Saturday, 6 August 2016

Maltby Main 0 v Squires Gate 1 - FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Saturday 6th August 2016
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
at Muglet Lane, Maltby
Maltby Main (0) 0
Squires Gate (0) 1
Joseph Noblet 65
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 68
For Flickr photo group from this game click HERE
Lewis Foster, Maltby's match day mascot,
you're on the internet and really famous!
Maltby Main
Danny Rusling, Craig Mitchell, Gary Hibbert, Reece Wesley, Jack Greeves, Ollie Lawrence, Jordan Poole (Craig Fletcher 84), Ryan Poole (Josh Hemmingway 75), Steve Hopewell, Ryan Carroll, Jack Binney (Connor Brunt 75)
Unused subs - Paul Stancliffe, Connor Gregg, John Ballington, Adam Roberts.
Squires Gate
Ben Fletcher, Andrew Richards, Ben Seear, Michael Hall, Dan Penswick, Paul Carroll, Alex McKendrick (James Gibson 63), Joseph Noblet, Richard Seear, Ryan Riley, Brett Danson (Mark Buchan 84).
Unused subs - Mark Thornber, Jake Higham
Maltby management team photobombing. Get 'yersens shifted next time!
The magic of the FA Cup created the illusion of an invisible offence in the Maltby Main goal area, shortly after the hour mark, which only the match referee Andrew Smith saw, thus helping to create a disappearing trick, whereby the Miners hopes of a FA Cup run disappeared in a puff of smoke. 
Nobody connected with the visiting club, be it their players, officials, supporters or management; appealed for a penalty, nor would they have done, because when Joseph Noblet went to ground he had merely lost his footing as he turned to get s shot in, while Maltby's Jack Binney was pushed off the ball to make room for the visitors number 8 to get a clear sight of goal.
"That was harsh!", piped up a voice from the Squires Gate dug out as the referee blew and pointed to the spot... indeed it bloody well was. But it's a cup tie, the game is all square and balanced on a knife edge, so you don't look a gift horse in the mouth and (ironically) it was Noblet himself that spanked the spot kick beyond the despairing reach of Danny Rusling, to claim the only goal of the game and bag his team £1500 in prize money.
Gaz Hibbert using his head, prior to losing his head.
Several more odd decisions led to a few raised eyebrows and dissenting voices over the course of the game, but the one thing (though to be fair there was possibly more than just one thing) that Mr Smith got 100% right, was when Maltby's Gaz Hibbert was shown a straight red card on 37 minutes for blacking Richard Seear's eye with a peach of a headbutt.
That rush of blood from the experienced left back left his team a man short and having to do twice as much running on a hot and humid afternoon and though the Miners still threw everything they had at their Blackpool based visitors, there is no escaping the fact that Hibbert's moment of madness was to prove as costly for his team as the questionable penalty decision.
I don't like singling anyone out for criticism, particularly a player as hard working and committed as Hibbert, but his temperament and judgement let both himself and everyone at the the club who have worked so hard towards this opening day fixture down.
He'll be gutted about what happened, there's no doubt about that, but he'll be back soon, battling gamely for the Miners cause... it's what he does best!
With Craig Mitchell delivering some quality balls into the 'Gate' goal area, the home side made an encouraging start, with Ben Fletcher bravely going down at the feet of Steve Hopewell to deny him, while Ryan Carroll went close when he drew the visitors keeper off of his line, but his cheeky lob over Fletcher dropped just wide of the post.
Ollie Lawrence connected with Ryan Poole's left wing corner but his effort flew narrowly wide.
Having absorbed a fair amount of pressure during the opening fifteen minutes, Squires Gate began to find their feet and took over the initiative for a while; Noblet sent Richard Seear through one on one against Rusling, but the 'Main' keeper risked a kick in the head, but got down to snuff the chance out.
Brett Danson split Maltby's defence with a pass through to Ryan Riley, but Hibbert had tracked his run and put his foot through the ball before unceremoniously dispatching the ball out of harms way.
Noblet's left wing corner was cleared behind by Mitchell, while Lawrence was quickly up to deal with Danson's resulting corner from the right.
Rusling and Hibbert made a bit of a hash of an attempted clearance and Richard Seear latched onto the loose ball before rolling a sideways pass to Riley, but luckily Jack Greeves had the presence of mind to get back in a covering role and his timely interception denied the visitors an opening goal.
Danson's left wing cross dropped towards the Maltby goal but Rusling was alert to the danger and kept it out, moments before he came to Maltby's rescue again, holding onto Riley's ten yard shot from Ben Seears pinpoint delivery from out on the left flank.
Ryan Poole and Steve Hopewell collided as they both went for the same ball in the middle of the park, which allowed Richard Seear to break forward, but Mitchell got across his path as he teed up his shot and he could only direct the ball at Rusling.
Ben Seear played a long free kick into the Maltby area, Rusling rose and took his catch well, but Dan Penswick arrived late to challenge for the ball and hurt himself when he collided full on with Rusling's knee.
The referee ignored appeals for a free kick for an attempted bodycheck on the Miners keeper and was seemingly oblivious to the 'Gate' defender who was now laying on the pitch, out cold and requiring treatment.
Rusling sportingly called the official who was charging away down the field back while throwing the ball out of play so that Penswick could receive treatment.
When he came round and was given the all clear to carry on, Mr Smith told Rusling to restart the game from a goal kick. You what? After being put straight by several dozen people, he changed his mind and asked Squires Gate to take an unchallenged throw in back to Rusling.
I have masses of respect for match officials and many friends who are local referees, we're all only human and are prone to make mistakes, but under no circumstances, if you're the man in the middle, do NOT have an off day at Muglet Lane, or you will be traumatised by the consequences.
O'Neill punched the ball clear off of Lawrence's head from Binney's corner, the clearance dropped into the path of Ryan Poole whose first time effort cleared the crossbar.
With half time rapidly approaching, Hibbert turned the game on it's head with his aforementioned transgression and Maltby were forced to regroup. It was a major blow for the south Yorkshire side.
Ryan and Jordan Poole tried making good of a bad situation as they broke forward with Lawrence in tandem, Michael Hall was in quickly to salvage the situation and put the ball out for a corner. But Mr Smith awarded a goal kick, while delaying the game for a few moments by booking Hall for 'dissent. He'd certainly had plenty to say, but the timing off the card was puzzling.
Maltby held their breath as Richard Seears went shoulder to shoulder with Reece Wesley in front of Rusling. The referee blew and awarded a free kick to the Miners.
But Squires Gate didn't complain too much under the circumstances, given how they had already been gifted a goal (and ultimately a safe passage to the next round).
Carroll and Hopewell are a handful for any team in the NCEL on their day, but with the numerical disadvantage that Maltby were having to deal with now, they both had moments where they had made good runs into the final third, but found themselves isolated and waiting for support while the 'Gate' defenders ganged up on them.
Danson and Noblet were having a battle royal against the Miners defence and Rusling kept them both at bay with two more decent saves and then it happened... the referee blew up for the penalty.
It was an unfathomable decision.
And a very costly one for the home side.
Noblet scored and to all intents and purposes it was now starting to look increasingly unlikely that Maltby's name would be getting engraved on this year's trophy.
Everything at Wembley Stadium is hideously overpriced anyway and I know how 'thrifty' you Yorkies are, happen!
Jack Binney tried to hit the visitors back with an immediate response, but his long range shot didn't trouble O'Neill and the tricky winger must've wished with hindsight that he'd taken a few more paces forward before really letting fly.
Michael Hall shoulder charged Ryan Poole off of the ball in the centre circle.
The natives were getting restless as they called out for the referee to "Show some ****ing consistency!" and "Get him in the book!"
Unbeknownst to the angry mob, he was already in the book for dissent and was walking the tightrope with the referee because, although he is obviously a decent engine room and competent player for his club, in spite of his earlier yellow card he still couldn't keep his trap shut.
I admired Hall's gung-ho, up and at 'em application, but in this day and age, when a lot of trivial offences receive disproportionate punishment, it would have been wise for the visitors number 4 to behave himself from then on in.
Connor Brunt came into contact with Noblet just inside the Maltby box and the 'Gate' player, knowing the pack drill by now hit the deck. But Mr Smith had found his contact lenses by now and saw nothing wrong in the challenge. All I will say is, if it had happened at the other end, then Maltby would've screaming blue murder for a spot kick. Brunt meant no harm and didn't deliberately impede Noblet, but football is going soft in it's old age and I've seen them given.
As Maltby piled forward in search of the goal that would give them a midweek replay up in that there famous seaside town called Blackpool, that's noted for t'fresh air and fun, they were always susceptible to being hit on the counter attack and they nearly came completely undone when Noblet raced across the front of Main's goal area and spanked his shot over the bar. Straight from the goal kick, Danson attacked down the left wing but Mitchell marshaled the situation and prevented him from crossing to Richard Seear.
The home side went down with a fight, launching the ball into the 'Gate' area at every opportunity, but the visitors defence closed ranks and held on for a hard fought win.
FT: Maltby Main 0 v Squires Gate 1
There's never a dull moment at Muglet Lane. 
Good luck to Squires Gate in the next round.
And as for you Mr Referee; I was looking forward to my fish & chips in Blackpool later in the week before the replay, you can explain to my granddaughter why we're not going to the Tower Circus now :-(