Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Maltby Main 0 v Brigg Town 0 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 16th March 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Muglet Lane
Maltby Main (0) 0
Brigg Town (0) 0
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 73
+ a dozen or so noisy teenage lads who bunked in over a wall
Maltby have the only one legged player in the NCEL
Maltby Main:
Jamie Bailey, Danny Reilly, Gary Hibbert, Dan Swailes, Joe Austin, Nicky Darker, Jordan Poole, Josh Nodder, Lewis Bemrose, Steve Hopewell, Sam Forster
Subs - John Ballington, Conner White, Josh Hemingway, Joe Davies
Brigg Town:
Dale Coy, Ollie Fisher, Scott Matthews, Tony Bowsley (C), Scott Hellewell, Jake Thompson, Fin Kelly, Lewis Dennington, Paul Grimes, Luke Anderson, Elliott Broughton
Subs - Nathan Smith, Rob Watson, Josh Parker, Amadou Jarra, Matt Graves
What's not to love about an icy cold night in Maltby, with a hostile crowd venting their spleen at the match officials and both teams knocking great big lumps out of each other all over the pitch?
To think, some people stayed at home to watch the Champions League on TV instead of turning out for this pulsating spectacle, that encompassed 90 minutes of non stop action, encompassing a few fleeting moments, when an actual game of football broke out.
I've earned the majority of my livelihood in either Maltby or Brigg of late, repairing vandalism and replacing stolen cable in one and maintaining olde world railway infrastructure in the other (you work it out) and as a consequence of spending so much time in and around these two towns, I am on first name terms with a good number of the diehards who put the time in to work for and support these two fine old clubs. Their efforts are a perpetually thankless task and I have nothing but the utmost respect for both camps.
These two teams have players who are capable of putting their foot on the ball and dictating play in a calm and controlled manner, like Josh Nodder, Jordan Poole and Sam Forster of Maltby and Scott Hellewell, Luke Anderson and Elliott Broughton in the visitors ranks, but if any of them were to dwell too long in possession tonight, they would probably have been risking life and limb, as some man sized tackles flew in from all directions.
The Zebras joint player manager Paul Grimes crashed the ball narrowly over Jamie Bailey's crossbar inside the opening minute. Brigg need to get a few points on the board ASAP to keep themselves out of the bottom three, because they are only three points ahead of 20th placed Armthorpe Welfare, who have four games in hand over 'the oldest club in Lincolnshire'.
Moments later Maltby stormed forward and Brigg's other joint player manager Scott Hellewell thwarted Steve Hopewell with a well timed tackle, from which the visitors picked up their momentum again and Luke Anderson picked up a long clearance and shot over the bar.
Elliott Broughton dribbled across the front of Maltby's penalty area and made himself room to have a shot, but it was well off target and the ball possibly finally came down in one of the allotments on the other side of the road to Maltby's ground.
Luke Anderson tried his luck from twenty yards and the visitors won a corner as his effort took a deflection.
Scott Matthews delivered a great ball into the area and Jake Thompson showed why he is a defender as he put a free header wide of the right hand upright.
Nicky Darker, Steve Hopewell and Sam Forster, linked up with a great passing move straight through Brigg's midfield, but the visitors got the ball away again.
Grimes was upended by Darker, 25 yards from goal and took the free kick himself, which the unfortunate Danny Reilly blocked when the ball hit him full on in the face.
The Zebras pushed forward again and came close to breaking the deadline through Broughton, but Bailey pulled off a great save to tip the ball over.
Right on the stroke of half time, Dale Coy got down to push Reilly's low shot round the post.
AS the teams went in for half time, the general consensus of opinion was that it was unlikely that this game would finish either goalless or eleven aside. Err... but it did, on both counts.
HT: Miners t'nowt v Zebras nil
Right at the start of the second half, Lewis Bemrose missed a great chance to put the home side in front.
Anderson was fouled as Brigg pushed forwards, but the ref allowed the advantage to be played and Tony Bowsley ran on but put the ball over.
The referee wasn't endearing himself to the visiting fans, or the Muglet Lane loyals it must be said, but I didn't envy him one bit tonight, as this game became a 'proper feisty' encounter.
At one point, even one of Brigg's coaching staff took a kick at Reilly as he was preparing to take a throw in, in retaliation to the 'vigorous' way the Maltby full back had gone about retrieving the ball from the visitors technical area.
Maltby mounted an attack through Josh Nodder but Brigg cleared their lines, before Coy plucked Hopewell's left wing corner out of the air in an overcrowded six yard box.
As the ball pinged about the middle of the park and the fair but (borderline) fair challenges mounted up, a universal cheer filled the air, as the referee Steve Abbott lost his footing and fell to the ground.
He must've been really glad to see the back of this game tonight.
Scott Mason, Abbott's assistant, running the line in front of the terracing, was getting verbally crucified. I hope he didn't take it personally though, because I've seen how 'warm and welcoming' that lot are when every single decision is going their way. Personally I enjoy the atmosphere they create, but I'm probably a bit rougher around the edges than young Scott.
Bowsley swung a cross into Maltby's area, that Lewis Dennington connected with, but could only aim straight at Bailey, who gathered the ball with ease and released it quickly to send Maltby forward on the counter attack, from which Coy bravely went in at Forsters feet to preserve a hard won point for his side.
The fresh legged Maltby subs Connor White and Josh Hemingway combined to open up the visitors defence in stoppage time and forced a corner out on the right, which Nodder took quickly to Joe Austin, but the ball skimmed off of the Maltby defenders head and that was that... game over, honours even.
A physical, high tempo game came to an end and both sides had to settle for a point apiece, while the officials ran off to have a good cry in a quiet corner. They had certainly earned their fee tonight.
It wasn't ever likely to be el Classico, but I thoroughly enjoyed tonight's rough and tumble, no holds barred contest.
I wonder if my idea of abandoning the pre-match handshake ritual and making it a post match mark of mutal respect instead, would ever catch on?
FT: Maltby Main 0 v Brigg Town 0
Thanks to Maltby's secretary John Mills and Tim Harris from Brigg (two fine men, if ever there was) for the team details tonight... good luck to you both for the remainder of the season.