Wednesday 22 February 2023

Swallownest - Miners Welfare Ground

Swallownest FC
59 Rotherham Road 
South Yorkshire 
S26 4UR

07555 943857

Ground Number: 1150
Tuesday 21st February 2022
Swallownest 1-2 Harrogate Railway Athletic


The club is fairly young, having been formed as recently as 2006. They were known as Aston originally, changing their name to Swallownest Miners Welfare in 2010 and Swallownest in 2015. They started out in the South Yorkshire Amateur League Division 1, finishing as runners-up to Kiveton Park Reserves in their debut season. This earned them promotion to the Premier Division which they won the following year. They then joined the Sheffield & Hallam County Senior League, starting out in Division 2 which they won in 2009. They then finished as runners-up behind Eccleshill Red Rose in Division 1 the following year. In their first season in the Premier Division, they won the title, remaining unbeaten all season. However, with insufficient facilities, they'd have to wait until 2017 for the chance to make the step up when they won the title for the second time. Swallownest have been in the NCEL Division 1 ever since, their best season came in 2019 as they finished 10th. 

Swallownest have not yet entered the FA Cup, but they've been playing in the FA Vase since 2018. Their best season came in their debut season as they beat Abbey Hey 1-0 and AFC Blackpool 4-1 before losing on penalties in the 1st Round to Garstang, following a 1-1 draw. The club originally played at the Leonard Kyte ground in the neighbouring village of Aughton. Upon joining the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League in 2008, the club moved to the Swallownest Miners Welfare ground on Sheffield Road, where they have played ever since. The village of Swallownest is located around four miles from Rotherham and seven miles from Sheffield and has a population of around 15,000.

I was meant to visit Swallownest in July for their pre-season Yorkshire Trophy game against Horbury. However, the game was moved due to pitch issues but not before I'd researched their history for my blog. Therefore, I was keen to go and pay a visit, though they didn't come up as an option very often. I thought I'd have to visit on a Saturday. This was no issue as it would involve a few pubs in Sheffield. But finally, it was an option on this Tuesday with both of my hoppers available. In fact, there was a wealth of options with 15 possible choices. I reckoned Swallownest was the best option and luckily, both of my fellow hoppers agreed.
It was another happy Saturday for me as Wycombe beat Bolton 1-0. Though it wasn't as epic as the 3-2 win against Derby a fortnight ago, it was our 5th victory on the spin. A fair few drinks were enjoyed although I did get something useful done. The Samsung camera I got from CEX was hopeless so I took it back for a refund and ordered a Nikon one instead. The following day bore all the hallmarks of a typical Sunday and Monday wasn't much better. There was concerning news about QPR approaching Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth. He's done a mainly brilliant job in the over ten years he has been in charge, and as a player for four years before that.
The day of the game came and I had a decent night's sleep, waking at 8.40. I was showered, dressed and had my breakfast and out within an hour of waking up. It was my customary walk down town and I got a couple of bits from Lidl for lunch as well as a couple of meals from Iceland. I was back around 1.15 and had nearly a couple of hours at home to kill. I was pleased when my new camera arrived from CEX so I could use it for tonight's game. Wycombe Twitter was very busy with rumours of Matt Bloomfield as Ainsworth's potential replacement, but nothing had been confirmed when I left at 3. I picked both of my hoppers up along the way. We had a good journey with the Wycombe news being confirmed around 5 pm. We were at Swallownest at 6.15 and walked to Zorba's takeaway. The Boss Burger I fancied was unavailable, so I got a Mexicano Burger. It was two chicken zinger fillets with hot sauce and nachos and was superb. With chips and a drink, it was under £7 and the service was great too. From there it was a quick journey to a local convenience store and to the ground. Entry was £6 and they were playing some great 90s tunes pre-match.
Swallownest were 17th in the table and had not won in 14 games. Their last victory came on October 29th as they beat Retford 3-1. Recent results had included a morale-boosting 3-3 draw at 5th place Wakefield, though they'd lost 2-1 at Shirebrook, 1-0 to Glasshoughton Welfare and 2-0 at Parkgate. Harrogate Railway were in 3rd, unbeaten in 13 and on a run of five straight wins. They'd beaten Staveley Miners Welfare 2-0, won 3-1 at Wakefield and 3-0 at Athersley Recreation, and beaten Worsborough Bridge Athletic 5-2 and Brigg Town 1-0. The hosts started brightly but didn't create much. The first real chance came when Harrogate smashed the bar on 18 minutes. They continued to pile on the pressure and took the lead on 39 minutes when Luke Stewart bundled home. Just before halftime, the visitors extended their lead with a free kick through Dan McDaid. They could have had more but for some great saves by the home keeper. It was a duller second half but Swallownest pulled a goal back through a penalty on 83 minutes through a penalty which was probably their first shot on target. They then had a late rally but never really tested the keeper.
We left at 9.45 and headed for home. We first put on Talksport initially to find out results before switching to Greatest Hits Radio. After hearing the 'Top Ten at 10' was a 70s year, we switched back as none of us was very clued up. Back to the football and the main talk was of how Liverpool had squandered a two-goal lead to lose 5-2 to Real Madrid. There were even some fake fans suggesting Klopp should be sacked after bringing them their first title in 30 years. We were considering options for April 15th and even though he had disabled railcard and was booking advance tickets, they wanted £92 for a return to Sca from Colin. Truly shocking and outrageous figures, using the Trainline app in that case. Maybe I could beat it down a bit, but the walkup fares would be even more expensive. It was a good journey generally and I dropped Anwar off at 12.10, Colin half an hour later and me in at just before 1. It took me ages to get to sleep, over two hours. I was a bit jaded after four hours of sleep but got through the day OK.

SWALLOWNEST MINERS WELFARE or the SWAL SIRO to give it its nickname is a good ground for the level and has a fair amount of character. Only two and a half sides are available to fans. Included in this are a seated stand along the side with room for 50 and another seated stand behind the goal for the same amount. In addition, there is another covered standing area behind the goal for another 50. There's also lots of room for expansion. 

Food at the ground looked good and is cooked in a building shared by the turnstile block. Adjacent is a smart bar with a  standard range of drinks. Within a few minutes are multiple takeaways and shops. Zorba's does great food at good prices and big portions. There's plenty of parking and I'd imagine the route is well-served by buses.

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