Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Bawtry Town 1 v South Elmsall United Services 3 - Doncaster Senior League Premier Division

Left - The Keepmoat Stadium, home of Doncaster Rovers
Right - The players warm up ten minutes before kick off at the
other Keepmoat Stadium, the new home for Bawtry Town

Wednesday 31st August 2011 - at 'Lesser' Keepmoat
Doncaster & District Senior League Premier Division
Bawtry Town (1) 1
South Elmsall United Services (2) 3
C.Gaskell, M.McDermott, P.Needham
Admission free, Programme N/A,
Attendance err ... double figures varied throughout game
Further right - Doncaster Rovers Belles training session on the
practice pitch which stands next door to the athletics stadium

After tonight's game, Bawtry Town have lost their opening two fixtures, both at home.
While South Elmsall United Services have won both of their first two matches.
Luck played a massive part in tonight's victory ... and the home side had very little of it.
For the majority of the game it was one way, non stop pressure on the visitors goal, but somehow Bawtry just couldn't make their dominance count.
They knocked the ball around well, attacked in numbers ... and it beggars belief that the South Elmsall side were able to absorb the frequent and unrelenting flood of raids into their box ... but they did.
If this blog had a software attachment for illustrating what amount of time the ball spent in each team's possession, it would show Bawtry Town 80%, South Elmsall United Services 15%, hanging around while the ball is recovered from across the running track, shot put ring, long jump pit, javelin chucking launch pad, pole vault mattress etc. from the four corners of the stadium 5%.
I'm not a fan of watching football in athletics grounds, where the pitch sits in the middle of the track and the dug outs invariably stand on the touchline blocking the best viewing spots, which is a shame ... because in spite of them losing tonight's game, Bawtry look to be quite an entertaining side to watch.A defensive cock up after just 2 minutes, where either Jack Burton or the Bawtry keeper Mick Hancock should have cleared the ball, gave Gaskell the opportunity to prod the ball home ... and he wasn't going to miss from a range of 15 inches.
So Bawtry rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into the task of making amends.
A succession of corners went begging and the main bulk of the play was down the visitors end of the pitch .. but on 26 minutes the ball found South Elmsall's McDermott, 30 yards out from goal, in the right channel, he moved forward unchallenged and placed the ball over Hancock's head to make it two nil.
It wasn't a deft chip, or a precision lob, or even a well weighted half volley that caused the damage, he lumped it .. it went in. 'Ave it!
The South Elmsall defence move like Jagger

Five minutes later, Bawtry took a leaf out of their no frills, no fuss (no finesse?) visitors game plan handbook ... and a big boot up the middle from Mick Hancock, took a single bounce before Jermaine Green whacked it home.
For the rest of the half it was all Bawtry, but much as they tried, the culture club weren't able to punish the Bash Street kids ... though there was a close call when Plug cleared Boy George's bicycle kick off the line. And the two teams retreated to their respective ends of the pitch for a half time pep talk.
I like the Doncaster Senior League, the players don't bleat to the referee about minor off the ball incidents and slightly late tackles ... they wait until he's looking the other way and respond in kind.
Don't misunderstand me here, it's not dirty and the games never look like descending into kicking matches, but a spell of learning the ropes on Edlington rec', on a freezing cold pitch on a February evening (not night, floodlights are a scarce commodity at Donny grass roots level) would soon sharpen the reaction times of a few overpaid superstar footballers and make them appreciate their overpaid standing in life.
So called 'hard men' like Joey Barton would soon get in line if they had to jump four feet in the air to avoid the incoming at 6 o'clock Exocet missile tackle homing in on their over pampered ankles, that would invariably arrive a couple of seconds after playing each and every pass they made during a game.
But like I said, it's not dirty ... it's competitive, it's fair but firm ... it's proper football!
Incidentally, I'm not singling out Edlo' rec' for special attention here, so no offence intended Lee Hayes ;-)
The second half was even more sided than the first ... and the South Elmsall goal led a charmed life for another 45 minutes (plus stoppage time).
But all the air raid sirens, the mortar fire, the relentless shelling, the kitchen sinks and numerous charges of the light brigade, could not breach the visitors last line of defence and blow them out of their bunker.
The punchline was as inevitable a joke as it was a cruel one, at Bawtry's expense ... and on around 80 minutes ... a rare counter attack from South Elmsall United Services saw them go 3-1 ahead through Needham.
It was a travesty
Yet although Bawtry deserved to be in front by virtue of attacking the 'Soldiers' goal throughout the game, just maybe (and only just), somewhere deep in the vaults of football folklore and horror stories (perhaps in that dusty leather bound untitled volume that nobody ever reads, tucked away behind Don Howe's infamous tactical journal 'Defend. Defend. Defend ... And defend some more.'), the visitors actually deserved at least a share of the spoils, for taking a battering and several standing counts, for the entire duration of the second half and most of the first.
"We shall not be moved" indeed.
On any other night, if Bawtry played like this again, they would comfortably win by at least 7 or 8 goals, but it just wasn't to be ... and both teams left the field shaking their heads and wondering how the bloody hell South Elmsall had escaped from the Keepmoat with a three point smash and grab raid.
It is the mark of a good footballing side, when they keep trying to play the right brand of passing, attacking football instead of resorting to the long ball even when they're losing; except, ironically, for the only goal Bawtry scored tonight.
But it is the mark of a side who are going to achieve things, when they don't play particularly well but still manage to come through games undefeated.
There is a long way to go yet ... so hopefully the beautiful game will come out on top over flukey wins in the long run.
Time will tell.