As I said, The Dovecote has become something of a ground-hoppers 'go to' ground because of the road name. However, upon arriving at the ground you soon see that it is well worth a visit in it's own right. This part of the country seems to be blessed with particularly good non-league football ground (see my recent Barrow Town and Quorn blogs). Shepshed weigh into this argument with The Dovecote which, whilst certainly not as neat and tidy as either Quorn or Barrow, has charm and history oozing from every glorious nook and cranny. This is my sort of ground. Nothing is symmetrical. Buildings have been bolted on over the long history of the ground (Shepshed have played their since 1891), there is a slope on the pitch and that wonderful whiff of grassroots football about the place.
One key point for new visitors to the ground. It is situated in a residential area and has no spectator parking on site due to the lack of space and tight entrance. There is a school a few hundred yards away from the ground which has ample parking and it's only a couple of minutes walk to the ground.
Dynamo were coming into the game in 7th place with 25 points from their 15 games. They were also on a run of eight consecutive victories in all competitions and unbeaten since a 2-1 home defeat by Walsall Wood in September.
South Normanton, by contrast, were looking up the table from bottom position with 7 points from their 15 games played. recent results, however, had been starting to show some positivity. A 4-0 home win against Romulus had been followed with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Walsall Wood and, although The Shiners had been struggling to pick up wins, their results show that the majority of recent defeats had been by narrow margins.
Last season both of the league games between these sides finished as away wins. Dynamo winning 4-1 in Derbyshire whilst The Shiners clocked up a 3-0 victory at The Dovecote.
The opening encounters of the game were far more even than the respective league positions suggested. In fact, it was the visitors who had the first meaningful attempt at goal when John Guy managed to get a shot away which stung the hands of Brandon Ganley. For Shepshed, the majority of attacking threat was coming down their right-flank, where Sam Moore was proving to be a handful for the Shiners defence. It was Moore who had Dynamo's first significant chance but his effort was blocked by a South Normanton defender.
There was little to choose between the sides until the 33rd minute when Moore latched onto the ball inside the visitor's penalty area and hit a low, angled drive across Hall into the far corner of the net. 1-0
On 41 minutes South Normanton came very close to drawing level when Dylan Garnett cut in from the right and curled an effort past Ganley only for the ball to strike the upright and rebound to safety.
HT Shepshed Dynamo 1 South Normanton Athletic 0. Dynamo edging the first-half but The Shiners are by no means out of it, especially with the slope in their favour for the second period.
As it happened, the second-half in my opinion, was an intriguing and fascinating 45 minutes of football. Sure enough South Normanton invigorated by kicking down the slope and probably heartened by their first-half performance, set about getting themselves level from the off. Shepshed, whether intentionally or not, were being pushed backwards. However, they have the players in their squad to play counter-attacking football very effectively, meaning the the visitors could not completely throw caution to the wind.
The game, which was by no means a dirty game, did have a little undercurrent to it. There were a few running battles going on around the pitch mainly because it was a highly competitive match.
South Normanton continued to press forward, getting the ball into the last third very quickly and trying to force a mistake from the home defence which, to their credit, stood firm for the most part.
Shepshed introduced what would have been the Leicester Nirvana front line a couple of seasons ago when they brought on Matt Melbourne to lead the line and tricky winger Pearson Mwanyongo on the right.
Shepshed continued to soak up the visitors pressure, breaking whenever they could and, in the last minute, they finally sealed the game. Sam Moore once again picked up the ball some 40 yards out. He drifted past a couple of defenders, rode a few more challenges and the slotted the ball past Hall to make it 2-0. A really well taken individual goal.
There was still time, very late on, for South Normanton's frustration to boil over, Evan Cawley seeing red for a nasty looking challenge on Zac Hill. The player had barely had time to walk down the tunnel before the referee blew for full-time.
FT Shepshed Dynamo 2 South Normanton Athletic 0. A hard fought three points for Dynamo who had to battle very hard against a determined Shiners side, especially throughout the second-half. South Normanton certainly could not fault their player's efforts and could easily make a case for deserving something from the game.
Shepshed Dynamo: Ganley, Hill, Acott, Pheasant, Betts(c), Prenderville, Moore, Hurst, WHymark, Patrocino, Thomas. Subs: Mwanyongo, Melbourne, L. Day, S. Day, Phillips
South Normanton Athletic: Hall, Leigh(c), Cawley, Nadine, Cox, Guy, Garnett, Tyson, Fell, Robinson, King. Subs: Crosby, Paul, Butcher, Stryzewski, Mitchell
Ground Number: 172
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