Wednesday 14th April 2021
Hope Valley League Premier
Furness Vale 6 Chapel Town 2 HT: 4-0 Att: 60
from Yeardsley Lane
This was my second peak district game this week, and if I felt like a fellow villager in Tansley on Monday that feeling was intensified at Yeardsley Lane this evening. It felt like the whole neighbourhood had turned out on this pleasant Spring evening to watch some football. There was a palpable community spirit in the air as people of all ages mingled amiably at the top end of the ground, which sits atop the pitch affording fantastic views of the game as well as a breathtaking backdrop of the hills of the Peak District.
Furness Vale is a small village in the High Peak, a fact it asserts in the sign into the village. It lies on the A6 between Chapel-en-le-Frith and New Mills, and between its competitors in the Hope Valley Premier League, Buxworth and High Lane. Its population is just 1,500 and the village is bisected by two roads, Station Road and Yeardsley Lane, the latter of which, lying to the left of the A6 going north, is where the football ground resides.
As you enter you are greeted to a panoramic view of the pitch and surrounding countryside, which is quite impressive. Furness Vale is a classic example of where football ground snobbery would be misplaced. If you demand things like stands and other hardware with your grounds then you’d never get to see the delights of venues such as this where the views and ambience alone are worth a thousand Arena stands. The seated capacity was twice that of Tansley, on account of the two benches at the entrance allowing for six spectators.
Also at the entrance was a very charming and colourful mosaic-style plaque celebrating the village and playing fields.
If the first impressions weren’t enough to satisfy me that this was pretty much perfect football fodder for a Wednesday, I heard the unmistakable diesel chuggings of a train in the distance, which then hove into view in the middle of the bucolic scenery. And wandering down to the halfway line was the added bonus of a chalked inscription of FVFC 1883, straddling the halfway line, pitchside.
This is what grassroots is all about. Before the game had even kicked off I was loving the ambience. The game was between two teams flying high in the league, in 2nd and 3rd respectively, both still in contention for the title. As such I expected a tight game but the hosts produced a master class in the first half, powering into a 4-0 lead at half time, starting in the first minute. Their goals were finely executed and they deserved their lead. The second half started much as the first, with Furness adding another two to their tally, including a penalty. Chapel Town got a couple themselves to at least equal the score in the second half but they were well beaten overall. Once again a great football match in the Hope Valley League and super atmosphere to boot.