Saturday, 26 July 2014

Bristol Manor Farm 1 v Knaresborough Town 0 - Toolstation Cup Final

Toolstation Cup Final
At Inkersall Road, the home of Staveley Miners Welfare
Bristol Manor Farm (1) 1 
Rhys Hodgeson 8
Knaresborough Town (0) 0
Attendance 151, Admission free, Programme £1
Left click images to enlarge
Match Officials:
Bobby Madley (Referee)
Ryan Henger, Gareth Thomas (Asst. Referees)
Robert Woodman (Fourth Official)
Bristol Manor Farm:
Ashley Clarke, Ben Wiltshire, Bill Bond, Ryan Dunne, Nathan Loader, Harley Purnell, Jordan Metters (C), Lloyd Mills, George Brimson (Ryan Parsons 73), Will Hailstone (Josh Rees 89), Rhys Hodgeson
Unused Subs - Jack Durrant, Danny Greaves
Left click to enlarge
Knaresborough Town:
Paul Hargreen, Dom Wilson (Sam Cook HT), Craig Radcliffe, Nick Radcliffe, Matthew Duerdan (C) (Ben Clayton 89), Liam Gray, Seb Carole, James Bradley, Colin Heath (Byron Littlefair 42), Hiliard Serrao , George Eustance
Unused Subs - Connor Donoghue, Graham Whitehead
A solitary goal from Manor Farm's Rhys Hodgeson, in the eighth minute, was all that separated these two sides at the end of a fairly evenly matched Cup Final, staged in a baking hot corner of North East Derbyshire, between Bristol Manor Farm of the Western League Premier Division, and Knaresborough Town, who ply their trade in the Northern Counties East League Division One.
The spirit that the game was played in and the friendly ambience of the occasion, was a fitting tribute to Toolstation, who generously sponsor both divisions of the aforementioned step 5 & 6 leagues.
Monies raised from this showpiece game, which will become an annual event, are to be split evenly and shared, between Asthma UK and the RNLI, two very worthwhile causes.
Admission to the game was free, to allow spectators to contribute to the collections and charity raffle instead. And in keeping with the charitable nature of the afternoon, the officials forfeited their match fees and donated them into the collection bucket as well.
Both sides had several absentees, but that didn't stop them from putting on a very competitive game, which was enjoyed by an appreciative crowd of 151.
Manor Farm play one step higher in the football pyramid than their North Yorkshire based opponents, but, if truth be told, a draw would've been a fair result given the balance of play over the entire game. The Bristol supporters who stayed in the newly refurbished bar at Staveley for a couple of hours after the game, were generous enough to agree with that neutral overview of the afternoon too.
Water breaks were order of the day, a sensible precaution in such heat, but the pace of the game was still uptempo, despite the strength sapping conditions.
It would seem that the nice weather follows the guest of honour for the day, World Cup Referee and Toolstation NCEL President Howard Webb around.
Knaresborough started the game on the front foot and had the first opportunity to open the scoring, when Hiliard Serrao, made himself some space through the right channel, cut across the Bristol goalmouth and shot narrowly wide of the left hand upright.
But while Town started the game well and threw everything but the kitchen sink at last season's Western League runners up for the last twenty minutes or so, Manor Farm enjoyed the better of the remainder of the first half and were good value for their interval lead.
Bristol's Captain, Jordan Metters, picked up the ball in the middle of the park, advanced forward and played a great measured ball into the path of Rhys Hodgeson, who looked odds on to score, but Paul Hargreen, the Knaresborough keeper blocked Hodgeson's effort well and Town cleared the ball away from the danger zone, but only as far as Manor Farm's left back Bill Bond who whipped a cross straight back across the six yard box that Hodgeson stooped to head home the opening (and only) goal.
 Winning goal photos kindly donated by 'Hull Bill'

Metters passing and distribution caught the eye, as his side pushed forward, looking to consolidate their lead, but Hargreen had other ideas and Knaresborough, stung by Hodgeson's goal, tightened things up at the back.
Sarrao had another chance at the other end, but his angled cross cum shot from the right of the six yard box, flashed across the face of the goal and wide of the back stick.
Just before the interval, a frustrating opening 45 minutes got worse for Knaresborough, when their striker Colin Heath tweaked his left hamstring, attempting an audacious strike on goal.
If they go in, you're an hero with a spectacular goal to your name.
Alas, Heath had no such luck and had to hobble out of the game in the 42nd minute as well.
At half time, Knaresborough regrouped and switched Dom Wilson for Sam Cook before the start of the second half. But it was Manor Farm who had a great opportunity to score again, when Liam Gray played Hodgeson through with a defence splitting pass; but with the goal at his mercy, the ball sat up unkindly and the Bristol number 9 scuffed his shot which bobbled harmlessly wide of the mark.
Having stalled for a while in the first half, Knaresborough looked much stronger after the break and attacked in numbers, George Eustance and Seb Carole work the flanks to get a succession of crosses and decent service into the final third, but the final incisive touch was proving evasive.
With Brian Davey's side committing men forward, it afforded Manor Farm a bit of space to put Hargreen under pressure, but the Knaresborough keeper kept both Will Hailstone and Harley Purcell at bay with two outstanding saves.
Hailstone forced his way into the penalty area from the left flank and shot when everybody was expecting a cross, his effort was cleared off the line and his second bite of the cherry, when the ball fell back at is feet, was slashed high and wide of the mark.
Knaresborough were upping the ante in an attempt to force an equaliser, and a penalty shoot out (it had been arranged weeks ago that extra time wouldn't be played and that a drawn game would be decided by spot kicks, which, with hindsight, given this afternoon's temperature was a wise decision), but in spite of them piling players forward, even Hargreen in the last few minutes, the ball just wouldn't fall kindly for them in front of goal.
Serrao muscled his way through two challenges right at the death and laid the ball sideways into the path of Byron Littlefair, but Manor Farm had a lucky escape when their keeper, Ashley Clarke, pulled off a great stop from point blank range.
In spite of their all out attack approach for the last twenty minutes or so, Knaresborough Town just couldn't find the breakthrough and Lee Lashenko's Bristol Manor Farm held on to claim the inaugural Toolstation Cup.
Man of the match: Obviously Paul Hargreen (Knaresborough Town) deserves a special mention, though bestowing the honour on a goalkeeper would suggest the game was one sided, and that isn't the case.
But Hiliard Serrao (Knaresborough Town) and Jordan Metters (Bristol Manor Farm) both worked tirelessly and selflessly for their respective teams ... and in the spirit of this occasion, they deserve to share the award.