Date: Saturday 25th April 2009 2.30pm
Ground: Bracken Moor / Look Local Stadium
Match: Stocksbridge Park Steels 1 Retford 0 HT: 0-0 ATT: 385
Comp: Unibond One South
Additional: Entrance £6.00 Tea/Coffee £1
This was the last day of matches in the Unibond One South division. Retford were effectively the Champions, with Stocksbridge guaranteed a place in the play-offs. Going in to the final week Belper had a chance to make this fixture vital in deciding who gets the automatic promotion place. They just needed to win their game in hand at home to Rushall Olympic to be one point behind Retford going into the last game. They could only draw 2-2 however, meaning that in order for Belper to win the title, themselves and Stocksbridge had to win their final games with a combined goal difference of 23. So Retford were Champions. In no parallel universe were we going to get the scores Stocksbridge 12 Retford 0 and Loughborough Dynamo 0 Belper 11.
This was all a shame from a neutral’s point of view. I was hoping the game would be a vital championship decider with the Steels trying to spoil Retford’s party. As it was it was played more like a friendly.
Stocksbridge Park Steels were founded in 1986, a merger between Stocksbridge Works F.C., the works team of the local steel plant and Oxley Park Sports F.C. They play in the town of Stocksbridge, about 10 miles north west of Sheffield.
Despite the match not being the cliffhanger I’d hoped for, the day was excellent, and the ground one of character. I took my six year old, Dylan, along with me. (Strictly speaking I should call him a kit or a cub, which is a baby groundhog). The day had the added excitement for him of being allowed in the front seat for the first time, on a booster cushion, and being treated to the amazing scenery of the high peak. The Roaches and the road between Sparrowpit and Castleton, between the steep tors, providing him with a great experience of being ‘in the front’. We arrived at my Auntie and Uncle’s for dinner, in order to pick up Uncle Don and his brother-in-law Cyril. This has become quite a custom now for my Yorkshire based hops.
We set off north west for Stocksbridge, underestimating the traffic and so getting there bang on three to find all the programs gone. This was very disappointing, especially with a crowd of just 385.
Bracken Moor has one large stand that holds 425 seats. Next to this is a funny steep terrace, sandwiched in between the two buildings. You can just make it out in the picture.
The focal point of the ground for me was the unusual corner terrace that forms a skirt for the clubhouse. It sweeps round from the side to the end terrace.
Behind the goal is a small covered terrace which is where the 100 or so Retford fans were stood, waiting to be crowned champions. The other two sides were undeveloped, which had the advantage of a making a really nice uninterrupted view of the hills in the background.
The game wasn’t a classic, but that wasn’t a big surprise. With both teams’ fates decided beforehand it was difficult to make it a classic. Stocksbridge just about deserved their narrow victory. The view from the main stand was excellent especially on such a fine day. The defeat did nothing to dampen Retford’s Championship and promotion winning celebrations, though. The trophy was presented to them after the final whistle, both sets of fans hanging around to applauded their efforts.
Stocksbridge Park Steels went on to win the play-off final against Belper and so joined their visitors today! Congratulations to both teams.