Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Handsworth Parramore 4 v Barton Town Old Boys 3 - NCEL Prem

You'd need planning permission for a defensive wall like this.
Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Toolsatation NCEL Premier Division
at the Windsor Food Service Stadium
Handsworth Parramore (2) 4
Kieran Wells 11, 53
Richard Adams 24
Gareth Griffiths 67
Barton Town Old Boys (2) 3
Gareth Barlow 17
Ashley Dexter 20
Alex Sherwood 90+
Admission £5.00. Programme £1.50. Attendance 79
Of the seven games that took place involving NCEL clubs tonight, the highest attendance was just 84, while the lowest was a mere 22.
You would have thought that it must have been a freezing cold night and Arsenal v Barcelona was on the telly or summat.
At least DFS are reporting an upswing in the sales of armchairs.
Those of you who were too nesh to venture outdoors missed an absolute treat at Sandy Lane, with chances galore, some very well taken goals and an heroic goalkeeping performance from Barton's Rob Zand, that kept the assembled 'masses' entertained.
Each to their own n' all that, but... it's your loss suckers!
This win saw the Ambers climb up into the top three, in the NCEL Premier table, just two points behind league leaders Tadcaster Albion, who have a game in hand on Micky Godber's side, which they will be playing at Staveley tomorrow night, a fixture that the Brewers lost 2-1 last season, so they'll know that they are in for a game; while the rest of the clubs at the business end of the table will be rooting for a Trojans win.
The NCEL Premier and Division One promotion races are coming to the boil nicely, with a few dark horses still hanging onto the fringes of both competitions, ready to break through on the fence if any of the front runners should falter.
THE66POW player of the year, Kieran Wells, was back in the home side's line up after suspension tonight, he's in the best form of his life at the minute and in spite of interest from clubs in the EvoStik NPL, he's very happy to be plying his trade with Handsworth. Kieran told me that he always scores whenever I'm watching him play and he kept up that particular record tonight.
There were a few raised eyebrows, not least own my big hairy and unkempt ones, when Steve Holmes handed out the team sheets (cheers pal) and it became apparent that Micky Godber has been busy strengthening his squad for the final run in to the season.
I must've been walking around with my eyes and ears shut this past week, because I actually only discovered tonight that Stuart Ludlam and Tawanda Rupere have both linked up with the Parras.
An impressive pair of signings at this level if ever there was.
Parramore obviously mean business and will be pulling out all of the stops towards the end of the season, I certainly wouldn't back against them claiming top spot and a spot in the EvoStik NPL South as things stand.
Barton almost started the goals rolling during the opening exchanges, when Ash Lattimore's corner kick fell kindly for Gareth Barlow, but the visitors centre forward rushed his effort and if truth be told, he missed an absolute sitter.
Having been out of action for a while, Wells was primed and raring to go and he opened the scoring for Handsworth on eleven minutes, when he nudged the ball past Zand from six yards out, after the Swans had made heavy work of clearing their lines.
However, the visitors were soon on level terms, when Barlow atoned for his earlier miss and levelled the score with a thumping strike from just outside the Ambers area.
From Barton's next attack, Barlow almost scored again, when he crashed a header against the crossbar, but Ash Dexter reacted quickest and guided the rebound past Andy Sneath to give the Swans the lead.
It was raining goals again three minutes later when Richard Adams turned on the spot and drilled the ball into the back of the net, after Gareth Griffiths had cued up the chance for him from Steve Warne's cross.
With both team's defenders piling into each others goalmouth's in numbers and abandoning their respective jobs to join in in attack, a high scoring game certainly looked likely to be on the cards.
You couldn't take your eyes off this one for a moment, as an evenly balanced game ebbed and flowed one way and then the other.
Parramore put eight passes together in the build up, before Jon Froggatt stroked the ball past Zand from close range, but he had strayed marginally offside before the ball reached him and the goal was ruled out.
Ludlam swung a cross in from out on the right flank, that skimmed off the crossbar, so we'll never know if the Ambers new signing "meant that one" or not.
HT: 2-2
The home side thought they had a good penalty claim, when Wells went to ground under a challenge right at the start of the second half, but the referee Ian Johnston thought otherwise.
But it wasn't long before Wells had another opportunity to inflict damage on the visitors defence, when Luke Fletcher played the ball out to Rupere on the right wing, before latching onto a return pass and playing the ball into the six yard box from a tight angle, where Wells met the ball by the right hand post and squeezed it over the line through the narrowest of gaps.
Zand probably earned himself the man of the match award, as his efforts kept wave upon wave of attacks at bay, pulling off some great stops along the way, Harrison in particular, looking impressive whenever he joined in with the attack down the right flank, would probably have had at least two goals on any other night. And Jon Froggatt twisted in mid air to release a goal bound bicycle kick that was cleared off the line.
Though Handsworth concede plenty of goals at times, besides having a very competent arsenal of forward players to choose from, they have players all over the pitch who can find the net too... and on sixty seven minutes, as if to prove a point, the Ambers right back Harrison picked out Griffiths with a corner and he swept home a sweetly struck volley, meaning another Parramore defender had put a tick in the goals register.
Their other centre half Sam Denton forced Zand into action once again, before crashing a header against the woodwork from Harrison's delivery from one of a string of flag kicks.
But Barton broke forward as the game went into stoppage time and Alex Sherwood powered towards the Ambers goal through the right channel and beat Sneath with a well placed shot.
Handsworth had created by far the biggest percentage of chances on the night, but Barton were committed to playing an attacking game too and are well capable of giving any side in this league a game. But their third goal came too late, for them to snatch a point.
FT: Handsworth Parramore 4 v Barton Town Old Boys 3
The promotion race is heading towards a thrilling climax in the 'greatest league in the world', with a lot of football still to be played... don't miss out on it because you're sat at home watching TV instead.