Saturday 23rd August, at Inkersall Road
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Staveley Miners Welfare (1) 3
Nathan Forbes 17, Matt Thorpe 83, 90
Nostell Miners Welfare (1) 1
Olly Steeple 4
Weather - A bit of everything.
Steve Hernandez (Capt), Austin McIntosh, Michael Trench, Sam Finlaw, Ryan Dickinson, James Colliver, Ellis Wall, Jack Poulton (Matt Thorpe 63), Jack Watts, Ryan Damms (Oli Ryan 71), Nathan Forbes (Kurtis Morley 84).
Unused subs - Ryan Watters, Chris Butt (GK)
Ben Saynor, Olly Steeple, Matthew Cuncliffe, Simon Pool (Capt), Tom Brook, Sam Varley, Lee Wimslow, Adam Hayton (Brandon Kayne), Frank Zalo (Jack Portman 78), Matthew Johnson, Matthew Semley (Jermain Moyce 86)
Unused sub - Tom Semley
Nostell's defence looked very impressive at times, executing the 'offside trap' to perfection on a number of occasions and getting back in numbers to stifle the home side in the final third whenever the need arose.
Credit where it is due, they were a tough nut to crack and Jas Colliver's side had to dig deep into their resolve to grind out a result this afternoon.
Their task was made no easier, when Nostell took the lead after four minutes.
Matt Johnson's initial attempt to break into the box was blocked by Trench, but the loose ball fell kindly for Olly Steeple who raced into the right hand channel and placed an angled shot past Staveley's captain Steve Hernandez, who was advancing from his line to narrow the angle.
Damms, Forbes and the livewire Ellis Wall were combining well down the right flank for Staveley, but Nostell were sticking steadfastly to their game plan and manning the barricades in the last third.
It's a risky tactic, which relies on the assistant referee calling everything right, but it was working very effectively for Nostell.
Staveley did equalise on 17 minutes, capitalising on an uncharacteristic error by the visitors keeper Ben Saynor, who fumbled the ball from a Trench cross, allowing Forbes to stab the ball home from close range, amidst the ensuing goalmouth scrummage.
Sam Finlaw went one on one with Saynor, but this time the Nostell custodian held on to the ball.
Jack Poulton was coming in for some close attention down the left flank, but the referee was unmoved by his protestations, even though he did have a point once or twice as the methods employed to stop him became ever more 'thorough'.
Hernandez was called into action, saving well from Adam Hayton and moments later, as play switched quickly from end to end, Saynor pulled off an equally impressive save to thwart Damms.
Ellis Wall, causing no end of problems for the visitors, saw his goalbound effort charged down and deflected wide for a corner. Nostell only half cleared the flag kick as far as Forbes, who delicately lobbed the ball to Austin McIntosh, who lifted the ball over Saynor, but agonisingly wide of the right hand upright. McIntosh will prove to be a very good acquisition for this entertaining and attack minded Welfare team, if today's performance is anything to go by.
The first half came to a close with the home side on top ... Forbes had a stinging drive turned away for a corner, Wall miskicked an effort in front of Nostell's goal after a great pass from Trench had put him through and Finlaw's persistence set up a half chance for Watts, who got crowded out by the increasingly busy visitors defence.
Half time - Staveley 1 v Nostell 1
Staveley were rising to the challenge and were passing the ball around well in the visitors half, with Ellis Wall pivotal to most of their attacking endeavours. Wall's effort was cleared by the Nostell defence at the expense of a corner. Ryan Dickinson rose to meet Trench's right hand side corner, but powered his header over the bar.
Nostell weren't just at Inkersall Road to make the numbers up and at times they definitely didn't look like a team rooted towards the foot of the table.
Adam Hayton looked to create an opening for the visitors, but Jack Watts, who was involved in the game all over the park, was back to help out his defence and cleared the danger. Hayton then had a go at regaining the lead for Nostell himself, but his determined effort deflected wide of Hernandez's goal for a corner.
Forbes nonchalantly beat Tom Brook to the ball on the edge of the visitors box and played a square ball to Damms who was immediately crowded out by four defenders, who were still hunting as a pack, keeping it tight and stifling Staveley's movement in their area.
A new strategy was needed to puncture Nostell's rearguard and a few inspired substitutions and tweaks to the game plan paid dividends.
Poulton had put in a battling display down the left flank all afternoon, but he was sacrificed to make way for Thorpe who added a lot of bite to Staveley's attack and gave them an array of new options that were causing no end of problems for the visitors. He looked lean, determined, hungry and raring to go.
Once Oli Ryan came on ten minutes later, in place of Damms (who had worked hard and kept making runs into the right zones only to be crowded out by his own personal clique of defenders), it was almost as if the pair of fresh legged substitutes were literally bullying the tiring Notell rearguard and pulling them all over the place for the fun of it.
With his defence absent momentarily as tiredness began to set in, Saynor was forced to run out of his area and head the ball away, but he only managed to clear it as far as Watts, who instinctively shot first time from long range, but his effort was wide of the target.
Ryan and Saynor, former Frickley Athletic team mates, both charged after a lose 50/50 ball and clattered into each other. Saynor came out of it the worst and required treatment before he could carry on, but fortunately he wasn't seriously hurt.
Thorpe, Wall and Ryan combined well with a passing triangle inside the area, the latter's shot spun off of a defender's leg and almost dropped into the goal, but Saynor was taking no risks and tipped the ball over the bar.
On 83 minutes, having almost gone a goal down from a sucker punch, Welfare were ahead, when Thorpe muscled his way through into the left hand side of the penalty area and planted an unstoppable shot past Saynor.
Forbes had a well deserved rest for the final five minutes and another of Staveley's development team products, Kurtis Morley was given a run out. He fitted in straight away and was soon giving Nostell's left back Matt Cuncliffe plenty to think about.
The youngster forced a corner out on the right flank, from which Trench picked out Watts who headed just wide of the upright when he looked odds on to score.
Thorpe was to have the final say in the game, with a real declaration of intent in the final minute. Having won a corner out on the left, he picked up the loose ball as Nostell tried to clear their lines, took a step forward and bulged the net with a thumping shot from 20 yards out. Game over!
Full time - Staveley 3 v Nostell 1
Much discussion ensued regarding this. Ellis Wall was a serious contender, Austin McIntosh had played out of his skin, Steve Hernandez had made some excellent saves (Including the one that kept Staveley in the game just moments before Thorpe's first goal),
But ultimately, despite having only been on the pitch for 30 minutes, it was Matt Thorpe who changed the course of the game. And that is why he's getting today's accolade.
It was a great all round team game today, with all fourteen of the squad playing their part, but welcome back to first team action Thorpey!
Rob Waite (for Staveley MW Press Gang/ Chesterfield Post/ Derbyshire Times/ Peak FM )
Forthcoming games. Staveley are away at Shaw Lane Aquaforce (Barnsley) on Tuesday 26th August, 7.45pm (S70 6HZ) In the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division and then they face a trip to Rainworth Miners Welfare (NG21 0JY) on SAturday 30th August, for a FA Cup Preliminary Round tie. Assuming the latter game doesn't go to a replay, Staveley's next home game will be on Saturday 6th September against Athersley Recreation in the FA Vase.