Saturday, 29 March 2014

Staveley Miners Welfare 1 v Thackley 3 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 29th March 2014
at Inkersall Road, Staveley
NCEL Premier Division
Staveley Miners Welfare (1) 1
Josh Scully 12
Thackley AFC (0) 3
James Firth 48
Matthew Mathers 50
Patrick McGuire 82
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 100
Left click images to enlarge
Staveley Miners Welfare:
Ben Townsend, Jamie Smith (C), Michael Trench, Sam Finlaw, James Coulbeck, Matt Hassett, Nick Hague (Jonathan Wafula 66), Josh Scully, Joe Flint, Matt Thorpe, Robbie Start (Oli Ryan 73).
Unused sub - James Colliver
Ben Higginson, Damian Hopkins, James Firth, Paul Whiteley (C), Lewis Morgan, LIam Hudson, Mohammed Rizwan (Ben Cohen HT), Pat McGuire, Ben Jones (Zivanai Mbire 66), Matt Mathers, Mike Garrod
Both of Thackley's listed subs were used
In the wake of this afternoon's result, I posted 'An awful lot of good football in the first half and a lot of awful football in the second' on THE66POW's Twitter feed, which (as everyone else uses social media to promote themselves, so I might as well join in) can be found at
Of course, that was posted from a Staveley perspective, because Thackley actually enjoyed a very productive second half.
Following on from their previous couple of games, and after the five star billing I'd given Staveley as first rate entertainers after Wednesday night, this drop in performance level, leastways after the half time break, was definitely an after the Lord Mayor's show style display from James Colliver's side.
They'll know that they can (and must) do better and they don't need that spelling out to them by little old me.
Thackley looked very tired after playing virtually every other day over the past week, but they still found that extra bit of stamina and resolve from somewhere, to finish Staveley off in the second half, even if they were generously afforded acres of space to express themselves in, from time to time.
Thackley's Matt Mathers was singled out as their danger man prior to the game, but within a minute of him first showing the Welfare defence his teeth, with a fairly weak shot that was wide of the mark, Josh Scully had fired Staveley in front with an absolute peach of a goal.
Jamie Smith, filling the right back slot today, spotted Scully's run and picked him out with a long throw down the right hand channel, a defender had strayed from his post to track the run of Michael Trench and that gave Scully the space and time to turn neatly, pick his spot and plant an unstoppable volley past the advancing Ben Higginson.
An absolutely quality strike!
I really hope that old ruffian who records games from the top of that blue and white striped tower in the corner of the ground, that looks like an oversized Tesco economy range cereal box (the tower that is, not the cameraman) captured that one for posterity.
The remainder of the first half was akin to a game of cat and mouse, with Staveley knocking the ball around well and demonstrating a lot of intricate passing play, without actually showing an awful lot of penetration in the final third.
Most of the limited danger Thackley were creating at this point, when they did push forward, seemed to come through Ben Jones, a larger than life battler, who has done the rounds and is highly respected.
I know all too well myself, how difficult it can be to maintain the fuller figure and can appreciate just how much hard work, selfless discipline and dedication to a special diet, people like Jones have to strive to adhere too.
I salute you Ben Jones, for bulking up beyond the call of duty.
Top man!
Jones thought he had equalised on the stroke of half time, but the ever alert Jamie Smith was on hand to clear the ball to safety, just inches before it crossed the line ... and Thackley's appeals amounted to nothing as Gareth Davis, the assistant referee, was bang in line with the incident and confirmed that there was nothing doing.
"You'd have had that if it had ketchup on it!" somebody cruelly called out to Jones.
Rise above it big man ... they'll never understand the noble art of salad dodging, because they're too busy fannying about with faddy diets and trying to squeeze into their 28 inch waist jeans, to have lived life to the full.
So then, so far, so good.
Staveley were only just in front, but though it was only by a solitary goal, they were comfortably in front and seemed to be in control of the game.
HT 1-0
The wheels came off in a spectacular fashion for the home side after the break as Thackley pulled level and then took the lead inside the first five minutes.
Staveley conceded a corner, but cleared the ball, in a fashion, to the edge of the box, where it fell to James Firth, the Thackley left back, who moved forward a couple of yards, completely unchallenged and drilled the ball just inside the ride hand post past the despairing Ben Townsend, who been left badly exposed and was advancing from his line to try and narrow the angle.
Matt Mathers headed Thackley in front when he got up higher than anyone else in the box and met Damion Hopkins right wing cross to perfection. 
It was almost a carbon copy of Rikki Paylor's goal against Staveley for Bridlington Town in midweek,
Matt Thorpe picked up the pace for the home side and charged off down the left flank and slipped the ball inside to Robbie Start, who struck a shot just over the Thackley crossbar.
Thorpe was pivotal to Staveley's attacking play and on his next forward run, Thackley decided he was causing them too many problems and Liam Hudson took him out of the equation, with a thundering tackle that earned the visitors centre half a yellow card.
Josh Scully played a measured free kick in towards Joe Flint, but the Welfare striker diverted the ball just wide of the upright with a deft flick of his head.
Jonathan Wafula's introduction from the bench on 66 minutes, freshened things up for the Welfare.
His pace and close ball control will cause a lot of defenders a few problems, particularly when he breaks into the box from the flanks in the area where full backs are fearful of committing themselves to tackles that could result in a penalty being awarded, if they aren't executed with precise accuracy to the nth degree.
Ben Townsend clears from Matt Mathers
Thorpe came at Thackley's back four again, from right flank this time and he picked out Start, a defender lost his footing and an equaliser looked inevitable ... but the ball sat up unkindly for Start as he was about to squeeze the trigger and he punted it over the bar.
Scully once again set up a chance for Flint, but he put the ball wide of the post much to the relief of Higginson who's been left short of cover by his defence.
Thackley almost sealed the win on 80 minutes, but that man Jamie Smith was on hand again to make a last ditch clearance.
But the game was effectively over on 83 minutes, when Pat MaGuire found himself unmarked 12 yards out, just to the left hand side of the penalty area and he knocked the ball across the face of the goal and in off of the right hand upright.
Staveley's keeper Ben Townsend conceded three goals this afternoon, but he is entitled to be asking where his defensive cover was for each and every one of them.
The home side had contributed to their own downfall this today, with a couple of sloppy finishes and some questionable marking for all of Thackley's goals.
But, I don't want to take anything away from Thackley in saying that, because they battled away until the very end, despite the obvious fatigue they're suffering from as they soldier on to clear a backlog of fixtures. Their approach wasn't always easy on the eye, but they ground out a result and turned the game around in the second half, so credit where it is due.
FT - Staveley Miners Welfare 1 v Thackley 3
As the Thackley striker Matt Mathers' more famous brother Marshall (that might be a fib on my part, by the way) might say: "Will the real Staveley Miners Welfare, please stand up, please stand up, please stand up!?"