Friday, 6 January 2017

Newark Town 4 v Bilsthorpe 0 - CMFL North - Abandoned after 82 minutes

Friday 6th January 2017
Central Midlands League (North)
at Station Road, Collingham
Newark Town (4) 4
George Pearce 9
Jordan Thomas 22 pen
Nathan Brown 30 OG
Chris Dobbie 38
Bilsthorpe (0) 0
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 64
As of yet any decision as to whether tonight's result will stand, given that the Blues were already four goals ahead, with just eight minutes of play remaining and that it was 'unlikely' at best that Bilsthorpe were destined to score four or more goals before the final whistle to effect the result, hasn't been taken. So we'll have to wait and see what the CMFL committee decree to that end, at their next meeting.
But all of that is immaterial really, compared to the plight of Lawrence 'Loz' Foster, who sustained a serious injury that saw the game abandoned, fingers crossed for the lad, let's hope that he makes a full and speedy recovery.
Professional footballers get paid while they recuperate from breaks and fractures, but at grassroots level the impact that a lay off from getting hurt playing sport can be more far reaching than some people might appreciate.
Another one of Bilsthorpe's walking wounded
As it was Newark Town's turn to play their weekend fixture on a Friday night, as part of the CMFL's #FloodyFriday initiative to boost attendances and they were slightly down on staff numbers tonight, I fulfilled my pledge to Richard Lane, the Newark Town club secretary and programme editor, to  offer any assistance that he needed on the night. 
My input didn't amount to very much if truth be told, but in that time slot leading up to kick off, when a multitude of tasks all require doing there and then and all 'must have' your immediate attention at precisely the same time, an extra pair of hands always helps to minimise the potential for chaos.
I've always had a good rapport with the teams that play at Station Road and as long as it doesn't clash with my duties elsewhere, they're always welcome to call on me when required.
BFC manager and former Stags youth protege
Dean Mitchell arrives at Station Road.
Get well soon pal!
Perhaps the fact that the legions of football travelers who descend on these sort of games in good numbers, had the opportunity to tick off this ground last month when Newark Town 'visited' Collingham, so to speak, had an effect on how many people turned out in the event, but the attendance figure, gate receipts and programme sales were all better than average, so to that end the night was a success.
And even a completely fanatical lover of UK non league football from Norway had made his way to Station Road to team up with his pal from Mansfield, as part of his current tour of grounds.
Good to see you both again... you make a lovely couple!
Having booked a hotel in Newcastle last week, only to see his intended games postponed due to the frost have a nibble at the regions pitches, Mr Johanson had commented: "This country is going soft, if they had been like this seventy years ago, you'd all of been speaking German now!"
Norwegians deal better with the cold, it must be all of the whale meat they eat, but I concede that the population of our green and pleasant land are we are a bit of a laughing stock in Scandanavia, because of the way that the north and midlands comes to a complete standstill under just a few inches of snow, while the same applies to our capital after 0.82 of a millimetre. But I digress...
From the outset, Newark were on the front foot tonight, taking the game to their visitors, who didn't really get their act together until after the break... and it was no surprise when Jordan Cummings threaded a great pass through the Bilsthorpe defence to pick out George Pearce who slotted the ball past Ryan Graves, inside the opening ten minutes.
Jordan Thomas was soon homing in on the visitors goal, as the Blues continued to make all of the early running, but Gary Atkins got back to force him wide and intercepted the ball at the expense of a corner.
A walking whiteboard. That must come in really handy.
It was another run by Thomas into the Bilsthorpe area that led to the home side's second goal, when Bilsthorpe's keeper Ryan Graves, grabbed the Blues number ten's ankle as he weaved his way past him and conceded a penalty, that Thomas duly thumped into the net via Graves outstretched hand.
George Simpson was showing a few decent touches as he tried to get the visitors going and it is worth noting, that in spite of this being a step seven non league game, that both sides were trying to keep the ball on the deck and play the game the way that the good lord (AKA Brian Clough) had intended.
The (all day) seasonal rainfall, had made for a slick and fast moving pitch, which encouraged a passing game, interspersed with a few 'proper' tackles, that took me back the halcyon days when slide tackling was allowed.
Atkins broke down the left flank as Bilsthorpe make a rare excursion deep into Newark's half, but the Blues goalkeeper Nathan Burrows met him with at the dead ball line and slid in to clear the danger.
Play switched quickly from end to end, but as Nathan Brown got to Jammy Lloyd's dropping ball into the visitors area first, it looked as though the potential goal threat had been avoided, until Brown headed the ball back to Graves without looking to see where he was stood first and inadvertently put Newark three goals ahead after half a hour. Whoops! 
Graves was called on to make two saves from Thomas in quick succession as Newark looked to hammer a few more nails into Bilsthorpe's coffin before the interval, but the overworked visitors keeper was unable to keep out Chris Dobbie's thirty eighth minute strike, as the agile Blues striker pirouetted on the spot, fifteen yards from goal and scored with a peach of a shot on the turn, to all but tie up the result after thirty eight minutes.
A poor clearance fell into the path of Lloyd, who looked odds on to add to Bilsthorpe's misery, but Graves raced out quickly to nick the ball away.
I'm not privy to what Graves did wrong at the club Xmas party to warrant such a backlash from his own team mates, who seemed to have collectively ganged up against him with Newark, but it must've been pretty serious stuff.
HT: Newark Town 4 v Bilsthorpe 0
Anyway! What I need to know, is when did Newark Town drop their unique and classy 'Peaceful Warriors' nickname and simply become the Blues? And how trite and silly does that sound when they are wearing their change strip of yellow and green? Just saying!
Graves was in action again at the beginning of the second half, twisting and turning backwards, to tip Thomas' close range volley over the bar, before punching the resulting corner away into the middle distance.
But from then on in, the game was far more even than it had been before the interval and Bilsthorpe made far more of a fight of things.
One thing that wasn't going unnoticed was that the match referee, Will Murray, must've had his hearing aid turned off, because I have never heard so much effing and Geoffing aimed at a match official in years, in fact not since I stood on a touchline to monitor the behaviour of some particularly outspoken parents at a Harworth v Tickhill Under 10's game a few years ago (the referee from that game still carries the mental scars).
Kyle Wesley swung in a cross to Atkins and Burrows did well to get down to his left and make a save.
Craig Gould, the visitors captain, actually had the ball in the back of Newark's goal and though he was (correctly) flagged offside, the assistant referee had signalled his decision to the referee very late, which meant that he was now sharing the brunt of the profanities with Mr Murray.
Bilsthorpe seemed to think that their best chance of breaking down their hosts and chipping away at the four goal deficit was via the right flank, but the Newark captain, Rick Brewer was proving to be a formidable barrier and shut down that route efficiently.
Sam Wilford came close to putting the game to bed, but Graves blocked the ball with his feet, as his defence looked far more organised in front of him than they had earlier in the game.
Atkins, who had played well for the visitors tonight, was just inches away from puling a goal back inside the last ten minutes, but his curling shot from  the right hand side of the area, flew wide of the left hand post.
With eight minutes remaining, Lawrence Foster, was bringing the ball under control out on the touchline, when Lloyd challenged him for it.
Sadly, the Newark number six caught Foster's right ankle, very firmly but purely accidentally and the sickening sound of a bone giving way, along with the chilling cries of pain, indicated exactly what had happened, even before any help arrived quickly on the scene.
Under the circumstances... and though he received some abuse for doing so... the referee abandoned the game.
He had to, and that decision had already been made for him, surely!

There were a couple of people who suggested that Foster could be removed from the pitch, which is never the right thing to do where breakages are concerned and some who thought that the abandonment was a bit hasty and that the referee should've waited to see how long the ambulance took to arrive.
Possibly he could have given it ten minutes or so, but he was in communication with Bilsthorpe's assistant manager who was on the phone to the emergency services, so he would've had a rough idea about the timescale that was expected.
In the event the ambulance arrived at 10.45pm, so the match official had called the situation correctly.
FT: Newark Town 4 v Bilsthorpe 0 (pending CMFL clarification)
I'm sure that I wasn't alone in flinching when I heard that awful bone splintering sound.
Hopefully, you're as comfortable as is humanly possible at the moment Lawrence Foster and on the mend soon.
Sure, everyone would have wanted the game to be played out to it's conclusion, but we must never lose sight of the fact that, that is all it is... a game and some thingsare infinitely more important.