Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Maltby Main 1 v Armthorpe Welfare 1 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 28th September 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Muglet Lane, Maltby
Maltby Main (0) 1
Steve Hopewell 88
Armthorpe Welfare (1) 1
Craig Aspinall 40
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 78
Maltby Main:
Louis Jones, Callum Cheetham, Gary Hibbert, Nicky Darker, Daniel Reilly, Shawn Mitchell, Ollie Lawrence, Jordan Snodin, Steve Hopewell, Josh Schofield, Jordan Poole
Subs - Derrelle Goodison, Connor Gregg, Ryan Carroll, Jack Greeves, Craig Mitchell
Armthorpe Welfare:
Liam Copley, Jack Bonser, Tom McLaughlin, James Walker, Steve Garner, Jack Waldron, Jake Stannard, Craig Aspinall, Darren Mansaram, Liam Radford, Joshua Brigham
Subs - Michael Collins, Joshua Lamming, Stuart Preston, Josh Gibbons, Gary Collier
The eagerly anticipated 'Coal Classico' saw Armthorpe pick up their first point of the season, after drawing a blank in their previous ten outings... and if truth be told they were probably a bit unlucky not to be heading back across the A1 with all three.
Meetings between these two sides are usually well contested and keenly fought and with that in  mind it was probably good practice for the NCEL to appoint a strong referee for this derby encounter, so they chose Ed Stapleton, who is renowned for being able to bench press 600 KG for the occasion.
Michael Bell ran the line on the cricket field side, while Umah Ahmed, a young man with the most splendidly appointed bouffant hairstyle Ihave ever seen since Alvin Stardust used to appear regularly on Top of the Pops and in Green Cross Code adverts, lost the toss and had to patrol the infamous 50 yard stretch that runs in front and within earshot of the rogues gallery, which tonight was inhabited with outspoken purveyors of the finer footballing arts, from both Maltby and Armthorpe.
Though to be fair 'within earshot' probably encompasses Tickhill and Harworth on nights like these.
The first chance fell to Maltby, when Steve Hopewell spanked the ball just past the right hand post inside the opening five minutes.
Shawn Mitchell and Ollie Lawrence were combining well on the left for the Miners and the game seemed to be adhering to the current form book as Jordan Poole went close as his header dipped over the visitors crossbar and Jordan Snodin received the ball with his back to goal from a free kick and turned on the spot, but... err I'm sure the routine worked on the training ground and I'll be generous and say the ball got caught up in the wind before it left the ground in a northwesterly direction.
But the Welafre's recently installed new manager Mike Carmody has introduced a few new faces to their ranks and they looked tonight, like a team who are willing to fight doggedly for their Premier status from hereon in this season.
It certainly won't be pretty at times, but having given the rest of the division a ten game head start, Armthorpe aren't really in a position to play tippy tappy football. Horses for courses rules apply from now on in for the Church Street based club, I would assume.
The first of approximately 134 full blooded challenges on the night, was executed (quite literally) by Mitchell when  he clattered into Liam Radford on the halfway line.
It was probably crime of envy, after the Maltby chairman Wilfred Race had expressed his admiration for the visitors new signing in his excellently written programme column, on page 5 of what is a mighty fine publication indeed, which has a (credited) photograph on  the front cover from this very blog.
Maltby (and Armthorpe of course) are among a number of clubs who have my blessing to use anything they want to from THE66POW if they are desperate enough to need any space filler material for their match day publications or websites (and lets face it, they would have to be really desperate at times), but there are others who don't credit filched material, or who most certainly haven't been given the nod to indulge in such an arrangement... and they better digress with their plagiarism forthwith, or I'll tell my mum and then they'll be in trouble!
Either way, Mitchell's stalling tactic worked, Radford was unable to make full use of his creative bent and Maltby were back in numbers to clear from Steve Garner's long free kick towards Darren Masaran.
A thumbs up to indicate he just walked the whole length of the wall,
 without the use of a safety net... nerves of steel!
Liam Copley held onto Hopewell's cross/shot, that could have gone just about anywhere with the wind howling down  the pitch towards his goal, while at the other end, Dan Reilly did what it his he does best, when he cut out Mansaram's through ball to Josh Brigham (another new signing for Armthorpe) and tidied things up at the back for Maltby.
Maltby's right back Callum Cheetham turned awkwardly on his ankle and had to limp out of the game on 34 minutes and within a minute of the game restarting, the Welfare were in front when Radford and Mansaram combined to put Craig Aspinall through on goal and he beat Louis Jones with an angled finish from ten yards on thirty five minutes.
Jack Waldron was on hand to make a clearance for the visitors, as Hopewell hooked the ball towards Josh Schofield and Jordan Poole... but it was Armthorpe who finished the half on top with Jones being forced into making a great stop down by his right hand post from Aspinall's twenty yard shot, with Mansaran almost getting to the loose ball before the Miners cleared their lines.
The referee added three minutes of stoppage time to the end of the first half, "Where the f*ck have you got three minutes from ref!!??" bawled Mr Carmody. Might I suggest: ninety seconds for the time it took to remove the injured Callum Cheetham from the pitch and an additional five seconds for every time you shouted that rude word at the match officials. Just saying ;-)
HT: Maltby 0 v Armthorpe 1
At half time we stood and watched the Maltby subs taking turns to shoot at an empty goal and agreed that the safest place to stand in the ground if you didn't want your drink spilling, was probably in the back of the net.
Maltby tried to break Armthorpe down via the right flank at the start of the second half, but Welfare's well drilled defence were determinedly repelling each and every ball into their area that Liam Copley didn't pluck out of the air.
The people's republic of Armthorpe's local nutcase 'Acker' had travelled over (he won't mind me calling him that btw, because it's true!) to Muglet Lane, as he often does and was bellowing with all of his might about the Welfre's battling qualities and "Dunkirk spirit!"
Truth be told it was probably easier to run on Malo Les Bains beach during 'Operation Dynamo', in the Northern French port, than it is on Maltby's pitch, when that nice Mr Mills has *accidentally* forgotten to cut the grass for a couple of weeks to coincide with any team that likes to play pretty passing football visits... not that there are an awful lot of those in the NCEL. And just like that silly old sausage Adolf Hitler, who let 330,000 allied troops who were holed up like sitting ducks for the Wehrmacht, escape fromthe beaches, the Welfare back four (or back seven from time to time) weren't taking any prisoners either,
The vocal section of the crowd from Armthorpe, were given a good run for their money by the noisy presence of Maltby's Under 13 side who were stationed in the main stand, cheering their local team on. It's good to see the youngster getting involved in an inclusive way at this inclusive community club... long may it continue.
Ryan Carroll came on in place of Ollie Lawrence, who was covering a role as a wide midfielder instead of playing in his more preferred central berth, as the Miners looked to reshuffle the pack.
But it was Armthorpe who stepped things up a notch again, with Jack Greeves having to put a spurt on to catch Radford to block him as he shot from just inside the area.
Image result for maltby main fc
Darren Mansaram showed good feet, to turn on a sixpence and drill the ball across the face of Jones goal, but his effort was wasted because none of his teammates had anticipated his subtlety on a night where 100 MPH, nobody gets out alive, crunching (just about) fair but (definitely) firm and often mistimed tackling was the order of the day.
Maltby's captain and pitch width wide engine room Nicky Darker, played a measure ball wide to Schofield, but Copley got up under pressure to pluck his cross out of the glare of the lights.
Armthorpe were keeping their shape well and working at a frantic pace to clear ball after ball into their midriff, while always having the option to push forward through Aspinall and Radford, who Maltby had to hold players back to keep tabs on.
The referees needed to have eyes everywhere as the tackles started flying in and for a few moments the tempo of the game spilled over as 21 players went face to face, with just Louis Jones staying well out of it.
The infamous 'Acker' responded by pulling a toweling belt from his pocket, fastening it around his balding cranium as a headband and adopting a few David Carradine 'Kung Fu' poses, whilst singing "Everybody was Kung Fu fighting" and "Get me that Wilf Race, I'll have him!"
The referee dealt out a string of yellow cards, while being advised loudly from the terraces: "Don't forget about that number five referee, he tackles like a ruptured fanny!"
As the dust settled, calm was restored and a night of light hearted pleasantries resumed, as Maltby launched the ball forward to Greeves who launched a shot towards the night sky from twenty yards out.
Armthorpe were absorbing everything that the Miners were mustering to throw at them, while the ball bounced up for Poole as he was about to shoot as time began to run out for Spencer Fearn's team.
Jones kept his side in the game, saving twice from Aspinall as Radford picked him out inside the Maltby six yard box...
There were just under two minutes remaining, when Darker launched a long throw into the Armthorpe area from out on the right, that glanced over a cluster of four Armthorpe defenders into the path of Hopewell, who gratefully steered it just inside the post past Copley, to Salvage a point for the home side.
Acker - An Armthorpe and South Yorkshire football legend
Pictured at Rosso Main earlier this season
The visitors will probably feel hard done by that they had to settle for a point... and there would be no small amount of justification in that, but Maltby showed a lot of character to keep chasing a result until the final whistle even though it was looking increasingly like a lost cause.
Snodin shot wide from long range in stoppage time... but a Maltby win would definitely have been a bitter pill for the Welfare to swallow.
FT: Maltby Main 1 v Armthorpe Welfare 1
It's a real shame that these two sides have now played each other twice this season (Maltby won 3-0 at Armthorpe), because I'd love to see these two sides going head to head again anytime soon.