Saturday 26th December 2017 15.00
Northern Premier One South
Frickley Athletic 2 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1 HT: 1-0 Att: 277 Ent: £10 Prog £2 Coffee £1
Hazel 18 Allott 87 : Coleman (pen) 74
from Westfield Lane
Frickley Athletic have been right to the top of non league (almost literally), finishing 2nd to Enfield in the 1985-86 Alliance Premier, which a year later became the Conference. The early eighties were the club’s high point with Frickley reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup four seasons running from 1983. However, in the first season of the newly named Conference they finished second bottom and were relegated to the Northern Premier League, where they have been ever since. When they were runners up in the APL in 1986 they played Rotherham United in the third round of the FA Cup where 5,800 turned up at Westfield Lane to see them lose 1-3.
Frickley were founded in 1910 as Frickley Colliery Athletic, named after the Frickley and South Elmsall Colliery and were just one arm of the Frickley Athletic Club. The Colliery bit of their name was dropped in 1974. They play in South Elmsall, a medium sized town in the huge swathe of similar mining towns (complete with MW football teams) in the area.
The entrance to their Westfield Lane Ground has an agricultural feel to it, as if you are entering a farmers market. What looks like a large barn greets you at the end of a rough track; the sign on it reassuring you you’re in the right place.
Frickley have played here for over 100 years, since they were founded, in fact. It had that feel of a club that had seen higher levels; non-league grandeur a bit rough around the edges.
The large main stand dominates the ground. It turns out the barn with the sign on it was the back of the stand. Five rows of flip down white seats sit at the back of the stand comprising about 300 with a further three blue benches providing another 190 seats.
An eight step terrace fronts the main stand. Opposite is a four step terrace, sporadically covered, but often just the skeletal frame of the stand.
Today’s game was a top of the table clash with Frickley in 8th, but able to overtake visitors Stocksbridge Park Steels, local rivals just 20 miles cross country. It had the promise of a full blooded tie and hopefully not Frickley Come Dancing.
The game didn’t disappoint. Frickley edged the first half slightly and were one up thanks to a super strike from Hazel; the ball ran to him on the edge of the area to set him up for a perfect 20 yard left foot strike high into the net.
The second half was a close affair and Stocksbridge were fortunate to be awarded what looked like a soft penalty on 74. It felt like the hosts were to be robbed of a deserved victory as the clock ticked down, but justice prevailed with three minutes left as Allott confidently rushed and rose high for a corner to powerfully header high and at an angle into the top of the net. The home contingent went mad, another three points beckoned and a few places further up the table.