Friday, 12 February 2016


Updated Thursday 11th February 2016
All travel plans are weather permitted and subject to late alterations.
I'm not nearly half as organised as I ought to be sometimes though, so discrepancies will occur.
There will probably be a few postponements along the way and several re-arranged games to slot in towards the business end of the season, plus cup finals, play offs and the like.

Sat 13 Feb - Rotherham United v Birmingham City - SkyBet Championship - 3pm
Mon 15 Feb - Ilkeston v Daventry Town - EvoStik Doodson League Cup R3 - 7.45pm
Tue 16 Feb - Parkgate v Maltby Main - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Wed 17 Feb - AFC Mansfield v Sheffield FC - HKL NMU19L (North) - 7.45pm
Thu 18 Feb - Swallownest v Long Eaton United - HKL NMU19L Mini Shield - 7.45pm
Sat 20 Feb - Mansfield Town v Bradford City - FLYA (NE) - Noon - at Clipstone FC
Sat 20 Feb - AFC Mansfield v Hemsworth Miners Welfare - NCEL Div 1 - 3pm
Tue 23 Feb - Handsworth Parramore v Barton Town Old Boys - NCEL Prem -7.45pm
Wed 24 Feb - Penistone Church v Maltby Main - NCEL LC3 - 7.45pm
Thu 25 Feb - Swallownest v Hucknall Town - HKL NMU19L Mini Shield - 7.45pm
Sat 27 Feb - Mansfield Town v Burton Albion - FLYA (NE) - 11am - at Rainworth MW FC
Sat 27 Feb - Harworth Colliery v Bilsthorpe - CMFL (North) - 2pm

Tue 1 Mar - Handsworth Parramore v Cleethorpes Town - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Wed 2 Mar - Maltby Main v Shaw Lane Aquaforce - Sheff & Hallam Cup QF - 7.45pm
Fri 4 Mar - Brodsworth Welfare v Harworth Colliery - CMFL North - 3pm
Sat 5 Mar - Mansfield Town v Rotherham United - FLYA (NE) - 11am - at Clipstone FC
Sat 5 Mar - Mansfield Town v Yeovil Town - SkyBet L2 - 3pm
Tue 8 Mar - Radford v Clipstone - Notts Senior Cup SF - 7.45pm
Wed 9 Mar - Retford v Brodsworth Welfare - CMFL (North) Floodlit Cup - 7.45pm
Thu 10 Mar - Swallownest v Collingham - HKL NMU19L Mini Shield
Sat 12 Mar - Mansfield Town v Doncaster Rovers - FLYA (NE) - 11am - at Rainworth MW FC
Sat 12 Mar - Teversal v Penistone Church - NCEL Div 1 - 3pm
Tue 15 Mar - Tadcaster Albion v Clipstone - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Wed 16 Mar - Maltby Main v Brigg Town - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Thu 17 Mar - Collingham v Harworth Colliery - HKL NMU19L Mini Shield
Sat 19 Mar - Mansfield Town v Portsmouth - SkyBet L2 - 3pm
Tue 22 Mar - Retford United v Clipstone - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm
Wed 23 Mar - AFC Mansfield v Yorkshire Amateur - NCEL Div 1 - 7.45pm
Fri 25 Mar - Wycombe Wanderers v Mansfield Town - SkyBet L2 - 3pm
Sat 26 Mar - Knaresborough Town v AFC Mansfield - NCEL Div 1 - 3pm
Mon 28 Mar - Mansfield Town v Northampton - SkyBet L2 - 3pm
Tue 29 Mar - England v Netherlands - International Match - 8pm
Wed 30 Mar - Maltby Main v Pontefract Collieries - NCEL Prem - 7.45pm

Sat 2 Apr - Mansfield Town v Notts County - FLYA - 11am - at Rainworth MW FC
Sat 2 Apr - Clipstone v Staveley MW - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Tue 5 Apr - Frickley Athletic v Darlington 1883 - EvoStik NPL
Wed 6 Apr - Sheffield United v Handsworth Parramore - HKL NMU19L Mini Shield - 7.45pm - at Stocksbridge PS FC
Sat 9 Apr - Hartlepool United v Mansfield Town - FLYA - Noon
Sat 16 Apr - Lincoln City v Mansfield Town - FLYA - 11am - at Lincoln United FC
Sat 16 Apr - Retford United v Liversedge - NCEL Prem - 3pm
Sat 23rd Apr - Mansfield Town v Barnet - SkyBet L2 - 3pm
Sat 30 Apr - Mansfield Town v Grimsby Town - FLYA - 11am - at Rainworth MW FC
Sat 30 Apr - Nostell MW v Rainworth MW - NCEL Prem - 3pm

Sat 7 May - Mansfield Town v Cambridge United - SkyBet L2 - 3pm

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Worksop Town 4 v Retford United 3 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Windsor Food Service Stadium, Sandy Lane, Worksop
Worksop Town (1) 4
Conor Higginson 5
Mitch Husbands 65
Andrew Ofosu 68
Steve Woolley 80
Retford United (3) 3
Mark Waters 8
Adam Lee 17
Julian Lawrence 43 OG
Admission, pay what you want. We paid £5
Programme £1.00
Attendance 730
The last time these two sides met was on Boxing Day, when they drew 2-2 at Cannon Park, see HERE for details
Worksop Town:
Jon Kennedy, Lawrence Gorman, Phil Roe, Julian Lawrence, Steve Wooley, Ross Henshaw, James Cottingham (Mitch Husbands 58), Callum Harrison, Conor Higginson (Andy Ofosu 51), Kyle Jordan (Jamie Hadfield 87), Adam Ward
Subs not used - Jordan Hodder, Jack Waddle
Retford United:
Luke Scollins, Jordan Good (Emmanuel Igwe 81), Brad Johnson, Isacc Sellars, James Finnegan, Jordan Hardman, Roper, Mark West (Brad Gledhill 87), Adam Lee (C), Christian Savage, Mark Waters (Carlton Dickinson 90)
Subs not used - Mark Wilson, Jermaine Gordon
I think it would be fair to say, that even though you've got to admire Worksop for the way they fought back to eventually overcome their neighbours, the Tigers were second best for most of the night and Retford played them off the park at times.
Mark Shaw used his substitutes well and ultimately, that is what saw his team through, but the best team didn't win and although the Badgers will be gutted not to have taken anything out of this game, they can be immensely proud of the way that they took it to their title challenging rivals. 
Football can be a cruel game at times and it doesn't always give you a fair return on what you've invested into it.
The Tigers moved back to the top of the table as a result of their win tonight, two points ahead of Tadcaster Albion, who ominously still have three games in hand over Shaw's side, who definitely needed the points more tonight than their local rivals.
I like the Tigers manager, we get on very well, but... in all honesty, it needs to be said that 'Showy' was a bit jammy to get the win on this occasion, in spite of pulling a rabbit out of the hat when he changed things around in a bid to salvage the game. Retford were very unlucky.
But don't just take my word for it. I hereby present the title and introduction to tonight's match report on the Worksop Guardian website, written by their sports editor Graham Smyth:
The great Bassetlaw robbery: Notts Police are looking for a group of men in orange shirts, after one of the biggest robberies Bassetlaw has ever seen on Wednesday night.
I rest my case m'Lud!
Things looked bleak for the visiting supporters, when Conor Higginson drilled a shot past Luke Scollins after just five minutes.
But Chris Sellars side had travelled the short distance to Sandy Lane with a game plan up their sleeves and hit back almost immediately. Jon Kennedy turned Mark West's shot away to his left, but Jon Roper was well placed to lob it into the path of Mark Waters, who planted a text book downwards header between Kennedy and his covering defenders.
My travelling companions had predicted "6-1 to Worksop" and "at least five to Worksop", while I had gone for "a 1-1 draw", but the swines wouldn't let me cash out after just 8 minutes.
Laurence Gourman, the Tigers right back, making his first appearance at Sandy Lane, powered through the right channel and forced a save from Scollings, who held on to the ball at the second attempt.
Retford were stretching the home side all over the place in the middle third of the pitch, with an impressive fast passing game... and at times, much to the (pleasant) surprise of even their own followers, they were threatening to over run their hosts in midfield.
Kennedy had to get down quickly when Roper planted a firm shot towards his bottom left hand corner.
Brad Johnson attacked down the left flank and nudged the ball past Jordan Good to Christian Savage, who played a diagonal pass through the Tigers rearguard for Mark Waters to run on to and Kennedy pulled Worksop out of the mire again.
But there was very little that the ever reliable Worksop keeper could do, as Adam Lee's free kick skimmed off of the head of one of the players in the defensive wall and into the net via Kendo's outstretched fingers.
Worksop were starting to buckle under a wave of Retford pressure.
James Finnigan won the ball in the centre circle and sent the Badgers forward once again. Some frantic last ditch defending saw Retford gain another free kick on the edge of the area.
Lee's kick was blocked, but before the Tigers could clear their lines, West picked up the ball, exchanged passes with Lee and shot narrowly wide of the upright.
Retford thought they should have had a penalty, when Walters was impeded by Cottingham, but the referee was having none of it, despite booking the Worksop player.
Adam Ward missed two good chances as Worksop made good progress through the left hand side of midfield as they staged a mini-revival.
The Tigers put Jordan Hardman under pressure in the centre of Retford's defence, but he calmly took the sting out of their attacking intent and passed the ball forward without looking unduly flustered.
Johnson motored down the left flank again from Finnigan's slide rule pass and the Tigers were happy to see the ball out for a corner. Lee swung the ball in to the back stick and Worksop only half cleared the danger as far as Good, who hit a first time shot wide of Kennedy's goal.
The Badgers put together a great four man passing move across the middle of the park before Johnson broke free down the left flank again, crossing to West, whose shot on the turn struck the former Retford United centre half Julian Lawrence and ended up in the bottom left hand corner of the goal, with Kennedy going the other way to cover the initial shot.
HT: Worksop Town 1 v Retford United 3
It was great to catch up with Clipstone's Jas Colliver and Hallam's Ryan Hindley in the bar at half time, before taking up our position to see how the second half would unfold.
We bumped into Darren Shaw (Mansfield Town), standing with Andy Saunders and Rudy Funk from AFC Mansfield, who I'd only managed to chat to in passing last Wednesday, when our paths had crossed briefly elsewhere. We had plenty to discuss about their upwardly mobile club, including a possible (though highly improbable) plan to help the Bulls manager to stop smoking.
But I digress... on with the action.
United started the second half on the front foot and they won a corner out on the left flank from which Lee picked out West, who couldn't keep his shot down.
Worksop scrambled the ball away as Good's knock in from the right, caused havoc in the Tigers six yard box and Waters header crashed off the underside of the crossbar, where it dropped just over the line.
The referee said it wasn't a goal and regardless of the celebrations of the Retford fans, who had a clear and unimpeded view behind the net, it was still 1-3.
Err... what can you say?
Other than, there wouldn't be such a thing as football without the match officials. Players and managers make loads of mistakes on a regular basis and referee's are only human too.
The whole of the ball WAS definitely over though.
Retford Youth Casuals - "You'll never make the station!"
Waters almost added a fourth, but he took a layer of paint off of the right hand post, with a stinging shot from almost 30 yards out.
Johnson, who was having a great game for the Badgers out on the left flank, was stopped in his tracks in a time honoured fashion by Cottingham, who had already been booked, but Lee's resultant free kick dropped just wide of the far post without any Retford player getting the goal bound touch onto it that was required.
Mark Shaw sent on Andy Ofosu and Mitch Husbands within a few minutes of each other.
This, combined with the lack of goal line technology at NCEL grounds, proved to be the turning point of the game, although in the final analysis, Worksop were undeniably fortunate tonight, but resilient until the bitter end nevertheless, for which they deserve a lot of credit.
With 25 minutes to go, Mitch Husbands, who in my humble opinion is probably one of the most under rated players in Worksop's side, nodded the ball past Scollins to put Worksop back in the game and within three minutes it was all square, when Andy Ofuso broke in from the right and drilled a low shot just inside the post... and all of a sudden their was a noisy commotion in the ground, as the home fans let out a collective roar of sheer relief.
Retford FC were out in force tonight supporting their
pals from Cannon Park, please support their Friday
night fundraiser at the Elms Hotel if you can.
West and Lawrence came head to head during the goal celebrations in an angry exchange and with the home fans chanting "Off! Off! Off!" (slightly ironic to say how Cottingham had been spared such a fate only a few minutes before, when Shaw had substituted him for his own good), the referee yellow carded the Retford player.
The visitors deserved at least a point from this game, that they should have already been 5-1 up in before Worksop mounted their great escape. But football fate doesn't f*** about!
Retford doggedly defended a corner inside the final 10 minutes, that they hooked away, but only as far as Steve Wooley, who smashed home the ball to bag a goal that was worthy of winning any game... even one where your visitors have called most of the shots and dictated 70% of play.
It was a cruel blow for Chris Sellars side.
As regards keeping the Tigers hopes afloat in the title race, the significance of Wooley's strike was immense and having almost capitulated several times on the night, Worksop dug deep to preserve their lead now, until the final whistle.
FT: Worksop Town 4 v Retford United 3
While leaving the ground I overheard a Tigers fan saying that they had given Retford too much time and space on the ball tonight. That's bollocks pal!
Sellars side made their own time and space and earned the right to play the way they did, with a pressing and quick passing game, in which they dominated the midfield, from where they attacked at pace for most of the game, until Worksop uncharacteristically 'went long' for the final twenty minutes.
Tonight Retford did everything that they didn't do against Malty Main last week, and in spite of one myopic dissenter's view of the game, it was good to hear the overwhelming majority of the home supporters had nothing but good to say about the Badgers performance. They're a fair crowd at Sandy Lane.
Well played Retford and well done to Worksop for never giving up chasing the game.
All in all, a great advertisement for the quality of the NCEL.
Good luck to both teams as they go on their travels in the NCEL On Saturday.
The pay what you want (minimum of £1) gesture from Worksop Town FC, was so that a bucket collection could be held in support of fundraising for a bereavement room, at Bassetlaw Hospital, for the grieving relatives of stillborn babies. This initiative was arranged by the club with Emma and Keith Hampson in commemoration of their daughter Evelyn Barbara.
It's a very worthy cause and I hope they raised a small fortune from the generous donations received from tonight's crowd of 730.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Frickley Athletic 5 v Buxton 1 - EvoStik NPL Prem

Tuesday 9th February 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League - Premier Division
SW Jackson Utilities Stadium, Westfield Lane, South Elmsall
Frickley Athletic (1) 5
Sam Akeroyd 23 seconds
James Walshaw 52, 80
Tom Davie 60
Luke Hinsley 66
Buxton (1) 1
Brad Barraclough 20
Admission £9. Programme £2. Attendance 259
Frickley Athletic:
Sebastian Malkowski, Tom Davie, Steven jeff, Luke Hinsley, John Cyrus, Macaulay Parkinson, Sam Akeroyd (Chris Wood 77), Simon Lenighan, Jacob Hazel, James Walshaw, Tyler Williams (Jack Wakefield 84).
Unused subs - Brad Grayson, Lee Stratford, Jon Hood.
Myles Wright, Glenn Belezika (George Grayson 56), Jamie Green, Ricky Ravenhill, Joel Bembo-Leta, Greg Young, Alastair Taylor, Spencer Harris, Brad Barraclough, Ash Burbeary (Alex Wiles 9), Niall Doran.
Unused subs - Ash Worsfold, Fabrice Bembo-Leta, Tim Ryan.
Frickley Athletic are currently enjoying their best season for at least a decade and the feelgood factor around the place hits you like a good lungful of fresh air as you enter 'the Wembley of the North', or the SW Jackson Utilities Stadium to give it it's full title.
Their is a cage erected around the players tunnel at this South Elmsall enclosure, to protect the locals of a cheery, articulate and placid disposition from angry and snarling match officials.
Simon Lenighan has returned to Westfield Lane from Rotherham United and on tonight's evidence he is going to be a really good re-acquisition for Karl Rose's side.
An explosive start from the home side, saw them take the lead inside the first minute, when Sam Akeroyd 'squeaked' the ball through a narrow gap by the right hand post as the Blues tore into Buxton right from the off.
Things went from bad to worse for Martin McIntosh's side, when their captain Greg Young was shown a straight red card for taking a kick at Jacob Hazel.
Despite their shaky start, dismissal of their skipper seemed, ironically, to galvanise the Bucks and in the twentieth minute, Brad Barraclough got his head to the second of two free kicks from Jamie Green out on the left flank and the visitors were level.
It happens so often, that when a team go down to ten men, they up the ante. And Buxton more than held their own for the remainder of the first half and you would never have known they were at a numerical disadvantage.
But after the break, Frickley ripped them apart with a solid and dominant display.
HT: Blues 1 v Bucks 1
Seven minutes into the second half, with Buxton laying deep in a bid to preserve the possibility of a draw, they were caught out when James Walshaw picked up on a long pass cum clearance from Sebastian Malkowski that dropped over his shoulder a couple of yards outside the Bccks penalty area and drilled the ball past Myles Wright.
On the hour, Tom Davie got onto the end of Walshaw's flick from Sam Akeroyd's left wing corner and increased Frickley's lead with a shot from inside the six yard box to make it 3-1.
The Blues were rampant now and the home fans were lapping it up.
Six minutes later Akeroyd undid the visitors with another flag kick from the left flank and the Blues captain Luke Hinsley nudged a header in at the near post to claim Frickley's fourth.
Buxton were on the ropes now, displaying the same sort of body language you'd expect from a past his retirement age Boxer in the swansong of his career, taking a standing count.
But Karl Rose's side kept jabbing away in search of that final knockout blow.
They were a joy to watch tonight at times. Yes! Frickley... a joy to watch. Believe it!
Sam Akeroyd was substituted in the 77th minute and the Westfield Lane showed their approval as he left the pitch... and rightly so, his input had been immense.
Luke Hinsley saw the Bucks guard drop one last time and... whack!
He picked out Walshaw with a free kick from out the left and Buxton were on the canvas, as the Blues number ten turned the ball past Wright again.
The damage had been done now and with the game over as a contest, Friickley sat back and comfortably saw the game out.
Buxton's misery was further compounded when Seb Malokowski saved Ricky Ravenhill's penalty inside the last three minutes, after the Blues keeper had tangled with Alistair Taylor as they both went for the ball on the edge of the box.
FT: Frickley Athletic 5 v Buxton 1
I can't remember the last time I saw Frickley play as well as they did in the second half.
It was probably way back in time, when they were still a Gola League side.
It was REALLY good to catch up with so many great people again at Westfield Lane tonight.
And it's a shame that I'm up for work at 5.30AM in the morning, or I would still be there now.
Ladies and Gents I salute you all, thanks, as always, for the incredibly warm welcome.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Rossington Main 0 v Penistone Church 4 - NCEL Div 1

Saturday 6th February 2016 - 3PM Kick Off
Toolstation NCEL Division 1
at Oxford Street
Rossington Main (0) 0
Penistone Church (2) 4
Danny Barlow 22
Danny Howes 38
Lewis Dickinson 59
Oliver Fearon 70
Admission £4. Attendance 140
Upon arrival at 'Rosso' I went into their nicely appointed clubhouse for a warm, before exposing myself to the elements again, for the third time in just a minuscule amount of stoppage time over 22 hours.
BY heck I will hit my target figure of 125 games this season if it kills me.
A good number of vociferous supporters had made their way across from Penistone and it was a real shame for the host club that Doncaster Rovers away game at Scunthorpe hadn't been called off a bit sooner, allowing some of the 'Donny' fans with the opportunity to get to Rossington (or Harworth for their 2pm kick off).
Only three games in the NCEL survived pitch inspections today, namely: Tadcaster's 1-0 win in the Premier Division up at Bridlington Town (with their goal coming in the 95th minute of 'Taddy Time'), Shirebook Town's 5-2 home win against Winterton Rangers in Division One and this one at Oxford Street, that Rossington must've wished hadn't gone ahead either, given how it all went pear shaped for them as Penistone cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win, which saw them finish the afternoon in 7th place.
Penistone showed their intentions early on, when Danny Barlow, playing his last game for the visitors before he relocates to Australia, went for goal with a free kick that could have gone anywhere in the strong wind that was blowing across the pitch, but in the event it nestled harmlessly in Simon Dye's hands. Local goalkeeping legend Richard Watson was inexplicably only on the bench for Rossington today ;-)
At the other end, Liam Wright cued up a chance for his player manager Lee Holmes, but he scuffed his shot and failed to trouble Adam Rhodes.
Rossington's left back Brad Billam ventured forward and picked out Holmes with a cross, but he was fouled twenty yards from goal. Being a leader among men, Holmes took responsibility for the dead ball himself and the people with their fingers on the purse strings at Oxford Street breathed a sigh of relief that they've erected netting behind the goal at that end to prevent stray balls vanishing into the adjacent woodland coppice.
Jason Stokes showed his marker some quick feet and set up his gaffer with yet another strike on goal and this time he shot only narrowly wide.
Penistone took the lead with a stylishly worked goal, when Barlow, Ollie Fearon, Ash Ellis and then Barlow again, surged through the Main defence with a great passage of play, before the former (and the latter) placed the ball past Dye to register a goal to sign off with before he departs to Antipodean climes.
Within two minutes 'Church' were almost two goals to the good, but Danny Joynes hit his effort straight at Dye.
Stokes free kick was cleared for a corner, which the linesman gave as a goal kick but was over ruled by the referee. Billam took the kick and struck the ball low and hard across the face of the Penistone goal, but nobody managed to get even the slightest touch to it, which was all it needed and the visitors cleared their lines.
Fearon and Barlow combined out on the right flank and crossed to Joynes who had ghosted in on the blind side of his marker, but Dye denied the 'Church' number 11 with a blocking save.
Penistone began to turn the screw on their hosts as half time approached and were rewarded with another goal for their efforts, when Danny Howes converted Joynes cross.
For purposes of clarification, I checked the line ups I had jotted down and in case you were wondering, not all of Penistone's players are actually called Danny.
HT: Rossington Main 0 v Penistone Church 2
Dye saved well from Barlow right at the end of the second half as it became obvious that Rossington were going to have to make a serious fist of getting back into this game, before it slipped away from them.
Holmes took control of the ball as it bounced up in front of him on the edge of the area, juggled it over two challenges and crashed a shot narrowly over the bar.
The Main came even closer, when Stokes held the ball up well 18 yards from goal and slipped it into the path of Jordan Hatton, who beat Rhodes but skimmed the bar with his effort from level with the penalty spot. When your luck's out...
Three members of the crowd spot Nora Batty in the distance
Straight from the goal kick, Penistone counter attacked at pace, or 'did a Leicester City' as it's being called nowadays, Barlow knocked the ball out wide to Fearon who crossed it first time and Lewis Dickinson nudged the ball past Dye from close range.
Joynes was a whisker away from getting on the end of Dickinson's cross as the visitors threatened to run riot.
Rossington had created chances, but were now being punished for not finishing them off, as Ian Richards side took control of the second half.
Barlow's angled corner towards the edge of the Rossington area found Fearon in space and as Dye ran from the line to fill in a space where a defender should have been, he could only claw at the ball as the Penistone centre forward 'dinked' it over him, in the 70th minute.
Some oft the Main fans retired to the clubhouse and a few more sneaked out early, figuring that this game was now a done deal.
In the closing stages, the 'Church' almost added two more goals to their tally, when substitute Andy Ling smashed a thundering shot just over Dye's crossbar from 15 yards... and Barlow sent Dickinson through with a defence splitting pass, but having taken the ball round Dye he found the angle was too tight to squeak the ball past the left hand upright and over the line.
Rossington will want to forget about today ASAP, lord knows they were a team of triers today, but nothing came off for them. Penistone thoroughly deserved this win however and impressed me no end with their fast passing game, movement and clinical finishing.
FT: Rossington Main 0 v Penistone Church 4
Good luck 'Down Under' Danny Barlow... and good luck trying to replace him Ian Richards.

York City 0 v Mansfield Town 1 - FLYA (NE)

Saturday 6th February 2016  11AM Kick Off
Football League Youth Alliance (North East)
at St. John's University, York
York City (0)
Mansfield Town (1) 1
Tom Marriott pen 43
York City:
Kieran Price, Alex McMillan, Kyle Tranter, Sam Fielding, Richard Da Groot (Joe Kemp 73), Aaron Brettell, Alex Brotton, Dec Leen (Reece Breslin 57) Ben Hurst, Brad Freer, Nick Kennedy (Aaron Heswell 57)
Unused subs - Matty Parker, Sam Jefferson
Mansfield Town:
Adam Bishop, Teddy Bloor, Charlie Shaw, Drew Gibson (Alistair Smith 53), Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison (C), Cain Smith, Cameron Healey, Devante Reittie (Surafel Behailu 87), Tom Marriott (Nyle Blake 80), Tyler Johal
Unused subs - Sam Wilson, Kane Baldwin
In spite of their lowly standing in the league, York City showed today, as they had done at Rainworth earlier in the season when a solitary headed goal by Morgan Ratcliffe was all that separated them, that there isn't such a thing as a bad team in this division and that every side has a seam of quality players, who are capable of stepping up within their club ranks; which illustrates what a great job John Dempster and Mark Peters are doing, to be maintaining their youngsters challenge for the title in such a strong league.
Owing to York's usual venue having fallen foul to the recent flooding, the game was switched to the 3G pitch at the University on Haxby Road and the surface proved to be a great example of just how fast artificial pitch technology has developed in recent years.
Teddy Bloor opened up the hosts defence in the opening exchanges, with a measured through ball to Cameron Healey, who came very close to opening the scoring.
Though the pitch was never going to be a problem today, the game started to be become a hard slog due to the pouring rain that was lashing down from start to finish.
Devante Reittie timed his run well to stay onside as Bloor dropped the ball in front of him from out on the wing, but with the goal at his mercy, the Stags centre forward narrowly failed to connect with an attempted header with the goal at his mercy.
Ben Hurst, who has had several outings with City's first team, came close to opening the scoring twice, but hit the post in the first instance and then headed Alex Brotton's right wing cross wide.
Brotton was evidently one to watch as the home side's defence were always looking to find him with the ball whenever they made a clearance.
Tom Marriott, playing a wide role on the left today, was having a battle royal with the Minstermen's right back Alex McMillan, he got the better of his marker, when he cleverly drew the York skipper forward out of position and released Reittie down the left wing with a well weighted pass, Reittie crossed to Cain Smith who had moved forward to fill in the hole left by the striker's run, but Richard Da Groot put his foot through the ball and launched it to safety.
The Stags had a great opportunity to break the deadlock, when Reittie dispossessed Sam Fielding on the edge of the area and surged forward five yards before unleashing an angled shot that Kieran Price did very well to deal with.
Reittie attacked the York goal at pace again and Aaron Brettell had to put the ball out of play to alleviate the danger. Tyler Johal dropped the corner kick into the six yard box where Ratcliffe met it at the back stick but couldn't keep his header on target.
McMillan caught the Mansfield back four out with a long range pass for Hurst to run on to, but Adam Bishop was out in a flash to limit the York striker's options and he rolled the ball wide of the target.
Say NO to photobombing encroachment.
Tom Marriott (obscured) scores the only goal of the game.
Both sides had certainly had their chances, but the visitors finished off the opening period with a flurry: Marriott, Drew Gibson, Cain Smith and Healey, put together a fast moving cross field advance into York terrain, with a succession of passes, but York once again, cleared their lines at the expense of a corner, from which Bloor picked out Kieran Harrison, who looked odds on to score, but the ball skimmed off of his head.
Cain Smith picked the ball thirty yards from goal, weighed up his options and realised that York were defending in numbers, so he opted to go it alone, but put the ball just wide of the target.
Charlie Shaw moved forward down the left flank and chipped the ball deftly towards Healey, who flicked the ball narrowly over the top left hand corner of the York goal.
Inside the last two minutes of the first half, Reittie went to ground as he ran towards the York goal and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and awarded a spot kick for what he saw as a trip by Aaron Brettell.
Marriott stepped forward and though Kieran Price went the right way, but he didn't get anywhere near the ball and the Stags were ahead.
HT: Minstermen 0 v Stags 1
Cain Smith slipped the ball through to Healey, but he prodded the ball just wide of the net.
York had obviously regrouped at half time and had more of a physical presence in the middle of the park now, forcing the  Stags to play deep in an effort to combat the switch. With the tackles flying in Drew Gibson, so influential in last week's win against Scunthorpe, took a heavy knock and had to be withdrawn, with Ali Smith coming on in his place to add his trickery to the mix.
Brotton was getting a lot of service out on the right from his midfield, but as he ventured forward Shaw nicked the ball from the lively winger and took it thirty yards before launching the ball to Reittie in the York box, Price and Brettell got into a bit of a tangle over who was going to take responsibility for clearing the ball and were luckily to see it roll behind the goal for a corner. Bloor took it, Marriott connected well with the ball, but his crashing shot cannoned off of Da Groot and City cleared their lines.
York made two prearranged substitutions around the hour mark and it would probably be fair to say, that the Stags were holding on to their slender lead a bit from then on in.
But they showed their collective mettle and battled well against a home side who were evidently up for the challenge of getting something out of this game. They provided Dempster's young charges with a real challenge, so credit where it's due.
Bloor was penalised for a heavy slide tackle on Brotton and Mansfield were relieved to see Brad Freer's free kick land on the roof of the net as it swung towards the goal.
Kyle Tranter got free down the left flank for York and whipped a low cross into the Stags six yard box that only needed the slightest of touches from one of his team mates, but Bishop went down amongst a scrum of feet and claimed the ball.
Brad Freer's corner caused alarm in the Stags rearguard, but Harrison diverted the ball away with Sam
Fielding arriving moments too late to claim an equaliser.
With ten minutes to go, the York right back would've been pleased to see the back of Marriott as he was replaced by Nyle Blake, the brother of Tyler (who wasn't available today) and the first thing that the younger Blake sibling did was topple McMillan with a firm but fair challenge to remind the York player that he still had another ten minutes of his shift left to put in and he wasn't going to get an early finish today.
Johal and Blake picked up where Marriott had left off and Mansfield began to pick up their momentum going forward again.
Surafel Behailu was also introduced late, as Reittie who is looked much stronger today as his return to fitness from a spell on the sidelines with injury, which is a massive plus for the Stags with the run in to the season just over the horizon.
The fresh legs brought fresh impetus into the visitors game plan and they frustrated the Minstermen by running the clock down with a string of passing triangles over by the right hand corner flag.
Nyle Blake, making his debut, did enough in the ten minutes he was on, to vindicate his promotion to the next tier up in the club's development ranks.
York were obviously disappointed that they hadn't got anything out of the game when the final whistle sounded, but a Stags side who were missing Louis Danquah, Tyler Blake and Zayn Hakeem, had worked damn hard for all three points as a team unit today.
Both sides played well on the day and can be happy that they've got a good calibre of players focusing on making the grade at their respective clubs.
FT: York City Youth 0 v Mansfield Town 1

Friday, 5 February 2016

Nostell Miners Welfare 0 v Garforth Town 0 - NCEL Prem

Once more into the breach, as I dipped into 'the greatest league in the world' yet again, to take in this West Yorkshire derby, contested between 18th placed Nostell Miners Welfare and their visitors Garforth Town who kicked off the night in 15th place.
Friday 5th February 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Welfare Ground, Crofton Community Centre
Nostell Miners Welfare (0) 0
Garforth Town (0) 0
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 106
Paul Lines, the Nostell Manager, resigned yesterday, leaving Kevin Allsop to step up from his usual position of Under 19's boss and take on the role of first team caretaker manager for the Welfare tonight.
Visitors Garforth made the short trip to the Welfare Ground, looking for their first ever win there, on the back of six defeats in six games last month.
In the event, a draw and a point apiece was a fair result in a game where both sides put in a lot of effort and endeavour but didn't really create an awful lot in front of either goal.
Upon arrival at the ground, wearing my amber and blue Stags scarf, some people mistook me as an away supporter and assumed I was a Garforth Town fan. Oh well, I've been called far worse things on my travels this week. Every single Garforth Town fan I've ever met was pleasant enough, so I have no problem with such an allegation.
One of life's little pleasure that I really enjoy, is spending some quality time in the company of Nostell's dynamic duo Malcolm Lumb and Roy Winfield, who are the sort of people who make non league football so special.
Hopefully I will get the chance to catch up with both of them again really soon.
The pitch at the Welfare Ground is, in my humble opinion, the best playing surface in this league by some way, it's lush greenness could almost make you believe it was a pleasant August night, if it wasn't for the icy cold drizzle blowing straight across the pitch. 
For the opening thirty minutes the home side were pretty much running the show and dominating proceedings, though it was more of a case of extended fingers and thumbs foreplay sans any real penetration. Andy Davis, who you could say wasn't exactly shy about putting in a tackle or letting his presence be known, almost opened the scoring when his long range shot fizzed narrowly wide of the right hand upright and Liam Radford was making a nuisance of himself, down the left flank along with Fidel Mhlolo, but the tide turned towards the end of the half when Nostell were a touch fortunate not to fall behind when they somehow managed to keep Curly Martin-Wyatt's header from creeping in by the post.
Radford's shot from Steve Smith's right wing cross and when the ball rebounded to Mhlolo he went to ground as he passed a Garforth defender, but the referee Chris Akers was having none of it.
Meanwhile at the other end, Jassim Alali hit the deck as he tried to get on the end of a cross from Khalid Alali, but Mr Akers wasn't having any of that either.
Martin-Wyatt found himself through on Ed Hall, but the Nostell keeper did well to take the ball away from him in the nick of time.
One player who stood out for me, was Garforth's engine room in the middle of the pitch, Mick Jones, he was firm in the tackle and distributed the ball well, a non-league David Batty if ever there was one.
Matt Johnson picked up a loose ball thirty yards from goal and tried to catch out Tom Osborne with a first time shot, but the Miners custodian was equal to it and got down well to his left to tip the ball around the post.
HT: 0-0
Garforth were first to show their attacking intentions after the break, as the rain stopped drizzling about and made a real effort to join in with the game.
But at the other end Steve Smith and Luke Gordon were linking up well on the right hand side of Nostell's attack.
Danny Harris looked useful going forward for the visitors
Hall was left stranded a couple of times as he had to sprint from his line and clear from both Martin Wyatt and Harris outside the box... and the Nostell keeper was involved again shortly afterwards when Harris shot straight at him from the edge of the area, having done the hard part of working himself a yard of space.
Gordon tried his luck with a 20 yard free kick but it was probably the same distance wide of the mark too.
Garforth came closest to breaking the deadlock, when Spencer Lund put the Welfare defence under the cosh with a great run through the left channel, before picking out Martin-Wyatt with a well weighted chip, but the Miners centre forward powered his header against the crossbar.
Andy Davis was upended by Mick Jones just outside the visitors area and Radford's free kick was cleared behind for a corner that Garforth dealt with and moved the ball forward quickly to Mark Simpson, who sprinted towards the Nostell goal from out on the left flank, but buried his shot into the side netting.
Simon Poole drilled the ball acros the face of Garforth's goal from Jack Waldron's throw in, but their was nobody lurking in the six yard box to provide a final touch.
The game came to a close with Garforth camping out around the home side's penalty area, but to coin a phrase, the Nostell goalmouth was akin to a bus station at rush hour and the Welfare held out for a point.
FT: 0-0
A decent enough night's entertainment, but both sides could possibly do with beefing up their attacking options.
Enjoy your cruise and good luck for your big day Malcolm, I'm looking forward to receiving my invitation soon mate.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Staveley MW 2 v Clipstone 2 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 3rd February 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
At Inkersall Road
Staveley Miners Welfare (1) 2
Kieran Watson 35, Charlie Oglesby 90+4
Clipstone (1) 2
Chris Salt 45, Jahmal Smith 50
Admission £5. Programme £1.50.
Attendance 283
The two faces of Brett Marshall.
A successful NCEL manager and chairman
Staveley Miners Welfare:
Nick Siddons, Chris Baugh, Greg Fitzpatrick, Ash Rawson, Matt Varley (C), Charlie Oglesby, Adam Scott, Steve Carty, Courtney Hasting, Kieran Watson, Jamie Brown
Subs - Ross Goodwin, Jack Hutchinson, Luke Walker, Lewis Naylor, Richard Mintoft
Steve Hernandez, Liam Royles, Luke Randle, Ellis Wall, Chris salt, Stuart Ludlam, Jahmal Smith, Nicky Walker, Oli Ryan, James ashmore, Alec Denton
Subs - Josh Scully, Liam Nelthorpe, Brad Holmes, Tyler Bates, Michael Ball
With both sides entering the field of play wearing stripes, I was pleased that I wasn't watching this game on my black & white portable telly.
After a slight delay because the host club hadn't got one of their goal nets ready in time for kick off, a lively NCEL Premier Division encounter ensued, that became a thoroughly entertaining affair, once the brief frantic spell at the outset had settled and both teams had found their rhythm.
Prior to kick off, a good few of the people involved with the Cobras, who had travelled across the M1 in decent numbers tonight, would probably have settled for a point. but in the aftermath they may also have been entitled to feel a touch disappointed that they hadn't returned home to Nottinghamshire with all three points in the bag, after the home side snatched a very late equaliser with the game running deep into stoppage time.
Clipstone's manager Jas Colliver, won't be happy that his team have become prone to conceding late goals, but I'm sure he will be having a 'quiet word' with his players, about their pusillanimous approach to defending in the latter stages of games.
It was good to see that Greg Fitzpatrick, who was introduced to the first team squad at Staveley last season from their Under 21 team, is being given the chance to shine again this term and that Charlie Oglesby, who joined the Trojans development ranks from Espial FC in the Summer, obviously thrived on being given the opportunity to prove himself at NCEL tonight. They'll  both benefit no end from playing alongside the Staveley captain Matt Varley.
A nip and tuck, high tempo first half, saw two evenly matched sides, both going toe to toe and adopting an attacking approach.
The Derbyshire side took advantage of a defensive slip in the 35th minute, when Clipstone should have cleared their lines and Kieran Watson drew first blood for Staveley with an opportunist goal.
The visitors were almost on even terms straight away, but Alec Denton headed wide from close range, within a minute of the opening goal.
Oli Ryan split the Staveley ranks with a well weighted through ball, but Denton's shot was blocked for a corner. The home side attempted to clear the ball into their goalmouth, but Chris Salt was on hand to claim an equaliser for his side, which they had deserved on the balance of play thus far.
In stoppage time, Clipstone almost snatched the lead, but Nick Siddons did well to thwart the former Trojans striker Jahmal Smith.
HT: Staveley Miners Welfare 1 v Clipstone 1
However, Siddons could do nothing to stop Smith when they next came together, as Jahmal gratefully accepted the gift of some poor defending to put the visitors ahead, five minutes after the restart.
Nicky Walker and Alec Denton were causing the home side's defence a few headaches and pulling them wide as Clipstone began to gain the upper hand and impose themselves on the game.
The opening 45 minutes had been a very close run thing, but the Cobras were marginally in the ascendancy after the break, though Staveley obviously weren't about to give this cause up with a fight.
An announcement that a crowd of 283 was present crackled over the ever reliable PA system at Inkersall Road. With no other games taking place in the area tonight, the local footballing public had flocked to Staveley to watch what promised to be a good, open game between two of the better sides in the division.
Somebody sat behind us questioned the validity of the attendance figure and said: "They're not supposed to count the players and everyone who is at Weight Watchers in the Speedwell Rooms next door as well". But I can vouch for the fact that it is always difficult to estimate exactly how many people there are spread around this spacious and impressive arena, but with an above average turn out present and a sprinkling of representatives from at least a dozen other clubs in situ (it was akin to an Who's who of the NCEL) swelling the Staveley coffers, the total will have been correct, or as near as damn it.
Clipstone had deserved to win on the balance of play in the second half, but credit where it is due, with the clock ticking down, the home side kept plugging away... goals win games (or snatch draws late in the day), not percentages, when all is said and done.
In the 94th minute, the home side won a free kick just outside the Cobras goal area.
Steve Hernandez left his line to deal with the ball as the visitors only half cleared it to the edge of the area, where young Charlie Oglesby was waiting and he aimed his shot between the two defenders who were still guarding the posts from the dead ball and salvaged a point for his side.
It was a cruel finale to the game for the visitors, who'd given a very good account of themselves, but everybody headed home at least relatively content with what they had seen tonight.
FT: Staveley Miners Welfare 2 v Clipstone 2
All in all, a decent game, with a real sting in it's tail.
It was good to be able to catch up with a few really good friends I have who are connected to both teams... and representatives of several other clubs who were out in force tonight too.