Saturday 1 May 2021

South Normanton Colts - South Street Recreation Ground

South Normanton Colts FC
South Street Recreation Ground
South Street
South Normanton
DE55 2DA

01773 863858 (Council)

Ground Number: 952
Saturday 1st May 2021
South Normanton Colts 0-9 Glapwell Dev
Midlands Regional Alliance D2 Cup


The club was established in 1977 and represents a whole range of different ages from under 8's, right up to adult teams. Their first team play in the Midland Regional Alliance which sits at step 11 of the non-league pyramid or level 15 of the English League System overall. They were originally a Sunday League team and joined the Midlands Regional Alliance in 2018, starting in Division 1. Their first season saw a demotion to the newly-formed Division 2 and they've struggled ever since, sitting bottom at the time of my visit. They'd only played once since the resumption of football, losing 4-1 to Derby Singh Brothers last Saturday. Glapwell Development had played twice - losing 4-2 at FC Sunnyhill but winning 7-0 at Bakewell Town Development in their other game.

The ex-mining village of South Normanton has a population of just over 9,500. Other former industries include agriculture, stocking and spinning. Shifts were long - 14 hours and that led to their nickname of the Shiners - after their trousers apparently polished the stools that they were sitting on and this gave the more famous club in the town their club nickname. South Normanton Athletic play in the step 7 Central Midlands League after resigning from the step 5 Midland Premier a year ago. A few well-known footballers came from the village and include Chris Martin (Port Vale goalkeeper), Lee Holmes (Derby County midfielder) and Jordan Smith (Nottingham Forest keeper)


It was once again time for some football, but the options were starting to thin out, what with all the rules in place. I pinpointed a number of potential areas of the country that I'd like to visit, mainly to pick up some decent cider to bring with me. Sadly, options via Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and a couple of shops that had a good selection in other places were non-existent. There was also a lack of doubles but with other hoppers keen, another option was to find somewhere that made geographic sense in terms of pickups.  Glapwell fitted the bill in this respect and it was a great ground that was admitting fans due to being owned by the council. My other hoppers were keen when I put it to them, so we were all set. I'd actually been to Glapwell in September 2007 following Wycombe's 2-0 defeat at Chesterfield and had been impressed with the setup. They were in the Northern Premier League at the time but had suffered a fall from grace since then and had eventually been dissolved. It had been a hard couple of days at work and I was glad that the day off. Shoppers can be the most ignorant and selfish people on this earth, yet it's football fans and pub-goers that get shunted to the back of the queue when it comes to resuming their passion following Covid restrictions. I came home and put the finishing touches to my plans. These included stops at a few football grounds to get pictures and break up the journey and also a stop for lunch. There were no takeaways in Glapwell itself, but an excellent website called 'Off The Motorway' came up trumps. A chippy wouldn't be my first choice of takeaway, but 'The Frying Squad' in South Normanton added little extra mileage to the journey and looked good. After a tough old week at work, I enjoyed a few drinks and had a quiet evening watching TV and catching up on things before getting an early night, in bed before 10.

On the day of the game, I woke early, around 5.30 am. I listened to some podcasts for a bit in bed and read some of the Daily Star on my tablet before finally getting up an hour later. I got washed and dressed and had a programme - Staines Lammas v Barton Rovers - to scan. To my surprise, when I checked, I've now scanned over 300 programmes that have been digitized and sold for small sums on eBay. It's done mainly for space reasons and I must be one of the few hoppers that prefer a digital copy as opposed to a physical one - provided I can keep them as a file on my hard drive. That said, I do like a hard copy for bigger games, but for run of the mill fixtures, I'd rather save space. I went out for a walk at 8am, posting the programme en route. I was back at 9.30 and spent a while looking at potential midweek fixtures before leaving at 10. I was early to the train station so had to wait for George to finish his fag, although we were still well ahead of time, especially with Colin with him. We were with Anwar by 10.45 and for once he was pretty quick. We made good time, stopping at a few grounds on the way for pictures - namely Roade, Heyford Athletic and Saffron Dynamo. We were at our pre-planned lunch place - the Frying Squad in South Normanton by 1.40. They had some great deals on, and we had cheeseburger and chips for £2.50 each. For the money, they were excellent, with the burger freshly cooked with salad and sauce of your choice. It was then that I had a tweet notification from fellow hopper Turnip Blade, telling me that the game was off. When I checked Glapwell's Twitter, it was true, Newark Town had pulled out of the fixture at 11.50 am - pretty disgraceful as I didn't even think of checking Twitter after I left at 10 am.

We needed to find another game - and quick!. Moira United and some games in the Sheffield League were a possibility, but they kicked off at 2 PM and it would have meant missing the first half. Thanks to the Glapwell Twitter, we had learned that there was a game close to where we were - and South Normanton Colts v Glapwell Development was just 3 minutes away. We arrived ten minutes into the game (also a 2 PM kick-off) to find that Glapwell were already leading 1-0. I had no knowledge of what league it was even in, having had no time to prepare, so the below summary might not be the greatest. A low shot from just inside the area made it 2-0 shortly after we got there and it was 3-0 when a cross was headed in. The home keeper played an absolute blinder all afternoon and made a couple of brilliant saves to keep the score respectable for a minute. It was 4-0 on 38 minutes with a header from point-blank range and 5-0 on 40 minutes when Alex Fletcher finished well after a great through ball. It would be 6-0 before half time with a finish from around ten yards at the back post. Fletcher would complete his hat trick on 47 minutes after a good through ball to make it 7-0. The chances continued to arrive and Glapwell hit the bar on 53 minutes. The hosts had a decent chance with a rare attack too, a dipping shot from 20 yards going just over. But it was the visitors who continued to be on top, hitting the post from a narrow-angle. They hit the post a couple more times but a more resolute home defence and some more great saves from their keeper meant that the score would not change until 74 minutes when a square ball was put home from close range. A penalty with the last kick of the game made it 9-0 to Glapwell. No doubt South Normanton Colts would have been glad to hear the final whistle but they had at least stayed together until the final whistle with no finger-pointing or blame apportioning. For the record, the scorers had been Alex Fletcher (3), Luke Manlove (2), Callum Barnett, Adam Boyd, Scott Manlove and Adam Barker.

So, it had not been the best ground, not even a rail around the pitch. The preparation hadn't been the greatest either, as I like the time before the game to take in my surroundings. But we had made the best of a bad job and everyone had enjoyed their day. We left just before 4 and were in good spirits with Wycombe surprisingly winning 1-0 against Bournemouth. We had BBC Five Live on and it was great, far better than the utter bobbins that they put on their TV channels. It kept us updated with the scores across the country. We were singing all the way down the motorway with Lincoln City beating Peterborough United 3-0 to seemingly deny them a promotion for the time being. However, the Posh equalised and went up later on. We wouldn't even have any beef with them but for a gobshite journalist called Alan Swann who had seemingly ranted about Wycombe every week in his newspaper column in their local paper after we had gone up at their expense last summer. There was also delight after Swansea City turned around a 1-0 deficit to beat Derby County 2-1. This meant that with Wycombe holding on, they can technically still stay up, although it will take an enormous and unrealistic goal swing for it to happen. We listened to the summary on Three Counties Radio with me dropping Anwar off at 5.50, George 40 minutes later at Wycombe train station and Colin 15 minutes after that at the bus stop. I was in at 6.50 and started to type my blog, with the hours of previous research going to waste. After that, it was Jay's Virtual Pub Quiz with the folks before bed with work the next morning. I enjoyed a few cans to end what had been a testing but overall decent day.


SOUTH STREET RECREATION GROUND is about as basic as you can get, although for a recreation ground, it's about as good as you can get with just the one pitch and grass banking to watch it from. It's part of a very pleasant and well -kept park and although I'd not have made the trip if I'd known, it was a good day. The car park is only small but there is street parking outside. The excellent Frying Squad chippy is a short walk away and this provides great food. There's also an Indian takeaway and a convenience store next to this. Overall, if you live local or need a late replacement, it's not a bad day out. 

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