I am standing alongside part of the display for Sheffield FC at Nike at Oxford Circus in London. The Club was founded in 1857 and the photograph I am next to was assumed to be one of the team taken in its early years. This claim has recently been challenged as is explained here and here. I spoke to Richard Tims the Chair of the Club recently and he had himself come to the conclusion that this is not a photo of Sheffield FC. He tells me that the Club are seeking to sort out an early photo of the team to act as a replacement for this one. They had firmly believed the photo to be geniune and their use of it had been an honest mistake. I am happy to stand by it until it is swapped.
Now to turn to the modern game.
Meanwhile At The Stadium of Bright
Sheffield FC went into its home game against Alsager Town on Saturday with no less than ten games in hand of Carlton Town who are immediately above them in the League. The backlog is due to a run of postponed games, cup runs and the earlier celebratory games for our 150th anniversary.
The game against Alsager was only our second home game since I last reported on what was a 4-3 victory over Stockbridge Park Steel on Boxing Day.
"Q" Is For Quorn
I missed reporting the 0-0 home draw against Quorn on 26 January (Crowd 352). I thought that it was best to try and forget it, which I have almost done by now. With our postponements perhaps we had forgotten how the game was played.
On the other hand it could have been the soggy pitch which led to such a soggy football match. A sign that it was an uninspiring game is that the spectators were restless and kept walking to and fro in front of me. Trips for mugs of tea and pies and peas or calls to the toilets, were the order of the day.
The Most Memorable Moment Was Tom's Joke.
Tom : "I didn't make it to the away game at Gateshead because the wife landed the car in the living room."
Concerned spectator : "I hope she wasn't hurt. How on earth did it happen?"
Tom : "She turned left at the kitchen."
Then there were cracks about Quorn's name. Were they vegetarians and could they be found on the shelves at Sainsburys? We were all getting a bit desperate by then.
Yet we had the home debut of Jamie Smith our new striker from Gainsborough Town. He isn't to be confused with our full backs, Gavin and Paul Smith. But it makes life easier for all we need to shout is "come on Smithy!".
Jamie is a big lad with large feet and boots that curl up at the toes. Perhaps these are designed to act as webbed feet on our soggy pitch. They may have contributed to the fact that he kept hooking the ball over the bar.
Things Could Only Get Better
Saturday's game against Alsager Town was more like it (Crowd 256). We now had a new goalkeeper, Danny Haystead. He was in goal for Quorn in the above goaless draw. Our manager must have been impressed by the fact he kept a clean sheet. But then so did our own keeper in that game.
But Danny is an interesting character. He regularly shouts instructions out to the rest of our team, even when they are up attacking the visitors' goal.This is helped by the fact that when we are not under attack he comes out of the penalty area and advances nearly a third of the way up the pitch. It worked in this game and he appeared to push the team up into attacking - no-one wanted to lag behind him.
He was also commanding in his area when Alsager attacked. Apart from the occasion he dived forward into a ruck of players and knocked his own defenders over, with the ball running loose. For some unbelievable reason, it was the only time he didn't shout out to denote his presence.
Its Those Smiths Again
Jamie Smith was playing again, but he seemed to have a fresh pair of boots that didn't curl up at the ends. Either that or someone had been jumping on his toes. It still did not prevent him from hooking the ball over the visitor's bar.
Tom and the Manager seem to be alone in having great faith in Jamie. So I'm waiting for them to be proved right.
The other two Smith's (our full backs) had fine games being turned into attackers to get away from our goalkeeper who would otherwise have been yelling down their necks.
The Goal Rush
Sheffield won 3-0 with a goal rush over an eight minute spell. Asa Ingall got the first two in the 31st and 33rd Minutes. The first when a corner was headed down to him and the second from a flick on.
Then Vill Powell was upended in the penalty box. Vill never goes to ground when he can't help it, not even when he has been clearly fouled. So sometimes he doesn't get the free kick he deserves. This was clearly a penalty, coverted by man-of-the-match Paul Smith.
Sheffield had even more of the play in the second half, but more goals didn't arrive.
What Does The Future Hold?
Sheffield have lost the least number of games in the League. But this is because they have played the least. They are 9th in a League of 18. Massively clear of the single relegation spot. The top team Retford United beat us 5-0 in a recent cup game and seem to be destined for the automatic promotion spot. But there are 4 play -off places. The nearest team to catch to get into the play-offs are Gresley Rovers, who are 7 points ahead of us yet we have 8 games in hand of them.
It promises to be a football feast as we catch up on the missing games. Then glory be, when I get back home I discover that Sunderland have defeated Wigan 2-0 and are pulling away from the relegation zone. So there could be a great final fling to the football season - as long as Sheffield's new Smithy sorts his boots out.