Saturday, 15 October 2016

Bottesford Town 1 v Maltby Main 2 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 15th October 2016
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Birch Park
Bottesford Town (0) 1
Gareth Barlow 79
Maltby Main (2) 2
Ryan Carroll 29
Steve Hopewell 35
Attendance 65
Photo gallery from this game HERE
Bottesford Town:
Arron Busby, Danny Gibbons, Laurence McKay, Lee Ridley (C), Oliver Donald, Terry Barwick Elliot Broughton, Matt Steeper, Louis Grant, Gareth Barlow, Jack Cross
Maltby Main:
Louis Jones, Reece Wesley, Liam Flint, Nicky Darker (C), Danny Reilly, Derelle Goodison, Josh Schofield, Shawn Mitchell, Steve Hopewell, Ryan Carroll, Jordan Snodin
Inside the opening minute, Bottesford's Terry Barwick headed the ball away from under Arron Busby's crossbar, as Danny Reilly moved in to meet Jordan Snodin's right wing corner.
The Poachers first attack, moments later was thwarted when Shawn Mitchell intercepted Louis Grant's through ball to Elliot Broughton.
From the outset the game was a fairly open affair and the Miners went close again, when Josh Schofield attacked the home side's goalmouth through the right channel, but couldn't quite keep his angled shot on target.
Louis Jones did well to stop the home side from breaking the deadlock, when he turned away Matt Steeper's close range shot and then recovered in time to repel Grant as well.
Mitchell took one for the team and blocked Barwick's shot from the edge of the box and as the home side started to find their rhythm, Jones had to sprint from his line as Schofield under hit a back pass straight into the path of Grant, but the Miners keeper cleared the ball to safety.
Barwich had obviously packed his shooting boots into his kit bag today and he tried his luck again from all of thirty yards, but his effort didn't have enough power to trouble Jones who saved comfortably from the former Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town and York City player, who eventually wound up at Birch Park, via a circuitous trail of several quite notable non-league clubs.
Derrelle Goodison ran twenty yards towards the Bottesford area, but having skipped past two attempted challenges, he rolled his shot wide of the goal.
The home side broke forward down the left and Gareth Barlow showed some neat touches before feeding the ball through to Grant with a slide rule pass... but the Poachers striker is too honest for his own good and as he nudged the ball past Jones, he hurdled over the Maltby keepers outstretched leg and by the time he had recovered his footing, Jones had recovered his position and held onto Grant's cross come shot.
I reckon that approximately 99.4% of centre forwards would have gone to ground under similar circumstances and claimed a penalty while the keeper sweated over what colour card he was going to be shown. I hope that Jones got him a pint in after the game for being such a good sport.
Steve Hopewell shielded the ball well, before laying off a sideways pass to Ryan Carroll, who was a fraction away from scoring, but saw his shot come back off the crossbar.
Elliot Broughton showed good close control as he swept forward into the final third and released Barlow on the left, but Reece Wesley had been holding his ground well at right back and forced the Poachers attacker to go wide instead of cutting inside,there's a knack to defending like that, so well done Reece. Barlow did get a cross of sorts in, but Jones dealt with it and the ball was cleared quickly into the Bottesford half, where the wind carried it all the way into the penalty area where Carroll chased it down and threaded the ball past Busby from twelve yards, while the home defence were caught flat footed as they desperately tried to recover their ground.
It's called 'smash and grab' when the likes of Maltby Main benefit from getting the ball forward from box to box quickly, but when Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side did it in 2004, the Premier League champions were called 'the invincibles'.
Not that I'm comparing Ryan Carroll to Thierry Henry you understand, because he, the latter the latter that is, is obviously too old to play at this kind of breakneck pace these days... and he's never been tackled properly by Terry Barwick either.
Carroll was through on goal again two minutes later, but fell over and lost possession, proving once and for all, that there are no likenesses whatsoever between him and Mr Va Va Voom.
Mitchell headed wide from Snodin's corner, as Maltby's wind assisted break and goal visibly lifted them.
The visitors were two goals to the good after 35 minutes, when Hopewell squeezed the ball just inside the near post from Darker's right wing cross, before colliding with the Poachers keeper.
Both players required treatment before the game could continue, but they're a rough and tough lot in Rotherham and Sunny Scunny..
Maltby at this point will have been acutely aware of the fact that they had also cruised into a two goal lead against Rainworth Miners Welfare last Saturday, before having to hang on for a draw late in the game, so they would be taking absolutely nothing for granted.
Gareth Barlow's right wing cross spun up off of Wesley's right foot and Jones caught it.
There were a few appeals for a penalty, including some particularly loud ones from the home side's captain Lee Ridley, but the referee, Mr Hawksby had a good view of the incident and ruled that Wesley's "Backpass!" had been completely unintentional.
Barwick, uncharacteristically, almost committed defensive suicide, when he carelessly rolled a pass back to Busby as Schofield ran through on his blind side and was only a couple of feet away from reaching the ball before the Bottesford keeper launched it up into the clouds. 
Caution prevents abortion n' all that.
A third Miners goal before half time would leave Bottesford with a mountain to climb after the break, but at 0-2 with the wind behind them and players of the calibre of Broughton, Grant, Barlow and McKay (who signed yesterday from Cleethorpes Town) out on the park, who can cause any NCEL side problems, this game was far from over.
Maltby were well aware that another goal cushion could be critical and they very nearly increased their lead, when Danny Reilly put a header just over the bar from Snodin's cross and Schofield's shot across the face of the goal went wide from Goodison's opening.
HT: Poachers 0 v Miners 2
Bottesford were throwing everything in their armory at their battling visitors, but as of yet, Maltby were chucking everything back again too.
The scene was set for an intriguing second half. 
In fact the excitement was getting all too much for one of our travelling party, who declared that he was going to celebrate with a "long slow wank!" if Maltby held on for all three points.
I hope he'd had a wash before we shook hands at full time.
Pretty much as everyone had anticipated, the home side had the lions share of the ball after the interval, as they looked to turn the score around. But right at the start of the second half, it was Spenver Fearn's side who were looking the most likely to score, with Snodin starring as the architect behind their attacking intentions, as he set up Mitchell who forced a good save out of Busby, who got down to his right to turn the ball round his post.
With Laim Flint looking solid at left back and chipping in with more than his fair share of organisational 'verbals', Bottesford took to doubling up through McKay and Jack Cross down the opposite flank, where in spite of Wesley putting in a really hard slog of a shift, the Poachers number 11 lived up to his name and delivered the ball into the visitors area twice in quick succession.
Reilly headed the ball away from his first knock, while Barlow scored from his second that came about from Barwick playing the ball out wide to Cross... or at least he thought he had scored, but his effort was chalked off for an offside offence.
I was actually at Birch Park today in an official capacity, standing in as an acting matchday secretary for Maltby, in the very rare absence of Mr John Mills, so my narrative could possibly be ever so slightly biased in places, however, donning my neutral hat on to comment on the disallowed goal, it did look ever so slightly harsh on Barlow from where I was stood.
These things even themselves out over the course of... well, y'know what they say!
Schofield rudely gatecrashed what was meant to be Bottesford's comeback party and took the ball down the right flank before picking out Snodin who headed over as Busby collided heavily with him.
Snodin didn't last much longer after taking the full force of Busby crashing into him (not intentionally I must add) and was replaced on the hour by Marcio Virira, who was making his Miners debut.
The anticipated bombardment of the Miners goal duly arrived, perhaps a little later than expected, but when it came, Maltby had to dig deep and park a whole Moxon's depot worth of buses across their defence.
The home support groaned as Grant scuffed a shot wide across thefront of Jones' goal. Danny Gibbons cross was headed away from virtually under the bar by Flint and Cross launched a blistering shot over the goal that actually cleared the adjacent sports centre roof.
Danny Boulton headed McKay's cross back towards Grant, but Reilly doesn't miss much in the air and he was on hand to get rid of the ball in the nick of time.
Jones was busy as he kept out both Barlow and Boulton within the space of a minute, as the ball was launched into the visitors area, at disturbingly frequent intervals.
The referee made a terrible error of judgement, as Virira mistimed an attempt to take the ball away from Boulton and took away both of his legs instead. 
As the (very) clumsy tackle had taken place well inside the Miners area, it was clearly a blatant and stonewall penalty to Bottesford and it looked for all the world as if Maltby would now be facing an onslaught for the remaining twenty minutes, if the home side converted the spot kick and the game would be well and truly in the balance.
But... the referee waved play on and either ignored, or missed the challenge completely.
As I've said, I was in Bottesford with Maltby, so although I have got a lot of time for many aspects of what the host club represents, I didn't actually want them to win today, but in spite of my undisguised bias, there is no way that even I could re-invent what I had just seen, or whitewash over it, or even claim that my view was obscured.
I can connfirm 110% that Bottesford definitely should have been awarded a penalty.
With ten minutes to go, the home side finally found the back of the net, to set up a grandstand finish, when Barlow played a short pass to Boulton twelve yards from goal, Wesley blocked his shot but the loose ball fell to Barlow, who reacted quickly and thumped a shot past Jones from the rebound.
"I'll take a draw now!" was the immediate response of one Maltby fan to Barlow's unstoppable strike.
The bulldozers arrived and removed the parked buses and there will be some tired, bruised and aching limbs in South Yorkshire tomorrow morning as the Poachers battered the living daylights out of Maltby for the remainder of the game.
The defiant and resolute defending displayed by Maltby today deserved something, even though Bottesford will feel disappointed not to have claimed all three points, either by virtue of the one way traffic they directed towards the Miners goal in the closing ten minutes, or a couple of questionable refereeing decisions not going their way.
FT: Bottesford Town 1 v Maltby Main 2
Both teams put so much effort in this afternoon, I was knackered just watching it all.
My final game of my 'loan spell' as a glorified timekeeper and pen pusher for Maltby Main is on Wednesday night, when Staveley Miners Welfare visit Muglet Lane for a NCEL League Cup game.
It would be nice to sign off with my 100% record intact.
Bottesford Town have a blank midweek, to prepare for next Saturday's FA Vase tie at Birch Park, against West Midlands Regional League side Haughmond FC.
Good luck to both teams as they endeavour to reach the next round of these competitions.
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