Saturday, 18 May 2013

Clifton All Whites 5 v Holbrook St. Michaels 3 - CMFL South

Saturday 18th May 2013
at the Norman Archer Memorial Ground
Central Midlands League (South)
Clifton All Whites (3) 5
Will Heath 4, Sam Leggitt 42,
Ben Moore 45+1, Rob Gill 83pen, 90
Holbrook St. Michaels (3) 3
Matt Brown 26, Luke Tozer 28,
Chris Saunders 44
Admission £3, Programme £1
Left click pictures for larger versions
Clifton All Whites:
Jake Want, Ben Moore, Andy Davies, Lee Torr, Tony Murray, Jake Richardson, Sam Leggitt, Craig Anderson, Rob Gill, Ben Richardson, Will Heath
Subs - Connor Hardy, Dorian Miller, Alex Haughton
Holbrook St. Michaels:
Ryan Cook, Nathan Cole, Craig Saville, Neil Walton, Charlie Holman, Lewis Mason, Josh Aldread, Tony Hemmings, Matt Brown, Chris Saunders, Luke Tozer
Sub - Dean Jones
A really enjoyable, free scoring, end to end game, which Clifton clinched in the very last minute, against a Holbrook St. Michaels side who gave as good as they got for long spells today, before being overcome by an All Whites side who are making a habit of winning games with last ditch goals, a la their CMFL League Cup Final win against AFC Mansfield earlier this month.
The Trophy has pride of place on the bar at the Norman Archer Memorial Ground.
This was the first time I've seen Holbrook St. Michaels play since they became members of the CMFL and if first impressions are anything to go by, I was very impressed by them this afternoon.
Sure, they lost, to a side who just about deserved the result by shading the game possession wise and by virtue of creating slightly more in the way of goal scoring opportunities; but the Saints certainly gave it a go and made a game of it.
I'm looking forward to visiting their ground, for the first time ever, this coming Wednesday ... and I'll be watching Clifton All Whites in action on Monday again too.
Ominously for the Saints, Clifton were ahead after just four minutes, when Will Heath found the net. And Heath almost claimed a second a few minutes later, but the visitors keeper Ryan Cook managed to get a touch to the ball as the Clifton number 11 tried to take it round him.
But those who were now anticipating a comfortable home win after the All Whites lively start, where given a rude awakening when Holbrook scored twice in the space of just two minutes. Matt Brown shot on sight from the right hand edge of the 18 yard box to net the equaliser with a thumping effort and Luke Tozer put the visitors ahead from eight yards out as when the Clifton defence struggled to clear their lines from a Tony Hemmings corner.
Three minutes before the break, Ryan Cook had difficulty handling the ball inside his six yard box and Sam Leggitt turned the ball past the unfortunate Saints keeper from a tight angle.
All square at the break then?
Yes ... but it wasn't quite half time just yet.
Holbrook attacked from the restart and Chris Saunders restored their lead from the left hand side of the six yard box. 
You couldn't take your eyes off of this one for a moment.
And then, further to torment anyone who'd nipped off for a pee instead of holding on until half time, Clifton were on level terms again, when Ben Moore bulged the net from 20 yards out.
HT - 3-3 - and now, officially, all square at the break.
Holbrook came straight out of the blocks at the start of the second half ... and Lewis Mason forced a fingertip save out of Jake Want.
But then the pendulum swung and it was Ryan Cook's turn to warm his hands, blocking a shot from Alex Haughton after he'd surged into the visitors area from the right flank.
Matt Brown then had a double chance to score, but Jake Want , who's slip had presented Brown with a second attempt, recovered and held onto the ball.
Chris Saunders knocked a well weighted cross into the path of Brown, who slipped at the last moment and Want came out on top in the personal duel the two of them were having again.
Any fears that this might have been one of those 'going through the motions', end of season affairs, with nothing much at stake, were completely unfounded and then some. This was one of the best games I've seen all season and both teams were still battling it out for the points right until the very end.
Clifton won a free kick outside the box ... and Sam Leggitt's blistering drive ricocheted, but Holbrook only cleared their lines as far as Connor Hardy, who was brought down by Lewis Mason as he dribbled into the box.
Rob Gill converted the spot kick and Clifton gained the initiative in the final furlong, but not until Chris Saunders had miscued a shot at the other end that flew wide of the target with just a couple of minutes remaining.
As the game entered  stoppage time, Rob Gill struck again, with an angled shot from 10 yards out, to finally break Holbrook's resistance.
FT - Clifton All Whites 5 v Holbrook St. Michaels 3
What a cracking game that turned out to be, well played both sides.