Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Handsworth Parramore 4 v Swallownest MW 2 - HKL NMU19L (North)

Tuesday 3rd November 2015
HKL NMU19L North
at Oliver's Mount
Handsworth Parramore U19 (2) 4
Danny Bent 3,
Juninho Blake 16,
Ash Cooper 67,
Will Eades 90+
Swallownest MW U19 (1) 2
Mitchell Dunne 24,
Junior Gamma 59
Admission £2 inc. teamsheet
I've seen both of these sides play better than they did tonight, but the persistent rain and hanging fog provided less than ideal conditions for either side to flourish tonight, as Handsworth Parramore, who are always amongst the frontrunners in this league, maintained their 100% win record for the season, against NMU19L newcomers and neighbours Swallownest Miners Welfare.
The game was only three minutes old, when the Ambers highly rated striker Matt Morton crossed the ball into the visitors area and Danny Bent's shot deflected wide of the left hand post.
Harry Bamforth's corner picked out Bent who put the ball past Richard Chamberlain with a free header, to give Handsworth the lead.
Swallownest would have to dig deep if they were going to get anything out of the game now that the table topping Parras had taken an early lead, but Mitchell Dunne almost put them on level terms after ten minutes, when he skimmed a 20 yard shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Bamforth was on hand to take all of the home side's corners and free kicks, using his dead ball skills to good effect. 
Another left wing corner from the Ambers number 4, almost created a second goal for his side, when he dropped a flag kick at the feet of Harry Groombridge, whose initial shot was charged down in a crowded goalmouth and rebounded into the path of Jed Phillips who shot narrowly wide.
The Ambers went two in front on 16 minutes, when Juninho Blake turned the ball into the goal from 6 yards out after the ever reliable Bamforth had driven a right wing corner into the mix and picked out Blake amongst a scrum of bodies.
Handsworth were in the ascendancy, but 'Swalls' were working hard in an effort to repel the home side. Billy Wright's launched a long range cross into the Swallownest area, that evaded everyone in the box and ran through to Morton, who crashed the loose ball against the upright. Bent skipped past two challenges but his angled shot was turned away as Chamberlain spread himself and saved the ball with his feet.
Bent was a real livewire tonight and nobody would have envied Josh Billson, who had the job of marking him. It made for a very busy shift for the young left back, but he stuck to his task admirably on what was a steep learning curve of a night for him. Swallownest cruised past Clifton All Whites by 8 goals to 3 in the cup last week, but in terms of player development, they'll learn infinitely more from testing themselves against quality opposition, like the well oiled machine of a Handsworth side they came up against tonight.
Have weathered a bit of a storm, Swallownest began to assert themselves on the game more.
Joe Taylor had to dash out of his box to clear the ball as Mitchell Dunne chased an hooked pass from Callum Mounsey. Moments later Mounsey tried his luck with a long shot that deflected into the path of Dunne, who steered the ball home from close range but was adjudged to have strayed offside, so the goal was chalked off.
Swallownest had a spring in their step now and as Dunne danced across the edge of the Ambers area, looking for the opportunity to either shoot or lay the ball off to Connor Gregg, he was tripped. 
The prolific strike got up and took the free kick himself and found the top corner of the net via the slightest of touches off of the head of one of the Ambers defensive wall.
Handsworth were having the bulk of the play, but leading up to Dunne's goal the visitors had been giving a very good account of themselves.
Swallownest had to switch goalkeepers in the 40th minute, when Chamberlain took a knock and Jack Hood came on in his place.
Both Morton and Bent were a whisker away from increasing the home side's lead before the break and right on the stroke of half time Lewis Elshaw headed another corner kick from Bamforth over the bar.
After the restart, Dunne tried to play Junior Gamma in on the home side's goal, but a last ditch clearance denied the 'entertaining' number 7 a clear shot on goal.
The visitors were living dangerously for a while as they were forced into making a succession of clearances as Handsworth threatened to camp out around their penalty area and lay siege to their spirited visitors.
Bamforth's range of passing and Bent's trickery were pivotal to all of this as the home side staged a passable re-enactment of Rorke's Drift inside the Welfares final third.
But... cometh the hour (give or take thirty seconds), ever so slightly against the run of play, Swallownest were on level terms, after Kris Eggertson picked out Dunne on the right wing with a long free kick and he swung a cross into the Ambers six yard box to Junior Gamma who forced the ball past Taylor from close range.
Swallownest's joy was short lived and their equaliser spurred Handsworth on to turn the screw even more tightly on their hard working and stubborn visitors.
The rain picked up, the mist rolled in and the Ambers wheeled out the big guns. Mark Edwards lads were going to have to graft now... but graft they bloody well did.
However, the inevitable third Handsworth goal came on 67 minutes, when Ash Cooper turn a right wing cross into the net from close range. Apologies to whoever crossed the ball for not giving you any credit, but my failing eyesight and the fog out on that side of the pitch, were a less than ideal combination. 
Matt Morton and Tom Cropper were ganging up on the visitors backline... while Billson cleared the ball off the line from Will Eades cross cum shot.
Hmm, this camera on my Sony Experia phone
isn't all that it is cracked up to be :-(
Jack Hood pulled off two great saves inside the last ten minutes, including an outstanding one handed tip over the bar from a stinging Matt Morton shot, that had goal written all over it, from the moment it left his boot.
Obviously Handsworth deserved to win (handsomely) on the balance of play, but at 3-2 there was something of a moral victory in the offing for Swallownest too, for the battling and unstinting effort they had put in.
Alas, right at the death, Parramore grabbed the two goal cushion that their relentless attacking in the second half had warranted, when Will Eades dragged the ball past a challenge and thumped it past Hood from close range.
FT: Handsworth Parramore 4 v Swallownest Miners Welfare 2
I keep reiterating that results alone should never be the main motivation for being involved in development team football. 
Handsworth attacked well and deserved to win... and I wouldn't want to take anything away from them for that. But Swallownest would've picked up a lot of invaluable experience tonight and as long as they take those lessons on board and learn from them, then they can draw a lot of positives out of the way they stuck together as a unit tonight.
The Ambers have set the bar in local Under 19s football over a sustained period of time and this fledgling Swallownest side have now experienced and witnessed at close quarters, what they should be aspiring to.
I can't wait for the rematch later in the season.