Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sherwood Colliery 1 v Harworth Colliery 2 - CMFL North

Saturday 31st August 2013,
at Debdale Park, Mansfield Woodhouse
Central Midlands League (North)
Sherwood Colliery (1) 1
Lance Mulligan 42
Harworth Collierty (0) 2
Tom Walker 76, 86
Admission £2, Programme £1,
Attendance 63
Quick headcount during a lull in play, of which there were several
Sherwood Colliery
Liam Kerry, Rob Whitmore, Mike Smedley, Tom Nash (Charlie Taylor) , Wayne Jordan (Eden Homer), Scott Curley, Brad Straw (Harry Joule 8), Keenan Leeds, Lance Mulligan, James Whitmore, Brendan Williams
Unused subs - Luke Proctor, Tim Gregory
Harworth Colliery
Mark Latham, Makenzie Tomlinson (Jordan Hardman), Simon Brewster, James Woodward, Martyn Gee, Chris Belshaw, Lewis Hilton (Tom Walker), Dean Bonser, Gareth Sides (Matt Smith), Ryan Paczkowski, Tom Pick
Unused subs - Ross Taylor, Steve Wibberley (GK)
Ah, football. The beautiful game, with it's aesthetically pleasing geometric passing, delicate footwork, intricate tactical patterns and silky skills; combined with the glamour of entertaining, crowd pleasing, show boating individuals.
Well, at least that's one version of the sport that we devote so many hours to watching, playing and enthusing about.
But the beauty was unavailable today, so we had to make do a fumble with her infinitely uglier and less shapely sister and resort to a bit of a late afternoon knee trembler as a means to an end.
The overall experience might not have been as mutually satisfying, or entirely thrilling for those who chose to furtively look on, watching the clumsy, all fingers and thumbs, messy spectacle.
Who would ever have thought that such voyeuristic activities could ever happen deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest, eh?
There is always one player who is guaranteed to be posing for the camera
The game was just three minutes old when James Woodward and Gaz Sides both took advantage of a static Sherwood back four, to beat the offside trap and home in on goal.
Alas, with Liam Kerry caught in two minds, 'Woody' was unable to get a good contact with his header and he put the ball wide.
Harworth started the more strongly of the two sides, but as the half moved on, the home side began to get into it more, in particular down the left flank, where they were enjoying far too possession.
The visitors had a reprieve when Brendan Williams saw his effort come back off the left hand upright and a couple of minutes later, Keenan Leeds beat Woodward for pace as he raced into the penalty area, but his rushed shot cleared the crossbar.
Sherwood had tightened things up at the back after their early scare and Harworth were limited to a couple of long range efforts, that neither Chris Belshaw or Gaz Sides managed to get on target.
With the interval approaching, it was apparent that some half time adjustments were sorely needed.
Mark Latham pulled off a great one handed save, which seemed to have kept the visitors at bay, until at least the break ... but Sherwood's robust centre forward Lance Mulligan had other ideas.
Lewis Hilton was booked on 41 minutes for conceding a free kick deep into his own half.
The dead ball into the box caused chaos in Harworth's defensive ranks and when Si Brewster appeared to have cleared his lines, with a header away from goal, Mulligan was on hand seize the opportunity to open the scoring with a firm header back past Mark Latham.
Psychologically, a good time to get a goal, according to legend.
I didn't ask 'Brew' if he was claiming the assist, mainly because for the most part he actually put in a damn good shift today and has the bruises to prove it.
HT: Sherwood 1 v Harworth 0
A change in tact and personnel at half time, almost paid instant dividends for the visitors. Ryan Paczkowski was hauled down unceremoniously by Mike Smedley, with a challenge that earned Sherwood's left back a yellow card, but Martyn Gee whacked the resultant free kick over the crossbar. But the Harworth number 5 made amends for his miss immediately, by getting in a good blocking tackle at the other end a minute later.
The half time introduction of Tom Walker, a human battering ram who excels in this kind of close quarters 'firm but fair' kind of action, gave Harworth more options and impetus going forward, while Jordan Hardman came off the bench to cut out Sherwood's activity and line of supply down the left flank.
Tom Pick, starved of the ball for long spells today, in the areas where he usually causes so much damage to opposition defences, was unlucky to see his unselfish cross to Paczkowski, smothered at the feet of Harworth's resident camera hogger, by Liam Kerry, who saved bravely to cut out the chance.
Shortly afterwards, Paczkowski was again thwarted by a last ditch tackle from Rob Whitmore, as he closed in on goal.
Tom Walker knocked a weighted pass into the path of Tom Pick and Sherwood were let off the hook, when the Harworth number 11 failed to make contact with it by a whisker.
Pick return the favour to Walker on 76 minutes, when he battled well for the ball and put a measured cross in for Walker to head home the equaliser.
At the other end Lance Mulligan intercepted a clearance from Dean Bonser, but this time the ex Mansfield Town teenage protege didn't take his chance.
Matt Smith put a telling cross in for Chris Belshaw, but Liam Kerry was on hand again to make a timely intervention.
With just four minutes remaining, Tom Walker popped up inside the Sherwood area and knocked the ball goal wards, the last defender and Liam Kerry got in a tangle over who was going to clear Sherwood's lines and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Walker's goal (his presence definitely contributed greatly to Harworth's second and winning goal), or an own goal?
I guess that one is open to conjecture, debate, discussion and disagreement, but the main thing is, from a Harworth Colliery perspective, is that regardless of who should get the credit for it, the ball went in at the right end.
And just like last season, a late smash and grab raid had secured all three points for the visitors at Debdale Park.
If taking the lead just before half time is psychologically good, then scraping a 2-1 lead in the final moments of a game that had draw, stalemate and deadlock written all over it, is just awesome.
Winning ugly reaps exactly the same rewards as gaining a victory through elegance, style and panache ... hopefully there will be a bit more of those three attributes associated to Harworth's next game.
But as for today, three points are three points, however they come.
FT - Sherwood 1 v Harworth 2