Denaby Derby: Ell’ of a coincidence as Steve wins title at Tickhill, 12 years on

Steve Ellor
Steve Ellor

It is almost 12 years since striker Steve Ellor stepped out at Tickhill Square, accompnied by ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone, for Denaby United’s ‘final’ game back in 2002.

Ellor, then a fresh-faced, fast-paced 21-year-old, was introduced as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Arnold Town, which ensured United finished a point clear of the NCEL Premier Division relegation places.

There was no celebration party, however, as United’s fate had already been sealed months earlier, off the field.

United had been served notice of their eviction in September of 2001, and they folded at the end of that season.

It is impossible to guess whether any of this ran through Ellor’s mind on Saturday, as he stood on familiar territory - back at Tickhill Square again.

Here he was, back in United colours again, with the chance to claim a little redemption.

Tickhill Square - now the home of rivals Denaby Main - had, by a strange twist of fate, conspired to host this game, perhaps one of the most important derbies in living memory.

If United won, a second successive Premier Division title was theirs. A win for Main, though, would throw the title race wide open again.

Fittingly, it was Ellor - the only member of the class of ‘92 still wearing Denaby colours - who was handed the chance to seal it.

And the 32-year-old made no mistake, tucking an 80th-minute penalty home past Craig Pears to hand United the win.

“It was a fantastic way to win it,” United secretary Steve Pugh said.

“Back on his old stomping ground, it was fitting to see Steve take the penalty which won us the title.

“But more importantly, there was a healthy 150 crowd in attendance to witness it, and there’s a real interest in football in Denaby now.

“In the end, we took our chances and Main perhaps didn’t. But credit to them - they played really well, and were really up for it.

“I think we just had the rub of the green on the day.”

United, who have two league games left to play, have now set their sights on winning the treble.

On Saturday, they face Armthorpe Markham Main in the Doncaster & District FA Challenge Cup semi-final, at Old Road.

And on March 22, they travel to the Askern Welfare Ground to face Sutton Rovers in the semi-final of the Dawson & Burgess Premier Division K.O. Cup.

Main, meanwhile, look set to challenge Rossington MW for second place in the Premier Division, with the two sides set to meet this weekend.

Third-placed Main trail by two points, but they have a game in hand.

“It’s nice that our season is still alive, despite winning the title,” Pugh added.

“And it’s also great for the area that a United/Main top two finish is still on.”