Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Staveley MW 3 v Barton Town Old Boys 2 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 4th March 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Staveley MW (2) 3 
Kurt Morley 16, Lee Whittington 33, Ellis Wall 90+
Barton Town Old Boys (1) 2 
Ashley Dexter 29, Scott Phillips 69 
Att 124

Match Sponsor, Thanks to the Grafton Hotel, Worksop
Staveley MW:
Steve Hernandez (C), Brad Jones, Jack Poulton, Jordan Eagers (Ross Goodwin 75), Matt Hassett, Damian Magee (Alex Pugh HT), Kurtis Morley, Sam Finlaw, Lee Whittington, James Ashmore, Ellis Wall
Unused subs - Ryan Watters, Chris Butt (GK), James Colliver

Barton Town Old Boys:
Rick Watson, Laurence McKay, Corey Mortimer (Chris Gowen 73), Sam Belcher, Ashley Dexter (C), Bradley Ricketts (Henry Gill 75), Danny Morton, Louis Kirk, Scott Phillips, Danny Chambers, Ashley Lattimore
Unused subs - Gareth Owen, Oliver Donald
Having been floored by a combination of late sucker punches in each of their previous two games, the euphoria was clear to see as Staveley left the pitch having snatched all three points for themselves with an Ellis Wall strike right at the death, in a pulsating game that could have gone either way.
It is worth noting that the points were actually clinched by a late last ditch clearance by Brad Jones, deep into added time, when the league's top goalscorer Scott Phillips was denied a 94th minute equaliser, which demonstrated that the Welfare had taken on board the lessons learned about not dropping their guard from their last two outings.
As manager Jas Colliver said in his pre match programme notes, "This season has been a steep learning curve for myself and Ryan (France) and tonight we'll see if our side has the 'bouncebackability' factor" ... box ticked!
The 124 spectators present at Inkersall Road were treated to a refreshing feast of attacking football, by two sides who were never going to be content to sit back and protect a point when there were three up for grabs. 
The 'all or nothing', up tempo approach to the game, was supplemented by the third team on the pitch, namely the match officials: Steve Meredith, Kenwyn Hughes and Paul Buck, who let the game flow and didn't produce a single yellow card for either team all night.
The visitors had stated their intentions early doors, when they forced a couple of corners inside the opening two minutes, but Steve Hernandez was equal to their threat and handled the situation with his usual aplomb.
Staveley's recent capture from Handsworth Parramore, Lee Whittington tangled with Barton's keeper Rick Watson as they went for a 50/50 challenge, but as they were both going for the ball and no malicious intent had been shown, the referee waved play on as 'Whitto' hit the deck.
Jack Poulton was looking strong down the left flank and his sweeping byline cross only needed a touch as it rolled invitingly across the face of the visitors goal, but Barton survived a scare.
Laurence McKay and Danny Chambers combined well through the right channel, but Hernandez was on hand again to palm the ball away.
Staveley's player of the month for February, Ellis Wall, won the ball in midfield and threaded a great pass into the path of Kurtis Morley who outpaced his marker, drew Watson from his line and rolled the ball into the bottom corner of the net. 1-0
Barton went in search of an equaliser almost immediately, Scott Phillips unselfishly laid the ball off sideways, but Danny Morton's shot was a foot wide of the left hand upright.
The ever menacing Phillips burst into the box but as he cued up to shoot through a crowded goalmouth, Matt Hassett tripped him from behind. Mr Meredith had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Ashley Lattimore hit the ball low and hard, but Hernandez got down well to his right and turned the ball round the post.
Hernandez tipped Bradley Ricketts corner away, but his defence struggled to clear their lines and Barton's captain Ashley Dexter picked up the loose ball and lashed it into the back of the net. 1-1
At times this season Staveley haven't always endeared themselves to the purists, when they have had to adapt tactics to suit, for a variety of reasons. But their passing game tonight was a joy to behold. A mix of home produced youngsters, augmented under the mentorship of some very astute signings, employing an aesthetically pleasing system ... and a thrilling win! What more could anyone possibly want?
"The freedom to perform breeds confidence in players" said Colliver and as if to demonstrate this point, Ellis Wall took on and beat four Barton players, before Watson saved on the line, at the second attempt, to cap of a string of eight successfully completed passes.
Lee Whittington and Kurtis Morley showed signs of gelling in Saturday's game against Maltby and the same combination put Staveley back in front tonight. Ellis Wall set the wheels in motion with a defence splitting pass to Morley on 33 minutes, who knocked a sideways pass to Whittington who bagged his first goal for the club from close range. 2-1

The midfield engine room of Sam Finlaw, James Ashmore and Jordan Eagers, feeding Morley, Wall and Whittington up front, with Brad Jones and Jack Poulton supporting down the flanks was providing a lot of ammunition and attacking options for Staveley, but Barton, on the back of a 100% win record in February, were giving the home side plenty of problems to deal with at the other end, particularly with Scott Phillips being in such a rich vein of form..
After the game, Barton's manager Dave Anderson summed things up nicely when he said "That could've ended five apiece, both teams really wanted it tonight!". his assessment was spot on.
Jordan Eagers combined with Brad Jones down the right, pulling Corey Mortimer out of position, but Eagers shot over the bar from 12 yards out.
In an incident that was similar to the Whittington/Watson collision at one end, Ashley Lattimore tumbled over Hernandez as he charged from his line. It was hearts in mouths time for a moment, but thankfully Mr Meredith added evidence to the theory that 'these things really do balance themselves out over the course of a game/season'.
Alas, Damian Magee who had battled well to quell Phillips during the first half, took a heavy knock just before the break and would play no further part in the game.
With Magee off the pitch, Phillips tried to ram home their numerical advantage, when Chambers put Phillips in on goal, but Brad Jones covered his ground well to get across from his right back berth and clear the danger.
HT: Staveley MW 2 v Barton Town Old Boys 1
Alex Pugh, another product of Staveley's much envied development structure, replaced Magee at half time. He emerged with pass marks and a lot of plaudits. Teammate Brad Jones tweeted immediately after the game "Glad Alex Pugh got a chance to prove himself tonight, well deserved and a decent performance, well done Bro!" 
Staveley started the second half on the front foot and Brad Jones got forward forcing a right wing corner. Jack Poulton swung his kick into the mix, where Matt Hassett crashed a close range header against the bar. The visitors were happy to scramble the ball away for another corner. James Ashmore played the ball beyond Barton's defence and Matt Hassett, once again, hit the bar with a looping header.
The visitors, to their credit, were trying to build from the back, but Morley kept hassling them and was chasing the ball down well.
Finlaw's pass through to Wall, just inside the Barton area, caused chaos and in the ensuing exchange, the visitors skipper Ash Dexter headed the ball past his own keeper and was very fortunate to be spared the embarrassment of scoring an own goal. The ball was only cleared as far as Jordan Eagers, who picked out Morley with a measured cross, but the young striker powered his header just wide of the left hand upright.
Staveley were enjoying a spell in the ascendancy, but with only a single goal cushion, they couldn't afford to rest for a moment.
Jones, Ashmore and Finlaw unlocked Barton again with a passing move on the right wing, which saw the latter thwarted by a foul just outside the area. Poulton's free kick evaded everyone in the six yard box and went just wide of the far post.
Barton had lived dangerously for ten minutes, but they countered at pace, passing their way up the pitch, to where Brad Ricketts played a 'worldly' pass into the path of the prolific Scott Phillips, who belted a crisp and unstoppable shot past Hernandez and the visitors were level again on 69 minutes. 2-2.
A draw at this stage would have been a fair result, but neither team were willing to sit back or settle for a point.
Pugh got his body in front of an 18 yard drive from Phillips and took one for the team as the ball ricocheted to safety, amidst some half hearted appeals for a "handball!"
With Barton going for the win Staveley absorbed the pressure well, with Brad Jones popping up in both full back berths and covering behind the centre halves. His focus right until the final whistle was to prove critical tonight.
Ross Goodwin came on in place of Jordan Eagers and was almost immediately in the thick of the action, but Wall's cross dropped in the wrong spot for the Staveley sub, after he'd made a great run to get into a goal scoring position.
Jones fed Finlaw down the right flank, but Morley couldn't keep his header on target from the resulting cross and the draw looked to be nailed on now.
Ellis Wall, twenty five yards out from goal, looked up and weighed up his options ... the defence was packed solid and his team mates were all double marked, there was only one course of action to take, so he sped forwards past two Barton players and smashed the ball past Watson sans any assistance whatsoever, a magnificent and very timely solo strike.
Thankfully, with the majority of people in the ground on their feet celebrating what was seemingly a winning goal, Brad Jones kept his eye on the ball and got himself in the right place at the right time to rescue his team from slipping up in stoppage time for their third game in a row. 
Ellis Wall thoroughly deserved his man of the match award tonight, but Brad Jones wasn't far behind in the voting (nor were several others to be fair). But Jones was magnanimous enough to say that Wall had played really well and deserved the honour.
FT: Staveley MIners Welfare 3 v Barton Town Old Boys 2

After match comment from the victorious manager James Colliver? 
His ear to ear grin and double thumbs up to the press area said it all!
Suzi and Richard from the Grafton Hotel, present MOTM Ellis Wall with his award.
A nice touch off the pitch tonight, saw the match sponsors the Grafton Hotel, in Worksop, produce a special 'Blue Stripe Bitter' at their own micro brewery, to mark the occasion, the tipple proved to be very popular among Staveley supporters and real ale aficionados alike.
Staveley MW now face two consecutive blank weekends fixtures wise, but are away against Glasshoughton Welfare next Tuesday (10th March) in a league game and then travel to Albion Sports on Wednesday week (18th March) for a League Cup tie.
The next home game is on Saturday 21st March v Pickering Town.

Further reportage from Martin Roberts via his WE ALL STAND TOGTHER blog