Sunday, 25 June 2017

THE66POW. PRE-SEASON GAMES: 2017/18. AMENDMENT #44 (APPROX)

See below, just underneath the 'rear view' crowd scene at Bangor City FC, to peruse (or pursue even) a provisional list of 'friendly' games that I am hoping/intending to attend in the very near future.
As always, all plans are subject to eleventh hour change... you know how it is with pre-season fixtures and us contrary bastard football blogheads.
Further details and additional fixtures will be added/altered/updated in due course.... several enforced amendments have been edited thus far already.
My bucket list for next season includes approximately thirty new grounds. 
That is to say, they're not all actually new (though one or two are), but they're new to me, inasmuch as they're places that I haven't visited to watch football before.
Only three of the venues listed below are previously uncharted by yours truly... and they are Campion, Hall Green United and Skegness Town.
Please check before with the host club before setting out to any of these games, because I won't be taking any responsibility whatsoever for any expenses you might incur, should any of these games be cancelled/postponed/rearranged at short notice.

Sat 1 July - Hemsworth MW v Willington Quay Saints - 2pm
Mon 3 July - Winterton Rangers v Gainsborough Trinity - 7.45pm
Tue 4 July - East Yorkshire Carnegie v Frickley Athletic - 7pm
Wed 5 July - Retford United v Worksop Town - 7.45pm
Thu 6 July -  Hucknall Town v Coalville Town - 7.45pm
Fri 7 July - Ollerton Town v Harworth Colliery - 7.45pm
Sat 8 July - Skegness Town FC tournament, inc: Skegness Town, Horncastle Town, Spilsby Town and Wyberton
Tue 11 July - Rossington Main v Gainsborough Trinity - 7.45pm
Wed 12 July - Athersley Recreation v Frickley Athletic - 7.30pm
Thu 13 July - Underwood Villa v Linby CW - 7.00pm
Fri 14 July - Clipstone v Shirebrook Town - 7.30pm
Sat 15 July - Grimsby Town v Barnsley - 12.30pm
Sat 15 July - Cleethorpes Town v Handsworth Parramore - 3pm
Mon 17 July - Ollerton Town v Selston - 7.45pm
Tue 18 July - Stocksbridge Park Steels v Mansfield Town - 7.30pm
Wed 19 July - Mansfield Town v Middlesbrough - 7.45pm
Thu 20 July - Lincoln United v Gainsborough Trinity - 7.45pm
THE66POW 2017-18 - Prepared for any eventuality
Fri 21 July - Handsworth Parramore v Sheffield United XI - 7.45pm
Sat 22 July - Hall Road Rangers v Armthorpe Welfare - 11AM
Sat 22 July - Selby Town v Goole AFC - 3pm
Tue 25 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Mansfield Town - 7.30pm
Wed 26 July - Campion v Beeston St Anthony's - 7.45pm
Thu 27 July - Clipstone v Mansfield Town XI - 7.30pm
Fri 28 July - Hall Green United v Athersley Recreation - 7pm
Sat 29 July - RB Leipzig v Sevilla FC - Emirates Tournament - 2pm
Sat 29 July - Arsenal v SL Benfica - Emirates Tournament - 4:20pm 
Sun 30 July - RB Leipzig v SL Benfica - Emirates Tournament - 2pm
Sun 30 July - Arsenal v Sevilla FC - Emirates Tournament - 4:20pm 
Mon 31 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Doncaster Rovers - 7.45pm
Tue 1 Aug - Harworth Colliery v Maltby Main - 7.30pm
Wed 2 Aug - Bilborough Town v Radford - 7.45pm
Sat 5 Aug - Football season commences
Tue 8 Aug - Sherwood Colliery v Mansfield Town U21 - 7.45pm
Other pre-season friendlies are available, refer to the following click on website/blog links for more information:

Thursday, 8 June 2017

2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 n' all that


Last season, that is to say, the one before the 2016-17 campaign, I attended 206 matches... and chronicled (more or less) each and every one of them on this here long winded, self indulgent, bullshit blog, with added football content.
That is a crazy amount of games for anybody to watch, narrate and take photographs of, in such a short space of time; particularly somebody who has a family and works full time away from football.
In fact, hands up... it borders on a severe mental illness sized case of obsessiveness.
Yet, in spite of setting out not to do anything like as many games this time around, I have actually surpassed that total across the course of the season that is just coming to a close... and I think that still has at least one more fixture to squeeze out of the tube as of yet.
As long as it's my unwavering enthusiasm for the game and the culture (subculture?) surrounding it, that continues to inspire my prolific travels, and it never becomes just some sad exercise in number crunching and list ticking; then I would anticipate that the total amount of grounds I visit and games I watch next season, could well stretch beyond fifty again too.
As regards the past twelve months, for the most part I could've just cut and pasted the majority of my overview of the 2015-16 season, which appeared on THE66POW in June 2016 and recycled it under the guise of a new post, such were the similarities between the two campaigns.
The Mansfield Town Under 18 team that I was involved with for my second (and last) season, won their league title again, even though they found opposition teams raising their game to topple them as reigning champions.
But of course, success in development football isn't merely measured by the haul of silverware that any team accumulates, but the fact that six young footballers signed pro contracts this months, to join the four who progressed up through the ranks last year, is the true measure of this sides achievements; and the quality of some of the lads who have been released was quite staggering and highlighted just how brutal the game football can be, how high the bar as been set and just how narrow the lines between making the step up, or dusting yourself down to face whatever the next big decision and challenge in life might be.
The one thing that all of the lads must keep doing, whether they are staying at the club or not, is to never stop believing in themselves.
It is easy to excel when things are going well and people are blowing smoke up your arse, so to speak, but it's how you deal with the down time, when things don't seem to be going so well, that will ultimately make or break any aspiring footballer.
Self doubt is the quickest way to render yourself ineffective and will derail anybody who was on a journey towards fulfilling their ambitions.
Matt Salmon with Zayn Hakeem
Sadly, shortly before last weekend, we were informed of the tragic news that our popular young club physio, who has worked with the development squads over the past few years, and temporarily with the first team, had passed away, having lost his battle against cancer at the age of just 25 years old.
The impact of Matt's death was earth shattering to those who knew him and worked/played alongside him.
Words could never be sufficient enough to express the immense sense of loss we all felt upon realising that we will never see Matt again.
The supportive words and messages of condolences from across a wide spectrum of local football grapevine, were greatly appreciated and meant more than anybody could ever know.
Thank you all.
Away from the Stags youngsters, I also donned my 'jackass of all trades' tour jacket, over the course of the season, to help out some good pals in local football, who were in need of a helping hand, firstly: AFC Mansfield, who I liaised on with a pre-season media project and stood in as match day secretary for one early season game only, when that smashing bloke who looks like Norm out of Cheers, namely: Peter Craggs, failed his stuntman exam and was absent for what I believe was possibly the first time ever since the club's formation, from his duties with the Bulls, nursing an ankle injury.
And from October onward, I have subsequently been involved on the committee at Maltby Main, after I stood in for their club secretary John Mills for a couple of games, when old age and decrepitude dictated that he needed to take a rest.
Elsewhere, I've done peripheral bits and pieces, including Newark Town, when the club stalwart and all round good guy Richard Lane had other, more prioritous things to deal with... and he knows he only ever needs to ask should the need ever arise again.
It is always a pleasure to be asked to cover the Doncaster & District FA Senior Cup Final at the Keepmoat Stadium on an annual basis, which is fast becoming a job reporting exclusively on the triumphs of Swinton Athletic.
Next season, that is to say, the one after the 2016-17 campaign, I am remaining active on the committee at Maltby, filling in for holidays and absenteeism within the first team back up staff ranks;
but more often than not, I'll be spending time with Andy King and his coaches at Reserve team games, on the road in the Sheffield & Hallam County Senior League.
Personally I don't ever want, need or have any kind of specific job title at any club I am ever involved in, non league football is about rolling your sleeves up and getting on with whatever needs doing, wherever and whenever you roll up on any given match day.
And I am either a full on or phuck off kind of bloke.
Time allocation and prioritising are my forte, and I can turn my hand to most things after all this time.
But that is enough about me, because you all already know how spunking great yours truly is... and how thoroughly modest I am with it too ;-)
I'm very aware that there are several promising young footballers, who have been patiently waiting for the following details... so without further ado: all players aged 18 to 21, who would like to come along and find out what Maltby Main FC is all about, while trying out for our second string, who play men's football on a Saturday afternoon, should contact Andy King 07533855563 at your earliest possible convenience. 
Player recruitment roadshow.
Heading your way soon.
Failing that I will be trawling the usual circuit of South Yorks and North Notts football grounds with my player recruitment caravan in tow any time soon.
Earlier today I was asked: "What are you doing with your time now that the football season is finished?"
Finished!!??
You mean, people actually think football ever stops!?
It's actually the busiest time of the year for those of us who are involved in the admin side of the nuts and bolts mechanisms of the game. So I will answer that question in due course, during the few minutes that I'm not almost constantly using my phone, on 'football business' over the next three or four weeks. My Experia battery has been getting a proper hammering of late, but hey ho!
That obviously means that wheels are in motion and stuff is getting done... so, bring it on!
The EFL Championship was by far the most interesting division in a 'football as a form of theatre' kind of way, throughout the duration of last season.
Opinions as to managerial reign of Gianfranco Zola was polarised among supporters at Birmingham City, where approximately 34.78% of Blues fans thought he was a poor appointment and not fit for purpose, while the over riding majority just reckoned he was shit at his job and had no place being at St. Andrew's in the first place.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but if Zola had been in charge of that job, it would never have been built at all. The foundations would never have been in laid properly, nor the finish touches added.
Sure, he tried (but ultimately failed) to get the team to play attractive football.
There were a few, but far too few, glimpses of what he was trying to achieve, but he lost his way big time and was seemingly cocooned inside his own vision and worldview, blind to the fact that Blues had to get the basics right, otherwise their high speed downward spiral was heading straight down the plughole.
Y'know... the basic stuff, such as stopping the opposition scoring and getting a few goals and points on the board yourself along the way; as well as playing over elaborate, tippy tappy stuff from side to side across the middle of the park. Occasionally, but seldom aesthetically nice to watch passing football in short spells was getting City nowhere fast... apart from Division 3/League 1. It was a car crash of a season for the St. Andrew's based club, of the multiple pile up variety... fascinating yet very scary and macabre in extremes to watch at close quarters.
Maybe Zola will reemerge elsewhere and produce the finished article team of his desires. But he certainly nearly finished Birmingham off as a viable Championship side.
However, despite Zola making a complete mess of his reign at St.Andrews, by far the worst shift I saw them put in was during a 4-0 defeat at Newcastle United, which proved to be Gary Rowett's penultimate game in charge.
In League 2, Mansfield Town and (the majority) of their supporters, have been riding on the crest of a wave, known as the 'Evans effect', as the Stags began to show traces of being a far better team than their twelfth placed finish would suggest they are shaping into.
It does make a nice change to see Mansfield featuring among the favourites for promotion next season, rather than the usual predictions of impending doom.
But the Field Mill faithful are going to have to give it time for all of the new signings to gel, before finding out what next term holds, because although some of Evans many Summer signings (twelve so far to date) are of proven quality, all this actually equates to in real terms as of yet, is that the controversial Stags manager has bought a lot of players in to the club... pretty much as he has done during his previous spells in management elsewhere.
I'll stick my head on the chopping block and predict that Mansfield Town will be in contention for either a promotion or play off spot next season
Evans is passionate about the game, maybe too passionate at times... and he is a proven winner.
But I'm old enough to know that nothing in football is a formality, so although I really want the Stags to do well, having seen false dawns before, I shall only allow myself to be cautiously optimistic and open minded about what lays ahead.
While accepting that any of the many teams at Mansfield Town that operate below the Football League level are all part of a bigger strategy that is in place to feed the first team, who are the be all and end all at the club, pretty much like they are anywhere else, I am not 100% convinced that any of the home grown lads from the academy set up, who were signed on pro terms in either 2016 or 2017 will get even a sniff of first team action.
That is not a slight on any of them, far from it! It is an observation, as to how the pecking order works in football... inasmuch as, it can be a very rewarding game, on many different levels. But in reality, it can be brutally harsh too.
Of course, there are better judges than me of when (and if) any of the clubs highly rated prospects are ready to make the step up to the next level; but one needs to ask... in future years, will talented young players want to develop their game at a club where the development teams win trophies, or go somewhere else, where they have a reputation for and better record of giving youth a chance in the Football League?
Steve Evans has been given a mandate, and a budget, to get his team promoted and ultimately he will be judged on results and maintaining a healthy league position. But, alas, it won't make a blind bit of difference to the clubs expectations of him and his management team, nor his objectives, reputation and future employment prospects, whether he gives the lads who have come through the club ranks an opportunity to prove themselves on a bigger stage or not.
Moving swiftly on... Maltby Main FC, arguably overachieved when they had a good 2015-16 season and finished in the top seven in the NCEL Premier Division. At the end of that campaign I picked out Spencer Fearn at Maltby and, ironically, Karl Rose at Frickley Athletic as THE66POW's  managers of the year, given that the South Elmsall based club had also finished seventh in the Northern Premier League after several years of perpetual struggles against relegation.
Their progress certainly didn't go unnoticed elsewhere as clubs with a few more quid to chuck around, enticed a few pivotal players away and Mr Fearn subsequently had to effectively rebuild the team in the first half of the following term, which understandably saw the Miners flirting with the teams at the foot at the table for several  months while they regrouped and found their footing again, before turning things around and clawing their way up to mid table safety with a great run of form and several astute signings after the new year.
Maltby Main v Frickley Athletic. Pre season July 2016.
Frickley for their part had a hideous season, with Rose falling on his sword after an awful start results wise, before coming back to see the last couple of months out, after Lee Morris had done his level best to steady a sinking ship.
Ultimately, Frickley were relegated into Division 1 North of the NPL, before being moved to the South Division, when Ilkeston went out of business and Goole AFC were reinstated into the North section. In the interim. Fearn replaced Rose at Westfield Lane, amid a shit storm of incredulity among the more outspoken and volatile ranks of the Frickley fan base and Maltby called an EGM to discuss finding a replacement manager. Following an initial angry reaction, particularly on the FAFC fans internet forum, a string of impressive signings, things seem to have calmed down and it would seem that 'Spen' is going to be given an honeymoon period of sorts, to show he is up to the job, before he is thrown the the dogs and torn limb from limb should he not come up to required standard.
Give him a chance I say, you'll not hear anybody at Maltby badmouthing the guy, who did nothing but good for the club. Though he better stop nicking all of the Miners players any time soon, or I will smash his face in!
Steve Adams, John Styring, Jordan Hall, Mark Higginbottom...
and Don Estelle?
The EGM, in my humble opinion, represented a turning point in the history of the club.
The solidarity, optimism, camaraderie and togetherness that came out of that room. showed to me that Maltby Main weren't down and out, or even taking a standing count... in fact the heartbeat of the club was beating stronger than ever.
In the aftermath of that gathering, the enthusiasm bordered on euphoria, as anybody present would testify. Together Everybody Achieves More.
And in no time at all, a new management team were installed to great acclaim and behind the scenes the troops had been galvanised into action and are raring to go.
Welcome to Muglet Lane: Jordan Hall, John Styring and Mark Higginbottom, the new management team... and welcome back Steve Adams, who has been installed as the director of football, with Andy King remaining at the helm in the reserves set up.
Good luck to all of the players and other personnel who are moving on, both to Frickley and elsewhere.
It would have been easy to lose all of the impetus and feelgood factor that has been building at the club in recent times, but that is not going to be allowed to happen.
Once the players who are staying loyal to the club and those coming in click into place together, under the guidance of the new management structure... watch Maltby go!
It's going to be a very interesting season.
All for one and one for all n' all that!
Right, I suppose I best do one of those 'best of' things, like proper football bloggers do, some categories will have more than one winner:
THE 2016-17 THE66POW AWARDS:
Players of the year:
Reece 'Wez' Wesley - Maltby Main
Shawn Mitchell - Maltby Main
Nicky Darker - Maltby Main
Tim Lowe - Cleethorpes Town
Connor Smythe - Handsworth Parramore
Jodie Ellis - Market Warsop Ladies
Young players of the year:
Kieran Harrison - Mansfield Town U18
Kane Baldwin - Mansfield Town U18
Henri Wilder - Mansfield Town U18
Cain  Smith - Mansfield Town U18 & Romulus FC
Nyle Blake - Mansfield Town U18
Liz Harris - Mansfield Town (Dev) Ladies
Jack Weatherell - Lincoln City U18 &; Rainworth MW 
Jack Fixter - Lincoln City U18
Reece Fielding - Doncaster Rovers U18 & Frickley Athletic
Joe Pugh - Doncaster Rovers U18 & Frickley Athletic
Jack Wilkinson - Collingham, Lincoln United & Gainsborough Trinity Youth
Three for next season:
Keaton Ward, Aiden Walker, Jake Dumbleton - All Mansfield Town U18
Manager of the year:
Marcus Newell - Cleethorpes Town
Paul Marshall - Pickering Town
Curtis Woodhouse - Bridlington Town
Best games:
Immingham Town 3 v Wyberton 2 AET - Lincs League Cup Final
Best team performance(s):
Burton Albion U18 0 v Mansfield town U18 6 - EFL Youth alliance (NE)
Maltby Main 3 v Cleethorpes Town 0 - NCEL Premier Division
Market Warsop Ladies 6 v Mansfield Town (Dev) Ladies 2 - Notts Girls & Womens League Senior Division
Retford FC 0 v FC Bolsover 7 - CMFL North
Sutton Rovers 1 v Swinton Athletic 5 - Doncaster FA Senior Cup Final
Best referee:
Ian Jackson
Best programme:
Maltby Main - Obviously!
Mansfield Town - .Stands to reason.
Handsworth Parramore - Good work Mr Robinson.

Best website:
The official Toolstation NCEL website
Frickley Athletic - Highly amusing stuff Mr J!
THE66POW - But you all already knew that ;-)
And last but not least...
Team of the year:
Cleethorpes Town
Predictions for next season:
1) Handsworth Parramore will finish higher in the NCEL league table than they did this season, as will Worksop Town.
2) Top half finish for the 'little club with a big heart' Maltby Main FC
3) Campion will be promoted from the NCEL first division.
4) THE66POW will carry on, albeit in a different format.
5) I will get a photograph of John Stainrod (Handsworth Parramore) smiling.
Right I'm off for now. Enjoy the silence! 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Birmingham City 0 v Chelsea 2 - FAWSL1 - Spring Series

 
Saturday 3rd June 2017
FAWSL1 - Spring Series
at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Solihull Moors FC
Birmingham City (0) 0
Chelsea (1) 2
Karen Carney 22, Fran Kirby 58
Admission £7 advance, £8 on the day
Programme £2.50. Attendance 1171
Click HERE for Flickr photo album from this game
Birmingham City:
Ann-Katrin Berger, Paige Williams, Meaghan Sargeant, Jess Carter (Charlie Wellings 63), Kerys Harrop (C), Sarah Mayling, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Marisa Ewers (Freda Ayisi 70), Rachel Williams, Aoife Mannion, Ellie Brazil
Unused subs - Sophie Baggaley, Andrine Hegerberg, Chloe Peplow, Connie Schofield, Emily Westwood
Chelsea:
Carly Telford, Gilly Flaherty, Deanna Cooper, Millie Bright; Gemma Davison (Ramona Bachmann 64), Maren Mjelde, Katie Chapman (C), Crystal Dunn, Ji So-Yun (Erin Cuthbert 90), Karen Carney; Fran Kirby (Drew Spence 84)
Unused subs - Fran Kitching, Hannah Blundell, Beth England
The Spring Series is a one off competition, developed to bridge the gap as the FAWSL is in transition between switching to a winter league having previously been a summer based one.
Marc Skinner's beaten FA Cup Finalists had knocked Chelsea out of the competition at the semi final stage, but never looked likely to play the role of party poopers again this afternoon as the West London side comfortably picked up the three points that they needed to claim the Spring Series title on goal difference of +29, over Manchester City's +11, who had beaten Birmingham in the aforementioned Wembley final.
Chelsea had racked up a total of nineteen goals in their previous four outings, but having taken their semi final defeat to Blues into account today, they approached the game in a cautious fashion, employing a deep four (wo)man midfield strung across a solid looking back three, for whom the former Donny Belles player Millie Bright was outstanding on the left hand side, combining her defensive duties with the role of being Chelsea's main distribution line with a series of probing balls forward whenever the champions elect squeezed the life out Birmingham's attacking intentions before patiently working the ball forward.
A lot of the game was played at barely a trotting pace, but it's June, the sun was sat high in the afternoon sky and with the main stand acting as a windbreak for any light breeze that might offer the players some respite from the summer heat, surely that was understandable, as an intriguing if not overly entertaining game unfolded.
Never had Birmingham's traditional pre-match music of choice: ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky' been more apt.
In effect, Chelsea did what you might call a 'professional job', raising the tempo when  it was required but sensibly adapting to climate, while shutting up their shop to win the game and the Spring Series title, with a horses for courses performance.
Both sides forced corners early on, but Chelsea grew stronger and began to dominate proceedings.
Former Birmingham player Karen Carney started the ball rolling for the first goal scoring opportunity of the day, winning the ball in the middle of the park before battling past two challenges and spraying the ball out wide to Crystal Dunn on the left whose cross was only half cleared into the path of Ji So-Yun, but the South Korean opted for power over precision and volleyed over the bar.
But in the 22nd minute, the visitors made a breakthrough, when the diminutive Fran Kirby was poleaxed Ann-Katrin Berger, who collided heavily with the former Reading player as she ran onto a Gemma Davison knock and burst past the Birmingham keeper.
Berger was booked for the 'challenge' and Carney compounded her misery, by striking the penalty kick straight down the middle as the German shot stopper moved to her right.
"Hey she's called burger!" shouted an excited youngster. "Hey burger, is your mum a cheeseburger!?"
Verpiss dich you cheeky young scamp.
Blues defence did well to keep Chelsea down to a single goal lead at the interval as the Londoners began to turn the screw in an attempt to grind their hosts down.
Bright went close from Carney's dipping free kick and when Kirby swapped passes with So-Yun, Davison went even closer from the resulting cross, but planted her header wide at the back stick.
Maren Mjelde tried her luck a long-range lob that looked destined for the back of the net but Berger did well to back pedal and keep the ball out.
The Blues keeper was tested again right on the stroke of half time, when So-Yun rolled a sideways pass to Kirby ten yards out from the goal, but the keeper advanced smartly and managed to block the England international's attempted shot, before rushing to grab hold of the loose ball.
HT: Birmingham City 0 v Chelsea 1
Mjelde almost doubled the visitors lead at the start of the second half, but her header from Carney's corner kick was deflected wide.
In the fifty eighth minute, the Spring Series trophy was as good as heading to London, when Berger fumbled Davison's cross against the upright and Kirby was well placed to pounce on the keeper's error and gratefully knocked the ball into the back of the net, to claim the simplest of goals.
"We're on the pitch if we have a shot!" Sang a pragmatic gathering of Bluenoses behind the goal that Chelsea were defending steadfastly.
Gilly Flaherty combined with  Kirby and So-Yun, the latter knocked a pass back in the direction of Mjede, who spanked the ball inches wide of the upright.
Ellie Brazil pushed forward for Blues and when Flaherty slipped while trying to clear her lines, it presented Rachel Williams with an opportunity, but her first time shot from all of thirty yards flew wide of the left hand post.
Did the shot preempt the pitch invasion  that the home fans singing section had predicted ten minutes before? Well, it might have done if some of them hadn't already gone to the bar to take on some re-hydrating fluids.
Kirkby was substituted late in the game and the 'cult hero' was warmly applauded by supporters of both teams and the many neutrals present too.
The crowd was made up of around eleven hundred football fans and a scrum of around seventy one young children whose ever growing mass game of tag, was beginning to pick up momentum and numbers at a quite scary rate.
Hey ho! We were all kids once... let the children boogie as Mr David Bowie would say.
Blues finished the game well, raising their game while Chelsea were prepared to sit back on the lead that they knew had won them the seasonal title, but the visitors almost made it three nil deep into stoppage time, when Erin Cuthbert, who had just entered the fray as a late substitute was thwarted by Berger, who got a foot in to block her close range effort as the two of them went head to head.
Blues had huffed and puffed and worked hard, but ultimately Chelsea have a squad made up of quality players, who had put Emma Hayes safety first game plan into action to the letter and comfortably finished the Spring Series off, in a sensible manner that got the job done.
FT: Birmingham City Ladies 0 v Chelsea Ladies 2

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Attenborough Cavaliers 3 v Ladybrook Local 1 - Notts FA Sunday Senior Trophy final

Tuesday 30th May 2017
Notts FA Sunday Senior Trophy Final
at Debdale Park, Sherwood Colliery FC
Attenborough Cavaliers (2) 3
Mark Green 44, 45 +
Nick Hawkins 70
Ladybrook Local (1) 1
Mark Carter 7
Admission & programme free. Attendance 200 ish
Deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest, on the excellent playing surface at Debdale Park, the home of Sherwood Colliery FC, neither team gave any quarter during this eagerly contested battle for the Notts Senior Sunday League final, played out between two attack minded teams.
The match referee, Mr Ian Dudley did really well to see to it that the game finished eleven aside, as certain individuals obviously had their own interpretation as to what the words 'attack' and 'minded' actually entailed.
But, if truth be told, a bit of rough and tumble and physicality added to the entertainment for the decent sized crowd who had turned out on a balmy (barmy?) night in Mansfield Woodhouse.
The 'Brook' took the game to Attenborough during the opening exchanges and went ahead through Mark Carter in the seventh minute, whose thumping angled shot took a deflection off of Ben Cheatle, that gave the 'Cavs' keeper, JakeWant no chance of reaching the ball, in spite of his best efforts.
Moments later, Carter saw his next attempt on goal narrowly clear the bar via another deflection, while Ryan Meehan had a goal disallowed because he had strayed narrowly offside.
Jack Upton was close to finding an equaliser when he hooked a twenty five yard shot just over the 'Local' goal and from the resulting goal kick, Carter broke forward again but this time his shot was blocked by Rich Dean.
Ladybrook looked as though they were taking a one-nil lead into the break, but right on the stroke of half time, a clinical double strike by Mark Green turned the game on it's head, as the 'Cavaliers drew level through a great solo strike from out on the right flank, after Cheatle had picked out Green with a long diagonal pass (that Glenn Hoddle would've been proud of) that bulged the top left hand corner of the net... and then took the lead in  stoppage time when Green was on hand to knock the ball home, after Fabio Gardella had parried the ball into his path.
HT: Attenborough 2 v Ladybrook 1
Mark Green. Two goals inside a minute.
Gardella did well to pluck Upton's in-swinging corner out from under his crossbar, while at the other end Craig Gould was unlucky to see his effort crash into the side netting after working his way through the 'Cavs' defence into a shooting position.
Jarrod Westcarr came on in the second half for Attenborough and his pace and close control were causing Ladybrook no end of problems as he pulled their defence all over the place, with Aidan Brady in support.
Westcarr delivered a right wing corner into the 'Brook' area that Jason Westwood appeared to have cleared away, but the ball fell invitingly for Nick Hawkins on the edge of the area and he crashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. 
Green played the ball out wide to Ryan Stak who knocked a defence splitting pass into the path of Beighton, but Carter had moved across quickly to get in a blocking tackle.
Marshalled by Westcarr, the 'Cavs' played the clock down by taking the ball into the corner and after two added minutes had elapsed, it was going to be Attenborough's name that would be added to the cup, in spite of Ladybrook looking for all the world like the most likely cup winners for the majority of the first half.
Ultimately though, the Cavaliers deservedly took the honours by virtue of some quality finishing.
FT: Attenborough Cavliers 3 v Ladybrook Local 1