Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Handsworth Parramore 5 v Swallownest 0 - Sheff & Hallam Senior Cup 3R

Picture courtesy of THE66POW assistant photographer Mick Kent
Tuesday 10th November 2015
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Challenge Cup 3rd Round
at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium, Sandy Lane, Worksop
Handsworth Parramore (1) 5
Alex Rippon 15, 87
Jon Froggatt 61, 75
Sam Denton 82
Swallownest (0) 0
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 89
Half time raffle winner... me!
Many thanks to Paul Hill for the team details :-)
Left click  to enlarge image.
A week ago Swallownest's Under 19 side put in a spirited performance against Handsworth, at Oliver's Mount, where in spite of their efforts, they were beaten by a more accomplished side, who demonstrated the kind of standard the team formerly known as Aston FC need to aspire to, as they continue to make great strides towards establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the local football map. 
It needs to be said, having witnessed their progression on and off the pitch at close quarters over the lat few months, that they are getting there and aren't too far short of having what it takes to progress further.
The exact same applied to their first team tonight, who went down to a five goal drubbing in the end against the better side over the 90 minutes... but it worth noting that Parramore scored three times inside the last fifteen minutes, when their superior fitness level kicked in and several of the visiting team were severely needing to catch a second wind... or 'were blowing out of their arses' to put it in the kind of language you'll find in FA coaching manuals.
Last season Swallownest were knocked out of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup at the same stage by Handsworth Parramore, when they went down 7-0 at the "Swall Siro", having famously knocked out Worksop Town in the previous round, in what was their first ever floodlit game at their ever improving Rotherham Road home.
Note, for purposes of clarification... tonight's visiting team, as from the start of the current season, are now called Swallownest FC, but I'm still as guilty as the next man of still calling them Swallownest Miners Welfare.
The visitors kicked off, but the Ambers were soon on the front foot, looking for an early goal to unsettle their County Senior League opponents.
Sam Denton, Ryan Lee and Luke Fletcher, all had chances to put the home side ahead inside the opening ten minutes, before Swallownest got to grips with the pace of the game and made a couple of forward runs themselves through a combination of Liam Davis and Glynn Cotton, with Reece Blake looking a real handful for Richard Tootle to deal with down the right wing.
Jordan Stocks warmed Andy Sneath's hands with a long range free kick from out on the left wing, but Handsworth responded well to a spell of pressure from Mark Ward's side and were ahead around the quarter of a hour mark, when a free kick was only cleared into the path of Alex Rippon, who dispatched the ball past Josh Lill and into the back of the net. To compound the away sides misery, Cotton had been booked for the hefty challenge that led to the free kick, so he had effectively been punished twice.
Blake's cross into the 'Parras' six yard box was cleared from the immediate danger zone but Sneath was called into action as Joe Rowlands latched onto the loose ball and slammed it back into the mix.
Mitch Kent almost caught the home side's defence out with a long pass down the right flank, but Blake couldn't quite reach the ball before it went for a goal kick, with the Handsworth defence sprinting back to retrieve the situation. 
Handsworth's centre forward Nathan Joynes, limped out the game after just 21 minutes, but it was hardly going to disrupt their rhythm because Jon Froggatt came on in his place, which was probably not what Swallownest wanted to see as they strived to get on level terms.
Blake and Stocks tried to work the ball through to Cotton, but the Swallownest attack was brought to an abrupt halt by the referee's assistant flag. Despite some fairly 'outspoken' verbals aimed at the match official by several spectators, she had actually called it 100% correct.
Lill saved well from from Danny Buttle and the visitors countered attacked quickly and Sneath had to race from his line to save at the feet of Stocks.
Moments later Stock crossed to Davis, but Sneath came to the rescue again.
Billy Wright, one of three Handsworth players from their Under 19s who turned out tonight, put in a near flawless performance. From my completely impartial point of view, I would say that only Danny Buttle, the Handsworth winger, made a more telling contribution to the game overall.
The Ambers sensed that the visitors were throwing everything at them to get on level terms before the break, so they rolled their sleeves up, raised their work rate and laid siege to Lill's goal for the remainder of the half.
Danny Buttle was relishing his role tonight and he created more than enough chances to put the game to bed before the interval, but Rippon and Froggatt were both guilty of a couple of glaring misses. Whilst Buttle was denied himself, when his left wing corner came back out to him and Lill saved his shot from a tight angle.
Swallownest thought they had a good shout for a penalty when Blake went to ground in the box, but if truth be told, he'd looked a tad too keen to go down and might have benefited from staying upright instead in such an advantageous position.
HT: Handsworth Parramore 1 v Swallownest 0
There is a sign less than two miles from the Sandy Lane ground, welcoming people to the 'Borough of Rotherham', so I chuckled to myself at half time, when there was an announcement made by Steve Holmes that "the best football blogger this side of Rotherham" (AKA me), had won some Cadbury's 'Heroes' in the half time raffle.
I did ponder over whether to give them to the very efficient  female who was running the line, to cheer her up in light of all of the abuse she'd been getting, from one or two people who probably daren't say 'Boo!' in front of their wives when they get home at night. But upon inspecting my prize, I realised that this would mean relinquishing ownership of some Fudge and Creme Egg miniatures, so I stopped pondering with immediate effect.
It's character building Natasha! All part and parcel of the game, you'll get used to it... and I don't want to be responsible for encouraging you to eat unhealthily.
Rippon and Froggatt, combined to entertain the crowd with a selection of slapstick antics in front of goal, that wouldn't look out of place on one of those 'Football's biggest bloopers' compilation DVDs. 
Without being overly critical of their efforts, it would be fair to say that they missed a succession of real sitters, but they came good eventually.
I will spare the blushes of ******, who "toe poked and impossible to miss chance wide from eight inches out!" because I am feeling in a benevolent mood tonight.
Froggatt redeemed himself on 61 minutes, when he towered above everybody else in the Swallownest area to power a header past Lill, from yet another cross from Buttle.
Rippon missed another chance from close range, but he kept making all the right runs and wasn't letting a string of unfortunate finishes put him off his game, so fair play to the lad.
Besides the aforementioned Billy Wright, two other players who have really impressed me in the HKL NMU19L this season are Connor Gregg and Mitchell Dunn. Swallownest let them both loose on Handsworth in an effort to get back in the game and neither of them looked unduly fazed about having compete face to face, with Parramore's watertight central defensive pairing of Sam Denton and Gareth Griffiths.
Cotton went for goal with a free kick from 20 yards out, but his crashing effort thumped off of the advertising hoardings.
Dunn held off a challenge and made himself room to get a shot in, but the ball fizzed past the top corner of the woodwork.
Were Swallownest on the verge of a comeback? 
Well, they might have been, but in the 75th minute, Handsworth decided to drop a scatterbomb on the visitors rearguard in the shape of Kieran Wells.
Wells has some severe limitations as a footballer, inasmuch as... all he is actually capable of is shredding defences to pieces, creating inch perfect chances for his teammates and scoring goals at a staggering rate for fun... and I'd wager his statistical coefficients testify to the fact that he only ever manages to get the ball on target a paltry 96% of the time too.
His muzzle was off and his instructions were clear and simple... and lets face it they would have to be: "ball, goal, go get 'em ginger!"
Within 30 seconds of coming on, he left a defender chasing his shadow and with everyone expecting him to shoot, switched play to the unguarded side of the goal with a delicate chip to Froggatt, who added the final touch, to make it 3-0 and (all but) game over now, in the 75th minute.
Blake, who must've been close to collapsing a lung tonight with the amount of running he'd done tonight, had the ball in the net at the other end, but was flagged offside with both Dunn and Gregg hovering close by.
Oliver Grady came on in place of his fellow Under 19 cohort Ryan Lee and instantly repeated the 'Wells effect' by dropping a corner into the mix, to where Denton twisted 180 degrees but managed to head past Lill to grab the Ambers fourth.
Right at the death, Rippon who'd had a lean time of it since opening the scoring, was in the right place at the right time again, to nudge the ball over the line when Lill could only turn the ball into his path when he blocked a shot from Wells.
Right at the death, Sneath made a mess of making a clearance, but Swallownest couldn't take advantage and grab a late goal.
FT: Handsworth Parramore 5 v Swallownest 0
Mark Ward's side had their moments, but the introduction of Wells finally killed off their resistance... and though Swallownest battled gamely right until the bitter end, I would imagine that even the most ardent, biased and dyed in the wool of their followers (you know who you are!), would say that the Ambers could and should have won by an even bigger margin, but profligate finishing had been their own undoing for a long spell of the game.
In the end there was no shame in being undone but an in form strikeforce from a couple of divisions higher.