Friendlies whet appetite

Two top class friendlies and more to follow, plus a host of FA Cup competitions has left our Non-League fans in a buoyant mood in readiness for the new season.

I visited Green Lane to watch Parkgate entertain Second Division Macclesfield Town and although they twice took the lead the League side proved too strong and ran out 5-3 winners. New signing from Worksop Town Ben Tomlinson capped a fine debut with two goals and one assist.

However Parkgate looked strong moving forward with Worsfold and two goal man Swindells in outstanding form, as was full back Cardwell while their new signings Craig Laight, from Belper Town, and Christian Baxby, from Formby, both had good games.

I was also amongst a record crowd of 2,053 at the BT Local Business Stadium as a gutsy defensive display saw Sheffield FC hold Sheffield United to a 1-1 draw. Sheffield fielded six new signings and fell behind to debut boy Daniel Philliskirk’s 35th minute goal but levelled it up via a stunning 74 minute equaliser from Joel Purkiss.

Sheffield’s defence were outstanding with Barnett, released by Sheffield Wednesday, White and Varley, signed from Glapwell, all outstanding, as was new manager Mark Shaw’s other new signings Charlie Wiez from Belper, Matt Sykes from Hallam and Shane Kelsey from Ossett Town.

In the FA Cup a total of 763 clubs are entered and it all starts on Saturday, August 20. In the extra preliminary round, relegated Hallam and Dinnington Town both face tough tests, with Hallam travelling to Scarborough while Dinnington go to Pickering Town.

Maltby Main host Glasshoughton Welfare, Parkgate should beat Grimsby Borough at Green Lane and Staveley have a mouth-watering tie at home to Winterton Rangers, with all the winners receiving £750. Two weeks later previous round wins would see Dinnington travelling to Selby Town or Liversedge in the preliminary round, while Hallam would enjoy a home tie against Barton Town or Bridlington Town, Maltby Main and Staveley would go to Ossett Town and Goole AFC respectively and Parkgate would entertain AFC Emley or Hall Road Rangers. Sheffield FC face a trip to Garforth Town with a home tie against Frickley Athletic awaiting the winners on Saturday September 17.

The preliminary round of the FA Trophy sees Sheffield FC welcome Warrington Town on Saturday, October 8 with £2,000 awaiting the winners. Victory would give Club another home tie against Cammell Laird or Bamber Bridge while Stocksbridge Park entertain Ossett Town or Wakefield at Bracken Moor, Worksop Town visit Bradford Park Avenue and in the best tie of the round, Frickley Athletic welcome FC United of Manchester to Westfield Lane.