Tuesday, 16 April 2013

AFC Mansfield 1 v Belper United 0 - CMFL League Cup Semi Final

Tuesday 16th April 2013, at Watnall Road (Hucknall Town FC)
Central Midlands League - League Cup Semi Final
AFC Mansfield (0) 1 - Carl Haslam 90+3
Belper United (0) 0
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance TBC
Ta very much to Pete Craggs for the team line ups.
Crap programme of all time - overall winner
AFC Mansfield:
Dale Sheppard, Ricky Chambers, Danny McLane, Joe Meehan, Chris Timmons, Danny Naylor, Phil Buxton, Joe Naylor, Dean Rick, Carl Haslam, Mark Carter
Subs - Steve McGurk, Gary Armstrong, Ed Eley, Callum Green
Belper United:
Adam Jablonski, Tim Perry, Matt Phillips, Scott Slter, Joe Sparham, Craig Riley, Adam Taylor, Kyle Wadsworth, Luke Crosby, Adam Nicholls, Jamie Wilde
Subs - Dan Riley, Tim Sterland, Josh Wisdom, Ben Summers, Paul Posslethwaite
An enjoyable evening spent in the company of the dynamic duo, AKA Malc and Kev, of the excellent ON THE ROAD 2012-13 Blog
Option 1, Hereford United v Mansfield Town, BSBP. I couldn't get because a family get together would be finishing too late.
Option 2, Buxton U19 v Harworth Colliery U19. Same note from my mum type crap to explain my absence from that one too.
Option 3. However, I was in the Mansfield area at around 7pm, so what the hell! Why not? AFC Mansfield v Belper United, just up the road at a neutral ground.
I found a football fix for the night after all.
In spite of the fluky, scuffed in off of his shin goal, that he scored at Harworth on Saturday, Dale Sheppard resumed in goal for AFC Mansfield tonight, as the Forest Town based Bulls, went out onto the park in search of their third cup final, in this, their inaugural season.
Sheppard was involved in the first goalmouth incident of the game, when he had a fairly easy save to make from Adam Nicholls.
For the remainder of the first half, though the rigours of battling it out for honours on four fronts, are evidently beginning to take their toll on several of the AFC Mansfield lads, they began to impose themselves on the game and it looked as though they would soon be racking a few goals up ... but the breakthrough never came. Well, not for a while yet.
Carl Haslam, seems to have shaken the cobwebs off, after his enforced lay off (or maybe he had them kicked off, during the two recent games 'versus' a fair, but firm, Harworth Colliery side), and he was proving to be a real thorn in Belper's side.
Haslam was popping up all over the place, across the final third of the pitch, where he seemed to have been given a free reign to roam ... or least-ways, if he hadn't, that is what he had decided to do anyway. to good effect.
A quick short free kick from Chris Timmons near the half way line, saw Haslam sprint off towards the United goal, but the defence were under orders tonight, to clear the ball 'properly' whenever the Bulls attacked and time after time the ball vanished over the roof of the stand. 
From a coaching perspective, it is good practice to launch the ball into orbit from a clearance, because it prevents the opposition from taking a quick throw in, while your defence is regrouping. 
From a spectating point of view however, it is a complete ball ache ... and prevents the game from flowing.
A Carl Haslam corner to the back stick, was knocked across the face of the goal by Danny McLane and Chris Timmons thundered a header against the crossbar as Mansfield continued to boss the game, while their CMFL South opponents, kept putting up a determined resistance, while causing havoc with the aeroplanes that were attempting to land at the nearby Hucknall International Airport.
I'm unsure whether this is Mark 'The Beast' Labbett, of Bradley Walsh's 'The Chase' fame, or Peter Craggs, Matchday Sec. for AFC Mansfield
Carl Haslam swung a cross into the Belper box, which Joe Sparham couldn't get out of the way of and the ball dropped off his chest into the path of Joe Naylor, who from just ten yards out, blazed a rushed shot high and wide of the goal and into somebody's well tended garden.
Excuse me whilst I go off at a tangent here for a moment and ask of Joe Naylor ... Why the bloody hell couldn't you have finished like that in your previous two games, this last week, against Harworth, hey!?
Inside the last five minutes of the first half,  Dean Rick as flattened in the Belper penalty area, by Craig Riley. It was clearly a penalty, but the referee didn't award it and Belper got off very lightly.
Possibly the official had got a text from his missus, telling him he was on a promise when he got home, on the proviso that he didn't give either team a penalty tonight. It would certainly explain a lot.
HT - Nil each
The second half continued pretty much as the first had ended, with the Bulls attacking and United persisting with their 'Have it!' style approach to defending, until the referee had to warn them, that until a search party could locate any of the balls that were now missing in action outside the ground, we were now down to the last match ball. 
Belper would live to regret the amount of stoppage time, that their frequent ball distribution, to the four corners of Hucknall (and possibly even Bestwood on one occasion) was racking up.
The Bulls created two good chances, but Haslam smashed the ball narrowly wide of the Belper goal and then Adam Jablonski saved well at the feet of Joe Naylor.
Though the CMFL North side were in the ascendancy, while the game remained goal less, there was always the threat that Belper could snatch a goal on the counter attack ... and they nearly did, when Tim Perry chased a long ball over the Bulls defence, but shot wide with just Sheppard to beat.
A Carl Haslam corner, was only half cleared as far as Danny Naylor, who shot wide of the target.
And yet another Carl Haslam corner picked out Dean Rick, but Jablonski pulled of another great save from close range.
With eight minutes remaining, Mansfield packed out theri box as Belper looked for a breakthrough, a ball across the box clearly hit a defenders hand and the linesman signalled for a penalty kick. 
In the nick of time, the ref remembered the sex text he'd received earlier and over ruled his assistant, who wandered back along the touchline looking quite fed up that his input had just been ignored. 
This is the Central Midlands League mate, get used to just watching out for offsides and throw ins ;-)
The temperature started to drop as the game entered stoppage time and extra time seemed to be on the cards.
The messages started coming through that Matt Green had won the game for Mansfield Town with a stoppage time goal at Hereford United and that Buxton U19 had scored twice in injury time to beat Harworth 3-1. Here at Watnall Road, there was an injury time goal too and it was a quite special one.
Carl Haslam, dribbled the ball from right to left along the edge of the Belper goal area, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 20 yards out, that went in through Adam Jablonski's leg. 
Nutmegged in the 93rd minute!
The indignity of it all.
AFC Mansfield deserved their win, but it took a moment of quality with just a few seconds of stoppage time remaining, to finally clinch the game, against a stubborn and well drilled Belper United side.
The contrasting styles cancelled each other out for long periods of the game tonight and even the penalty appeals were evenly balanced, but, in the end, the difference between the two sides, was a back to form Carl Haslam.
FT - AFC Mansfield 1 v Belper United 0