Sunday, 29 September 2019

Clay Cross Town - Mill Lane

Clay Cross Town FC
Mill Lane
Old Tupton
S42 6AE

Official Website

Ground Number: 883
Friday 27th September 2019
Clay Cross Town 3-2 Rowsley 86
Central Midlands League South


The club is a fairly new one, having been formed in 1989 as Parkhouse FC. Not a lot is known about the early history of the club and the earliest trace of them is when they lifted the Midlands Regional Alliance Division 3 title in 2006. They won Division 2 the following season, after which they joined the Central Midlands League where they remain to this day. Three seasons were spent in the Premier Division (step 8) until a 3rd place finish behind Church Warsop Miners Welfare and Dronfield Town in 2010 saw them promoted to the delightfully named Supreme Division. They spent one season here, finishing 10th out of 18 clubs before the league was regionalised into North & South sections. The club changed its name to Clay Cross Town in 2012 and has generally played in the North Division. They've finished in the top six in every season and have been runners-up on three occasions. Their record points haul came in 2018 when they gained 83 points, only losing out to Harworth Colliery on goal difference by 11 goals. They've had to move to the South Division on a couple of occasions - 2016 daw a disappointing 13th place finish, but after returning this season, they sit top of the table at the time of the game.

The FA Vase has always proved a disappointment, at least, until this season. They'd lost on all three previous occasions, but this year, they got their first win. After drawing against 2-2 Gedling Miners Welfare, they won 3-2 at their place in the replay, an impressive result at a team who play a step higher. A First Round match at home to Leicester Senior League side Cottesmore Amateurs awaits them on 12th October. The club made national news in Norway in 2012 when they ran a raffle to sponsor the name of the stadium and a local tattoo parlour 'The Devil Made Me Do It' won the draw. The town of Clay Cross is situated near Chesterfield and has a population of 9,222. Their most famous resident is politician Dennis Skinner who grew up in the town and worked in the local pithouse mine for 13 years until it closed in 1962. He joined Labour in 1956 whilst still working as a miner and has been the MP for Bolsover since 1970. He's known for his outspoken views, most famously branding David Cameron 'Dodgy Dave' after the then PM was in the news over his tax affairs.


I finalised this trip a couple of weeks ago as I knew I'd be off work. There were a couple of options - Mildenhall Town and Clay Cross Town and in the end after discussion with fellow hopper Chris, we plumped for the latter.  The day of the game came and I'd had a good nights sleep. After breakfast and a bath, I popped down town to get a few bits I needed for the weekend before coming back and having lunch. There was just a bit of time to do some work researching tomorrow's blog at Cadbury Athletic Reserves before I left at 1.50. It was a good job I left early as the roads were slow and I only had a brief wait for Chris. We left just before 3.10 and typically the M1 had numerous delays, around 50 minutes in all. We got to Clay Cross at 5.50, calling in at Kathmandu Gurkha Curry House for dinner. The Honey Chilli Chicken that I had was excellent and something completely different to what I'd had before. It was a short drive to the ground, with us getting there just after 7. Entry was £3 and a decent programme was £1.

Looking at the form, both teams were unbeaten. Clay Cross had recorded victories over Teversal Reserves (5-0), Linby CW (1-0), Holbrook St Michaels & Ashland Rovers (6-1) as well as a 1-1 draw at Hilton Harriers on the opening day. Rowsley had beaten Linby CW (2-1), Mickleover RBL (7-1) & Ashland Rovers (5-2) as well as a 1-1 draw against Blidworth Welfare. It was the visitors who had the first chance on four minutes, nicking the ball off the Clay Cross keeper. They managed a shot on target from a tight angle, but the ball was cleared off the line by a defender. The hosts had their own chance on 9 minutes, a curling shot from out wide went narrowly over. Clay Cross took the lead on 24 minutes when a cross from the right was headed home by Josh Parfitt. Clay Cross continued to press, firing narrowly over from 25 yards on 32 minutes, but the tide was soon to turn. Three minutes later, Rowsley were level, a fantastic curling strike from Shomari Doyle which flew into the net from 25 yards. A minute later, they nearly took the lead, a striker getting away from the defence, but putting the ball wide with only the keeper to beat. Rowsley had a man booked for bringing down the last man on 38 minutes and it initially looked as if it would be a sending off. The resulting free-kick was narrowly wide. Rowsley were on top, and they took the lead on 54 minutes. A corner was put in and the ball was headed back for Noah Evans to volley home from 10 yards out. Despite the visitors being on top, Clay Cross would make it all square on 84 minutes when Josh Scully blasted home a great shot from 30 yards. The game was won in the last minute, a penalty awarded for a very harsh handball which the Rowsley defender could do nothing about. Regardless, captain Scully did the honours, confidently dispatching the spot-kick to send the Clay Cross players and fans into raptures.

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It had been a great night’s entertainment for 124 in attendance. The result had been harsh on the visitors, but it was a lesson in taking your chances. We were hoping for a decent journey home and got it in the most part, the only annoyance was being sent off the M1 two junctions early, but even that only added ten minutes to the journey. I dropped Chris off at 11.50, sadly he declared himself unavailable for the next two matches I offered him at Connah’s Quay on Sunday and Whitchurch Alport on Monday. I was home myself at 12.50 and really could have done with getting off to bed straight off as I was up in 6 hours. But I was in no mood for sleep, having a couple of cans while I watched Corrie and caught up online before going to bed just after 2.


MILL LANE is a great venue for step 7. There’s a decent-sized stand, a proper structure rather than a metal one. This has seating for around 40, plus covered standing for around 100. The rest of the ground is open, but very well kept. There was no bar that I saw, but a decent tea hut with a fair range of refreshments was in operation. There was also a hut selling programmes, badges and possibly hats. The car park was quite small, but there was plenty of street parking. The town is around a mile away and has a good range of pubs and food outlets.

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