Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Harworth Colliery 0 v AFC Mansfield 2 - CMFL North, Floodlit Cup Final

With kick off time galloping over the horizon and the largest crowd of the season anticipated at Scrooby Road, the printer packed up.
Tuesday 9th April 2012,
at the Recreation Ground, Scrooby Road, Bircotes
CMFL North Floodlit Cup Final
Harworth Colliery (0) 0
AFC Mansfield (0) 2
Mark Carter 46, Joe Naylor 62
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance 112
Harworth, underdogs tonight by some way, given the quality of some of the players in the visitors ranks, gave it a real go, especially in the first 45 minutes.
But after the break, once the visitors had grabbed a goal inside the first minute of the second half to break the deadlock, I think it would be fair to say that they deserved the victory based on overall balance of play.
Lee Edmondson signalled that the home side were fired up for the game, when he cut in from the right just three minutes into the game, leaving Danny McLune in his wake, but on an awkward surface, 'Eddy' struggled to hit the ball truly and the pitch came to the Bulls rescue.
On Saturday at Bentley, some of Harworth's finishing had been a bit wayward, tonight chances would be in shorter supply against the current CMFL North leaders and it was vital that the Colliery made the most of any goal scoring opportunities that came their way.
The hard pitch, didn't deter Mark Latham in the Harworth goal, as he made a number of vital stops throughout the first half, including one superb save from the visitors prolific striker Dean Rick.
But that quality save was eclipsed by Mansfield's Dale Sheppard just before the break, when he somehow managed to pull off a quite spectacular save from Tom Pick's brilliant strike from 10 yards out, that seemed to have goal written all over it, as he sweetly connected with the ball.
Sorry 'Tomo', there is no photo of your effort available, this might have been the floodlit cup, but until we get the imminent upgrade of lights at 'the Rec', night time games at Scrooby Road, are a non starter for my humble camera.
Score a couple like that on Saturday and I'll get them both though ;-)
HT - Harworth Colliery 0 v AFC Mansfield 0
I know a good number of the people involved with tonight's visitors quite well and I'm often baffled on my travels around the CMFL North circuit, to hear people calling them arrogant, smug and big headed.
Because that is three things they most certainly aren't.
Especially not that 'tall, skinny one', who their detractors seem to want to single out and talk about the most.
I think the politics of envy plays a big part in encouraging some people's willingness to join in with this predictable stereotyping though.
Financial stability is seemingly frowned upon in the CMFL, mostly by clubs who'd tear your right arm off to get cash backing, to support their own ambitions.
As the teams came off at half time, two of the visitors management team took time out to come over to me and compliment Harworth's performance thus far and to say what a great keeper Mark Latham was.
And it needs mentioning that the visiting committee generously supported tonight's raffle too.
Their chairman took the nice bottle of Scotch home, but you've got to be in it to win it folks.
Hmm, back to having a cheap £2.99 bottle of plonk from the new(ish) ASDA next to the ground, as a prize on Saturday methinks.
The second half was 47 seconds old, when Mark Carter scored ... against the run of play (ahem) ... that's nearly twice as long as it took Westella to make a second half breakthrough on April Fools Day, so obviously things are improving in that department.
Carter almost doubled the visitors lead a few minutes later, but Mark Latham denied him this time.
Just after the hour Joe Naylor all but secured the win for the Bulls, when he escaped his marker and headed home a left wing corner.
Harworth now had to push forward, which left space for one of the Mansfield subs, 'Donald Duck' I think his name is (but his management team were shouting Carl and Hazza at him for some strange reason), to do what it is he does best, to good effect, on his comeback, i.e. wind everybody up and run amok during the game, then shake hands and have a laugh about it afterwards.
I thought Jamie O'Conner refereed the game very well and though it did seem a bit stop/start at times, that was only because no quarter was being given on a firm (but fair) pitch.
Also further credit where is due to the ref, because he had to work with the considerable drawback of having international cake thief, Kev Blackburn, running one of the lines for him.
I hope you enjoyed it Kev, my granddaughter cried when I got home and told her a short sighted little bald man had eaten her cup cake.
Mr Blackburn is from Harworth, but he ensures that he never gets accused of local bias, by giving every single decision he ever makes, against the Colliery.
See ya soon Kev ... hopefully officiating at some other teams game!!!
FT - Harworth Colliery 0 v AFC Mansfield 2.
Oh well, Harworth gave a good account of themselves in this northern final (and overall semi final) of the CMFL Floodlit Cup tonight and didn't get the going over, that most people had predicted, but AFC Mansfield just had too much quality for them to cope with in the end.
The Bulls will now face the winners of tomorrow night's southern final between Newark Town and Southwell City in the grand final.
Note: Harworth Colliery Under 19s are at home to NMU19L leaders Basford United tomorrow night.
The third team are at home on Saturday against Ackworth United at 2.30pm on pitch two and the first team kick off on pitch one (which if the forecast for rain before the weekend is right, won't be quite as hard as tonight) at 3pm against tonight's victors, AFC Mansfield, in the CMFL North.
Footnote. Newark beat Southwell in the southern final (added 10th April)