Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Worksop Town 2 v Staveley Miners Welfare 1 - Sheff & Hallam Cup R1

Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup, First Round
at the Windsor Food Service Stadium, Sandy Lane
Worksop Town (0) 2
James Cottingham 51
Andrew Ofosu 90+4
Staveley Miners Welfare (0) 1
Courtney Hastings 66
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 243
Worksop Town:
Kennedy, Woolley, Roe 6 (Steade 71), Lawrence, Cooke, Waddle, Higginson (Jordan 78), Scott (Ward 43), Ofosu, Sellars, Cottingham.
Unused subs - Hobson, Fereday.
Staveley Miners Welfare:
Musslewhite, Clark, Leggitt (Carty 59), Smith, Varley, Pugh, Goodwin, Morley (Wisdom 78), Hastings, Watson (Tijani 59), Wall.
Unused sub - Fisher.
Both sides fielded decent, almost full strength line ups for this county cup game and an impressive crowd of 243 turned out on the night too.
Pardon my cynicism, but with the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA taking a hefty 25% of the gate receipts as their levy (from all games until the final), I might not be the only person who was 'ever so slightly' sceptical, when the well supported Tigers and their close neighbours Staveley Miners Welfare, were drawn together at Sandy Lane for the only first round game in this season's competition, while all the other entrants got a bye to the second round.
I am not suggesting any impropriety has taken place or suggesting that anything untoward and sinister occurred, but... Wow! What a massive (and financially rewarding for the county FA) coincidence it was that these two sides came out of the hat.
By contrast, the first half tonight was an evenly balanced nip and tuck affair with clear cut chances at a premium, though Conor Higginson hit the crossbar for Worksop, while Matt Varley forced a great save out of Jon Kennedy; but the second was far more open with plenty of incident and talking points to keep the crowd enthralled.
James Cottingham gave the Tigers the lead on 51 minutes, when he spotted a rare gap in the hard working Staveley defence and let rip with a shot from outside the area that gave Ryan Musslewhite no chance whatsoever of keeping out.
Worksop's Jack Waddle was guilty of creating the equaliser for Staveley, when he woefully misjudged a back pass to Jon Kennedy, while Courtney Hastings sprinted forward and reached the ball first, before drilling it past the Tigers keeper. Game on!
Ellis Wall was looking lively for Staveley, while the former Handsworth Parramore and Retford United player Julian Lawrence stood out for Worksop and was probably the man of the match overall.
Moments after Hastings had levelled things up, Fabian Smith surged through the Tigers defence, but couldn't keep his shot on target.
Staveley pushed forward again and Hastings was just about to pull the trigger, when Jordon Cooke felled him with a well executed forearm smash to the back of the neck.
The referee waved away the visitors penalty appeals and ended up booking Hastings for his expletive laden protests in response to the incident.
A few Worksop fans stood at the clubhouse end taunted Hastings, saying he hadn't been tripped... and they were right, but he had been felled by Cooke's flailing arm.
Meanwhile the Tigers fans who were gathered at the other ended chanted "Cheat!" because they hadn't spotted a trip from there either.
A friendly young photographer stood near by to the action, captured the moment, frame by frame.
But hey ho! The referee can't use photographic evidence during a game, so Cooke got away with that one.
Adam Wisdom put the ball just wide as Staveley threatened again, but it was the Tigers who finished the game in the ascendancy, pushing for the goal that would see them through and prevent the thirty minutes of extra time, that were looming, but nobody on or off the pitch really fancied tonight.
Conor Sellars shot wide from a free kick and Staveley breathed a sigh of relief when Adam Ward missed an absolute sitter. But deep into stoppage time, Worksop delivered the hammer blow that claimed the spoils and saw them through to a second round tie against Sheffield FC (one of their manager Mark Shaw's former clubs), when Andy Ofusu exchanged passes with Kyle Jordan inside the visitors packed goalmouth and turned the ball past Musslewhite to break Staveley's resistance.
It was a cruel way for the visitors to lose, especially in light of the penalty appeal that went begging, but on the overall balance of play, Worksop had just about shaded it.
FT: Worksop Town 2 v Staveley MW 1
During the game, I was challenged by several people as to which team I was favouring tonight.
Well, I have a soft spot for them both and have a good number of friends (and no doubt a couple of foes too, but take it as read that the feeling is completely mutual) in the two respective respective camps.
My preference, if truth be told, was for a decent game of football and I really didn't mind which side won.
The first half was fairly cagey, but the second half was very entertaining from a neutral perspective and in conclusion, I would have to say, it was an enjoyable match and a fitting way to mark my 50th game of the season.
The person I travelled home with, has loyalties that are staunchly entrenched in the blue corner, but as I told her, it is bred into the psyche of any diehard football fan, that any defeat that includes an element of injustice is always better for the soul, than winning because of a dubious refereeing decision.
Besides, Jon Kennedy has a good record of saving penalties, so the ifs and buts don't actually count for very much and the purported advantage that a spot kick would have afforded the Derbyshire side, is a purely hypothetical one.
Good luck to Worksop Town in the next round.
And well played Staveley Miners Welfare.
I will ignore the post match text message from somebody connected to another Nottinghamshire club, who said "I see Staveley lost at Worksop then, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
I didn't get the joke or understand why it was sent to me.