Saturday, 28 December 2013

Newark Town 2 v Harworth Colliery 3 - CMFL North

Saturday 28th December 2013, at Station Road, Collingham
CMFL North
Newark Town (1) 2
Alex Hales 42 (pen), James Munson 84
Harworth Colliery (0) 3
Martyn Gee 70, Gaz Sides (via Billy Hurst) 83, Sam West 87
Admission £3,  Programme £1
Attendance 71
Newark Town:
Chris Riley, George Pearce, Billy Hurst, Alex Hales, Luke Parsons (C), Tom Mallinson, Sam Bagworth, Sam Wilford, James Munson, Chris Dobbie, Dom Swingler
Subs - Sam Gregory, Reece Self, Calum Fraser
Harworth Colliery:
Mark Latham,  Jordan Hardman, Jonny Bownes, Greg Fox, Martyn Gee (C), Lee Edmondson, Lewis Hilton, Ollie Chappell, Dean Bonser, Tom Walker, Sam West
Subs - Makenzie Tomlinson, Arron Blakey, Gareth Sides
Compounding the not inconsiderable loss of club captain James Woodward, who will sadly be out of action for several months now due to illness, Harworth also had to travel to in form Newark Town (who have won their last three CMFL North games), without their influential midfield playmaker Greg Archer today.
Archer's absence meant more running and fetching for the 'human battering ram' and 'fans favourite' Tom Walker, who was visibly struggling with respiratory problems at times throughout the afternoon, due to him playing despite having a heavy cold and chest infection.
Tom Pick and Chris Belshaw, who could have linked up with Sam West and Ollie Chappell in attack, are also out of action at the moment. But the make do and mend, patched up nature of the squad, had a galvanising effect on the team spirit in the Harworth camp and their resilience and character saw them across the finishing line in this physically demanding contest, that neither side wanted to loosen their grip on right until the final whistle.
On 6 minutes, Sam Wilford took advantage of some sloppy Harworth passing in the final third and pushed forward, but Mark Latham was equal to his shot.
Dom Swingler had the next chance to open the scoring but his shot went wide, saving Harworth club secretary's blushes. I sponsor Swingler's kit this season.
Last season Newark beat the Colliery 1-0 in the CMFL League Cup, with Ian Hillier scoring the only goal in the first minute. I was his kit sponsor then too, d'oh!
Walker knocked a measured free kick into the path of Jonny Bownes, who scuffed his shot from close range. Bownes was flawless for the remainder of the afternoon and fully deserved his man of the match award from our 'anon. face in the crowd' match ratings 'volunteer' for the afternoon.
Lewis Hilton played the ball forward to Ollie Chappell. who's cheeky back-heeled pass into the path of Sam West, saw the Harworth striker force a fine save out of Chris Riley.
Riley thwarted West again a few minutes later when he tried placing a header past him from a Bownes cross.
Bownes was unlucky not to score himself, as he cut inside from the left flank and tried his luck from the edge of the Newark box.
Latham, playing with the sun in his eyes after Newark had opted to play with their backs to the glare from the toss, dealt well with several punts into the box from long range Alex Hales free kicks as the game ebbed one way and then the other.
On 34 minutes, Alex Hales clipped the heel of Tom Walker's boot as he homed in on goal, but the referee, David Holbrook, booked Walker for 'assimilation'.
I was level with the incident and would honestly say if it was a dive, especially against my good pals at Newark Town, but it most definitely wasn't. Why would he go down in a one on one with Chris Riley when he was well placed to shoot.
These things balance themselves out, but that one was especially harsh considering that it will cost someone a £10 fine. 
It is a real shame that the linesman was running the far touchline, otherwise justice would have been done.
You could clearly hear the sound of Hales' boot clattering against Walkers ... but moaning about isn't going to change things now, so I'll shurrup!
James Munson caused pandemonium in Harworth box, but with Latham struggling to get to the ball, Jordan Hardman stepped in and cleared the ball.
Within a minute, Munson was back, but Latham went down bravely at his feet to thwart the danger.
It had been an intriguing first half contest and with the interval fast approaching there was still nothing separating the teams. 
But when Chris Dobbie went to ground as he cut inside the Harworth box, it was clearly a penalty and this time Mr Holbrook called it correctly. 
Hales stepped forward and made no mistake with a well taken spot kick.
HT - Newark Town 1 v Harworth Colliery 0
Latham had to keep Munson at bay again right at the start of the second half, but then Harworth got their second wind and went in pursuit of an equaliser.
Chappell knocked a great ball through to West, who pulled the ball back for Walker, but the Harworth number 10's thumping shot was tipped over by Riley.
Just before the hour mark, Arron Blakey entered the fray in place of Lewis Hilton.
The swap almost paid immediate dividends when Blakey combined with Walker, but he scuffed his shot from the return ball.
Blakey has vowed not to trim his ginger beard until he next scores on a Saturday.
Hmmm ... that pledge could get interesting mate ;-)
Seriously though; it is good to see Blakey back in action and raring to go, his arrival at Harworth this season, along with other newcomers like Ollie Chappell and Sam West, has given the team a big lift and no small amount of impetus, fresh ideas and options.
And it speaks volumes for the improving reputation of the club that players of their calibre are interested in playing for the Colliery.
Walker took a short corner to Martyn Gee, who was now venturing forward to help out at set pieces (Newark take note), but the 'Peaceful Warriors' (I will have to ask why they're called that one day) scrambled Gee's low cross away to safety.
Newark countered and Tom Mallinson broke forward, but he wasn't expecting a the Franz Beckenbauer like interception from the calmed and assured libero like presence of Greg Fox, who calmly swept the ball away from the Newark number 6 and instinctively started the ball rolling for yet another plunder raid towards Newark's goal.
Lee Edmondson was flattened as he ventured towards the Newark goal down the left flank.
Realising that his team mates were in need of his delicate but assured touch, Fox took on the responsibility for the free kick and stroked an inch perfect cross to the far post, for Gee to nod past Riley to put Harworth on level terms.
Greg Fox ... what a guy!
Tom Walker went off for a well earned rest having put in a lung busting shift of non stop running for 70 minutes and Gaz Sides came on in his place ... and was he was straight into the Newark defence like a man who had a point to prove, thereby offering a massive selection headache for the Harworth management for their next game. 
The hardest part of any manager's job is deciding who to leave out when the whole side are doing well, but it must be a great position for Brendan Wilson to be in now that the Colliery have put such a quality squad together.
Chappell played the ball into the Newark box, where Blakey unselfishly laid it off to West, who in turn played it wide to Sides who was motoring in from the right wing. Sides couldn't quite get enough purchase behind his angled shot, but the alarm bells were sounding for Newark now. The fresh legs and running of Harworth's second half substitutes were making the difference now.
Blakey used his size and strength to make himself enough space to play West through into the Newark six yard box. 
West went for goal and put the ball just wide of the left hand post, with Sides stood in space and calling out for the ball, further across the goal line. 
Sides was better placed than West but from where I was stood, it looked as if Newark had the angles covered to prevent the pass.
Gaz Sides having already tried out his range a few minutes area, whipped the ball across the face of the goal from the right hand side dead ball line on 83 minutes and it ended up in the back of the Newark net off via Billy Hurst.
A three man jury was hastily assembled:
1. 'Hursty won't want to claim that! And it was an intentional shot from Sides'.
2. 'Definite own goal'.
3. 'Blakey would've scored anyway if Hurst hadn't got in the way'.
Vertdict: Goal to Harworth, discuss it among yourselves.
Alas, the goal had acted as a wake up call for the home side and within a minute James Munson had made it 2-2 after he turned home a cross from Dom Swingler, to add yet another twist to this no quarter given saga.
Both sides had contributed to an enthralling gamen that was a great advert for the CMFL North.
Newark Town stalwart Richard Lane and their matchday secretary 'Comedy Dave' (AKA David Hurstfield), had both told me over the course of the afternoon that Newark don't draw games. 
Prophetic words indeed from my two good friends. 
The pair of you obviously know your stuff.
And you can thank Arron Blakey and Sam West for proving you both right.
Inside the last three minutes Arron Blakey tried to force home the winning goal but Chris Riley pulled off a great instinctive save ... Sam West pounced, latched onto the loose ball and flicked it over Riley where it crossed the goal line via the underside of the crossbar. 
A cheeky and timely finish from Westy.
Newark were broken now as Harworth shut up shop for the last couple of minutes.
For any neutral onlooker, this must have been one of those games where it would have been cruel for either side to have lost, given the unrelenting effort that both teams had put in. 
But I'm not even going to pretend to be impartial. 
In my opinion, Harworth bounced back from the defeat at Westella and got their just desserts this afternoon, with a gutsy performance, where they all stood up to be counted and showed a lot of character and will to win.
Well played, in fact very well played Newark Town, who had several AWOL players themselves today, but I reckon Harworth deserved the win ... though I will concede that I would've taken the draw after 85 minutes.
FT - Newark Town 2 v Harworth Colliery 3
THE66POW Man of the match - Jonno Bownes.
The ratings and stinker 'award' were 'nowt to do with me today, so thanks to the anonymous sole who took on that responsibility.