Monday, 21 November 2011

Staveley MW U19 4 v Sheffield U19 3 - NMU19L Division 1

Monday 21st November 2011, at Inkersall Road
Baris North Midlands Under 19 League Division 1
Staveley Miners Welfare (3) 4
Adam Houghton 2 (1 pen), Michael Cuckson,
Lee Anthony (pen)
Sheffield (0) 3
Adam Green, Sam Eckhardt (pen), Danny Rogers
Admission £2, Programme 50p,
Free team sheet (thanks Ele), Attendance 90+
And to think ... on Saturday at 4.50PM I'd almost given up on football as a form of entertainment.
But tonight, we were served up with a cracking game, which more than lived up to the reputation that recent matches between these two sides have deservedly earned.
The total crowd was probably in excess of 100, for an Under 19's game on a chilly November Monday night on the outskirts of Chesterfield, if you count those who were too nesh to come outside and watched through the windows, from inside the warmth and comfort of Staveley's impressive bar, when I was doing a quick headcount just before kick off time.
It was obvious from the outset, that defensive negativity is an anathema in both the People's Republic of Staveley and Sheffield (or Dronfield if we're splitting hairs), as both teams came out of the blocks reading from the same hymn sheet, titled 'the best form of defence is attack'.
Alas, for Sheffield, it might of been prudent for them to concentrate just a little more on preventing the home side from going for goals in the first half, because the Blues were rampant once Adam Houghton had rounded the unlikely named 'club' goalkeeper Lewis Barnsley in the 10th minute, to fire Staveley ahead.
A few minutes later Houghton broke into the box again and managed to get his shot in despite the attentions of a defender who wasn't just content with tugging on the Staveley captain's shirt but appeared to be actually undressing him.
But the referee let the apparent advantage go.
At the other end Adam Green played Adam Robinson through, but Ben Hardwick pulled off a great save to prevent his side from preventing a goal from a swift counter attack.
Staveley had the next three chances ... Michael Cuckson fired over the bar from close range, David Anthony's in-swinging cross was tipped over the bar by Lewis Barnsley, and Tristan Brown blazed an unstoppable effort over the crossbar too.
On 40 minutes Matt Langley was upended in the penalty area and Adam Houghton fired the resulting spot kick home.
The final action of the half saw Michael Cuckson nick a poachers goal in the six yard box after a right wing cross into the mix had caused a goalmouth scramble in the visitors box.
Staveley were good value for their 3-0 half time lead and though Sheffield had played some neat passing football at times, it would be fair to say that they had been under the cosh for long periods of the first 45 minutes.
Straight from the restart, Staveley attacked again, but Barnsley saved Houghton's effort well.
To the visitors credit, they then dug deep into their resources and found some steely determination to turn the tables on the Blues ... and all of a sudden the result didn't look as much of a foregone conclusion anymore.
On 48 minutes, Adam Green scored an identical goal to Adam Houghton's opening strike to make it 3-1 ... and the visitors were back in the hunt again.
A few minutes later Connon Flannery got away and found himself a yard of space in the Staveley box, but he pulled his effort across the face of the goal and wide of the left hand post.Cuckson attempted to restore his side's three goal cushion with a flicked on from header on 52 minutes, but Barnsley jumped and caught the ball that was heading just beneath his crossbar.
Just before the hour mark Sheffield were awarded a penalty and though Ben Hardwick managed to get a hand to it, Sam Eckhardt's spot kick had been struck so firmly the Staveley keeper had little hope of stopping it.
A few minutes later the visitors comeback was almost complete when James Hambling fired against the crossbar.
Then Danny Booth sent Sam Eckhardt on a run into the box, but the Sheffield number 9 fired wide.Adam Houghton had a couple of chances for the Blues but looked to be in pain, he was either suffering from severe cramp or had pulled a muscle.
Either way, he fired wide in the first instance and then had his next shot saved before going down and playing no further part in the game.
A minute after their penalty taker had gone off, Staveley, inevitably, won another spot kick.
But Adam Robinson was up to the task of taking it and in spite of Sheffield's spirited comeback in the second half, Staveley were now 4-2 ahead with just 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
Adam Robinson spots the ball before scoring Staveley's fourth goal

Staveley now showed that they could be just as resilient in holding on to an advantage doggedly right up until the last minute, as they had been relentless in amassing their first half advantage.
90 minutes came and went, then 95 ... and deep in stoppage time, too deep to make any difference now as it happened, substitute Danny Rogers got on the end of a right wing cross and netted a third goal for the visitors.
Final score 4-3, more of the same any time soon, please.
Now that was a high tempo, very entertaining, great advert for the North Midlands Under 19's League.
Well played Staveley and Sheffield who both contributed a lot to an excellent game, I've forgotten about Saturday's game at ... err, wherever it was, already :-)