New boys to take on stalwarts Sheffield

Adam Priestley scored as Ossett beat Clitheroe last weekend.
Adam Priestley scored as Ossett beat Clitheroe last weekend.

Tomorrow marks another historic chapter in Ossett United’s brief history when they travel to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC.

Formed in 1857, the South Yorkshire Club are officially recognised as the world’s oldest existing football team.

Tom Corner was United's match winner against Clitheroe.

Tom Corner was United's match winner against Clitheroe.

In stark contrast, United are still in their infancy and are one of the world’s youngest football clubs.

Ossett United were born out of a merger between rivals Ossett Town and Ossett Albion earlier this year.

Sheffield FC, meanwhile, have been playing under association rules for 161 years.

United chief executive Phil Smith says that the merger between the two former rivals has been well received by the majority of the town.

With crowds consistently surpassing the 400 mark, Smith says that even those opposed to the merger, are struggling to stay away.

“We have got crowds of 630 and 580, we have had some massive crowds,” said Smith.

“Compared to the crowds of 120 that both teams were getting last year, it is all moving in the right direction.

“My target was to see if we could average crowds of around 350 a game.

“We have only ever dropped below 350 twice.

“We have been in the high 400s for most of our home games.

“Every team we have visited it has been their highest home attendance of the season.

“Tomorrow, it is the world’s oldest club against the world’s newest club, it is exciting.”

The residents of Ossett have certainly taken to the club since its formation earlier this year.

The club shop has sold over 500 replica shirts while over 150 season tickets have also been sold.

“We have a bonfire tonight at the ground and we have sold over 2,000 tickets, which seems to be more attractive than the football,” joked Smith.

“We have had a lot of interest from players from higher leagues wanting to come and play for us.”

On the pitch, Smith has been happy, for the most part, with the performances from Andy Welsh’s side.

Ossett sit just outside the play-off positions and Smith feels that United need to find a way to turn draws into victories.

He added: “We are drawing a lot of games this season, and we should have won most of them.

“There is only one game that we drew where I thought we were lucky to get a point.

“We have been drawn against Lancaster City in the FA Trophy and playing against a team from a division above, will not only show us where we are at, but show us where we need to be as well.

“We are in with a shout, they are not having the best start.”

Last Saturday, Ossett United qualified for the next round of the FA Trophy but made hard work of it as they edged Clitheroe 2-1 at Ingfield.

With 15 minutes gone, Clitheroe took the lead after they broke at pace following an Ossett corner.

The away side moved the ball swiftly to Lewis Sugden who slotted home to put the visitors in front.

Five minutes into the second half and Priestley atoned for his earlier misses as he equalised following a good move down the left-hand side.

With six minutes remaining, the ball fell to Tom Corner a few yards from the Clitheroe goal. The Ossett forward twisted and lashed the ball low and hard into the back of the net.