Tuesday 28th October 2014 ko 19.45
Midland League Division One
UTTOXETER TOWN 3 (Curley 15 85 Redshaw 80)
ATHERSTONE TOWN 1 (Storey 49)
The Staffordshire town is reckoned to have had 79 different spellings of its name since its mention in the Domesday Book as “Wotocheshede” Perhaps now you know Uttoxeter now for its racecourse, or for Fox’s Malted Milk biscuits, or even Samuel Johnson’s penance. Dr Johnson’s father ran a bookstall on Uttoxeter market, and young Samuel once refused to help out on the stall. When Johnson was older, he stood in the rain (without a hat) as a penance for his failure to assist. Now Uttoxeter has another reason to be famous, its football team.
In groundhopping circles, you soon spot the towns and cities that have no football team. A favourite is Tewkesbury, but Tewkesbury do have a side in the Cheltenham League, in fact click here for a glimpse of their team.
Uttoxeter was indisputably football-free on a Saturday, with just the nearby village of Rocester playing in the Midland League Premier Division. That all began to change before last season when Uttoxeter Town transferred from the Burton Sunday League into the Staffordshire County League. They finished last season runners-up to Wolstanton United, and accepted promotion into the Midland League’s second tier.
That meant the vexed question of ground grading, and the Oldfields Sports Club has seen massive investment to provide 2 stands, a rail around the pitch and floodlights. Perhaps it was fitting that the rail is of the type you see at a horse racing course.
This was Uttoxeter’s first game under lights, and there was lovely touch from visitors Atherstone, presenting their hosts with a pennant commemorating their big day. And what a big day it was. Despite poor weather the crowd was huge for step 6 football, and the club coped admirably with all the spectators. An overspill car park was provided in a nearby school and their was no lack of volunteers to make things run smoothly. In fact the only issue was that the rain meant that many stayed in the bar until almost kick-off, swamping the pay-booth when a fair percentage of the crowds tried to get pitch-side as the kicked off.
And while the ground won’t win any plaudits for ground aesthetes it does everything it needs to, and yes my camera and I stayed dry. What surprised me though was just how good to watch Uttoxeter are to watch. Whilst Atherstone are enduring a terrible injury crisis, they were able to name only two substitutes, they are a good side, but Uttoxeter won this, and won well.
On a skiddy surface both sides moved the ball well, but Uttoxeter had the killer pass when it mattered, although I’ll remember Lloyd Storey’s curling blast to equalise for Atherstone for a long time!
The question now is just how far can Uttoxeter go? They’re top of the table after all, and who knows where momentum can take you; certainly they’re a club on the rise.