Saturday, 14 September 2013

Pickering Town 6 v Staveley Miners Welfare 2 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 14th September 2013
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
At Mill Lane, Pickering
Pickering Town (2) 6
Joe Danby 12, 58, 82
Ged Dalton 23
Lewis Taylor 61
Nathan Cook 88
Staveley Miners Welfare (2) 2
Jordan Turner 22, 27
Admission £5, Programme £1.50, Attendance 105
Pickering Town
Aaran Reid, Nathan Cook, Chris Gowen (John Heads 58), Dean Readman, Simon Sturdy (C), Lewis Taylor, Ged Dalton (Rob Harkes 62), Tommy Adams, Steve Baxter (Tom Fenwick 65), Joe Danby, Liam Shepherd
Staveley Miners Welfare
Lawrence Matthewson, Rob Ludlam (Natahn Whitehead 88), Phil Austin, Matt Thorpe, Ashley Foyle, Luke Beatson, James Colliver, Jamie Smith, Jordan Turner, Nathan Benger (Jake Vernon 65), Anthony Rowley (Pat Lindley 65)
Will the real Staveley Miners Welfare please stand up?
Following on from the gritty defensive display at Athersley last Saturday and the midweek win at Inkersall Road against Maltby Main, the mood in the Staveley camp, prior to kick off, was fairly upbeat and optimistic.
With Neil Cluxton's side matching their hosts every inch of the way from the outset, it looked as though the seeds of hope were being well tended to and were about to flourish and flower any time soon.
Well, for almost sixty minutes anyway.
The result and statistics listed above, convey the message to those who weren't present at Mill lane, that this victory for Pickering must have been a formality and some kind of one sided walkover.
But for a long period of the game, that simply wasn't the case at all.
And the top heavy card count, six cautions for the home side and a straight red card and four yellows for Staveley, gives the impression that it must have been a dirty game too, which also isn't true either.
The visitors started well.
Jordan Turner left the Pikes defence for dead with a burst of pace, which saw him progress to the edge of the six yard box, where he went to ground under a firm but fair tackle as the home side cleared their lines.
Minutes later, a neat passage of passing play between Jamie Smith, Matt Thorpe and Turner, saw Staveley making some serious in-roads into Pickering territory again, but some last ditch defending saw the ball cleared onto the adjacent cricket pitch.
But Staveley were hit with a sucker punch, when Pickering scored from their first serious foray forward.
It was a diagonal long ball from Liam Shepherd that unlocked the Welfare defence, which Ged Dalton took down well, before squaring the ball Joe Danby, who opened the scoring with the simplest of tap in efforts from close range.
Staveley immediately went looking for an equaliser and Arran Reid had to dash quickly from his line to cut out the danger when Matt Thorpe put Nathan Benger through on goal with a well weighted long pass.
Shortly afterwards, Reid came charging off of his line again in an attempt to cut out a run through the right channel by Turner but he wasn't quite quick enough and the visitors number 9 took the ball past the stranded keeper, but stumbled as he was about to shoot and could only toe poke the ball wide of the target.
But with the hoots of derision and cat calls from the home supporters still ringing in his ears, Turner silenced his detractors within a minute, when Thorpe picked him out with a defence splitting pass, the diminutive striker surged past Simon Sturdy and made no mistake this time as he drilled home the equaliser from 12 yards out.
But straight from the restart, Pickering surged forward and were in front again moments later and once more it was a combination of Shepherd, Danby and Dalton who exposed Staveley's defensive frailties, with Danby repaying the favour and turning provider for Dalton this time.
The Mill Lane crowd, fired up by a midweek 7-1 hammering of Winterton Rangers in the Pikes first home game of the season, became vocal and animated in anticipation of another goal feast.
But Jordan Turner, ever willing to make run after run into the Pickering box, silenced them again, by winning the ball from Dean Readman, before skipping across two covering defenders and scoring his and Staveley's second from the edge of the box.
Nathan Benger, on only his second start for the visitors, looks to be developing a good understanding with Turner and the two of them are going to be a real handful for opposition defences once they get used to each other.
Alas, though there are obviously not many flaws in Staveley's game plan to get the ball down and attack at pace, there are still a few glaring problems that need addressing across the back line and with the calibre of players that turned out in the back four today, with James Colliver sitting back to offer extra cover at times, that shouldn't be happening.
But the coaches will doubtless be working on that worrying aspect of several displays of late, as the clean sheet and draw at Athersley showed.
Right on the stroke of half time, with both teams still plugging away to seize the initiative before the break, Anthony Rowley's cross was only half cleared as far as Colliver, who struck the ball cleanly from just outside the box, but Reid got down quickly and kept it out at full stretch.
HT 2-2
Staveley had the first attack of the second half, but it was curtailed when Nathan Cook scythed down Matt Thorpe just outside the right hand edge of the home sides penalty area.
Cook was booked but Jamie Smith's free kick came to nothing and Pickering cleared their lines.
With an assessor sat in the stand and the referee Matt Dicicco dishing out cards like party invitations to players from both teams, it was obvious that any player who committed a proper offence would be in serious bother.
Just before the hour mark, the ref blew for a rash challenge by a Pickering player out on the cricket field side touchline and awarded a free kick to Staveley, but then a stand off flared up between around five players from each side and amongst the squaring up and posturing, Matt Thorpe grabbed Liam Sherherd by his shoulders and pushed him away.
Whoops! Card happy referee plus assessor looking on, it was a recipe for trouble.
And although Thorpe didn't actually throw a punch, or take a swipe at the Pikes number 11, in this day and age you can't raise your hands to an opposition player and technically, applying the laws of the game to the nth degree, the up until then influential midfielder had to walk.
In the aftermath of the sending off the home fans jeered the two Staveley players who were protesting to the referee and called for them to accept the decision to send Thorpe off and get on with the game, but there were no complaints about the red card. The Staveley players were incensed because the referee, for reasons known only to himself, had reversed the free kick decision after the melee and given it to Pickering instead.
To compound the Welfare players misery and sense of injustice (at the reversed fee kick decision, not the red card), Lewis Taylor launched the free kick into the penalty area and Danby put the home side ahead again with a deft header past Lawrence Matthewson.
How often does it happen, that when a team are reduced to ten men, they raise their game and salvage the situation against the odds?
Well, it would be fair to say that scenario, or anything even slightly resembling it, didn't happen today.
The wheels came off completely for Staveley and at times they lost their heads, capitulated and gave Pickering all of the time and space they needed, to rack up a sack full of goals for the the second game in a row on home turf.
Three minutes after regaining the advantage, the Pikes scored again, when Taylor claimed one for himself at the second attempt after Matthewson had blocked his initial shot.
A game that had started so promisingly for Staveley had become a damage limitation exercise now and it was painful to watch for their contingent of fans who had travelled up to north Yorkshire.
After the sending off, the tempo of the game had calmed down again, but having set a precedent, Mr Dicicco was now almost obliged to keep dishing out yellow cards, to both sides, for the most trivial of transgressions.
Both sides plucked away looking for further openings, but for a while the game, which was effectively over now became a bit subdued.
But the home side sprung into life again inside the final ten minutes and when John Heads played a square ball across an AWOL Staveley defence, Danby was on hand to claim his hat trick.
With two minutes remaining, an incident that typified Staveley's day occurred, when Jordan Turner beat Aaran Reid all ends up, only to see his goalbound effort take slight nick off of the grounded last defenders heel and roll wide of the post. The corner was, inevitably,  cleared.
Play switched to the other end and a dead ball from Liam Shepherd saw Nathan Cook rise to score the home sides sixth goal with a free header.
FT - Pickering Town 6 v Staveley MW 2
My match report in the Staveley MW section of the Chesterfield Post website