Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bottesford Town 1 v AFC Emley 1 - Bottesford won 4-3 on penalties - NCEL Div 1 Play Off Final

Saturday 30th April 2016
Toolstation NCEL Division 1 Play Off Final
Bottesford Town (0) 1
Terry Barwick 90+ Pen
AFC Emley (0) 1
Michael Tunnacliffe 74
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 280
Full time 1-1. AET 1-1. Bottesford won 4-3 on penalties
Bottesford Town:
Leigh Herrick, Danny Gibbons, Steve Ridley, Lee Ridley (C), Tom Johnson, Terry Barwick, Tom Spall, Martin Pembleton, Danny Boulton, Josh Nichol, Wayne Graves
Subs - Craig Bridge, Aaron Busby, Ollie Donald, Ryan Short, Luke Robinson
AFC Emley
Paul Day, Iwan Heeley, Jordan Coduri, Robbie Graham, Sam Jerome, Tom Brennan, Michael Tunnacliffe (C), Jordan Townend, Ash Flynn, Kieran Ryan, Ruben Jerome
Subs - Dominic Noteman, Alex Slack, Craig Billington, Alex Hallam, Paul Sykes
Leigh Herrick, Bottesford's experienced goalkeeper, bid farewell to his playing career today and signed off in style, turning Sam Jerome's spot kick away, to claim a 4-3 victory for his side in the penalty shoot out that determined which of these sides would be promoted to the NCEL Premier Division.
Personally I think it's great that Leigh went out with a bang, while recognising the fact that AFC Emley were desperately unlucky not to have won this winner takes all, end of season lottery, in normal time.
Tom Brennan was the visitors man of the match, in the centre of their defence, where he didn't miss a header all afternoon and prowled his domain authoritatively with a single minded "they shalt not pass" determination that marked him out above all others.
It was ironic that it was Brennan who conceded the injury time penalty, when he tripped Wayne Greaves whilst trying to clear what must surely have been the Poachers last throw of the dice, that let the home side back into the game, when, if the Pewits hadn't been guilty of some spectacularly profligate finishing and Herrick hadn't been so determined to give his side a massive parting gift, the game should've been over as a contest, long before the visitors captain Mike Tunnacliffe had headed home the opening goal on 74 minutes.
But deep into stoppage time, Terry Barwick made light work of dealing with the pressure he must surely have been under and drilled the ball past Paul Day to set up an 30 minutes of play, which in the event, still wasn't long enough to separate these two promotion hopefuls and the shoot out was required.
Obviously, Leigh Herrick is the obvious choice as Bottesford's man of the match, although the referee, Martin Chester (from Lincolnshire) probably ran the Poachers custodian close to nicking that particular accolade on a number of occasions.
Everybody makes mistakes... and though their is no doubt that Mr Chester was guilty of several complete howlers over the course of the game, the eventual losers wouldn't have needed to claim that the decisions that went against them cost them the game, if the league's top scorer, Ash Flynn, with 73 (seventy three) goals to his name this season, prior to today, hadn't completely fluffed his lines several times, when it was his turn to call the shots.
He'll be back stronger for the experience next season, as will his team. I'm sure that Darren Hepworth's plans for another tilt at the title are already at a very advanced stage in preparation for next term. I wouldn't bet against them.
Flynn had an off day in the Pewits biggest game of the season... mind you I would imagine that it requires a lot of effort to project a sphere into the top corner of the goal, when you are stood just inside the area with your back to it, while two opposition players are simultaneously kicking your legs from under you and grappling with your upper torso.
But hey! The referee was better placed than me to make a decision as regards that particular episode, even if his reading of the incident was unique compared to everyone else in the grounds take on things.
And let's not forget, although the referee is a resident of Lincolshire, both of his assistants are Yorkshireman, not that I am doubting anybody's complete neutrality at this this juncture you understand.
Leastways, you can't blame the officials for everything I did count four separate occasions, when (in chronological order) Jordan Coduri, Kieran Ryan, Michael Tunnacliffe and Ruben Jerome all drilled the ball across the face of the Bottesford goal, that all only needed to faintest of touches from the Pewits number 9 to increase their goal tally, but despite Flynn having made all of the right runs, he failed to get any purchase on any of them, if indeed he managed to touch the ball at all. But, let's be serious here for a moment, he probably knew that Herrick was always more likely to come out on top anyway.
Terry Barwick makes it 1-1 in the ninety somethingth minute
Mr Craggs of the parish of Mansfield said to me as I was giving him a running commentary of the notes I was jotting down, "Are you doing a match report or writing a testimonial brochure for the Poachers goalkeeper?"
They are welcome to borrow my fan boy scrap book in the occurrence of such an event, as long as I get it back.
After two plus hours of open play and thirteen previous spot kicks had failed to find a winner between these two sides, somebody had to step up to the mantle and claim the day for his team... and to that end Leigh Herrick underlined, with a thick red marking pen, why I had every faith in him to go out on a high this afternoon.
FT: 1-1 Bottesford Town win on penalties
Game over courtesy of Lee Herrick
No doubt there will be far more detailed accounts of today's events elsewhere, given how many proper scribes, bloggers, reporters and real photographers were present, with their fancy equipment, apps, laptops and stonking great big phallically bulging camera lens' to utilise.
This is my humble and truncated guide to what went on, detailing the input (or lack of it) of the pivotal characters.
 No offence intended or 'owt, some people will know they could have done better and will be relishing the opportunity to put matters right after the summer.
Well done and good luck in the NCEL Premier Division next season Bottesford Town.
Commiserations to AFC Emley, you deserved to win the game over the course of 90 minutes, let this be a springboard for next season now.
And last but not least, best wishes with your post football playing life Leigh Herrick, you're going to miss it like hell pal and the local non league circuit is going to miss your massive presence too, even if, right now, AFC Emley must be wishing you'd retired in the week leading up to the play offs.