Saturday 11th December 2010
NCEL Premier Division
Armthorpe Welfare (1) 3
Leo Fortune-West 10, Craig Wilkinson 76, Craig Morley 84
Brighouse Town (0) 2
Nathan Cartman 69, 90
Admission £5, Programme £1, Attendance 56
My original destination was meant to be Tynecastle Park, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, where I missed out a traditional annual celebration today (very reluctantly) and a 5-0 home win for Hearts, to take in the FA Trophy tie between Worksop Town and Mansfield Town, a game that fell foul to the elements once I'd already missed the date to buy train tickets a semi reasonable price for the journey over the border and I'd already loaned my season ticket out to a scrounger I know in Tranent.
The Tigers v Stags clash, which was scheduled to be played at at Ilkeston, was to be played out against a backdrop of intrigue and skulduggery that the most spiteful of script writers would've struggled to compete with ... alas the snowmen decreed that the two Nottinghamshire teams would have to try to 'get it on' again in Derbyshire this coming Tuesday, at a time when I'll be up to my neck in work commitments and unable to get to the New Manor Ground.
Another weekend without football was not an option, so having sacrificed plan A and 7 inches of frozen snow having thwarted my plan B, it was time to find an alternative.
Good old Armthorpe!
When the rest of the clubs in the (semi) locality are too nesh to play football and too delicate to clear all the white stuff from their pitches, you can always depend on the 'Wellie' not to let you down ... it's a bloody shame that only 56 paying spectators bothered to make the effort to show up under the circumstances though.
I guess they were all too busy doing whatever it is people do in shopping malls on a Saturday afternoons in December, while the great and good attend football matches. Please spare me the excuses about Xmas shopping, that's what the internet was invented for ... besides perving and writing blogs about football that nobody ever reads.
The stay-aways have only got themselves to blame for missing a cracking game of football that could've gone either way right up until the final whistle. And I have witnesses from Retford, Mansfield, Scotter, Worsborough Bridge, and Pontefract who can vouch for that too.
After a couple of scoops in a nearby pub that one of our entourage told me was called 'The Two Jolly Smackheads' (I will have to get clarification on that point at a later date, I don't recollect seeing the pub's name above the door when we went in), we entered the surprisingly snow free Church Street ground.
Curiously the entire landscape had changed from white to green just north of Bawtry, as we moved away from the equatorial axis.
My passenger had met me on the main road out of Retford because the residential area he lives in was impassable to motor vehicles ... by all accounts they are filming an 'Ice Road Truckers' winter special edition about delivering a consignment of novelty Xmas dog chews to Alpha Pet Supplies in Hallcroft.
Leo Fortune-West (yes that one) opened the scoring on 10 minutes getting on the end of a corner to net his second goal of the season for Armthorpe.
He still has the touch, vision, positional awareness, nous, instincts and height to stand head and shoulders above any other player in this league, but it would be fair to say that he also knows when to put in an extra burst of energy and when to keep a bit back to save his legs.
He knows best and that isn't meant to be a slight on the guy.
It was apparent that neither team had turned up today wanting anything less than all three points and the game ebbed and flowed one way then the other with both keepers being kept busy throughout.
Current form suggested fourth in the table Brighouse ought to have been favourites to beat their hosts, who have recorded only one win in their previous thirteen games, but Armthorpe were having none of it and hung onto their slender lead as the teams went in at half time.
The special offer of a mince pie with a big mug of coffee for a quid at half time was one I couldn't resist and despite my friend warning me the pies tasted like leftover Kangaroo testicles from that TV programme 'I'm a b-list celebrity you've never heard of, leave me in the jungle to die' (or similar), I tucked in anyway.
Hmm, that's one way to rip a filling out of my tooth I s'pose!
The all out attack policy continued in the second half, Henry Sibenge (as always) looked impressive coming forward for Armthorpe, even though they've moved from his position on the wing to left back this season and Craig Wilkinson was getting into some good positions up front for the home side too.
But it was Brighouse who scored next, when Nathan Cartman twisted and fired home an equaliser despite facing away from the goal on 69 minutes.
Seven minutes later, Fortune-West, utilising one of his energy pockets to full effect, headed the ball on to Craig Wilkinson who had got himself 'into a good position up front' and couldn't fail to score from such a gilt edged chance ... and he didn't.
Following a goalmouth scramble in the visitors box, Craig Morley got the final touch to put Armthorpe 3-1 ahead with six minutes to go.
In the final minute of normal time Armthorpe's goalkeeper Jamie Green was guilty of ball watching as he allowed a harmless looking cross from the left to roll past him and into the path of the incoming Nathan Cartman who tapped in the simplest of chances for his and Brighouse's second goal. Of course Jamie Green, never one to feel shy about dishing out the vocals, loudly berated everyone else on the pitch for failing to clear the ball that he himself could (and should) have whacked unceremoniously into the nearby Netto car park.
It was all hands to the pumps for the remaining added on time as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, but Armthorpe were resilient and held on for a very well contested win that moves them up into mid table.
High entertaining stuff and a great effort by everybody involved with Armthorpe Welfare for getting the game on when so many other clubs in a 30 mile radius failed to deal with the recent, not unexpected, crap weather.