Saturday, 12 March 2016

Parkgate 2 v Cleethorpes Town 1 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 12th March 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Roundwood Sports Complex
Parkgate (1) 2
Adam Johnson 7
Michael Cuckson 50
Cleethorpes Town (1) 1
Brody Robertson 15
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 58
Thanks to Bruce at Parkgate and Matt from Cleethorpes Town for the team line up details.
Josh Lill, Ollie Yates, Tafadzwa Mumbanya, Craig Laight, Reece Wesley (C), Sam Foulds, Michael Cuckson, Ross Shelton, Josh Moore, Adam Johnson, Ben Thornton
Subs - Jake Ashton, Jake Sawyer, Hayden Barnett, Brodie Cooper, Alex Lill
Cleethorpes Town:
Miles Fenty, Tim Lowe, Peter Winn, Liam Dickens, Kieran Wressell, Laurence McKay, Luke Mascall, Alex Flett (C), Marc Cooper, Brody Robertson, John Oglesby
Subs - Louis Grant, Jack Richardson, Reece Newell
Less than 48 hours ago, I saw Chris Ward refereeing Harworth Colliery's Under 19 match.
He must think I'm stalking him, because Mr Ward was the first person I bumped into at Parkgate, along with the same match official's assessor that I had sat with to watch Thursday night's game.
It is always a pleasure to see that there is a competent person in charge of any game I turn up at and Chris Ward definitely ticks all of the boxes to that end.
It would be a massive understatement to say that I have seen Cleethorpes Town play much better than they did this afternoon, but by the same token, what a great shift Parkgate put in, to deservedly claim their victory.
Credit where it is due, the home side fought for every ball and made the Owls look like a very ordinary side.
Tactically, Steve Adams, the Steelmen's manager got things spot on, as his team played to their own strengths and nullified the Owls usually reliable chain of supply to their front men.
With Brigg Town, Nostell Miners Welfare and Pontefract Collieries all picking up a point apiece at the relegation scrap end of the table, this was a vital win for Parkgate, but the result has also put the skids on the
visitors aspirations for the season, where the battle for the one and only promotion place is now virtually becoming a two horse race, between Tadcaster Albion and Handsworth Parramore, the latter of whom have been bolstering their squad at a steady rate over the past week, with a view to making a real fist of their final push.
Tadcaster have a home game against Clipstone on Tuesday night, while Handsworth travel to Inkersall Road 24 hours later, to face a Staveley side who are on course to finish in the highest NCEL position in their entire club history, if they can turn their games in hand into points.
Parkgate kicked off, but the visitors were the first to put an attack together, when Alex Flett shot wide from outside the penalty area.
But it soon became apparent, that although the Owls were probably favourites to win this particular fixture, the Parkgate players were ignoring the odds and were completely unfazed by their visitors formidable reputation and they were soon pushing forward themselves, when Joe Thornton muscled through the right channel but couldn't keep his shot down.
Miles Fenty held on to Thornton's cross to Adam Johnson (no, not that one), and Laurence McKay had to head Ross Shelton's cross behind at the expense of a corner to clear his lines.
Shelton took the flag kick which the Owls could only clear as far as Johnson just outside the area, and though Fenty got his finger tips to the Parkgate number 10's shot, he couldn't keep it out and Steve Adams side were in front.
Reece Wesley and Sam Foulds looked very solid in the middle of Parkgate's defence and their left back Tafadzwa Mumbanya pursued Luke Mascall with the kind of vigour and close attention you'd only normally get from a horny dog who's taken a shine to your leg.
When Mascall is getting the rub of the green he can tear most defences in this league to bits, but Mumbanya was all over him like a rash and didn't allow the Owls play maker room to create very much in the way of clear cut chances.
Peter Winn, so often the engine room of the Cleethorpes team, threaded a pass through to Brody Robertson, who tangled with Josh Lill and went to ground as his effort on goal deflected wide off the Parkgate keeper.
There were appeals for a spot kick, but the referee saw nothing wrong in Lill's challenge and judged that iot was just a case of two players coming together.
John Oglesby picked out Kieran Wressell with his corner ball, but the Owls centre half headed over from close range.
Brody Robertson, realising that service was going to be at a premium today, took matters into his own hands and muscled into the right hand side of the 18 yard box before placing an angled finish past Lill, to claim his 27th goal of the season.
Johnson thought he'd put the home side back in front as he swept the ball past Fenty, but he had wandered a fraction offside before connecting with the ball.
The visitors went in search of a second goal but found that the uncompromising Parkgate defence were taking no prisoners today.
The Steelmen came close to regaining the lead when Craig Laight headed Shelton's left wing corner just wide.
Both sides were committed to going for goal, but as Chris Ward sounded his whistle for half time, they were still level pegging.
HT: Steelmen 1 v Owls 1
Michael Cuckson was playing well for Parkgate, linking the midfield with attack, he nudged the ball wide to Shelton (another man of the match contender) whose cross was headed wide by Josh Moore.
Cleethorpes tried to pass their way through Parkgate's backline and had five different players involved as the mounted a goal bound raid, but Wesley dispossessed Robertson and put his foot through the ball to pump it away over the horizon.
Johnson broke through into the Owls area, but McKay took the ball off his toe before slipping and misplacing an attempted pass into the path of Michael Cuckson who slammed the ball past Fenty.
At half time, a pragmatic realist of the Parkgate persuasion had said: "We've given 'em a good game for forty five minutes, they probably get six when they come back out!"
Ye of little faith!
Shelton and Thornton combined well and set up a shooting opportunity for Sam Foulds, who showed why he plays in defence with a 'slightly' over-hit effort from 20 yards.
Thornton had a shot deflected wide as Cleethorpes continued to live dangerously, but the visitors came back off the ropes and having taken a standing count went forward on a salvage mission, because not only was the clock ticking down in this game, their whole efforts for the season thus far were now in the balance.
Oglesby picked out Cooper, but when Lill parried his shot into the path of the prolific Robertson, Wesley burst the stratosphere with a 'delicate' punt away from the danger zone.
As good old fashioned, no buggering about centre halves go, Wesley is a good old fashioned, no buggering about centre half; attributes that he evidently combines with being ball playing cultured team leader as well. He really impressed me today.
Robertson crossed to Cooper who stepped over the ball and allowed it to run to Oglesby, but the Owls number 11 spanked the ball off target.
Wesley and Foulds were relishing the scrap they were having to keep the visitors at bay and when Cooper found a way through, Lill saved well to turn the ball round the upright. Oglesby's resulting corner was cleared off the line.
Mumbanya still wasn't giving an inch to anyone who tried encroaching into the final third down his wing.
Cleethorpes did finish the game with a flurry but they couldn't find that decisive finish that would earn them a point. Louis Grant went down in the Parkgate area, but even his team mates didn't appeal for a penalty, so least said soonest mended and "gerrup!" me thinks.
Grant knocked the ball against the woodwork from Flett's free kick and then almost made a name for himself when he shot wide from 20 yards.
Peter Winn had the very last touch of the ball this afternoon, when his looping header dipped and bounced off the bar from Oglesby's corner... and Parkgate had held on for a win, and in all fairness it would've been a travesty if they hadn't done, given the amount of hard graft and effort they had put in.
FT: Parkgate 2 v Cleethorpes Town 1
I'm gutted for my pals from Cleethorpes Town, who have got to be one of the friendliest and welcoming non league clubs in the known universe, but you have to applaud Parkgate for their performance today; if they carry on playing like that they'll be well clear of the drop zone in no time at all.