Saturday, 2 April 2016

Clipstone 0 v Staveley MW 3 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 2nd April 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium
Clipstone (0) 0
Staveley Miners Welfare (1) 3
Admission £5. Programme £1.50.
Attendance 141
Referee: Darren Russell
Steve Hernandez, Liam Royles, Luke Randle, Liam Kay (Josh Dacre 45), Luke Stevens, Chris Fawcus, Ellis Wall, Andrew Fox, George Milner (Callum Littlejohn 28 (Matt Langley 68)), James Ashmore, Michael Trench
Unused subs - Joe Hodgkinson, Andy Francis
Staveley MW:
Chris Butt, Chris Baugh, Steve Carty, Ash Rawson, Matt Varley (C), Chaerlie Oglesby, Adam Scott (Jame Brown 57), Kurtis Morley, Dan Fletcher (Adam Lee 54), Kieran Watson, George Johnson
Unused subs - Courtney Hastings, Richard Mintoft, Alex Pugh
Over the course of this season there has been so much human trafficking going on between these two clubs, on all levels, that it must be difficult for some people to remember which changing room they are supposed to be using these days.
Players, backroom staff, managers and even a rogue chairman have been part of the to-ing and fro-ing.
One can only imagine that they all must be related, one way or another, by now, after such a sustained period of perpetual interaction.
Thankfully all of the animosity that had crept in between these two clubs at the end of last season, seems to have subsided, as people come to terms with some quite significant wholesale change; plus a few awkward adjustments that seemed to tip things over the edge for a while, and today was just all about the football, without even a whiff of politics in the air. Pretty much as it should be anywhere and everywhere at 3pm on any given Saturday afternoon.
Football is an all absorbing passion that borders on obsession for those who are involved in it, but when all is said and done, it really is only a game.
Jason Truscott took charge of the Clipstone team today, in Billy Fox's absence against his old club, who he had led to both promotion and an FA Vase semi final, in the days when Staveley had a decent sized budget to throw at chasing glory, before they changed tact and put the emphasis on more sensible housekeeping and a programme of sustained growth.
Both of today's teams are just about guaranteed a top half finish to the current season, without actually having kept in touch with the leading pack, but the foundations are in place for a tilt at bigger things next season.
The Cobras ambitious plans for ground development at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium are certainly a genuine cause for excitement.
I wouldn't have thought that even the most dyed in the wool and ardent of Clipstone supporters, would dispute that an away win was on the cards for the majority of this game.
Calling it a one sided affair would be something of an exaggeration, but Staveley definitely had the majority of the play and were good value for their win, with Matt Varley putting in an outstanding performance alongside young Charlie Oglesby in the middle of defence.
Luke Stevens put in a very accomplished display at the back for the home side, that earned him the vote as their man of the match, but Varley's virtually flawless afternoon alongside his teenage protege, was something of a masterclass.
The Trojans mounted the first real attack of the game, when the lively Adam Scott broke free down the right flank and delivered a telling cross, that Dan Fletcher couldn't make a meaningful contact with as he diverted his header wide of the left hand upright.
Scott took up the initiative again with another surging run forward, but Stevens put in a firm blocking tackle and Clipstone cleared their lines.
Ash Rawson picked up a loose ball a few yards from the Cobras area and shot on sight, but his effort crashed into the back of the stand.
Stevens was alert to the danger posed by Scott once again, when Chris Baugh tried to set the tricky winger in motion again, with a quickly taken throw in down the right touchline.
Kurt Morley and Kieren Watson exchanged passes as they homed in on Steve Hernandez's goal, but Luke Randle deflected Morley's shot over the bar.
Scott's initial corner kick was headed away to safety by Stevens, but his second one found Varley who was a lick of paint away from opening the scoring as his towering header narrowly cleared the bar.
Having sustained so much pressure, it was the home side who ironically came closest to breaking the deadlock, when Andrew Fox knocked the ball sideways to Michael Trench who sprinted in behind the left hand side of the Trojans defence, but rolled the ball just inches wide of the right hand upright, out of the reach of Chris Butt who had advanced from his line.
Butt was involved again when he had to deal with an angled shot from George Milner and moments later had to go down to save bravely at the feet of the same player, after a quick passing move between Randle and Trench had unlocked the Trojans defence again.
The referee's assistant kept his flag down, much to the dismay of the home crowd, as Fletcher ran forward into the Cobras goalmouth, but Hernandez saved the former Mansfield Town youth player's tame shot with ease.
Clipstone were dealt a blow, when their centre forward Milner had to leave the pitch with concussion having taken a hefty knock to his head.
Varley and Milner were challenging for the same bouncing ball and as the Trojans centre half tried to hook the ball away, Milner stooped in an attempt to head the ball down, it was all purely accidental and the visitors captain's foot wasn't unnecessarily high, as the ball crashed into the unfortunate Clipstone strikers face with the full impact of Varley's boot behind it.
Milner was clearly dazed and unable to carry on as he finally got back up onto his feet, to be led rather groggily back to the home changing room by Jason Truscott.
James Ashmore, trying to get Clipstone going from his engine room role in the middle of the park, stroked a pass wide to Randle whose deep cross almost found Ellis Wall, but Oglesby got a touch just in the nick of time and thwarted the Cobras number 7.
Randle, Fox and Callum Littlejohn, who had come on in place of Milner, combined well down the left wing but Chris Baugh got the ball away.
George Johnson teamed up with Baugh down the left wing and Liam Royles had little option but to bring the Trojans right back down to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. Steve Carty's free kick had plenty of power behind it, but the ball flew straight at Hernandez, who held onto it well.
Watson appeared to knock the ball forward with his arm as Staveley attacked once more, which wrong footed Chris Fawcus and forced him into a clumsy challenge.
The referee was unsighted and unmoved by the subsequent Clipstone protests, as Scott planted a free kick into the six yard box that Morley nudged towards the goal but Watson tapped over the line to give Staveley the lead.
Ashmore, Wall, Trench, Randle, Liam Kay, Fox and Wall again, moved through Staveley's half with a well worked string of passes, but when it came to the final ball, Wall scuffed his shot at his former team mate Butt.
The second half was only three minutes old when Johnson picked out Morley on the right hand edge of the goal area and he advanced forward a few steps before placing the ball past Hernandez to give the Derbyshire side a two goal cushion.
The very slight incline on the Lido Ground pitch had just become a very steep hill for the Cobras to climb.
From the restart Clipstone worked the ball back to Hernandez, who launched it into the Staveley half for Ellis Wall to flick on to Littlejohn, who was knocked off the ball inside the D on the edge of the area. Trench took the resulting free kick, but the cannoned off of the defensive wall and fell into Butt's waiting arms.
Play switched back the other way and Watson misplaced a header embarrassingly wide from Scott's cross.
Staveley's new signing from Retford United, Adam Lee entered the fray in place of Fletcher, who hadn't had the best of games if truth be told, in the 54th minute and was almost immediately on the score sheet, but the ball sat up in front of him from Scott's through ball and he could only knock it straight at Hernandez, who had an easy of save to make.
Lee, eager to make an impression, was presented with a half chance by Randle, who made a mess of clearing his lines and scuffed the ball towards the former Retford United fan's favourite, but the overworked Stevens made a saving tackle before Lee could get his shot away.
Scott advanced forward thirty yards from midfield, but came to an abrupt halt, when Fawcus unceremoniously dumped him on the ground, whilst not showing even a glimmer of fondness or sentiment towards his former club.
Scott brushed himself down and took the free kick himself, but he put too much power into his shot and over hit it.
The next goal would be vital and Staveley already have a bit of form for squandering leads this season, but as Ashmore swung a cross towards Stevens, Varley bossed the situation and nipped any hopes of a Cobras revival in the bud.
Littlejohn Crossed to Fox, who slipped the ball to Randle who had made a run on the overlap, but Ash Rawson was on hand to thwart Clipstone's attacking intentions this time.
Lee played the ball out wide to Scott and made a run into the box, Scott picked out Morley with a cross to the near post who laid the ball back into the path of Lee, who inexplicably scuffed the ball over the tree line behind the goal from just a few feet out.
Staveley's new signing was taking time to fit in with his recently acquired team mates, but he was making all the correct runs and getting into the right positions, he'll soon adapt.
Spurred on by their fortunate escape, Clipstone set about trying to get back into the game and as they broke from Hernandez's goal kick, Trench powered forward and made himself some space and shot just a fraction wide of Butt's goal from 18 yards. Sometimes the margins between victory and defeat can be so narrow, and Trench had now been literally only inches away from scoring twice now.
The Cobras picked up some momentum in the middle of the park again and Ashmore tested Butt from long distance, but the young Staveley keeper held the ball well.
With the clock ticking down, Lee's persistence paid off, when he closed Fawcus down and blocked his attempted clearance, before nicking the ball and advancing forward six yards before slotting the ball into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Hernandez.
Johnson picked out Lee inside a crowded goal mouth with a pin point pass and the 'new kid on the block' flicked the ball into the air to the right, then the left, before drilling a dipping shot narrowly over the bar. The earlier misses obviously hadn't affected his confidence.
With a three goal lead in the bag, Staveley were happy enough just to run the clock down now.
Clipstone could perhaps point to one or two key moments when crucial decisions hadn't gone their way, and count themselves unlucky that both Milner and subsequently Millington had to leave the pitch carrying accidental knocks that they picked up in the line of duty, but in the final analysis they wouldn't want to make excuses, so you'd just have to say in all honesty, nothing really fell into place for them for anything like a sustained period of time all afternoon, while Staveley were in the ascendancy on the day and they gelled better than their hosts under the leadership of Matt Varley, he exuded class today.
Steady girls! There's plenty to go round ;-)