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Behind Enemy Lines
Behind Enemy Lines

The Main Men

By: Chris Smith
Date: 19/08/2010

YORKSHIRE Main FC is based in Edlington which is one of Doncaster’s more deprived areas. As one of only two Doncaster grounds I haven't visited (the other being Bentley Colliery), curiosity overcame any misgivings of an afternoon in an area I've only fleetingly seen from a local bus.

The weather was as gloomy as the area’s economic prospects. Main’s home is surprisingly situated almost adjacent to open countryside just to the west of the A1 with thick woods to the ground’s east side and a cricket pitch to the other. Having approached the ground from the wrong direction, I managed to find a back gate to the Welfare ground thinking it would have been some detour if I hadn't. It was also eerily quiet out this way, almost a Slaughtered Lamb atmosphere against leaden skies.

Having found human life again (now now Yorkiephobes), there was plenty of time to go down into New Edlington which is paradoxically more desolate than the Old version. Anyone wanting to tour this part of the Metropolitan Borough wouldn't have to set much more than 5 minutes aside, if they took their time. Thatcher’s legacy lives on.

Main play at Level 8 of the non-league pyramid which is the Central Midlands League Premier Division. This is a very grand title for the second division of a two division league. Promotion results in elevation to the Supreme Division and there we were thinking that the rebranding of Divisions 2, 3 and 4 of the Football League was grandiose. Main have plied their trade in the North Counties East League where Grimsby Borough currently reside but a lack of floodlights and economic pressure led to a league relocation. Having said that, they finished a useful fourth last season and are about to have floodlights which would enable them to make the step up. The last two games of last season resulted in an eight nil win over my local side Thorne Colliery and a three nil defeat of Bulwell.

Admission was £2.50, including the programme which was a well produced effort. The ground had a small stand with a shallow terrace near the entrance and a similar construction on the opposite side where I decided to catch some rays as the skies suddenly broke to mark a new successful epoch in Grimsby’s fortunes about two hundred miles away. A few dozen fans then entered the ground and positioned themselves in the opposite stand until I was joined by a handful of others, including a couple with fold up chairs and a dog with a serious attitude problem that barked every time play came within a few yards. I wouldn't have minded if it had taken it’s frustrations out on the officials or something similarly constructive. As it was, it behaved like a canine chav.

Mind you, my own dog had its own quirks regarding football. He used to drop whatever he was doing (often sexually abusing soft toys and on one occasion grunting loudly as he did so whilst his rear end banged against the vicar’s leg-but that’s another story) to watch Andy Gray going through action replays on Sky Sports. I'm sure he understood the mechanics of the game even if he couldn't understand the analysis in what was supposed to pass as English language.

Main were playing Whatton United who had recently made the step up from the Grantham League and the early exchanges looked as though it was going to be a tough baptism. After 12 minutes, a shot was turned away for a corner although I wasn't convinced from my vantage point that it hadn't just gone wide. Either way, the resulting corner was converted by Curtis Walker to give Main a one nil lead. Whilst it was all Main at this point, on the rare occasion that Whatton got forward, the Main keeper managed to completely miss a cross but caught the subsequent corner. In fact it wasn't a great half for keepers or defences in the main part.

Five minutes after goal one, a mix up in the Whatton defence allowed Darren Bird to easily slot past the keeper. Two nil to Main. Whatton did test the home keeper a few minutes later with a shot from the left but on 27 minutes, Darren Bird got his second with a great header from a cross of similar quality. This was too much for one visiting player who berated his static colleague with “F***’s sake, he’s over here you f****** t***” This is the cabaret I like at this level. I didn't laugh too loudly though as the Whatton lad was obviously having a red mist moment and I wasn't up for an off.

The same lustily lunged lad was at it again five minutes later when he queried a decision where the home side were awarded a free kick and he opined loudly that a home forward had gone down a little easily. The subsequent kick beat the keeper, but sadly also the post. A few minutes later, what looked to be a speculative lob beat the Whatton keeper but also the post.

Whatton managed a foray up the field but just failed to connect to a cross which had beaten the over committed Main keeper. The most notable Whatton punt was a clearance out of the ground towards the wood which hit one tree with such venom that it dislodged a branch that had probably been nicely minding it’s own business for the last two hundred years or so and having a quiet bud now and again. Some poor lad then forlornly asked roughly where it had gone as we unhelpfully pointed to some dense undergrowth and half expecting David Bellamy to emerge with several new species. No chance, I thought and I didn't see the poor soul for the rest of the game. He’s probably still there hunting and losing all memory of civilisation although it could be argued…

Just before half time and Main were awarded a penalty after a blatant trip in the area. However, the Whatton keeper made up for an uncertain first half by saving with his legs.

Half Time Main 3 Whatton 0

The report continues in Part 2

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