Saturday, 4 May 2013

Clay Cross Town 1 v Harworth Colliery 1 - CMFL North

Saturday 4th May 2013
At the Devil Made Me Do It Tattoo Studio Ground
Mill Lane, Clay Cross
Central Midlands League (North)
Attendance 74
Clay Cross Town (1) 1
Luke Beatson 13
Harworth Colliery (1) 1
Matt Smith 44
Admission £3,
Non League programme of the season 2012-13
Programme, a brilliant effort, the best in the CMFL this season by far. 
The writing style reminded me of one or two of the better football fanzines that were doing the rounds in the 1980s and 90s, before everybody had access to the internet and could write any old rubbish on a social network site, or half baked blog, such as the one you are perusing right now.
An extensive merchandise range to suit all pockets
Link to a very fair and honest match report here: Clay Cross Town FC website
Left click any of the pictures below for larger versions. 
Besides my own amateur attempts at taking photos at today's game to break up the long and boring match report, there is a great set of professionally taken photos, kindly provided by James Williamson (of Clay Cross) available to view on the Harworth Colliery FC Facebook page. 
Thanks for taking the time to come down to the game today James, it was greatly appreciated mate.
Clay Cross Town:
Matt Bradwell, Julian Capuano, Gareth Davey, Adam Pearson, Luke Beatson, Ryan Williams, Carl Whitfield, Mark Needham, Steve Taylor, Sam Bartram, Ben Goodwin
Subs - Ryan Capuano, Asa Ingall
Harworth Colliery:
Mark Latham, Jordan Hardman, Paul Burns, James Woodward, Simon Brewster, Chris Belshaw, Jonny Bownes, Gaz Sides, David Cornthwaite, Matt Smith, Tom Pick
Subs - Andy Webb, Brendan Wilson
Following today's draw, Clay Cross Town have one foot on the podium to take 3rd place in the CMFL North.
But, as of yet, that still depends on whether the league committee award them the three points for Yorkshire Main's no show at the Devil Made Me Do It Tattoo Studio Ground last week or not and if in form Westella Hanson win their three remaining games in hand. Because the Bishop Burton based side, who, of course, won the league title last season, can still mathematically claim the 'bronze medal' position and pip Clay Cross at the post, in a photo finish, if they get a 100% return against Phoenix Sports, Brodsworth Welfare and AFC Mansfield.
Harworth will finish the season in fifth place regardless of how other results go now.
That is a good return from the season for the Bircotes club and I'm sure they would've been happy with a top five finish at the outset of the 2012-13 campaign.
However, there was a time, just a few short months ago, when they seemed destined for a nailed on top three finish and they did actually lead the table for a while. 
But I don't want to make it sound as though I'm disappointed with their final placing, because I'm most certainly not and in no way should the  indifferent form towards the end of season. be seen as some sort of underachievement, because they've well and truly laid the foundations to be challenging at the business end of the table again next time around, having shown in fits and starts what they're capable of ... staying power will be the key when the football resumes in August.
Hopefully, next time around, their momentum won't be affected so badly, by unfortunate injuries to key players and their rhythm won't be so badly disrupted when the winter weather inevitably takes a grip again.
The effect that the loss of David Reeve early in the season had, can't be underestimated.
He really ls an influential player and though the remainder of the team dug in and stuck to their task well, you can't help but wonder if Reeve's presence might have just given them bit extra when things weren't going quite as smoothly as they had been.
I guess we'll never know now though.
Craig 'Billy' Anderson too, is another Colliery player whose presence has been sorely missed.
However, I strongly believe that if the current squad stay together beyond this season, they're more than capable of taking things up a notch and to another level.
From my vantage point on the touchline, I've got a lot of faith in this team and reckon that they can continue to improve even more next season.
However, although my optimism is all well and good, but what they really need now is a whole load of self belief.
With just a bit more consistency, the possibilities and probabilities next year look very promising.
And the CMFL North Floodlit Cup Final appearance, showed that the interest is there in the village if the team can just raise things a notch.
Alas, for much of the first half today, Harworth were fairly anonymous, with a performance akin to their display earlier this week in what today's programme notes referred to as 'the shock home defeat on Wednesday to Brodsworth'. 
But thankfully, they snapped out of their lethargy, as the first half came to a close and gave a much better account of themselves after the break. Which was just as well, because Harworth only had an injured player and an OAP on the bench this afternoon.
The team formerly known as Parkhouse FC, had by far the better of the opening 45 minutes and showed that they meant business from the start, when Ben Goodwin headed narrowly over from Julian Capuano's right wing cross inside the opening three minutes.
The Colliery keeper, Mark Latham, knew he was in for a busy afternoon, when he was forced to turn Luke Beatson's close range effort over the bar 7 minutes in.
Julian Capuano, wearing number 2, but popping up all over the park, swung a free kick into the box from out on the left flank and Beatson got the lightest of touches to wrong foot Latham and his defence and put the home side ahead.
Luke Beatson opens the scoring on 13 minutes
Tom Pick almost replied to the Millers goal immediately, but he pulled the ball narrowly wide of the left hand post after going it alone in the Clay Cross area.
Mark Needham and Ben Goodwin combined well as the home side built up a head of steam again, but Si Brewster thwarted their build up play with a uncompromising tackle and clearance.
Ryan Williams was through on Harworth's goal when he ran onto a direct ball, knocked over the visitors defence from in the middle of the park, but he lost his footing and the chance went begging.
Steve Taylor took a square pass from Mark Needham in his stride but fired over the bar from 12 yards out ... and within a minute Clay Cross were back on the attack and Sam Bartram fired over too.
Harworth dusted themselves down, having been on the back foot for most of the first half and made some inroads into the final third for the last five minutes of the first half.
A half chance fell to Tom Pick, but he couldn't get a clean contact on the ball and Clay Cross repelled the danger, but in the 44th minute, Pick struck again and when Matt Bradwell could only parry his shot, Matt Smith was on hand to latch onto the loose ball and knock home the equaliser from the tightest of angles.
HT - 1-1
Harworth had the first attack of the second half, when Tom Pick put Matt Smith through, 50/50 with Matt Bradwell, Smith was unceremoniously bundled off the ball as he squared up to shoot, but despite an half hearted penalty appeal, the referee Kevin Frampton saw nothing wrong with the challenge and waved play on. Personally, I would've awarded a spot kick, but thankfully, in the interests of fair play and sportsmanship, Mr Frampton isn't blinkered and biased like me.
Jonny Bownes, who has fitted in well in a number of positions since he joined Harworth mid season, play a great ball through into the path of Tom Pick, who shot wide. But the referee awarded a corner, hmm ... maybe he was just as impartial as me after all.
Bownes and Pick teamed up well again to feed the ball to Chris Belshaw, but his shot, from a difficult angle, cleared the crossbar.
Harworth nearly came unstuck, when Clay Cross exploited their Achilles heel again, with a tried and tested knock over the back four to a runner, but when Steve Taylor found himself in space, Mark Latham was alert to the danger and saved the ball well.
Gaz Sides battled well and won the ball in the centre of midfield and sent Pick on another goal bound run, but the hard working striker put his shot wide of the target.
Matt Smith, who's been struggling to shake off a chest infection for weeks now, was knackered, so on 67 minutes, he was replaced by Andy Webb, who's looked like a useful addition to the first team since he's stepped up from the reserves these past couple of weeks, but he had to play with his leg heavily strapped today. Ryan Capuano also entered the fray for the home side in place of Carl Whitford, as if it wasn't bad enough having to contend with one lively Capuano on the pitch already.
Tom Pick moved out to the right flank and won the ball from the Clay Cross full back before playing the ball in for Andy webb, who shot over from 15 yards out with his first touch. Yes, you read that right, Tom Pick, inside the last fifteen minutes of Harworth's final game of the season, really did pass the ball to a team mate in the opposition penalty area. There are three total eclipse's of the sun scheduled before that is likely to happen again ;-)
Martin 'Norris' Roberts
The game was still hanging in the balance as it entered the last ten minutes and though Harworth were much improved since the first half, Clay Cross were still eager to show why they are still in contention for third place. A long throw into the Colliery box by Mark Needham, was laid off to Ryan Williams by Steve Taylor and Mark Latham was tested from 6 yards out. Prompting a bystander nearby to comment "That Harworth keeper is a good little 'un isn't he!?"
Jonny Bownes lofted a right wing cross into the Millers penalty area at the other end, which almost caught Matt Bradwell out, who had to stretch backwards and tip the ball over the bar, just to be safe.
Inside the final three minutes, neither side were still contenting themselves with settling for a point and Mark Latham was called into action again when he thwarted Mark Needham from close range.
Play switched quickly again in what was by now an end to end encounter and Jonny Bownes unlocked the Clay Cross defence with a lob into Tom Pick's path, he was one onto one with Matt Bradwell, who got his angles right and blocked Pick's shot.
In the final minute Pick, yet again, battled for the ball inside the the Clay Cross box and got his shot away, but Bradwel turned it away from a corner.
Chris Belshaw's flag kick was punched away by Bradwell, but only as far as Andy Webb outside the penalty area, but before he could get a touch of the ball, Ryan Capuano clattered him and earnt a booking for his troubles.  
That was the final action of the game.
I think both teams would agree a draw was a fair result in the end ... and I would certainly have taken that result prior to kick off, following on from Wednesday night's performance.
Clay Cross Town really go out of their way to make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive and I really enjoyed my visit there today.
Man of the match - For Clay Cross, Julian Capruano. For Harworth, hmm ... several contenders, especially after half time when they put in a lot of effort. 
Mark Latham must be due for consideration, given the amount of times he made a few vital saves. 
Jordan Hardman, what can you say? You just get used to these faultless displays each and every week and he barely gets a mention because his high performance rate has become the expected norm for this player, who shows maturity beyond his years, regularly and consistently. I'll make no secret of the fact, that he's got my vote as player of the season (with James Woodward as my second choice).
But today's THE66POW Harworth man of the match is Tomo Pick, for his non stop work rate from start to finish, single minded determination in front of goal and err ... passing.
FT - Clay Cross Town 1 v Harworth Colliery 1
Footnote (added 14th May). Westella Hanson lost their final game of the season 1-4 at home to AFC Mansfield. Clay Cross Town were awarded the 3 points after Yorkshire Main failed to turn up for a game ... and subsequently, Clay Cross finished in 3rd place in the CMFL North.