Friday, 21 October 2016

Burton Albion 2 v Birmingham City 0 - SkyBet EFL Championship

Friday 21st October 2016
SkyBet EFL Championship
at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton upon Trent
Burton Albion (1) 2
Lloyd Dyer 32, Jamie Ward 62
Birmingham City (0) 0
Admission £20. Programme £3
Attendance 5,818 (inc. 1,754 in sold out away fans sections)
Team sheet picture courtesy of Simon Matters.
I didn't take any photos apart from the signs.
The police advice that Blues fans should not travel without tickets was heeded by the majority of away fans who couldn't get hold of a brief for the away end, but it would seem that reserving a standing ticket in the home end and then collecting it from the ticket office on the night of the game wasn't exactly logistically difficult for a good number of Birmingham fans who were dotted around the West Stand.
City manager Gary Rowett, was in charge at Burton for two seasons before taking over the reigns from Lee Clark at St Andrews, having overseen a successful two-year spell at the Pirelli Stadium. Although technically he actually followed on from the caretaker duo of Richard Beale and Malcolm Crosby who held the fort for two games, a 1-0 away defeat at Blackburn Rovers and a 8-0 reversal at home to Bournemouth.
Image result for sky bet efl logo
After two top-six finishes with the Brewers, when Rowett left to take up the City job on 27th October 2014, Albion were sitting proudly at the top of SkyBet League Two and they went on to secure that position and promotion at the end of the season, under the tenure of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
When Hasselbaink was headhunted by QPR in December of last year, Nigel Clough, who had previously managed at Burton between 1998 and 2009, returned to take up his old job at the Pirelli Stadium, following stints in the hot seat at both Derby County and Sheffield United.
Tonight's game marked the first ever competitive fixture between these two sides, although Birmingham provided the opposition for a pre-season game at Burton in 2015.
Blues started with good intentions, pushing forward from the off, particularly down the right flank, while it took twelve minutes before Albion even got the ball into the visitors area, where it was headed away by Jacques Maghoma, the Democratic Republic of Congo international who scored 26 goals in 155 games during his spell at Burton, before he arrived at City, via a stay with Sheffield Wednesday. But the home side did eventually have the first actual shot on goal when Jamie Ward shot just wide of the left hand upright from outside the area after a quality cross from Lloyd Dyer. The same pair combined a few minutes later and Ward scooped the ball over the bar from close range.
Tom Naylor slipped a measured through ball into the path of Ward, but Adam Legzdins was quickly off of his line to smother the lively Brewers strikers shot.
Maghoma ran diagonally across the face of Burton's area, but the referee waved play on when he was surrounded by three players and tripped a fraction after loosing the ball.
On a night when most of the pre-match hype revolved around the homecoming of Gary Rowett, it was a Brummy who had travelled in the opposite direction who opened the score, when Ward held off two challenges, before knocking the ball through into the area, where Dyer took it on and finished with the outside of his left foot. Dyer is a former Aston Villa youth prospect who played fifteen times for Blues, while on loan in 2015
From the Brewers next attack, Chris O'Grady got underneath Ryan Shotton's attempted clearing header and nodded an arcing effort over Legzdins, that fell wide of his left hand post. Legzdins, is of course a former Burton Albion player, in fact it wouldn't have surprised me if a few dozen of the spectators stood around me had played for either Burton, Birmingham or both teams, given the extent of the 'ex' factor on show tonight.
A late Shotton interception, prevented Tom Naylor from getting his shot on target, tat's the same Tom Naylor whose parents used to sit in the row behind me at Field Mill, when he was still on the books of Mansfield Town... and then shortly before the interval, Legzdins pulled of a vital save down to his left to turn Ward's shot around the upright.
Birmingham had started the first half looking like they were building up a head of steam, but having got to grips with their visitors, Burton certainly had the better of the opening forty five minutes and were good value for their interval lead. In fact, they could have gone in at the break three or four goals to the good.
HT: Brewers 1 v Blues 0
Morrison attempted to clear the ball away as Ward battled for possession, but only managed to pass it straight into the path of Lucas Akins who blazed the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
David Cotterill attacked down the right flank but his cross was cut out by John McLaughlin... cue Gary Rowett telling Che Adams and Clayton Donaldson to get stripped for action, while David Davis and Cotterill made way.
Adams, of course, was signed by Nigel Clough from non league Ilkeston FC, when Clough Jr was still managing the Blades,
Lukas Jutkiewicz had been monitored well in spite of Cotterill and Jon Spector trying to provide the service the lone front man required.
Dyer committed a foul twenty five yards from Burton's goal, but with a range of options at his disposal, struck the ball towards the Blues fans at the back of the East Stand. To compound the visitors frustrations, Burton attacked quickly from the goal kick and Ward chased a long header from Jon Brayford forward before firing the ball under Legzdins to double Burton's advantage.
He was offside, but Ward deserved a goal for his efforts thus far and if truth be told, it had been on the cards.
The goal prompted City's manager to make their final substitution, when Greg Stewart replaced Maghona.
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Nigel Clough
Dyer, O'Grady and Ward were still full of running and Nigel Clough's tactic of stringing three extra players across the front of the Brewers back four was paying dividends as Jutkiewicz was crowded out again.
Stewart drove a free kick into Burton's defensive wall, a wasted opportunity from just outside the D on the edge of Burton's area.
Adams shot was deflected over for a corner and when Stewart delivered his kick to Michael Morrison at the back stick, the visitors captain headed wide from a free header.
With the visitors trying to get back into the game they were vulnerable to Burton breaking on the counter and O'Grady wasn't far away from the edge of Legzdins area,
Ward was substituted with ten minutes remaining, as Will Miller was introduced and there was a swap of former Stags players when Lee Williamson came on in place of Tom Naylor to see out the remaining few minutes.
Gary Rowett
Jackson Irvine went close with two half chances, but as Blues struggled to salvage the result, Donaldson took a heavy knock as he collided with McLaughlin as he charged from  his line. After treatment Donaldson was still able to see out the game which had slipped into stoppage time while he was grounded. While Donaldson was receiving attention, Hamza Choudhury came on for the home side with Matty Palmer.
Full time came and one former Burton Albion manager (who came back) had beaten another, to scupper Birmingham's hopes of climbing to up to third place in the Championship table.
FT: Burton Albion 2 v Birmingham City 0
Burton were very impressive tonight, while Birmingham were half decent for the opening ten minutes, before fading, like something akin to a football metaphor for premature ejaculation.
Friday night football doesn't suit Birmingham City.
O'Grady and Ward were fairly awesome tonight and Dyer looked almost unplayable at times.
In conclusion, the best team won. End of!
Blues next two fixtures are: the second city derby v. Aston Villa next Sunday (Noon kick off) at St Andrews, followed by early season pace setters Huddersfield Town away. The Brewers face Yorkshire opposition on the next two weekends, travelling to Elland Road next Saturday to face Leeds United before hosting Barnsley seven days later.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Fri 21 Oct - Burton Albion v Birmingham City - SkyBet EFL Championship - 7.45pm
Sat 22 Oct - Mansfield Town v Walsall - EFLYA Cup - 11am at Clipstone FC
Sat 22 Oct - Handsworth Parramore v Shepshed Dynamo - FA Vase R1 - 3pm
Tue 25 Oct - Handsworth Parramore v Dronfield Town - WVH NMU19L - 7.45pm
Wed 26 Oct - Retford United v Swallownest - WVH NMU19L - 7.45pm 
Sat 29 Oct - Lincoln City v Mansfield Town - EFLYA - 11AM Venue TBC
Sat 29 Oct - Newark Town v Dinnington Town - CMFL North - 3pm
Tue 1 Nov - Eastwood Community FC v Mansfield Town - WVH NMU19L - Play Soccer USA Arena (3G) NG16 3HB - 7.45pm
Wed 2 Nov - Brigg Town v Emley AFC - NCEL Div 1 - 7.45pm
Thu 3 Nov - Swallownest v Chesterfield - WVH NMu19L - 7.45pm
Sat 5 Nov - Mansfield Town v Notts County - EFLYA - 11AM Venue TBC 
Sat 5 Nov - Maltby Main v Barton Town Old Boys - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Tue 8 Nov - Shaw Lane v Maltby Main - Sheff & Hallam Senior Cup - 7.45pm
Wed 9 Nov - TBC
Fri 11 Nov - England v Scotland - WC Qualifier - 7.45pm at Wembley Stadium
Sat 12 Nov - Retford United v Maltby Main - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Tue 15 Nov - Nostell Mw v Pontefract Collieries - NCEL Div 1 - 7.45pm
Wed 16 Nov - AFC Mansfield v Parkgate - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Sat 19 Nov - Maltby Main v Worksop Town - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Tue 22 Nov - Mansfield Town v Blackpool - EFL League 2 - 7.45pm
Wed 23 Nov - AFC Mansfield v Bridlington Town - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Sat 26 Nov - Handsworth Parramore v Maltby Main - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Wed 30 Nov - Romulus v Mansfield Town - National U19 Alliance Div I - 2pm at Castle Vale Stadium B35 7NH
Wed 30 Nov - Maltby Main v Staveley MW - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
December (more games TBC IDC):
Sat 3 Dec - Mansfield Town v York City City - EFLYA - 12 noon at Clipstone FC
Sat 3 Dec - Rainworth Miners Welfare v Clipstone - NCEL Prem - 3pm - or FA Cup game
Mon 5 Dec - Basford United v Shaw Lane - EvoStik League South - 7.45pm
Wed 7 Dec - Maltby Main v Mansfield Town Brooksby - National League U19 Alliance - 2pm
Sat 10 Dec - Bradford City v Mansfield Town - EFLYA - 12 noon venue TBC
Sat 10 Dec - Liversedge v Maltby Main - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Sat 17 Dec - Mansfield Town v Doncaster Rovers - EFLYA - 11am at Clipstone FC
Sat 17 Dec - Maltby Man v Parkgate - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Mon 26 Dec - Handsworth Parramore v AFC Mansfield - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Sat 31 Dec - Mansfield Town v Doncaster Rovers - EFL League 2 - 12.25pm
To be continued. 
Watch this space!
However, I am impetuous by nature and prone to straying off my patch, so I might end up just about anywhere on any of the above dates instead.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Maltby Main 1 v Staveley MW 5 - NCEL LC3

Wednesday 19th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL League Cup 3rd Round
Maltby Main (0) 1
Ryan Carroll 48
Staveley MW (3) 5
Tyla Bell 8, 27
Tom Ellis 32
Adam Lee 84 pen, 90
Attendance 56
Dan Reilly. He makes a great half time brew.
Maltby Main:
Louis Jones, Craig Mitchell Callam Cheetham 70), Liam Flint, Nicky Darker, Dan Reilly (Reece Wesley 12), Derrelle Goodison, Jordan Poole, Shawn Mitchell, Josh Schofield, Ryan Carroll, Jordan Snodin (Ollie Lawrence 52)
Unused subs - John Stancliffe, Jack Greeves
Staveley MW:
Lewis Naylor, Ryan Duffy, Tom Ellis, Matt Robinson, Craig Getliff, Shaun Nesbitt (Jamie Coulson 83), Ash Rawson, Adam Le, Tyla Bell, Steve Carty (Kurt Morley HT)
Unused subs - Liam Nelthorpe, Luke Rafferty
Nicky Darker
"Maltby!?" Exclaimed a disgruntled Retfordian at Cannon Park last night, having read on this here blog, that I have been helping 'the Miners' out a bit of late; "How long does it take you to get there, instead of offering to work here!?"
Well I can't give you an exact time, but I turned on my Eight Track Cartridge Player on when I left home tonight and had listened to 'Silver Machine', 'The Cat Crept In', 'See My Baby Jive' and half of 'Sugar Baby Love' by the time that I pulled into the car park at Muglet Lane, so it's obviously a lot closer than a lot of people realise.
It's been fun getting involved at Maltby recently, albeit just a flying visit, to help out a couple of really down to earth local football stalwarts, who I hold in very high regard.
I tweeted at the weekend: Proper club Maltby, all straight talkers... no pretenders, egos and sneaky ****s. I reckon that pretty much sums the situation up.
Liam Flint
The visitors pretty much had the game sewn up by half time.
Playing a fairly direct game, though to be fair, the infamous Muglet Lane pitch cum orienteering course doesn't exactly lend itself to tippy tappy football, the Chesterfield based side defended with two deep rows of players strung across the pitch in a primitive, but effective 4-4-2 system and tried to get the ball forward quickly to Adam Lee, Steve Carty or Tyla Bell.
Possession wise there wasn't really a great deal in it, but whereas Maltby came unstuck trying to pick their way through a crowded defence, the Trojans weren't afraid to shoot from around the fringes of Louis Jones area and they stormed into a three goal lead, just after the half hour mark, by virtue of a trio of very well taken goals.
Reece Wesley
 Adam Lee created the first when he flicked the ball in Tyla Bell's path and he beat Jones with a dipping shot that Maltby could've have defended if they had a man covering each post.
Maltby's cause was hampered when their only recognised central defender, Dan Reilly twisted his knee and had to be replaced.
Shaun Nesbitt launched a long ball into the area that found it'sway through to Ash Rawson, who missed an absolute sitter. But on 27 minutes, Bell picked up the ball twenty five yards out and smashed it past Jones.
The visitors forced a couple of corners; the first one came to nothing because Jones was fouled, but the second found it's way to the edge of the area and Tom  Ellis rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
Nesbitt chased another lengthy punt towards the Maltby area, but Jones ran thirty yards off of his line to head the ball away.
HT: Miners 0 v Trojans 3
Louis Jones
A half time reshuffle by Spencer Fearn and his cohorts, saw Maltby playing a more rigid 4-3-3 and that seemed to quell any hopes that Staveley had of continuing with their shoot on sight tactics.
Three minutes after the interval, the Miners captain Nicky Darker launched a long throw across the visitors six yard box from out on the right wing and some sloppy defending allowed the ball to reach Ryan Carroll, a few yards from the back stick and he beat Lewis Naylor with a rasping shot that found the net having crossed the line by the left hand post.
The goal lifted the home side and Naylor had to move quickly to keep out Shawn Mitchell's shot, while Reece Wesley went close when he diverted a header over the bar from another long and accurate throw in by darker.
Jordan Snodin unleashed a stinging shot from twelve yards that beat Naylor but he shaved a layer of paint off of the right hand post as the ball whistled narrowly wide.
Shawn Mitchell
Sadly, just as the Miners were starting to look as though a second half comeback might be on the cards, Snodin had to limp out of the game.What a player he's going to be for Maltby when he's back to full fitness. 
Maltby knew that the fates had decreed they weren't going to progress to the fourth round, when Jordan Poole was just inches, nee centimetres away from connection with the ball a couple of feet away from the goal line after Cheetham had spotted him in space.
In the 84th minute, Bell fed the ball into Kurt Morley's path and he sprinted forward on the left before crossing towards a scrum of players on the edge of the box and the referee, Andrew Dallison blew his whistle for a penalty, having spotted an obstruction just inside the area. Technically, an obstruction offence just inside the area, should actually be punished by awarding an indirect free kick.
But it wasn't going to make the slightest bit of difference to the final outcome now either way and Adam Lee picked his spot well and made it 1-4 with his penalty kick, to put a bit of gloss on the score for the visitors.
Bell showed good feet before threading a pass to Lee in the first minute of stoppage time and he swept the ball past Jones to claim a fifth... I used to like you Adam Lee!
FT: Maltby Main 1 v Staveley Miners Welfare 5
Was the four goal winning margin flattering for the visitors? Definitely if you only took the balance of play in the second half into consideration, but the quality of the visitors finishing before the break just about warranted the result.
Image result for spencer fearn the66pow
I did get a quote from the Maltby manager Spencer Fearn at full time, but this is a family orientated football blog, so although I agreed with him 110%, I shall keep a discreet counsel and spare you all the potty mouth stuff.
It wouldn't be right of me to say too much about other people's personal business; but today, somebody at the football club's wife was given the all clear from having breast cancer. 
Maltby lost a game of football tonight, but so what!? There was only really one result we were all more concerned about today.
Maltby Main are back in league action at the weekend, away at Harrogate Railway Athletic. And I'm going to be back doing my bit with Mansfield Town's development teams, but I'm already looking forward to seeing all my pals at Muglet Lane again very soon. It's been a blast!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Retford United 1 v Penistone Church 2 - NCEL LC3

Tuesday 18th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL League Cup 3rd Round
at the Jones & Co. Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 1
Danny Murray 89
Penistone Church (2) 2
Andrew Ring 2, 16
Admission £5
On Saturday, while Penistone Church were cementing their spot at the top of the NCEL Division 1 table (with four games in hand over second placed Winterton Rangers) with a 3-2 win at Yorkshire Amateur, Retford United were slumping to a 10-0 (ten-nil) defeat at Cleethorpes Town, who they will be facing again on home turf this coming weekend. The Owls have made a really impressive signing, capturing Liam Davis from Gainsborough Trinity and he scored a first half hat trick against the Badgers at the weekend. I don't imagine the reverse fixture on Saturday will be a goalless affair.
Penistone Church have a braek from league action on Saturday, when they welcome Mansfield Woodhouse's finest: Sherwood Colliery, in the FA Vase First Round.
Talking to Paul is always highly illuminating
The result, a narrow away win for Penistone, only tells half the story.
Tonight's game, having originally been rescheduled to 8PM, finally got underway at 8.12PM, due to a number of the home players getting held up in traffic en route to Cannon Park.
The even later arrivals had to go onto the subs bench, and while several of the Badgers team were forced to play out position, two players who probably shouldn't even have started tonight, because they are still recovering from injury and aren't actually ready for 90 minutes of NCEL football yet; took to the field at the start of the game as well... and in both cases had to leave the pitch during the game, having aggravated the knocks that they are carrying and supposed to be returning to action from in two or three weeks time.
Enforced changes and injuries could be pointed to as contributing factors to Retford's downfall, if the Church hadn't also got a couple of first choice picks unavailable too. In fact, the visitors had to play striker Lewis Dickinson in goal for the entire second half after Adam Rhodes had to e withdrawn because of an injured shoulder.
With just two minutes on the clock, Andy Ring put the visitors ahead, when he drilled the ball past Sam Jepson as Scott Whittington's shot came back off the crossbar.
United were almost immediately on level terms when Danny Murray's long range shot was parried by Jepson and as he clawed at the ball to retrieve it Niall Sultan intercepted, went round the keeper and rolled a close range effort over the line... but the 'goal' was disallowed after it was decided, correctly or otherwise, that the ball had originally been kicked by Sultan, while Jepson had it under control with his hands.
Luke Walker, one of the Badgers walking wounded, playing out of position at left back, had already made two interceptions in spite of the fact he was obviously struggling; but after 16 minutes, he couldn't quite complete a headed clearance and Jack Moore got to the loose ball took it forward a few yards and delivered a perfect cross to double Penistone's lead.
Jack Walters and Ash Shannon were both battling to make in roads towards the visitors go, but the heavy pitch wasn't suiting either their pace nor close control.
Walker didn't even last long enough to see the first half out.
You've just got to hope that the unexpected start hasn't put his recovery back.
One of the linesmen also went down injured just before the break, after going over heavily on his ankle. But he reappeared after the break, probably after taking into consideration that the game had slowed down to a snails pace and he'd be able to keep up.
I attempted to update the score on Twitter, but discovered, quite back accident that if you type in Penistone Church too slowly you get taken to a feed called 'Celebrity Penis'. Surely to God the Peter Andre on has been photo-shopped on!? Err... moving swiftly on.
Three minutes into the second half, with Retford already having made all of their substitutions, Sultan stretched for the ball and aggravated his hamstring injury. His departure to the dressing room saw the home side reduced to ten men.
Walters shot across the face of the visitors goal, but the ball went wide of the left hand post.
Sam Jepson, who I was semi-reliably informed had travelled all the way from Catterick to play in goal for United, held on well to James Young's cross, after Luke Johnson and half time substitute Danny Joynes had set an attacking move in progress.
Johnson was actually doing very well in the middle of the Church midfield and coping admirably with the tacky pitch, while Cameron Dear, playing in an unfamiliar role put in a creditable performance for the Badgers across the middle of the park.
It was Dear who sent Walters clear through the left channel, but his shot was well saved by the deputising keeper Wilkinson.
Image result for retford united the66pow
In the main, the game was being played out around the centre circle, the pitch was cutting up like buggery and the saving grace of the night was that due to Penistone's  two goal cushion, it was highly unlikely that we'd need to sit through an extra thirty minutes of extra time.
But the home side nearly forced the issue, when Wilkinson air kicked at Dillan O'Connor's long ball towards his goal, which allowed Danny Murray to chase the ball and roll it into an empty and unguarded net.
In stoppage time O'Conner created another chance from a deep free kick, but Keith Melvin diverted the ball just wide of the post. Phew!
FT: Retford United 1 v Penistone Church 2
I usually enjoy watching Penistone in action, because they play some aesthetically lovely football at times, but tonight, they did what they had to on a glue pot pitch that looked like it had just staged the horse of the year show... so it was really a genuine case of horses for courses n' all that!
I guess Retford United can count their blessings that Cleethorpes Town won't be able to pass the ball around as much as they would like too this coming Saturday on the rutted and bobbly surface at Cannon Park.
It's going to be a long old season for the Badgers faithful.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Bottesford Town 1 v Maltby Main 2 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 15th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Birch Park
Bottesford Town (0) 1
Gareth Barlow 79
Maltby Main (2) 2
Ryan Carroll 29
Steve Hopewell 35
Attendance 65
Photo gallery from this game HERE
Bottesford Town:
Arron Busby, Danny Gibbons, Laurence McKay, Lee Ridley (C), Oliver Donald, Terry Barwick Elliot Broughton, Matt Steeper, Louis Grant, Gareth Barlow, Jack Cross
Maltby Main:
Louis Jones, Reece Wesley, Liam Flint, Nicky Darker (C), Danny Reilly, Derelle Goodison, Josh Schofield, Shawn Mitchell, Steve Hopewell, Ryan Carroll, Jordan Snodin
Inside the opening minute, Bottesford's Terry Barwick headed the ball away from under Arron Busby's crossbar, as Danny Reilly moved in to meet Jordan Snodin's right wing corner.
The Poachers first attack, moments later was thwarted when Shawn Mitchell intercepted Louis Grant's through ball to Elliot Broughton.
From the outset the game was a fairly open affair and the Miners went close again, when Josh Schofield attacked the home side's goalmouth through the right channel, but couldn't quite keep his angled shot on target.
Louis Jones did well to stop the home side from breaking the deadlock, when he turned away Matt Steeper's close range shot and then recovered in time to repel Grant as well.
Mitchell took one for the team and blocked Barwick's shot from the edge of the box and as the home side started to find their rhythm, Jones had to sprint from his line as Schofield under hit a back pass straight into the path of Grant, but the Miners keeper cleared the ball to safety.
Barwich had obviously packed his shooting boots into his kit bag today and he tried his luck again from all of thirty yards, but his effort didn't have enough power to trouble Jones who saved comfortably from the former Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town and York City player, who eventually wound up at Birch Park, via a circuitous trail of several quite notable non-league clubs.
Derrelle Goodison ran twenty yards towards the Bottesford area, but having skipped past two attempted challenges, he rolled his shot wide of the goal.
The home side broke forward down the left and Gareth Barlow showed some neat touches before feeding the ball through to Grant with a slide rule pass... but the Poachers striker is too honest for his own good and as he nudged the ball past Jones, he hurdled over the Maltby keepers outstretched leg and by the time he had recovered his footing, Jones had recovered his position and held onto Grant's cross come shot.
I reckon that approximately 99.4% of centre forwards would have gone to ground under similar circumstances and claimed a penalty while the keeper sweated over what colour card he was going to be shown. I hope that Jones got him a pint in after the game for being such a good sport.
Steve Hopewell shielded the ball well, before laying off a sideways pass to Ryan Carroll, who was a fraction away from scoring, but saw his shot come back off the crossbar.
Elliot Broughton showed good close control as he swept forward into the final third and released Barlow on the left, but Reece Wesley had been holding his ground well at right back and forced the Poachers attacker to go wide instead of cutting inside,there's a knack to defending like that, so well done Reece. Barlow did get a cross of sorts in, but Jones dealt with it and the ball was cleared quickly into the Bottesford half, where the wind carried it all the way into the penalty area where Carroll chased it down and threaded the ball past Busby from twelve yards, while the home defence were caught flat footed as they desperately tried to recover their ground.
It's called 'smash and grab' when the likes of Maltby Main benefit from getting the ball forward from box to box quickly, but when Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side did it in 2004, the Premier League champions were called 'the invincibles'.
Not that I'm comparing Ryan Carroll to Thierry Henry you understand, because he, the latter the latter that is, is obviously too old to play at this kind of breakneck pace these days... and he's never been tackled properly by Terry Barwick either.
Carroll was through on goal again two minutes later, but fell over and lost possession, proving once and for all, that there are no likenesses whatsoever between him and Mr Va Va Voom.
Mitchell headed wide from Snodin's corner, as Maltby's wind assisted break and goal visibly lifted them.
The visitors were two goals to the good after 35 minutes, when Hopewell squeezed the ball just inside the near post from Darker's right wing cross, before colliding with the Poachers keeper.
Both players required treatment before the game could continue, but they're a rough and tough lot in Rotherham and Sunny Scunny..
Maltby at this point will have been acutely aware of the fact that they had also cruised into a two goal lead against Rainworth Miners Welfare last Saturday, before having to hang on for a draw late in the game, so they would be taking absolutely nothing for granted.
Gareth Barlow's right wing cross spun up off of Wesley's right foot and Jones caught it.
There were a few appeals for a penalty, including some particularly loud ones from the home side's captain Lee Ridley, but the referee, Mr Hawksby had a good view of the incident and ruled that Wesley's "Backpass!" had been completely unintentional.
Barwick, uncharacteristically, almost committed defensive suicide, when he carelessly rolled a pass back to Busby as Schofield ran through on his blind side and was only a couple of feet away from reaching the ball before the Bottesford keeper launched it up into the clouds. 
Caution prevents abortion n' all that.
A third Miners goal before half time would leave Bottesford with a mountain to climb after the break, but at 0-2 with the wind behind them and players of the calibre of Broughton, Grant, Barlow and McKay (who signed yesterday from Cleethorpes Town) out on the park, who can cause any NCEL side problems, this game was far from over.
Maltby were well aware that another goal cushion could be critical and they very nearly increased their lead, when Danny Reilly put a header just over the bar from Snodin's cross and Schofield's shot across the face of the goal went wide from Goodison's opening.
HT: Poachers 0 v Miners 2
Bottesford were throwing everything in their armory at their battling visitors, but as of yet, Maltby were chucking everything back again too.
The scene was set for an intriguing second half. 
In fact the excitement was getting all too much for one of our travelling party, who declared that he was going to celebrate with a "long slow wank!" if Maltby held on for all three points.
I hope he'd had a wash before we shook hands at full time.
Pretty much as everyone had anticipated, the home side had the lions share of the ball after the interval, as they looked to turn the score around. But right at the start of the second half, it was Spenver Fearn's side who were looking the most likely to score, with Snodin starring as the architect behind their attacking intentions, as he set up Mitchell who forced a good save out of Busby, who got down to his right to turn the ball round his post.
With Laim Flint looking solid at left back and chipping in with more than his fair share of organisational 'verbals', Bottesford took to doubling up through McKay and Jack Cross down the opposite flank, where in spite of Wesley putting in a really hard slog of a shift, the Poachers number 11 lived up to his name and delivered the ball into the visitors area twice in quick succession.
Reilly headed the ball away from his first knock, while Barlow scored from his second that came about from Barwick playing the ball out wide to Cross... or at least he thought he had scored, but his effort was chalked off for an offside offence.
I was actually at Birch Park today in an official capacity, standing in as an acting matchday secretary for Maltby, in the very rare absence of Mr John Mills, so my narrative could possibly be ever so slightly biased in places, however, donning my neutral hat on to comment on the disallowed goal, it did look ever so slightly harsh on Barlow from where I was stood.
These things even themselves out over the course of... well, y'know what they say!
Schofield rudely gatecrashed what was meant to be Bottesford's comeback party and took the ball down the right flank before picking out Snodin who headed over as Busby collided heavily with him.
Snodin didn't last much longer after taking the full force of Busby crashing into him (not intentionally I must add) and was replaced on the hour by Marcio Virira, who was making his Miners debut.
The anticipated bombardment of the Miners goal duly arrived, perhaps a little later than expected, but when it came, Maltby had to dig deep and park a whole Moxon's depot worth of buses across their defence.
The home support groaned as Grant scuffed a shot wide across thefront of Jones' goal. Danny Gibbons cross was headed away from virtually under the bar by Flint and Cross launched a blistering shot over the goal that actually cleared the adjacent sports centre roof.
Danny Boulton headed McKay's cross back towards Grant, but Reilly doesn't miss much in the air and he was on hand to get rid of the ball in the nick of time.
Jones was busy as he kept out both Barlow and Boulton within the space of a minute, as the ball was launched into the visitors area, at disturbingly frequent intervals.
The referee made a terrible error of judgement, as Virira mistimed an attempt to take the ball away from Boulton and took away both of his legs instead. 
As the (very) clumsy tackle had taken place well inside the Miners area, it was clearly a blatant and stonewall penalty to Bottesford and it looked for all the world as if Maltby would now be facing an onslaught for the remaining twenty minutes, if the home side converted the spot kick and the game would be well and truly in the balance.
But... the referee waved play on and either ignored, or missed the challenge completely.
As I've said, I was in Bottesford with Maltby, so although I have got a lot of time for many aspects of what the host club represents, I didn't actually want them to win today, but in spite of my undisguised bias, there is no way that even I could re-invent what I had just seen, or whitewash over it, or even claim that my view was obscured.
I can connfirm 110% that Bottesford definitely should have been awarded a penalty.
With ten minutes to go, the home side finally found the back of the net, to set up a grandstand finish, when Barlow played a short pass to Boulton twelve yards from goal, Wesley blocked his shot but the loose ball fell to Barlow, who reacted quickly and thumped a shot past Jones from the rebound.
"I'll take a draw now!" was the immediate response of one Maltby fan to Barlow's unstoppable strike.
The bulldozers arrived and removed the parked buses and there will be some tired, bruised and aching limbs in South Yorkshire tomorrow morning as the Poachers battered the living daylights out of Maltby for the remainder of the game.
The defiant and resolute defending displayed by Maltby today deserved something, even though Bottesford will feel disappointed not to have claimed all three points, either by virtue of the one way traffic they directed towards the Miners goal in the closing ten minutes, or a couple of questionable refereeing decisions not going their way.
FT: Bottesford Town 1 v Maltby Main 2
Both teams put so much effort in this afternoon, I was knackered just watching it all.
My final game of my 'loan spell' as a glorified timekeeper and pen pusher for Maltby Main is on Wednesday night, when Staveley Miners Welfare visit Muglet Lane for a NCEL League Cup game.
It would be nice to sign off with my 100% record intact.
Bottesford Town have a blank midweek, to prepare for next Saturday's FA Vase tie at Birch Park, against West Midlands Regional League side Haughmond FC.
Good luck to both teams as they endeavour to reach the next round of these competitions.
Image result for the66pow bottesford town

Friday, 14 October 2016

Nottingham Forest 3 v Birmingham City 1 SkyBet EFL Championship

Friday 14th February 2016
SkyBet EFL Championship
at the City Ground, West Bridgford, Nottingham
Nottingham Forest (1) 3
Eric Lichaj 33, Apostolos Vellios 63, Hildeberto Pereira 83
Birmingham City (0) 1
Lucas Jutkiewicz 71
Admission £24. Programme £3.Attendance 19,208
Nottingham Forest:
Stojkovic; Lichaj, Mills, Perquis, Traore (Pereira 76); Lansbury, Vaughan, Cohen; Carayol (Lam 82), Bendtner (Vellios 57), Osborn.
Unused subs - Dumitru-Cardoso, Kasami, Henderson, Grant.
Birmingham City:
Legzdins; Shotton, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Cotterill, Gleeson, Davis (Brown 86), Maghoma (Donaldson 70); Adams (Fabbrini 64); Jutkiewicz.
Unused subs - Kieftenbeld, Wiggins, Stewart, Kuszczak
I believe that those within the betting fraternity refer to this kind of game as a coupon buster.
Forest hadn't won a league game since they beat Leeds United back in August, whereas Blues arrived at the City Ground unbeaten in their last eight away games... in actual fact they had only lost one game all season and that was when Wolves visited St. Andrew's on August 20th.
So how did the game unfold tonight then?
Obviously I must start with the much overused cliche, about football being played on grass, not paper.
But while those in the red corner will claim that they over ran their play off chasing visitors and dominated play so much that they stifled Gary Rowett's preferred 4-4-2 formation, or 4-4-1-1 if you really must, while those of a Blues persuasion will point out that they misfired so badly on all cylinders, they made Forest look good.
There is definitely at least a good dollop of truth in the narrative of both camps, but this was the best performance I have seen from the home side for a very long time, while City got nowhere near the standards that their travelling support have come to expect of late.
Personally, I was actually impressed with the way that Phillipe Montanier's side imposed themselves, but was thoroughly disappointed by the way that Birmingham didn't.
It used to be the infamous West Midlands police force who saw all football supporters as public enemy number 1 and made things as unpleasant as possible for anybody who merely wanted to attend a game of football, but their latter day Nottinghamshire equivalent are currently making a real fist of snatching that lob sided crown for themselves.
Many people assumed that tonight's game must have been scheduled to be shown on live TV, but as fans of Mansfield Town and Notts County have already found out this season, the local police round here are on a mission to inconvenience fans as much as they possibly can.
Sky TV were actually showing Cardiff City v Bristol City; the real reason that this game had been switched to a Friday night, was that the powers that be felt that their resources would be somewhat overstretched, if that had to police this game at the City Ground on the same day that two potentially high risk fixtures (I'm being sarcastic here) were also going ahead in the same county.
Namely: Mansfield Town v Wycombe Wanderers and Notts County v Crewe Alexandra, which are both League 2 (AKA Division 4) fixtures.
Clubs are getting shafted by expensive bills from their local constabulary, while supporters are being messed about, with games getting their dates swapped about, or kicking off in the morning, on the pretence that the police have 'inside information' that trouble is potentially afoot, here there and everywhere, when that is clearly not the case at all.
But returning swiftly back to the City Ground from whatever off kilter tangent that I was stomping off on into the distance, let's concentrate on football issues.
As I was driving away from the game, Radio Nottingham's team of 'expert' reporters were putting the feel good factor and cheery ambiance around the stadium down to the breaking news of a potential boardroom takeover, whereby Forest's unpopular chairman Fawad Al Hasawi could soon be on his way, which would be good for both the club and football in general in my humble opinion.
But the twice European champions (and you thought they had those two stars on their shirts because they also worked at McDonald's) aren't the only club who should be bathed in optimism at this current moment in time, because Hong Kong stock market announcement at 2AM this morning, heralded final confirmation that Paul Seun Chu Hung's 'Trillion Trophy Asia', will takeover as Birmingham City FC's new holding company, with a 60% stake in the club as of Monday, when shares in Birmingham International Holdings Ltd resume trading.
At which time Blues fans can get the red carpet down to welcome such business luminaries as Zhao Wenqing, Daniel Sue Ka Lok, Ms. Chan Yuk Yee, Yiu Chun Kong and Zhu Kai to St. Andrew's as well as the TTA's non executive board members: Yan Ming, Pun Chi Ping and Christine Leung Pik Ha.
I have followed this long running saga with a close interest for quite a while now and can thoroughly recommend that you trawl through all of the lengthy documents pertaining to City's imminent takeover that are available to read online, particularly if you suffer from insomnia.
But though you'd have to say that any leap of faith, or jump into the dark, is never going to be entirely risk free, there are definitely enough pointers to feel more optimistic, or cautiously optimistic at least, that BCFC are going to be on a stronger footing than they have been for several years.
I guess that only time will tell.
Either way, if the local radio show was speculating that the Forest hordes were of a cheery demeanour because there is a possibility that their football club was about to enter protracted takeover talks (there is no other kind), I can confirm that the vast majority of Blues fans in the sold out away section were bloody miserable because their team were playing shite.
Henri Lansbury, who commanded a fee of £1 million when he joined Forest from Arsenal on a four year deal, shot from the edge of the box in the first minute and Blues keeper Adam Legzdins struggled to get to grips with the ball, but eventually got to grips with it at the second attempt with Ben Osborn almost benefiting from his indecisiveness.
Legzdins was beaten by Lansbury's free kick after nine minutes, inside his near post with a low shot... a goalkeepers nightmare if ever there was one.
But, the match referee Jeremy Simpson was summoned over by his assistant and the goal was ruled out for an offside infringement.
Osborn delivered a free kick to Nicklas Bendtner, who like Lansbury is another former Arsenal player, but he diverted his header just wide.
Legzdins was then tested again from another free kick by Lansbury.
Forest had a moody looking firm out tonight
Following a sustained spell of pressure from the home side, Eric Lichaj took Bendtner's pass down on his chest and drilled the ball across the face of Legzdins goal and bulled the inside of the side netting to put Forest ahead... it had been coming. Just to rub it in to the travelling Blues, before he scored, every time Lichaj had touched the ball, he was roundly booed for his previous involvement with another club that plays within the city boundaries of Birmingham.
Half time came and by my reckoning the Forest keeper Vladimir Stojkovic hadn't had a single save to make.
HT: Reds 1 v Blues 0
The home side were doing a good job of keeping tabs on Che Adams, who was prevented from having as much influence on the game as Birmingham would've liked, which was a good a way as any of restricting the visitors fluent movement in the Reds half of the pitch.
Michael Morrison collided with Bendtner as they both went for the ball at the same time and the Forest play maker never got up again and left the pitch on a stretcher grasping an oxygen mask to his face. 
Hopefully the extent of his injuries won't be as bad as they looked as he was carried away.
My favourite Welsh player, Dave Cotterill, showed why Gareth Bale takes the free kicks in international games, when he scuffed a free kick from twenty yards that harmlessly bobbled though to Stojkovic.
Aspostolos Vellios, on as a substitute for Bendtner, doubled Forest's lead with his first touch when he diverted Lansbury's cross past Legzdins at full stretch from close range after 63 minutes.
Ryan Shotton didn't look especially comfortable playing at right back, after an enforced Blues defensive shuffle, but it at least afforded him the opportunity to get down the wing and cross for Lucas Jutkiewicz to head the ball past Stojkovic to half the arrears in the 71st minute.
The goal boosted Birmingham and backed by their noisy supporters in full voice, the visitors upped the ante for almost five or six minutes before vanishing back into their shells.
Hildeberto Pereira had only been on from the bench for a few minutes,when he struck the final hammer blow, with a goal was probably the pick of the bunch, on a night that was punctuated by some quality finishes.
The Portugese Under 20 international, who is on a one year loan at the City Ground from Benfica, picked up the possession on the edge of the Forest area and raced forward into Birmingham's half, before playing the ball out wide to Osborn on the left flank and continuing his run into Legzdins
area and adding the finishing touch when he received a return pass straight in front of the Blues goal.
The game was now effectively over and Gary Rowett's side will now be chomping at the bit and hoping to get back in the saddle immediately when Rotherham United visit an 'under new ownership' St. Andrew's on Tuesday night, while Forest face a tricky away trip to Ewood Park on the same night, where Blackburn Rovers will be looking to avoid defeat, because as things stands, they are anchored into one of the three Championship relegation spots.
FT: Nottingham Forest 3 v Birmingham City 1
Upon arrival at my desirable homestead, I was taken aback to read the stats for tonight's match that suggested Blues had seen more of the ball over the 90 minutes. 
Possibly they had, mathematically at least, but not in the areas of the pitch where they were ever likely to cause their hosts much damage.
Least ways, you can dissect any game of football statistically, but there is only one real count that matters at the end of the day... and to that end Forest came out on top by virtue of three really well taken goals. 
Out of interest, the respective Under 23 sides of Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City face each other on Tuesday night, in a game that kicks off at 7pm at the Impact Arena, the home of Alfreton Town FC, which can be found at: North Street, Alfreton, Derbys. DE55 7FZ