Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Ollerton Town 0 v Worksop Town 2 - PSF

Tonight the Worksop Town squad contained seven members 
of the Trialist family, including all five brothers.
Surely this must constitute some sort of a record.
Wednesday 6th July 2016
Pre-Season Friendly
at 'The Lane', Walesby Lane, Ollerton
Ollerton Town (0) 0
Worksop Town (1) 2
Adam Somes, Mark Fereday
Admission £2
Tonight's attendance was impacted somewhat because a British team were playing in the semi final of EURO 2016, in a game that was being shown live on TV, against opposition who have beaten England in recent times, by virtue of their star player cheating, so logic would suggest that I should be rooting for them, but football allegiances and logic will never be comfortable bed mates. Nor would I ever want them to be.
But I'm sure that my many Welsh friends will understand why I chose to drive to Ollerton instead of assuming a comfy position on my sofa to watch them in action, in the biggest game in their entire footballing history, because they certainly wouldn't have been rooting for, or even watching, the national team that I support if they were just 90 minutes away from the final, regardless of how highly unlikely a scenario that is at present.
Be very clear on this; I don't begrudge Wales their moment in the spotlight, in fact I think they played very well against Belgium and that Aaron Ramsey has been one of the best players in the whole tournament so far. I've even wished some of their fans 'good luck' (and I meant genuinely meant it), but I'd rather stick drawing pins in my genitals than actually support them.
They'll understand that sentiment and would wholly reciprocate such thoughts if the shoe was on the other foot.
My stance is neither disrespectful or racist towards Wales as a nation, as those among the PC and easily offended by everything and anything ilk might suggest.
There is a mutual understanding and healthy rivalry between both camps... and long may it continue.
And for the record: Wales can't be all that good, they even lost against England!
I don't mind (or care) who won tonight's international game in France, I was only interested in what was happening on the field of play at Walesby, at a football ground that stands just a short walk away from where the Ollerton & Bevercotes Miners Welfare used to be, a place I still harbor fond memories of, because I circumnavigated a lot of my teenage rites of passage there, along with the Plough which still stands just around the corner.
Mind you the same could be said of the Marquis of Granby, Innings, Kilton flats and the Ship Inn in Worksop, so I was definitely in attendance as a neutral tonight, as Ollerton Town's first ever fixture as a fully fledged NCEL club, saw Worksop Town make the short 9 mile trip across through picturesque Budby and past the big tree that is apparently the former home of Robin Hood, to 'The Lane' for this pre-season friendly fixture.
Though I had predicted a win for Dave Winter's side prior to the game.
Gav Saxby
Mansfield Town juniors goalkeeping coach.
All round decent bloke.
Tonight's hosts won promotion, by virtue of finishing in second place in the CMFL (North) last season.
Sadly, despite winning the league, Glapwell FC have ceased to exist over the Summer, which is a real shame, because they were always such a friendly and welcoming lot over at Hall Corner.
I hope that the people involved won't be lost to the game, because they were all a credit to themselves and the club.
Though it was never a dirty game as such, several meaty challenges, from the opening minute onwards, added a competitive edge to the proceedings, which ultimately saw players from both teams taking heavy knocks and having to leave the field of play.
Nobody ever wants to see anyone get hurt, in any game, but though the results of these sort of kick about encounters don't actually amount to very much in the grand scheme of things, the fans don't turn out and pay their money just to watch non competitive, tippy, tappy niceness, sans any tackling or concerted effort.
And while we are on the subject of money, credit where it is due to Ollerton for only charging £2 to get in tonight, some of the admission tolls I've seen mentioned elsewhere for practice matches have bordered on being scandalous.
In the aftermath of the game the Tigers manager Mark Shaw didn't mention the name of the teenage 'Trialist' who suffered from a broken tibia from a mistimed (but not malicious) tackle in the opening exchanges, so I won't mention his name here either out of respect to Worksop Town FC, but his presence on the field of play tonight had attracted scouts from several clubs who player at a higher level than than NCEL and his name was being mentioned in not entirely hushed tones before the teams even lined up.
Shaw has a knack of unearthing such gems, but his club are not among the financial big hitters in local football, therefore they've had problems hanging onto a whole host of decent players who have moved on to teams who play at a higher level... in fact you could've been forgiven for assuming that Worksop Town merely existed as a feeder club for Bradford Park Avenue in recent times.
Mark Carter, now plying his trade at Ollerton, was carried from the pitch after taking a heavy knock and will probably be ruled out through injury when the football season starts for real. 
Best wishes for a speedy recovery to both players.
Both managers have been steadily rebuilding their sides since last season and had a number of new faces on show.
A Worksop fan I know was lamenting about there having been hardly any information or communication on the club website or forum about their incoming players. 
Well, there is a very good reason for that, inasmuch as the actual date from when NCEL clubs can actually start legitimately registering players was only a matter of days ago. 
Yelling from the rooftops about who you've got down for training and trials, or getting that same information out there via social media, or confiding in one of those pesky blogger types, merely risks advertising the availability of players to other managers, before they've actually signed on the dotted line.
And, believe me, even though step 5 'grass roots' clubs are supposedly all tiddling in the same pot; behind the scenes, the reality is just as competitively mercenary, dog eat dog and massively under handed, as it is at any other level of the game.
Keeping your cards close to your chest, is one way of avoiding a whole lot of complicated and oft ill tempered wrangling later on.
The original "A Few Dollars More" starred Lee van Cleef and Clint Eastwood, but it would be a pretty apt title for the closed season shenanigans that occur year after year on the non league football circuit.
Not that I'm privy to any such skulduggery, of course.
For Ollerton, Gav Saxby had a steady game between the sticks, while Josh Madin looked lean, fit, eager, willing and able in defence.
Winter has made an astute signing in plucking Josh Bowkett away from Brodsworth Welfare (who themselves have relocated and renamed themselves AFC Bentley this season) in the CMFL North.
The adjustment to the NCEL first division won't be a problem to Josh, as he showed tonight at times with a series of neat touches.
Adam Somes opens the scoring direct from a free kick.
Left click to enlarge image.
Three new signings who made an immediate impact tonight for the visitors, were Adam Scott, who revels in taking on defenders, using his pace and trickery to good effect, Richard Adams in the middle of defence and Adam Somes, the former Mansfield Town youth team centre forward who opened the scoring in the first half, directly from a free kick (see above).
The Tigers also introduced Alex Pugh in the second half, who slotted in around Adams with ease, almost as if they had been playing alongside each other for ages. Scott and Pugh will be a big loss to their former club Staveley, while Adams from Handsworth Parramore and Somes from Clipstone, are both already looking like big players who will galvanise Worksop's promotion push this coming term. 
Although my Queen's shilling would actually be on Handsworth, if you asked me to single out just one contender who I think will win the NCEL Premier Division.
Ollerton weren't overawed, nor overrun by their premier division visitors and imposed themselves on the game for spells and Danny Wiltshire came close to pulling the home side level, after they had gone in a goal behind at the break, courtesy of Somes well struck free kick.
But Mark Fereday latched onto the rebound after Saxby had saved his initial shot, to all but claim the win the Worksop, as a predominantly young Tigers side picked up the tempo during the second half.
Lawrence Gorman saw his shot crash back off of Saxby's crossbar late in the game, but the home side didn't deserve to lose by a three goal margin anyway.
Injuries aside, both sides will have been happy with their respective performances as preparations begin in earnest for the opening games of the season, which are now only a month away... and tonight was a worthwhile exercise to that end.
I was impressed with many aspects of the game from both teams perspective and will definitely taking several more expeditions over the numerous speed ramps on Walesby Lane to check out Ollerton's progress over the season.
Good luck to both managers and their teams for the forthcoming campaign. 
FT: Ollerton Town 0 v Worksop Town 2
Ollerton Town have two friendly matches at home next week, against next door neighbours Clipstone on Tues 12th July and Belper United on Friday 15th July.
Worksop Town's next pre-season game is on Saturday, when Lincoln City are the visitors, while they 'travel' to Sandy Lane on Tuesday night, to take on landlords and NCEL Premier Division rivals Handsworth Parramore. 
*Note, some of the trialist's names and photographs have been omitted from this overview of the game on purpose. No cribbing allowed here!
Managers and scouts alike, will have to get out and about and do their own homework.