North Midland U19 League Division 2
Staveley Miners Welfare U19 0
Sheffield FC U19 4
Adam Hurrell 2
Miles Howarth 37, 65
Raul Correia 82
Admission £2, Programme 50p
Get well soon, to Staveley goalkeeper Dan Hatfield, who had to leave the pitch suffering from concussion just before half time.
Midfielder Sam Finlaw had to take over in goal while Dan went to hospital.
Thanks, as always, to Ele Reaney for assistance beyond the call of duty and to Ben Webster for the use a couple of his photographs.
|There is never a bucket full of wet sponges around when you need one|
Dan Hatfield, Josh Fields, Jordan Claxton, Oliver Bates, Lewis Hayward, San Finlaw, Kurtis Morley, Pat Lindley, Ryan Walters, Ryan Watters.
Subs - Steve Mansell, Ollie Byne, Ryan Bates, James Whitfield, Cameron Lambert
Spencer Russell, Connor Shipley, James Hambling, Reece White, Billy Wharam, Harvey Torr, Raul Correia, Miles Howarth, Adam Hurrell, Liam Bryan, Dan Rogers.
Subs - Jake Smith, Mike Fereday, Connor Thompson
Barely a day goes by at the moment, without the race for this season's NMU19L Division 1 title, taking yet another twist and turn.
This was a massive result for Sheffield, that puts them back on top of the pile.
But mathematically, it is still a four horse race to the finish, with reigning champions Handsworth, sitting just two points behind the leaders with a game in hand.
Retford United and Staveley MW are by no means out of it yet either, as the league table shows - NMU19L current league positions.
A win for Staveley tonight, would've put them level with Handsworth at the top of the table, but this just wasn't destined to be their night.
It was almost two nil to Sheffield shortly afterwards, but Liam Bryan shot over the bar from just outside the Staveley area.
Around the fifteen minute mark, an incident occurred that probably had a massive influence on the course of the game from then on in.
Dan Hatfield raced from his line to deal with a high ball ... and as Adam Hurrell surged forwards and clattered into him, the Sheffield number 9's shoulder impacted with the side of Hatfield's head.
When the ball is in play and there to go for, its every forwards duty to challenge for it and fair game, but with Hatfield odds on favourite to get there first, it was obvious that Hurrell's challenge was as much about rattling the Staveley keeper and making his presence known as anything else.
Not, you understand, a deliberate attempt to hurt Dan, but a measured attempt to put him off of his game.
I'm not attaching any blame to Hurrell at this juncture, it's what centre forwards do.
Afterwards, Dan Hatfield himself, said that it was a 50/50, which I think it is important to mention at this juncture.
Either way, the keeper played on, but subsequently, it became apparent later, that the knock had effected him more than was originally thought.
Liam Bryan, Sheffield's live-wire forward, always looked a threat, but Lewis Hayward was doing a good job of tracking him and the duel between the two of them made for an interesting sideshow and sub plot to the main event.
Staveley saw a few half chances go begging, but Sheffield then pounced again, when Miles Howarth forced a right wing cross over the line from close range.
Shortly before half time, Dan Hatfield got his angles right and covered a punt towards his goal from outside the box, as the ball bounced up in front of him, it looked like it was an easy catch, but when he held his hands out, he misjudged things completely, due to him still feeling the effects of the earlier knock and the ball hit him squarely in the face.
This time Hatfield didn't get up and play on ... and Staveley lost the presence in midfield of play maker Sam Finlaw, when he had to take over between the sticks, while the unfortunate keeper had to go to hospital.
HT - Staveley 0 v Sheffield 2
|'Dan! Mind that bal ... err, too late!'|
Photo courtesy of Ben Webster
Pat Lindley nearly pulled one back for the home side as a scramble ensued inside the Sheffield area, but the defence combined to scramble the ball away for a corner.
Ollie Byne's quick thinking forward pass sent Kurtis Morley away and he in turn picked out Ryan Walters with his pass, as Staveley, to their credit, tried to keep it on the deck instead of resorting to long ball tactics in an attempt to chase the game ... but the Sheffield defence, a strong and well organised unit, closed ranks again.
|Photo courtesy of Ben Webster.|
With eight minutes remaining, Raul Correia scored the persistent visitors fourth, from 10 yards out, after Staveley had had three attempts at clearing a corner.
Right at the death, Adam Hurrell fired over when a fifth Sheffield goal looked to be on the cards.
FT - Staveley MW 0 v Sheffield 4
Footnote: For the benefit of a few people who were asking, the NMU19L League Cup Final date has been arranged for 8th May at Retford United FC's ground.
The match is between Staveley Miners Welfare and Hallam, 7.45pm kick off. Admission £2 and £1.
For more pictures from tonight's game, follow this link:
Photos from the game courtesy of that really nice Ben Webster chap.