Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Worksop Town 1 v Sheffield 0 - Sheff & Hallam Senior Cup R2

Wednesday 7th October 2015
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup 2nd Round
at the Windsor Food Service Stadium, Sandy Lane, Worksop
Worksop Town (1) 1 Andy Ofuso 5
Sheffield (0) 0
Worksop Town:
Kennedy, Woolley, Waddle, Lawrence, Hadfield, Cooke, Higginson (Ward 79), Cottingham, Ofosu, Jordan (Husbands 63), Elliott (Ma. Fereday 87).
Unused subs - Hobson, Pickersgill.
Dunn, Ludlam, Dakwa, Glavin, Hamzat, Benyahma, Roney (Lufudu 73), McKenzie, Igiehon (Graham 88), Joblon (Raheem 55), Gregory.
Unused subs -  M. Fereday, Green.
A tale of two goalkeepers:
1). Thomas Dunn, put under pressure from a back pass by his own right back Stuart Ludlam, after just five minutes, the visitors keeper struggled to control the ball and Andy Ofusu nipped in, stole possession, rounded the unfortunate Nunn and rolled the ball into an empty net.
Though Nunn had a couple of other shaky moments, he did redeem himself with a great save at full stretch when he tipped Julian Lawrence's inswinging shot from out on the right wing, over the crossbar.
2). Jon Kennedy (above), had a fairly quiet first half, that saw the home side having the better of things in the main; but after the break, Sheffield were all over the Tigers like a rash and Kennedy won the game for the home side, with a string of top class saves... he's still got it!
Conor Glavin must still be wondering how he didn't score with one particular effort that 'Kendo' flicked away down by his right hand post.
Sheffield played really well after the break, but so did the man of the match (by a mile): Jon Kennedy.
I'm having to keep this overview brief, because I'm on the overnight train to that there London (where they make the telly n' that!), in a short while.
So very quickly, other incidents of note:
The referee let far too much go in the first half, when Jordan Cooke was on the end of two borderline assaults, namely: a VERY firm challenge in the middle of the pitch, by Bennie Igiehon, that went unpunished and a smack in the head by the elbow of Jacques Joblon... alas, the second challenge, that warranted a straight red card, saw Joblon escape with just a yellow, tut tut, referee!
Right at the death, one of the second half Worksop subs, Adam Ward, nearly made it 2-0, but Nunn saved the goalbound effort with his legs.
FT: Worksop Town 1 v Sheffield 0

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Handsworth Parramore 3 v Cheadle Town 2 - FA Vase 2QR

Saturday 3rd October 2015
FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round
at Windsor Food Service Stadium, Sandy Lane, Worksop
Handsworth Parramore (0) 3
Kieran Wells 59, 76
Stephen Warne 87
Cheadle Town (2) 2
Thabiso Magida 22
Chris Sherrington 28
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 86
Many thanks to Paul Hill at Handsworth Parramore for printing
me off an extra copy of the teamsheet. Much appreciated pal.
In the previous round the Ambers had seen off South Liverpool by virtue of a single goal from Kieran Wells. While 11 miles due west, Cheadle Town were beating mid table NCEL Premier Division side Staveley Miners Welfare 4-3 (see HERE), despite having been  3-1 down with just 19 minutes left to play.
This afternoon, the side formerly known as Grasmere Rovers, saw the roles from their first qualifying round game dramatically reversed, as Handsworth turned them over in the final 30 minutes, to claw back a 2-0 deficit and claim victory with a dramatic winning goal in the closing minutes.
You write Parramore off at your peril in these one off, knock out competition games... take last season's dramatic NCEL League Cup Final as an example, when they were 3-1 down with six minutes to go v. Cleethorpes Town, but snatched a thrilling 4-3 win in stoppage time, at Inkersall Road.
Cheadle went straight into attacking mode from the kick off and 'Archie' Sneath had to make the first save of the match inside the opening 30 seconds as Thabiso Magida bore down on his goal through the left channel.
Handsworth recorded their first effort in the second minute, when Kieran Wells got on the end of Danny Buttle's left wing cross, but he headed the ball straight at Josh Samberg.
Samberg was soon involved again when he slipped while making a clearance and gifted Steve Warne with the opportunity to open the scoring, but the Parramore number 8 went for power instead of precision and thumped the ball over the bar, much to Samberg's relief.
The small but extremely jovial and good natured band of supporters following Cheadle, were up out of their seats and cheering loudly on 22 minutes, when the home side took too much time trying to defend a right wing cross from Darrhyl Mason and Thabiso Magida stabbed the ball home from close range.
Handsworth were stung into action and the visitors goal led a charmed life as the Ambers attacked them down the flanks and came close to pulling level from a brace of corner kicks, that saw Wells finding the target twice, but being denied by a great reflex save by Samburg and a goal line clearance.
Kieran Well isn't the best striker in this division, but for purposes of clarity, I will finish that sentence with the words... not yet anyway!
The visitors took a two goal lead in the 28th minute, when Magida cut into the right hand edge of the Parramore box and nudged the ball to his left, to where Chris Sherrington had made a parallel run and when the Cheadle number 10 shot across the face of goal, the ball crashed back off of the right hand upright and ricocheted over the line off of the back of Sneath who had gone to ground in an attempt to turn the ball away.
They all count!
Within five minutes, Wells had the ball in the net, but was adjudged to have strayed offside.
Buttle and Samberg both went jumped to challenge for a free kick and as the ball spun loose it bounced away off of Cheadle's left back Luke Pearson for a corner, but the referee didn't have a clear view and he awarded a goal kick as both teams began to take up their positions for a flag kick.
Nothing, it seemed, was going Parramore's way today and right on the stroke of half time, Wells headed downwards in front of the oppositions goal to make things difficult for Samberg, but the ball bounced up into the keepers hands.
HT: Handsworth Parramore 0 v Cheadle Town 2
The start of the second half was fairly scrappy as one side tried to battle through a crowded midfield, while the other dug deep to preserve their lead and look for a breakaway goal that would probably clinch the game... the latter almost happened ten minutes after the break, when Mason charged forward in pursuit of a long ball towards the Parramore area, got there before Sneath had time to narrow the angle and fired wide of the goal, when just maybe a 'dink' over the advancing keeper would've have put the game out of reach. Such is life!
Samberg pulled off an acrobatic save to keep Colin Marrison's shot out as the home side set about mounting a salvage mission.
Cometh the hour (well he came slightly early, but by all accounts that isn't unusual for Wellsy), cometh the man... and Kieran Wells got his head on Buttle's corner kick and pulled a goal back for the home side.
Cheadle came under the cosh and pretty soon, 90% of the remainder of the game, was being staged in and around their goalmouth. Remember the Alamo!
Samberg was coming under increasing pressure and it beggared belief that Handsworth weren't on level terms with twenty minutes to go, when Samberg saved from Wells only to see the ball fall to Marrison, whose well struck effort was blocked on the line, before Buttle's piledriver was also blocked by the visitors keeper.
Evidently Samberg isn't only called 'the cat' because of his feline agility... he also has nine lives.
But, eventually, the home side's relentless pressure paid off and their second goal came from a Buttle cross/Wells finish combination again... and the shy and reserved Handsworth frontman turned towards his teammates to join in a calm and restrained celebration.
Jon Froggatt spotted that Wells was in a better position in him and selflessly cued up another chance for his strike partner, but Samberg stayed on his feet and palmed the ball away for a corner.
Froggatt muscled his way past Mick Kennedy, but Samberg threw himself behind an angled shot and turned the ball around the post, as extra time, with the home side in the ascendancy, began to look ever more likely. From the resulting corner Simon Harrison got to the ball before the Cheadle defenders but shot over.
Wells was picked out from yet another Buttle corner (surely Cheadle must've been aware of this ruse by now), but Samberg once more came to his sides rescue.
Steve Warne picked up the ball just outside the area, took a couple of strides forward to compose himself and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net, to clinch the game for the home side in a dramatic fashion.
You had to feel sorry for Josh Samberg who had played out of his skin in Cheadle's goal, but Handsworth Parramore thoroughly deserved their win, for the non-stop barrage they put the visitors goal under for the final thirty minutes.
Handsworth substitute Alex Rippon could've added another goal in stoppage time, but that would just have been rubbing it in.
Great entertainment and a friendly welcome as always from the hosts.
Good luck to Peter Duffield and Michael Godber and their team in the next round.
FT: Handsworth Parramore 3 v Cheadle Town 2
As the teams left the pitch and the the spectators headed for the bar or their cars, the strains of Doris Day's 'Que sera, sera' belted out over the Sandy Lane PA system.
Dare to dream!?

Mansfield Town 0 v Shrewsbury Town 2 - FLYA Cup 2R

Saturday 3rd October 2015
Football League Youth Alliance Cup 2nd Round
At Kirklington Avenue, Rainworth MWFC
Mansfield Town (0) 0
Shrewsbury Town (2) 2
Ethan Jones 17, 45+
Click HERE for a dozen or so photos from this game
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Charlie Shaw (Surafel Behailu 81), Teddy Bloor, Drew Gibson, Kieran Harrison, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake, Alistair Smith (Tom Marriott 69), Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs - Luke Bacon, Henry Brittijn, Morgan Ratcliffe
Shrewsbury Town:
Leon Reece, Ryan Sears, Callum Roberts, George Hughes, Joel Bonner, Chris Gallagher, Jack Butts, John McAtee (Charley Higgs 80), Jordan Wilson (Joel Carta 90+2), Ethan Jones (C), Tom King (Nathan Mills 86)
Unused subs - Josh Agbozo, Joe Kenton
The Shrews arrived at Kirklington Road on the back of five straight wins in the FLYA North West Division and on today's showing it wasn't hard to see why they've made such an impressive start to the season.
This term represents something of a steep learning curve for the first year Stags youngsters in John Dempster's side and today they were given a bit of a lesson on several fronts, by a visiting side who worked hard as a team, to defend and fortify their last third in numbers, giving the Stags little room to manoeuvre or space to create clear cut chances, while switching their shape and structure completely at a moments notice, to support their forwards numerically when they attacked.
Mansfield themselves had used a similar approach, built on teamwork, camaraderie and flooding critical areas of the pitch with bodies, to overcome the current league leaders Bradford City last week, where a paraphrased overview of the game might have read: "Hard work will always beat individual talent, when individual talent doesn't work hard", to coin a phrase.
The more time these development players spend together, the better they'll gel and these habits will become second nature.
The Stags youngsters have had a flying start to the season, this was their first loss of the 2015-16 campaign, but in Shrewsbury, they saw today the sort of standard they will be aiming to aspire to over this season... and moving forward, into the next one.
As long as these lessons are learned, understood and acted upon swiftly, this current crop of players have the work ethic, nous and ability to overcome the knocks and setbacks and develop together.
Ironically, they'll learn more about themselves and the players around them from days like this, than they ever could from turning a league full of inferior teams over on a regular basis, which is why the high standard of these FLYA sides is so important for this crop of players, who need to be testing their mettle and strength of character just as much as their football ability, against high calibre teams.
Development league football really isn't about results and although winning is always desirable, the game at this make or break stage of young footballers careers, needs to be viewed with a different kind of mindset to the 'win at all costs' mentality that exists when players reach the first team and the game is essentially results based.
Youth team football really is about producing the right sort of personalities, with good habits, making the right lifestyle choices, because all the raw talent in the world isn't enough on it's own.
So, in essence, the young Stags lost a single game of football today, but as a part of their two year learning programme, the experience was far more beneficial to them, than beating a bunch of kids from local non-league clubs ten-nil, on a weekly basis, in one of the other leagues they could be playing in, at a less competitive level.
With all due respect to such competitions of course.
The Stags almost took the lead in the third minute, when a long range free kick from Kieran Harrison out on the left flank, dipped sharply and dropped just over the visitors crossbar.
But Shrewsbury regrouped quickly and within moments they had forced a corner at the other end.
They weren't what you'd call a direct side by any stretch of the imagination, but when they pushed forward, they moved quickly from one box to the other and hunted in packs.
Alistair Smith found a slight chink in the visitors armour and threaded a pass into the path of Tyler Blake, but the Shrews keeper Leon Reece moved quickly from his line to snuff out the danger.
Play switched quickly again and within moments Ethan Jones was bearing down on Sam Wilson, but he miscued his shot and presented the Stags stopper with an easy save.
Blake took possession of the ball in the visitors box and in spite of the very close attentions of his marker slipped a sideways pass to Alistair Smith, who first time shot was palmed away by Reece at the expense of a corner.
A succession of flag kicks for the Stags came to nothing as Shrewsbury showed that they were a very well drilled a efficient defensive unit who operated like a well oiled machine.
A long pass upfield found Ethan Jones, who held up the ball and opted to plant it just inside the left hand post as the Stags defence were caught in two minds by the Shrews cavalry who had turned up in support of their prolific striker... and with 17 minutes on the clock, the visitors were in front.
The Shrews put Mansfield on the back foot for an uncomfortable few minutes and it became apparent that Jones wasn't content to settle for just a solitary goal today.
But the Stags absorbed a spell of pressure and upped the ante themselves.
Zayn Hakeem flicked the ball on to his his strike partner, but Tyler Blake had the ball nicked off his boot as he took aim.
Alistair Smith was looking lively, his ten yard strike was blocked by the ever determined visitors defence and fell invitingly for Teddy Bloor, who's stinging shot was tipped around the post by the impressive Reece.
Bloor swung in the corner which was only cleared as far as Charlie Shaw, but the visitors defence closed ranks again and charged down his shot on goal.
The Stags, looking to draw level before the break, forced two more corners in quick succession, but when Bloor found Shaw once more, Reece was on hand again to pull off a great save.
In stoppage time, the Shrews countered down the right flank and a sweeping cross from Jordan Wilson was swept past Wilson from eight yards out by Jones, who bagged his second goal on the stroke of half time.
HT: Stags 0 v Shrews 2
The home mounted the first attack of the second half and Reece was forced into punching the ball away as it swerved in the air and threatened to dip below his crossbar, from a Bloor corner kick. Alistair Smith shielded the loose ball and passed it sideways to Bloor who had advanced into the area, but Callum Roberts bravely threw himself of the Stags' full back's shot and the ball cannoned off his chest.
A long range pass from Callum Roberts picked out George Hughes whose first time volley was saved by Wilson.
Shaw and Blake combined outside the visitors area and set up a chance for Alistair Smith, but he shot wide of the target.
Back came Shrewsbury through Tom King, he crossed to Jones who unselfishly played a sideways pass to John McAtee who blazed his shot past the right hand post.
Mansfield attacked down the left flank and Harrison's long throw into the mix was cleared for a corner. Bloor's flag kick was intercepted and Shrewsbury broke forward through their danger man Jones yet again, but when Chris Gallagher teed him up for his hat trick, the Shrews goalscorer squandered his chance to claim a hat trick.
Cain Smith was fouled, 40 yards from the visitors goal, but when Louis Danquah nudged a short free kick to Cain, he launched a speculative long shot well over the bar.
Time was running out fast for Mansfield now.
Tyler Blake was scrapping for every ball down the right flank with Callum Roberts, as the two of them indulged in a personal duel, but Roberts' defensive sidekicks had his back covered as Hakeem roamed dangerously in their midst.
Stags substitute Tom Marriott, played a weighted pass into the path of Hakeem but with his marker closing in on him, the Mansfield striker had to rush his effort and put the ball wide.
From the goal kick, the visitors charged forward and Sam Wilson was a bit fortunate to see his point blank save from John McAtee rebound back into his arms off the upright.
Harrison swung the ball into the goal area and Cameron Healey climbed above everyone in the crowded goalmouth to nod the ball towards the goal, but Reece held onto it.
Cain Smith, Marriott and Hakeem passed their way past three challenges, but Shrewsbury closed ranks and shut them out again.
In the final minute, Wilson thwarted Jones at the expense of a corner, as he almost added his third goal. And right at the death Healey, Drew Gibson and Wilson did well to prevent a further goal in a frantic finish to the game.
FT: Mansfield Town Youth 0 v Shrewsbury Town Youth 2
The visitors deserved their win and Mansfield had no complaints about the final outcome, but they will have picked up a few useful pointers to work on in training, from going head to head with a team of Shrewsbury's undoubted quality, so in the long term, that will be more beneficial than an extended cup run.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Retford 5 v Welbeck Welfare 0 - CMFL North

Friday 2nd September 2015
Central Midlands League (North)
Cannon Park
Retford FC (4) 5
Aaron Blakey 1, 12, 67
Ash Chapman 18
Will Tomlinson 35
Welbeck Welfare (0) 0
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 104
Retford FC:
Jamie Housley, Jack Munn (Martin Woodhead 75), Jason Swannack, Lee Gallagher, Ben Marro (Simon Brewster 60), Tom Gilmore, Ash Chapman, Nathan Fenn, Will Tomlinson (Captain) (Luke Edwards 53), Aaron Blakey, Paul Middleton.
Unused subs - Callum Rush, Ryan Elkington.
Welbeck Welfare:
Simon Brown (Andy Sipson HT), Jacob Reeve, Stef Wainwright, Nathan Ward, Tom Wagg, Matt Lowe, Josh Brentnall, Kyle Lee, Jordan Coleman, Vinny Hill, Levi Brentnall

Bottom of the table Welbeck Welfare, made the short, but very scenic, trip across north Nottinghamshire tonight, to take on Retford FC and... pretty much as expected, they lost their eighth league game in a row, as the home side climbed to second in the table, one point behind Appleby Frodingham (for now), by virtue of a straightforward 5-0 win.
'Frod' themselves, had beaten Welbeck 23 (twenty three) - 0 last month, to claim what has been officially recorded as the 'biggest non-league win of the century'.
Welcome to Lilliput 
Somewhat against the run of play, Aaron Blakey sprinted into the visitors goal area and scored the first goal after just 14 seconds.
Within a minute, Will Tomlinson had slipped a defence splitting pass through the Welbeck defence to Ash Chapman who steered the ball past Simon Brown and the left hand post.
Blakey netted his second of the night, when he burst unchallenged into the area and netted with a sublime angled lob.
No! It's not me! Thanks for asking.
Retford's third goal came in the 18th minute, when Brown blocked Tomlinson's free kick, but spilt the ball into the path of Chapman, who scored with the easiest chance he'll ever get served up on a plate in his whole life.
Welbeck lost the ball in the middle of the park and Retford broke quickly, but Blakey missed an absolute sitter.
At the other end, Vinny Hill had Jamie Housley at full stretch but crashed his free kick narrowly wide of the Retford goal.
Then the Sunshine Bus arrived
Jason Swannack was clattered by Hill as he push forward through the left hand side of midfield.
Tomlinson scuffed the resulting free kick and 'scudded' the ball along the ground, through the visitors defensive wall and into the bottom right hand corner of Brown's goal.
At half time Andy Sipson, the keeper who had conceded 23 goals in a game last month, came on in place of the injured Brown and the crowd collectively licked it's lips in anticipation of a night of goal-whoring.
But the anticipated rout never arrived and Retford, already home and dry at the break, only added another solitary goal in the second half, a well placed header from Blakey to complete his hat trick after 67 minutes.
The result was never in any doubt, probably even before the game kicked off, but you can only beat what is in front of you and Retford kept their focus and did a professional job on the night.
Of course, they had the chances to score a few more, but bullying isn't big, nor is it clever.
Besides, Retford have an away game at Radford in the cup on Tuesday night, so it was wise not to run themselves into the ground or risk picking up any injuries, when the game was already sewn up after 18 minutes.
Respect is due to the Welbeck players who turned up tonight; it takes a special kind of mettle to show up knowing that you are already beaten, more often than not, before you even step out onto the pitch.
FT: Retford 5 v Welbeck 0

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Swallownest MW 1 v Harworth Colliery 1 - HKL NMU19L

Thursday 1st October 2015
HKL NMU19L Division 1 North
at 'Swall Siro', Rotherham Road, Swallownest
Swallownest U19 (0) 1
Sam Goulden 58
Harworth Colliery U19 (1) 1
Marley Adler 20
Admission £2. Programme £1.
Richard Chamberlain, William Hague, Chris Hudson (Jack Leitch 63), Dale Featherstone (Callum Mounsey 55), Adam Roberts, Steven Nettleship, Junior Gama, Oliver Lawrence, Conor Gregg, Sam Goulden, Josh Billson (Brandon Bagley 55)
Unused subs - Luke Kocura, Jack Booth,
Harworth Colliery:
Josh Court, Alex Hawkridge (Jack Ellis 84), Tom Hawkridge, George Agnew (Brett Garrett 67), Chad Jacobs, Ross Wicks, Morgan Rubie, Josh Dickinson, Max Curbin (Joe Smith 61), Marley Alder, Bailey Armstrong
Unused Sub -15 Pete Bassenger
Mitchell Dunne, who has scored five goals in his previous two games, was unavailable tonight, which was evidently a big blow for Swallownest.
In an evenly matched game, both team's saw plenty of the ball in and around the final third, but needed a bit more of a cutting edge, on a night when two well drilled defences rule the roost more often than not.
Sam Goulden tried his look from just inside the area as the home side broke down the right flank in the second minute, but he couldn't keep his shot down.
The lively Junior Gama dribbled into the visitor's goal area, but Josh Court saved at his feet.
Rubie Morgan and Marley Alder were applying pressure in tandem around the home side's area, but were coming up against some uncompromising defending from the south Yorkshire side... and when Ross Wicks had the chance to put Harworth ahead from close range, his shot as scrambled away for a corner.
Goulden and Gama both threatened the visitors goal as 'Swall' advanced towards goal from the right flank, but a great saving tackle from Bailey Armstrong and the close attention of Tom Hawkridge, slammed the Colliery back doors firmly shut.
Harworth forced a corner out on the left wing on twenty minutes and when the ball found it's way into a crowded goalmouth, Marley Alder was on hand to deliver the final touch and put the visitors in front.
Swallownest were almost on level terms just before the half hour mark, but when Chad Jacobs was adjudged to have fouled Steve Nettleship (there was contact), Conor Gregg crashed the penalty kick against the bar.
The visitor's countered and Max Curbin went to ground under a challenge from William Hague, but the Colliery's penalty appeals were waved away by the referee Medhi Najeri.
The match official then sent the Harworth manager Mark Latham off from the bench and instructed him to watch the remainder of the game through the clubhouse window, because he didn't appreciated the way his decisions over the previous few minutes had been questioned.
Both sides regrouped and a lull of tranquility descended over proceedings as Harworth almost scored a second, when Max Curbin rounded Richard Chamberlain but shot into the side netting.
Swallownest came back at their visitors in pursuit of an equaliser, but when Hague's free kick was only half cleared as far as Ollie Lawrence, he thumped his shot over the bar.
Right on half time, Josh Dickinson found himself a yard of space just outside the home side's area, but his powerful shot on the turn, only troubled the queue at the tea bar.
HT: Swallownest 0 v Harworth 1
The home side came out for the second half and began to impose themselves on the game more after the interval and Conor Gregg was unlucky not to pull his side level when he thumped an unstoppable drive narrowly wide of the left hand upright.
Dale Featherstone and Josh Billson, exchanged a couple of decent passes as 'Swall' mounted a decent looking attack down the left flank, but Harworth were working hard to preserve their slender lead and were proving very difficult to break down.
With the ball pinging about in a bagatelle fashion across the Colliery area, Sam Goulden latched onto it and cooly planted the ball just inside the left hand post after 58 minutes.
Swallownest had been in the ascendancy since the interval and a goal for Mark Edwards team had looked increasingly likely for a while before Goulden struck.
Rubie sprinted into the area, but was intercepted by Hague before the pacey Colliery playmaker could get his shot in.
The game ebbed and flowed one way, then the other as Gregg went close at one end and when Harworth cleared their lines and broke forward Alder rattled a shot against the bar.
With the two sides shoring up their defences, most of the chances for the remainder of the game were of the long range variety, but there were still several close calls for both sides.
Brett Garrett and Joe Smith, Harworth's second half substitutes, both went close with half chances and Ollie Lawrence smashed a shot inches wide of the upright for 'Swall'.
The home side were well on top possession wise as they started the second half, but as the game entered the final few minutes, it was Harworth who almost snatched all three points... Joe Smith's effort was cleared off the line and when the rebound fell to Dickinson and he spotted a gap and would have snatched a late winner for the visitors, but one of his own team-mates (who shall remain nameless) strayed into said gap and 'defended' a crashing goalbound strike... and in stoppage time Dickinson hit the outside of the left hand post from ten yards out.
FT: Swallownest U19 1 v Harworth Colliery U19 1
Though the home side were a bit fortunate that the Colliery side hadn't clinched the game (twice) right at the end, the draw (which gace Harworth U19s their first point of the season) was a fair result, because Swallownest's three pronged attack of Junior Gama, Conor Gregg and Sam Goulden, had been causing Harworth's defence no end of problems just before Goulden's equaliser.
Off the pitch: these really are two smashing clubs, with some great people around ripping up trees for them... It is heartwarming to see that they are making steady progress at Step 7 of the non league pyramid, with an eye on moving up, at a realistic and sustainable pace, any time soon.
While more fashionable clubs in the area make a lot of noise, often from the rooftops, about their triumphs and ambitions, Swallownest and Harworth are just rolling their sleeves up and getting on with stuff... they certainly both have the right kind of people working for them and pulling it all together behind the scenes.
I've seen the plans that both of these clubs have and though Rome wasn't built in a day... it might have been if a couple of the guys who are the driving force behind this pair had been on the job.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

AFC Mansfield 12 v Lincoln Moorlands 2 - NCEL Div 1

Wednesday 30th September 2015
at the Forest Town Arena
Toolstation NCEL Division 1
AFC Mansfield (6) 12
Dean Rick 8,14,16,25,38,46,57
Ryan Williams 12
Danny Naylor 49
Jake Park 59
Craig Mitchell 62
Chris Timons 65
Lincoln Moorlands (2) 2
Sam Triffitt 35,
Chris Timons 42 OG
Admission £4. Programme £1.50. Attendance 55

AFC Mansfield
Jason White, Perry Marriott, Mark Dudley, Chris Timons, Joe Cheeseman, Danny Naylor (Brad Wilson 70), Ryan Williams (Declan Brewin 27), Phil Buxton (Steve Sowter 62), Dean Rick (C), Craig Mitchell, Jake Park
Unused subs - Jimmy Ghaichem, Adon Spencer
Lincoln Moorlands
Liam Joyce, Kieran Locking, Adam Hindmarsh, Ben Clucas, Leigh Warman, Joe Simpson, Josh Martin (Ashley Stephson 48), Sam Triffitt (Lawrence King 62), Gav Mackie, Alex Mackinder, Ward Wisdom-Lockwood
Both subs used
Right then... the gist of it:
1st minute: Jason White pulls off a brave point blank save from Gav Mackie.
8th minute: Dean Rick opens the scoring when he lobs Liam Joyce from 12 yards, with what is the Bulls first shot on goal
12th minute: Dean Rick fouled as he homes in on the Moorlands goal. Penalty awarded. Liam Joyce saves Ryan Williams spot kick, but 'Rhino' scores from the rebound.
14th minute: Craig Mitchell's cross finds Dean Rick, who turns the ball into the net despite the attentions of Joyce and two defenders.
16th minute: Dean Rick picks up a pass from Craig Mitchell out on the left hand side of the area, drops his shoulder and sees off a challenge then drills the ball just inside the post to complete an eight minute hat trick.
25th minute: Defence splitting pass from Mark Dudley, sends Dean Rick through, where he wrong foots Liam Joyce before 'tickling' the ball into the back of the net.
35th minute: The home side are rattled as Lincoln Moorlands pull a goal back, when Sam Triffitt spanks home a quality goal from 20 yards.
38th minute: Leigh Warman headed back towards his own keeper, but Dean Rick had run through on his blind side and 'dinked' the ball over the unfortunate Liam Joyce.
42nd minute: Lincoln hoist the ball into the Bulls penalty area, to where Chris Timons, up like a salmon, crashes a textbook header past his own keeper and into the roof of the net.
HT: The Bulls 6 v The Moor 2
46th minute: Dean Rick runs on to a long pass from inside the Bulls half, rounds Liam Joyce and 'rolls home' his sixth and Mansfield's seventh, into the back of the open net.
48th minute: Gav Mackie strikes a sweet shot from 12 yards out that rattles back off of the left hand upright with Jason White well beaten.
49th minute: Danny Naylor manages to prise the ball away from Dean Rick for a few moments and scores the home side's eight goal of the night.
57th minute: Dean Rick holds off the attentions of Lincoln's centre half, before 'caressing' the ball past Liam Joyce.
59th minute: Jake Park latches onto a loose ball as Lincoln struggle to clear their lines and 'nudges' the ball past Liam Joyce, who by this point will probably never speak to any of his defenders again, ever!
62nd minute: Declan Brewin's fierce strike is turned away by Liam Joyce, but Craig Mitchell is on hand to 'punt' the ball over the line.
65th minute: Chris Timons has a déjà vu moment as he nets goal number 12 for his side and celebrates after checking that he is in front of the right goal this time.
88th minute: Declan Brewin storms forwards a full forty yards down the right flank, leaving all comers in his wake, before 'pinging' a powerful angled shot towards the goal, that zipped into the side netting... although from my perch at the far end of the pitch I thought it had actually gone in.
FT: AFC Mansfield 12 v Lincoln Moorlands 2
The Bulls who top the NCEL first division, now have a four point lead over second placed Bottesford Town, who have played one game less than Rudy Funk's side.
On Saturday AFC Mansfield face a tough away trip to third placed Hull United, while Bottesford are in FA Vase action at Maltby Main.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Clipstone 7 v Retford United 0 - NCEL Prem

Tuesday 29th September 2015
Toolstation NCEL
at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium (Lido Ground)
Clipstone (3) 7
Sam Finlaw 17, Alec Denton 30, 55 pen, 62
Chris Salt 34, James Ashmore 47, Oli Ryan 79
Retford United (0) 0
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 107
Many thanks to my loyal friend and sidekick Jim
McIntosh for the teamsheet. Keep up the good work.
Staveley MW's loss is Clipstone's gain.
Following the weekend's results, when Clipstone picked up a point away at Albion Sports... click here for in depth and accurate reportage of the highest order... and Retford United returned to winning ways with a home win against Parkgate, both sides had accumulated a very respectable 15 points apiece from the opening two months of the season, although the Badgers have played two more games than tonight's hosts to reach that figure.
Michael Trench, had the first goalscoring opportunity of the game, when he crashed a free kick into the Badgers defensive wall inside the opening four minutes.
But from the outset, there was no indication as to what was about to unfurl, as Retford appeared to have started with a spring in their step... and they threatened Steve Hernandez's goal with some well rehearsed set piece manoeuvres, that saw Brandon Cardwell have two headed efforts cleared off the goal line in quick succession.
But the Cobras weathered the early storm and the visitors were fortunate to see Alex Nightingale's shot deflect into the side netting after he'd exchanged passes with Liam Royles on the edge of the box. James Ashmore's corner kick was met by Chris Salt, who towered above United's defence but crashed his header over the bar.
It must be tempting at present for Retford United fans to only attend games on Saturday afternoon's, because although they have had a good run of weekend results of late, their midweek games seem to be cursed at the moment.
Sam Finlaw hammered the first nail in tonight, with an opportunist strike from over thirty yards out, that Rick Watson could only get the slightest of touches too as it nestled just inside the post.
Alec Denton kept making all of the right sort of runs into the box, that were begging for a decent ball from the industrious Cobras midfield and half a hour into the game his tenacity was rewarded, as he drilled the ball past Watson to double the home side's lead.
Minutes later Salt atoned for his earlier miss and made it 3-0, as the travelling Retford supporters resigned themselves to the fact that yet another long night of purgatory and sufference lay ahead for them.
HT: Cobras 3 v Badgers 0
Resplendent in their very fetching change strip of all yellow, the visitors emerged early from the interval to go through their customary second warm up, under a bright full moon that poured it's incandescent glow across the Lido pitch. 
But any notions of a fight back were quickly dispelled by James Ashmore, who thumped home a free kick from 20 yards out, just two minutes after the restart.
The 'Ginger Pele', AKA Brad Jones, was playing higher up the pitch than usual tonight, in advance of his usual right back berth, which afforded him even more opportunity than usual to create havoc in the opposition's final third. 
Having taken a cross field pass from Finlaw, Jones skipped through the Retford defence but was felled unceremoniously as he tried to shield the ball and the referee Mr Thompson blew for a penalty. 
Alec Denton notched his second goal from the spot and his third wasn't far behind, when he turned in a cross from Jones, while the headlights of a few motor vehicles heading towards Retford could be seen leaving the car park.
Second half substitute Oli Ryan opened his goalscoring account for his new club on 79 minutes, getting a decisive touch under a scrum of bodies, after Jones had bust a gut to drill the another ball to die for into the mix from out on the bi-line.
Credit where it is due to the visitors, who still tried knocking the ball around and going for goal, even at 7-0 down. But it was Clipstone's tenacity in the final third that had won the game so handsomely for them.
FT: Clipstone 7 v Retford United 0
I could expound at length, with superlative laden praise about just how well 'Clipo' had actually played (please note* all you dumb ass outsiders who do not hail from Nottinghamshire, there is only on P in 'Clipo'), or lament about how badly Retford United capitulated again, just like when I saw them play last week v Cleethorpes Town (see here), but it is not my intention to ever kiss the ass of my pals in the game, or rubbish any local football team who are having a hard time, so I will leave it there. 
The final score tells it's own story.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Albion Sports 0 v Clipstone 0 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 26th September 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Throstle Nest, Farsley
Albion Sports (0) 0
Clipstone (0) 0
Attendance 89
Admission £5. Programme £1
Albion Sports:
Jack Bentley, Sam Bradley, Connor Erangey, Michael O'Brien (Josh Eastwood 69), Asif Hussain, James Firth, Brice Triani, Omar Habib, Danny Cunningham (Anil Singh 54), Marcus Edwards (Levi Maturine 84), Alex Cusack
All subs used
Steve Hernandez (C), Brad Jones, Michael Trench, Jack Hall (Dexter Atkinson 52), Chris Salt, Damo Magee, Jahmal Smith, Sam Finlaw, Alec Denton (Alex Nightingale 80), James Ashmore, Liam Royles (Jordan Hodder 84)
Unused subs - Rob Paling, James Colliver
On the balance of play over 90 minutes, the draw was a fair result as 5th place Sports hosted the north Nottinghamshire based Cobras, who started the day in 9th.
The Bradford side have four more NCEL Premier Division points than their visitors, but they have played two games more, so this was poised to be an evenly matched game.
Michael O'Brien and Omar Habib pushed forward as the home side mounted the first attack of the game, but the scene for the afternoon was set, when Chris Salt started as he meant to go on, by standing firm and repelling both of them.
Hernandez plucked Marcus Edward's header from out of the air, as the home side's top scorer got to Alex Cusack's cross first.
This passage of play set another tone for the afternoon, because the referee's assistant had missed the fact that Edward's had clearly strayed into an offside position before he forced the save out of the Cobra's captain... alas, by the time the final whistle sounded, the visitors management team and merry band of supporters and officials in the stands, probably had good reason to feel aggrieved about a number of decisions that the match officials made.
Sam Finlaw took one for the team as he put his body in the way of a stinging shot from James Firth, that caught him squarely in the nether regions just below his midriff, with a sickening thud that bought a tear to many an eye, let alone poor Sam's.
After a short break while Finlaw received treatment, Clipstone upped the ante, with Jahmal Smith playing the ball out to Alec Denton before charging into the box to get get on the end of the return pass and forcing Jack Bentley to turn the ball away for a corner.
The home side had a good spell of pressure, but created very little of note in the way of goalscoring opportunities, as the Cobras central defensive pairing of Salt and Damo Magee got to grips with the situation and seem to be forging a great understanding together from the off. That said however, Brice Tiani caused the visitors back four a problem halfway through the first half, when he picked out O'Brien who had timed his blindside run well, but Hernandez turned the close range shot away with a great reflex save.
'Clipo' mounted a great passing move forward themselves: James Ashmore sent Brad Jones darting away down the right flank and the Cobras full back played a neat one-two with Finlaw before swinging a teasing cross over to the back post, where Jack Hall headed over the bar, under pressure from Asif Hussain.
The visitors were finding their rhythm more now and Jones picked out Smith with a ball from in the middle of the park who flicked it sideways into the path of Alec Denton. But as the Cobras striker plotted his route to goal, Hussain went shoulder to shoulder with him in an attempt to put him off of his stride and the linesman raised his flag and stopped play.
Neither player had committed a foul as such, but after consulting with his assistant, the match referee Jamie Rhodes awarded the home side a free kick. So much for giving the attacking side the benefit of any 50/50's
The visitors finished the first half well and the Lions sat back and closed ranks as the Nottinghamshire side passed the ball around well, looking for an opening. They created several half chances, but really should have been in front when Liam Royles turned Michael Trench's left wing cross into the path of Smith and only a brave stop by Jack Bentley kept the sides level at the break.
HT: 0-0 
Early in the second half, the Cobras freshened things up and sent on Dexter Atkinson in place of Jack Hall, he proved to be a good foil for Jahmal Smith, but Albion Sports had decided on a few alterations in their half time team talk and looked stronger after the break and they were putting the Cobras defence under the cosh for a while, during which time Marcus Edwards could have sealed the game for the home side with two great chances. Hernandez stood his ground both times to narrow the angles, as Edwards smashed the ball just wide of the target twice in quick succession.
Damo Magee's header deflected wide of the post from a James Ashmore free kick and  from the resultant corner kick, again delivered by Ashmore, Salt nodded the ball wide.
But in spite of the visitors threatening the Lions goal from set pieces and dead balls, it was Sports who looked like the side most likely to break the deadlock from open play.
O'Brien went close twice, his first effort was blocked by Trench and his second crashed past the right hand upright.
Singh, Tiani and Habib knocked the ball around well in the final third, but Salt got in the way of Habib's well struck shot and met it full on with a clearing header.
Tiani passed to Cusack through the right channel, who spotted that Hernandez was off his line to deal with the situation so he threaded the ball past the Cobras stopper, but Salt was in the right place at the right time, to block the shot with his heel before launching a long clearance to Alec Denton who surged forward but planted the ball wide of the target.
Connor Erangey swung a left wing cross over to Singh, but Hernandez had read the flight of the ball well and blocked the Sports substitute's shot.
Clipstone's big guns were up bolstering the attack, when the home side cleared an Ashmore corner, but when Edwards countered and bore down on the visitors goal, Brad Jones got across to intercept the danger.
With the clock ticking down, Finlaw battled and won the ball in the middle of the park and picked out Alex Nightingale, who whipped a cross into the mix that JOrdan Hodder nudged narrowly wide.
Right at the death, Albion Sports almost nicked it; when Cusack ventured forward from midfield... and having seen that a clear run on goal was out of the question, because of the Cobras massed ranks, he let fly with a long range goal that whistled over the crossbar.
FT: Albion Sports 0 v Clipstone 0
Clipstone pick-it line

Bradford City 1 v Mansfield Town 3 - Football League Youth Alliance

Saturday 26th September 2015
Football League Youth alliance
at Rawdon Meadows, Apperley Bridge
Bradford City (1) 1
Ellis Hudson 21
Mansfield Town (1) 3
Alistair Smith 16, 47
Surafel Behailu 63
Click HERE for a Flickr photo group from this game
Bradford City:
George Kenworthy, Kwame Boateng, Sam Wright, Curtis Peters, Alex Laird, Kesi Omolokun, Niall Payne, Xander McBurnie, Reece Webb Foster, Sumaili Cissa (Casey Taglione 61), Ellis Hudson (Reece Powell 70)
Unused Subs - Ollie Kirkpatrick, James Sunderland
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Charlie Shaw, Teddy Bloor, Drew Gibson, Kieran Harrison, Surafel Behailu, Cain Smith, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake (C), Alistair Smith, Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs - Luke Bacon, Henry Brittijn, Joe McBrearty
Squad rotation was the name of the game for the Stags youth team today, as they travelled north to face league leaders Bradford City. And John Dempster's team showed that even with a starting line up that was unrecognisable to last weeks, they have the strength in depth to put out a team that can compete with the very best that this league as to offer.
Although the Mansfield youngsters are still unbeaten this season, the Bantams started the day with an impressive record in the league of having won all of their opening five league games of the season, with a striker, Reece Webb-Foster, who had scored in every single game so far. His record in all competitions was played 6, goals 12, which includes 6 in the last two games. Today he didn't get much change out of the Stags central defensive pairing of Kieran Harrison and Drew Gibson (making his first start of the season) and when he was switched to a wider ranging position, roaming in from both flanks, he found that Charlie Shaw and Teddy Bloor to be in a very determined mood too.
When the prolific Bradford marksman did eventually get a sight of goal, Sam Wilson was on hand to palm away an angled shot from out by the right touchline.
Surafel Behailu and Alistair Smith combined well down the flank as Mansfield began to ask questions of the home side's defence as the Stags enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy.
This Bradford side have a fearsome reputation, but Dempster's side were completely unfazed by that and had a confident spring in their step as they matched their illustrious hosts.
On 16 minutes, Zayn Hakeem rode three challenges as he cut into the area from the left flank and squared the ball into the path of Alistair Smith who smashed it past George Kenworthy from six yards out, to put the Stags in front.
Cameron Healey and his midfield sidekick were battling for everything in the centre of the pitch, where Bradford had an array of talent, especially the dreadlocked flair player Curtis Peters who certainly caught the eye.
But once again, Mansfield showed they had a few neat touches of their own and Behailu chipped a measured pass on the turn straight into the path of Zayn Hakeem, only a last ditch lunge from Kesi Omolokun prevented a second goal for the lively visitors.
Ellis Hudson hit a long range cross into the Stags area, towards Webb-Foster, but Shaw was checking his run and prevented the usually free-scoring striker enough time to find his mark and he headed straight at Sam Wilson.
Hudson ventured forward again, this time from the right and with everyone anticipating a cross to Webb-Foster (which had pretty much been the mainstay of Bradford's attacking threat so far), Hudson knocked a cheeky left foot shot just inside the right hand post to pull the Bantams level after 21 minutes.
Tyler Blake and Zayn Hakeem, were chipping away at Bradford like a double battering ram formation, the latter was denied by the outstretched boot of Omolokun but the ball fell to Cain Smith who gave Kenworthy no chance with a thumping shot from just inside the area that skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Hakeem carved himself an opening through the left channel and once again, Kenworthy was relieved to see the ball go narrowly wide of his goal, as the first half came to a close.
HT: Bantams 1 v Stags 1
During the interval, the scouts who were here to run the rule over City's Peters, Omolokun and Webb-Foster were all asking who the 'powerhouse number 11' for the visitors was.
Holding the red hot favourites to 1-1 at the interval, would be seen by many as a decent return for the apparent underdogs from Mansfield. But this year's intake of Stags lads aren't concerned about reputations and the current form of their opponents, they were here to play their own game... and straight from the restart they were straight on the front foot again.
Shaw advanced forward from his right back berth and fed the ball down the flank to Hakeem, the 'powerhouse' broke into the City area at pace and picked out Alistair Smith, who drilled home a sublime volley from ten yards out and the Stags were back in front. You don't stop them!
Hakeem was almost the creator again as he threaded the ball through to Cain Smith, but Omolokun charged down the ball and cleared it away from danger as he authoritatively tried to restore some order among Bradford's backline.
Webb-Foster whipped a free kick over the Stags defensive wall from twenty yards out, but Wilson got his angles right and got down to smother the ball with ease.
Behailu made light work of shrugging off his marker and planted a measured pass into the path of Hakeem, but Kenworthy sprinted from his line and just about got enough of a touch on the ball to divert it away, to where Omolokun put his foot through it and launched a clearance well out of harm's way.
The Smith's, Cain and Alsitair, combined with Blake and Hakeem as the rampant Stags, passed their way through Bradford's rearguard and only a fingertip save at full stretch from Kenworthy prevented the Stags going further in front.
Teddy Bloor picked out Tyler Blake with a precision free kick, but Peters whipped the ball away to safety.
Bradford countered and Peters, who had run the whole length of the pitch to get involved, shrugged off the close attentions of Cameron Healey and forced a good stop out of Wilson.
Mansfield didn't let their tempo drop and moments later Hakeem stripped Sam Wright for pace, but smashed his angled shot into the side netting.
The third goal, that Mansfield so richly deserved, duly arrived in the 63rd minute.
Hakeem broke through into the area in between Bradford's central defenders and crashed a shot against the right hand post, Blake latched onto the rebound but Kenworthy parried his shot, Alistair Smith was first to the loose ball but Omolokun denied him his hat trick with a block on the line, but finally the ball ended up in the back of the net when Behailu made it 'fourth time lucky' with a precision strike from twelve yards.
Alistair Smith was picked out by Teddy Bloor and very nearly made it four, but Kenworthy pulled off a great save to keep him out. And Hakeem was unlucky to see his shot fly narrowly over the bar after the hard working Tyler Blake had unlocked the Bradford defence with a long range pass.
The home side couldn't find their way back into the game now as the young Stags closed ranks and saw the final minutes out and Alistair Smith couldn't quite find the elusive third goal that would give him his hat trick, because his goalbound strike late in the game, inevitably set up by Hakeem, deflected into the side netting off of Alex Laird.
FT: Bradford City youth 1 v Mansfield Town youth 3
An excellent performance and well deserved win from the young Stags, who exceeded all expectations on all fronts today.
John Dempster's only problem now will be who to leave out when he has a full squad available, because the players he drafted in today, went toe to toe against the best opposition side in the league and passed a stern test with flying colours.