Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Carlton Athletic 1 v Leeds City 3 - West Yorkshire League Premier Division

Tuesday 31st May 2016
West Yorkshire League Premier Division
at Carlton Cricket Club, Town Street, Carlton
Carlton Athletic (0) 1
Reece Fennel PEN 67
Leeds City (1) 3
Alex Houghton OG 35
Joe Dixon 57, 90+2
Attendance 48
West Yorkshire League, Premier Division, League Table HERE
My 206th and final game of the 2015-16 season, saw the West Yorkshire League runners up Carlton Athletic host fourth placed Leeds City, at their home ground on Town Street, which is tucked away in between Carlton Cricket Club and a field full of pigs, sheep and... err, lamas.
Something for all of the family then.
Carlton have won the West Yorkshire League Premier League title on seven occasions, most recently in 2007-08 (and they also finished second on goal difference in the 1998-99 season), while they won promotion back into the Premier League as Division One champions last season.
Leeds City were founded in 2006, reviving the name of the original club that ran from 1905-1919, who were also briefly relaunched for three years in 1924, when they competed in the Yorkshire League, before vanishing off of the football map altogether, until today's visiting side adopted their name.
The legendary Huddersfield Town and Arsenal manager (and former Worksop Town player) Herbert Chapman, who won two league championships and the FA Cup at both clubs, was involved with the prototype Leeds City.
But though his legacy from his time at Leeds Road and Highbury, lives on in many forms that are mainly taken for granted within the modern game; his reign at City ended under curious circumstances, when he suddenly resigned from his position around Christmas of 1918, sans any explanation, to take up employment at an oil and coke works, in the nearby Selby coalfield.
A year later, Leeds City were wound up, having fallen foul of league rules appertaining to their finances, whereby there had been a series of illegal payments made.
'The Herbert Chapman'
on Holloway Road, in North London.
We had dinner there just a few weeks ago.
The football club was dissolved, the players were auctioned off and the ground at Elland Road was taken over by a newly formed club: Leeds United, who still ply their trade there in the Football League Championship 'til this day.
Of course, United haven't always languished in the second tier of English football, but that is another story.
Herbert Chapman, along with the other Leeds City director,s was banned from football for life, before Huddersfield Town lodged a successful appeal against Chapman's ban, claiming that he was working in a factory during the wartime effort and had no knowledge of any fiscal wrongdoings.
Of course, the truth will always be shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Maybe old Herb was a bit of a crook on the quiet, but possibly he saw what other culpable parties were up to and wanted no part of the shenanigans and removed himself from the situation.
Herbert Chapman 
But long term, by hook or by crook, quite literally, it is fair to say, that Huddersfield Town and Arsenal's gain, was most certainly Leeds City's loss.
Attached is a link to a far more detailed history of what happened almost a century ago, which is infinitely better written than my truncated version of events. See HERE for details.
The current Leeds City were promoted from the West Yorkshire League Second Division as champions in the 2006–07 season, and then went up as First Division as runners-up in 2007–08.
They have finished as runners up in the West Yorkshire Premier Division three times now, namely in: 2008–09, 2012–13 and 2014–15
I did quite a bit of searching on line for a few more details about the history of Carlton Athletic, but all but drew a vainglorious blank.
However, this very pleasant gentleman pictured below, seemed chuffed to bits that we had a genuine interest in the club and was a mine of information as he gave myself and Mr Bacon from Nottingham a tour of the facilities upon our arrival.
Cheers Malcolm, your insight, hospitality and tales of yore were greatly appreciated.
We thank you for taking the time out and for making the effort to make us feel so welcome.
'Malc' played for the club when they were originally formed in 1953 and he knows pretty much everything there is to know about Carlton Athletic and he is justifiably proud of his involvement and long term connections with the Town Street club.
Of course, there used to be another club called Carlton Athletic, who spent four seasons playing in the Notts Alliance during the 1990's before folding, but I've already provided enough information for at least three very competitive and lengthy pub quizzes already today. So moving back to the present day, without any further ado... back to the present day.
To add a bit of an edge to this end of season finale (and there was certainly enough needle on display tonight to suggest that there is a genuine healthy rivalry between these two teams), Carlton beat City in the Leeds & District Cup Final last month and also knocked them out of the League Cup (after a penalty shoot out), a month prior to that.
While just two weeks ago, the sides shared ten goals at City's ground, as Athletic claimed a 4-6 away win. Most recently, Leeds lost their penultimate game of the season 1-5, at home against Field, while Carlton drew 4-4 (from being 4-1 ahead) at Beeston St. Anthony's at the weekend, in a game that saw the hosts named as West Yorkshire League champions.
It would be fair to say that given the 'current form' between these two teams, I definitely wasn't expecting a goalless draw tonight; although I was expecting the wet and chilly weather, which has become the norm for most of this season and has been only slightly less irritating than all of these Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy wannabes, donning their 'only gay in the village' fluorescent Lycra and clogging up all of the A and B roads in this green and pleasant land.
Carlton Athletic:
Alex Houghton, Danny Chadwick, Joe Sykes, Andy Payne, Tom Greaves, Craig Maynard, Joe O'Neill, Matt Jackson, Eli Hey, Reece Fennell, Ethan Heseltine
Subs - Luke Oldroyd, Scott Burns, Mark Connors, Sam Graham
Leeds City:
Ben Raper, Jamie Thompson, Charlie Lumley, Ben Tasker, Steve Tierney, Adam Dutson, Joe Dixon, Mitch Cameron, Jamie Instone, Alex Miller,  James Hochstrasser
Subs - Mitchell Pattison, Sean Fitzpatrick, Andy Crossland, Luke Norman, Matt Johnson,
With both teams sporting their away colours, Carlton kicked off with the rain lashing down and a stiff breeze howling across the pitch from the exposed cricket field side of the ground... and when I say stiff, I mean a full on triple Viagra strength erection, though it did stop raining after the first twenty minutes or so.
This competitive game did descend into a bit of a stop/start affair at times, punctuated by the frequency of the match referee Steve Lynch's whistle, but if I recall correctly he didn't issue a single caution tonight, though one or two of the players could probably consider themselves fortunate in that respect.
The home side almost took the lead inside the opening ten minutes, when Reece Fennell exchanged passes with Joe O'Neill before crashing the ball against the upright and when Eli Hey got to the rebound, Ben Raper thwarted the Carlton centre forward with a save from close range.
Alex Miller launched a dangerous looking cross into the Carlton area, that gave Tom Greaves no option but to put behind his own goal at the expense of a corner.
Matt Jackson took the right wing flag kick but Andy Payne headed the ball clear and Athletic attacked again.
Danny Chadwick picked out Matt Jackson whose bicycle kick was on target, but Raper saved to prevent a quite spectacular goal.
Ethan Heseltine struck a free kick straight into the Carlton defensive wall from 25 yards out and play switched quickly to the other end again and the home side spurned two more chances as Fennell launched a shot over the bar and Jackson edged the ball past the upright after muscling his way past two challenges.
Greaves teams up well with his sidekick Craig Maynard in defence and he demonstrated why he was wearing the captains armband for Carlton, as he put himself in front of two thumping shots from Jamie Instone. 
Alas from the second block, Joe Dixon delivered an in swinging corner that Alex Houghton in the Carlton goal made a real mess of handling as he fumbled the ball over the line at the back stick. Houghton hadn't put a foot wrong up to that point and no doubt the elements had combined with O'Neill who had used the wind to his full advantage, but they all count and the visitors were in front after 35 minutes.
The goal added a bit of a spring to the visitors step, but there were no more goals before the interval although Greaves had to show his mettle once again, when he cleared Mitch Cameron's corner towards Miller.
HT: Carlton Athletic 0 v Leeds City 1
Carlton came out after the break looking to force an equaliser, But City were in a determined mood and on a mission to avenge their three previous defeats against the home side this season. Instone intercepted Hey's cross to Fennell and Raper gathered a flick on by Heseltine under his bar... and the Leeds keeper was soon in action again denying Ely as he looked odds on to score.
but in spite of having to absorb a spell of pressure from the home side, Leeds found their rhythm again and doubled their lead in the 58th minute, when they forced two corners in quick succession and the second one was only cleared as far as Dixon, who spanked home a crisp volley from 20 yards out.
The first goal he had played a part in was a scrappy affair, but that one was an emphatic finish.
Miller broke into the Carlton area and Houghton did well to keep his shot out.
The Carlton keeper's kick opened up another fruitless attack for his side when Fennell was crowded out on the edge of the visitors area.
Ely picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, advanced a couple of paces and seeing a crowded goalmouth ahead of him, opted to try his luck with a dipping shot, but he cleared the crossbar.
But in the 67th minute, Ely played his part in what proved to be Carlton's only goal of the night, when Adam Dutson tripped him from behind, inside the penalty area and Fennell scored from the resulting penalty, although Raper almost kept it out as he got down to his left.
Carlton piled forward, looking to salvage the game, but by committing men forward they had left Houghton exposed and he had to dash thirty yards from his line to clear a long pass into the path of Dixon, he launched the ball so far into Leeds half that Raper caught it in his six yard box.
O'Neill delivered a right wing cross that bounced up unkindly off of the wet pitch in front of a cluster of Carlton players to the left hand side of the goalmouth and another chance went begging..
Carlton were at full stretch once again, when Miller threaded a pass through to James Hochstrasser who knocked the ball sideways to Cameron, but he turned his shot over the bar.
Hey was a whisker away from pulling the home side level, when he crashed the ball just past the top right hand corner of the goal from Fennell's knock.
Football is a contact sport, but by heck there were a few crunching and feisty tackles flying in from both sides now.
O'Neill was obstructed/body checked/shoulder charged by Instone as he broke in from the right wing, prompting some fairly vociferous penalty appeals by a Carlton club official, watching the game from up on the changing room balcony (I'm quite sure that anybody present will know who I mean), who had quite a lot to say in a 'tongue in cheek banter' manner, throughout the night.
"a few crunching and feisty tackles"
Football needs it's unique and unconventional characters and there are certainly a few of them doing the rounds in this league... and I mean that with the greatest of respect.
Either way, the foul was committed just outside the area and Charles Lumley was on hand to head Chadwick's free kick away.
In the closing minutes, Raper preserved City's lead with a magnificent double save, as his defence came close to breaking point and having turned the ball round his post, he also punched the resulting corner away to set the wheels in motion for one last attack.
Dixon latched onto a long ball just beyond the half way line and as Houghton, the only Carlton player still inside his own half, ventured towards the Leeds player, Dixon lofted a long kick over the stranded keeper that bounced into the open goal to put the visitors 3-1 ahead in stoppage time.
Game over!
It was too late for Carlton to make a comeback now and the visitors could thank their keeper for some heroics in the closing stages for that.
So at the fourth time of asking, Leeds had finally put one over the league runners up.
Once again, the West Yorkshire League didn't disappoint and those who had braved the elements were treated to an intriguing contest, between two sides who evidently take great pleasure from beating each other.
FT: Carlton Athletic 1 v Leeds City 3
I will be visiting two more West Yorkshire League teams early next season, namely Leeds City, Shelley and Robin Hood Athletic.
Hopefully the games that I see there will be just as lively as the two I have taken in round these parts, over these last few days.
Congratulations to Darren Shaw (Retford Stag), who arrived just before the game started and ticked off his 100th senior game of the season tonight.