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Wednesday 18th September 2013 ko 19.45

Central Midlands League South Division

SOUTH NORMANTON ATHLETIC 2 (Mottershead 35 Fretwell 62)


Att 82

Entry £3

Programme £1

Lees Lane is one of those grounds that circumstances have led me to fail to visit. I like many others visited much of the CMFL during the years of their organised groundhops, but I found myself watching Newry City during their groundhop game. That was something that needed rectifying, I’d heard good things about the club and the ground.

A lot has changed since the CMFL groundhops. The league has done away with its Supreme and Premier Divisions, in favour of a more geographically suitable North and South format. Its a shame though that there’s no play-off between the respective champions.

The Derbyshire town of South Normanton grew up around the industry of ladies ribbed stocking manufacturing. That gives the townsfolk and the club an interesting nickname, The Shiners! In the mid-18th century workers sat at their widows on wooden stools for long hours, the result being that the backsides of their trousers were rubbed until shiny! The name stuck, and gives the town a quirk.

Not that the football ground lacks quirks all of its own! From all the seats being in two stands behind the goal, to the quite spectacular views of Derbyshire from the other end, its a ground way better than the league they find themselves in. And that is even more the case with Hucknall Town. I saw them not so long ago playing in the Conference North, but severe financial problems saw them plummet down playing last season two levels lower in the Northern Premier League Division One. They finished bottom, but with financial issues still very much to the fore opted to take a triple relegation to the Central Midlands League, bypassing the Northern Counties East altogether. Sad times to the club, and the team looked flat on this occasion with The Shiners good value for their win.

The best player on show was South Normanton forward Andrew Mottershead, he’d just been signed from Quorn, but had played for manager Mark Wilson at Borrowash Victoria. He volleyed home from a right wing cross to open the scoring, and substitute Rob Fretwell stroked home the winner from just inside the box, a slight deflection making goalkeeper James Bellingham’s job impossible.

There was the odd shower, and the local hopperati were out in force, showing that if a small club is prepared to play midweek fixtures on a day other than Tuesday, there’s a tangible benefit. Apart from that it was a darned good evening out, but the CMFL hop visit here proved that back in 2011. I was just two-and-a-half years late!