Thursday, 14 April 2016

Shaw Lane Aquaforce 2 v Handsworth Parramore 1 - Sheff & Hallam Senior Cup Semi Final

Thursday 14th April 2016
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Semi Final
at Shaw Lane, Barnsley
Shaw Lane Aquaforce (2) 2
Adam Priestly 19 (pen), Peter Davidson 43
Handsworth Parramore (0) 1
Kieran Wells 87
Admission £5. Programme 50p. Attendance 147
Shaw Lane Aquaforce:
Tom Morgan, Gary Stohrer, Luke O'Brien, Steve Istead (C), Oscar Radford, Matt Dempsey, Jonathan Wafula, Reece Hands, Marcus Edwards, Alex Davidson, Adam Priestley
Subs 12) Matt Thornhill 14) Rhys Meynell
Handsworth Parramore:
Andrew Sneath, Billy Wright, Richard Tootle, Colin Marrison, Will Eades, Gareth Griffiths, Ryan Lee, 
Stephen Warne (Simon Harrison 54), Jon Froggatt (Harry Groombridge 73), Alex Rippon, Danny Buttle
Unused subs - 15) Luke Fletcher 16) Tyler Bates
Shaw Lane Aquaforce will probably be called Barnsley Town FC next season, unless they decide upon something else in the mean time, due to a Northern Premier League ruling about teams not having benefactor company names in their official club title.
Which makes me wonder if the team who were originally called Parramore Sports; who merged with Handsworth JFC to great effect a couple of years ago, will have to change the last part of their name when/if they reach the promised land too.
I'd hope not, but these kind of things seem to be set in stone, even if the FA and Football League can sanction names like the Budweiser FA Cup, the Barclays Premier League, the SkyBet Football League, the Carling Cup... and even the Evo-Stik League, among others, for their own competitions #JustSaying
In their infinite wisdom the powers that be had also insisted that title chasing 'Aquaforce' had to fit this game in the night after they had played Goole AFC on the same pitch, in a league fixture that finished 3-3, after the Ducks had been leading 3-1.
However, they still managed to field a fairly strong looking side, while the visitors included a good mix of first team players and lads from their all conquering Under 19 set up, who coped admirably against a side who are currently sitting in second place in the Evo-Stik First Division South.
The Ambers are smack bang in the middle of a fixtures backlog too, playing four games over six days, including a League Cup tie v Cleethorpes Town this coming Monday, a repeat of last season's epic final, which will be the Owls third visit to the Windsor Food Service Stadium this season, having already made the journey in both the NCEL Premier League and FA Vase.
Handsworth have a well won reputation for never giving up on even the most well hidden of lost causes... late comebacks and overturning the odds have become something of a specialty for this never say die team.
Alas as they went into the break two goals down to another go ahead and progressive side, they had left themselves just that fraction too much to do after the interval, to get back into the game and claim a place in the Bramall Lane showpiece final, against the Evo-Stik Premier League form club: Frickley Athletic, who had several interested parties in attendance tonight running the rule over both of their potential opponents.
The opening ten minutes saw both sides battling to make an opening, without creating any actual clear cut chances, with defences looking solid, including the youngsters from Handsworth who have been repaying the faith that Michael Godber and Mark Ward have been showing in them of late.
Matt Dempsey clattered into the back of Alex Rippon as he strode towards the Shaw Lane goal. The audible 'twock!' of the home side's centre defenders studs against the back of Rippon's boot and the fact that he went to ground when he was in a good position to open the scoring, sort of suggest that the referee had missed a stonewall penalty offence as the Ducks cleared their lines and the game went on, while Rippon picked himself up and visibly struggled for the next twenty minutes ort so as he tried to run his knock off. Well, he hadn't kicked himself, had he Mr Akers?
But sometimes one just has to accept that the match officials can be unsighted and don't see everything in and around crowded goalmouths. **it happens!
Ryan Lee pumped a free kick towards the Aquaforce area, but Craig Elliott's side cleared their lines and tried to mount a counter attack, which was nipped in the bud by a timely interception by Will Eades.
Billy Wright broke down the right wing and crossed towards Rippon and Jon Froggatt, but Tom Morgan charged off his line and caught the ball before either of them could do any damage.
That's a lovely smile you've got there 'our John'
Within moments Wright was back again and this time he delivered a perfect cross for Froggatt who nodded the ball past the post from close range.
"He's not good enough for this level" growled somebody with a thick Barnsley accent; "Aye lad, dem der thotty five t'goals he's gorrin so far, t'back up yon words of t'wisdom... tha knows!" At which point Jud Casper stomped off home to murder their Billy's pet Kestrel, happen.
Reece Hands slipped a great measured through ball into the Ambers area for Marcus Edwards to run onto, but in spite of three Parramore defenders playing him onside, the assistants flag went up and the visitors could breathe a sigh of relief.
Y'see when all is said and done, these kind of things really do balance each other out after all.
Jonathan Wafula delivered a dangerous ball into the mix from out on the right and as the Parras tried clearing the danger, the referee spotted and infringement and blew up for a penalty... and Adam Priestly put Shaw Lane ahead with their first shot on target.
Handsworth were nearly back on level terms straight away, when Eades got them moving with a lengthy pass to Froggatt, who laid it off to Buttle and continued his run for the pacey winger to pick him out with a precision cross, which he rolled into the path of Rippon who was unlucky to see his first time shot fly inches over the bar.
Steve Warne was making a real fist of linking up play between the Ambers defence and forwards, in his pivotal role, that often gets overlooked while he seldom gets the credit he deserves.
The home side knew that they needed at least another goal and the visitors defence were on the back foot and soaking up a sustained spell of pressure for a while... and in the middle of it all, 'Archie' Sneath tipped the ball away from under his bar and was then forced to run from his line and claim the ball at the feet of Edwards as Shaw Lane knocked the loose ball back into the danger zone.
Having survived a scare or two, the Ambers (Reds) countered and as Rippon, Froggatt and Buttle caused chaos in the home sides defence, there was another loud call for a penalty, but once again, Aquaforce were lucky that the 'alleged' perpetration had occurred in the referee's apparent blind spot again.
"Bloody hell! I hope this referee isn't driving home", called out somebody who has no official attachment to either team whatsoever.
Buttle delivered another pinpoint corner, from which Froggatt looked odds on to score but his header was cleared off the line, in a 'Maltbyesque' fashion.
Wafula broke forward at pace, but Eades kept up with him (no mean feat) and intercepted the ball, before rolling a pass back for Sneath to launch a clearance high into the chilly Barnsley night sky.
With half time fast approaching, the Ducks claimed a second goal when their penalty taker Priestley, nudged an excellent pass into the path of Peter Davidson who had time his sprinted run to perfection and wasn't going to miss from there.
Traditionally, just before half time is cited as a psychologically perfect time to go two goals in front, but I actually prefer going two up just before the final whistle... but either way, it was a blow for the visitors, who had spurned several good chances, while Shaw Lane, although having created a good few chances themselves, had scored with the only two efforts they had got on target in the opening half.
HT: Home 2 v Away 0
It was good to see Richard 'Toots' Tootle back in a Parramore shirt tonight and he made a big contribution to the game out on the left wing from his full back berth tonight.
The referee punished 'Aquaforce' when he ruled that Morgan had handled the ball from a back pass.
Never let it be said that I'm biased with my match coverage, because even though I wanted to see the Ambers get through to the final against one of my favourite teams in the whole world, if they had scored from this free kick it would've been a travesty for justice as whatever the debating points of several other tenuous decisions made by the officials tonight, the awarding of a free kick was completely wrong with this one.
Buttle rolled the free kick to Tootle who crashed the ball over the bar from close range. Maybe he was merely concerned that he was about to benefit from an unfair advantage and his fair play ethics got the better of him.
Handsworth had to switch things round if they were going to get back into this game and all three substitutes had obviously been briefed to keep the tempo high in the Saw Lane half.
While the home side packed their defence out to keep Parramore at bay, Godber's side were always going to be vulnerable to counter attacks, so he had to get the balance right.
And sure enough, Wafula used his pace to good effect and the Ambers had a massive let off, when he lobbed a shot against the upright.
You could tell it just wasn't going to be Handsworth's night, when Simon Harrison picked out Froggatt inside a crowded goalmouth with a deft free kick, but he headed over.
Priestley tried to put the game to bed, but saw his stinging shot deflected wide, before Sneath was tested by Hands, but held on well to his shot.
Kieran Wells and Harry Groombridge were both frustrated as Shaw Lane closed ranks and blocked shots from both of them and Morgan did well to change his footing as a shot from Groombridge hit Rippon and changed direction.
With three minutes of the ninety remaining, Handsworth were chucking everything they had at their Evo-Stik League opponents and Rippon flicked the ball on to Wells in the area and he set up a grandstand finish by firmly planting the ball past Morgan to make it 2-1.
Sadly for the 'comeback kings' tonight's late, late show, didn't have a final twist to it, where they could force the game into extra time... and 'Barnsley Town' held on for a narrow win.
In the final analysis, Aquaforce had been clinical in front of goal when it mattered, whereas Handsworth hadn't put several gilt edged chances away... and despite finishing the game in the ascendancy, the Shaw Lane defence had shown why they are competiting at a higher level of football these days.
FT: Shaw Lane Aquaforce 2 v Handsworth Parramore 1