Saturday, 9 August 2014

Staveley MW 1 v Bridlington Town 4 - NCEL Prem

Match report for Staveley MW 'Press gang'/Programme and the Chesterfield Post

Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Inkersall Road, Staveley, S43 3JL
Staveley Miners Welfare (0) 1
Hassett 76
Bridlington Town (4) 4 
Allanson 2 (pen), Ruhanduka 6, Hassett 26 (OG), Birch 28
Attendance 103  SMWFC Man of the Match Sam Finlaw
Staveley MW:
Chris Butt, Ryan Watters, Ryan Dickinson, Sam Finlaw, Matt Hassett (Capt), James Colliver, Jack Poulton (Michael Trench 65), Jack Watts (Michael Blythen 71), Ellis Wall, Ryan Damms (Luke Walker 71), Nathan Forbes
Unused subs - Austin McIntosh, Steve Hancock
Bridlington Town:
Adam Nicholson, Ryan Nicholls, James Whittingham, Ash Allanson (Joe Cooper 58), Ben Lewis, Chris Jenkinson (Capt), Nathan White (Alex Knaggs 78), Eddy Birch, Craig Hogg, Ombeni Ruhanduka, Will Wardby (Dan Smith 67)
Unused Subs - Josh Heseltine, Alex Sandall
Torrential rain and flash flooding in the Staveley area, late on Friday afternoon, had threatened to cause this afternoon's opening game of the season to be postponed. 
However, Saturday's climate was perfect 'drying weather' and by mid morning the pitch had recovered from it's overnight dousing and was perfectly playable.
After a disastrous opening half a hour, most of the Staveley faithful were looking to the skies, hoping that the clouds would open again, but there was to be no divine intervention and the home side were already well on their way to suffering a heavy reversal on home turf.
Inside the first two minutes, player manager James Colliver upended Craig Hogg inside the Staveley goal area. 
It was more of a mistimed tackle than a malicious one, but the referee had no option but to point to the spot. Ash Allanson stepped forward and tucked the ball away, meaning that the rookie Welfare keeper Chris Butt's first touch was retrieving the ball from the back of his net.
It would be easy to pin the blame for today's defeat on the young and inexperienced shot stopper, but that would be grossly unfair, because Butt wasn't actually at fault for any of the goals Bridlington scored.
In his own words, today was 'a steep learning curve' that he will learn from, hopefully some of his team mates, who were guilty at times of leaving their keeper woefully exposed, will also have taken a valuable lesson or two on board as well.
Ombeni Ruhanduka, who proved to be a thorn in Staveley's side all afternoon down the flanks, fired home from 8 yards out, when the ball sat up kindly for him after the Welfare defence had struggled to deal with a left wing cross.
0-2 down with just six minutes on the clock, Staveley were spurred into action, but any semblance of a quality ball in the last third was missing and Ryan Damms cut a lonely figure up front, bereft of the kind of service he required and crowded out of the action by his markers.
However, Staveley's flurry of forward play was short lived and in the twenty sixth minute, the Seasiders were three in front when the Welfare's captain, Matt Hassett, unwittingly turned the ball beyond the reach of the despairing Butt to further compound the home crowds misery.
At this juncture, one could reach for the book of ready made excuses, such as: three new signings were absent from duty this afternoon due to them being unavailable on the first day of the season, pre season preparations had been disrupted by the weather and Staveley have hardly had any time to gel together during the last few weeks, a number of young players were having to take on big responsibilities in key areas to cover for AWOL colleagues etc. etc. 
But these players won't want to hide behind any of these excuses, to justify why they misfired alarmingly in the opening thirty minutes, they'll be hurting and they know they can (and must) do better, with immediate effect.
The truth of the matter is - these were all first team squad players, regardless of their age ... and Bridlington were only fielding three first team regulars from last term themselves, following a Summer rebuild.
Though, what the Staveley player-manager James Colliver said after the game: "Individually, there were no bad performances out there today, but collectively we just weren't in it at times" is a true and accurate reflection of the game, particularly in the first half, Staveley need to bond as a team and get their act together, sooner rather than later. 
The squad is packed with talented players, but today, several of them seemed to doubt their own ability at times.
Two minutes after Hassett's unfortunate own goal, 'Brid' went 0-4 up.
Again the defence made a mess of clearing a deep cross into the area, this time from Ryan Nicholls right wing cross and when the ball dropped at the feet of Eddy Birch, he had the time and space to steady himself, before bulging the back of the net from 12 yards out.
In an attempt to put a positive spin on things from a Staveley perspective, going four goals behind after 28 minutes, provides us with the statistic that the home side won the last one hour plus of the game 1-0 ... it also smacks of a match reporter desperately clutching at straws to salvage something out of a game, that was already over as a contest by now.
HT  0-4
Neither side made any changes in personnel at half time, though Staveley did switch Nathan Forbes from the left flank to the right, where he combined well with the 'jack of all trades' Ryan Watters, who was covering the right back berth.
Sam Finlaw, a standout player on an otherwise fairly grim afternoon, was covering every blade of grass across the middle of the park, as he attempted to get things (belatedly) going. 
The unanimous decision regarding choosing Man of the Match was fairly easy and straightforward today.
Butt was left exposed again, when Hogg escaped any attention he was supposed to be getting and went one against one with the Staveley keeper, from a long Adam Nicholson punt up the field. But the prolific Bridlington number 9 fluffed his shot when he'd looked odds on to increase the visitors lead.
Staveley were enjoying a good spell of possession and were much improved after the break, though, if truth be told, they probably couldn't have been any more disjointed and off the pace as they had in the opening forty five minutes.
The introduction of Michael Trench, who was followed from the bench soon afterwards, by Luke Walker and Michael Blythen, offered Staveley more options as they went about reducing their arrears and giving the final scoreline a more respectable look.
Trench's marauding down the left flank, combined with Blythen and Walker's contribution around the 'Brid' penalty area, saw the home side finishing the game on a high. 
Hassett got a goal back in the seventy sixth minute when he timed a blind side run well, to meet Trench's left wing corner kick with a well directed header past Nicholson.
Though it was only a consolation goal, as a comeback looked ever more unlikely with the clock ticking down, it was good to see the home side finishing with a flourish and picking up the pace, in spite of the fact that they were already well beaten.
The home crowd responded warmly to their sides endeavours late in the second half and seemed willing to write off the opening half a hour as 'just one of those days', hopefully their patience and forgiveness will be rewarded and the Welfare will recover from this blip and setback in a positive way ... and soon!
Sadly, there was a prolonged hold up in play, when Bridlington's Joe Cooper hit the deck heavily, obviously distressed and in a lot of pain, holding his shoulder. Following a lengthy stoppage, he left the field of play with his arm in a sling, hopefully his recovery will be swift.
Cooper's predicament, as he left Inkersall Road in an ambulance, put an opening day defeat, with the rest of the season still available to put things right, into some kind of perspective.
The home side's three pronged attack were making in roads into the 'Brid' defence, but though Nicholson did well to block Blythen's shot, as he burst into the box from the left flank, it was the visitors who came closest to scoring again. Ruhanduka's shot was deflected wide for a corner, which 'Duka' took himself, picking out Nicholls who headed the ball narrowly over the bar.
Four goals conceded, at home, is not a good start to the season, but that can be addressed and worked on in training. 
A more worrying aspect of today's game, was that, in Sam Finlaw, Ryan Damms, Ryan Watters and Matt Hassett, Staveley picked up four yellow cards this afternoon. Having improved their disciplinary record last season, it is vital that this kind of thing gets nipped in the bud, with immediate effect. 
There were plenty of pluses and positives in the second half, not least the selection headache that all three substitutes will be giving James Colliver ... but there are also plenty of things that need to be worked on.
Staveley could, in effect, regard today's defeat as a delayed pre-season warm up game and be ready to go for real next Friday, when they face Worksop Town at home in the Extra-Preliminary Round of the FA Cup at Inkersall Road (kick off 7.45pm).
FT - Staveley Miners Welfare 1 v Bridlington Town 4
Prior to Friday night's mouth watering prospect of a  local derby FA Cup game against Worksop; Staveley Miners Welfare are hosting a Sportsman's Dinner on Thursday night (August 14th, 7pm) starring boxing legend Johnny Nelson, along with a comedian and compere. The cost is £30 a ticket, which includes a three course meal.
For tickets or further details contact SMWFC club secretary Ele Reaney: Phone - 07530055849 or Email