Saturday, 1 October 2011

Frickley Athletic v Harrogate Town - FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Chumbawamba, the pop group who did that "I get knocked down, but I get up again ... pissing the night away" Tubthumping song, that sparked off a dance routine craze similar to the one used by the Danish singer Whigfield in the choreography for her nauseating single Saturday Night, y'know, the one that goes "Na, na, na, na - na, na, na - na, na, na, na, nah", once made a song called Frickley ... It was dedicated to the South Elmsall based former Colliery football club, so they can't be half bad.
The tasteful lyrics to the 'Chumbas' tuneful ditty, went like this:
"Frickley in South Yorkshire, a small mining town
Where once the riot coppers beat the pickets to the ground
Has a football team, and a stand full of fans
Who love their game and who love revenge
If a cop comes near the ground
On a Saturday afternoon
He'll be heading the bricks
Until he's over the moon"
Don't you feel like a better person now that I've shared all of that with you, eh!?
Peter Rinkcavage and Jason Maybury in action.
The Whigfield dance revival starts here.

For the record, there were no police officers on duty today and I didn't see anybody chucking any bricks around ... but there was a great FA Cup tie played at the Tech 5 Stadium on Westfield Lane in South Elmsall this afternoon, between Frickley Athletic of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League and Harrogate Town of the Blue Square Bet North (the visitors play a division above their hosts).
Look busy lads, that twat with the camera is here again!

Harrogate Town will be very grateful right now that they're facing Frickley Athletic in a replay at their Wetherby Road ground on Tuesday night ... because the home side performed very well and thoroughly deserved to win this FA Cup tie at the first attempt, once they had overcome the double handicap of conceding the first goal and losing Alex Callery due to an injury inside the first fifteen minutes.
Frickley's keeper Adam Billard crawls past the match officials to avoid
the pre match hand shake ritual, probably a superstition of some kind

Saturday 1st October 2011 at the Tech 5 Stadium
Westfield Lane, South Elmsall

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Frickley Athletic (1) 1
Grant Darley 44
Harrogate Town (1) 1
Will Turl 12

Admission £8, Programme £1, Attendance 285
Free team sheet courtesy of Keith Donkin (ta very much)
Half time draw, £70 prize money won by the bloke who writes this blog ... You've got to be in it to win it suckers!
Frickley Athletic :
Adam Billard, Kelvin Bleau, David Cyrus, Danny Walsh, Lincoln Adams, Stuart Ludlam, Alex Callery (Grant Darley 14), James Ashmore, Brad Grayson (Karl Jones 82), Ryan Mallon, Mark Whitehouse (Leon Henry 77).
Unused subs. Ben Leonard, Ben Saynor
Harrogate Town :
Zac Jones, Liam Darville, Craig Radcliffe, Ian Ross (Liam Hardy 60 (Matt Bloomer 90)), Richard Pell, Jake Picton, Lee Elam, Laurie Wilson, Will Turl (Johnny Allen 82), Peter Bore, Stephen Turnbull. Unused subs. Paul Heckingbottom, Lee Ashworth, Ben Cohen.
Harrogate Town, playing today in their very dull looking 1980's style grey away kit, got the game under way.
From the outset Frickley Athletic were either sitting back and weighing their BSBN opponents up, or they were paying them far too much respect and allowing the visitors the time and space to 'play too much football', depending on which school of thought you subscribed to.
I'm of the former point of view, however a hard faced octogenarian 'realist' sat a few rows away from me, evidently belonged to the latter camp.
He has the lived in and pained expression of a lifetime of bitter experience, permanently etched on his face and a venomous tongue to boot.
'Old misery guts', as we call him ... in hushed tones lest he should overhear us ... is always good entertainment value, if perpetual grumpiness is your idea of fun; but his prophecies of doom, gloom and impending Armageddon are seldom right.
Or even anything like slightly accurate if truth be told.
We've decided that he must be hen pecked at home and forbidden from having his own opinion by some surly old battleaxe of a wife ... and Frickley Athletic is an escape valve for his pent up angst and indignation.
"Bloody hell we've lost the bugger already!" he bellowed moments after Harrogate went ahead on twelve minutes.
As per usual, he was wrong again.
Though Harrogate had deserved to go in front, having started the game on the attack from the first whistle, there was a touch of good fortune about the opening goal ... Ian Ross hit the ball true and on target, but Adam Billard keeping goal for the home side, pulled off a great reaction save only to be beaten at the second attempt by Will Turf who latched onto the rebound.
When Alex Callery limped off two minutes later to be replaced by Grant Darley, you could've been forgiven for assuming that 'Old misery guts' might finally have got something right ... and for a few minutes I kept an eye on the old Colliery slag heap opposite the ground, because if the sky started to turn orange and the Grim Reaper appeared over the horizon, I wanted to be the first man out of the ground and away up the A638 without any delays.
But the double whammy didn't floor Frickley for very long at all and in the words of that Barnsley based beat music combo I name dropped at the start of this report, they got knocked down, but they got up again.
The Blues were soon on the attack and twice within the space of a minute young Brad Grayson came close to scoring the equaliser.
Frickley's former Harrogate striker Peter Knox must've been gutted that he was cup tied today, he would have thrived in these circumstances.
Harrogate Town never really got to grips with the rules
of the handstands in the penalty area game

Frickley's substitute Grant Darley was combining well with Brad Grayson as the home side clawed they way back into the game, whilst at the other end Will Turl showed why he isn't Harrogate's first choice striker ... he may have scored with his first attempt, but his second was only any kind of danger to the old lady walking her dog along the grass bank behind the clubhouse end goal.
Frickley had chucked everything but the kitchen sink in at Harrogate's goal since they went behind, but with half time approaching it was beginning to look as if all of their efforts had been for nothing.
The BBC Radio York reporter sat near us was overheard telling his listeners a blatant fib ... "Virtually half time here at Frickley Athletic v Harrogate Town and the away side are still a goal in front, which is a fair scoreline and reflection on the balance of play", right on cue, James Ashmore punted a free kick into the Harrogate box, Stuart Ludlam flicked the ball on and the influential Grant Darley scored. "That's a fairer scoreline!" shouted out my Frickley supporting mate.
Even 'Old misery guts' nearly cracked a smile ... "Well done lad! But they'll chuffing murder us t'next half!"
Frickley had to stay focussed, because Harrogate didn't take kindly to being put on the back foot by the underdogs ... Richard Pell crashed a header against the Blues crossbar, Adam Billard held onto the rebound and the ref blew for half time in what had become an intriguing cup tie.
"Small town near Starbeck! You're just a small town near Starbeck!"

It was great to catch up with some 'big lumps' from Harrogate at half time, who I know very well from back in my ducking and diving days. Our days out, nights out and tours of duty are the stuff of legend, but we all got back in one piece ... after a fashion.
'What goes on tour, stays on tour!' was our motto.
My lips are still sealed.
Least said, soonest mended, at this point methinks.
See you all again on Tuesday night ... you know where ;-)
Harrogate's Liam Darville heads narrowly wide of his own goal

Let me state at this point, I was watching this game as a neutral, I know a lot of people in both South Elmsall and Harrogate who I regard as really good friends, we've been through thick and thin together and if I had to chose between their two teams ... I couldn't.
But, it's a FA Cup tradition to root for the underdog and I REALLY want to see Peter Rinkcavage, the current Frickley Athletic manager, do well, so err ... GO TEAM RINKY!!!
And go they did ... like the clappers in the second half actually.
Jack Ashmore, Grant Darley, Ryan Mallon, Stuart Ludlam, Kevin Bleau, Brad Grayson and Mark Whitehouse all combined to give the visitors a bit of a run-around in the final third, while Danny Walsh roamed midfield like a minesweeper and David Cyrus kept his head at the back. Adam Billard is growing in stature with every outing he has too.
When Leon Henry came on for Mark Whitehouse, Harrogate might have thought they were going to get some respite from Frickley's attacking play, but Henry came at them from all angles, having been given a roaming role behind the forward line.
I've seen Frickley play many times over the years, going right back to when they were in the Gola League (that's what they used to call the Conference/Blue Square Bet Premier) and seldom have I seen them play anywhere as well as they did in the second half today.
It only needed the faintest of touches from Lincoln Adams

The closest the Blues came to cementing their place in the next round of the cup was when Lincoln Adams narrowly failed to connect with ball just inches away from the goal line with the visitors keeper Zac Jones wrong footed (picture above).
Of course, though Frickley were dominant in the second half, the game wasn't entirely one sided and Harrogate still had plenty to offer ... but mainly on the counter attack.
Jake Picton and Robert Pell at the back for Harrogate both impressed me, they were kept very busy in the strength sapping heat of an uncharacteristically sweltering October afternoon ... but they just about held out and the game finished one apiece.
The replay is at Wetherby Road, Harrogate on Tuesday night.
Zac Jones tips James Ashmore's free kick over the bar

Harrogate Town will know what their up against in the replay now and possibly Frickley's best chance of getting through to the next round was to have won outright today ... but it wasn't for the lack of trying that they didn't.
I bumped into 'Old misery guts' on the way out, more pearls of wisdom "We were all over them like demons, we should've beat them while we had 'em pinned in their own half. We'd have won today if we hadn't of letter the buggers score n' all!" ... nothing gets past this guys observational prowess does it?
7.45 on Tuesday night in 'Arry gut' it is then Big Andy, Mad Gary and the Woodlands massive. It's your round!
Left click any of the above images for a larger view

FOOTNOTE - Sunday 2nd October, I've just read the truncated match report for this game in today's Non League Paper, what an inaccurate and incomplete overview of the game they've published ... they've not given Frickley Athletic any credit at all for their second half performance.
Perhaps their reporter went home at half time???
Both sides contributed to what was a great FA Cup tie, full of incident and intrigue, that I really enjoyed watching.
Sadly the NLP's short and rather dull piece doesn't give a true reflection of what really happened at all.