Monday, 29 October 2012

Staveley Miners Welfare U19 5 v Handsworth U19 2 - NMU19L Div 1

Monday 29th October 2012 at Inkersall Road
North Midland Under 19 League Division 1
Staveley Miners Welfare (2) 5
Jake Smith 22,
Sam Finlaw 45,
Kurtis Morley 52 (pen), 66 (pen),
Ryan Watters 90+
Handsworth (2) 2
Mitch Husbands 18,
Tom Bland (pen) 45 +
Admission £2, Programme 50p
Once again, ta very much to Ele Reaney for the team line up details and to that nice old codger Barry R Dyke for the video footage

Sam West, Brad Jones, Jack Wynn, Patrick Lindley, Lewis Hayward, Ross Goodwin, Kurtis Morley, Sam Finlaw, Steve Mansell, Jake Smith, Chris Gilson
Subs - James Whitfield, Ryan Walters, Ryan Watters, Ben Goodwin, Jordan Hendley
Danny Whittleston, Matt Blakemore, Sam Marley, Tom Bland, Liam Flint, Brett Watts, Danny Ingram, Louis Holden, Mitch Husbands, Jerome Grant, Adam Robinson
Subs - Adam Pursehouse, James Daws, Tyler Ledger, Jake Duckenfield
I've been looking forward to this one for ages, a head to head between two of the main standard bearers for the North Midland Under 19's League over the past few years, namely Staveley Miners Welfare and reigning champions Handsworth. The latter of whom are chasing their fifth consecutive league title.
This season's title chase, seems to have become a four horse race at the moment, between Sheffield, Handsworth, Retford United and Staveley MW, so it was imperative for Staveley to keep their 100% winning run going, while Handsworth were looking to bounce back from a 2-3 home defeat against league leaders Sheffield last week.
An entertaining game was anticipated and sure enough, we got seven goals, plus plenty of thrills, spills and incident.
But, sadly, this game will be remembered, in the main, for the amount of times the referee reached for his pocket over the course of the night.
It wasn't a dirty game however, far from it, but once he had started handing out cautions, well, for better or for worse, all one can really say is: WOW!
Three red cards (including two of the Handsworth management team) and, I think, eight yellows (that'll need clarifying, I lost count), are statistics that speak for themselves.
There were plenty of Under 19 League committee members and referees present, so they'll have to call it how they saw it, when, or if, Handsworth want to appeal against any of the decisions and punishments that went against them.
There are two schools of thought here:
One, that would say the referee was over zealous, intolerant and inflexible ... and another that would politely (but very firmly) suggest, that once it's been established that a referee is obviously a stickler for clamping down on back chat, then, then hard as it might be to do in the heat of the moment, shurrup!
My own personal take on it all, was that it all needed nipping in the bud, long before it got out of hand (and it did get out of hand) and that Handsworth were at times (but not all of the time) badly done to, at least once or twice.

But I've formed that opinion with the benefit of hindsight, while the match referee has to make decisions on the spot and live with them.
I don't.
But it needs to be said, I did think that it was a bit harsh when one corner flag, two floodlight towers, the lady who'd parked her car at a crooked angle and the nice little old man who left his seat to go for a pee during the second half, all got cautioned (Stop it there! - Sarcasm dept. Editor).
Incidentally, there was a game of football at Inkersall Road tonight too.
Mitch Husbands opened the scoring as Handsworth went ahead in the 18th minute, after the opening exchanges had suggested that both teams were weighing up the opposition defences, with a view to hitting the 'all out attack' button any time soon.
The Ambers joy was short lived, because within five minutes of seeing his side fall behind, Jake Smith cut through the Handsworth defence through the right channel and fired home the equaliser.
Both keepers saw plenty of the ball as the first half swung one way and then the other, but with 45 minutes on the clock it looked as though the half time score would be one apiece, but then Pat Lindley passed the ball to Sam Finlaw in the middle of the Handsworth half and this happened ...

Sam Finlaw had been having a quiet game by his standards up until then, with Handsworth obviously keeping a very close eye on him at all times.
So, half time, two - on, err hang on.
Handsworth went straight up the other end and as two players turned and fell together in the Staveley box, on the very slippery pitch, the ref pointed to the penalty spot.
Regardless of how harshly Handsworth feel about the way the referee dished out the cards tonight, that was as soft a penalty as I've seen given in a long time and the visitors can count themselves as lucky that they had the chance to pull the game level deep into first half injury time.
Sam West moved early, so Tom Bland planted the ball into the opposite corner.
HT - Staveley MW 2v Handsworth 2
Seven minutes into the second half, Kurtis Morley was challenged in the penalty area and hit the deck.
Those around us from Handsworth thought Morley had gone down a bit easily (one good turn deserves another), while a couple of Staveley fans said "What goes around, comes around".
Either way, there was 'some' contact and the referee awarded another soft penalty to cancel out the one he'd given Handsworth.
Kurtis Morley got to his feet and knocked the ball home to put Staveley back in front.
Maybe it was the driving rain and difficult conditions, but the game was much feistier than what you'd usually expect when these two sides come together.
Handsworth's captain Liam Flint conceded another penalty.
It wasn't a bad foul, he'd leant against a Staveley player inside the box as they both went for the ball, but the ref decided it was an offence, inside the penalty area and once again pointed to the spot. Then pandemonium broke out as he reached for his pocket again.
Knowing what was coming, the aggrieved Handsworth captain ran away from the referee, all the way to his manager (the visitors bench was on the far side of the half way line), shouting: "What's he given!? What's he doing now!?"
The referee pursued Flint and showed him the red card in front of the dug outs.
Cue a few angry words from the Handsworth bench, who got two more red cards for there troubles too.
Kurtis Morley kept his head while a whole load of people around him were losing theirs and belted the ball straight down the middle, where it squeezed under Danny Whittleston and into the back of the net.
For a short while the game descended into a bit of a farce as the ref dealt out booking after booking, mainly to Handsworth players for questioning his decision surrounding the red cards incident.
Ironically, Handsworth upped their game once the dust had settled and went about trying to get back into the game and they created enough chances with ten men on the park to do just that, but Sam West in the Staveley goal had other ideas and one or two of their shots were a bit wayward.
At the end of the game Staveley cemented their win when Ryan Watters looped the ball over Danny Whittleston, from out on the left to score a fifth for Staveley.
Handsworth may well have grounds to feel they were treated harshly by the referee tonight, but credit where it's due, Staveley kept their heads and stayed focussed on the job in hand, to secure all three points, with a hard working display.
Hopefully, they won't let 'all the other stuff', detract from what was a great result for them.
Handsworth are at home to Staveley Miners Welfare in the League Cup next Tuesday and then they play them again in a Division One fixture the week after.
Fingers crossed those two games will be remembered for the football instead of any other kind of sideshow.