Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Harworth Colliery U19 2 v Dunkirk 2 U19 - NMU19L Div 2

Wednesday 27th March 2012
at the Recreation Ground, Scrooby Road, Bircotes
Harworth Colliery U19  (0) 2
Mitchell Lax 66 and 86
Dunkirk U19  (1) 2
Alex Eliker 35, Ryan Ejezie 55 pen
Admission £2 inc. free 4 page programme, Attendance 37
NMU19L League tables after tonight's game
Harworth Colliery:
Hogg, Nortcliffe, Bailey, Sowden (Francis 59), Hardman, Higgins, Guarini (Cameron 75), Lax (Siddall 72), Tiffany, McGrain.
Touhig, Tengue, Smith, Upton, Brennan, Brown, Ejizie, Howard, Eliker, Parton, Coots.
Subs - Roper, Meeman, Hemagou, Atkinson
Virtually straight from the kick off, Daine McGrain came out of the blocks like an express train and forced a save out of Dunkirk's keeper Connor Touhig inside the first minute.
But Dunkirk soon found their feet and set about preserving their lofty second position in the table.
Fourth placed Harworth would leapfrog Dunkirk in Division 2 if they could win tonight, so it was very a much an 'everything to play for' game.
It was the visitors who created the most chances during a stop/start first half, that was punctuated by the frequent sound of the referee's whistle, though you couldn't fault any of the Harworth lads hard work, graft and tenacity.
On 35 minutes, the home side's defence struggled to clear a Jack Upton corner, the ball fell invitingly for Alex Eliker and Dunkirk were ahead.
It had been coming and Eliker could have already had a couple of goals to his name.
But with just one goal in it at the break, Harworth knew what they needed to do and the game was still far from over.
HT - Harworth Colliery U19 0 v Dunkirk U19 1
The visitors probably had the better of the first half, but following Hasan's half time pep talk, Harworth came out after the interval, raring to go.
Matt Smith's well weighted lob over the Dunkirk back four, put Daine McGrain through and Touhig was fortunate to come away with the ball, having initially slipped.
Enzo Guarini broke into the box from the right flank, but his cross was cleared for a corner.
Harworth were in the ascendancy in the opening exchanges of the second half, but then disaster struck on 55 minutes as Tom Hogg clipped Alex Eliker's boot, just inside the Harworth penalty area, as he attempted to clear the ball.
It wasn't an intentional foul, but a penalty kick was awarded (quite correctly) never the less.
Dan Ejezie made no mistake from the spot, 0-2
As if Harworth didn't already have a mountain to climb, things went from bad to worse, when Callum Tiffany persisted with his verbals, as play went on, having already being booked; to a point where the referee had no option but to show him a second yellow = a red card.
Callum's timing couldn't have been worse, his fellow midfield lynch pin Tom Sowden had just been replaced by Lewis Francis, to give Harworth more options up front and Harworth now had to desperately and frantically rearrange things.
Only Callum will know what was going through his head, he usually just gets on with things and lets his feet do the talking, but he acted (very much) out of character tonight.
Hopefully it's a one off and he'll learn from his mistake.
Ironically, when Callum had to come off because he was injured in the game at Dunkirk in February, the wheels seemed to come off for Harworth, but tonight, his departure signalled a call to arms and had a galvanising effect on the rest of the team and they raised their tempo and took the game to the visitors.
Perhaps, with a two goal cushion and numerical advantage, Dunkirk let their guard drop a bit and within 4 minutes of Tiffany's dismissal, it was game on again, as Mitchell Lax thumped a 25 yard free kick into the back of Connor Touhig's net.
At the other end Tom Hogg saved well from Dan Ejizie, but Harworth were soon back on the front foot.
Danny Siddall's quick touch and pace, as he combined with Daine McGrain, was causing a lot of problems for the visitors back line, but it was the in form 'goal machine' who did the damage once again ,with five minutes remaining, when Mitchell Lax took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Having had his knock into the box charged down by a defender, Lax reconsidered his options and hooked a sublime volley into the Dunkirk net from 20 yards out.
Cancel all other goal of the season contenders, we have a winner!
Danny and Daine pushed forward again, late in the game, but Dunkirk kept them out.
However, a late win for Harworth would've been stretching things into the realms of fantasy and I'm more than happy to take the draw under the circumstances ... and in fairness to  Dunkirk they didn't deserve to lose either.
Chasing a 2-0 deficit, against a team of Dunkirk's quality and down to ten men with just 24 minutes left on the clock, looks like an impossible situation to come back from.
But, you can NEVER write this season's Harworth Under 19s team off.
FT - Harworth Colliery U19 2 v Dunkirk U19 2
Man of the match, a tough one to call tonight, there were several contenders, including players who were actually substituted out of tactical necessity, however, the man of the moment, without any shadow of a doubt is ... Mitchell Lax.