Saturday, 26 September 2015

Albion Sports 0 v Clipstone 0 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 26th September 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Throstle Nest, Farsley
Albion Sports (0) 0
Clipstone (0) 0
Attendance 89
Admission £5. Programme £1
Albion Sports:
Jack Bentley, Sam Bradley, Connor Erangey, Michael O'Brien (Josh Eastwood 69), Asif Hussain, James Firth, Brice Triani, Omar Habib, Danny Cunningham (Anil Singh 54), Marcus Edwards (Levi Maturine 84), Alex Cusack
All subs used
Steve Hernandez (C), Brad Jones, Michael Trench, Jack Hall (Dexter Atkinson 52), Chris Salt, Damo Magee, Jahmal Smith, Sam Finlaw, Alec Denton (Alex Nightingale 80), James Ashmore, Liam Royles (Jordan Hodder 84)
Unused subs - Rob Paling, James Colliver
On the balance of play over 90 minutes, the draw was a fair result as 5th place Sports hosted the north Nottinghamshire based Cobras, who started the day in 9th.
The Bradford side have four more NCEL Premier Division points than their visitors, but they have played two games more, so this was poised to be an evenly matched game.
Michael O'Brien and Omar Habib pushed forward as the home side mounted the first attack of the game, but the scene for the afternoon was set, when Chris Salt started as he meant to go on, by standing firm and repelling both of them.
Hernandez plucked Marcus Edward's header from out of the air, as the home side's top scorer got to Alex Cusack's cross first.
This passage of play set another tone for the afternoon, because the referee's assistant had missed the fact that Edward's had clearly strayed into an offside position before he forced the save out of the Cobra's captain... alas, by the time the final whistle sounded, the visitors management team and merry band of supporters and officials in the stands, probably had good reason to feel aggrieved about a number of decisions that the match officials made.
Sam Finlaw took one for the team as he put his body in the way of a stinging shot from James Firth, that caught him squarely in the nether regions just below his midriff, with a sickening thud that bought a tear to many an eye, let alone poor Sam's.
After a short break while Finlaw received treatment, Clipstone upped the ante, with Jahmal Smith playing the ball out to Alec Denton before charging into the box to get get on the end of the return pass and forcing Jack Bentley to turn the ball away for a corner.
The home side had a good spell of pressure, but created very little of note in the way of goalscoring opportunities, as the Cobras central defensive pairing of Salt and Damo Magee got to grips with the situation and seem to be forging a great understanding together from the off. That said however, Brice Tiani caused the visitors back four a problem halfway through the first half, when he picked out O'Brien who had timed his blindside run well, but Hernandez turned the close range shot away with a great reflex save.
'Clipo' mounted a great passing move forward themselves: James Ashmore sent Brad Jones darting away down the right flank and the Cobras full back played a neat one-two with Finlaw before swinging a teasing cross over to the back post, where Jack Hall headed over the bar, under pressure from Asif Hussain.
The visitors were finding their rhythm more now and Jones picked out Smith with a ball from in the middle of the park who flicked it sideways into the path of Alec Denton. But as the Cobras striker plotted his route to goal, Hussain went shoulder to shoulder with him in an attempt to put him off of his stride and the linesman raised his flag and stopped play.
Neither player had committed a foul as such, but after consulting with his assistant, the match referee Jamie Rhodes awarded the home side a free kick. So much for giving the attacking side the benefit of any 50/50's
The visitors finished the first half well and the Lions sat back and closed ranks as the Nottinghamshire side passed the ball around well, looking for an opening. They created several half chances, but really should have been in front when Liam Royles turned Michael Trench's left wing cross into the path of Smith and only a brave stop by Jack Bentley kept the sides level at the break.
HT: 0-0 
Early in the second half, the Cobras freshened things up and sent on Dexter Atkinson in place of Jack Hall, he proved to be a good foil for Jahmal Smith, but Albion Sports had decided on a few alterations in their half time team talk and looked stronger after the break and they were putting the Cobras defence under the cosh for a while, during which time Marcus Edwards could have sealed the game for the home side with two great chances. Hernandez stood his ground both times to narrow the angles, as Edwards smashed the ball just wide of the target twice in quick succession.
Damo Magee's header deflected wide of the post from a James Ashmore free kick and  from the resultant corner kick, again delivered by Ashmore, Salt nodded the ball wide.
But in spite of the visitors threatening the Lions goal from set pieces and dead balls, it was Sports who looked like the side most likely to break the deadlock from open play.
O'Brien went close twice, his first effort was blocked by Trench and his second crashed past the right hand upright.
Singh, Tiani and Habib knocked the ball around well in the final third, but Salt got in the way of Habib's well struck shot and met it full on with a clearing header.
Tiani passed to Cusack through the right channel, who spotted that Hernandez was off his line to deal with the situation so he threaded the ball past the Cobras stopper, but Salt was in the right place at the right time, to block the shot with his heel before launching a long clearance to Alec Denton who surged forward but planted the ball wide of the target.
Connor Erangey swung a left wing cross over to Singh, but Hernandez had read the flight of the ball well and blocked the Sports substitute's shot.
Clipstone's big guns were up bolstering the attack, when the home side cleared an Ashmore corner, but when Edwards countered and bore down on the visitors goal, Brad Jones got across to intercept the danger.
With the clock ticking down, Finlaw battled and won the ball in the middle of the park and picked out Alex Nightingale, who whipped a cross into the mix that JOrdan Hodder nudged narrowly wide.
Right at the death, Albion Sports almost nicked it; when Cusack ventured forward from midfield... and having seen that a clear run on goal was out of the question, because of the Cobras massed ranks, he let fly with a long range goal that whistled over the crossbar.
FT: Albion Sports 0 v Clipstone 0
Clipstone pick-it line