Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tadcaster Albion 2 v Staveley Miners Welfare 0 - NCEL Prem

Tuesday 25th August 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
i2i Stadium, Ings Lane
Tadcaster Albion (1) 2
Andrew Milne 45
Adam Baker 86
Staveley Miners Welfare (0) 0
Admission £5, Programme £1.50. Attendance 287
Tadcaster Albion:
Gary Stevens,  Jordan Armstrong, Patrick Miller,  Matt Heath, Andrew Milne, Liam Ormsby, Josh Barrett, Tom Claisse, Josh Greening, George Conway, Dan Clayton
Subs - James Beadle, Adam Baker, Alfie Beeston, Nick Black
Staveley MW:
Chris Butt, Kyle Clarke, James Leggitt, Steve Carty, Alex Pugh, Simon Hore, Ryan Watters (Mohammed Tijani), Ellis Wall (Jordan Hardman), Ryan Damms, Jamie York, Jamie Brown
Unused subs - Adam Wisdom, Adam Scott
Much has changed since these two respective teams last played against each other towards the tail end of last season (April 21st 2015).
One club has appointed a Marshall: Brett at Staveley, while the other has parted the ways with another 'Marsh': Paul, who was 'released' by Taddy and subsequently ended up at Pickering Town.
Both teams had relatively decent 2014-15 campaigns, results and league positions wise, although Staveley did tail off dramatically towards the end of the campaign.
Despite a man of the match performance by Staveley's goalkeeper, eighteen year old Chris Butt, the Welfare were swept aside 5-0 by the Brewers, the last time the two sides met, to offset the 2-1 win the Derbyshire club enjoyed against Tadcaster at Inkersall Road earlier in the season.
It is worth noting that only two of Staveley's starting line up in the first game on October 4th, namely Sam Finlaw and Ellis Wall, began in the return game at Ings Lane.
After picking up only one point in their final four league games, Staveley finished in ninth position, four places and five points behind their best ever season (2011-12) in the NCEL Premier Division.
Tadcaster for their part, finished third in the table last season and were many people's favourites for promotion for several months, but, speaking purely from an outsiders point of view, I felt that their success in reaching the later stages of other competitions, probably cost them the title in the end as they were overwhelmed with a backlog of fixtures... but I'm sure that everybody at Tadcaster would agree, even though they were ultimately pipped at the post, 2014-15 had been a fantastic season for the club.
It turned out to be a hell of a season for Staveley too, but sometimes words can have two meanings, so least said soonest mended.
Anyway, damp records the past, as the saying goes, so lets bring things right up to date:
Prior to tonight, 'Taddy' have won three out their opening four league games, amassing an impressive nineteen goals along the way (including back to back 5-0 wins in their last two matches) and they have progressed past Hebburn Town in the FA Cup and now face Colne at home in the next round this coming weekend.
Staveley are already out of the FA Cup, having lost 6-0 away against their local rivals and 'bessie' mates Handsworth Parramore in the Extra Preliminary Round, while they have won two and lost two of their opening four league games.
But it is still early days as of yet and their new squad is still at an embryonic stage. Rome wasn't built in a day, but hey, those Romans didn't fanny about when there was work to be done and if you know your history, then you will be aware of the legend that the famed Roman Empire actually had it roots deeply entrenched in (Greek) Trojan culture, click HERE for historical demystification.
By way of an explanation as to why there are several references to ancient history, for the benefit those of you who don't already know, Staveley Miners Welfare FC have adopted the nickname of 'The Trojans' this summer, though they were actually called the Bluebirds for approximately a week prior to that too. 'The best form of defence in Kingdom Come', seemed like an apt byline to describe the football club, so they adopted the name of the most popular Stateside brand of rubbers johnnies, or something like that... that particular meeting was a while ago now and I can't remember all of the exact details.
On Saturday, Brett Marshall's side face a tricky away game against another side who are being tipped to do well in the NCEL Premier Division this season, Worksop Town.
It is a re-arranged game to fill the void of a blank FA Cup weekend for both teams, because while Staveley were getting beat by their chums Handsworth Parramore, the Tigers were also losing away to Abby Hey in their cup game... click HERE for more details.
Tonight's game kicked off fifteen minutes late, owing to the visiting team getting held up in northbound traffic en route. Thankfully they had their ever punctual and reliable, navigation expert and kitman David Whitworth riding on ahead of the first team mini bus, or who knows what kind of chaos might of ensued?
The motorways and major A roads of Great Britain, were designed to get people around this sceptered isle swiftly, except for the A1, which the Romans were responsible for creating, thus proving they were really crap at some things. Mind you if you think this London to Edinburgh thoroughfare leaves a lot to be desired you should go and take a look at what is left of Hadrian's Wall. I mean, that wouldn't stop a tribe of determined pygmies invading the Roman province of Britannia, let alone a marauding nation of angry ginger people.
So what did I make of the new players in the Staveley team?
Obviously the familiar figure of Ryan Damms, back at the club after almost a whole season away from Inkersall Road and leading the frontline, is going to relish his 'new' role, using all of his nous and experience to bring those around him into the game.
I can hear all ye cynics out there shouting out "Nepotism!" from the naughty lads seats at the back of the classroom, but Brett Marshall wouldn't pick any player unless he believed 100% that he was good enough and/or fit enough.
And that most certainly isn't a case of me banging the drum for the official club line, because I have no connection whatsoever with Staveley any more and there is no reason on this earth I would ever want to curry favour with Ryan's dad, old whatisface, the Welfare's chairman, by saying nice things, on the contrary!.
Ryan Damms is a proven striker at this level, end of.
The livewire Jamie Brown combines pace with some excellent close control ball skills and will prove to be a thorn in many a side this season. He impressed me a lot tonight.
Ste Carty is already blending in and developing an intuitive understanding with several players, a great signing, much sought after by several other local clubs, again, I thought he stood out tonight, but that was exactly what I had expected anyway.
Kyle Clarke looked solid at right back and his distribution was spot on more often than not.
But I'll refrain from giving too much away, or turning this into a school report, player by player type assessment; because I know that machiavellian old rascal Ray Lucas at Worksop Town, a good friend of their manager Mark 'Showy' Shaw (and me), will be perusing this blog for inside information prior to Saturday's game, so bugger off pal, I'm keeping schtum!
I preferred the old badge with the barrel on it.
Just saying ;-)
Thankfully, the visitors are betting at constructing walls than Emperor Hadrian was in 122 AD, otherwise Liam Ormsby would have put the Brewers ahead early on with a well struck free kick.
But on a pitch that invited both teams to play a passing game, Staveley began to knock the ball around and find some composure. This is a team in transition, but with a bit of fine tuning, the signs are there that stage one of a five year master plan that Bunker Fuhrer Damms is unhatching is starting to take shape.
Tadcaster had more of the attacking play, but the visitors were absorbing them and putting a few strides forward together themselves.
Pivotal to a lot of their build up play from out of defence was Alex Pugh, who appears so accomplished, it is easy to forget just how young he is. He cuts an imposing and authoritative figure in defence... and is probably destined for bigger things in the not so distant future.
The prolific Albion frontman Josh Greening was thwarted twice by the Welfare keeper Chris Butt, once when the young custodian audaciously dribbled the ball past him, before he pulled off a stunning save to tip a Greening effort around the upright a few minutes later.
Right on the stroke of half time, a Josh Greening corner, cleared everybody in the six yard box and was forced home by Andrew Milne near the back post to give the home side a 1-0 interval lead.
The next goal was going to prove crucial now... and though 'Taddy' kept up the tempo with their pressing game.
But in spite of the the home side keeping Butt and his defence busy, Staveley came within a whisker of pulling things level, when Alex Pugh 'up like a salmon', powerfully crashed an header against the foot of the right hand post with Gary Stevens beaten all ends up from a Carty free kick out on the right.
With just four minutes left on the clock, James Beadle lofted a pass over the visitors backline, Adam Baker timed his run to perfection and he beat Butt from ten yards out to claim the victory for the home side.
To be fair, Tadcaster had probably shaded it on this very wet night in North Yorkshire, but the second goal put a bit of gloss on the final outcome somewhat, because Staveley had worked damn hard over the 90 minutes and didn't deserve to be on the end of a two goal margin of defeat.
Though this was a scrappy football match at times... blame the weather for that, it was a compelling game throughout and 'Taddy' left the field knowing that they had had to scrap all the way for their three points, but they'll be happy enough, sat aloft at the top of the table tonight.
FT: Tadcaster Albion 2 v Staveley MW 0
At least the A1 was clear on the way home and I'll be in bed by midnight.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Mansfield Town 1 v Oxford United 1 - SkyBet League 2

Saturday 22nd August 2015
Sky Bet League 2
at the One Call Stadium (Field Mill)
Mansfield Town (1) 1
Craig Westcarr 2
Oxford United (1) 1
Kemar Roofe 60 pen
Admission £20 (West Stand upper)
Programme £3. Attendance 3112 (547 away fans)
Mansfield Town:
Jensen, Hunt (Collins 73), Tafazolli, Pearce, Benning, Rose (J Thomas 55), Chapman, Clements, Lambe (N. Thomas 67), Westcarr, Green.
Unused subs - Marsden, McGuire, Beardsley, Yussuf.
Oxford United:
Slocombe, Baldock, Skarz, Roofe, Mullins, Wright, Rose, Sercombe, Hylton (Hoban 84), MacDonald (Taylor 46), O'Dowda (Ruffels 80).
Unused subs - Lundstram, Crocombe, Long, Dunkley.
Oxford United chalked up their 13th unbeaten game in a row at Field Mill this afternoon, though they could have been three goals down inside the opening twenty minutes as the Stags came charging out of the starting blocks.
In the end, the draw was a fair result and I would've taken that before kick off, as the highly fancied Oxford United rolled into town with almost five and a half hundred supporters egging them on.
With exactly two minutes on the clock, the visitors only cleared Adam Chapman's long throw in as far as Craig Westcarr, who smashed home a first timer shot past the unsighted Sam Slocombe who didn't get a clear view of the ball until too late because the Stags former Oxford striker Matt Green was obscuring his sightline (below).
I sometimes invent things to fill up column inches on this blog, so don't ever take my word for anything if it is factual accuracy you are looking for, but the next statistic is 100% genuine:
In November 2013 Mansfield Town were awarded a penalty kick when Morecambe's Barry Roche fouled Colin Daniel and then redeemed himself by saving the resultant spot kick from Sam Clucas.
Today, in the eighth minute, when Sam Slocombe clumsily felled Mitchell Rose inside his own area, it was the first time that any match referee has given a penalty to the Stags in the subsequent 86 consecutive games since Clucas' failed to score from the spot.
This being Mansfield, the outcome was inevitable and though Matt Green sent Slocombe the wrong way, he crashed the ball against the crossbar... and the Stags have now failed to score from  their last two penalties.
Chris Clements, who was putting in a great shift in the middle of the park, slipped a through ball into the path of Matt Green, but Slocombe was alert to the danger and thwarted the prolific Stags marksman.
Having survived a bit of a going over in the opening stages, Oxford began to get back into the game as the first half wore on.
Brian Jensen did well to turned a Kemar Roofe free kick over the bar and Alex McDonald crashed a shot against the foot of the upright from a well worked free kick routine.
Just before the break, Chapman (another former Oxford player in the Stags ranks) spotted Slocombe had wandered off of his line and attempted to find the net with an audacious from near the halfway line. But the ball went wide of the post and Slocombe's blushes were saved.
HT: 1-0
The Stags had by far the best of the first half, but after the break the visitors manager Michael Appleton, re-shuffled his pack and it was United's turn to be in the ascendancy.
Brian Jensen, the veteran Stags goalkeeper, had to use all of his experience to keep Oxford out a few times, but he was beaten from the spot after Reggie Lambe fouled Callum O'Dowda in the 59th minute to concede a penalty.
Right on the hour mark, Kemar Roofe made no mistake with a well drilled spot kick after sending Jensen the wrong way.
Oxford were now showing signs of why they are being considered by many as serious title contenders, while the fizz had gone out of Mansfield's initial energy and they began to look a bit fatigued and flat. Adam Murray certainly doesn't skimp on fitness training and I am sure the Stags players will be put through their paces this week, when they have a blank midweek before their trip to York City next Saturday.
A nailbiting finale
After the game the Stags manager said that there were plenty of positives to take at of this performance and seemed content enough with a draw against a team of Oxford's calibre, which in my opinion were fair enough comments.
But you couldn't help wondering about what might have been, if the home side had made good of their opportunities in the opening thirty minutes.
Alas football isn't about ifs and buts, goals win games, not (slightly) overweight bloggers pondering about a few pivotal moments early doors, when just maybe, Mansfield Town ought to have put this game to bed.
However, a point against Oxford United, is a good point and when Jensen denied Danny Hilton a late winner right at the death, it went illustrated that point.
An entertaining game, with both teams dominating a half apiece and no complaints about the effort, performance and final result from me.
FT: Mansfield Town 1 v. Oxford United 1

Mansfield Town 3 v Chesterfield 1 - FLYA

Saturday 22nd August 2015
Football League Youth Alliance
At Kirklington Road (Rainworth Miners Welfare)
Mansfield Town (1) 3
Luke Randle OG 6, Devante Reittie 50, Louis Danquah 76
Chesterfield (1) 1
Martell Daswell 25
Admission £3. Attendance 92
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah (C), Morgan Ratcliffe, Corbin Shires, Kane Baldwin, Cain Smith Cameron Healey 65), Drew Gibson, Tyler Blake, Devante Reittie (Zane Hakeem 71), Ellis Ogle (Tom Marriott 80)
Unused subs - Keiran Harrison, Luke Bacon
Dylan Parkin, Jake Hudson, Luke Randle, Ryles Ovenden, Tom Jarrard, Brad Holmes (C), Joe Rowley, Martell Daswell, Ricardo German, George Milner, Derek Daley
Subs - Jack Brownhill, Ellis Spencer, Owen Darwent, Dan Thistlewaite, George Lynham
A decent crowd of 92 turned out in the midday sun at Kirklington Road, to watch this lunchtime's local derby, between the Stags youth team and their traditional club rivals from over the M1, Chesterfield FC.
Prior to today's encounter, the highly rated Spireites youngsters, were tipped by those in the know, as being a stern test for the current crop of promising Mansfield talent and a barometer to gauge whereabouts John Dempster's charges are on the development scale at this current moment in time.
I am happy to report that the home side weren't found wanting in any department and thoroughly deserved all three points, as they took the game to the Derbyshire club, with an impressive high tempo performance in what must have been strength sapping conditions as Rainworth experienced a mini heat wave.
The Stags showed their teeth from the word go and Teddy Bloor forced Chesterfield into conceding a corner in the very first minute with a dangerous looking cross from out on the right wing.
With just six minutes on the clock, the home side were ahead, when Devante Reittie caused the Spireites defence to panic and having blocked the lively Mansfield forward's initial shot, Luke Randle lobbed the ball over his own keeper Dylan Parkin in a vainglorious attempt to clear his lines. 1-0
For the first fifteen minutes the Stags were having by far the better of the game, with both Bloor and Tyler Blake making some serious inroads into the Chesterfield half.
But the visitors began to find their feet and mounted several attacks of their own.
Randle and Derek Daley combined well, but the latter's speculative shot skimmed wide of Sam Wilson's left hand post, while George Milner's right wing cross needed Corbin Shires to hook the ball away for a corner, with Ricardo German loitering in the Stags area with intent.
Sure enough, the inevitable Spireites equaliser came on 25 minutes, when Martell Daswell took a through ball from Milner in his stride and cracked home the levelling goal on 25 minutes. 1-1
Boosted by their goal, Chesterfield upped the tempo and within two minutes of scoring came close again, when Tom Jarrard headed over from Daley's left wing corner.
The game ebbed and flowed one way and then the other and Ellis Ogle was unlucky to see his opportunist volley from outside the area, crash off of the cross bar with Parkin well beaten.
Parkin's poor clearance fell straight into the path of Drew Gibson, but the visitors keeper made amends for his sloppy kicking by getting down well to his left to block Gibson's stinging drive.
German battled his way into the Mansfield area but Morgan Ratcliffe had the strength to stave the threat posed by the Chesterfield centre forward and blocked his route to goal while Sam Wilson came bravely off his line to claim the ball, with Kane Baldwin on hand to cover his keeper's back.
Cain Smith had been a thorn in the visitors side with a range of telling passes and free kicks into the final third, but Parkin hadn't let his errant kicking trouble him unduly and was dealing with almost everything the Stags could throw at him.
Right on the stroke of half time Parkin held onto the ball well as it moved about in the air from Louis Danquah's free kick.
HT: Stags Youth 1 v Chesterfield Youth 1
The Stags started the second half, pretty much as they had the first, forcing a corner straight from the restart. Bloor's inswinging flag kick was only half  cleared and  as the Spireites struggled to deal with getting the ball away, it dropped inviting to Devante Reittie, twenty yards out, who leapt and unleashed an unstoppable drive past Parkin, to put the home side back in front. 2-1.
Bloor's right wing cross was headed back out to him by Shires and the Stags right back drilled a shot-cum-cross across the face of the goal, that Parkin just about managed to stop Gibson from turning over the line.
Ogle and Reittie passed their way into the box through the Spireites back line, but the latter's shot from 12 yards was deflected wide at the expense of a corner.
There was no let up from the young Stags at this point and Parkin had to be alert to keep out Ratcliffe's downwards header from yet another Bloor delivery.
The Stags right back cued up another chance from the resultant corner and Baldwin headed narrowly wide of the upright.
The second half belonged to Mansfield, but it is the mark of a good goalkeeper when they keep their concentration when they aren't seeing much of the ball and Wilson was duly switched on, when Chesterfield launched a rare attack and Daley tried his luck from a free kick 25 yards out.
Reittie dispossessed the Spireites captain Brad Holmes and unselfishly played the ball sideways to Tyler Blake, who couldn't keep his shot down and the visitors defence were afforded some breathing space as the ball cleared the crossbar.
Daley ventured forward for Chesterfield, but was forced into rushing his shot, which Baldwin intercepted and cleared round the post to safety. Daley whipped the ball into the six yard box from the corner and although Wilson only caught sight of the ball at the very last moment, he held onto it well.
Chesterfield needlessly squandered possession in their own half which allowed Cain Smith to gratefully take advantage of a gifted opportunity, but his effort flew just wide of Parkin's upright as the visitors keeper berated his lackadaisical back four.
But they didn't heed his words and on 75 minutes, Danquah intercepted another poor pass between two Spireite defenders, charged forward and rolled the ball past the exposed Parkin to give the home side a two goal cushion. 3-1
The visitors resorted to pumping hopeful balls into the Stags area, but the assured Wilson wasn't unduly troubled and he confidently handled the situation.
Tom Marriott entered the fray for the last ten minutes and was evidently keen to impress, covering every bade of grass and keeping the tired looking visitors defence busy.
Blake took the ball down centrally and played Marriott in through the left channel, but the diminutive Stags substitute went to ground under a heavy challenge as he cued up an angled shot. I've seen penalties given for less, but the referee waved play on.
Having had his corner half cleared back out to him, Marriott was fouled out on the left wing. He took the free kick himself and dropped the ball invitingly to Corbin Shires, but as he powered his header towards the Chesterfield goal, Tom Jarrard was on hand and his last ditch interception diverted the ball wide of the post.
FT: Mansfield Town Youth 3 v Chesterfield Youth 1
This was always going to be a big test for the young Stags, but they passed it with flying colours and kept up a high tempo in very warm conditions while their opponents appeared to wilt in the heat towards the end.
The Stags youth team have a day off next Saturday, but return to league action with back to back away games against Rotherham United and Scunthorpe United on 5th September and 12th September respectively. Both games kick off at 11am.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

AFC Mansfield 1 v Rossington Main 1 - NCEL Div 1

Wednesday 19th August 2015
Toolstation NCEL Division 1
at the Forest Town Arena
AFC Mansfield (0) 1 Craig Mitchell 71
Rossington Main (0) 1 Montelle Kamara 68
Admission £4. Programme £1. Attendance 77
AFC Mansfield:
Jason White, Brad Wilson, Mark Dudley, Grant Allott, Chris Timons (C), Danny Naylor, Phil Buxton, Dean Rick, Craig Mitchell, Jimmy Ghaichem
Subs - Brett Lucas, Eden Homer, Declan Brewin, Perry Marriott, Joe Cheeseman
Rossington Main
Simon Dye, Tom Harte, Phil Blunt, Jack Johnson, Josh Bucknall, Jon Baird, Montelle Kamara, Shaun Pendleton (C), Leigh Hutchinson, Callum Wiffen, Jason Stokes
Subs - Marcel Chipamaunga, Danny Marquis, Lee Holmes, Joe Glover, Jordan Woodhall
One for the purists, end to end flowing football... reminiscent of the Cruyff era Holland team, entertainment par excellence, an action packed dramatic white knuckle ride and veritable thrill seekers paradise... just a few phrases  you wouldn't hear used to describe tonight's stalemate, played on on a drizzly and grim night at the Forest Town Arena.
But the non stop banter that flowed between both teams followers and the neutrals, watching the game from up on the balcony, was first rate.
If the 'Rosso' manager Lee Holmes had set out to crowd out his opponents, soak up a wave of attacks and then hit Mansfield on the break, then hey ho! Mission accomplished.
And that isn't meant as a criticism to Rossington, because the Main lads worked damn hard tonight to repel and frustrate Rudy Funk's side.
If you give players of the calibre that AFC Mansfield have in their ranks a yard of space, they'll exploit it and will be a match for any team in this division... especially on home turf.
But Rossington aren't half bad either and possibly they could have been slightly less cautious at times, because they too have one or two potential match winners in their ranks as well.
A man dressed as a red bull, wearing
 a Superman dressing gown.
By rule of thumb, if you endeavour to win all of your home games and take at least a draw on the road, then you'll be in with a shout when the business end of the season comes along.
Both of these sides will most likely finish in the top half of the table, so possibly the lack of any actual 'hammer and tongs' stuff, was borne out of the two managers showing each other equal amounts of due respect.
Too much respect possibly?
Hmm, it's not really my place to comment on that, when all is said and done, my job isn't results based.
Jambo. Tool!
Following a slog of a first half, Montelle Kamara, somewhat against the run of play, finally smashed home the opening goal on 68 minutes after Simon Dye, the visitors keeper had kept the Bulls at bay thus far, mainly through his handling of a succession of telling crosses that he looked capable of plucking out of the air all night if he needed to, as Mansfield became more and more frustrated at not being able to find a way through the compact Rossington defence.
When they had found their range, close marking forced their attackers to rush several chances which ended up being well off target. Keeping their Hearts supporting goalkeeping coach and chief ballboy Graeme Rodger busy along the way.
Text or call between 11.30pm and 5am only ;-)
Craig Mitchell forced an equaliser three minutes later, when the smallest of gaps appeared in the Main's rearguard.
Rossington almost squandered their hard earned point in the last minute when Ryan Williams went to ground under a heavy challenge in the goal area, but the referee Colin Bailey waved the Bulls penalty appeals away.
And a game dominated by strategy, hard graft, rigid organisation and miserable weather which no doubt impacted on the attendance figure, finished one apiece.
FT: AFC Mansfield 1 v Rossington Main

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Retford FC 1 v Thorne Colliery 4 - CMFL North

Tuesday 18th August 2015
Central Midlands League North
at the Jones & Co. Stadium (Cannon Park)
Retford FC (0) 1
Will Tomlinson 86
Thorne Colliery (3) 4
Darren Fell 24, 35
Ross Ebbage 40
Kirk Frost 70
Admission - £3
Programme - £1
Attendance - Wet through!
Retford United:
Jamie Houseley, Simon Brewster, Jason Swannack, Jack Munn, Ben Marro, Terry Annable, Martin Woodhead, Paul Middleton, Will Tomlinson Matt Bryce, Nathan Fenn
Subs - Arron Blakey, Callum Rush, Jack Grimwood, Luke Tong, Ryan Elkington (GK)
Thorne Colliery:
Michael Teale, Mark Sneap, Glyn Powell, Aiden Marshall, Stuart Rogers, Tom Dorgan, Jack Steadman, Neil Sheppard, Darren Fell, Ross Ebbage, Jack Hookway
Subs - Dean Luttell, Jamie Stroud, Rob Hannon, Kirk Frost
Following on from their emphatic 6-1 win against Bilsthorpe on Saturday, Thorne showed why they are already being tipped to win the CMFL North this season, even though it is realistically far too early to be publishing league tables, they are already taking on the role of early season "Catch us if you can!" pace-setters.
Darren Fell, who had already claimed a brace of goals for tonight's visitors on the opening day of the season opened the scoring on 25 minutes, when he was allowed too much space in the Retford area.
Up until this point it had been a fairly evenly balanced game and Will Tomlinson came close to finding an equaliser via a long range free kick, that deflected just wide of the upright.
The highly rated Jamie Houseley kept out a close range effort from Fell, but couldn't keep the in form Colliery striker out when he knocked the ball into the back of the net from the rebound.
Meanwhile at the other end, Retford pushed forward and Michael Teale did well to get down to his left and turn a thumping Martin Woodhead free kick out for a corner.
Shortly before half time, Thorne turned the screw and claimed a 0-3 interval lead, when Houseley couldn't hold onto a right wing cross and Ross Ebbage was on hand to knock the loose ball home.
After the break, the heavens opened and a deluge of precipitation threatened to ruin the game as a spectacle, but both sides battled on.
Thorne were shading the battle for midfield while Retford tried to get back into the mix, with a two pronged attack.
The visitors, with the luxury of a three goal cushion could afford to sit back and absorb a spell of pressure from the home side, while waiting patiently to hit them on the break.
The tactic worked a treat and when Kirk Frost charged into the Retford area in pursuit of a forward pass, he was afforded the opportunity to lob the ball over the advancing Houseley by two ball watching defenders, to chalk up Thorne's fourth goal.
Seventy minutes 0-4.
"Can you call back later? I'm a bit busy right now"
Retford pushed forward and ironically played their best football after conceding the fourth goal and with just four minutes remaining Tomlinson, pulled one back.
But it was only a damage limitation, consolation goal.
Thorne will take some beating this season... and though some of the locals present thought that the visitors keeper wasn't the most athletic player they had ever seen, let this be a lesson to you all... One day, sooner than you might think, cropped headed (slightly) overweight men shall inherit the earth and Michael Teale will be our leader!
Don't say you haven't been warned.
FT: Retford FC 1 v Thorne Colliery 4

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Abbey Hey 3 v Worksop Town 1 - FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Left click team sheet to enlarge
Saturday 15th August 2015
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Road
at The Abbey Stadium, Goredale Avenue, Gorton, Manchester
Abbey Hey (0) 3
George Noon 54, Jon Hardy 75, 90
Worksop Town (0) 1
Adam Ward 49
Admission £5. Programme sold out. Attendance 180
Herein, I present my observations pertaining to today's FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie, which I have only posted after a 'cooling off period' and having given due consideration to the fact that football is only a game and we all make mistakes... and after making a few enquiries into whether the match officials in the North West Counties League use the same rules as those in the Northern Counties East League.
Be in no doubt, Abbey Hey warranted their win, they were more clinical in front of goal and worked hard for each other, while the Tigers were decidedly average at times, as they crashed to their second defeat in four days.
Hands up, I am a Tigers jinx, I will stay well clear for a while now.
But, it needs to be said, for purposes of clarification and to uphold the accuracy and credibility of this overview, whilst striving to be both objective and as neutral as possible; that there was some mighty strange stuff going on out on that pitch this afternoon and most of it centred around the match referee Mr Paul Ince.
Not the famous ex England international midfielder Paul Ince, but another one, though the former West Ham, Man United, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Wolves Swindon and Macclesfield (check that last one if you like, but I am ALWAYS right) player would possibly have been a better choice as referee.
I'm not just saying that because I wanted Worksop Town to win (of course I did), because in truth the full time score reflected both team's performance fairly and squarely, out on the Abbey Stadium pitch, on this gloriously sunny afternoon in Gorton, Manchester.
But Mr Ince had an absolute shocker.
Maybe it is a regional thing and they do actually run games differently over this way, but I doubt it... very, very much!
Of course, it wasn't only Worksop Town who suffered as a result of a few curious decisions, but when their centre half Ross Henshaw was dismissed, a major pivotal component in an already reshuffled back four, it was a massive blow for the Tigers and left them overstretched and vulnerable in the last third and it really showed.
To compound matters, some guilty parties who were involved in an unsightly few moments (see video below) escaped punishment, whilst Henshaw bore the brunt for having been in the wrong place at the wrong time, when the referee's only intention seemed to be a desire to even things up after he had decided to send off Abbey Hey's Danny Hewitt, for his part in an altercation that ensued when, with the ball still in open play, the home side's goalkeeper Jon McIlwaine threw a punch at Henshaw and wrestled him to the ground as they both challenged to get onto the end of a Connor Sellars free kick.
McIlwaine was booked for his transgression(s) and no penalty was awarded.
The home side's keeper proved to be very proficient in his chosen position and had a good game all told, which must've rubbed things in for the travelling Worksop fans who made up around two thirds of today's attendance.
But, even if the Tigers would have had a 10 against 9 numerical advantage and a substitute keeper to put under the cosh for most of the afternoon, though it pains me to say this, it is their frailties at the other end of the pitch that cost them the game and left them woefully exposed against a very well organised Abbey Hey side. Hopefully their injured players will make a quick recovery or it's going to be a very thin time for Worksop Town for a while.
This side are a joy to watch at times and play some aesthetically gorgeous football, but they have perhaps lacked that bit of steel and bite that is required to compete at Step 5 football, in the two games I have seen them play over this past week.
But, even from my (neutral-ish) position sat perched upon the fence, trying to look at things from the perspective of all three teams, namely: Abbey Hey, Worksop Town and the match officials, in all honesty I would have to say, Mr Ince made two monumental balls ups as regards his red card for Henshaw and his leniency towards McIlwaine.
After a frantic and niggly first half, Adam Ward seemed to have calmed down the Tigers nerves when he put them ahead on 49 minutes when Tom Elliott played him in on goal with a delightful pass. The referee and his assistant who hadn't kept up with play missed the fact that Ward was in a blatantly offside position, but hey ho! I believe that kind of thing is called karma, isn't it? With a strong aroma of crappy incompetence.
George Noon equalised within five minutes, when the visitors defence played pass the parcel with the ball from a set piece situation instead of getting rid of it, presenting the 'Red Rebels' with the easiest of opportunities to level things up.
Mitch Husbands came close to restoring the visitors lead from Connor Sellars cross, but then Abbey Hey came out all guns blazing and Tiger hunting season was declared well and truly open.
Thankfully, for Worksop, Ashford Blake had left his shooting boots on the bus today (so to speak) and he squandered a series of gilt edged chances.
Jon Kennedy kept Danny McDonnell at bay, but could only turn the ball away from a Sam Freaks free kick into the path of Jon Hardy who gratefully put the Gorton based side ahead.
It had been coming.
Worksop had to chuck everything into attack now, but came up against some very determined defending and McIlwaine did well to deny Elliott.
But it was a case of too little too late for the Tigers, who wouldn't be going home with any fond memories of their visit to Goredale Avenue.
Then inside the very last minute, the home side counter attacked and Hardy picked his spot from outside the penalty area and finished emphatically to seal the win that his side deserved.
As the Worksop fans drifted away, one of them levelled a volley of verbal abuse at the Tigers management team.
They weren't responsible for injuring the players who were unavailable today, nor did they go AWOL when Jon Kennedy was under siege... and they certainly didn't send Ross Henshaw off or get a first half penalty decision terribly wrong. Not that they will be looking for excuses.
Who knows, Worksop might have missed from the spot kick anyway given how things went today, or Jon McIlwaine might have saved it to really compound the travelling Tiger Army's misery, his luck definitely seemed to be in today.
All other issues aside, lets not lose sight of the fact that Abbey Hey deserve to still be in the FA Cup on merit. Good luck to them in the next round against Warrington.
Worksop are back in league action on Tuesday night at Garforth Town, no doubt they'll be relieved to hear that I won't be going.
FT: Abbey Hey 3 v Worksop Town 1

Referee's training video, this is not a fire drill, it's for real.
You Tube footage from this afternoon's game