprise as he was expecting the ball to be chipped in to the waiting forwards. Luckily the effort dropped just over the goal. Grantham offered little in attacking options, with Kearney hardly being tested, but when it mattered he was up to the job, a point proved when easily gathering a free kick from Norris. With just under twenty minutes remaining both sides were reduced to ten men, Colley and Turner involved in an altercation which gave the referee little option with both players raising their fists at one another. This opened the game up with more space now available on the greasy pitch which some players were now having difficulty with. With just over five minutes left, man of the match Paul Smith set off on a run down the line more or less from his own penalty area to Grantham's goal line where he laid the ball back to Powell who mis-hit it, the ball ending up at the feet of substitute David Wilkins, but somehow the strikers goal bound effort hit Powell and goes to safety. Powell was then unlucky with his own late effort, Ziccardi having to dive full length to turn the shot away. With time running out Sheffield were content to sacrifice the midfield, allowing Grantham to push on in the hope of grabbing a late equaliser, but some resolute defending made sure all the effort was in vain.

So Sheffield progress into the draw for round three after an entertaining game in which many players stood out. The only downside is the now upcoming suspension of Karl Colley after tonight’s sending off. Sheffield stay on the cup trail this coming Saturday when they host UniBond Premier side Kendal Town in the FA Trophy in what should be a tough encounter.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Paul Smith

Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Thorpe, Roney (D.Wilkins), Wainman (Powell), Holmes, Ward (Ingall).
Grantham Town: Ziccardi, Hawley (Zeurner), Dixon, Atkinson, Reddington, I. Wilkins, Norris, Minett (Gilbert), Wilkinson (Mullarkey), Turner, Byrne.

Att: 216

Sheffield FC 1 Cammell Laird 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 27/10/07

Once again the cameras were at the Bright Finance Stadium, this time it was the UniBond TV channel (click on this link  now for highlights), sadly they weren't served the feast of football that was played out in the identical fixture six weeks previously. A single goal from the man in form Stewart Copnell six minutes before the break was enough to see Club take all three points, in what was billed the "match of the day", with second place losing out to the team in third place. It was a dour battle between two sides that cancelled each other out in so many ways; however the balance was tilted the way of the visitors fifteen minutes from time, as Miles Thorpe was given his marching orders for two yellow cards.
The game was pretty much a stalemate for long periods of the first half, and it took a good twenty minutes before either side showed any promise, with Greg Stones' long distance lob just clearing the Sheffield bar. Moments later Laird's Stuart Wright saw his cross-cum-shot from the left wing wing tipped over by Jamie Holmshaw, but in all honesty it never really looked like being a goal, with the home keeper playing safety first. Club's first foray into the visitors' box nearly bore some fruit in the way of a goal, with Stewart Copnell bursting down the right flank before cutting into the by-line and lofting the ball over the head of Paul Whitfield, unfortunately the ball also lofted over the head of Vill Powell who despite stretching could not get the vital touch. The Birkenhead outfit were almost gifted the lead, as Holmshaw somehow let the ball go to Alex Hay, but the Sheffield keeper quickly made amends by blocking the striker's resultant effort. The breakthrough when it came was quite a surprise as a Paul Smith free-kick from the left wing was flapped at by Whitfield, the ball was "arsed" back across goal by Karl Colley to COPNELL who made absolutely sure, tapping into the empty goal with the outside of his foot. Sheffield nearly doubled the lead just before the break with a fantastic dipping shot from Vill Powell, after being fed through by Darren Holmes, the ball though just didn't dip enough and scraped the top of the bar.
Chances were at a premium in the opening periods of the second half too, with Sheffield coming closest when Copnell crossed the ball across the face of the goal, the ball going too far behind Powell and too far in front of Winter. Neither side did anything of note, and to be fair it was down to the competence of two very solid back-lines that stifled any chances, with the forwards having to make do with scraps of possession caused by slips on the greasy surface. Then came the moment that saw Sheffield down to ten men; a wild slide from Miles Thorpe on Anthony Sheehan saw the referee produce a yellow card, and following on from the caution he received in the first half Thorpe had to make an early walk to the showers. That gave Lairds a man advantage, and also acres of space and mountains of possession, but they seemed unable to do anything with it. As much as they pressed, they were met by the twin towers of Tom Jones and man-of-the-match Karl Colley, and when they got past these two their finishing was woeful. Substitute Jason Ward shot over the bar from distance, whilst Greg Stones set up Chris Nezyania who probably should have done better, with his finale somewhat embarrassing. In a late flurry of attacking the visitors managed to get close, with Jason Ward just shooting over the top, after being teed up by Anthony Sheehan. As for Club, well they had their best chance with a mazy little run from Vill Powell in the box in the last minute, but the outcome mattered little as the points were already in the bag.
Whilst it wasn't the best display Sheffield have produced this season, it was still three points, and it is the second win over this most difficult of opponents. The win keeps Club in third spot, although places were never at stake in this contest, the gap between the two is down to just two points with Sheffield having a game in hand. Next up for Club is a return to cup action, with two home ties in the next week, a home President's Cup tie against Grantham Town and a first ever game against Kendal Town of the UniBond Premier Division in the FA Trophy. Both will be difficult games, like today's contest, hopefully they will have the same outcome.
BTF Club Man of the Match - Karl Colley
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Thorpe, Wilkins (Wainman), Powell, Holmes, Copnell (Ingall). Sub Not Used: Ward.
Cammell Laird: Whitfield, Sheehan, Lynch, Collins, Atherton (S.Jones), Brookes, Jebb (Ward), G.Jones (Nezyania), Stones, Hay, Wright.
Att: 411
Meanwhile over at Pavilion Lane in Brinsworth, Club's Reserve team outfit moved into third place in the County Senior League Division Two, with an excellent 2-1 win over Phoenix Sports Reserves. The game marked the start of the comeback trail for Gaz Townsend, who has been out of the game for a lengthy period, and although he didn't complete the game it looks promising. Sheffield's goals came from Eamonn Chapman in the first half, and despite Phoenix grabbing an equaliser against the run of play, Club wrapped things up with an excellent shot from Mark Oliver to make it three league wins in a row. Next up for the Ressies is a couple of games against Blackburn Railway, who despite having no wins under their belt picked up a vital point against leaders Millmoor Juniors today, the first team to stop the Millers winning all season.
Sheffield FC Reserves: Sayles, Linnell, Foster, Taylor (Jones), Barnes, Chapman, Oliver, Carney, Cronin, Eskante (Moore), Townsend (Portaluri), Kananagh.

Sheffield FC 0 FA Representative XI 2
150th Anniversary Celebration Match
Tuesday, 23/10/07

They came from far and wide to a chilly Bright Finance Stadium, to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the World's First Football Club, and to watch Sheffield FC play host to a talented FA XI made up of the cream of the UniBond Premier. The result was always going to be second to everything else that was going on, with television camera crews and reporters from far and wide taking in the story and adding to the limelight that Club have grown used to over the last few months, and of course deserve. But on the field it was the guests who ran out two goal winners, with a 27th minute strike from Witton's Liam Brownhill, and an 80th minute goal from Fleetwood's Ciaran Donnelly proving the difference.
In the first period Sheffield's Stewart Copnell went closest early on, denied by a good save from Jon Kennedy in the FA goal, but other than that there wasn't much to trouble either keeper. That was until just before the half hour mark, as BROWNHILL came in from the left flank, and curled the ball past Holmshaw for a great opening goal. The Witton duo of Rob Thornley and Adam Warlow combined shortly after, with the ball played across goal to Warlow who side-footed the ball towards goal, only to be denied by a great stop by Jamie Holmshaw. At the other end Stewart Copnell layed the ball back to David Wilkins, who saw his great effort from twenty yards out sail just over the bar, with Kennedy nowhere near.
Naturally half-time saw Paul Fairclough make a rash of changes, to give everyone a game, but of the two it was Club who looked most threatening. Stewart Copnell saw his free-kick turned wide by substitute keeper Piotr Skiba, whilst Miles Thorpe came closest by digging out a shot from twenty yards out that saw Skiba watch the ball loop over his head, only to see it strike the frame of the goal. With ten minutes to go the FA XI grabbed a second against the run of play, as DONNELLY found himself in space and with only Kearney to beat, and with no pressure on him the Fleetwood player simply lofted the ball over the advancing keeper. Overall this was a typical friendly match, with referee Uriah Rennie having very little to do and he must have enjoyed his birthday, although it has to be said he is 102 years younger than Sheffield FC.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw (Kearney), G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Thorpe (Taylor), Wainman (Carney), Copnell (Carnell), Wilkins, Ward (Powell).
FA Representative XI: Kennedy (Witton Albion), Dunning (Guisley), Brownhill (Witton Albion), Sturdy (Guiseley), Foster (Buxton), Curtis (Gateshead), Peers, Lloyd, Warlow, Thornley (all Witton Albion), Hanson (Guisley). Subs All Played: Anderson (Buxton), Donnelly (Fleetwood), Hall (Buxton), Southern (Gateshead), Skiba (Ossett Town).
Att: 260.

Bradford (Park Avenue) 0 Sheffield FC 2
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round
Saturday, 20/10/07
It was a day of firsts today for Sheffield FC at the Horsfall Stadium; first time in the FA Trophy, the first competitive game against the famous Bradford Park Avenue, and they managed to gain a first victory against this opposition in this competition. On a pretty awful surface, which frankly helped neither side, Club ran out two goal winners over their illustrious opponents. A penalty from Rob Ward in the 16th minute set Sheffield on their way, and a typical strike from Gavin Smith in the 32nd minute ensured it was plain sailing from then on, with the visiting defence holding firm to guarantee safe passage into the next round.
It took some time for Sheffield to get to grips with the surface, which was a strange mix of uneven and hard, with a greasy turf topping it all off making footing far from sound. Bradford were the first to make the in-roads towards the goal, with Ben Jones heading against the bar leaving Jamie Holmshaw stranded, the ball fell to Liam Flynn who tapped the ball into the empty net - the celebrations though were short-lived as Flynn was stood in an offside position when the ball fell to him, with the linesman's flag going up in an instant. Sheffield started to find their feet (literally) and with it gave Avenue something to think about, with Chris Dolby putting Vill Powell through on goal, sadly the finish was a little hurried and lashed wide. Eventually Club got their reward for their forays into the hosts territory, and on the 16th minute the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Chris Dolby by Paul Collins, and when the man taking the resultant spot kick is called WARD there is only going to be one outcome. Bradford looked ineffectual as they went forward, and it seemed that Club were well in control, and that control looked even more definite just after the half-hour mark when Club grabbed a second goal. Chris Dolby floated a free-kick into the back post, Karl Colley cushioned a header back across the goal, and open at the other side of the area was Gavin SMITH who stabbed home a typical poacher's goal. Avenue looked spent at this point and totally deflated and looked unlikely to trouble Sheffield, with their best effort coming from Liam Flynn cross that was flapped out by Jamie Holmshaw, Ross Clegg's header though was poor in the extreme and went well wide of the open goal.
For a team that had been scoring for fun in recent weeks, 36 goals in their last 8 goals, Bradford were surprisingly average at best in front of goal. For the second forty five minutes they pushed Club back into their own half (or Sheffield sat back and let them come at them - whichever way you look at it), yet in that period not once did they give Jamie Holmshaw anything of concern, save from half a dozen feeble shots which were gathered up with comfort. Club on the other hand hit Bradford on the break, and the home defence was highly dodgy when dealing with Rob Ward and Vill Powell, unlike their Sheffield counterparts who soaked everything up and cleared at ease. Daz Winter even found time to link up into attack, and nearly came up with a goal from a one-two with Powell; his shot though at the end was blocked by the feet of Jon Worsnop. Midway through the second half Winter dispossessed an Avenue player, fed the ball through to Dolby who tried to chip Worsnop from the edge of the area when clear on goal, fortunately for the keeper the ball wasn't lofted high enough and he just managed to reach and save. It could have wrapped up the game for certain but by this time the game was already up for the hosts, with their last throw of the dice being a header by Lincoln Adams from a Steve Connors cross, the finish was just over the bar and the fact this was the closest they came since the third minute sums up how well they had been contained by the visitors.
When the draw was made for this competition and we knew we would be paired with either FC United or Bradford Park Avenue, it was always going to be expected that this would be a difficult baptism into this competition, but the professionalism and tactics employed by Club were exemplary. This was a great performance from one to eleven, with the defence's performance in particular being flawless, and the midfield controlling everything. There were great displays from Chris Dolby, Daz Winter, Vill Powell and man-of-the-match Paul Smith to name a few, but overall it was a great victory against tricky opposition on a terrible surface. I guess you can say this was a pretty good result, and one we should be pleased with, now who's next?
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Paul Smith
Bradford (Park Avenue): Worsnop, Brown, Collins, Baker, Adams, Shaw, Gahgan (Morning), Clegg (Connors), Gedman (Lee), Jones, Flynn. Subs Not Used: Moseley, Giles.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Davey (Thorpe), Dolby (Wainman), Powell (Copnell), Ward. Subs Not Used: Wilkins, Kearney.
Att: 279.
Meanwhile Club's reserves made amends for their debut 5-1 defeat at home to Shafton, by heading over to Shafton Park and gaining revenge with a 2-0 victory. Goals from Eamonn Chapman ten minutes before the interval, and a second from an own-goal by the keeper ten minutes from the end (under pressure from Adriano Portaluri) was the difference, as Sheffield extended their unbeaten league run to five games and consolidate their fourth place in the County Senior Divsion Two.
Sheffield Reserves: Sayles, Linnell, Gelsthorpe, Barnes, Chapman, Taylor, Carnall, Carney, Moore, Eskante, Cronin, Foster, Bradley Subs: Simpson, Portaluri, Oliver.

Goole 1 Sheffield FC 1 - Sheffield Won 5-3 On Penalties After Extra Time
UniBond League Challenge Cup Second Round
Tuesday, 16/10/07
For the second time this season Sheffield visited the Victoria Pleasure Grounds and came away with a win, this time knocking the hosts out of the Unibond League Cup.

  Goole had recent clubbie Craig Marsh in their starting line up as well as former players Duncan Bray and substitute Craig Robinson. Dave McCarthy gave a first start to Andy Taylor at left back.

With steady rainfall and a greasy pitch it was the visitors who created the first opening. Vill Powell shooting straight at Parry. However it was Goole who were in front after just five minutes and with their first attack of the game. An inswinging corner from Mclean right under the bar seemed to be helped over the line by Holmshaw for an own goal.  The Sheffield front two of Powell and Copnell were creating openings, Powell once again through but Parry stood his ground. The pacy forward was then pulled back when escaping his marker, but Copnell's free kick failed to trouble the Goole defence. The visitors were having more of the possession but Goole were quick on the counter attack. A good break from Davey out of defence saw him thread the ball through to Copnell but he pulled the shot wide across goal. Just after the half hour mark it was the home side who almost doubled their lead when Buttle's cross to the near post  found Rollinson whose header scraped the top of the bar. With five minutes to the break Bray won a free kick on the edge of the Sheffield area, but with Hill trying to take the kick quickly he gave the ball away and it was cleared upfield to Powell who, with four defenders around him and no support, could do little damage to the home side.

The second half again saw Sheffield create the first chance but Wainman's shot was woefully off target. The visitors finally got the breakthrough in the 49th minute. As Goole were attempting to clear their lines Andy Taylor got in a good block, the ball bouncing kindly to VILL POWELL who this time made no mistake finding the top corner of the net. With Sheffield now in the ascendancy Colley was the next to try his luck but his close range header went over the bar. At the other end Wainman did well to track back to get a tackle in as Buttle was about to unleash a shot. Now it was Goole's turn to put the pressure on, Holmshaw doing well to claw away a ball dipping under his bar. With twenty minutes to go Holmshaw did well to get down to block a shot, the ball squirming out of his grip, and with Bray lobbing the ball over him the 'keeper did well to claw the effort away which then produced a game of pinball in the area as Sheffield tried to clear the danger, eventually succeeding at the fifth attempt. Wilkins was brought on for his first taste of action since his recent injury, replacing Copnell. With time running out it was the home side who were asserting themselves but some resolute defending, especially from Jones and Man of the Match Colley who made sure that the tie would go into extra time.

Once again it was Sheffield with the first opening, Powell being brought down on the edge of the area. The resulting free kick from substitute Dolby found Jones lurking at the back post but his shot was straight at the 'keeper. The conditions were taking their toll on both sets of players as the play became more open with both sides attacking freely at every opportunity. Winter almost broke the deadlock for Sheffield but his shot was over the bar. The second period of extra time came and went, the two chances of note being a Bray shot that came back off the bar and Powell's effort which was just over for the visitors. With a minute left and penalties looming, Sheffield Manager McCarthy brought on Ward for Holmes, no doubt with the penalty shoot-out very much in his mind.

It was Sheffield to go first in the penalty shoot-out, Dolby putting the visitors in front, with Jackson equalising for the home side. Next up for the visitors was Colley, whose last penalty (at Hallam) cleared the bar, the fence and almost the pub across the road but this time the ever confident big man made no mistake to regain the lead for the visitors. Goole responded by sending their skipper Hill forward, but his effort hit the post and the miss was to prove decisive. Powell was next for Sheffield, his shot going in off the keeper. Buttle kept the home side in contention as his effort found the target, despite Holmshaw getting a hand to it. Next up was Wilkins for Sheffield, who had missed a penalty here in the league encounter earlier in the season, but he made no mistake this time around. Goole needed the next penalty to keep their hopes alive and Robinson made no mistake with his spot kick. It all rested on Andy Taylor, and the young defender made no mistake, taking the visitors through to the third round. As for regular first team penalty expert Rob Ward, on this occasion he never even managed a touch of the ball.

BTF Club Man Of The Match - Karl Colley

Goole AFC: Parry, O'Neil, McLean (Robinson), Hill, Jenkinson, Chapman, Rollinson, Marsh (Jackson), Rose (Danby), Bray, Buttle.
Sheffied FC: Holmshaw, Davey, Taylor, Colley, Winter, Jones, Ingall, Wainman (Dolby), Powell, Holmes (Ward), Copnell (Wilkins).
Att: 124

Sheffield FC 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1
Unibond League First Division South
Saturday, 13/10/07

He didn't start the game, he didn't finish the game, but in the twenty minutes he was on the park Stuart Copnell got Sheffield out of jail this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium. After his wonder goal past Paddy Kenny on Wednesday night, "Super-Sub Stu" came on with Club a goal behind to visitors Kidsgrove Athletic, and managed to turn the tables by scoring one and setting one up to give Sheffield all three points. In a game that saw Sheffield do most of the attacking, the Dronfield crowd were stunned in the 49th minute when Ashley Hill put one past Jamie Holmshaw, giving the visitors a lead that looked like send the points to Staffordshire. However with an attacking bench at his disposal, Dave McCarthy changed the formation, sending Copnell on. Within ten minutes the substitute had scored an equaliser, and six minutes after he forced visiting substitute Anthony Kielthy to put the ball into his own net, sending the home fans home happy and Club back to the dressing rooms with a well deserved win in the bag.
It could be argued that it was a game of two halves, as the first half didn't contribute that much to the entertainment stakes, with neither side dominating the game. Athletic's keeper Stuart Heeps had a mixed half, denying Chris Dolby very early on with a brave challenge, but then looked equally dodgy under pressure from Daz Winter following a long diagonal Paul Smith cross. On fifteen minutes Paul Smith and Peter Davey combined to put the ball in the middle, Heeps punched the ball clear, but only as far as Chris Dolby who lobbed the ball back over the keeper - who was fortunate to see the ball carry just over the bar. Kidsgrove did give their bit to try and liven up a very dour forty-five minutes as Richard Eyres found himself on the edge of the Sheffield box, his stumble left the home defence a little flat-footed, but as he regained his feet he managed to get a shot that shaved the upright. Just before the break Vill Powell had a shot saved by Heeps, but to be truthful the keeper was always comfortable, and the teams going into the break goal-less was always going to be the result of this half's play.
What the first half lacked in entertainment though, the second more than made up for, as Sheffield came back onto the field with that fighting spirit. It took less than a minute for Paul Smith to whip in a magnificent cross into the middle, where Asa Ingall was flying in at the back post, side-footing the ball inches wide. The early stages saw Club piling all the pressure on, but they were caught with that old sucker punch that always seems to get Sheffield when they play at home, conceding a goal on the break. Matt Rhead managed to get the ball on the right hand flank, and dug out a terrific little cross into the middle which was met by HILL, with the Kidsgrove player hooking the ball past Holmshaw and in off the post. It was against the run of play, but Kidsgrove had the look of a side that were potentially dangerous on each sortie into Sheffield territory, and Holmshaw had to be at his best to block a shot from the visitors' leading scorer Michael Lennon. Sheffield continued to pile on the pressure, but somehow each attack was thwarted by a spirited Athletic defence, with the ball either not dropping Sheffield's way at the vital moment or being blocked by a Kidsgrove body that just happened to be in the way. The frustration was starting to build, and when Chris Dolby's cross was met by a flick header of Vill Powell and the ball hit the post, there a sense around the place this was going to be "one of those days". Sheffield were playing well - there wasn't any doubt about that - but the final touch was always that inch wide of where they wanted it to be, with Asa Ingall's header from a Karl Colley cross a prime example.
With twenty minutes to go Sheffield finally changed the pattern of the game by bringing on Stuart Copnell for his league debut, and within minutes he turned provider for Club's best chance of the half so far, crossing the ball to Rob Ward who chested the ball down before turning and forcing a great save from Heeps. In the 77th minute the game finally swung the hosts way, the ball was picked up on the edge of the area by COPNELL, who then strode into space before thrusting the ball into the bottom corner beyond the flailing keeper. After being on the back foot for so long the goal stung the visitors into a swift response, and could have re-taken the lead when Phil Hadland swept the ball across to Matt Rhead, his header though was well saved by Holmshaw. Club were still piling on the chances, and could have gone in front had Daz Winter's header not been tipped round the post by Heeps, or Gav Smith not lashed the ball over the bar from close range after a goalmouth scramble. All those missed opportunities were forgotten though with seven minutes to go, as Copnell broke down the right again and drove the ball into the middle, ricocheting between Heeps' legs and into the net off Kielthy's groin for an OWN-GOAL. After that there was only going to be one winner, Kidsgrove had given their all and were now spent, after an excellent and creditable performance. There was still time for Mr Copnell to get his personal standing ovation, as he managed to injure himself in the (this time) appropriately named injury time, chasing a no-chance ball into the advertising hoardings - fortunately that knock didn't look to have caused any lasting damage!
The win keeps Sheffield in third place; sadly the other teams around them all won their games, so it means the table retains its status quo. Next along the line for Club is another trip up the M18 to Goole, in the next chapter of quest for the league cup, hopefully with the same result as the last visit there in August.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Ingall, Dolby, Powell (Wainman), Davey (Copnell, Holmes), Ward.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Heeps, Hadland, Eyres, Brotherton, Pope, Beeston, Hill, Lovatt (Kielthy), Rhead, Lennon, Morris (Matranga). Sub Not Used: Edwards.
Att: 232.

Sheffield FC 1 Sheffield United 5
150th Anniversary Celebration Match
Wednesday, 10/10/07

The 150th birthday celebrations started tonight at the Bright Finance Stadium, as a crowd of nearly 800 turned up to see Club entertain Bryan Robson's Sheffield United stars. Sadly there was no fairy tale result in the offing, with the Blades hitting five goals against the hosts one; however it was Stuart Copnell's consolation effort ten minutes from the end that raised the biggest cheer of the night - it was also the best goal of the six. For United there was no surprise that the bulk of their goals came from the league's top scorer - James Beattie - who weighed in with a hat-trick, whilst Dronfield's own Gary Cahill and Billy Sharp weighed in with one each. Sheffield Club though were by no means disgraced, and can be proud of a sterling effort on a memorable night.
United were obviously going to be too strong for Club, the squad that had been brought to the BFS was packed with first team regulars and players with first team experience, with only a couple in the party not having a run out in the first team. Despite the evident gulf in class, Club were not overawed in the opening stages, and they contained the Championship outfit for the first ten minutes. It was Lee Hendrie who had the first effort on goal, after a bit of a bad clearance by the hosts; the shot though was pulled disappointingly wide. Both Billy Sharp and Aston Villa loanee Gary Cahill had efforts on goal blocked by keeper Jamie Holmshaw, but the breakthrough eventually came in the sixteenth minute, as Club defender Karl Colley brought down Sharp in the area. Referee Mike Riley had no doubt in awarding a penalty, and when the man stepping up to the plate is BEATTIE, well there's only going to be one outcome - and Holmshaw was sent the wrong way. Club fought with great pride, and actually pushed the Blades for much of the half, but never actually troubled Paddy Kenny up the other end. David Carney fed Billy Sharp with an excellent chance, but the ex-Scunthorpe striker hardly lived up to his name, with a rather blunt finish that was frankly embarrassing. After youngster Lloyd Kerry whipped a wayward shot wide of the goal, United finally got the second goal they needed, and once again it was slightly fortuitous for the visitors. Just before the half hour mark Sharp struck the ball from the edge of the area, whether it was on target or covered by Holmshaw is debatable either way, but that speculation was made pointless as BEATTIE got a lucky deflection to divert the ball into the net. Sheffield battled on, but couldn't get a foothold in the opposing half, with their opponents' defenders having a relatively comfortable time. A third goal was always looking imminent, and Beattie came close with a free-kick, this time the deflection was in the hosts favour - diverting the ball over the bar. Two minutes before the interval the goal came, with an Armstrong corner being diverted towards the back post, up rose CAHILL to plant a meaty header into the net.
Half time saw Jamie Holmshaw replaced by Martin Kearney, after a fine forty five minutes from the first choice keeper, I guess it was time he had a rest! Stuart Copnell and Rob Ward also came on at the interval, and suddenly the visitors had to defend a little, and it turned out this switch ensured Club had the first chance of the half. Adam Chapman had a "Bambi moment" and mis-defended a through ball, letting Copnell through on goal, sadly the excitement of getting through on goal proved too much and the shot was snatched wide of the target. As it was normal service resumed shortly afterwards, and Kearney was made to earn is keep with an excellent stop that denied Hendrie, blocking his shot with his legs with the ex-Villa man through on goal. Eventually the forth had to come, and as you'd expect it was BEATTIE who was showing his team-mates exactly how to finish when the situation arose, drilling home a clinical finish after a nice passage of passing. Ten minutes later it was five, and once again a little fortuitous, as Chris Armstrong crossed the ball at pace and SHARP deflected the ball past Kearney with his chest. The Unitedites in the crowd were then treated to an unexpected sight, the return of Rob Hulse after a six month lay-off with a broken leg, replacing hat-trick man Beattie. Club were starting to make a fight of it at this stage, with Copnell and Ward giving the defence quite a bit to think about, and ten minutes from time they grabbed a well deserved consolation. The ball broke to COPNELL on the edge of the eighteen yard box, and after a bit of juggling by the Club striker, he volleyed the ball with some power to give Paddy Kenny no chance - giving him a matching pair of thunderbolts, having done the same against Wednesday's first team at the beginning of last season.
Overall it was an entertaining game, I guess you could say United treated the game as a training session, but Club came out of it with great credit from those connected with the Blades. Manager Bryan Robson heaped praise on the Sheffield boys, thanking them for their common sense approach to their tackling, and the effort put in by the players. Whilst it doesn't mean anything on the league front, it was a great publicity exercise, and in turn sets Club up for the weekend visit of Kidsgrove Athletic - a fixture that should be interesting to say the least. Meanwhile elsewhere tonight Sheffield's first ever FA Trophy opponents were being decided at Radcliffe Borough's ground, where a great name from the past Bradford Park Avenue met FC United of Manchester, with Avenue running out comfortable 4-1 victors - meaning Club face a trip to the Horsfall Stadium on the 20th.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw (Kearney), G.Smith (Taylor), P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Ingall, Dolby (Carney), Powell (Ward), Holmes, Wainman (Copnell). Sub Not Used: McKenzie.
Sheffield United: Kenny, Chapman, Armstrong, Cahill (Stewart), Kilgannon, Kerry (Wedgebury), Quinn, Hendrie, Carney, Beattie (Hulse), Sharp.
Att: 784.

Who Is That Bloke In The Green Car ? He Gets Everywhere !
Colwyn Bay 0 Sheffield FC 3
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 06/10/07

Club turned on the style in sunny North Wales this afternoon, running out convincing 3-0 winners over promotion contenders Colwyn Bay, in an impressive display that left the hosts stunned. Goals from Daz Winter (24 minutes), Chris Dolby (60) and Asa Ingall (62) were the difference in a terrific all round performance from Sheffield - one that had the spectators leaving Llanelian Road somewhat stunned.
It was all geared up to be an exciting contest, fifth versus sixth, a perfect pitch and a shirt-sleeved crowd anticipating a return to form by Bay after their five goal drubbing by Barrow last weekend. Sheffield were hoping to get a bit of daylight between them and the Welshmen, a win would see them open up a five point gap, whilst closing in on the leading group. The signs were promising early on for the visitors, although the same couldn't be said of the Bay keeper Jamie Speare, who caused himself all manner of problems in the first five minutes. The keeper threw a poor clearance onto the back of Rob Ward, and it took two attempts to claim the ball after scrambling back, with Vill Powell snapping after the ball. At the other end our own Jamie in the net - Holmshaw - had to save a short drive with his legs shortly after, when John Lawless cut in from the wing. Chris Dolby had an excellent shot turned round the post by Speare, and from Dolby's resultant corner Tom Jones rose to head goalwards, only to see Adam Wade clear off the line. Midway through the first half Powell ran from the halfway line, under the fierce attention of two Bay defenders who were trying their best to hold the Sheffield striker back; however Powell was strong enough to break through, to look up and unselfishly put an inch perfect cross to WINTER who dived to head home leaving the keeper no chance at all. With five minutes to go to the break, Winter broke through with just the keeper to beat, sadly he lacked the composure to double his - and Club's - tally. Overall it was a pretty even first half, although with one converted, one cleared off the line and a goal ruled out, it could have been a whole lot worse for the hosts.
By rights, Bay should have been expected to come out in the second half with all guns blazing, but that threat never materialised and it was the visitors who extended their lead. On the hour mark Vill Powell cut in from the right hand side to the edge of the six yards box, showing all the class expected of him he squared the ball to DOLBY, who stroked the ball past the hapless keeper. The visiting supporters had barely had time to calm down from this goal, when they were celebrating once again, as Sheffield got a third from an old reliable source. Paul Smith supplied a firmly hit cross, INGALL was in the middle and "rose like a salmon" - showing he still has it - to get a proper meaty header on target from six yards out. Whilst that was it as far as scoring went, Powell still had a further opportunity to stretch the lead even further as he shot across the face of the keeper, the goal and wide. But the entertainment didn't stop there, as Jamie Holmshaw had a little game of keepie-uppie, lost the ball to an opposing player and casually saved their effort. After the two goals in two minutes, this effectively killed the game - as you'd expect - and Bay were never in it from hereon in with no sign of a revival. Holmshaw had very little to do, bar a couple of saves with his legs, and this was testimony to a great defensive display.
Star of the show though was without doubt Vill Powell, who showed his class with a non-stop display, running his socks off for ninety minutes and set up two goals. And despite seeing their side well and truly beaten, a special mention must go to the loyal Colwyn Bay supporters who showed a very sporting touch, clapping off the victorious visiting players at the end. Next up for the Club is a little visit from Mr Robson's Blades first team on Wednesday, followed by the return to league football next Saturday, again at the BFS - against Kidsgrove Athletic.
BTF Man of the Match - Vill Powell
Colwyn Bay: Speare, Armstrong, Boardman, Brandreth, Swan, Wade (Walker), Crowder, Olsen, Black (Roberts), Murt, Lawless. Sub Not Used: Callaghan.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Winter, Jones, Thorpe (Davey), Dolby (Holmes), Powell, Ingall, Ward (Wainman).
Meanwhile at the BFS today, Club's Reserves came off second best in the County Senior League Cup, losing 2-1 to Oughtibridge. After the visitors took the lead from Flynn, Club replied with a great goal from Tom Carnall, before Oughtibridge hit Sheffield with a sucker punch late on in injury time after the home side failed to clear and Wood slotted home. 
Sheffield FC Reserves: Kearney, Gelsthorpe, Miskell, Taylor, Barnes, Chapman, Carnall, Purkiss, Eskande, McKenzie, Cronin. Subs: Linnell, Foster, Moore, Portaluri, Oliver.
Oughtibridge WMSC: Fox, Kentzer, Oldfield, L.Westoby, West, J.Westoby, Hague, Oldfield, Fletcher, Highfield, Flynn. Subs: Wood, Kent, Newton, Keighley, Barker.

Sheffield FC 6 Gresley Rovers 5
(after extra time - score at 90 mins 5-5)
UniBond League Challenge Cup First Round
Tuesday, 25/09/07

After Saturday's struggle to find the net, Sheffield went goal crazy at the Bright Finance Stadium, coming from behind on four occasions before finally taking the lead (and the tie) with the final goal of the game. The host's fielded two new players, although both had previously played in Sheffield colours. Asa Ingall filling a midfield role, whilst up front Stuart Copnell started alongside Ward and Powell.
It was a lively start by both sides, Sheffield having the first strikes on goal through Ingall and Copnell after good work by Powell on the left side. However it was the visitors who struck first after 11 minutes when Slater's cross was met at the back post by BLENKINSOPP to head home. The lead lasted just six minutes as a Powell cross into the area was deflected into the air and ROB WARD was on hand to send a looping header over the stranded Clarke. Rovers were finding it difficult to hold the lively Powell whose movement off the ball was creating all sorts of problems, the striker was unlucky with a shot on the turn which Clarke did well to save. Copnell was next to test the busy keeper, his rasping drive just wide of the mark. On 20 minutes Rovers again took the lead, Ridgeway's corner being converted by the head of MAWBEY with the Sheffield defence static. Minutes later they had the chance to increase their advantage, but Edwards' shot was just wide. At the other end Powell was unlucky when Copnall's cross was destined for the forward's head, but Clarke managed to divert the ball to safety. Gresley were next on the attack, Marshall putting his shot over the bar. On 42 minutes the hosts were again back on level terms, Ingall heading the ball on to WARD, who's half volley gave Clarke no chance. As if that wasn't enough action for one half a free kick to Gresley in added time saw Blenkinsopp turn provider this time as his kick was hoisted into the area, once again the normally reliable Sheffield defence were nowhere as MAWBEY headed home.
The second half started with the hosts on the attack, Powell shooting wide when in a good position. Clarke then had to be alert as Ward's cross found Copnell, who unleashed a shot which the keeper needed two attempts to gather. Just past the hour mark the visitors went further in front when a good flowing move found RIDGEWAY, who's shot into the corner beat Holmshaw. Copnell was then unlucky for the home side when his free kick was well saved by overworked Clarke. With less than twenty minutes left, and things looking bleak Sheffield grabbed a lifeline.  Ward threaded the ball through to STUART COPNELL who hammered it under the 'keeper. The striker almost doubled his tally when another shot took a deflection, but the ball was just the wrong side of the post. With time running out Sheffield started to throw men forward and Gavin Smith was unfortunate when he got into a good position in front of goal, but put too much purchase on the ball, heading it into the ground with the net at his mercy. With three minutes to play, quick thinking by Paul Smith saw him knock a  free kick into the area while everyone was organising themselves and GAVIN SMITH was on hand to ghost in unmarked and head home to level the scores. With extra time looming there was yet more drama. The home fans had barely stopped cheering the Sheffield equaliser when Rovers went onto the attack once more and BLENKINSOPP netted his second of the game. At this point just about everyone in the ground thought that would be the end of the tie, but not quite. Deep into injury time Paul Smith once again hit a free kick into the opposition area, and with every Sheffield player except Holmshaw in the visitors half the ball was eventually cleared to the edge of the area where CHRIS DOLBY was waiting to unleash a volley that flew into the net.
With the referee finally calling time on proceedings it meant extra time, and with both sides visibly tiring, who would come out on top? Sheffield finally took the lead for the one and only time on the 100 minute mark when Dolby's cross was met by DARYLL WINTER to fire home.  Both sides looked exhausted as they entered the last fifteen minutes of this topsy-turvy match. Winter went close with another effort just wide of the mark and Jones was well wide with a header as the home side kept up the pressure to try and stifle the visitors.  Powell had the opportunity to make the game safe in the last two minutes, but his shot was over the bar. Gresley can count themselves unfortunate a minute from time when they had a good 'shout' for a penalty turned down, as the Sheffield supporters held their breath. After what had gone on in the preceeding 120 minutes it's doubtful both sets of the supporters or the players would have had enough energy to endure a penalty shoot out. From Sheffield's perspective thankfully it wasn't needed as Mr. Murphy finally brought the game to an end.
Overall there was no arguing that anyone who witnessed the game got more than value for their money and it was a great advertisement for the game at this level. Good performances from all the team, showing the 'never say die' spirit, but a little disturbing to concede five goals at home, especially from set pieces. Still, job well done. The next round sees us travel to Goole, at least we know we can win in 90 minutes there !
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Rob Ward
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley (Davey), Winter, Jones, Thorpe, Ingall (Dolby), Ward, Copnell (Wainman), Powell.
Gresley Rovers: Clarke, Douglas, Rowntree (Hanson), Hood, Chamberlain, Edwards, Slater, Ridgeway (Sleath), Marshall, Blenkinsopp, Mawbey. Unused Sub: Hemmings.

Sheffield FC 0 Warrington Town 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 22/09/07
MOTM Vill Powell attempts to latch on to this through ball
The boys from the Wiretown turned up late for the party, kept the hosts and the rest of the guests waiting, and then went and ate all of the cake. Yes Warrington arrived more than a little bit late for today's contest at the BFS, after being snarled in a pretty horrendous journey, and headed back across the Pennines with all three points from a smash and grab performance. A 26th minute goal from Chris Moores was the difference between the two teams on the scoreboard, enough to knock Club from the leaders' spot they held prior to kick-off, whilst some resolute defending kept the Sheffield boys at bay.
The game eventually kicked of fully 35 minutes late, and to be honest neither side created anything like a threat to either side's keeper, with neither Jamie Holmshaw nor Danny Morton having to make a save of note. Even so it was the home side that started the brightest, and on twenty minutes they started to make in-roads on the visiting defence, and in turn created some promising chances. A quick free kick by Chris Dolby caught the Wire defence napping, with Vill Powell un-marked in acres of space just inside the penalty area; however a smart turn by Powell saw him hook the ball just wide of the mark. Seconds later Karl Colley turned provider, with a ball over the top that caught the Warrington backline flat, again Powell turned first time to hit the ball - this time his effort was wider still. Sheffield were well and truly on top at this point, and the question was more like "when" than "if" Club were going to score, with all the pressure coming from the hosts and the visitors having to clear their lines all the more frequently. Yet another attack saw Powell lay the ball off for Rob Ward, after some great build up play involving Paul Smith and Ian Robinson, somehow Ward's instinctive shot was blocked by Karl Robinson - with the keeper nowhere to be seen - stopping an almost certain goal. Then came the sucker punch, as Kevin Hannon managed to feed the ball through the defence to MOORES, who after jinking through a couple of tackles drove the ball low and hard past Holmshaw. Club tried to rally almost immediately and Colley headed over a great opportunity from a Dolby free-kick, followed shortly after by an even better chance from a Colley free-kick on half-way, with Ian Robinson's deft back-header being tipped over the bar spectacularly by Morton. Warrington though finished the half strongly, and could have doubled the lead if not for some woeful finishing by Chris Moores, who dragged not one - but two - efforts wide of a gaping goal.
Five minutes into the second half there were even more delays, with referee Ledger sustaining a pretty nasty looking strain to his calf, meaning the game would be finishing at least another ten minutes later. Warrington continued to create the better of the chances, even though Sheffield still pressed forward in search of the equaliser, forcing what seemed an endless list of corners. Holmshaw though had to be ever alert, as he blocked a clear chance by Ged Courtney, seconds after another effort by Moores was curled over the bar. Club continued to push forward, and it looked all the more likely this game was bound not to finish with a happy ending, as the chances came and were squandered. Another corner by Dolby saw Colley head over the top, whilst a great cross from Paul Smith found his namesake Gavin in the middle; again his header was wide of the mark. All the time Club were committing players forward, Town were equally capable of breaking forward and creating chances of their own, and every time they wasted chances to stretch their lead. Courtney was guilty of this twenty minutes into the half, through on goal and shooting wide, whilst substitute Lee Thompson missed an open goal. Club tried in vain to get an equaliser, but despite all their hard work, it just didn't seem to want to come. More good work by Dolby found man-of-the-match Powell, sadly he didn't get his just desserts as his header was off target, whilst Colley managed to get the ball in the net with a late header - only to see it ruled out for an earlier offence in the box.
So it wasn't to be, and however you want to address the blame - either for the visitors' timekeeping or change of referee - Club could easily have been further embarrassed if the Warrington forwards had got their act together. Sheffield should have won the game, and in a similar style and (possibly) scoreline as the recent games against Cammell Laird and Belper, this time they were met by an organised and well drilled no-nonsense defence that prevented what could have been a certain defeat for the travel-weary visitors. Warrington on the other hand can head back over the relatively traffic-free hills back home, safe in the knowledge they had all three points, moving them into an impressive sixth place. Sheffield have to console themselves with second spot, and look forward to the visit on Tuesday of Gresley Rovers, for a game which sees Club dip their toes into the world of UniBond League Cup football for the first time.
BTF Club Man Of The Match: Vill Powell
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson (Holmes), Jones, Winter, Dolby (Marsh), Powell, Davey, Ward (Wainman).
Warrington Town: Morton, McAllister, Fitzsimmons, Dunne, Coyne, Robinson (Mitchell), Smith, Ellison, Moores (Crompton), Courtney (Thompson), Hannon.
Att: 280
Sheffield league debutant v Alsager Town, Martin Kearney

Sheffield FC 2 Alsager Town 1
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 15/09/07
With only one other Unibond South league game taking place due to FA Cup commitments, Sheffield had an ideal opportunity to take top spot (their highest ever league position in their illustrious history) which they grabbed with goals from Powell and Jones.
The home side started brightly enough, Colley forcing Bullet's 'keeper Conkie to punch away from a free kick in the first minute. Dolby then did well in the corner to beat two defenders and cross the ball for Robinson, but his effort was cleared away. Next up was Powell, whose burst through the defence saw his effort cleared by a defender with both Ward and  Robinson bearing down for any loose ball.
With Holmshaw still injured, it was a first team league debut for Sheffield 'keeper Martin Kearney, whose first action was a goalkick on the quarter hour mark after Parkinson's free kick flew over the bar. A few minutes later and this time it was Millington whose shot was just wide of the post after some good work by Rowley. Davey then had a shot high over the bar after being set up by Powell. Midway through the first half an enforced substitution saw Wainman brought into the game to replace the injured Robinson. Despite having the majority of possession it was the visitors who were creating the better chances, Whittaker going too close for comfort with a glancing header. Just past the half hour mark a Gavin Smith ball deep to the back post had Conkie stretching to tip the ball to safety, Colley heading the ball over the bar from the resulting corner. Powell then had the best chance of the half when through on goal but Conkie was at his best to beat away the strikers effort to leave the teams level at the break.
Sheffield finally got the breakthrough eight minutes into the second half. A Dolby corner swung in to the box saw VILL POWELL beat the 'keeper to the ball to head home from six yards. Just on the hour mark the home side thought they'd doubled their lead as Powell hit a vicious shot into the net (see BTF TV clip), but the goal was disallowed for offside. At the other end Sheffield got a bit of luck when a goalbound shot was deflected onto the top of his own crossbar by Jones, with Kearney left stranded. Kearney then punched the resulting corner upfield and out of danger. Sheffield came back with Powell again going close  with a shot just over the bar. With just under twenty minutes left the home side breached the Alsager defence once more. Again it was a set-piece as Dolby's corner once again found Colley, this time his header was cleared off the line but JONES was on hand to pick up the pieces and head home. Alsager started pushing players forward to try and get something from the game, Whittaker just missing the post with a free kick. Despite their pressure, Kearney had nothing of note to deal with, but with just a minute left to play the Bullets finally got a shot on target and a rasping free kick from Parkinson found the top corner of the net to spoil Kearney's day.
So, a third win on the trot and claiming top position in the league means Sheffield go into next week's home encounter against Warrington Town in buoyant mood.
BTF Club Man Of The Match: Vill Powell
Sheffield FC: Kearney, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson(Wainman), Jones, Winter, Dolby (Marsh), Powell, Davey, Ward(Wilkins).
Alsager Town: Conkie, Rowley, Leighton (McCarthy), Reeves, Espley, Edwards (Mitchell), Heler, Millington, Budrys (Eldershaw), Whittaker, Parkinson.

Belper Town 1 Sheffield FC 4
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 11/09/07
Sheffield continued their fine scoring run by hitting four goals for the second game running, tonight at Christchurch Meadow, after stunning the home side in a blistering opening five minute spell. Belper's defence was made to look pretty ordinary in the opening exchanges, as Club scored two goals in a minute, leaving the Nailers with a massive uphill battle - and leaving the hosts still winless after their opening six games. Goals from Rob Ward, his fourth in two games, and Peter Davey set the platform for a comfortable evening's football, whilst Vill Powell and Leon Wainman opened their scoring accounts in the second half to wrap the game up. Town got a late consolation from Ross Hannah, but by that time the points were well and truly sewn up, and Sheffield were on their way to third spot in the UniBond Division One South.
Sheffield fielded more or less the same side that hammered Cammell Laird on Saturday, the only change being Aaron Jameson coming in for the injured Jamie Holmshaw, but any worries the debutant goalie would be a potential Achilles' heel were put to rest after just four minutes. Belper looked unsettled at the back, and a terrible misjudgement by Danny Hudson saw the ball ricochet into the path of Rob Ward in the area, and seeing as he's in such great form at the moment there was only one outcome as WARD drilled home for an easy finish. Things were to get much worse for Belper moments later, before they could regroup Club were on the attack, with Ward and Powell making the most of the defensive confusion to set up DAVEY who showed great class by lobbing Ogden from the edge of the box. It could be said that the game was won by this stage, and as Belper had been caught cold at the start, it was a case of "job done" for Sheffield and they could hardly be blamed for sitting back on the lead. Either way Belper created very little, whilst at the same time having the majority of the possession and territory, Sheffield simply remained solid at the back with Tom Jones and Karl Colley repelling anything that was hurled their way. At the other end the best effort came just before the halfway mark, with Colley hooking the ball over the bar, after a free-kick was curled into the box from the right wing. As for Belper, well the closest they came to pulling anything back was when Jameson flapped at the ball, leaving Mark Smith open at the back post, his finish however was very disappointing.
The second half started pretty much the same as the first, with Sheffield the aggressors, and an early snapshot from Powell which was blocked by Ogden set the tone for the opening. Powell went close once again five minutes in, as he hooked the ball over the bar, after an excellent turn. Belper almost got back into the game shortly after, and were left wondering how the didn't as Mark Smith went in for the ball with Tom Jones, it somehow deflected to Ross Hannah who half hit the ball towards goal - and Colley had to come to Sheffield's rescue turning the ball off the line and wide. As Sheffield continued to sit back, Belper were allowed enough room to come at them and create more chances, but still were unable to pull anything back. Danny Toronczak headed over the bar, whilst Appleyard nodded over a Rushbury corner, the Nailers though never really looked confident enough to turn this pressure into goals and Sheffield made them pay for this on the hour mark. A cross in from the right by Paul Smith found POWELL open in the box, and the Club striker showed great composure and aplomb to finish with style, effectively killing off any resistance the hosts might have had left. Fifteen minutes later it was four, as substitutes Dave Wilkins and Leon Wainman combined to make it even more emphatic, with Wilkins crossing in from the dead-ball line on the left and WAINMAN finishing with a nice downward header at the back post. A minute from time Belper finally got their consolation, after a bit of a scramble the ball fell to HANNAH, who stabbed home to give the hosts a modicum of respectability.
On this showing Sheffield look pretty impressive, they won convincingly, whilst still playing well within themselves. Belper look like they have a massive struggle on their hands, and despite having several players of a very high standard, they looked anything but a team that was a tight unit. The win takes Sheffield to third place, behind Retford and Colwyn Bay who both won tonight as well, and can capitalise on Saturday if they take all three points against Alsager to move into top spot. Having said that, Saturday's game won't be as easy as tonight's, expect a lot more from a visiting side sitting inside the top five.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Karl Colley
Belper Town: Ogden, Colliver, Rushbury, Stevenson, Appleyard, Hobson, Harcourt (Peter Smith), Hudson, Toronczak (Tevendale), Hannah, M.Smith (Yates).
Sheffield FC: Jameson, G.Smith, Paul Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Winter, Dolby (Marsh), Powell (Wainman), Davey, Ward (Wilkins).
Att: 136
The goals flowed up at the Claybourn as well this evening, as Sheffield FC's Under 19 team made their FA Youth Cup bow with an impressive victory over Liversedge's Under 19 outfit. An attendance of 60 saw the impressive 5-2 away victory and ensured the "C(l)ubbies" climbed the first hurdle, meaning they will now meet Halifax Town in the first round qualifying at the BFS, week commencing 22nd September.


Sheffield FC 4 Cammell Laird 0
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 08/09/07
Sheffield made a swift response to last week's FA Cup exit, by absolutely thumping Lairds at the Bright Finance Stadium 4-0, sending Club back into the top four. In a game that the visitors would rather forget in a hurry, the hosts turned in their best performance of the season, with the hero being Rob Ward who hit the back of the net three times - his second being touted as an early contender for "goal of the season". Gavin Smith also found the net to complete the scoring, whilst the Shipbuilders' misery was complete ending the game with ten men, with Chris Taylor being given a red card with twenty five minutes left. By that time though the result had been decided, leaving manager Dave McCarthy - and the home supporters - with plenty to smile about.
As games go this always looked to be a tight fixture, and the start didn't disappoint those who'd made that prediction, with both sides contributing to an entertaining opening. Lairds' young starlet John Corrigan made a lively start, going close early on with a shot that went just wide, whilst later in the first quarter he went closer still, by rattling the ball into the side netting. Sheffield on the other hand pressed forward, with the closest effort coming from Karl Colley, whose header was well saved by Leon Bimpson. On twenty minutes though the game changed it's course, with a short series of events all adding up to the opening goal, and in turn ending Sheffield's forward scoring (and penalty scoring) drought. Firstly a cross from Paul Smith found Ian Robinson in the area, his header was excellently saved by Bimpson; however the ball fell to Vill Powell who was tripped from behind. With Sheffield's penalty record standing at nil from two, up stepped WARD who was the calmest person in the ground, to plant the ball in the corner - giving Bimpson no chance despite the keeper guessing the correct way. Cammell's best move of the game came five minutes later, a cross from Anthony Sheehan was met by Ian Cooke, and it took a save of the highest calibre from Jamie Holmshaw to stop a certain equaliser. The rest of the first half was riveting to say the least, but both defences managed to keep on top, with scoring chances kept to a minimum.
The second half though was a different prospect, and three minutes in came one of those events supporters will be talking about for the rest of the season, as Rob Ward doubled his - and Sheffield's - tally with one of the best goals seen at the BFS. Lairds' keeper Bimpson went walkabout away from his area, the ball fell to WARD on the half-way line and hit first time the ball sailed way over the goalie's head, under the bar and into the empty net. It was an effort that seemed to deflate the visitors, and with this the hosts started to come into their own, playing some very neat flowing football. The chances started to come too, Ian Robinson put in a dangerous cross which found Vill Powell, and Bimpson had to be at his most alert to block the shot. On 56 minutes the game was put beyond doubt, and it was that man WARD who was on target once again, after being found in space behind the defence the big striker finished with gusto - blasting the ball home from the edge of the six yard box. On the hour mark the visitors should have pulled one back, as a corner from substitute Michael Cole was met by the head of John Collins, the end result though was pretty disappointing. Five minutes later the visitors struggle was made all the harder, as Vill Powell was put through on goal, only to be hauled back on the edge of the area by Chris Taylor - giving referee Jones little option but to produce a straight red. This allowed Club to cut loose even more, and the chances started to come thick and fast, with Rob Ward almost turning provider for Vill Powell - this time the Sheffield striker was denied by John Collins who took the ball off his toe with a last-ditch tackle. Chris Dolby put yet another cross in, Karl Colley the recipient on this occasion, and his excellent header was glanced wide of the post. Vill Powell went close ten minutes from the end, cutting in from the left, before unleashing a shot that hit the post. Seven minutes from time the comprehensive win was wrapped up, as yet another corner from Paul Smith was headed back across the goal by Powell, and rising at the back post beating two defenders was the other SMITH - Gavin - heading the ball over the line, to the despairing grasp of Bimpson who tried to claw the ball from behind the goal-line.
The scoreline didn't flatter Sheffield; they were good value for the result, playing some flowing enterprising football. The most pleasing aspect of the whole game was the performance of Rob Ward, not only for the three goals he managed to bag, but for the tireless running and huge presence in the opposing area. The visitors on the other hand were somewhat disappointing, especially in the second period, and much more was expected from them. However the lively Sheffield outfit really put them to the sword, and probably didn't allow them to turn in the kind of display they are renowned for, with the fact Holmshaw only really having to make one real save of note telling the whole story. Next up for Sheffield is a short trip to Belper on Tuesday, where Club will be facing quite a few familiar faces, hoping to continue the form showed today.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Rob Ward
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Winter (Marsh), Dolby (Wainman), Powell, Davey, Ward (Wilkins).
Cammell Laird: Bimpson, Sheehan (S.Jones), Lynch, Gibiliru, Taylor, Collins, Corrigan (Cole), G.Jones, Cooke, Hay, Couch (Osman).
Att: 286.
In the County Senior League Division Two, Sheffield's Reserves outfit turned in a victory over at High Green, beating previously unbeaten Thorncliffe 1-0 - the goal coming from Adrian Portaluri ten minutes into the second half, scoring in his third game in succession. This victory moves the Ressies up to fourth place, following on from the midweek victory at Bramley Sunnyside - what a difference a week makes!

Pre-Match Exchange Of Mementos Between Lairds and Club

Cammell Laird 2 Sheffield FC 0
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday, 01/09/07
It was disappointment all round this afternoon for Sheffield Club, as the much publicised tie of the round ended in favour of the hosts, with the Shipbuilders running out winners by a two goal margin. The turning point was the introduction to the game of Joe Gibiliru, who opened the scoring thirteen minutes from time with an absolute scorcher and set up the second for John Corrigan seven minutes later, effectively ending Sheffield's FA Cup hopes for another season.
Playing on a decent pitch and into the wind Sheffield made the stronger start, and forced an early succession of corners, which ended with a glancing header from David Wilkins that was well saved by Lairds' keeper Leon Bimpson. Cammell started to come into their own afterwards, and on ten minutes they had their first effort on goal, a snapshot by Anthony Sheehan that just went over. Ten minutes later the hosts had what could be argued as being the best opportunity of the first half, a cushioned header by Ian Cooke fell nicely for Alex Hay, who should have done better than blazing over the bar. On the half hour mark Jamie Holmshaw had to be alert, as a deceptive looking long range free kick carried in the wind, with the Sheffield stopper doing well to palm away. Just before the interval Sheffield finished strongly, with Matt Roney's drive being tipped over by Leon Bimpson, and from the subsequent corner Karl Colley rose above everyone to head narrowly over. It was a fairly even half, but on the balance of things, Sheffield just shaded it.
The second half saw Club playing with the stiffening breeze now behind their backs, and introduced Rob Ward for Matt Roney early on in the piece; however the home side managed to encamp themselves in the Sheffield half - albeit without causing many issues. Midway through the second period the visitors had the first chance of the half, with Ward spotting the keeper off his line, trying an opportunists' shot from 35 yards out - just clearing the bar by inches. With twelve minutes to go though the game spun on it's head, with the substitution of Anthony Sheehan being replaced by Joe Gibiliru, moments later the tactical switch was to have dramatic results. As Cammell pushed forward the Sheffield defence backed off just a little too much, allowing space for GIBILIRU to unleash a peach of a shot, one that gave Holmshaw absolutely no chance as it curled away from the keeper. As time ran out Lairds delivered the sucker punch to wrap the game up, with Gibiliru the provider this time, coming in from the angle before hitting the post, on hand was CORRIGAN to slam home from close range.
There was no coming back for Sheffield after this, and once again despite turning in a fine performance, Club were lacking where it mattered - in the fire-power department. On the whole the two teams - as predicted - were evenly matched, and it took a goal of the highest quality to break the deadlock. The two teams meet again next weekend at the BFS, hopefully we can get back on the scoring track that has cost us dearly, and this time see Sheffield running out as the winning side.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Paul Smith
Cammell Laird: Bimpson, Ward, Lynch, Sheehan (Gibiliru), Atherton, Collins, Corrigan, Couch, Cooke (Jensen), Hay (Osman), G.Jones. Subs Not Used: S.Jones, Jebb.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Roney (Ward), Winter (Marsh), Wilkins, Davey (Dolby), Wainman. Subs Not Used: Powell, Boulter.
Att: 130.
Meanwhile back over at the BFS this afternoon, Sheffield's reserves side had a less than auspicious start to their County Senior Division Two campaign, losing 1-5 at home to fellow newcomers Shafton & District. The majority of the damage came in the first 25 minutes, with Kyle Turner, Nathan Cox and Christian Carter all scoring for the visitors. Andy Ellis made it 4-0 seconds into the second half, before Adriano Portaluri pulled one back for Club ten minutes later, giving the hosts a smattering of hope for a comeback. That never happened and ten minutes from time Jon Howell made the score 5-1, and could have made it six just before full-time; however Howell's spot-kick struck the post saving Sheffield from a heavier defeat.
Sheffield FC Reserves: Kearney, Linnell, Chapman (Foster), Taylor, Carnall, Cronin, McKenzie (Burk), Oliver (Jones), Purkiss, Gregory, Portaluri. Sub Not Used: Hughes.
Shafton & District: Francis, Turner (Taylor), Hulme, Crossland, Rouse (Sedgewick), Carter (Bailey), Cox, Sykes, Pile, Howell, Ellis. Sub Not Used: Lowe.


Warrington Town 1 Sheffield FC 1
UniBond Division One South
Monday, 27/08/07
Sheffield bounced back from last Saturdays disappointing home defeat to put on their best performance of the season. Unfortunately it wasn't quite enough to grab all three points as Warrington rescued a point four minutes from time with only their second effort of the game on target. Karl Colley having given Club a deserved lead, and in so doing becoming the teams leading goalscorer at this early stage of the season.
Sheffield manager McCarthy made four changes to the team which lost so easily on Saturday, giving a league debut to new signing Leon Wainman, now free to play after his delayed start due to suspension. In fact he was instrumental in Sheffield's first attack, shooting just over the bar. Sheffield settled quickly and were soon in control. Despite the uneven pitch, Club were more than capable of playing the ball into the channels and running at the home siodes defence. Both Wilkins and Man of the Match Wainman were giving the home defence a torrid time, running them wragged at times. A corner by Roney on 12 minutes was punched out by Morton and Colley's shot was deflected behind. The big defender stayed upfield for the resulting kick and his glancing header was just wide of the post. Wainman was next to try his luck after a quickly taken free kick caught the Wires defence in disarray, his shot being beaten out by Morton straight back to the striker but his second effort was wide of the post. Another Sheffield corner saw Colley's header just go over the bar. Warrington offered little in attack as the Sheffield defence dealt with any threat with ease, resulting in a couple of shots from distance that didn't find the target. On the half hour mark the visitors finally got the breakthrough they deserved. Another corner by Roney  was once  again scrambled away but Robinson was on hand to float the ball back into the area. COLLEY beat the keeper to the ball to head home. Good work by Wainman saw him lay the ball off to Roney, who's shot on the turn was inches wide. The visitors should have doubled the lead on the stroke of half time when Wainman crossed the ball into the area to find Davey running in unapposed, but the midfielders volley sailed over the bar with Morton well beaten.
At this stage Warrington were glad to hear the half time whistle, but the second half started with Sheffield still pressing the home side back into their own half, Roney going agonisingly close with a header that came back off the post. At the other end, Warrington were managing to push forward more but had to wait until the 70th minute for their first shot on target which Holmshaw dealt with comfortably. With ten minutes to go Ward almost made a dramatic start to his game (coming on as substitute for Wilkins who had run himself into the ground) as he showed tremendous ball control to wriggle between four defenders before getting in a shot that Morton was glad to palm away to safety. With time running out the visitors then seemed to settle back and try to hang on to their lead, giving up the midfield allowing Warrington more space to press forward. A free kick on the edge of the area from Thomas going just wide. With five minutes to go Steve Smith was the next to try his luck for the Wires, his volley going just over the bar. A minute later and the home side were level. A cross from the right of the Sheffield area saw the defence hesitate and Steve SMITH was on hand to put the ball home at the far post. There was little time for Sheffield to respond and the home side were certainly not going to give away their 'gifted' point as they were happy just to clear their lines whenever the ball went near their goal.
A big disappointment for the team and travelling support, having controlled the game for so long, but encouraging in the fact that it was the sides best performance (as a team, and individually) of the season. Still a worry that once again we await a goal from one of our strikers. Sheffield's next game is away at Cammell Laird as they embark on the journey in this season's FA Cup competition.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Leon Wainman
Warrington Town: Morton, Salt, Fitzsimmons, Pitts, Coyne, Thomas, Potter (Mitchell), S.Smith, N.Smith, Courtney, Crompton, Unused subs: Hannan, Ellison.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Roney(Dolby), Holmes (Sergeant), Wilkins (Ward), Davey, Wainman.



Sheffield FC 0 Nantwich Town 3
UniBond Division One South
Saturday, 25/08/07
Sheffield wilted in the BFS sunshine this afternoon, as Nantwich went to town with a 3-0 victory, ending Club's unbeaten start to the season. After a start which looked as level and open as any game this (or last) season, the match took a dramatic turn in the last six minutes of the first period, as events conspired against the hosts gaining anything from the afternoon. Firstly Pavel Suhaj scored a neat goal for the visitors, then minutes later Sheffield's Vill Powell became the second player in a week to fail from the spot after being fouled, finally to rub salt in the wounds Danny Griggs capitalised on a bad back-pass to double the lead. Despite much effort to claw back into the game, Sheffield couldn't do enough to trouble Rob Hackney in the visitors' goal, and Town wrapped things up in the dying minutes with a deserved third goal from Glyn Blackhurst.
The afternoon started brightly for Sheffield though, with Vill Powell and Ian Robinson creating some nice build up play, and setting up a chance for Chris Dolby who shot just wide. Moments later Club had a big chance to break the deadlock, this time Powell showed great feet and balance to dribble into the box on the dead-ball line; unfortunately no-one could get the vital touch to complete the move. Nantwich always looked threatening, with the lively speedster Danny Griggs doing great work down the left flank and produced a top cross that was met by the head of Ashley Carter, giving Jamie Holmshaw something to think about as he beat the effort away from goal. Holmshaw was looking in fine form, and was more than a match for a long distance pile-driver from Griggs, which was dealt with a certain amount of comfort. It was end-to-end stuff at this point, and when Powell and Dolby linked up for a one-two, Powell's toe-poke was desperately close to giving Club the vital breakthrough. The Dabbers had a great opportunity midway through the half, with a class long through ball by Paul Donnelly being taken up by Ashley Carter who in turn played the ball across goal, and it took a goal-saving tackle from Tom Jones to deny a certain tap-in by Pavel Suhaj. With six minutes to the break though the Slovakian striker got his reward, as he received the ball on the right flank, SUHAJ was able to create enough space to curl the shot beyond Holmshaw into the far corner. Three minutes later Sheffield should have been on level terms, as Dolby threaded the ball through to Powell who had been causing the visitors' defence a fair amount of stress, the Sheffield forward was tripped by Richard Smith before he could get his shot on goal. The referee had no doubts about awarding the penalty; however as on Tuesday evening at Goole the player who was impeded stood to take the penalty, only to blow the opportunity - this time Powell blazing the ball high and wide. To add insult to injury, in added time the usually reliable skipper Tom Jones misjudged his header back to Holmshaw, the nippy GRIGGS got there before the keeper and coolly slotted the ball into the empty net to give the Dabbers an unlikely two goal interval lead.
Sheffield by no means deserved to go into the break two goals behind, but it took them quite a while to put any kind of pressure on the Nantwich defence, who to their credit shut up shop with a great deal of success. The best Club could muster early-doors was a Chris Dolby corner that found Gav Smith lurking at the back, with the defender's header going just over the bar, other than that the Dabbers just soaked up everything the home side threw at them. Nantwich didn't really threaten the Sheffield defence for most of the second half, their best effort was as the ball fell to Glyn Blackhurst who really should have put the ball home after being left unopposed, but for that matter neither did Club threaten the visitors. The afternoon was probably summed up best when another Dolby corner found Gav Smith again at the back post, this time the ball was scrambled across to a posse of Sheffield players, and Powell was the man who got the shot on goal - only to see it scooped high over the bar. Nantwich finally settled in the last ten minutes and showed they are a good footballing side, putting together some good football and creating some good space and with it some good chances, with a prime example being as Blackhurst was found wide open once again - this time his lob was snuffed out by the stretch of Holmshaw. The Sheffield keeper was made to earn his money once again seconds later, as Carter, substitute Andy Kinsey and Nick Lingdon combining to give Lingdon a chip on goal which Holmshaw did well to keep out. With five minutes to go the stubborn keeper was finally breached, with Carter providing an excellently dug out cross, which was met at the back post by BLACKHURST who had no problems dispatching the free header into the back of the net - and putting the final nail in the Sheffield coffin.
After this result Club drop to ninth in the table, but as we said after the Goole game, "it is still early days yet". On the balance of play this afternoon's game was as even as you are likely to see, but the deciding factor was the number of chances created, and effectively finished by either team. The shots on target statistics tell their own story - with Nantwich converting three of the eight they had on target, Sheffield on the other hand didn't force a single meaningful save from Hackney. A worrying statistic maybe, but the football played by the home team for much of the game was energetic and creative, with great performances by many on the Sheffield side. Sadly though that creativity didn't end with one of the marksmen finishing with a confidence boosting goal, hopefully that will be put right over in Wiretown on Monday afternoon, as Sheffield head over to Cheshire for their next fixture at Cantilever Park against Warrington Town - a team who themselves turned in a shock result this afternoon, stunning league leaders Quorn 2-0 on their own patch - so another difficult game in prospect for Macca's boys. Here's hoping we can get back to winning ways.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Darren Holmes
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Thorpe (Holmes), Dolby (Roney), Ward (Wilkins), Davey, Powell.
Nantwich Town: Hackney, Donnelly, Taylor, R.Smith, Dickler, Parkinson, Carter (Teague), Blackhurst, Suhaj (Kinsey), Lingdon, Griggs. Sub Not Used: Davis.
Att: 240


Goole 1 Sheffield FC 2
UniBond Division One South
Tuesday, 21/08/07
Sheffield continued their unbeaten start to life in the UniBond with a well-earned, if controversial, win over former NCEL rivals Goole at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds on Tuesday evening. An injury time winner from Tom Jones sealed the points for Club, amid furious scenes from the home players, after the ball appeared to have gone out of play in the build up. The Vikings had earlier opened the scoring through Neil Grayson, and despite spurning the chance of levelling from the spot from David Wilkins, Sheffield managed to get on terms with a Karl Colley header on 27 minutes.
Following on from Saturday's win over Grantham, Club made only one change to the line up, with Miles Thorpe coming in for the injured Daz Winter. Sheffield seemed to take an age to get going in the first half, and found themselves truly on the back foot for much of the first fifteen minutes, with Goole making all the running. As it was the hosts took a well deserved lead on 12 minutes, with Danny Buttle leaving the visiting defence lagging on the left wing, before delivering an inch perfect cross onto the head of GRAYSON who powered beyond Holmshaw. It looked to be an uphill struggle for Sheffield after this but they showed great character to win a penalty five minutes later, with an excellent through ball from Ian Robinson finding David Wilkins sprinting forward, the pacey striker left keeper Craig Parry for dead and it took a cynical trip just inside the box to stop an open goal attempt. The referee rightly awarded the spot-kick, but Parry made amends for his misdemeanour by tipping Wilkins' effort round the post, denying what should have been the leveller. On 27 minutes though parity was restored after a sustained period of Sheffield pressure, a Chris Dolby corner was met in the middle by the unopposed head of COLLEY, whose glancing strike took the ball beyond the defence and into the net.
Much of the second period was pretty much a scrappy battle, neither side really managed to put their claim on the game, and as a result neither Parry nor Holmshaw had much to do. Midway through the half Miles Thorpe battled through the middle to lay the ball off to Wilkins, who in turn set up substitute Vil Powell to hit the ball first time, forcing a rare save from Parry. Whilst at the other end Goole's best efforts came in the form of two Kevin Ryan efforts within the space of a minute, firstly a half hit effort that should have produced better results, and the second a great header that was met with an equally great stop from Holmshaw. The drama though had to wait to the last minute of normal time, a Darren Holmes corner was kept in play at the back post, and waiting in the middle of the mêlée to stab home was the Sheffield skipper JONES much to the delight of the travelling support - and much to the ire of the home players who surrounded the referee and his assistant. To be fair to the officials neither was in a decent enough position to see whether or not the ball was in or out, and the Sheffield team stuck to that age old adage - "play to the whistle" - and reaped their rewards.
Prior to the game many were claiming that leaving the VPG with a point would be a good result, taking all three was a massive bonus - and although we are only two games in - this win takes Sheffield to the lofty heights of second place. The side's performance this evening could be best described as "gritty", and although it took an age for Sheffield to get to grips with the game, the result in the end was all that mattered. Next up is Nantwich on Saturday, a team who are languishing near the foot of the (very early) table, although the Dabbers are not to be taken lightly.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - Jamie Holmshaw
Goole: Parry, Constable, O'Neill, Hill, Jenkinson, Chapman, Sidebottom (Claisse), Grayson, Ryan, Rollinson (Rose), Buttle. Sub Not Used: Marsden.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P.Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Thorpe, Dolby (Powell), Ward (Holmes), Davey, Wilkins (Roney).
Att: 231

Sheffield 2 Grantham Town 1
Unibond League First Division South
Newly promoted Sheffield began their inaugural season in the Northern Premier League at a rainy Coach and Horses against Grantham Town. There was no place in the starting line up for new signing Leon Wainman or stalwart Craig Marsh, both suspended, but making his Sheffield league debut was Karl Colley.
Kicking towards the Bowshaw end it was the hosts who had the first opportunity when Dolby's free kick was headed wide by Gavin Smith. Then a well worked move saw Wilkins' shot parried by Ziccardi in the visitors goal but no one was on hand to tuck away the rebound. It was a vibrant start from Sheffield, who were having the majority of possesion at this stage. After twenty minutes Carr was the first Grantham player to cause any danger when his shot went wide of the post. The visitors started to come more into the game as the half developed but Sheffield were still looking the more likely team to score. Just past the half hour mark Wilkins had a good effort from just outside the area, the ball flashing just the wrong side of the post, although the keeper had the attempt covered.  Paul Smith's free kick then found the lively striker moving towards the near post, but his flicked header was wide of the mark. The breakthrough finally came on 43 minutes but it was the visitors who inflicted the damage. A move down the Sheffield right saw the ball driven low into the area, and as the defence stood watching WILKINSON had the easiest of chances to put Grantham in front. The lead lasted less than two minutes though as a Sheffield break on the stroke of half time saw Dolby place the ball between two defenders for PETE DAVEY to run on and lift the ball over the stranded Ziccardi and into the net.
The second half saw Sheffield up the tempo, Dolby bringing out a fine save from Ziccardi. At the other end a good run by Cann saw his cross driven into the area but there was no one on hand to convert the chance. Grantham scorer Wilkinson then had another golden opportunity, but his header was just the wrong side of the post. On 73 minutes the hosts got the breakthrough they were looking for. GAVIN SMITH picked the ball up on the halfway line, and with Grantham players backing off he drove forward, beating two defenders and unleashing a drive into the roof of the net, much to the obvious delight of the home supporters, and the Manager and his Assistant on the bench. The visitors almost equalised straight from the restart but Holmshaw was on hand to pluck the ball to safety. With Grantham now pressing for an equaliser it allowed more freedom for the Sheffield forwards and Ward should have put the game out of reach when through with just the keeper to beat, but his shot was smothered by Ziccardi. Man Of The Match Chris Dolby then put Powell through, but once again Ziccardi was on hand to save and keep the visitors in with a chance. However, it was not to be as Sheffield recorded their first victory at the start of this new campaign in the Unibond League.
Next up, a difficult trip to The Victoria Pleasure Grounds.
BTF Club Man Of The Match - CHris Dolby 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, G.Smith, P. Smith, Colley, Robinson, Jones, Winter (Thorpe), Dolby (Holmes), Ward, Davey, D.Wilkins (Powell).
Grantham Town: Ziccardi, I.Wilkins, Dixon, McDaid, Reddington, Moon (Atkinson), Hawley (Byrne), Minett, Wilkinson, Mullarkey, Cann. Unused Sub: Gilbert.
Curzon Ashton 5 Sheffield FC 1
Pre-Season Friendly
Optimistic supporters of Sheffield FC will be of the opinion that todays game was of no significence and things will be different when the season kicks off next week. Pessimistic supporters will be heard to say the side isn't good enough and we'll need to shape up, and pronto, if we're to avoid struggling once the season gets underway. The truth is probably somewhere inbetween.
Sheffield were visiting Curzon Ashton's brand spanking new stadium for this final pre-season friendly before the league opener against Grantham Town next Saturday. You'll certainly be hard pushed to find a better stadium at this level, and you can probably include FCUM's adopted home of Gigg Lane in there ! Just a pity there were so few supporters in evidence, with around half of those present having travelled over from Sheffield.
It was to prove be an afternoon of many mistakes for Club, and at least this was an opportunity to get them out of the way before next week. Jamie Holmshaw gifted the home side an early lead with just a few seconds on the clock, taking a back pass and promptly 'losing' the ball under pressure to Moore, who needed no second invite, the striker knocking home the gift. Club then steadied the ship for the next half an hour or so, claiming their fair share of possession and moving the ball around quite well. Paul Smith, making his second appearance since his return from injury picked up early last season, was seeing plenty of the ball and was working well box to box and down the flank. Karl Colley headed home only to see his effort disallowed and there were other opportunities for Vill Powell and Rob Ward, but in truth it was the home side who were starting to look sharper as the game progressed. With ten minutes of the half remaining, a poor headed clearance from Daz Winter landed perfectly for Worsley and his drive gave Holmshaw no chance. Curzon were starting to create more chances although a fair bit of niggle was also starting to enter the proceedings with several hefty challenges flying in from the home side. It was probably no bad thing when the referee blew his whistle for the half time break to allow the players to calm down.
The second half was a tamer affair with the home side never looking under any real pressure, despite Gavin Smith's deflected shot having to be palmed over by the Curzon keeper. A lovely Curzon move from back to front saw Holmshaw at his best pushing the ball over. Whatever chance Sheffield had of getting back in the game evaporated on the hour mark. Andy Brownrigg's attempted pass to Colley was easily intercepted and the resultant break ended with an easy tap in for Byrne.  
Paul Smith's back post header from Gav Smith's cross twenty minutes from time added an air of respectability to the scoreline, but it was to be short lived. Rhodri Giggs had another simple tap in for the home sides fourth and Allan completed the rout shortly before the final whistle.
Dave McCarthy will realise that the real work has only just begun as his newly promoted side look to etablish themselves amongst the front runners of the newly created Unibond League First Division South. The pessimists will probably be happy with a mid table position, but the optimists will know better than that. It's a marathon, not a sprint and quality always wins out in the end. Which camp do you sit in ?
Sheffield: Holmshaw (Kearney), Gavin Smith, Davey, Colley, Winter (Marsh), Jones (Brownrigg), Robinson (Roney), Holmes, Powell (Wilkins), Ward (Wainman), Paul Smith.
Hallam 1 Sheffield FC 1
Hallam Win On Penalties
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday, 7/08/07
A sunny evening saw another chapter of the 'oldest' derby in the world as Sheffield paid a visit to near neighbours Hallam. Although only a friendly there is still pride at stake, as well as a 'magnificent' cup which I believe will be contested each year.
Kicking up the slope , it was the visitors with the first chance with Colley's free kick saved within the first minute. Smith was then wide of the mark from another free kick on the other side of the area. On 18 minutes Marsh saw his header go just wide. Hallam then had a chance but the effort was a tame shot straight at Turner, which was their first effort on goal. Sheffield then had a lucky escape when a mix up between the central defenders and the keeper allowed a Hallam player to take advantage of their hesitation, but his effort was wide of the mark. Just on the half hour mark a corner from Holmes found Marsh perfectly placed, but his header was inches wide. On 34 minutes, and somewhat against the run of play, the hosts took the lead when CARRINGTON fired a low free kick around the wall beating Turners outstretched hands. Sheffield were level though three minutes later when a flowing move saw Marsh receive the ball on the right of the Hallam area. His low cross found WARD who, facing the wrong way, backheeled the ball home.
The second half saw Hallam almost take the lead straight from the restart as hesitation in defence allowed their player to lob the ball over the stranded Turner, but his effort dropped over the bar. It was Hallam who were on top at this stage as five minutes later Tomlinson was through on goal, but Turner stood his ground and beat the shot away. The rebound allowing another forward a chance to convert the chance, but Boulter was on hand to block the shot. Sheffield then launched a swift counter attack in which Powell was unlucky when, having beaten the keeper to the ball , his effort was cleared away from in front of the goal. At the other end Turner had to be at his best to beat a shot away. Scaife then showing his goalkeeping skills for Hallam by fingertipping a 25 yard effort from Roney over the bar. Colley again commanded the area but his header was wide of the mark. With time running out Sheffield almost grabbed the winner as a scramble in the box saw the ball land at Roney's feet and his first time shot hit the bar and to safety. After 90 minutes and the score level at 1-1 the game went straight to penalties in which, of the four Sheffield kicks taken, Marsh was the only one to score as Ward and Roney saw their efforts saved, whilst Colley's kick would have looked better had he been playing for Sheffield Eagles as it sailed over the bar. Hallam eventually wining the shoot out 3-1.
Hallam Squad: Scaife, Knaggs, Clayton, Drennan, Cressey, Tyler, Carrington,  O'Carroll, Tomlinson, Cam, Rowley, Reynolds, Hunter, Wood, Bainbridge, Brown, Vesty, Dinnigan.
Sheffield FC : Turner, Davey, Boulter, Jones, Colley, Winter(Dixey), Holmes (Roney), Marsh, Ward, Powell (Wainman), P.Smith. Unused Subs: Gregory, Dove.
Sheffield FC 0 York City 5
Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday, 1/08/07
For the second consecutive night it's football at the Bright Finance Stadium as a crowd of approximately 140 turned out to see Sheffield play hosts to York City (appropriately enough on Yorkshire Day) in the last of the clubs high profile home friendlies.
Inside the first minute Turner was required to make a full length save from a York City effort. In fact things didn't start too well for the home side as with just four minutes on the clock they were a goal behind. A break down the Sheffield right by BRODIE saw him outpace club captain Jones to race into the box and fire home from an acute angle via the inside of the far post. The visitors certainly looked more physically strong and fitter even at this early stage in proceedings. Just on the quarter hour mark Holmes was unlucky after gaining possession to see his shot drift the wrong side of the post. York had a glorious chance to go further ahead after Colley was dispossessed outside his own area. A cross into the middle found Sodje who had time and space to himself, but the chance was wasted as he put it wide of the mark with the goal at his mercy. On the half hour mark Woolford then saw his shot hit the post as York were pinning the home side back. Next up was Meechan who shot wide after being set up by Sodje. Woolford was again on target with a free kick, only this time Turner was agile enough to tip the ball over the bar. On forty minutes York doubled their lead when a Sheffield attack was broken up. A long ball through to Brodie saw the big striker turn provider as he laid the ball into the path of ELLIOTT to rifle a shot into the net. In the forty second minute it was virtually game over as SODJE turned his marker and with a free run on goal slipped the ball past the advancing Turner.
The second half saw the usual array of substitutions to give all the players at least part of a game. It was Sheffield who had the first real chance of the half as Dolby's corner was met by Marsh, but his header went straight to the keeper. Just after the hour mark York increased their lead further when a wayward backpass saw Turner having to volley the ball upfield, only for it to land at the feet of BRODIE who punished the home side with his second goal of the game. The scoring was completed in the sixty fifth minute when once again the Sheffield side lost possession in their own half and PANTHER was on hand to score.
Sheffield: Turner, Smith, Boulter (Sargeant), Jones (Marsh), Colley, Winter, Dolby, Thorpe (Brownrigg), Wilkins (Ward), Wainman (Gregory), Holmes (Powell).
York City: Evans (Pentney), Craddock, Robinson (Beardsley), Elliott, McGurk (Purkiss), Sodje, Woolford (Panther), Meechan (Rhodes), Brodie, Jones (Wrigley), King (Greenwood). Unused Sub: McWilliams.
Sheffield FC 1 Rangers Reserves 4
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday, 31/07/07
A beautiful sunny evening down at the Bright Finance Stadium saw the visit of a Rangers Reserve side for this prestigious friendly to celebrate the 'Club's' 150th anniversary celebration season. It was hoped that some of the first team squad would be available, but a Champions League fixture arranged for tonight put paid to that. It was still a strong (and youthful) team which took to the field to play against the hosts, once again resurrecting a distant tradition of games between Sheffield and Scottish opposition, as one of the first ever inter city games was between Sheffield and a team from Glasgow.
The first minute saw Powell on the attack for the hosts, but his shot was over the bar. Then it was the visitors who went close when Holmshaw was drawn off his line, but the chance was spurned as the defence scrambled the ball away to safety. The game settled down and it was obvious that Sheffield were going to have their work cut out as Rangers were much the quicker and fitter side. On 18 minutes they  took the lead  when Lennon burst through the defence and passed across to FLECK who had the easiest of chances to roll the ball home. On 25 minutes it was Fleck who turned provider then as his break down the Sheffield right saw him cross the ball to Lennon, but Boulter was on hand with a timely challenge to turn the ball away for a corner. Ten minutes before the break Lennon again left defenders in his wake as he ran through then chipped the ball over the advancing Holmshaw from 30 yards out, the effort just going wide of the mark.
The second half saw Rangers double their lead on 55 minutes when the home defence were at sixes and sevens, allowing LOY to get the final touch on target. One of Sheffield's best moves came when Powell shrugged off the attention of his marker to square the ball to the inrushing Ward, but his effort was blocked by the keeper. Just past the hour mark, and with the home side tiring Rangers went further in front, LENNON hitting a low drive into the corner of the net. The home fans finally had something to cheer on 64 minutes when a quickly taken free kick released POWELL , who, despite losing his footing in the area was able to get a shot away which beat the keeper.
Rangers responded positively with this minor set back as McMillan rifled in a shot from the edge of the area which cannoned off the bar, then McLachlan unleashed a terrific shot which Winter did well to clear with his head. The scoring was completed on 86 minutes when substitute EFRAM turned the defence inside out before dispatching the ball into the net.
Sheffield: Holmshaw (Turner), G.Smith, Boulter, Jones, Colley (Thorpe), Brownrigg (Winter), Roney (Dolby), Marsh, Powell (Wilkins), Ward(Gregory), Holmes.
Rangers: Reidford (Weir), Lowing, Kinniburgh (C.Smith), Harvey, Stirling, McMillan, Wilson, McLaren, Lennon (Forbes), Fleck (Efram), Loy.

Sheffield FC 2 Sheffield Wednesday XI 3
Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday, 25/07/07

A heavy downpour an hour or so before kick-off did not deter a good sized crowd of 735 turning out to see this friendly encounter between Sheffield and the Owls, who, fresh from their win last night at Chesterfield brought a strong side to the Bright Finance Stadium. With Dolby suffering a slight 'twinge' during warm up. his starting place was taken by Robinson.


It was the visitors who had the first real attack of note almost ten minutes in when O'Brien fired over the bar. Just after the quarter hour mark Wednesday should have taken the lead as a good build up on the Sheffield left saw the ball crossed into the area and Jason Bradley was first to the ball but his header went flashing wide past the far post. Somewhat against the run of play it was the hosts who took the lead on 22 minutes when some good work by Marsh in midfield saw him release WILKINS on a run into the area, the nippy striker rounding O'Donnell  and putting the ball into the empty net. Sheffield made an early change after this as Wainman was carrying a knock, Ward on to take his place. The Owls were doing more pressing now, but Sheffield's defence were holding firm, until the 38th minute. A cross from the right was blocked and ran out to McCLEMENTS who rifled in a fierce drive that gave Holmshaw no chance.


Half time saw the usual mass of substitutions and it was probably this that unsettled the home side as, four minutes into the second half a hesitant defence kept on backing away from McCALLISTER, allowing him a free shot which ended up in the net despite Holmshaw getting a hand to it. Roney was next to try his luck, running at the defence and releasing a shot that was way over the stand.His second effort was much closer as O'Donnell had to stretch to tip the ball away for a corner, Colley having his header saved from the resulting kick.


Sheffield drew level on 69 minutes when , from a corner, Marsh laid the ball back to the edge of the area where WINTER was waiting to send a screamer of a shot into the top corner. The visitors came back strong, Colley having to clear off the line with Holmshaw beaten and then Dove doing his defensive duties by heading away a Wednesday corner from under the bar. With just under ten minutes to go it was the visitors who got the vital breakthrough as substitute WODD ended the scoring in a very entertaining match.


Sheffield: Holmshaw, Davey, Boulter, Jones, Colley, Marsh, Robinson, Brownrigg, Wilkins, Wainman, Holmes. Subs (all used): Ward, Powell, Roney, Winter, Dove, Gregory, Thorpe.

Sheffield Wednesday: O'Donnell, Folly (Wragg), Kay, McCallister, Liversidge, Beevers(Hadfield), McClements, Boden, Bradley (Wodd), O'Brien (Harrison), R.Lekaj. Unused Subs: Jameson, L.Lekaj, Worsford. 


Sheffield FC 0 Sheffield United XI 1
Pre-Season Friendly
Monday, 23/07/07
A young United side visited the Bright Finance Stadium this evening to take on a Sheffield side, the one player of note on view for the visitors being Christian Nade. In the first minute it was the home side in trouble as Nade lured Holmshaw out of his goal, only to see his effort cleared away by Colley. Then on the quarter hour mark another effort from Nade hit the side netting. United were finding a lot of space as Sheffield stood by their task of containing the much fitter profesional side by marking deep. Sheffield then had a good chance of their own when Roney found Powell, who in turn fed Ward in the box and his shot on the turn was hooked away to safety. At the other end, the Sheffield defence were getting a serious work out from the youngsters but were coping with the pressure, Holmshaw once again instumental in keeping the scores level, the keeper pulling off a brilliant save to deny Donnelly a goal.  In  the 35th minute the visitors got the breakthrough when Ian Ross tumbled in the areathe referee awarding a penalty which ROSS converted, sending Holmshaw the wrong way. United then had chances to increase the lead before the break as first Nade turned his marker and ran towards goal, only for Holmshaw to block his effort, then Robertson with a free header put the ball over the bar.
The second half saw Sheffield on the attack from the whistle, Powell's flick header being gathered by the keeper before Ward had a chance to react. Kerry then sent in a rasping drive for the visitors, which Holmshaw gathered at the second attempt. Next to test the home goal was Ross, who controlled the ball on his chest and sent a volley straight at the keeper. Sheffield's best move of the game saw Dolby and Ward exchange passes before Dolby slipped the ball through the United defence for the onrushing Smith, whosshot just missed the far post with Annerson at full stretch. The home side were certainly putting the pressure on now as Ward was next to break free, after retrieving a 'lost cause' towards the corner flag, but his cross was deflected. The resulting corner saw Colley send in a powerful header just wide of the upright. Sheffield's last chance fell to Holmes, through on goal seeing his shot well saved by the keeper and so denying Club a share of the spoils in what was an entertaining game which I'm sure most of the 625 spectators enjoyed. 
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith(Marsh),Boulter,Jones, Winter(Holmes),Colley,Brownrigg,Davey,Powell(Wainman),Ward(Dove),Roney(Dolby). Unused Subs: Gregory, Wilkins.
Sheffield United: Annerson,Starosta, Horwood, Kerry, Wedgbury, Lowton, Tahar, Ross(Quinn), Nade(Abdi), Robertson, Donnelly.Unused Subs: Eagers, Hernandez,Oliver. 

Sheffield FC 0 Blackburn Rovers Reserves 7
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday, 21/07/07
A bumper crowd of 542 turned out at the Bright Finance Stadium this afternoon, to see Glyn Hodges' exciting young Rovers side in action, and they were treated to a bit of a goal-fest as they managed to stick seven past and send the Sheffield side reeling. After an evenly matched first half, which saw Blackburn go in at the break two goals to the good, the visitors then cut loose scoring five without reply in the second period. Leading the way with two goals a piece were Rafael De Vita and Joe Garner, whilst Andrew Taylor, Martin Olsson and substitute Aaron Doran all chipped in a goal each as the full-timers clinically exposed the part-timers' frailties. The tight defence of the visitors also proved to be too much of a hurdle for Club, restricting the hosts to just a handful of shots, and very rarely looked like relinquishing their clean sheet.
The game opened up with Rafael De Vita testing Jamie Holmshaw with a shot from distance which the keeper fielded easily, and Sheffield also responded with some good football, with Vill Powell and Leon Wainman combining to set Mark Wilson with a shot on goal which just missed the near post. None of the opening exchanges really gave much indication as to the final result, and it took until the 17th minute for Blackburn to break the deadlock, with Taylor's cross from the deadball line being met with a classy diving header by DE VITA which left Holmshaw beaten. Ten minutes later the score was doubled, this time it was a solo effort from TAYLOR, his low drive from the edge of the area nestling in the bottom corner. Blackburn could have increased the lead if it wasn't for some great keeping and some woeful finishing: seconds after the goal Andrew Haworth let a shot go from the edge of the area which was spectacularly turned over by Holmshaw, then before the interval a Taylor cross found Josh O'Keefe unmarked in the middle - somehow though he managed to miss the target whilst under no pressure at all.
Rovers didn't take long to get into full stride in the second period, five minutes in the Club defence was unable to clear the ball from the box, and the ball fell kindly to DE VITA who shot home for the third. On the hour mark it was four, another good finish - this time from OLSSON who lobbed Holmshaw from the corner of the area, and after hitting the underside of the bar a couple of times the linesman awarded the goal. Midway through the half Tony Kane threaded a defence splitter through the middle, lying in wait was GARNER who steadied himself, before calmly lifting the ball over Holmshaw for five. Allan Judge sent the post rattling minutes after, and Sheffield had their best chance of the game with Lee Gregory setting Pete Davey through, only an excellent save from Frank Fielding denied Club a deserved consolation goal. Sheffield never stopped trying, but found the young Blackburn side too difficult to break down, and five minutes from time Rovers grabbed a sixth with the impressive Taylor dribbling through to set up GARNER with a tap in. Just before the final whistle was blown, substitutes Allan Judge and Aaron Doran combined to wrap up the scoring, with Judge making space down the flank before squaring the ball to DORAN who in turn made it look easy with a tap-in from ten yards out to make it seven.
The score was hard on Sheffield who tried from whistle to whistle, but the superiority of the full time youngsters was plain for all to see, with everyone appreciating a great contest. Next along to the BFS are the Blades and their squad of up-and-comers, hopefully they will be as entertaining as today's visitors, but on the other hand let's hope we don't allow them to score as many as the Rovers!

Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Broadbent, Boulter, Winter, Jones, Colley, Wilson, Robinson, Wainman, Holmes. Subs: Davey, Brownrigg, Ward, Smith, Marsh, Gregory, Roney, Dove, O'Brien, Sargeant.
Blackburn Rovers: Fielding, Kane, Taylor, Hodge, Winnard, Nolan, Haworth, O’Keefe, Garner, De Vita, Olsson. Subs: Pezzoni, Jones, Griffiths, Judge, Doran.

Armthorpe Welfare 1 Sheffield FC 1
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday, 17/07/07
Leon Wainman was among one of the new faces lining up for Sheffield in tonight's friendly encounter at Armthorpe. Sheffield started the game kicking up the slope and were straight on the attack. On the quarter hour mark Colley had a shot deflected over the bar, the resulting corner kick then seeing his powerful header hit the bar. Ward was the next up, when his shot was parried by the overworked home keeper, who managed to grab the ball at the second attempt before the striker could finish the move off. Just before the half hour, a pin point ball into the area from Dolby found Davey ghosting in unmarked, but he just failed to get the vital touch to guide the ball home. The home defence were under pressure for most of the half, with the keeper coming to the rescue on more than one occasion. At the other end Holmshaw had one save of note to make, saving well after an Armthorpe breakaway, the home side then hitting the post from a corner.
Half time brought the usual flurry of substitutions. On 47 minutes, Powell broke down the right into the area and crossed for DOLBY to fire home from close range. The home side were awarded a penalty on 50 minutes and this was dispatched into the net, going under Holmshaw as the keeper dived. Armthorpe were coming more into the game now as the game opened up. Colley was unlucky when a Wilson corner found the big man in the area and his powerful header was cleared off the line. Roney then had a shot just wide of the post. Other chances went begging for both sides as Armthorpe hit the bar and then saw their chance of a victory thwarted by Holmshaw in the last five minutes as he had to be at his best to make the save of the match to keep the scores level. Another good workout for the players.
Armthorpe Welfare: Frazer, Erskine, Dorgan, Muirehead, Iley, Sibenge, Holden, Radford, Page, Morley, Rock. Subs:Walker, Benson, Dannysh, Dury, Crossland.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Sergeant, Robinson, Winter,Colley,Broadbent, Davey, Ward, Wainman, Dolby. Subs:  Wilson, Roney, Holmes, Powell, Marsh, Brownrigg, Dove, Gregory.

Sheffield FC 5 Doncaster Rovers XI 0
Pre-Season Friendly
Thursday, 12/07/07
Sheffield easily defeated a young Doncaster Rovers  side in their first pre-season match at the Bright Finance Stadium. With manager McCarthy re-signing most of last years squad, there were just three new faces for supporters to have a look at. Defender Karl Colley and Mark Wilson, who were at Retford last season, and midfielder Stuart Dove from Glasshoughton.
Unveiling the new Centenary home kit they were on the attack from the first whistle. There was less than five minutes on the clock when the home side took the lead, courtesy of a Gavin SMITH header. On the quarter hour it was Darren HOLMES turn as he took advantage of some hesitation between a Rovers defender and keeper to head into an empty net. With barely twenty minutes played, Sheffield were awarded a penalty for a trip on Vill Powell. The striker took it himself but saw his shot well saved by the keeper. Sheffield were in total control, with Holmshaw virtually a spectator in the home goal, having only one save to make the whole half. Just past the half hour mark POWELL made up for his penalty miss with the best goal of the night, a turn and shot from inside the area.
The second half saw the usual pre-season changes, as all seven named substitutes made an appearance to gain match fitness. Ian Robinson thought he'd increased the home sides lead, but was adjudged offside. Just past the hour mark the fans did get to celebrate a fourth goal, as Matt RONEY cut inside to unleash a shot which beat the keeper at his near post. It was left to Andy BROWNRIGG to wrap up the scoring on 75 minutes as he headed home.
Sheffield FC: Holmshaw, Smith, Boulter, Winter, Marsh, Colley, Wilson, Dolby, Powell, Ward, Holmes. Subs: Wilkins, Roney, Robinson, Dove, O'Brien, Brownrigg, Gregory.
Doncaster Rovers: Ward, Hawksworth, Bowland, Sheilis, Duffy, Fisher,  Stoddart, Griffiths, Lodge, Demoshtenous, Henderson. Subs: Conleton, Smith, Fenny, Shepherd

The P on Trev's Hat Stands For Penis