Saturday, 8 January 2011

Frickley Athletic 0 v Matlock Town 1 - Evo-Stik Premier Division

Saturday 8th January 2011
at (the 'Tech 5 Stadium') Westfield Lane, South Elmsall
Evo-Stik Premier Division
Frickley Athletic (0) 0
Matlock Town (0) 1 (Ross Hannah 74)
Admission £8, Programme £1.50,
Free team sheet, Attendance 223
Hmm, the best laid plans n' all that.
My weekend resume was to have been, today, Worksop Town v North Ferriby United in the Evo-Stik Premier League, followed by a short drive to Doncaster to catch the 18.38 train to Edinburgh for an overnight stay to take in the Hearts v St. Johnstone Scottish Cup game tomorrow.
Bloody weather.
At 11.00AM the Cannon Park pitch was deemed to be unplayable, water logging being the problem ... and a couple of hours later Heart of Midlothian, the title chasing pride of Edinburgh, announced that their pitch was in perfect condition for tomorrow's game, but that the stadium itself had a problem with burst pipes and as a consequence Sunday's game was off and it's re-arranged for Tuesday, when I'm working nights and my train tickets aren't going to get used now ... 'KINELL!!!!
At least my 'E Ticket' PDF file can be either refunded or forwarded to somebody who can get to the game.
The trains in and out of Edinburgh are severely disrupted anyway and even the planes weren't landing in, or leaving from the Scottish capital today.
The novelty of a 'proper winter' wore off with me a long time ago ... and if anybody out there still thinks all this snow and seasonal climate stuff is a good thing, meet me down the side of Asda's car park at Midnight, I want to fight you ... 'til the death!
At the time of writing, Hibs are still in the Scottish Cup, by virtue of holding the vastly superior Ayr United to a goalless draw at 'fortress' Easter Road. They're fast becoming the Lincoln City of the SPL, maybe they should call Chris Sutton and ask him to turn their fortunes around too. That said, one mustn't underestimate the job Colin Calderwood (Mansfield reject! Mansfield reject!) is doing in leading the cabbage towards the promised land of Division 1.
It was great to catch up today with my good friend Peter Rinkcavage, former Worksop Town player, coach, assistant manager and manager.
He's been brought in to steer Frickley Athletic away from the relegation zone ... and with his experience and knowledge of football at this level I'm sure the Westfield Lane club have got the right man for the job. He's worked wonders the last couple of seasons keeping Worksop Town up through some often near impossible trials & tribulations and seemingly hopeless situations ... though the Tigers have now obviously got a more than capable manager at the helm who's results in the Evo-Stik League speak for themselves (and he was present today too running the rule over Matlock in prepartion for next weeks game), I'd personally have liked to have seen Rinky given a bit longer to show what he could have done this season.
But nothing lasts forever and I have nothing but respect for the guy who currently 'hires 'em and fires 'em' at WTFC, so it was great to see Peter walk straight into another management job having left the Tigers by mutual consent after many years service. GOOD LUCK RINKY, you deserve some breaks mate.
There are blinkered, two faced and outspoken critics of managers at all clubs, but the realists who know what really went on at Worksop Town these past few years appreciate the great job Rinky has done and hold him in high regard.

Both sides had their first choice central defenders, Simon Sturdy and James Lukic out through illness ... Sturdy of course being an ex Matlock player. There were quite a few ex Worksop players in attendance too, if you're interested in such things check out the attached team sheet, if you're not, then I'll spare you the details.

Left click image to enlarge

Ex Frickley striker Lee Morris (for the 4th time I think, but I've stopped counting), was given a 'welcome' home early in the game, when James Colliver unceremoniously dumped him onto the sticky, wet pitch to concede a free kick and make his canary yellow number 9 shirt all mucky.

It was a popular 'tackle' amongst the Frickley supporting friends I was sat with. Colliver has impressed them no end since he moved to Westfield Lane from Worksop Town. Morris on the other hand wasn't half as popular as he thought he was following his most recent flying visit to South Elmsall.

The pitch was obviously going to dictate that this was never going to be a fast flowing game of passing 'total football' and at times it did look as if maybe one or two players had made the wrong footwear choices, or maybe they've never grown out of enjoying chucking themselves around in the mud. I recall when we played on pitches like this at school, everybody want to play in goal.

On 12 minutes, Morris had the first proper chance on goal, but never hit the ball truly enough to trouble Ben Simpson in the Blues goal. At the other end James Kay scuffed a goal bound free kick that never really troubled Adam Sollitt, the visitors keeper. Sollitt had to be more alert as Ashley Burbeary tried taking the ball round him, but was equal to the challenge.
It was obviously a hard slog out on a difficult pitch for both teams and clear cut chances were going to be at a premium.
In prolific striker Ross Hannah, Matlock have just the player to unlock tight games like this, but he was finding himself well marshalled by Ben Simpson and his defence, in spite of Matlock's efforts to give him the kind of service he thrives on.
A James Knowles cross on half time did find Hannah in space, but he uncharacteristically headed wide.
3.20pm, in all seriousness isn't it time that somebody turned the lights on?

Danny Simpson, another recent signing from Worksop Town came on at half time as a substitute, I remember he showed a lot of promise for the Tigers in their relegation dog fight towards the end of last season.

A Mark Whitehouse free kick almost opened the scoring for Frickley, but Adam Sollitt (he's ex Worksop as well you know!?) pulled off a good save. Then Hannah drilled a free kick at the other end that was saved by Simpson again. Matlock had two players booked in quick succession, Ben Turner and Ross Hannah, the latter was perhaps letting his frustrations at not being able to put the finishing touch to one of the chances coming his way get to him.

After some good build up play from the half way line on 66 minutes from Frickley, though you could hardly call it pretty on the lumpy, bumpy pitch, the ball came to Danny Simpson on the edge of the box who struck his shot well and on target, but Sollitt saved well. At this point the game could have gone either way, but after Simpson's effort I only recall Frickley having one more real second half chance, whereas Danny's strike seemed to be the wake up call Matlock needed and they had the lion's share of the remainder of the play, coming close on several occasions.

On 74 minutes Adam Yates pumped a long hopeful free kick up the field from inside his own half, Jones leapt to flick it on and the ball fell into the path of Ross Hannah in the box, it was all he needed. Hannah neatly turned Dean Jones and slotted the ball calmly inside the right hand post for a match winning strike. Frickley's boss Peter Rinkcavage must be sick to the back teeth of the sight of the ex Tigers striker by now. This wouldn't be the first time that either Matlock Town and Ross Hannah in particular have proven to be a thorn in his side.

Four minutes later Ben Simpson superbly tipped Hannah's 25 yard shot onto the bar and Joynes put the rebound wide. Until Hannah's strike a draw had looked a likely and fair outcome, but once they had gone in front Matlock never looked back and seemed to find a second wind whilst Frickley looked very tired on the strength sapping pitch.

The 'very tasteful' Frickley Athletic
1910-2010 Centenary mural wall

And now you've finally reached the end of this War and Peace length, long winded overview, you'll doubtless be peeved to find out that you could have skipped right to the end and watched the highlights for yourselves all along ...