Monday, 19 September 2016

Handsworth Parramore 4 v Cleethorpes Town 0 - FA Youth Cup QR1

Monday 19th September 2016
FA Youth Cup. First Qualifying Round
at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium
Handsworth Parramore (1) 4
Joe Turner 26, Ellis Moore 76 pen
Brad Nicholson 80, Tom Cropper 86
Cleethorpes Town (0) 0
Admission £3 (mandatory FA admission charge) Free team sheet
Taking a lead from their first team, who triumphed over EvoStik Northerm Premier League side Burscough in the FA Cup at the weekend, Handsworth's Under 18 side imposed themselves on tonight's game against Cleethorpes and deservedly claimed their place in the next round.
The Owls matched their hosts for the first twenty minutes or so and made an impressive start to the second half as they pushed forward in search of an equalising goal, but for the most part, Parramore's passing, movement and ability to retain possession for long spells, proved to be the visitors undoing.
Cleethorpes have a good number of stand out players among their ranks, most notably: Charlie Parker, James Hopkins, Adam Whall and Brendan Braithwaite, judging by tonight's performance... whereas Handsworth didn't. That is to say, they all stood out and stuck to their designated roles well and looked very comfortable as they swept the ball around at ease as they maintained a high tempo pressing game throughout.
Left click to enlarge picture
Jake Lancini, the Ambers goalkeeper, has experienced first team football at the sharp end of last season and wasn't found wanting when he was thrown in at the deep end to cover for Archie Sneath in his absence. In Tom Burbeary and Ellis Moore, the hosts have two full backs who will dig in and stand their ground when the need arises, but who will also get forward in support of their front men and wide midfielders, joining in with some of the fast paced passing drills that were such a pleasure to watch tonight. Moore is also the team's dead ball specialist on st pieces and corners. Tyler Bates and Brad Nicholson are just about as uncompromising a central defensive pairing as I've seen anywhere in their age group, with Bates marshalling the back line like a second captain while if Nicholson didn't win a header or tackle tonight I must have blinked and missed it. 
Harry Mitchell and Liam Beighton work tirelessly, providing a bridge between attack and defence, Ben Rooth, Harry Groombridge and Tiago Bravo have both the pace and ability to run any defence ragged and right in the middle of it all, directing operations and providing a formidable barrier for any opposition player to get past, if they are inclined to mount an attack, central midfield is augmented by a player who I likened to a young David Batty (anyone who ever accompanied me to England games in the past will know how massive a compliment that is meant as) is the Ambers captain: Joe Turner.
All three subs that Handsworth bought on: Tom Cropper, Ashley Cawkwell and Elliott Rogan, slotted seamlessly into Parramore's game plan without disrupting their shape in the slightest.
I reckon that is enough superlative praise for one night, so moving on, I don't think that the match referee got much wrong tonight, but the one or two incidents that he might have handled differently were fairly big ones, and some of his decision making led to a bit of needle and friction, that didn't actually blow up into any kind of significant animosity and confrontation, but it certainly came close once or twice, particularly towards the end of the game.
But it's easy for me to be critical from my seat in the stand, with a couple of learned students of the beautiful game to consult for a second opinion. 
Refereeing isn't a profession I'd care to take up myself, so it would be wrong for me to comment further if I'm unwilling to squeeze into a black shirt and shorts and pick up the whistle myself.
Diplomatic long windedness... I'm full of it!
And for the record I'm often asked if I have any splinters in my bum from sitting on the fence so much, when it comes to analysing match officials.
It's getting late so I'll wrap up now once I've described the goals (I'll spare you the other seven pages of technical jargon and VERY detailed performance statistics for a few of the players who I have already name-checked, who, for the record,all got glowing reports tonight).
Handsworth took the lead on 26 minutes, when left back Ellis Moore delivered a free kick from near the halfway line towards Joe Turner inside the 'Clee' goal area and he finished well from ten yards.
Surprisingly, Turner's strike was the only goal of the first half... but after absorbing the visitors attacking efforts at the outset of the second half, Handsworth scored their second (and vital) goal, when Moore dispatched the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net from the penalty spot, amidst an atmosphere of chaos. Three defenders closed in on Tiago Bravo he burst into the penalty area... and although there is no disputing the fact that he was fouled, the referee had let play continue while James Hopkins was laying flat out in the centre circle, obviously hurt from a heavy knock he'd taken. 
Hopkins teammates argued against the penalty decision and obviously felt that the referee should have stopped the game so that he could receive attention.
But after running back to check on the injured player, who limped out of the game once he got back to his feet, Mr Mills consulted his senior assistant and pointed to the penalty spot.
Having netted Handsworth's second goal, Moore became the creator of their third as he delivered a right wing corner which Nicholson met at the back post and beat Jack Tutus with a thumping header.
Handsworth netted their fourth goal in the 80th minute when Bravo's close range shot from Bates' right wing cross, deflected into the path of Tom Cropper who gratefully knock the ball into the back of the net from close range.
To compound the confusion surrounding the referee's 'communication' with the players over the penalty (that was eventually given) incident, the home side thought they had been badly done to as well (and not without good reason), when Bravo sprinted towards the goal, but was pulled back by his arm as he teed up a shot with a clear sight of the goal in front of him. The resulting free kick was awarded some five yards back from where the infringement actually took place.
The game finished with eleven players from each side on the pitch, but one of them was very fortunate to still be there... I'll leave it at that!
I'm sure that Cleethorpes will concede that they lost to the better side tonight, but will still have reservations about what sort of mark they should give the referee. 
By the same token, Handsworth will be justifiably happy with their performance and the result, while possibly having one or two questions to ask the officials themselves.
FT: Handsworth Parramore U18 4 v Cleethorpes Town U18 0
Image result for handsworth parramore v cleethorpes town
Neutral spectators love these high tempo games, with an added element of drama and controversy thrown in. It all makes for a very exciting spectacle for the unaffiliated.
I don't envy match officials, they have a difficult job to do, especially in the crash, bang, wallop, 100 mph atmosphere that twenty two teenagers charging around a football pitch can create.
But I am really glad  that I am merely providing an impartial overview and eye witness account of the game, through my unbiased eyes and that I didn't actually have any official duties to perform tonight as regards dealing with the referee..
Match officials make errors of judgement sometime... we all do!
Well played tonight Hnadsworth Parramore Under 18s, that was a thoroughly deserved win in spite of some of the peripheral distractions and odd decisions.
Good luck in the next round. Enjoy your holiday later this week Mr Patterson!