at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium (aka Lido Ground)
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Clipstone (1) 2
Alec Denton 45 pen, Brad Jones 90
Cleethorpes Town (2) 3
Marc Cooper 20, 41, 85
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 78
Cleethorpes Town haven't exactly got off to the flying start that most people expected of them this season.
And, as a consequence, they started today's game in 18th place in the NCEL Premier Division, though they have won two of their previous three games, namely 3-1 at home v. Athersley Rec. and 3-0 away at Pickering Town, so after today's narrow win, having picked up a total of 9 points out of a possible 12, they'll no doubt be climbing up the league table any time soon.
Try as they might... and believe me, they really did, the Cobras couldn't quite find that finishing touch that would've given them an equaliser in added on time of their own today... and on the final whistle, David Patterson, the Cleethorpes Town chairman, rubbed it in, light heartedly, on Twitter, by posting: "congrats lads. Form is temporary class is permanent. #RevengeISsweet".
The two sides went head to head in the middle of the park, sizing each other up and weighing up their respective options.
Cleethorpes had been one of the best footballing sides I saw play in the NCEL last season, in fact if truth be told, they were probably the best on their day, but this afternoon, with a more urgent need for points coming into the equation for 'the Owls', they showed that they could also stand toe to toe in a slog of a battle for the midfield and weren't frightened to put a foot in when the need arises.
Marc Cooper broke free and had the visitors first real chance of the half, but Steve Hernandez came out on top in that one against one.
Brad Jones and Jahmal Smith attacked in tandem down the right flank, but when Winn intervened with an outstretched boot to concede a corner, the linesman missed his interception and a goal kick was awarded.
The visitors broke straight from Fenty's kick and Hernandez had to turn Luke Mascall's effort round for a corner. 'Clipo' cleared their lines, but Tim Lane came straight back at them through the left channel and once again, it was left to Hernandez to intervene as he palmed Lane's shot round the upright.
Peter Winn swung the corner into a packed six yard box, where Marc Cooper got his head onto the ball and nodded home the opening goal.
Hernandez had another difficult ball to deal with, when Jamie McAllister hit a powerful back pass straight at his own keeper from close range. 'Nando' obviously couldn't use his hands and was none too pleased about having to take the full brunt of the ball against his torso. I was stood at the opposite end of the ground and could still hear exactly what the Cobras keeper thought of that particular 'defensive lapse'.
The Owls pushed forward from the resultant goal kick and Hernandez was forced into action again as Mascall let fly from the right hand side of the box.
A Brad Jones throw in was flicked on by Dexter Atkinson to Jahmal Smith, whose thumping shot from the bi-line was smothered by Fenty.
Sam Finlaw held of three challenges and slipped the ball through to Royles, but the busy 'Clipo' midfielder's shot was blocked by Lawrence Heward.
In the 43rd minute, the visitors raced forward and time stood still for the home side's defence as Danny Grant's right wing cross picked out Cooper, who had the time and space to choose which part of the net he was going to plant another headed goal into... there wasn't anything that the criminally exposed Cobras keeper could've done about that one.
Right on the stroke of half time, Jahmal Smith broke into the Cleethorpes area and Tim Lane nudged the Clipstone striker in the back as he cued up to shoot, leaving the referee with no option but to sound his whistle and point to the spot.
Fenty chose to dive to the right as Denton smacked the ball fractionally to the other side of him and the home side halved their interval deficit.
HT: Cobras 1 v Owls 2
Damo Magee cleared a Cleethorpes corner, but committed a clumsy foul just outside his area moments later, which gave Cooper the opportunity to bag his hat trick from 18 yards out.
Alas, his free kick cannoned straight back off of Sam Finlaw in the defensive wall and 'Coops' moment had gone (for now).
With the home side defending 'high' up the pitch, as they foraged for an opening in pursuit of an equaliser, Cleethorpes caught them out, as Brody Robertson outstripped Magee for pace and charged forward, before launching a shot over Hernandez, who was advancing from his line, that crashed off of the crossbar.
Brad Jones couldn't believe his luck as he surged past the Cleethorpes left back, only to be shoved off the ball, which was kicked away by Winn as the Clipstone right back cum wing menace cued up to deliver a cross... yet, for the second time in the game, he was denied a corner by an unsighted match official.
And collectively they generously praised the linesman for the undoubted effort that he was putting in, to the best of his ability, in an bid to ensure that justice was done and fair play would prevail.
Or possibly, he said something else altogether, which was far more abrupt and contained a lot of angry swearing.
With five minutes remaining, Hernandez seemed to have a shot by Cooper covered, but it took a wicked bounce off of a bobble in the goalmouth and ended up in the back of the net.
Cue Cooper celebrating his hat trick and a vociferous 'discussion' ensuing amongst the Clipstone defence about "Who the **** was picking him up!?"
The route to the Owls goal, through the middle of the park was now well and truly slammed shut, but James Ashmore, spotted Brad Jones charging down the right flank and played a great ball into his path from inside the centre circle, Jones continued his run, realised that he had arrived in the final third before any of his teammates had got forward into support and opted to launched a worldly of an angled shot into the roof of the net from just inside the box.
It was a sublime finish from the cultured and irrepressible full back, who obviously has a big future ahead of him in the game, despite the fact he started out with the massive geographical disadvantage of having played, in his formative years, in and around, the footballing backwater that is Chesterfield.
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On the balance of things over the 90+ minutes, Cleethorpes Town probably deserved the win, if truth be told.
That said, both sides played their part in an enthralling contest... and it was well worth the admission money to see a goalscorer of the calibre of Marc Cooper on top of his game and to have the opportunity watch in (jaw dropping) amazement, the masterclass in versatility; calm, collected and controlled temperament, modesty and awesome shooting ability, that make up the undoubted attributes possessed by the genius footballer they call Brad Jones.
FT: Clipstone 2 v Cleethorpes Town 3