Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Armthorpe Welfare 1 v Harrogate Railway Athletic 2 - NCEL Prem

Tuesday 4th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Church Street, Armthorpe
Armthorpe Welfare (0) 1
Craig Aspinall 82
Harrogate Railway Athletic (0) 2
Stephen Bromley 58
Brandon Deane 76
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 99
A night of thrills and spills was always likely to be on the cards tonight, as 22nd (and bottom) placed Armthorpe Welfare hosted Harrogate Railway Athletic, who kicked off tonight in twentieth position.
The Starbeck based club have found it hard going since they were relegated back into the NCEL at the end of last season, a decade after they last competed at this level.
Tonight's win saw player manager Paul Beesley's side move out of the bottom three on goal difference, as they leapfrogged over Barton Town Old Boys, despite the fact that the Swans picked up a point themselves from a 1-1 draw against promotion contenders Handsworth Parramore at Marsh Lane.
To date 'the Wellie' have picked up just a solitary league point so far all season, in last week's hard fought 'Coal Classico" at Maltby Main's Muglet Lane ground, a venue that I will be frequenting again tomorrow night.
At the weekend 'the Rail' went down narrowly at Thackley by two goals to one, while Armthorpe led through an 18th minute Liam Radford strike at Bridlington Town, before the Seasiders hit back... seven times, to record an emphatic win over Michael Carmody's side.
Curtis Woodhouse will have enjoyed his second game a Brid's manager even more tonight, as they saw off Retford United 8-0!
A lively, end to end encounter ensued, that gave little indication to any neutral onlooker, that either side was struggling to get away from the bottom end of the table. In actual fact the two sides put on a decent game of football for all 99 spectators who were present to enjoy.
Armthorpe almost snatched the lead inside the opening two minutes, directly from Jake Stannard's left wing corner but Greg Kidd headed the ball away from under the crossbar.
Craig Aspinall, who had impressed me with a battling performance at Maltby last week, imposed himself well in the middle of the park again tonight... if there was such a thing as a NCEL Representative Side and I was picking it (lord forbid, eh!?), the former Retford Unted would be a strong contender for the number 8 shirt. His influence on the game reminded me of Jake Scott when he was doing his bit for Worksop Town... and if you aren't familiar with the role Scott played for the Tigers, it would be fair to say that they lost their way completely when the wheels came off, after he moved on from Sandy Lane.... it is fair to say that the comparison doesn't constitute faint praise.
Tom McLaughlin advanced down the left wing and picked out Darren Mansaram, but the Welfare striker didn't get enough purchase behind his hearer to trouble Adam Birkenshaw in the visitors goal.
Harrogate's Paul Beesley paced through the middle of the home sides defence in pursuit of a through ball from Ryan Sharrocks, but he had strayed offside.
But Beesley was back moments later, released by a similar pass from Lewis Riley, but he shot straight at Will Biggs.
Biggs was in action again when he turned Stephen Bromley's shot from Sharrocks left wing free kick around the post.
Sharrocks delivered the corner with pinpoint accuracy to Beesley, who planted a firm header on target but was denied by Biggs agility as he managed to turn the ball over.
Another Sharrocks flag kick was half cleared by the Welfare defence, but only as far as Luca Baravelli, who couldn't keep his shot down and the ball disappeared into the distance over Biggs goal.
Liam Radford, gambling on the percentages intercepted a poor clearance and advanced on 'the Rail' goal through the left channel, but drilled his shot wide of the left hand upright.
Jake Stannard pick out Mansaran to the right hand side of the visitors goal with a diagonal pass, but Armthorpe's number 9 unleashed the ball across the face of Birkenshaw's goal and wide of the left post.
Radford thought he had put the home side in front just before the half hour mark, but he had netted from an offside position.
Beesley picked up possession on the edge of the home sides area and threaded the ball through to Brandon Deane, whose angled shot went behind off of Biggs outstretched arm. 
Baravelli found Beesley with a dipping kick, but he fired wide. Armthorpe broke quickly from box to box from the goal kick and Birkinshaw saved well from Josh Brigham.
The match referee Ian Johnston, was having a good game, along with his assistants Ricky Taylor and Neil Munday, which helped to keep the game flowing along nicely from end to end.
Aspinall was a whisker away from breaking the deadlock, when he connected with Stuart Preston's corner, while at the other end, one can only assume that Deane made himself dizzy when he turned two defenders inside out at speed, because when he put his foot through the ball to shoot, he was facing away from Armthorpe's goal.
Right on the stroke of half time, Mansaram went past a challenge on the left hand side of the visitors area and when his sideways ball evaded Aspinall, Preston crashed a shot towards the bottom right hand corner of Harrogate's goal that Birkenshaw did really well to keep out.
HT: 0-0 but plenty of action.
The first chance of the second half, just as it had in the first, fell to Armthorpe.
Chris Ovington didn't stand on ceremony as he upended Aspinall, out on the right flank just inside the visitors half.
McLaughlin's long free kick towards Mansaram at the back post was headed away from the goal line by Toby Lees, but fell into the path of Josh Brigham who miscued his shot from eight yards.
Mansaram dispossessed Kidd and nonchalantly backheeled the ball towards Brigham, but Lees was alert to the situation and cleared up at the back for 'the Rail'.
Brandon Deane escaped the attentions of Scott Rhodes but Biggs was off his line quickly to smother the ball at the lively wingers feet.
Mansaram hooked the ball wide to Brigham on the left wing and continued his run to meet the return pass, but Sharrocks intercepted and moved forward quickly before sending a long pass into the path of Stephen Bromley who put on a burst of pace before planting the ball past Biggs to give the visitors the lead on 58 minutes.
The home side were almost caught out by another counter attack after a promising move forward broke down, when Sam Chapman took the ball off of McLaughlin after Preston and Dan Bulman had exchanged passes and fed the ball wide, with McLaughlin stranded out of position Chapman took advantage of thee space and drilled a long range pass to Sharrocks whose shot across the face of goal cleared the back post.
When you're bottom of the league, nothing ever seems to go right for you. And that old adage has never rung more true than when Aspinall found McLaughlin with a pass towards the left hand side of the final third, the full back's sideways knock found Preston whose thumping header looked to have 'equalising goal' written all over it, but Birkenshaw managed to scoop the ball out from under the bar and it ricocheted wide off of Mansaram, who couldn't have been more than three feet away from the goal.
Radford went close again, but couldn't keep his shot down when he was well placed and put the ball over the bar.
In the 76th minute, Armthorpe suddenly had a mountain to climb, when Jack Bonser hesitated in possession before under hitting the ball to Biggs and Deane sprinted forward to reach the loose ball first and found the back of the net via the right hand upright.
Aspinall stroked a free kick to Bulman inside 'the Rail' area, he shot first time but when Birkenshaw could only parry the ball back to the same player, he knocked it wide.
Birkenshaw was involved again moments later, when he had to race out of his area and tackle Radford, who was otherwise advancing on his goal unchallenged.
In the 82nd minute, Bulman spotted the run of Aspinall into the visitors goalmouth and slipped a slide rule pass through the narrowest of gaps to his captain, who placed an assured shot into the back of the Harrogate net.
Ovington was booked for time wasting as he kicked the ball away (twice) to prevent Armthorpe from taking quick free kicks... and for the benefit of the 'Rail' supporter whowas loudly demanding toknow where the few minutes stoppage time had come from, there is your answer pal!
Though the time that Deane spent on the floor with cramp in the 92nd minute, probably accounted for a few more moments too.
Aspinall put the ball over from Mansaram'slob into the six yard box and Bulman cracked a shot high and wide from the edge of the area, as Armthorpe finished with a flurry, but it just wasn't going to be Armthorpe's night and Harrogate held on for all three points.
FT: Armthorpe Welfare 1 v Harrogate Railway Athletic 2
Image result for armthorpe football sign
A decent game all told, that was fairly evenly contested throughout.
But ultimately, Armthorpe were punished ruthlessly for conceding possession twice and the visitors shaded it in the end, even though the consensus of opinion around us, seemed to suggest that the people sat nearby though that a draw would've been a fairer result.
Armthorpe entertain Barton Town Old Boys on Saturday, while Parkgate travel up to North Yorkshire to face Harrogate Railway Athletic, two games that encompass the bottom four teams in the Premier Division... there's never a dull moment in that there Northern Counties East League.