Monday, 30 April 2012

Lincoln Moorlands Railway 1 v Staveley Miners Welfare 2 - Baris NCEL Premier Division

Monday 30th April 2012, at Newark Road
Baris Northern Counties East League, Premier Division
Lincoln Moorlands Railway (1) 1
Ben Good 15
Staveley Miners Welfare (1) 2
Chris Coy 45, 50
Admission £5, Programme £1.20, Attendance 46
Sent off: Two Staveley platers:
1) Ryan Damms, 40 mins, straight red card, for an outburst of foul and abusive language towards the referee.
And 2) Kyle Forbes Chambers, 88 mins, another straight red card, for elbowing a Lincoln player, after having come on as a substitute late in the game.
Lincoln Moorlands Railway:
Turner, Harkin, Lucas, Thompson, Greenwood, Hone, Nichol, Paylor, Good, Brook, Garrick.
Subs - Batchelor, Sinker, Hocking
Staveley Miners Welfare:
Dewberry, Smith, Fawcus, Staley, Foyle, Coy, Thornton, Eagers, Damms, Fox, Walker.
Subs - Forgione, Claridge, Thomas, Forbes-Chambers
I've no intention of trying to defend either of the visiting players who were sent off in this 'feisty' encounter, because they were both justifiably punished; but it needs putting on record, that tonight's referee Dave Benton, had a bit of a stinker ... and that's me trying to be polite.
His performance, was inconsistent and bewildering, in equal measure.
I wouldn't want to be a referee, especially for a stop/start scrappy game like this one.
I know there wouldn't be a game without them and they do an unenviable job most of the time, but tonight's game needed a strong referee and though he tried asserting his authority with a countless string of bookings, he never really seemed to be in charge, as one curious decision after another was met with derision from all quarters.
Granted, Mr Benton's understanding of the rules of the game is vastly superior to most other people who were present at the game tonight, in whatever capacity, myself included, but even a humble fan like myself, can spot a man drowning out of his depth.
In the end, only two players were dismissed, if the out of sorts official had applied the same letter of the law, that he did to those two, to everybody else, there could easily have been a few more leaving early.
A Moorlands defender's 'strong' four letter word strewn protest, over a penalty that wasn't awarded, was easily as bad as the volley of abuse Ryan Damms let rip with at the official, but he wasn't even booked.
Staveley nearly took the lead early on, when Ryan Damms powered an header on target from Callum Walker's left wing cross, but Craig Turner in the Lincoln goal did well to tip the ball over. But then on 15 minutes, Ben Good, came good at the other end and lobbed Martin Dewberry from the edge of the box to put the home side ahead.
Chances went begging at both ends, before, with 5 minutes of the half remaining, Ryan Damms got his marching orders (see details above).
Lincoln nearly rubbed salt in the wounds by going two up a minute later, but Good fired wide.
Right on half time, Joe Thornton cut in from the left and put the ball square across the box for Chris Coy, who stumbled slightly on the difficult pitch, but still managed to put the ball into the goal.
Half time 1-1.
5 minutes into the second half, a frantic scramble on the edge of the box, saw the ball break to Chris Coy, standing in the D and he fired home through a crowded box to put the visitors ahead.
The game was continuously and monotonously punctuated by the shrill sound of the referee's whistle, which was spoiling it as a spectacle.
Staveley's Callum Walker slashed a shot over the bar on 73 minutes that would've killed the game off.
Moorlands never really asserted themselves or used their numerical advantage constructively, but Staveley were struggling to put the game out of their hosts reach too.
With two minutes remaining, David Hone broke free for the home side, but Dewberry kept his head, stayed upright as long as possible and saved well.
Josh Thomas came close for Staveley, but his shot flew wide of the goal.
With the clock ticking down, Jamie Smith took a throw in out from the right wing towards the Lincoln penalty area, but during the jockeying for position, the referee had spotted an infringement by Kyle Forbes-Chambers (see details above, again) and Staveley were down to 9 men for the remainder of the game, which finished - Lincoln Moorlands Railway 1 v Staveley Miners Welfare 2.
OK, I don't want to sound overly critical of Staveley, because I hold the club and a lot of the people there in very high regard, but I'm struggling to come to terms with understanding the circumstances surrounding their current glut of red card offences.
It genuinely saddens me, to see the indiscipline that was initially creeping in, but which is now seemingly taking root, throughout the Staveley ranks.
The situation really needs addressing and putting right forthwith, as a matter of some urgency. Otherwise a forward looking and friendly football club, with a hard won great reputation for doing things the right way, is going to start getting a bad name amongst their peers.
Quite often, on my travels, over the last few seasons, I've compiled a lengthy list of fixtures to pick from and I've chosen to watch the Inkersall Road side in action, instead of going anywhere else, because I knew that win, lose or draw, they would always be entertaining to watch, while upholding the virtues of sportsmanship and fair play.
However, since the end of March, I've looked on with no small amount of bewilderment, wondering just what kind of mindset certain players are starting to develop at Staveley.
And it's mystifying to me to see how they've let their standards slip, so far, so quickly, as regards self discipline.
All it needed was a ball of twitchweed blowing across the 'grass'
to complete a convincing and authentic 'wild west' scene

A lot of the pitches at this fag end of the season, haven't exactly been conducive to fast, passing football, in fact there were so many bare patches on the Newark Road pitch tonight, it could've been rechristened 'the Prairie', but it isn't just 'the Staveley way' of playing the game that's gone out of the window of late, the way some players have been conducting themselves leaves a lot to be desired too.
OK they're tired as the fixtures pile up and that's taking it's toll, they'll obviously bitterly disappointed that a downturn in form has cost them their place in the challenge for the League title, so soon after missing out on a possible once in a lifetime trip to Wembley, when they lost out in the FA Vase at the semi final stage ... but come on!
Anger fuelled outbursts, tantrums and silly, niggling unnecessary fouls, that are racking up the red card count at alarming rate, are not the right way to tackle this grim, end of season malaise.
Instead, there is no better time than now, to take on board a bit of responsibility, recapture some of the self belief that was evident earlier in the season and restore some pride back into the team. Before going away to recharge during the closed season and coming back ready to go again in August.
Though it's a hectic schedule over this next week or so, I hope Staveley can finish the remainder of this season with a smile back on their faces, playing like they are capable of, instead of sinking to the level they are destined for, if they don't cut out the petulance and histrionics they've indulging in far too often of late.
The Blues have had a good League campaign for the most part, in the highest division they've ever played in and had a great run in the Vase.
That ought to be a source of no small amount of pride and should be used as a platform to build on, now the foundations are so obviously in place.
I say to the current Staveley squad ... please don't spoil those achievements and undo all the hard work it took to get into that position over the last few years, by spitting the dummy out now things aren't going your way.
Take stock, heads down, sleeves up, get up off the floor, dust yourselves down and focus on doing the things you do well.
Because you're an excellent football team, but to be frank you're crap at gamesmanship, noising up the referee and playing dirty.
That's not 'the Staveley way ... now is it!?
Over to you Staveley Miners Welfare, don't just prove me right, do it for yourselves.