Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Askern Villa 2 v Louth Town 2 (AET) Louth won on penalties - Baris NCEL Wilkinson Sword Trophy 2nd Round

Tuesday 30th August 2011, at The Welfare Ground
Baris NCEL Wilkinson Sword Trophy 2nd Round
Askern Villa (0) 2
Lee Wilkinson 61, Ashley Towler 72
Louth Town (0) 2
Mark Fairburn 46, Ashley Willoughby 63
Louth won 5-4 on penalties after 6 kicks apiece
Score after 90 minutes 2-2
No further goals were scored in extra time
Admission £4, Programme £1.50, Attendance 33
The last time I visited Askern's ground (2007) there was just a perimeter fence around the pitch and the drive up to the ground from the A19 Doncaster to Selby road, resembled that rough arsed neighbourhood where the Clangers used to live, such was the extent of pot holes and craters one had to circumnavigate.
The club was still called Askern Welfare in those days and they played in the Central Midlands League.
The name change came about when the club won promotion to the NCEL in 2008.
Fast forward to 2011 and 'Villa' have a proper car parking area and a decent driveway ... the old bumpy lane was a sump pump hazard, the new one is a luxury by contrast.
A small covered terrace stands behind the dug outs and a decent sized 'work in progress' stand on the opposite side of the pitch seats 96 spectators, but that total is being increased, while the club continue to make progress with their ground, against all the odds.
To add to the the problems faced by the Manor Way based club when the council decided to withdraw funding for the Welfare Grounds football and cricketing facilities, the club suffered a spate of vandalism that curtailed their ground development plans for a while.
But they're soldiering on and are obviously heading in the right direction.
The first half was goalless ... the effort and application wasn't lacking from either side and there was a flurry of goalmouth action at both ends in what was an open and attacking cup tie.
The visitors goalkeeper Craig Wherry, was decked out in a resplendent bright pink shirt ... "You've got to be good to go out wearing that" I remarked to my sidekick for the night, prophetic words as it turned out.
The second half was barely a minute old when a dipping cross from out on the left caused chaos in the Askern penalty area and Mark Fairburn put the visitors ahead.
There did seem to be a suspicion of offside from where I was watching, but the linesman's flag stayed down ... and he was in a better position to call it than me.
The home side went looking for an equaliser ... and following a sustained spell of pressure around the visitors area, Lee Wilkinson drilled a shot into the back of Wherry's net from 15 yards out.
But two minutes later Andy Willoughby had restored the Louth's lead, firing home from close range after coming out on top of a tussle for the ball on the edge of the box, when it looked more likely that the Villa keeper Steve Hernandez was going to clear the danger .... a proper (Lincolnshire) poacher's goal.
Young Ashley Towler levelled the scores again on 72 minutes with a text book volley from just inside Town's box.
Both sides went at it full pelt to try finishing the game off inside ninety minutes, but two good goalkeepers, a goal line clearance and a stunning missed effort from under the cross bar (name withheld to spare somebody's acute embarrassment), meant the scores were still level at two apiece on 90 minutes.
I was really enjoying this no quarter given game of football and was impressed with both team's desire to give it a go ... even though it was starting to get a bit cold on this Autumn night in South Yorkshire.
Thankfully, the guy in the tea hut had the foresight to hang on to see how things went before shutting up shop and it was time for hot drinks all round before extra time commenced, as the entrepreneurial salesman doubled his takings for the night.
Extra time passed with no further goals but plenty of incident ... and with the teams locked at 2-2 on 120 minutes, plus a few cramp related stoppages, the referee Stephen Mercer blew for full time and a penalty shoot out was going to be required to separate the two sides and determine who went through to the third round.
It's a real shame that either side had to be eliminated after such a great game.
After the fifth spot kick, Louth were 3-2 ahead, after six they still were in front by virtue of a save by the pink shirted Craig Whetty.
But Steve Hernandez saved the next kick and then Askern levelled things up again.
Five kicks each and the score was 4-4 ... the 'instant death' rule came into play.
Louth netted their fifth goal and then Craig Whetty broke Askern's hearts with a fine save and was mobbed by his celebrating team mates.
Our original plan was to call into the Welfare for a drink and some supper at the final whistle, but by now it was after 10.30pm and I need to be up early for work in the morning so I headed home instead.
Hard luck Villa and all the best for the next round Louth.

If you're the idiot who gets drunk and walks home along the 60mph stretch of the A19 between Bentley and Adwick le Street at night, get some bright clothing on and get the feck out of the middle of the road in future ... that was a bloody near miss and a half!!!