Penistone Church FC
The Memorial Ground
Church View Road
Ground Number: 487
Saturday 4th April 2015
Penistone Church 0-7 Pontefract Collieries
PENISTONE CHURCH - A BRIEF HISTORY
PENISTONE CHURCH FC was formed in 1906. They played in local leagues right up until the start of this season when they joined the NCEL D1. Their most recent exploits were in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Leagues with their best ever finish of 2nd coming in 2002/03. Due to the nature of the park pitches not being considered good enough to grace the NCEL, there have been very few teams going up from this league, with the only ones in recent times being Athersley Recreation and Shaw Lane Aquaforce. It was for that reason that 4th place was good enough to earn a promotion and like the other 2 teams to come up from that league, they have acquitted themselves well. At the start of the game, they were in 10th place and on a good unbeaten run which included a 1-0 victory over promotion contenders Clipstone.
Cup successes had been a mixed bag. Being a young club at their current level they were yet to play in the FA Cup. And the FA Vase had seen them exit at the first hurdle on both of the occasions they had entered. They did have some local cup honours to their name, with both the Sheffield Junior Cup and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League cup both being won twice. Their record attendance prior to this game came earlier this season when 208 fans turned out for their local derby with Athersley Recreation.
For the 4th and final game, I would be off to my only brand new ground - that meaning one that I had not even been to for a non-matchday photograph visit yet. This was mainly due to the fact, that since I have started groundhopping seriously, I had largely stopped the practice, preferring to save them for when I went to the ground for real. From the previous game at Shaw Lane Aquaforce, it was a short 15-minute drive to the game. I had been looking forward to the bar more than any as they were supposed to do real cider, although I was left disappointed as I couldn't see any when I looked on the bar and had to make do with cans of Strongbow. They were at least good value at £1.50 per can though. One thing they did excel on though was the food. A good choice of stuff and I opted for the Chilli Con Carne and Chips. It was good value at £2.50 and was also very tasty too, with the chilli being nice and spicy and one of the better ones I had tasted. I also bought an old shirt for £3 from the club shop stall, to add to my fledgeling collection of random football shirts.
As for the game, it was expected to be a tight contest, despite Pontefract being top of the league. This turned out not to be the case and from the moment Luke Danville finished from close range after 15 minutes, the result was never in doubt. Luke Radford doubled the lead after finishing from a good cross on 32 minutes. It was another close-range finish from Aaron Moxam a minute later that pretty much meant it was all sewn up before half time. The goals continued to rain in in the second half. Moxam got his second on 54 minutes heading in from a corner. The goal of the game came from Andrew Catton on 71 minutes when his bullet of a shot went in from the edge of the area to make it 5-0. A great corner by left back Josh Corbett presented Phil Lindley with a header for the penultimate goal on 88 minutes and it was all wrapped up in the last minute from Mark Whitehouse, another header from a cross - an area which the hosts had struggled with all evening.
It might not have been a great night on the field for Penistone Church, but off it, I think they can count it as a success. With the attendance of 511 being nearly 2 and a half times their previous high, they will have done well on tickets alone. Add to that, they also did a roaring trade on food, drink and souvenirs and this money will prove vital in their quest to try and emulate their fellow former Sheffield & Hallamshire Leaguers Athersley Recreation and Shaw Lane Aquaforce who both made it into the NCEL Premier. After the game, I made my way home. I had enjoyed another great day groundhopping and with it being 4 games in one day, it had meant that the fuel cost of each was nowhere near as bad as had it been if I'd made the trips individually. It was a fairly hassle-free drive home and with a stop to go to the toilet at services I was back home by 12.45am.
THE MEMORIAL GROUND is a very pleasant venue to visit and unlike most newly built venues, it is not made up of metal prefabricated stands. The only cover at the ground is a smart looking stand that comprises 100 seats and 200 standing spaces, while the rest of the ground is open. While the town is not so far away, there is a smart modern bar at the ground which always does real ales and sometimes real ciders. There is also a good selection of food at the ground and there is also a decent range of club merchandise available.