Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Windsor Food Service Stadium,
Babbage Way, off Sandy Lane Worksop
Worksop Town (1) 2
Hadfield 33, Husbands 76
Clipstone (2) 3 Nelthorpe 11, Cottingham 23 OG, Somes 78
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 534
Thanks to Chris Randall AKA 'Big Frank' for the team details
Kennedy, Cottingham, Roe, Woolley, Hadfield (Husbands 73), Liversidge (Waddle 4), Sellars (Higginson 67), Scott, McKenzie, Ward, Elliott.
Unused subs - Wafula*, Jordan.
Hernandez, Paling, Trench, Nelthorpe, McAllister, Magee, Smith (Hodder 84), Finlaw, Nightingale (Royles 84), Ashmore, Denton (Somes 55).
Unused subs - Jones, Colliver.
Clipo got off to a steady yet unspectacular start with a goalless draw v Liversedge in their first ever NCEL Premier Division fixture on Saturday, while Worksop had battered Athersley Recreation 6-0 away from home in their first game.
The overwhelming pre match school of thought was that the Tigers would show their claws and win handsomely tonight whilst savaging the Cobras.
I predicted a draw tonight, in the aforementioned pub beforehand, because I knew that the visiting manager had recently watched the Tigers in action and would possibly be adopting one of his more 'cavalier' attacking formations, like say a 9-0-1 ;-)
But in the event he proved me wrong and proved what hard work and getting the bare necessities right can achieve... good for him!
*Prior to kick off, Jono Wafula had refused to go on the subs bench for Worksop Town tonight, having not been included in Mark Shaw's starting eleven and subsequently the home side's manager has stated that Wafula has played his last game for the club as a result of his actions.
Oh, before I move on, I know that Kaa the snake is a python and not a cobra, but the only beast I could find taking on a 'python' on google images was a 'cougar' and she wasn't appropriate to use on a football blog that is viewed by youngster and broadcasts prior to the watershed.
A slip by Phil Roe put Denton in on the Tigers goal for the first opportunity of the game and the evergreen Jon Kennedy had to be at his best to turn the ball away for a corner.
Denton again capitalised on some sloppy defending, when Adam Ward generously left the back door open for him to cut through the right channel and square the ball to Liam Nelthorpe, who netted the Cobras opening goal of the season from close range.
Which I nearly got a picture of (below) but I wasn't anticipating Ward's lackadaisicalness and was caught out nearly as much as his team mates by his wayward pass.
The home side went AWOL in defence again on 17 minutes and when Denton rounded Kennedy the Worksop keeper had no option but to pull him down.
The ref pointed to the spot and the collective sphincters of 500+ Worksop fans began to twitch while the referee deliberated over whether he should send Kennedy off.
Now, I will have to choose my words carefully here, because I have known 'Kendo' a long time and enjoyed a good few beers with his dad over the years, so as to avoid any offence the next time our paths cross, I will tactfully say: "Kinnel hell Jon Kennedy Sr! That was as blatant a red card offence as I will ever see, how is he still on the pitch!"
But Mr Hull thought otherwise and his decision is the one that counts.
To add insult to injury, Kennedy got down to his left and pulled off a great save at the expense of a corner, from Rob Paling's penalty, which I nearly got a picture off (below), but Alex Nightingale wandered into my shot at just the wrong moment.
Worksop had a decent pre season and appeared to be raring to go at the outset of the new term, particularly after the result at the weekend, but during the first half a hour of this game, although the defence had to be reshuffled when Liversedge left the field of play, some of their team were acting like they hadn't even met each other before.
It would be wrong to single anybody out, but if Wafula had been available to slot into the Tigers defence when the need arose just four minutes into the game, then they might have looked a bit more organised.
A reply arrived into my text message inbox:
"Do you mean: '2-0' should be '3-0', instead of '0-2' should have been '0-3' 23 mins?"
Events at Sandy Lane had grabbed the attention of a friend of mine who was attending another NCEL game in deepest rural north east Lincolnshire, that I had asked him to keep me up to date with.
Jamie Hadfield held his ground when a Worksop attack broke down and when the Tigers put the ball back into the mix, he was in the right place at the right time, to take the ball in his stride and finish from just inside the box.
An equaliser looked to be on the cards now, but Steve Hernandez kept Shaq Mckenzie out with a good reflex save to keep 'Clipo' (just about) in front.
The visitors absorbed a spell of pressure as the first half came to a close, but right on half time, Phil Roe had to put a last ditch challenge in to thwart a counter attack that saw Jahmal Smith through on goal and just about to pull the trigger.
HT: Tigers 1 v Cobras 2
Could the second half throw up as many talking points as the first?
Err... just a bit!
Hernandez was determined to keep McKenzie at bay tonight and won that particular duel hands down with another top draw save to keep the Worksop hitman out.
The popular former Tigers player and Assistant Manager James Colliver was dismissed in the 67th minute, for an uncharacteristic outburst at the match referee.
The crowd applauded Jas as he made his way across the pitch to the dressing room and showed the obvious affection and high esteem that that their former hero is still held in around these parts as he took his 'walk of shame'... or something like that!
The big decisions thus far hadn't always gone Clipstone's way and although I will never be a complete neutral at any Worksop Town game, given the fact that they will always occupy a place very close to my heart, regardless of things that have occurred in the past, even I would have to concede that the Tigers had got more than their fair share of the rub of the green up to now. That would change later.
But it was the Cobra's defence who would be unlocked next, when substitute Mitch Husband's, having only been on the pitch three minutes, made himself the space to turn and shoot past Hernandez to pull the scores level.
The heat was now on the visitors and the Sandy Lane crowd cranked up the noise a notch or two in response to their sides all out attacking policy.
However... Husband's wasn't to be the only goalscoring substitute in this gripping encounter.
Jahmal Smith, holding a deep position behind Clipstone's substitute striker, the former Stags youngster Adam Somes, played an excellent precision pass through the Tigers defence and just two minutes after Husbands had equalised, the visitors were back in front as Somes smacked the ball home and charged towards the away team dugout to celebrate in front of Ryan France, Colliver's assistant.
|Chris Randall, sent to jail for breaking his microphone|
It wasn't a long and protracted celebration and it was odd that game recommenced with just one outfield player from Clipstone and their goalkeeper back in position after the goal, but I'm sure that Mr Hull must know the rules of the game better than me... and as the roar of the crowd alerted the visiting players that their goal was under siege as Husbands sprtinted forward, the last man, Liam Nelthorpe had no option but to take him out with a 'last ditch tackle', for want of a better metaphor for absolutely understandable and necessary foul.
A definite penalty and most probably a red card too in anybodies book, except tonight's match referee!
He had definitely evened up the unissued red cards tonight in an instant... and I will leave the final word on the incident to the Clipstone official Mick Flinton who turned to me, grinning all over his face and said "**** me! We just got away with that one!"
Err... I'm sure these things even themselves out over the course of the whole season, don't they?
Somes nearly snatched a fourth for Clipo inside the last two minutes, but he was denied by Kennedy, while Hernandez thwarted McKenzie one last time right at the death at the other end to secure all three points for the hard working visitors.
So much for my prediction of a draw.
FT: Worksop Town 2 v Clipstone 3
I will be at Worksop Town's FA Cup game at Abbey Hey on Saturday.
Good luck to all Toolstation NCEL clubs in their FA Cup games on this weekend.
It is the greatest league in the world and I love you all xxx