An Unforgettable Year - A 2019/20 Review
After the success of their first season, Wombwell Town waited with baited breath for contact from the trustees of the Recreation Ground about whether they would be able to return.
Having not played on home soil since January it came with great joy when it was announced in mid-June that they would be able to go back - and with it be able to build foundations for their long term future.
Before pre-season began, plans to modernise the clubhouse were made and work was started with action taken to tidy the ground and finish the dugouts, which had been left unfinished months before.
Manager Karl Rose looked to strengthen his squad for life in the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Division One and added a number of names who would go on to make a big impact.
Pre-season saw some tough tests with one match, a home friendly against Premier Division Champions North Gawber Colliery, abandoned followed an injury to left back Jak Rennison which would keep him out of action until the start of February. A sign of things to come?
The season started with a bang on 17th August as an all-Wombwell derby saw Main Development come to the Recreation Ground for the first competitive game there since January.
An entertaining game saw the Wellers start with a win thanks to a 4-3 result where Luke Norbury re-ignited his goal scoring form from the penalty spot with Ryan Smith and a debut brace by Brad Kerr sealing the points.
Drama at home to AFC Dronfield saw a disputed penalty given with just a minute left to deny a sixth straight win for Wombwell Town after Gareth McDermott had given them the lead.
The day will be remembered however for another reason.
With some provocation, a Wombwell Town player reacted badly to comments following the full time whistle and punches were thrown. The player in question never played for the club again.
Seven days later and the controversy didn’t stop.
A trip to Handsworth FC Reserves in the League Cup ended after a thrilling 8-4 game in the home team’s favour. The result was later void from the record books and following comments made by the referee towards Physio Rachael Robson a report was written to the FA.
Handsworth FC Reserves made more than the allowed number of substitutions with the referee failing to know the rules of the competition. After long discussions between the league and county FA the game was re-played. The referee in question also quit from officiating any more matches to avoid reprimand following his comments.
In the re-played game Handsworth won once more, this time 3-1, and Wombwell Town were ready to move on from a hectic couple of weeks.
Winning ways returned in the next game as the team progressed in the Association Cup against Burngreave Reserves of Division Two who made the game uneasy with a 4-3 result.
Wombwell Town became a more settled club over winter with relationships strengthening off the pitch between the trustees and the committee and the team once against consistently winning on the pitch.
In January the club were looking to make the semi-finals of the Association Cup for the second season running, but just didn’t have enough to win their Quarter Final tie against Central Midlands League side Staveley Reserves as they fell by two goals to one.
A low quickly became a high as the biggest win of the season came at Sheffield Medics – a side who had beaten the Wellers 3-1 earlier in the campaign at the Recreation Ground.
Brad Kerr netted a record six goals in a 7-2 win to put the side ever-closer to the Division One title on 8th February.
Away from the world of football though an illness called Coronavirus, or Covid-19, was starting to spread around the nations of the globe.
Football and life continued into March as usual and back-to-back fixtures against Denaby Main yielded six points by 14th March to guarantee promotion, or so they hoped.
People were dying from Coronavirus.
People’s lives changed when a lockdown was called for.
Football was rightly stopped.
A season of drama on and off the field was put into perspective.
It was decided that all three divisions of the County Senior League would become void and there was no promotion.
But it didn’t matter because lives were, and will always be, more important than football.