Monday, 1 October 2012

Basford United U19 4 v Harworth Colliery Institute U19 2 - NMU19L Div. 2

Monday 1st October 2012, at Greenwich Avenue
North Midland U19 League Division 2
Basford United U19 (2) 4
Rhys Packett 13, Kyle Keetley 26, 53, Dan Jackson70
Harworth Colliery Institute U19 (1) 2
Mitchell Lax 5, 60
Admission £2, inc. programme, Attendance 29
Basford United
Shaun King, Charlie Cotterill, Tom Teece, Connor Naylor, Jack Smith, Mitch Robinson, Rhys Plackett, Dan Jackson, Jack Hodson, Luke McKeag, Kyle Keetley
Subs - Anton Robinson, Luke Wells, Jamie O'Connor
Harworth Colliery Institute
Tom Hogg, Jordan Hardman, Luke Bailey, Chris Higgins, Gareth Bonner, Tom Sowden, Lewis Elwood, Mitchell Lax, Daine McGrain, Enzo Guarini, Matt Smith
Subs - Ben Thompson, Reece Kemp, Danny Siddall
A series of unfortunate events in the build up to this game, meant that Harworth travelled to Nottingham tonight, minus a secretary and assistant manager cum physio.
Best wishes, to all concerned. I hope things take a turn for the better for you soon.
At the 11th hour, we discovered that the team mini bus was being utilised elsewhere, causing a logistics headache as regards getting a full team of players to Greenwich Avenue.
There was a late withdrawal by one of the team and, just to spice things up, the manager's motor conveyance broke down while he was trying to get home from work.
Such is life in the North Midlands U19 League, eh!?
It would get boring if everything always ran smoothly.
But come kick off time, eleven players lined up (in the first team's kit, sans a goalkeepers shirt), 3 subs headed for the bench, the manager had commandeered alternative transport and a Harworth committee member had managed to reschedule an 'unbreakable' commitment elsewhere, dug his bench jacket (that used to fit him, back in the day) and boots out of retirement ... and 'for one night only', some (slightly) overweight guy with a shaven head, ambled across the pitch clutching a first aid bag and a stop watch and took up his (very) temporary position alongside Glenn at the helm.
Don't worry Hasan, I think your job is still safe after tonight.
With all those layers on, I must've looked like a walking immersion tank.
Good, as it always is, to see Malc Storer at the 'Mill Street Playing Field'.
I think Basford have employed him as a ball boy this season, he spent so much time fetching it back for them. If I'd have know his sidekick Danny was going to be there, I would've taken along some new T-shirts I brought from Sports Direct along for him to stretch for me.
BTW lads ... "One Arthur Scargill! There's only one Arthur Scargill!"
A great start for the Colliery side, saw Mitchell Lax drop into a hole in the Basford defence and power home a headed goal from an Enzo Guarini corner after just 5 minutes.
But, playing a 4-3-3 formation, Harworth knew that they were up against one of the better sides in Division 2 tonight and that Basford would be a sterner test than the last couple of games had been ... and that estimation of the opposition proved to be spot on.
Rhys Plackett whacked a shot across the face of Tom Hogg's goal that went in off the left hand upright and United were level after 13 minutes.
Tom Hogg made a great save to keep out Dan Jackson's shot after the Basford play maker had surged into the Harworth penalty area with the ball at his feet.
One Basford player who'd been highlighted as a potential threat, was their prolific front man Kyle Keetley and he showed why on 26 minutes.
Jack Smith found Keetley on the edge of the box with a defence splitting pass, but Tom Hogg advanced from his line and managed to divert United's front man away from the goal towards the left of the area and ... erk! That was some finish to score from such an improbable angle. 2-1 to Basford.
Rhys Plackett hit the cross bar just before half time, with an in-swinging cross that caught everybody out.
If I was watching the game as a neutral, I would've made Plackett the man of the match, but I wasn't!
So I was really pleased to see him come off in the second half for a well earned rest ;-)
HT 2-1
Eight minutes into the second half, Dan Jackson launched a cross towards the back stick from out on the left wing, towards Kyle Keetley, Tom Hogg braced himself to block Kyle's header but was wrong footed when the diminutive Basford striker didn't get any power behind it and the ball crept over the line while Tom frantically struggled to get hold of it.
But Harworth were back in the game on the hour, when Mitchell Lax smacked home a free kick from twenty yards out.
The ball was already destined for the back of the net when it skimmed off the head of Connor Naylor who had dived to try heading it away in spectacular fashion.
Happy birthday Connor!
But two minutes after the visitors got back into the game, they were reduced to ten men, when Matt Smith was shown a straight red card, when he left his foot up following a challenge. It was an act clumsiness more than anything on Matt's part, who hadn't shown any malicious intent in a genuine attempt to get to the ball. But applying the letter of the law, once the studs were on display, the referee had no alternative but to send him off.
The fine and subsequent ban will hit the player hard, but he was more gutted about letting his team mates down at a time when they were just building up a head of steam that that.
It was a rash, spur of the moment error.
And as much as anything, Matt Smith will have learnt an harsh lesson tonight. Chin up Smithy, you've been playing too many games just lately anyway.   
Harworth's misery was compounded, when Tom Hogg mistimed his kick, when he ran from his line to clear the ball and Dan Jackson had the simplest of chances to roll the ball into the net, restoring the home side's two goal cushion around the 70 minute mark.
Hampered by their numerical disadvantage, Harworth reshuffled their pack, but Basford shut up shop now they knew that they had the game won.
It was good to see Danny Siddall getting a run out, late on for Harworth and returning for a short cameo role after picking up an injury late in the game at Ollerton in a pre season friendly. 
Hopefully he'll be back to full fitness in no time at all.
In conclusion: Basford United U19's are a very good side, who, I have no doubt, will be giving lesser sides than Harworth a proper going over any time soon.
I'm told, by an independent witness, that this was a good game to watch played between two good sides.
Harworth Colliery U19's aren't quite the finished article just yet, but they're not far off now and if one or two players can just eliminate occasional, individual errors from their game, they won't be far off of the running come the end of the season.

Next week, Harworth Colliery U19's are home, on Wednesday night in the League Cup, against some team called Retford United, who won their 1st Division game against Arnold Town at Eagle Valley 5-4 tonight. Obviously, the Badgers will be starting the game as favourites, but local derbies and cup games sometimes don't go to form and underdogs have been known to spring the odd surprise every now and then. But it depends what sort of a side Retford put out, because at full strength they'll be a match for anybody in the North Midland Under 19 League.
Next up for me:
Sincil Bank tomorrow night, for Lincoln City v Mansfield Town in the FA Youth Cup.
In fact I'll be taking in three Stags games on consecutive nights this week, before abandoning my post on Saturday to watch a 'big league' game.
Come on you Stags!!!