at the Recreation Ground, Scrooby Road, Bircotes, DN11 8JT
Harworth Colliery (1) 1
Sam West 18
Sherwood Colliery (0) 0
Admission £3/£1, Programme £1
Mark Latham, Jordan Hardman, Jonny Bownes, Greg Fox, Martyn Gee (C), Tom Walker, Greg Archer, Ollie Chappell, Dean Bonser, Lee Edmondson, Sam West
Subs - Chris Belshaw, James Meachen,Gareth Sides, Arron Blakey
Cameron Smith, Gary Doncaster, Tom Gascoigne, Charlie Taylor, Josh Cairns, Scott Curley (C), Gaz Curtis, Keenan Leeds, Carl Russo, Ashley Giugno, Brendan Williams
Subs - Tim Gregory, Dave Bullock, Eden Homer, Rob Whitmore
'The Wood' have been a very tough nut for Harworth to crack when they've met previously, but in the opening stages of the game, the Walker-Hardman combination looked likely to be the key that was going to unlock the well drilled visitors rearguard this time around.
Sherwood's first attack saw Carl Russo clean through on goal, but Mark Latham came off of his line quickly and easily saved a weak shot.
Thankfully Latham was on top of his game today, because in spite of the early indications that Harworth were going to take control of this encounter, on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon at the Recreation Ground, if truth be told, that wasn't how this game actually panned out at all.
But there was no reason for having thought that this would be anything other than a straightforward home win, when Sam West opened the scoring on 18 minutes with a nonchalant, audacious and 'cute' backheeled strike, just inside the near post, after Tom Walker had picked him out with a well measured low pass from out on the right flank.
It was worth remembering at this point, that Sherwood are one of only two clubs to have inflicted a defeat on the current league leaders and title favourites Westella Hanson so far this season; so on their day, they are more than capable of beating anybody in this division.
Just before half time, a Sherwood defender blocked a Jordan Hardman cross with his arm, but despite some fairly vociferous penalty appeals, the referee Paul Buck waved them away.
From my vantage point, it looked like ball to hand and unintentional and it didn't interfere with a clear goalscoring opportunity, so much as I would've liked to have seen the Colliery given an opportunity to take a morale boosting 2-0 lead in at the break, I'll have to concede that the match officials got that one right between them ... damn their efficiency!
HT - Harworth 1 v Sherwood 0
The pitch was in good shape, given that it had rained so much in Bircotes over the last few days, that a guy called Noah had been spotted taking an Ark full of paired up animals out of the village overnight, but it was still obviously going to making passing, geometrically pretty and aesthetically pleasing football difficult for both sides to implement and the strong wind also ruled out any notions about adopting a direct approach. The weather conditions were best described by a young lady in the crowd who tweeted "Showing my support at @HCIFC while freezing my tits off".
My moobs shared your pain!
The visitors were adapting to the conditions far better than their third paced hosts and the 1-0 lead was starting to look anything like convincing enough.
Cameron Smith saved well at close quarters, when Sam West came close to doubling Harworth's lead after Jordan Hardman had put a dangerous cross into the Wood goalmouth.
Martyn Gee ventured forward and had a shot from the edge of the box turned away for a corner.
|"Does my hair look big in this!?"|
But in the main it was now Sherwood who were making all the running, as Harworth stuttered and then came to a near standstill in the ever worsening stormy winds.
For the remainder of the game, the visitors were the better side and they can count themselves as a being unfortunate that Mark Latham was playing so well. His saves and some dogged defending, won the three points for Harworth today, as much as Sam Wests cheeky, but perfectly executed 18th minute finish and Sherwood must've left the pitch at full time, wondering how on earth they hadn't got something out of the game.
When Brendan Williams crashed the ball against Haworth's crossbar in the closing stages, it typified the second half for Craig Wathall and Ian Alvey's side.
Back in November, Harworth were knocked out of the Floodlit Cup by a single goal, after putting Westella Hanson on the back foot for most of the game, on a night when all Mark Latham had had to do was pick a penalty kick from out of the back of the net. I can sympathise with how Sherwood Colliery must've felt after the last thirty minutes or so of today's game.
A win is a win however and the three points were vitally important today.
It wasn't pretty to watch at times, from the home side's perspective, as Sherwood went in search of (at least) an equaliser.
In the event, Harworth rode their luck a bit towards the end, but still held on to overcome a very useful opposition side and some horrendous weather.
FT - Harworth 1 v Sherwood Colliery 0
Victory today, albeit a fairly unconvincing one, means that Harworth Colliery have now won 9 out of their last 10 CMFL North league games, so it would be churlish of me to be too critical of their lacklustre display in the second half, on a day when the weather played a massive part in interrupting their game plan. But fair play to Sherwood Colliery, they'll be feeling that they were very unlucky not to get at least a point this afternoon ... and I, for one, wouldn't hesitate to agree with them.
P.S. A big shout out for the 'delegation' from Sheffield FC who ended up at Scrooby Road this afternoon, when their game fell foul of the weather.
It isn't always quite as cold as it was today at the Recreation Ground