Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Frickley Athletic 1 v FC United of Manchester 3 - Evo-Stik Premier Division

Tuesday 11th October 2011 at the Tech 5 Stadium,
Westfield Lane, South Elmsall
Evo-Stik Premier Division

Frickley Athletic (0) 1
Bradley Grayson 64
FC United of Manchester (0) 3
Stuart Ludlam 53 OG, Matthew Wolfenden 56,
Ben Deegan 65

Admission £8, Programme £1.50, Attendance 497
Frickley Athletic: Billard, Bleau, Cyrus, Walsh, Adams, Ludlam, Mallon, Ashmore, Grayson, Watts, Whitehouse (Henry 45).
Subs not used: Leonard, Jones, Simpkins.
FC United of Manchester: Spencer, Jacobs (Battersby 72), Neville, Cottrell, Jones, Stott, Roca, Carr, Norton (Grimshaw 79), Wolfenden, Deegan.
Subs not used: Platt, Chadwick, Mulholland.
Plastic pint pots (on police 'advice'), a 'show of strength' from the West Yorkshire constabulary and extra stewarding (stood around doing nothing) ... welcome to non league football.
None of the above measures were necessary ... FCUM brought an above average sized away support, as expected ... and the local school kids who usually attend Frickley games to 'noise up' whichever visiting fans happen to be in town this week, turned up with a few more mates than usual, but they took root up in the top corner at one end of the stand and didn't move all night, while realising there was not an earthly of them out singing the well coordinated vocal element from Manchester.
At one point early in the game, the police all left the ground because of a story that "Leeds are coming!", but I think they must've started it themselves to justify their presence and overtime.
By the time you reach my age, you get a bit cynical about all this "Leeds are coming!", "Mad dog from Millwall is going to eat your kids!", "West Allotment Celtic's terror squad are gathering outside the chippy, they must be all of 7 strong in number by now!" type flannel and see through all the bullshit.
For the ACCURATE record, in spite of viscous rumours to the contrary, South Elmsall is not a Leeds United stronghold.
There are some Leeds fans in the locality, though they're are just as many Manchester United fans too.
But whether those two 'proper' teams are playing at home or not, it doesn't affect the attendances at Westfield Lane, whereas there seems to be a marked fluctuation in the amount of bodies clicking the turnstiles when Frickley and Barnsley are at home on the same day ... I believe it's called 'the Dingle factor'
In these times, where we live with the omnipresent threat of international
terror cells eroding the fabric of our towns, cities and West Yorkshire
villages, you can never be too vigilant. This guy looked very suspicious
and was extremely reluctant to be photographed. I ask you, what kind of
person takes a laptop to a football match? Look out for him on next weeks
Crimewatch, I heard a rumour that he's from a splinter group of the South
Elmsall Fundamentalists ... and he disguises himself as an aspiring journalist at
both Frickley Athletic and Mansfield Town games, using the alias Andrew Webb.
A genuine up and coming sports reporter asks a REALLY old Frickley fan
for his views at half time ... and looks 'thrilled' with the outcome!

Tonight saw Frickley's biggest home crowd of the season so far ... though they'll probably play in front of quite a few more over the next two weekends, when they visit Gainsborough Trinity in the FA Cup on the 15th and host tonight's opponents in the FA Trophy on 22nd.
One person the home side will be wishing never turned up is Ben Deegan, FC United's number 11, he was at the hub of all three of the visitors goals and to be frank he was a bloody handful all night ... and instrumental in all three of his sides goals.
Not sure who this lot stood directly to my right were ;-)
They made a right racket though!

It was honours even in a goalless first half, Carlos Roca, who I had thought would be the Reds main threat tonight, started the game off lively and fired wide after a few minutes, but it was Deegan who was going to be the star of tonight's show ... though Adam Billard, Athletic's keeper, wasn't going to let him have it all his own way and he pulled off a great save from him on 28 minutes. Mike Norton, who I thought had a quiet game by his standards, fired the rebound wide.
Meanwhile young Brad Grayson forced a good save out of James Spencer at the other end.
The prefix 'young' could apply to several of the Frickley line up ... injuries and player unavailability have meant that they are regularly having to field five players aged 20 or under at the moment ... but they seem to be handling a very steep learning curve well and gelling together as a tight unit, which even though they lost tonight against a very good and well organised team, bodes well for the future.
Oi! You extra stewards were paid to work ,not to watch the game for
nowt' and block the view from the wheelchair users vantage point

As is their wont this season, Frickley came out looking very sprightly in the second half, with Ashmore and Watts combining to create the first chance of the half, but FCUM sit deep and tight and then attack in numbers and there was a taste of what was to come when Jake Cottrell forced Adam Billard into a save and then Carlos Roca fired wide of the target.
Ben Deegan, who had been busy and industrious throughout turned things up a notch in the 53rd minute ... after beating David Cyrus out on the right wing, he belted a low, hard cross against the face of Frickley's goal, Stuart Ludlam tried to block the ball from reaching the waiting FCUM forwards, which he managed to ... alas at the expense of an own goal as the ball whipped off him into the net, such was the power Deegan had put behind it.
Ten minutes later Deegan (oh no, not you again!), found his route to goal blocked off so he stroked the ball into the path of Matthew Wolfenden who hit the ball first time into the Frickley goal.
A two goal cushion, in a game that had hitherto been fairly even, was maybe a bit flattering, but FCUM can grind out results as well as letting their flair players like Roca and Norton damage you.
It looked as if they knew tonight would be one of those games where they would have to knuckle down and adopt a horses for courses policy to claw the three points away from Frickley's tenacious youngsters ... it bloody well worked too, didn't it!?
But whilst the visiting supporters went into approximately the 117th verse of their 'Busby Babes' song, or similar (even some of the grumpy old boys who sit at the back of the stand at each and every Frickley home game were tapping their feet and humming along), Rinky's own bairns, pulled a goal back.
Brad Grayson poked the ball home at the near post after a right wing corner, by, err ... hmm, listen Steve Pennock (Frickley Athletic Secretary), if you are reading this, is there any chance of getting those hard to read numbers on the backs of the home shirts altered, to aid those of us who don't take binoculars to the match to identify the players.
Just a thought ;-)
But the revival was short lived.
A deep cross into the Blues penalty area was to be their undoing.
Adam Billard was under pressure, the wet ball had a lot of back spin on it and the opposition were closing in.
This being 2011 with lightweight balls (not proper casey's that'd knock yer out if you headed the buggers), keepers have it drilled into them by modern day coaches, that catching is not an option in this situation ... which is a shame, because although Adam made a textbook save, in knocking the ball away from his goal, he created an opportunity for an incoming player who had escaped the attention of the defence ... the last person you would want to see homing in on you tonight was, inevitably, Ben Deegan. He took his opportunity very well and FC United were 3-1 ahead.
A resident misery guts, rumbled that two individual errors had cost the Blues two soft goals, I'd say they were two large portions of misfortune myself, but having said that, the visitors had made their own luck on both occasions by playing balls that were difficult to defend against into the mix.
Brad Grayson and Leon Henry had half chances to lessen the arrears and Jack Watts had FCUM's keeper at full stretch right near the end, but the visitors had shut up shop and weren't in the mood to surrender their lead.
The Frickley faithful will be hoping Ben Deegan doesn't turn up a week on Saturday.
Though there were other players worthy of praise, for both sides, it was ultimately his performance that made the difference.
Ah, I did wonder where 'all' the away fans were standing ;-)

Match report from a FC United perspective ... I'm not sure who this 'Been' Deegan they refer to is though

Next up - Retford United U19's v Dinnington Town U19's at Cannon Park, Retford