Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior cup semi final.
A good old fashioned cup tie on a cold wet night in the north of Sheffield. This was the biggest night for Penistone Church in many a year. They play their football in the Sheffield senior league. Their opponents Worksop Town are 5 steps higher in the Evo Stick premier division. On paper this should have been a one sided match but Church matched their lofty opponents all the way and in the end were unfortunate not to take the tie into extra time.
As it tonight's game was a county cup match an entrance fee of £3 was charged, with a further £1 for the programme. I am not sure if they normally charge or issue programmes for league matches but i know all clubs have to charge for County cup competitions. The ground is of a very good standard for the league it is in and puts several CML clubs to shame. There is a decent sized covered standing area down on touchline and hard standing behind the goal at the end of the ground where you enter. We headed for the clubhouse for a brew (50p) which wasn't one of the best we have had this season if i am honest. There were quite a few tigers fans when we got there and a bit later on another coach load arrived. The homeside were not without support to however and it was good to see that the locals had turned out to support Penistone who (according to the programme) were playing in there first senior cup semi final for over 50 years. The final is played at Hillsborough, home of Sheffield Wednesday, so this game really was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Church players to play at the famous old ground.
Church weren't phased by their higher league opponents and really had a go at the tigers who at times looked rattled. The pitch was quite heavy which wasn't helping either side pass the ball around much which helped the hosts. Worksop had more chances, but Church were working very hard to close them down and not let them settle on the ball. What shots Worksop did get off were either blocked, went high, or went wide.
After spending quite a bit of time in their own half, Church took the lead when Lewis Dickinson latched onto a clearance on the right hand side of the pitch, Ziccardi came out to try to close down the angle on but Dickinson rounded him and chipped it in from a tight angle. The home fans and players were delighted and you could tell how much it meant to them.
The tigers stated to step it up a gear after the goal and grabbed the equaliser on 40 minutes when Massiah McDonald struck home from 15 yards.
With 4 minutes left Church got back in the game following a goal mouth scramble and Worksop were all over the place. Church rallied and forced a couple of corners and had a goal bound shot blocked on the line. Worksop were relieved to hear the final whistle and will know that they had been in one hell of a game. However, through to the final they were and cup football is all about getting through.
Huge credit goes to Penistone Church both on and off the field. This was probably one of the biggest crowds that the club have had for a good few years and everything went really well. Both the bar and food booth was quite busy but everybody seemed to get served in good time. I must say a huge thank you to the nice lady behind the bar who managed to find a club pin badge for me (£3)
This club would be a great addition to the CML. The ground as i said earlier is far better that many in that league and if they play like they did tonight they would certainly ruffle a few feathers on the pitch. If you haven't been a visit is thoroughly recommend. You wont be disappointed.