Saturday, 27 August 2016

Maltby Main 3 v AFC Mansfield 1 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 27th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Muglet Lane
Maltby Main (2) 3
Steve Hopewell 5, 21, 49
AFC Mansfield (1) 1
Lynton Karkach 14
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 57
For more pictures from this afternoon's NCEL game click HERE
Left click to enlarge
Maltby Main:
Danny Rusling, Craig Mitchell, Lee Hill, Reece Wesley, Dan Reilly, Shawn Mitchell, Ollie Lawrence, Jordan Snodin (Josh Hemmingway 65 (Callum Cheetham 72)), Steve Hopewell (C), Connor Gregg (Matt Semley 69), Sam Stacey
Unused subs - Jack Greeves, Jack Binney
AFC Mansfield:
Jason White, Jordan Annable (Danny Patterson 55), Mark Dudley, Grant Allott (Matt Plummer 55), Brad Wilson, John D'Laryea, Ryan Williams (C), Glyn Cotton (Gary Bradshaw), Lynton Karkach, Ollie Fearon, Jimmy Ghaichem
Unused subs - Josh Madin, Myles Wright
Put it down son, you'll go blind!
And the moral of this story is, if you're visiting Muglet Lane this season, you're going to have to graft damn hard to get anything against this resilient Maltby side... and even then, there is no guarantee that the 'Miners' won't be working a double shift and putting in twice as much energy you can muster anyway.
AFC Mansfield have the talent to beat anybody on their day, but they were given a bit of a lesson this afternoon, in playing with a lot of heart and sacks full of commitment.
I once saw, written on the Gents toilet wall in the 'Fighting Cocks' public house in Rawmarsh: "Hard work will always beat talent when talent doesn't work hard" and that outhouse graffiti artist knew what he was on about, because beneath the 'Scargill is a bastard' scrawl he'd added: "No he isn't, he's a self made man" in the same neat handwriting that suggested he was a dab hand at calligraphy and possibly suffered from OCD.
I suspect the offensive statement was aimed at 'King Coal' himself, Arthur Scragill and not the Athersley Rec player Kieron Scargill.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not actually saying that the Bulls weren't fired up enough today, but rather that Maltby Main most definitely were.... as they picked up a thoroughly deserved three points, with a display that redefined the words adrenaline and desire.
With Lee Hill in particular, playing like a man possessed, who'd just come out of a Tattooists where he'd had THEY SHALL NOT PASS inked on his forehead... and we're not talking about ball greedy players who won't give their mates a go either. A tattoo would certainly look more manly that a girly headband methinks.
The visitors weren't without a few creative touches and attacking intentions at times, but they were second to the ball and caught napping far too often, by a side who, toall intents and purposes looked as though they wanted it more... much, much more if I'm being honest.
The Forest Town based side are going to have to put considerably more in today next Saturday, if they want to progress past Stratford Town in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round.
It's a crying shame that less than sixty people were present this afternoon, to witness the progress that the host club is making, both on and off the pitch. But Rome wasn't built in a day... though it might have been if Wilf Race, John Mills, the unsung and hard working committee at the club along with Spencer Fearn and his back up team were on that job.
Far too many non league clubs peak far too soon and vanish without a trace, after living beyond their means, but that won't happen at Maltby, where the strides forward you can visibly see that are being made, are being taken at a realistic and sustainable pace.
They've only been around for one hundred years, why rush these things!?
Mansfield had a bit of a scare in the opening minutes, when Jason White completely misjudged Jordan Snodin's left wing corner and fumbled his attempted catch, but the match referee, one Eddie Pidduck, who was ably assisted by Glen Whitehead and Jamie O'Connor today, had spotted and infringement and Maltby were unable to take advantage of the uncharacteristic slip by the Bulls number one.

But there was no whistle to help out the visitors after just five minutes, when Connor Gregg slotted a delightful pass through the Bulls defence to Steve Hopewell, who put Maltby on their way towards what turned out to be a great result, with an emphatic finish.
Ollie Lawrence almost doubled the Miners lead two minutes later, but his shot from on the edge of the area deflected wide.
Lynton Karkach, who I still say Gainsborough Trinity will regret releasing, pulled Mansfield level on14 minutes with a well taken solo goal from around eight yards out, after bursting into the Maltby area at speed through the left channel.
But any ideas that the visitors had of building on their first goal were well and truly nipped in the bud by a determined rearguard action from Maltby, who were dealing comfortably with anything that Rudy Funk's side threw at them.
Meanwhile Lawrence, who had only just arrived at Muglet Lane in the nick of time before the team sheets were submitted, raced forward down the left flank, making light work of dealing with two half hearted challenges, before crossing the ball into the path of Hopewell who met it head on and powered the ball past White to restore the Main's lead on twenty one minutes.
Lawrence was buzzing around like some kind of Tasmanian Devil and proving to be problematic for the Bulls defence and White did well to hold onto the Maltby number seven's twenty five yard, speculative shot.
Mansfield were almost gifted an equaliser when the usually rock solid and reliable Reece Wesley, made a complete hash of passing the ball back to Danny Rusling, but the Miners keeper was alert to the danger and reached the ball a fraction before Karkach.
It was Karkach who had the next opportunity too, but as Jimmy Ghaichen fed a forward pass to the lively winger, but Craig Mitchell got across and forced him to shoot early and the ball flew high and wide of Rusling's right hand upright.
Karkach advanced down the left flank once again after Ghaichem had put him on his way, but this time round Wesley was in no mood for mucking about with a risky back pass and he launched a no nonsense clearance onto the adjacent cricket pitch, where thankfully the bails remained intact. 
Jon D'Laryea played a diagonal ball across Maltby's goal area to Karkach who got his angles horribly wrong and drilled the ball off target, well wide of the right hand post.
Brad Wilson played the ball wide to Fearon on theright hand side of Maltby's area, but Hill cleared the danger before the Bulls attacker had time to blink, let alone use the ball creatively.
Sam Stacey was having a lively personal duel with Jordan Annable, no doubt they'll be able to face time each other tomorrow to compare bruises, but it was Snodin who found a way through the visitors defence after dispossessing Ghaichem, before rolling a sideways pass to Hopewell who could have claimed his hat trick, but opted to hoof the ball out of the ground instead.
In a moment of deja vu that was identical to an incident not five minutes earlier, Wilson played the ball out to Fearon on the right, but Hill blocked his run again.
One can only assume that the number 3 on Lee Hill's back, indicated that he was playing in the left back berth, but if truth be told, he seemed to pop up in the thick of the action, wherever it was taking place anywhere on the pitch.
Ghaichem and Fearon finished the first half in the dog house with their management team, by reacting far too slowly to put the final touch on two decent left wing deliveries from Karkach.
On this evidence, the  neglect and abandonment of duty at critical times by the Mansfield attackers was almost tangible. A half time bollocking was the very least that some of the away team deserved, though their poor showing does actually beg the question, were they playing crap, or were Maltby applying themselves to the nth degree and making a usually effective and attack minded side look average, at best?
HT: Miners 2 v Bulls 1
As the second half kicked off, our conundrum was answered: Maltby were making their visitors look poor by closing them down and not allowing them to settle on the ball, while implementing an impressively high level work rate, that was almost unrelenting and Mansfield were contributing to their own downfall too, by playing well below the required level that is expected of them.
The Bulls faithful will be grateful that they have a midweek game coming up against Albion Sports, where they can endeavour to iron out some of the creases before next weekend's big cup game.
That said, although it would be churlish of me to name names, by my reckoning, some of the Bulls players were already getting some rest in out on the field of play today, in anticipation of the visit of Sandhurst. It's difficult to hide on a football pitch in a bright yellow shirt, but some of the Bulls team near on mastered the ancient art of invisibility. at times.
Just four minutes after the restart, Green intercepted a poor clearance by Annable and nudged the ball forward into the path of Hopewell who couldn't miss from there and the visitors now had a two goal cushion.
Ten minutes into the second half, Mr Funk chucked in his last throw of the dice and made three substitutions at the same time in a bid to galvanise and inject some new life into his ailing team. Needs must and it really was a back to the drawing board moment for the visitors, who would be hoping not to pick up any knocks or injuries now on the Muglet Lane incline.
Matt Plummer's forward pass found it's way through to Ollie Fearon, who had to shoot first time because Danny Reilly and Shawn Mitchell were homing in on him and he struck the ball straight at Rusling.
The Maltby keeper dispatched his long clearance towards Green and his opposite number White was forced to punch the ball away to safety.
The Bulls evergreen 'pocket rocket' Williams unleashed a shot from 30 yards, but that man Hill threw himself in front of the ball and took one for the team and Rusling held onto the ball from Ghaichem's right wing cross as Maltby only half cleared their lines.
Gary Bradshaw shot from 12 yards out but Mitchell blocked his effort and it deflected behind for a corner.
Rusling gathered the ball safely as Fearon and D'Laryea challenged him and as Mansfield began to up the ante towards the end of the game, Mitchell cleared another Ghaichem cross with a towering header.
Jason White had to save with his feet as Danny Patterson almost diverted Callum Cheetham's long throw into his own goal.
The Miners were inches way from adding a fourth goal, when Hopewell turned Mark Dudley and delivered the ball to the back stick, where Sam Stacey's diving header fell just the wrong side of the post.
Williams knocked a short free kick to Bradshaw who picked Karkach out in the area but Hill had read the situation and thwarted the Bulls again, while the referee deliberated over whether to give the Maltby defender his own ball to play with, to give the other twenty one players on the pitch an opportunity to get a touch.
Mansfield had a succession of free kicks froma few yards outside the Maltby area, but the home side had circled their wagons around Rusling's goal now and no matter how hard the Bulls banged on the door now, they weren't getting in.
Fearon played a square ball to the former Mansfield Town and Gainsborough Trinity midfielder D'Laryea, who put all of his higher league experience to good use and lashed the ball into a back garden on Lansbury Avenue.
It was evidently one of those days that AFC Mansfield will want to forget ASAP.
Rusling saved from Williams free kick as the rain started bucketing down and the sky turned to an ugly shade of grey.
"We will, we will, rock you!"
Fearon was unceremoniously upended by Craig Mitchell twenty five yard from the Maltby goal.
The Bulls regular free kick taker Williams made a dummy run and left the ball for Fearon who spanked a textbook delivery right into the top corner... of Maltby's defensive wall.
The home side broke forward, but just as it looked as though Matt Semley was going to add another goal the assistant referee, Jamie O'Connor raised his flag for offside... it must've been a close call Jamie! Are you sure you weren't just being a mardy bum because you'd heard that your beloved Chesterfied FC were getting gubbed by Millwall!?
In stoppage time, Karkach cut in from the right wing and went it alone, but there was far too much backlift in his shot and the ball flew harmlessly over Rusling's cross bar.
In conclusion: both sides got everything they deserved today as the Miners leapfrogged over Mansfield in mid table by virtue of this result.
FT: Maltby Main 3 v AFC Mansfield 1
Both teams have home games on Wednesday night, when in form Liversedge visit Muglet Lane and Albion Sports make the trek from Bradford to the Forest Town Arena.
And next Saturday these two sides will be playing a mile away from each other as the Bulls face Stratford town at home in the FA Cup First qualifying round and Clipstone host Maltby in a NCEL Premier Division encounter.
Good luck to one and all, in what should be a couple of decent games, to mark the occasion of 'Non League Day'.
However, shouldn't every day be a non league day... just saying!
Balls! John Mills.