Sunday, 21 August 2016

Worksop Town 2 v Ashton Athletic 2 - FA Cup Preliminary Round

Arrived early today and saw local MP John Mann hard at work
laying the foundations for the new Worksop Town ground.
Alas, his digger is obscuring the  pigs flying in the background.
Sunday 21st August 2016
FA Cup Preliminary Round
at the Windsor Foodervice Stadium
Worksop Town (2) 2
Richard Adams 7
Steven Woolley 33
Ashton Athletic (1) 2
Joel Brownhill 5
Daniel Smith 52 pen
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 486
For more crowd/action images click HERE
This NCEL v NWCL encounter, will have to be settled at the 600 capacity Brocstedes Park, in Ashton-in-Makerfield (WN4 0NQ, for the benefit of those of you who I know are heading up Wigan way), on Tuesday night, as these two Premier Division sides fought out a 2-2 draw in front of an impressive 486 spectators this afternoon.
While Worksop have claims to being the fourth oldest club in the world, Ashton are mere youngsters by comparison, having been formed as a Sunday League side in 1968.
It still beggars belief, that when Worksop Town turned a ripe old 150 years of age, that milestone wasn't celebrated properly, because the (then) club chairman, Jason Clark, wanted to put the champagne on ice until the Tigers moved into a new ground within the town.
He (Clark) did a lot of good for the club, but he didn't always get everything right all of the time
Please excuse my cynicism at this juncture, but I actually believe that there isn't going to be a new ground built anywhere near Worksop any time soon... and if whoever is at the helm of the club in 2061 applies the same mandate as Jason did, then the 200th year celebrations will be put on the back burner too.
Hopefully the 160th anniversary of the formation of the club, in 2021, is going to be handled better and all of the commercial marketing and merchandising opportunities, along with the inevitable publicity angles are utilised fully.
Non-league clubs are always on the look out for money, embracing club landmarks, milestones and achievements, with the correct selling strategy, is on a par to printing the stuff.
Maltby Main (formed in 1916) have a centenary history book available, you can pick one up for £10 the next time you're at Muglet Lane; but Worksop Town, a club with a substantially bigger fan base, target audience and local population than the Miners, did absolutely nothing to mark their 150 years of existence... and it makes you wonder why, doesn't it!?
Wow! Mark Shaw can afford to shop at Sainsburys
Anyway, fast forwarding to the present day, this afternoon's game, which was being played on a Sunday because Handsworth Parramore were at home in the FA Cup yesterday, when they beat Evo-Stik League side Stocksbridge Park Steels 4-1, started off at breakneck speed, with both sides keen to get an advantage early on.
The first chance fell to Worksop after just two minutes, when Steve Woolley was fouled thirty yards from the 'Ash' goal, but Fenton overhit the resulting free kick and the ball fell wide of the mark.
The visitors stormed into a lead after five minutes, when Adam Howard played the ball down the left flank to Daniel Smith who powered forward before delivering the ball across the face of the Tigers goal, where Joel Brownhill met it as he ran into the six yard box and dispatched a shot into the back of the net from close range.
The home side almost responded immediately when Adam Scott, presented with a crowded goalmouth ahead of him, lobbed the ball from twenty five yards out, but as it dropped, Michael Pearson tipped the ball over his bar, into the roof of the netting.
However, Worksop were straight back on the attack and forced a corner, which Woolley delivered from the left flank and Richard Adams forced across the line at the back post to level things up and claw back the short lived deficit.
Straight from the restart, Ashton almost went ahead again, but Adam Gilchrist struck the left hand post with his shot from the edge of the home side's area.
Scott and Jordan Hodder are developing a good understanding down the right flank and were passing the ball round well between themselves... and it was Scott who came close again when Woolley tried picking him out with a deep cross from the left wing.
Mitch Husbands limped out of the game after eight minutes, but Mark Shaw's tactics remained the same because he had Adam Somes to push into the central strikers role and, as per usual, the former Stags youngster was chomping at the bit to be involved.
The Tigers were putting the ball forward through Scott whenever they could, but Ashton had spotted this ruse and Sam Bailey tracked back and stopped the Tigers number 10 with trip as he picked up a pass from Kyle Jordan.
Bailey also blocked Woolley's free kick and deflected it over the bar for a corner. Ashton cleared Woolley's kick and a long clearance fell to Smith, but as he motored forward, Hodder, the only man left back for the set pieces, go across the 'Ash' manager and forced him to shoot early, making the stop easy for Jon Kennedy.
Jordan showed a clean pair of heels to Dan Blythe on the left flank and crossed the ball towards Woolley and when Howard got a foot in and half cleared the danger, Scott latched onto the loose ball and skimmed a dipping shot just over the crossbar.
Kyle Jordan broke away down the left, but had to go it alone as he had sprinted forward so fast that nobody was up with him and Howard got across to win the ball and mop up the danger for the visitors, while barracking the assistant referee for not flagging the Tigers winger offside. He did have a point though, but there was only a few yards in it.
Bailey and Gilchrist combined with Callum Wilson, spraying passes about at will just outside the Worksop goal area, Hodder stepped out and disrupted their flow, but Bailey chased the loose ball down and rolled it into the path of Brownhill, who cleared the bar with his first time shot.
Scott, in full flight, danced past three challenges before chipping the ball towards Somes on the penalty spot, but Dan Regan headed the ball away, only to see it come flying back past him as Woolley cracked an unstoppable shot past Pearson from twenty yards to give Worksop the lead.
Howard and Brownhill pushed deep into the home side's territory, but there was nobody in Kennedy's goalmouth to put a finishing touch to the latter's cross and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Adams was doing a great job of keeping tabs on Gilchrist, the visitors number 9 and covering the centre and right hand side of the defence well, which was freeing up Hodder to get forward and help with the attack. And right on the stroke of half time, that is just what the Tigers right back did, cutting a swathe through the left of Ashton's defence, with a quick passing triangle manoeuvre involving Somes and Scott, that Pearson did well to thwart when he got down to smother the ball.
HT: Worksop Town 2 v Ashton Athletic 1
Despite the fact that Ashton gave a very good account of themselves in the first half and always looked more relaxed on the ball than the all out attacking 100 mph Tigers, I honestly thought that the home side had the better of the first half by quite some way.
However, after the break, rather than consolidating their lead, at a time when the next goal would prove to be critical, they did a very passable impression of a group of players who were hell bent on travelling up to Ashton in Makerfield on Tuesday night.
Bailey and Regan were standing out as a two man pivotal engine room for the visitors as they began to impose themselves more and more. It was Bailey who came close to pulling back a second goal for 'Ash', but his ambitious shot from out on the left flank flew wide of the right hand upright. Nevertheless, it was a statement of intent and the alarm bells were sounding loud and clear now.
Dan Smith makes it 2-2 from the penalty spot
Brownhill picked up the ball and keeping it close to his feet and burst into the penalty area towards Kennedy, there was a crack of boots as Callum Harrison tried getting a tackle in and Brownhill, obviously in pain, went to ground.
There were appeals from both sides, but in the event, the referee, Martyn Fryer pointed to the spot.
You can never be too careful when putting your foot in towards an opposition player who has got pace and forward momentum in his favour, because if you clip him, even if it isn't deliberate, then it's a penalty. Especially when the sound effects back the split second decision making process up.
Kennedy went the right way, but Smith had planted the ball just beyond his reach and made it two apiece.
Kennedy was then forced to make two saves in quick succession, from Gilchrist and Smith, with Regan filling the role of chief goal scoring chance creator.
Somes held off a challenge and teed up a chance for Scott, but Pearson positioned himself well as he stopped the shot and held onto the ball.
Once again Regan put Smith on his way with a measured pass and as the Worksop defence closed in on the Ashton forward he laid the ball off to Bailey whose shot sailed a fraction over the bar.
The Tigers were nowhere near their best as Ashton kept chipping away at them, but with the scores still level, the game was still there for the taking.
The Tigers manager freshened things up and threw Jack Hawkins into the fray from the bench and the tempo of Worksop's forward movement picked up no end. With the Tigers sub slotting in behind Scott, 'Ash' had twice the problems to deal with out on that flank, particularly with Hodder and Alex Nightingale playing just off the pair of them.
Hawkins drew the full back towards him and threaded the ball into the space he'd created to Hodder who raced in on the overlap and was unlucky that the impressive Pearson had read the situation and got down in the way of his goal bound shot.
Mark Fereday had also come on from the bench and was buzzing around Ashton's defence like a swarm of hornets, until Luke Holden used his right foot to swat him with. Woolley took the resulting free kick and though Howard sliced his clearance Bailey was on hand to help the ball out of play and away from immediate danger.
Having been pegged back for most of the first half, Worksop were at least finishing the game with a flourish now. Woolley found the towering Adams with his flag kick, but the Tigers centre half crashed a downwards header against Adam Somes and the visitors cleared the ball once more.
Regan, having a bit of a change from dictating the pace of the game from midfield, got back just in time to deflect Scott's stinging ten yard shot round the post.
And right at the death, Howard made a last ditch clearance after Fereday had nudged Nightingale's flick on into the path of Woolley.
FT: Worksop Town 2 v Ashton Athletic 2
Both sides had spells of the game when they were in control and could have finished the game off, but all told I reckon the draw was a just and fair result and now the two teams have had a chance to weight each other up, the replay on Tuesday should be an intriguing game.