I don't know what Alec Ferguson would have made of it, but in the two months between 8th March and the 8th of May, Sheffield FC played a total of 22 League, Play-Off, Cup and Friendly games. The pressure took its toll last Saturday, when they missed out on promotion to the Unibond Premier League. But they bounced back in their final game on Thursday to win the Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup against Worksop Town at Hillsborough.
It was a great festive evening for Sheffield FC fans. On a fine and warm evening, the 583 spectators were quite reasonably confined to the main South Stand. Janet, Dave and I had fine seats at a great vantage point near the back of the stand.
As the game started it looked as if we were in for the same treatment we had seen when our team lost in the play-off final at Nantwich. Worksop dominated initially and at that stage our star players were our goalkeeper James Holmshaw and the woodwork. But after the first quarter of an hour the tide turned completely. Worksop never got back into the game except for a 5 minute spell at the start of the second half. I was soon able to shout at the three empty sides of the ground "its all gone quite over there!"
Striker Rob Ward was again drafted into central defence and was as solid as a rock. Matt Lowton was in his element in the mid-field ensuring that we were normally on the attack. Smudge (Paul Smith) ploughed forward from the left back position, whilst Jon Boulter acting as a central defender moved across to cover for him.
Gavin Smith our right-back and acting captain was more cautious, yet he was the one who struck from the edge of the six yard box in both the 27th and 69th minutes to clinch the match 2-0.
Worksop Town are in the League we had been seeking promotion to. To be in control of a game against them indicated that we would not have disgraced the Unibond Premier League if we had succeeded in moving up from Step 4 to Step 3 of the Non-League Pyramid. Our performances in this and other cup games we have undertaken against Unibond Premiership teams give us high hopes of being able to grasp promotion next season and then to hold our own at that higher level.
This season has been impressive. Promoted from Step 5 we made the fourth spot in the League, had good cup runs, won the above Senior Cup, had a fine set of 150th Anniversary Celebrations including games at Bramall Lane against Inter Milan and Ajak with respective crowds of 18,471 and 5,173 whilst signing up Pele and a host of other high profile football figures as members - not least Bob Piper.
Sheffield Wednesday did a fine job for us at Hillsborough. Not only did I obtain my fine seat at the £3 concessionary rate, but we were all given free programmes as we entered the ground. It didn't, therefore, matter that much that the pre-match and half-time pints were at League Club prices. Besides Janet, Dave and I made our way back to the Dronfield Contact Club afterwards to celebrate. It has the advantage of cheaper prices for drink, continuing good company and it hosts many of our local Labour Party activities. What more could you ask for - apart from promotion.
For other reports of the game see here and here.