Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Parkgate 3 v Cleethorpes Town 3 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 21st September 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Roundwood Sports Complex, Rawmarsh
Parkgate (1) 3
Alex Lill 29
Joshua Moore 45
Lebrun Mbeka 81
Cleethorpes Town (1) 3
Brody Robertson 35
Jonathan Oglesby 62
Marc Cooper 82
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 97
Parkgate FC:
Josh Lill, Ollie Yates, Tafadzwa Mumbanya,  Ross Shelton, Richard Hague, Connor Griffin, Lebrun Mbeka, Michael Cuckson, Josh Moore, Alex Lill, Sam Foulds
Subs - Conner (with an E) White, Jake Ashton, Scott Wesley, Andy Higgins, Danny Kabeya
Cleethorpes Town:
Liam Higton, Tim Lowe, Peter Winn, Jack Richardson, Matt Bloomer, Kieran Wressell, Caine Winfarrah, Liam Dickens, Marc Cooper, Brody Robertson, Jon Oglesby
Subs - Matt Kingston, Alex Flett, Lawrence McKay, Josh Sunter
At this rate the NCEL will be receiving recognition in the New Years honours list for services beyond the call of duty to the entertainment industry.
On paper tonight probably looked like a formality as league leaders Cleethorpes Town visited Parkgate, who were in joint bottom place without a point to their name before kick off.
But football isn't played on paper... it's played on Suth Yorkshire blustery nights, in heavy downpours.
And besides, the Steelmen's manager Steve Adams, has been busy strengthening his side with a host of new signings as he looks to steer his tide back on course in an upwardly direction following a shaky start to the season, where a 5-0 reversal at home against Retford United, seems to have been the catalyst for some much needed drastic changes.
Left: Bruce Bickerdike. Right: NCEL Fixtures Pest.
Before I commence rambling on about tonight's compelling contest, I would like to wish the Parkgate FC club secretary, Bruce Bickerdike, all the best for a full and speedy recovery, after a recent fall down some stairs has left him incapacitated, needing an operation and a stay in hospital.
Bruce is one of those people whose considerable presence adds warmth and colour to local non league football's rich tapestry of larger than life and unique, one off characters.
Get well soon pal. I look forward to seeing you out and about again any time soon.
Cleethorpes will have known not to underestimate the Rawmarsh based club, after they came unstuck on the road here last season, see HERE, when I'd boldly predicted that: "You have applaud Parkgate for their performance today; if they carry on playing like that they'll be well clear of the drop zone in no time at all".
Well it's taken a while to actually get around to hatching that particular plan, but anybody who was present at Green Lane tonight, would probably think that those words were more apt after this performance from the Steelmen, who certainly lived up to their nickname and weren't afraid in the slightest of some of the Owls big hitters as they competed neck and neck with their high flying opponents right until the final whistle.
The best league in the world.
In fact, if truth be told; though most people would've been expecting the visitors to win this game quite comfortably; on the balance of play, Marcus Newell's side could probably consider themselves slightly fortunate to head back to the east coast with a point from a game in which they came back from going behind three times.
Cleethorpes started the game well, but Peter Winn drilled a free kick over the bar after Liam Dickens had been fouled and Jon Oglesby, back in the Owls starting line up tonight, saw his left wing cross heading in the same direction.
Josh Lill ran from the Steelmen's goal area to intercepted a long pass intended for Marc Cooper and was forced into chesting the ball away, it bounced into the path of Brody Robertson out on the left, bouncing up abruptly off of the wet pitch, which caused the visitors number 10 no end of embarrassment, as his attempt to hook the ball over Lill and towards the goal failed miserably and he scuffed it in the opposite direction, over the stand that runs for half the length of the Roundwood pitch.
The anticipated one way onslaught never came and Parkgate picked up the ante instead, with Josh Moore seeing one effort go wide of Liam Higton's goal and another shot moments later, was saved by the Cleethorpes keeper.
On ten minutes Lebrun Mbeka saw a narrow gap in the visitors defence and threaded the ball through to Alex Lill, who kept his nerve as Higton came out to block him and planted the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net to give Parkgate the lead.
Even the most optimistic and upbeat of locals said "I wish that had happened with ten minutes left, rather than with ten minutes gone". 
Everone agreed universally that his cautious and not entirely optimistic observation was a good point well made.
'Clee' tried to force the issue again; Cooper's long shot was well held by (J) Lill, Liam Dickens dangerous cross from a right wing corner was headed clear by Mbeka. Richard Hague stopped Cooper's goal bound run through the left channel, with a tackle worthy of comparison with Bobby Moore on Pele. Younger readers ask your dad/granddad who these two players who used to represent two countries who were half decent at football, back in the day.
Robertson broke down the left flank, turned and delivered a cross to Cooper, whose long shot was blocked by Hague. Caine Winfarrah tested Lill with a stinging shot that he turned wide and Robertson lost his footing with just Lill to beat when Cooper flicked the ball on to him from the resulting corner.
But the visitors were finally on level terms, when Jack Richardson took advantage of a momentary lapse in concentration by the hard working Parkgate defence and rolled a slide rule pass through to Robertson, who put his previous slapstick finish and belly flop in a puddle behind him and rolled a precision shot past (J) Lill to equalise in the 35th minute.
Moments later, Robertson almost scored again from Winn's cross but his shot was saved.
"Oh well, nice while it lasted I suppose!" espoused the in house eternal pessimist. Ye of little faith!
Josh Moore advanced towards the visitors goal from out on the right, saw four Owls players ahead of him and 'dinked' a dipping shot over them that Higton had to tip over the bar.
Right on the stroke of half time, with the Parkgate faithful seemingly accepting that the visitors would turn up the heat after the break and that their lead had been nice while it lasted, Moore broke forward again... this time the 'Clee' defence had switched off completely, allowing the centre forward a clear run on goaland he gleefully accepted the opportunity to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
HT: Steelmen 2 v Owls 1
Parkgate attacked first after the break, Mbeka played the ball forward to (A) Lill but the Owls captain Matt Bloomer intercepted the ball and broke down the move before playing the ball out of defence.
Winfarrah picked up the initiative, but his shot crashed against Hague and another opportunity had gone. 
The travelling contingent of  Owls fans called for a penalty, but there was very little that Hague could've done to get out of the way of the ball as it hit him and in my humble and unbiased opinion, awarding a spot kick would've been harsh.
Both Cooper and Winn were only slightly wide of target from just outside the area.
The Parkgate number 3 Tafadzwa Mumbanya ('Taf' to his friends), seemingly has a right to roam clause in his contract, because he was popping up all over the place and was close to making it 3-1 with an angled shot from just inside the left edge of the penalty area, but Higton stood firm.
Cleethorpes pushed forward down the left flank and Winn's cross caused problems for the home side's defence, who only half cleared the ball away as far as Oglesby who drilled the ball across the face of the goal from just outside the right hand side of the area and his shot found the bottom left hand corner. It was a quality strike and once more the scores were level after 62 minutes.
The visitors were guilty of missing a couple of sitters as substitute Josh Sunter knocked a decent chance wide with his first touch of the ball and Richardson headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Both Cleethorpes full backs had to get across to cover their central defenders as Moore and (A) Lill both went close.
'Taf' showed some great skill out on the left and delivered a great cross to (A) Lill, but he couldn't get up yo meet it with his head because he was being restrained on the referee's blind side, which kind of offsets the visitors earlier penalty claim and proves the old adage about these sort of things balancing out.
Conner White came on from the bench and was straight in the thick of things as he chased a long knock forward down but was narrowly beaten to the ball by Higton whose sliding challenge, just inside the box had to be executed just right for a whole host of reasons.
Parkgate's third goal was an absolute peach of a strike, when (A) Lill took the ball past two challenges on the left flank before crossing to Mbeka who crashed the ball from 12 yards via the slightest of deflections that barely altered the course of the ball that was already destined for the back of the net anyway. 81 minutes gone, 3-1 to Parkgate.
But the scores were level yet again just sixty seconds later, when Cleethorpes mounted an attack from the restart and Cooper added the finishing touch with a well placed angled shot inside a crowded goalmouth. A real Lincolnshire Poachers goal if ever there was one.
White. one of Parkgate's recent captures from Parkgate was making a good impression after coming on for the last fifteen minutes, injecting new life and energy into the Steelmen's attack, but inspite of the combined efforts of Moore and Mumbanya late in the game, the full time scored remained 3-3.
Both managers were probably pulling their hair out at various times as the goals kept flowing, but what a cracking game that was as a spectacle, topping of a great night in the company of a fine body of men.
FT: Parkgate 3 v Cleethorpes Town 3
For the record, 'Clee' are still top of the league and unbeaten in 10 games, but they now face a ten day break until their next game, while Parkgate have yet another big ask on the horizon, when they visit Handsworth Parramore on Saturday.