Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Penistone Church 3 v Glashoughton Welfare 2 - NCEL LC Semi Final

Tuesday 18th April 2017
Toolstation NCEL League Cup Semi Final
at the Memorial Ground, Penistone
Penistone Church (3) 3
Scott Whittington 2
Duncan Richards 17
Andrew Ring 39
Glasshoughton Welfare (0) 2
Conor Glavin 65
Callum Harrison 75
Admission £5 Programme £1.50
Attendance 242
By half time, well, possibly after just twenty minutes if truth be told, it looked as though Church were already on cruise control and heading straight for the NCEL Cup Final, which will be played on Wednesday May 17th (7.30pm) at Bramall Lane, against Bridlington Town, who beat AFC Emley 1-0 in tonight's other Semi Final, courtesy of a Chris Adams 76th minute goal at Queensgate.
But after their restorative half time mugs of PG Tips, the visitors came out and made a real go of it and almost overcame a 3-0 interval deficit when Nathan Keightley's 88 minute strike was ruled out.
The home side were in front after just two minutes when Scott Whittington pounced to slam the ball emphatically into net, after Jordan Bradshaw could only parry Danny Barlow's free kick from just outside Glasshoughton's area to the left.
"Goalkeeper error!" I heard somebody mutter, but: it wasn't Bradshaw who conceded a free kick in dangerous position, he actually saved Barlow's strike and his team had ten other players who could have helped him to clear the ball.
Nobody badmouthed Bradshaw as he sprinted from his line to clear a through ball from Ash Ellis into the path of Whittington five minutes later, when he doubled up as a sweeper and appeared to be the only Glasshoughton player who had spotted the apparent danger. Just saying.
Mike Brearley hooked the ball off the line, as Duncan Richards left wing corner swung in and almost went straight in to double Penistone's lead.
But when the same two players went toe to toe in the seventeenth minute as they challenged to get to Barlow's through ball, Brearley got their first but slipped and inadvertently set up an easy chance for Richards who gratefully accepted the invitation to curl the ball into the top left hand corner past Bradshaw, who couldn't do a damn thing about it, unless he'd arrived with extendable arms and an invisible force field across his goal.
Adam Rhodes, the Penistone keeper held onto Connor Glavin's left wing corner, at the second attempt, as Glasshoughton began to pick up the pieces of their auspicious start and started to pick up momentum, but they were almost blown away completely when the home side turned the screw with half time fast approaching and they could have gone into the break four or five goals to the good, but had to settle for three, as Andy Ring ran straight through the middle of the Welfare defence and drilled the ball past Bradshaw from fifteen yards after Whittington had put him through with a precision pass fromin the middle of the park.
Ryan Johnson had combined with Richards on the right flank, but Bradshaw moved off his line to pluck the latter's cross out of the air before Whittington could capitalise, and right on the stroke of half timeJimmy Stafford crashed a header against the crossbar from James Young's long free kick.
Glasshoughton brushed themselves down at half time, while Darren Holmes and Lee Vigars must've delivered a half time team talk of Churchillian proportions, as the visitors came out completely refocused, tore up the script and started again from scratch.
And their outside chance of getting anything out of this game, became a (ever so slightly) less faint hope, in the sixty fifth minute, when Connor Glavin pulled a goal back with a well struck free kick from all of thirty yards out.
It was 'game on!' in the seventy fifth minute, when Callum Harrison diverted Adam Hayton's cross past Rhodes.
The visitors had adopted a 'Bramall Lane or bust' policy towards the second half and were giving it a real go, while being mindful that Penistone might hit them on the counter attack at any moment as they piled forward in numbers.
Late in the game there was pandemonium in the Church six yard box as both sides desperately tried to connect with the ball, but when Keightley did get his foot to it and knocked the ball into the back of the net, he was jusdged to have strayed marginally offside... and Penistone held on, if only just, to the lead that they had built up in the first half to progress to the final. 
See you there!
FT: Penistone Church 3 v Glasshoughton Welfare 2