On Monday 22nd July 2013, I went to Sandygate, the oldest football ground in the world, to watch Hallam play Chesterfield in a pre season friendly.
For the second consecutive year, my curtain raiser for the new season was a trip to watch Hallam FC at Sandygate – the oldest football ground in the world. After watching a Manchester City XI defeat the North East Counties League side last season, this time we were watching Chesterfield FC take on Hallam.
Easily the main talking point of this summer evening in South Yorkshire was one particular player on the bench for Hallam, Chris Waddle. The 52 year old former Newcastle, Spurs, Marseille, Sheffield Wednesday and England player started on the bench for the home side tonight and could potentially make his debut for the non-league outfit in this match.
It was a warm summers evening, definitely the best weather for watching football, and after having a wander around and taking a few photos we took our seat in the stand ready for my first game of the 2013/14 season to get underway. The two teams made their way onto the field just before the 7.30 kick off time and lined up on the pitch for the pre-match handshakes, Hallam wearing blue and white hoops while the visitors wore their black away strip.
The action got off to a quick start with the referee awarding a penalty to the Spireites after just 5 minutes. The visitors charged forward and fired a shot at goal which was blocked by the hand of a Hallam defender, leaving the referee with no option but to point straight to the spot. Oliver Brock stepped up and sent goalkeeper David Reay the wrong way to put Chesterfield 1-0 in front.
Chesterfield played some neat passing football in the early stages but Hallam had a couple of good opportunities of their own,with Jimmy Middleton sending two efforts just wide of the target in quick succession. However, it was the league club that fired home the second goal of the game to double their lead on the 23rd minute courtesy of a far post tap-in by Joe Bayne.
Just shy of the half hour mark, Hallam got themselves back into the game when a low cross in front of goal was turned into the net by Chesterfield defender Jamie McNicholas.
But the two goal advantage was quickly restored just seven minutes later. After a strike on goal was palmed away by keeper Reay, the ball was picked up by Jake Beesley, who cut past a defender before slotting the ball home to make the score 3-1.
The game was turning into something of a goal-fest and Hallam scored their second and the games 5th goal on the 38th minute with a headed effort from Tom Bird making it 3-2.
Yet the scoring in the opening 45 minutes still wasn’t over! On the stroke of half time, Chesterfield put themselves 4-2 ahead when another low cross was met by Beesley who directed the ball into the back of the net.
Half time substitutions saw Chris Waddle make his Hallam debut, replacing Ryan Ruddiforth during the break. But the former England international was quite a way off the pace and made little impact as the Spireites dominated the early stages of the second period – furthering their lead to 6-2 with goals from Fabian Johnson and Lewis Carey before the hour mark, as well as hitting the woodwork in this time.
The home side did begin to have the better of the play after this, but by now the result was far beyond doubt and they rarely looked like threatening the Spireites defence as the game ended 6-2 to the young Chesterfield eleven.
It had been a highly entertaining way to start the new season. Sandygate is always a lovely place to watch football in the summer and an 8-goal thriller had made the whole evening very enjoyable. It isn’t long until the proper season gets underway once again but before that I am off to one more friendly, the visit of Sheffield Wednesday to the Proact Stadium – not one to be missed!
Hallam 2-6 Chesterfield
Brock (pen) ’5, Bayne ’23, McNicholas (og) ’28, Beesley ’35, ’44, Bird ’38, Johnson ’48, Carey ’55Reay (Handcock), Carter (Cook), Alali, Bird (Carr), Lawrence (Scattergood), Booth (Herve), Dickinson, Ruddiforth (Waddle), Middleton (Shields), Lavender Mason, Delma, McNicholas, Sugden, Edridge, Maguire, Byrne, Hewitt, Johnson, Brock, Carey Attendance: 180