Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mansfield Town U19s 2 v Ilkeston U19s 2 FCYA and Harworth CI U19 0 v Retford United U19 5 NMU19L Division 2

Wednesday 28th September 2011, at Field Mill
Football Conference Youth Alliance (North) - Kick Off 2pm
Mansfield Town U19 (1) 2
Adam Somes 18, 80
Ilkeston (0) 2
Adam Burton 55, B Wallace 59
Admission £2 inc. team sheet.
Attendance 90+ (ish)
Thanks to Steve Hymas for the team sheet
left click images for enlarged versions

I'm told the home side would've been happier to play this game in the evening, but Ilkeston insisted on the afternoon kick off.
That is their prerogative I guess ... and at least it afforded me with the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon in the unseasonably pleasant sunshine while taking in two games on the same day.
Mansfield looked lively in the opening exchanges, but they were up against a very good side today in Ilkeston.
Ironically, after failing to capitalise on some neat passing moves, when the Stags did go in front on 18 minutes it was from a direct, route one move ... where a long clearance from their goalkeeper Scott Rogers bounced in the path of Adam Somes, who fired the ball home from inside the Ilkeston box.
On 26 minutes Joel Holland crossed to Somes from the left wing and it looked as though he had headed the Stags two goals ahead, but the referee ruled that the ball hadn't crossed the line before Ilkeston cleared it (see picture above) and the effort was chalked off.
Ilkeston were almost level before the break but their number 7 (?) fired narrowly wide when he should've done better.
Adam Burton the visitors big centre half (and former Stags youth team player), looked solid and impressive today. He definitely looks like one for the future.
HT 1-0
In the second half Ilkeston were looking dangerous right from the word go ... especially from set pieces.
Scott Rogers pulled off a great save on 48 minutes from a Danny James free kick.
On 54 minutes (pictured below) Adam Burton took advantage of some poor marking from a right wing corner and nodded in the equalising goal.
The Stags youngsters were overcome with their 'Dracula Complex' (nervousness at the sight of crosses) again four minutes later, when they failed to deal with a left wing corner.
The ball fell to Wallace who outstretched his right leg to nudge the visitors in front.
On 70 minutes Adam Somes thought he had equalised for the Stags, following a defence splitting move between Clayton Brown and Joel Holland, but the assistant referee Danielle Miller flagged him for offside ... she's from Retford, so it was probably the right decision ;-)
Adam Burton was man marking Adam Somes in what had become an intriguing duel between the two of them ... but on 80 minutes, Somes escaped from the defender's attentions and made the score 2-2, firing home after a long throw in from the left wing had caused chaos in the visitors defence, who had all surrounded the Stags number 9 Joe Flint to block his attempt on goal.
In the very last minute Ilkeston hooked the ball into the box looking for a late winner ... Scott Rogers ran from his line and collected the ball well to thwart the danger, but in doing so he collided with his right back Jordan Jones, who stayed on the floor injured.
It was a sad ending to a decent game, which saw a Paramedic's car driving along the Field Mill touchline and Jones having to go to hospital.
Scott Rogers was absolutely gutted, but he wasn't to blame and his intervention probably stopped Ilkeston winning the game right at the death.
He'd made some great saves at important times and Jordan will be back in action again soon.
I hope Scott doesn't let this tarnish what was a great performance against a very highly rated Ilkeston academy side.
FT 2-2
After the final whistle at Field Mill, I had time to walk to my next game in Northernmost Nottinghamshire ... but I didn't, because somebody has to help those poor oil barons to get by, scraping a humble living together from their meagre profits ... and I'm really lazy and somewhat out of shape at the moment too.
Wednesday 28th September 2011, at Scrooby Road
North Midlands U19 League Division 2 - Kick Off 7.45pm
Harworth CI U19 (0) 0
Retford United (3) 5
Jason Markell 14 OG, Bobby Johnson 30,60
Luke Walker 42, 89
Admission £2, £1 programme (I got the last one).
Attendance 56
You hum it, I'll play it

On arrival at Scrooby Road tonight, we were welcomed by the sight of the blue flashing lights of a police car and ambulance.
One theory was that a child had been hurt in an accident on the skateboard and BMX ramp that stands adjacent to the ground ... other rumours said it was something to do with a kidnapping incident, a missing persons enquiry and alleged reports of footballers being 'spirited away' from the Harworth Colliery Institute centre for Under 19's football excellence by other clubs.
The truth is out there somewhere.
There were some very suspicious looking people loitering around the perimeter fence tonight though ;-)
So 5-0 ... it sounds pretty academic doesn't it?
But it doesn't tell half the story.
Retford shaded the first half possession wise, but while they were clinical in front of goal, Harworth weren't.
I'm not taking anything away from the United side here, not at all, they pass the ball around nicely, their movement off the ball is first rate, they have assembled a very good side, have some quality players and their desire to play attacking football is a pleasure to watch.
If it's entertainment you want, get yourself down to Cannon Park.
But, despite having to reshuffle their pack again, for a variety of reasons that it would be indiscreet of me to comment on at this juncture, Harworth like to get forward too ... but they were their own worse enemies at times, squandering a couple of chances they ought to have done better with.
Left to Right, Phil Hall and Chris Howard, Retford United U19's
management team, pictured from their most photogenic side

Retford's opening goal, demonstrated the kind of luck Harworth have at times ... Luke Walker, impressive all night for the visitors, got free on the left wing and put a low, hard cross into the area. Harworth's centre half Jason Markell was alert to the situation and bust a gut to intercept the ball before it reached the Retford forwards ... he arrived on the scene like an express train and thumped the ball away from it's intended destination ... but instead of conceding a corner as he'd intended, the ball agonisingly bulged the back of the net instead.
Jason had connected with with the ball with so much power there was nothing that the Harworth goalkeeper Tom Hogg could do about it.
On the half hour Tom Hogg got down well to save the initial shot, but Bobby Johnson had followed up (good strikers instincts) and seized on the loose ball to squeak the second goal in through the narrowest of gaps by the left hand post.
Harworth were demoralised but the visitors really had their heads up now and Luke Walker (I daren't ask if his middle name is Sky), put them 3 nil up before the break.
His performance deserved a goal ... although football is a team game where everybody has their part to play, if I had to single out one player from both teams tonight as man of the match, Luke earned that accolade ... in my humble opinion.
Though there were other worthy candidates, in both camps.
Around this point I decided my camera was going to be bugger all
use tonight, it's got issues with the floodlights at Srrooby Road

Harworth came out for the second half looking like they weren't just going to lay down and let the young Badgers walk all over them.
But once again, the chances that were there for taking went begging.
Retford for their part, were visibly happy with the way things were going and grew in confidence more and more as the game progressed.
Bobby Johnson, another contender for man of the match, scored a sublime goal on the hour to make the score 4-0.
The game was now effectively over as a contest and though Harworth kept battling to try and make some in roads into the deficit, it was fast becoming a damage limitation exercise now.
In spite of the main difference in the first half being how well either side had taken, or hadn't taken their chances ... Retford were definitely in the ascendancy now.
In the very last minute, Luke Walker scored the kind of goal that is borne out of the confidence that comes from performing so well, when he belted a dipping shot home, just underneath the crossbar, from 25 yards out for fun.
5-0 to Retford United ... GAME OVER
Glenn McPherson, Harworth CI U19's manager is very vain, he asked me
to avoid getting the zit on his face in my photographs.
His assistant Hasan has piles the size of footballs ....
but you don't hear him complaining.

During the summer, I almost became match secretary for Retford United Under 19's, but my personal circumstances and work commitments at the time meant I was unable to take the post on ... which is a shame, because I've got a lot of time for Chris and Phil and I really like what they're doing with the Badgers Under 19's.
That said, I'm good friends with the management team at Harworth and can really appreciate the ethos behind their efforts as well.
It's a good Under 19 set up they've got at Cannon Park and they're obviously on the verge of succeeding with their aims and ambitions for the team.
If there are any aspiring match secretaries reading this out there, the position is currently being advertised on the Badgers website, you could do a lot worse than calling Chris Howard to discuss the vacancy.
Chris Howard 07790616407.
At Retford United you would also have a helpful, efficient and co-operative club secretary to liaise with in Annie Knight, a luxury that Under 19 secretaries elsewhere don't always have.
As it happens, the same can be said of the hard working and resourceful Simon Stones at Harworth too.
Personally, my off putting experiences somewhere else, mean I'm probably not going to get too involved with the mechanics of helping to run another Under 19's team again ... and though I'm well aware of the full implications of the saying 'Never say never', especially in a footballing context, at the moment I'm really enjoying my hiatus.
I hope Retford United find a suitable applicant for their vacancy soon, so Chris and Phil can get on with coaching side of their job.
And I hope Harworth start enjoying a fairer share of the breaks, than they often get (or more to the point, don't get), any time soon.
Their efforts certainly warrant far more rewards at times.

Next up - I'm hoping to be available to watch the Worksop Town U19 v Matlock Town U19 game at Shirebrook tomorrow night ... failing that, I'll have to wait until the weekend for my next football fix.