Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Worksop Town 1 v Tadcaster Albion 2 - NCEL Prem

Prior to kick off, it was good to catch up with some familiar faces from Worksop, Tadcaster, Staveley and York, along with the Handsworth Parramore delegation of management and players, who had come to run the rule over two of their main rivals for this season's NCEL title.
The Ambers posse were really good company in the bar, where Micky Godber looked particularly resplendent in his very fetching bathing suit and he was more than happy to pose for photographs.
Wednesday 21st October 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium
Worksop Town (0) 1
Steve Woolley 90+3
Tadcaster Albion (2) 2
Nick Black 3
Jason Mycoe 25
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 879
Worksop Town:
Kennedy, Woolley, Waddle, Lawrence, Husbands (Fereday 74), Cooke, Higginson, Harrison, Ward (Sellars 51), Jordan (Adam 80), Elliott
Unused subs - Hobson, Roe.
Tadcaster Albion:
Stevens, Armstrong, Clayton, Milne, Heath, Mycoe, Baker (Stewart 86), Ormsby, Black, Beadle, Greening
Unused subs - Barrett, Thompson, Beestin, Woodhead.
The last couple of times that I've seen 'Taddy' play, they had seemingly somewhat laboured their way to victory, against Staveley Miners Welfare and Retford United... and, if truth be told, they were probably a bit jammy in the latter of those two games.
So I was intrigued to see how they would fare against Mark Shaw's in form Tigers, in this first v second encounter, that whet the appetite of 879 spectators who made their way to the Windsor Foodservice Stadium tonight.
In a nutshell, the Brewers came through this acid test of their title credentials with flying colours and at times, particularly in the first 45 minutes, they made Worksop Town look very ordinary and almost pedestrian in defence.
The home side are adept at going forward and passing with aesthetically pleasing movement and an attacking prowess that is always easy on the eye. But tonight the visitors demonstrated that they too can get the ball down and move it around at pace, with additional elements of power and thrust in the final third... and they produced a match winning antithesis to the modern trend of over passing the ball to death in the final third and trying to 'walk it in'.
I suppose a Freudian analogy of tonight's game would be: using football as an incorrigible mistress; although most ladies rather enjoy being coaxed and caressed gently and rhythmically towards their nadir, all ladies really enjoy a damn good seeing to from time to as well.
Tonight, Billy Miller's Tadcaster had Worksop's pants down and royally shafted them.
It was hardcore stuff until the interval, after which time Albion could afford to sit back and let Worksop take the game to them, whilst leaving some alarmingly big gaps to exploit at the back, a glaring concern for the Tigers, that wasn't helped ant when Julian Lawrence, who was already hobbling and struggling for pace, was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Tadcaster stormed into the lead after only 3 minutes (having already put the home side under pressure from a Josh Greening corner), when Adam Baker knocked a crossfield ball into the path of Nick Black, who had timed his run perfectly to the edge of the penalty area, before unleashing an unstoppable curling shot past Jon Kennedy.
Worksop's soft underbelly was woefully exposed in the 25th minute, when Jason Mycoe collected the ball in the centre circle and charged towards the Tigers goal. Jordon Cooke backed off, waiting for Mycoe to make his move and pick out a teammate with a through ball, but the Albion midfielder kept on powering forward unchecked and whilst everyone was anticipating a pass, the visitors midfielder opted to drill the ball into the back of the net himself from 25 yards out.
Another stunning finish.
Worksop were in disarray and on the ropes now, as the 'shock troops' from 'Taddy' stormed forward with menace, whilst the home side's back four did a passable impression of a static line of complete strangers, who were virtually spectators at times as Tadcaster threatened to put the game to bed before half time.
In their 'defence', the Tigers achilles heel this term has been their constant need to chop and change things around at the back, Mark Shaw has had no luck at all whatsoever in this particular department all season and he's also been hampered by a flow of pivotal players moving on, especially to Bradford Park Avenue who have seemingly adopted Worksop Town as a feeder club.
Andy Milne got onto the end of a Josh Greening corner and showed a deft touch to create himself the space to shoot, but much to Worksop's relief he knocked the simplest of chances wide having done the hard part.
Nick Black should've scored his second and Taddy's third when, once again, Baker picked him out with a slide rule pass from out on the right flank, but the Brewers striker crashed his shot into the ground and it spun up sharply and over the bar.
Right on the stroke of half time, Kennedy did just about enough to put Black off and stopped him scoring from a Greening corner.
I think the Tigers would've been happy to go into the interval just two goals behind, given the way they had been overrun and bossed for most of the first half.
HT: Tigers 0 v Brewers 2
A second half collapse by Tadcaster, would have inspired a 'Brewers droop' headline, but the visitors weren't going to succumb to that sort of thing tonight and they stiffened things up as a defensive column after the break and proved to be as steadfast at the back now they were in the ascendancy as they had been rampant in attack during the opening 45 minutes.
The Tigers continued to pass and move, probing for an opening, but their flowing football was, in the main, being played out in a comfort zone outside the visitors final third. It was nice to watch, but their was no end product and as Worksop pushed forward in numbers they were always running the risk of being hit on the break.
That risk increased tenfold, when Julian Lawrence, who had already been booked, hacked Josh Greening down in the middle of the pitch, in a fit of pique and pure frustration and was shown a red card for his transgression.
With 25 minutes still remaining, the odds against Worksop getting anything out of this game just lengthened and dropped off the bottom of the coupon.
Conor Sellars, on as a substitute in the second half for the home side, showed some good touches and looked like their most likely option for unlocking the Brewers defence, but Lawrence's red card had all but killed off the game now and one had to wonder if Albion would switch things around again and bombard the Tigers goal with the big guns in the closing stages of the game.
Sellars crashed a long range shot over the visitors goal and Mitch Husbands forced a rare save out of Gary Stevens at full stretch.
It would be fair to say that hitherto, Stevens hadn't had a great deal to do.
Tadcaster scored a third goal, but the referee David Plowright ruled it out.
The visitors were awarded a free kick just inside the Worksop half and when play stopped, the Tigers keeper Jon Kennedy walked towards Adam Baker, to check that he was alright, because the Tadcaster player was down injured (cramp apparently) just outside the penalty area. But the visitor's captain James Beadle saw Kennedy off of his line and quickly took the free kick, which he floated just underneath the crossbar, to seemingly wrap up the game.
But Mr Plowright decreed that the free kick should be retaken and that the goal wouldn't stand.
Kennedy kept out a Liam Ormsby effort with a great one handed save, as the Tigers continued to live dangerously by leaving their back doors completely wide open as they committed men forward on a salvage mission.
With a number of fans starting to edge towards the exits to make a quick getaway on the final whistle (assuming they could side step the yobs who had also started to congregate in the same area, in readiness for some post match fisticuffs), Conor Sellars got in behind the visitors rearguard and crossed to Steve Woolley, who calmly controlled the ball under pressure and knocked it into the back of the net to throw Worksop a very unlikely lifeline.
A grandstand finished ensued but Tadcaster, who know all about the omnipresent danger that late goals can present against even the most dominant of teams, weren't going to chuck away their well deserved three points now and they held on.
Billy Miller's game plan worked perfectly tonight and the best team won.
The attendance was quite staggering for a midweek, step 5 non league game and I was very impressed by the way that both sets of fans made a great deal of noise in support of their respective teams, regardless of what was happening out on the pitch at any given moment.
No doubt there will be a few sore throats and strained larynxes around tomorrow morning.
FT: Worksop Town 1 v Tadcaster Albion
The visitors merited more than a single goal margin of victory, but in only scoring two goals whilst creating enough chances to run away with the game, Tadcaster had at least kept the intrigue and suspense going right until the final whistle, in what had been a great advertisement for the NCEL.
Anybody who had stayed away to watch the 'greed is good' Champions League games on TV instead, had missed out on a treat.