Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Senior Cup Quarter Final
at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium
Handsworth Parramore (2) 4
Kieran Wells 10, 26, 54, 61
Worksop Town (1) 2
Kyle Jordan 9, 81
Admission £5. Programme £1.50
During the 24 hour period leading up to the match, I conducted a Twitter poll asking who people thought would win this game.
As it was my feed, I wasn't allowed to vote, but my spouse voted for the Tigers.
I certainly wouldn't have done.
For the record, the poll result was: Votes cast = 61. Amber Parras to win 61% v Worksop Town to win 39%.
Usually, you could write everything 'our lass' knows about football on the back of a box of Swan Vestas, though to be fair to the "Blonde Beelzebub" that's probably slightly more than my sum total of acquired knowledge on the subject and I write a blog that is loosely based on 'stuff' about the game.
Tonight however, 'our lass' was definitely wrong, as the Amber Parras moved on to the semi final, by virtue of a convincing win... that is to say, the two goal margin was didn't really reflect the balance of play, or illustrate how superior the home side had actually been, on a night when Worksop Town were played off the park and had their back doors royally bashed in by a rampant Kieran Wells.
Traditionally county cup competitions haven't appealed to a lot of fans, until it gets to the final, but given the Tigers recent blip in league form, this trinket was possibly all they had left to play for this season.
Of course, you could also work on the assumption, that some Worksop Town fans were using the theory, that if the not all of the players are intent on showing up, so to speak, then why should they bother? There were certainly several players out on the pitch tonight sharing a cloak of invisibility.
Of course, maybe common sense played a part in the lower than expected attendance figure too. You'd have to be barking mad to go outdoors when it is raining absolute stair rods.
About 15 minutes into the game, my ever attentive better half turned to me and said: "How long has Jon Kennedy played in goal for Parramore?"
Because she thought that Worksop were wearing amber and black.
And you wonder why I go out most nights, even when the weather has been foul and leave her at home. Mind you, that wasn't quite as bad a 'misunderstanding' as the time we were at Heart of Midlothian's Tynecastle ground and she saw a poster advertising a forthcoming international match between Scotland and New Zealand and asked me if it was a Euro Championship qualifier. Surely everybody knows that Scotland isn't even in Europe!
I think you get the gist of what I have to put up with.
|Many thanks to Steve Holmes for the team details and the PA welcome ;-)|
James Cottingham was penalised for a rash challenge on the halfway line and Gareth Griffiths headed Richard Adam's long free kick into the Tigers goalmouth just over the bar.
Danny Buttle was a whisker away from getting the final touch as Wells powered past Kieran Fenton and whipped the ball across the face of Kennedy's goal from the right flank.
But then, ever so slightly against the run of play, Worksop took the lead from their first proper attack on 9 minutes, when Adam Ward nudged a measured through ball into the path of Kyle Jordan, who planted the ball past 'Archie' Sneath from 10 yards out.
But the home side were on level terms within a minute, as they powered forward from the restart and Griffiths unleashed Wells with a defence splitting pass as he made a darting run in behind the visitors back four and direct the ball past Kennedy and effectively took centre stage for the remainder of the game from then on in.
Handsworth had three attempts at forcing Buttle's right wing corner into the Worksop net, before Griffiths headed narrowly wide of the post. Luke Fletcher, playing just off Wells, lobbed the ball into the obviously fired up and raring to go striker, but his shot deflected wide of the upright.
Buttle's corner had a lot of back spin on it and Kennedy did well to clear the ball from under his crossbar.
Fletcher and Buttle were joined by Simon Harrison and Colin Marrison as Parramore passed the ball through the right channel, before Fletcher took a return pass and aimed a stinging shot just off target.
Handsworth were well on top, in spite of only being one goal in front, Alex Rippon and Steve Warne, along with Sam Denton were dominating the middle of the pitch and Worksop could consider themselves to be fortunate that the game wasn't already over as a contest by half time.
Last week I accidentally doubled up on my medication and was walking around Morrisons supermarket in East Retford, blissfully re-enacting the body language of 'freaky dancer' Bez out of the Happy Mondays in his heyday. Yep! I was stoned. As I looked out through the rain, I pondered whether if I popped a treble dose of pills, could I achieve the kind of meandering around aimlessly, floppy limbed detached from my surroundings demeanor that some of the Worksop players were demonstrating tonight. I don't want to take anything away from Micky Godber's side, because they thoroughly deserved to win by far more than a mere four goals to two, but the Tigers were bloody awful at times. If I was their manager I might have been tempted to actually sack some of then during the half time break, at the very least.
Wells put Lawrence Gorman under pressure, but instead of clearing the ball, the Tigers right back rolled it towards Kennedy with the Handsworth striker in pursuit. Gorman isn't the first Worksop player I've seen fannying around with the ball in his own last third this season and he won't be the last, it's fortunate that Kennedy is still so fit when it comes to dealing with these situations, but opposition teams are well aware of the Tigers tendency to litter dubious short passes around their own goal and will be primed to take advantage of the reoccurring weakness in their Armour. Just saying!
Jamie Hadfield needlessly pushed Wells in the back some forty yards from Kennedy's goal, possibly because it was the only chance he'd had to get near him all night and the home side won a corner from Denton's free kick.
Buttle dropped the ball into the six yard box from the flag kick and while Worksop collectively did their best "Don't panic Mr Mainwaring" Walmington-on-Sea home guard impression, Alex Rippon spanked the ball just wide of the upright.
On the stroke of half time Kennedy got down well to tip Denton's shot around the post.
HT: Landlords 2 v Tenants 0
Mark Shaw sent Andy Ofusu on at the break and the Tigers actually began to make some progress going forward. Handsworth put Ollie Grady on at the break and he very quickly established himself and made sure that Worksop knew he wasn't going to be a pushover, but he did receive a yellow card for his efforts.
Ward, Ofusu and Jordan were trying to step things up a notch, but the ASmbers were soon back on the attack and Denton's goal bound header was cleared around the post at the expense of a corner, and while Worksop resumed their slapstick routine on their own goal line, Wells was on hand to steer the ball home at the back post, a typical poachers goal, but Worksop need to have a serious look at themselves and ask how the ball was allowed to run through to the young man who was now joyously celebrating his hat trick in the first place.
Evidently some people have very short memories me thinks.
But a lone female voice responded: "I hope you kept that receipt for the silver polish"
Much as I will always have an affinity of sorts with Worksop Town, that stinging rebuke did make me chuckle.
Wells charged forward again, he was seriously unplayable tonight and don't just take my word for it, the Tigers manager was magnanimous to say virtually the same thing in the aftermath of this painful defeat.
But on this occasion, Wells slipped the ball wide to Buttle whose thumping 25 yard shot was well held by Kennedy.
The Tigers veteran keeper is looking very trim and fit this season, but that is no surprise given the amount of time he spends chasing around covering for defensive mistakes.
Rippon topped of a commanding performance as captain for the Ambers tonight, when he charged the ball down in midfield, took control and stroked it out to Wells who cut in from the right and netted his fourth on 61 minutes.
Handsworth had the game tied up now, but Worksop tried to save face with a couple of attacks through Ofusu and Ward, the former crashed an angled shot against the bar, while Sneath went down bravely to grab the ball from the latters feet.
Rupere dismantled the Tigers several times down the right flank as Wells spurned three quality chances, but I reckon he could just about be forgiven, for the way he'd led the line in the absence of Jon Froggatt and Ant Wilson tonight, while not forgetting what a great shift Luke Fletcher had put in until he was 'rested' in the 70th minute. It is worth noting that Wells didn't score again once Fletcher had gone, despite a couple of lung pusting runs to get on the end of Rupere's service.
Groombridge (he'll go far!) almost provided the goal hungry striker with a fifth, but the ball was cleared off the line.
Kyle Jordan pulled a goal back inside the final ten minutes following a great knock from Ofusu, but it was all over now bar the shouting and Micky Godber's side march on to the semi-final, where they will face either North Gawber Colliery or Shaw Lane Aquaforce.
FT: Handsworth Parramore 4 v Worksop Town 2
If truth be told, Worksop got off lightly tonight, this could and should have been a real drubbing.
It's back to NCEL action for both clubs at the weekend, when the Tigers are at Sandy Lane again on when Rainworth Miners Welfare come to town, while Handsworth are away at Albion Sports.
The Tigers still have 33 points left to play for, the Amber Parras 36. Bestest wishes to all of the NCEL clubs slugging who are it out for promotion, it's shaping up to be a truly great season.
And good luck to Handsworth Parramore in their forthcoming semi final.