Saturday, 18 January 2014

Thoresby Colliery Welfare 1 v Harworth Colliery 4 - CMFL North

Saturday 18th January 2014
at Fourth Avenue, Edwinstowe
Central Midlands League (North)
Thoresby Colliery Welfare (0) 1
Josh Brentnall 85
Harworth Colliery (1) 4
Ollie Chappell 13, 53
Arron Blakey 86
Chris Belshaw 87
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance 37
Thoresby Colliery Welfare:
Glenn McPherson, James Gunn. Nathan Brown, James Tryner (Ross Heggerty), John Garnham, Aidon Spencer, Jake Walker, Shaun Wragg (Danny Rich), Josh Brentnall, Tony Buchanan (C), Ben Selby.
Unused Subs - Danny Severn, James Scothern, Johnathan Kirk
Harworth Colliery:
Mark Latham, Jordan Hardman (Arron Blakey), Jonny Bownes, Greg Fox, Martyn Gee (C), Gaz Sides (James Meachen), Greg Archer, Ollie Chappell, Dean Bonser, Tom Walker (Chris Belshaw), Sam West.
All subs used
The Fourth Avenue pitch has absorbed a lot of rain over the last few days and it was heavy going underfoot this afternoon.
The soft 'sinking feeling' conditions were obviously going to dictate the way that this game was likely to be played, out of necessity more than by design ... and, if truth be told, at times it became more of an endurance test of strength and staying power, than an exhibition of football to warm the hearts of any purist who might have been looking on.
An ugly win is still a win and it's worth just as many points as a victory fashioned out of silky, flowing, tippy tappy football.
Thankfully, Harworth have a good fitness coach on the staff at the club and, as a consequence, digging deeply into the stamina resources for the duration, is one of this sides strengths.
They also had enough extra quality at their disposal and strength in depth, on and off the bench from the outset, to see off a Thoresby side who've put a good run of results together of late.
Harworth had by far the better of the opening half and really ought to have gone in at the break with more than just a solitary strike to show for all the effort they put in, but their former Transylvanian international goalkeeper and highly respected Under 19's manager, Glenn McPherson, was between the sticks for the home side and he was determined to put in a top drawer performance against his former club.
In the event, the 53 year old Glasgow Rangers supporter put in a great shift, showing the agility and shot stopping prowess of a man half of his age.
Fangtastic stuff Glenn!
Harworth thought they had taken the lead after just three minutes, when Ollie Chappell knocked a weighted pass right into the path of Gaz Sides, who left a static Thoresby back four in his wake but was denied by a good blocking save by McPherson. who could only parry the ball straight to Sam West, who in turn rammed the ball home from close range. But David Hamilton, the referee's assistant, raised his flag to rule the goal out.
The Hamilton v West duel was one of today's more interesting contests.
The visitors were ahead for real on seven minutes, when Jonny Bownes corner kick across the six yard box caused chaos amongst the Thoresby defence and Ollie Chappell, who was loitering with intent at the back stick, forced the ball over the line.
For a while it looked as though the floodgates would now open, as Harworth camped out in the home sides half for long spells.
But the anticipated rout never came as a resilient Thoresby defence soaked up a lot of pressure.
Sam West was making a real nuisance of himself, and Aidon Spencer clattered the diminutive Harworth frontman in a vainglorious bid to quieten him down a bit, earning himself a booking in the process.
For the record this tactic was never likely to work ... and it didn't!
Thoresby were proving to be a tough nut to crack as the Colliery struggled to find an end product to all of their possession for the remainder of the half.
Sam West tore inside the box from the right flank, but his low angled shot was stopped by McPherson ,who got down well for an old 'un, to block Westy out down by his left hand post.
Tom Walker unselfishly set West up on the edge of the area, but McPherson was on hand yet again to save the day.
Just before the interval, Ben Selby forced a great save out of Mark Latham, as the home side almost grabbed an unlikely looking equaliser.
To concede right on the stroke of half time, would've been a kick in the teeth for Harworth, after the majority of the first 45 minutes had been played out around the home sides 18 yard box, but it served as notice that they needed to start turning chances into goals, or they could be punished with a sucker punch at the other end.
HT - Thoresby 0 v Harworth 1
Harworth finally gave themselves some breathing space on 53 minutes, when Chappell got to Sides cross from out on the right wing first and poked the ball home, despite a valiant last ditch effort by McPherson to keep it out.
A minute later, Thoresby's diminishing hopes of getting something out of this game, were all but gone, when their left back Nathan Brown was shown a straight red card for a foul on West, right on the edge of his own penalty area.
Brown did go in with his studs showing so the referee David Holbrook really had no choice but to dismiss him, despite the Thoresby player's protestations.
Despite receiving lengthy treatment, West carried on until the final whistle.
Chappell tried his luck from the resulting free kick, but McPherson turned the bar onto the crossbar, in a way that his all time hero Andy Goram would've been proud of.
And within moments the veteran keeper was on hand again to deny Dean Bonser from close range.
At the other end, Harworth rode their luck as Jake Walker blasted a Ben Selby cross against the underside of the crossbar and the ball bounced out to safety.
You know it's not going to be your day when chances like that go begging.
For the record, Ben Selby had a great game out on the left for Thoresby ... credit where it is due.
Alas at this juncture, I feel that I have an obligation to report on a Sunday League scandal that I witnessed unfolding before my eyes.
I wouldn't be providing honest reportage if I didn't mention what I saw and it would be undermining my own integrity to remain tight lipped ... so here goes:
Harworth Colliery's in house Sunday side, the MUSC's are playing the Flying Scotsman (Retford) tomorrow morning.
Sam West. who will be playing for the Scotsman in that game, was left to hobble on through the pain barrier for the remainder of the Thoresby game, while two MUSC players were taken off for a rest.
Deliberate espionage or coincidence?
You decide for yourself.
I know what my vote would be as regards this shameless act of skullduggery if I was on the jury.
Either way, the MUSC's manager who, to his credit, follows Harworth home and away, seemed to be VERY happy with Brendan Wilson's choice of substitutions.
'Nuff said!
Colliery substitute (and debutant) James Meachen made a telling contribution with his first touch of the ball, when he put Sam West on a clear run into the box, but Arron Blakey struggled to get his shot in from West's cross as the ground beneath his feet cut up at precisely the wrong moment.
Chris Belshaw cut through the Thoresby defence with a jinking run and played a square pass across the box to Sam West, who looked odds on to score, but McPherson pulled off a blinding save.
When it's getting late in the game and you're tired, it must be a real ball ache for any defence, to see a trio like James Meachen, Arron Blakey and Chris Belshaw introduced into the action.
It's quite some side that Harworth Colliery are piecing together, lets just hope they all stay around to build on the obvious potential there now is at the club.
Blakey thought he was in on goal, but the referee raised his flag.
The Harworth bench questioned "When was he ever offside!?" of the linesman Colin Brooks, who dryly retorted "Ever since he came on!"
Welcome to Harworth - James Meachen
Harworth had now gone with three at the back and piled all of their fresh legged substitutes into the attack as they went in search of the goal that would kill the game off.
So inevitably, Thoresby counter attacked and scored at the other end.
The visitors keeper Mark Latham and his defence made a real mess of clearing a cross into the box from out on the left by Ben Selby, the ball fell to Josh Brentnall and he netted from 6 yards out ... and with 5 minutes still remaining, the home side were back in it.
Straight from the restart, Arron Blakey made a determined run down the middle of the park towards the Thoresby goal, but he couldn't keep his shot down and the ball flew over the crossbar.
However, within thirty seconds Blakey was back, he'd found his range now and he stroked an assured finish into the back of the net, to open his goalscoring account for Harworth.
You get the feeling with Arron Blakey that he will now go with the flow and there will be many more goals to come from him.
Thoresby were in disarray and lost the ball from the restart, Blakey sent Belshaw charging towards the home side's goal, McPherson had to come off of his line to cover for his AWOL defence and it was all over as 'Belly' lobbed 'the Count' from 35 yards out.
Though the Colliery had thoroughly deserved a decent margin of victory over the whole of the 90 minutes, it was a cruel end to the game for 'our Glenn', who'd bust a gut all afternoon to keep his old side at bay.
There were times during the game where it had been scrappy, which made for a messy spectacle, but in the end, the game will be remembered as one where Harworth scored four away from home against decent opposition and won the day (and, all importantly, the points).
FT - THoresby 1 v Harworth Colliery 4
After the game I dashed off to the nearby Ollerton Town v AFC Mansfield game, where they had kicked off a hour later than us, to watch the second half.
Ollerton won that one 2-1 and I managed to see all of the goals.
From what I saw, though I can't make a judgement on the strength of having watched just 45 minutes, both sides got exactly what they deserved out of the game, though I think the referee must've been unsighted when an Ollerton defender who'd gone to ground, blatantly controlled the ball with his arm to prevent a goalscoring chance for the Bulls.
I'm sure these decisions even themselves out over the course of a season ... and I'm also damn sure that AFC Mansfield will brush themselves down and come out fighting again next week.
But in the mean time, well played Ollerton!