Monday 18th July 2011
Sheffield FC (1) 1 (Conor Higginson 32)
Worksop Town (0) 0
Admission £6, Programme £2 (covers 3 matches)
Team Sheet ex gratis, Attendance 195
Sheffield FC: Billard (Whatsize HT), Barnett, Woolley, Weir (Poulton 53), Lewis, Varley ©, Harrison (Hall 76), Kirkland, Purkiss (Magill 84), Roney (Gregory 64), Higginson (Sykes 57). Subs not used: Mitchell, White.
Worksop Town: Worsnop, Cooke, Wood, Roberts, Cotterill ©, Young, Thompson, Davies, Davidson, Mullen, Duncum.
Subs all used: Muller, Jackson, Turner, Shiels (all WTFC subs came on after 57 minutes).
If I had to choose one local footballer I hoped would get fixed up with a club this pre season, where he would fit in and have an immediate impact, then it would be Conor Higginson ... who left Mansfield Town FC 'by mutual consent' last week.
The circumstances surrounding his departure have been subject to much conjecture and gossip, especially amongst the serial Facebook 'updaters' amongst the Stags on-line supporting community ... but even though I get told a lot of factual stuff in confidence, there'll be no exclusive revelations about anybody's private business on this blog.
All I'll say is, Conor showed, following his move from Glapwell to Field Mill last season, that he has what it takes to succeed at a higher level and I really wish his situation could've been resolved and he was still a Stags player.
Good luck at Sheffield FC Conor!
With the greatest of respect to Sheffield FC - and I have an immense amount of respect for them and several individuals who are connected to the club - Conor Higginson could and should be playing at an higher level than the Evo=Stik League Division 1 South.
Sheffield's manager Mark Shaw pounced quickly to sign Higginson the moment he became available - an astute piece of business from 'Showy' who's got himself a player who'll bag plenty of goals for the Dronfield based OLDEST CLUB IN THE WORLDtm this coming season ... starting after just half an hour of his début tonight.
While Sheffield have signed themselves a willing and able striker, Worksop Town have just seen a quality one leave for Macclesfield Town.
Ben Tomlinson is going to be a very hard act to follow and difficult to replace.
Danny Davidson has been bought in over the summer, but he's a different kind of player to Ben. Adam Muller's also returned to the club, but neither of them have anything like Tomlinson's pace and goal scoring attributes and it seems to me that the Tigers need to bring in another proven striker as a matter of some urgency, if they want to be amongst the promotion contenders in the Evo-Stik Premier circa 2011-12.
In Jamie Jackson they have a player that can play anywhere across the front-line or midfield who will unlock any defence at Evo-Stik League level, but he can't do the job single handedly all season.
Jamie's been having trials at both Mansfield Town and Stockport County this month, but at the moment he is still turning out for the Worksop based club ... ah, I've waited a long, long time to say that, so I'll say it again ... Worksop based club.
Losing 'JJ' as well as Tomlinson would be a massive blow for the Tigers.
Worksop Town looked a bit short of ideas and lacked in application up front until Jackson (himself a former Sheffield FC player) and all the other Worksop substitutes came on together on 57 minutes.
In fact, the only chances of note I can remember them having in the first half were a long range shot from Marc Thompson that rattled the upright and a close range effort from Tom Mullen that Adam Billard did well to block.
There are those amongst the Worksop Town faithful who reckon Thompson only gets in the team because his dad is the assistant manager to Martin McIntosh, but I saw the player put in a couple of man of the match performances as the engine room of the midfield towards the end of last season, so I'll reserve judgement on that widely held opinion.
Martin McIntosh, the Tigers manager, is on holiday at the moment and didn't see tonight's game. He missed decent performances from Jon Worsnop, Ben Turner (another sub) and Jamie Jackson, but not much else to be honest.
Adam Billard, who has moved from Worksop Town to Sheffield during the closed season, had a comfortable first 45 minutes in goal for the Coach & Horses side, not that he'd had an awful lot to do.
Shortly after Adam had moved to Sheffield, Jon Kennedy also left Worksop Town to join Matlock Town.
Although Jon Worsnop is a most able keeper, a fact he he proved several times tonight with a number of top class saves, the recent turnover of players leaves the Tigers short of cover between the sticks.
Adam Muller, another substitute, was guilty of squandering a couple of good chances ... One when he ceased on a poor back pass from Mat Varley, but hit the ball straight at Dan Whatsize (Sheffield's second half goalkeeper) and the other when Jamie Jackson had set him up with a slide rule pass to fire home the equaliser, that he blazed high and wide of the mark.
One of the more outspoken members of the travelling Tigers support (a notoriously hard to please bunch), left Muller in no doubt what he thought of the miss. I was half a pitch length away and I caught every word.
Hopefully a couple of the Worksop player's sharpness around goal will have improved before the season starts for real.
Though the North Notts visitors to North East Derbyshire (near South Yorkshire) were their own worse enemy tonight, missing a few sitters in the late stages of the game, Sheffield had already done enough to merit the victory and had passed the ball around well and created a lot of good chances in and around the box.
Conor Higginson 'ghosting' in at the back stick at exactly the right moment to head home a Joel Purkiss cross from out the left wing, that evaded the entire Worksop defence, was the least they deserved tonight.
There were plenty of positives for the Sheffield club to take from this performance, their third win in a row ... and a lot of pointers for the Tigers coaches as regards what needs to be worked on in training and which positions still need looking at during the remaining half a dozen friendlies they have scheduled before their league campaign starts on August 13th.
There's no need for Worksop Town fans to be panicking at this early stage, but there is evidently still much room for improvement ... which will surely come as the players fitness levels and sharpness builds up over the coming weeks.
The politics and blow by blow account of the circumstances leading up to this return from exile, of sorts, is well documented in the archives of this blog.
Maybe one day, the whole story of how the Tigers became exiled in the first place will become public knowledge and one or two people who were just as culpable as Howard Raymond in this whole sorry saga will be named and shamed too.
But I'm into football not politics, so you'll have to look for that kind of information elsewhere.
Let's just be grateful that the story had a happy ending. Though knowing some of the people at Worksop Town, that might be a case of counting chicks before they're hatched. Only time will tell I s'pose.