Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Collingham 2 v AFC Bentley 2 - CMFL North

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
CMFL (North)
at Station Road, Collingham
Collingham FC (2) 2
Tom Moore 2, 34
AFC Bentley (1) 2
Luke Farrar 22, Brad Sykes 90+3
Admission £3. Programme £1
Two apiece!?
How on earth were there only four goals tonight?
I hear told that there was live football on the television night and I could've watched the semi finals in either the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, from the comfort of my front room.
Well, if you were daft enough to stay at home to watch either of those games, then you have got nobody but your stupid self to blame for missing this compelling end of season game, between two of the Central Midlands League North's form teams.
Collingham went into tonight's game on the back of an eleven game unbeaten run, whilst AFC Bentley, in their inaugural season, have been quietly going about the business of securing third place in the league, before a ball was even kicked tonight.
AFC Bentley rose from the ashes of Brodsworth Welfare and Bentley FC, who both ceased to exist at the end of last season, for reason's far to complex for me to go into minute detail here and now, given that I impose a 20,000 word limit per match report/overview I write, on this self indulgent, bullshit blog with added football content.
But, I am delighted that this phoenix like club are doing so well, given the high calibre of the people I know from previous visits to both clubs.
AFC Bentley haven't wasted any time in establishing themselves and next season they will have as many as eighteen teams of differing ages, playing under the club banner.
Of course, Collingham themselves have numerous teams too, and aren't shy about giving the players who have developed through their youth ranks a fair crack of the first team whip.
Tom Moore gave Collingham the lead inside the second minute, with an Exocet rocket of a shot from almost thirty yards out.
I can't imagine that any of you misery guts lot who stayed in to watch football on the telly tonight will have seen anything even like such a sweetly taken strike.
Ellis Spencer was called into action twice in quick succession, saving well against Zack King as the two of them went one against one as the Bentley striker paced through the middle of the home side's defence, before blocking Brad Maddison's effort with his feet.
At the other end, Jack Wilkinson evaded two challenges but Josh Diggles got down quickly to get his body behind the ensuing goal attempt.
But Bentley's spell of pressure paid off in the twenty first minute, when Luke Farrar equalised and Maddison almost put the visitors in front shortly afterwards, but his dipping effort from twelve yards, dropped just over the bar.
The crossbar(s) came into play at both ends, with Diggles claiming the ball from Matt Cotton as the pair challenged for the rebound from Chris Funnell's effort as it crashed back off the woodwork, while Maddison rattled the framework of the goal from the edge of the area at the other end.
Moore added a second goal for the home side on thirty four minutes, when he made himself a yard of space inside the Bentley area and drilled the ball past Diggles.
Craig Bridge punctured the visitors defence with a diagonal ball through to Cotton, but his angled shot across the face of goal rolled wide of the left hand post.
Maddison went close once again, but his well directed header that looked to be sneaking into the bottom right hand corner, was tipped round the upright by Spencer, who made a save with his fingertips at full stretch.
HT: Collingham 2 v AFC Bentley 1
Matt Cotton looked odds on to increase the lead for the home side, when he chased down a loose ball on the edge of Bentley's area and took it wide of Diggles, but his shot cannoned back off the upright.
A good knock from Josh Bowkett presented King with a shooting opportunity, but as he took aim, Sidnei Costa moved in quickly to nick the ball off of his toe. Personally, I prefer to see Costa playing further up the pitch, in a more creative role, but he has proven to have the versatility to tailor his game to accommodate his switch to being a left sided defender with the first team.
Another of Collingham's development team's graduates, Marlon Grundy, was now on the pitch from the bench and offering them more attacking options, as both sides continued to keep up the high tempo in what was their final game of the season.
Maddison, who must have run over half a dozen black cats belonging to a Gypsy elder on the way to Station Road, was having no luck whatsoever in front of the home side's goal and as he nudged the ball past Spencer from eight yards out, it rolled inches wide of the goal. On any other night, he could've been on a hat trick by now.
Collingham went hunting for a third goal that would secure their victory, but as Bridge threaded a pass through to Cotton, he rounded the last man but fired into the side netting.
Diggles was the hero for the South Yorkshire side with two great stops from close range efforts by both Grundy and Cotton and in  the final minute of the ninety he smothered Bridge's knock across the face of his goal at the feet of Grundy.
Three minutes into stoppage time, the visitors summoned up enough lung power to take the game to the wire, throwing everything they had at their hosts and while the referee was checking his watch Brad Sykes got a telling touch on the ball in the Collingham area and diverted it into the roof of the net.
FT: Collingham 2 v AFC Bentley 2
All told an excellent game to bring the curtain down on the CMFL North season at Station Road and though it looked as if Collingham's predominantly young side had done enough to claim the spoils, I don't think that the visitors goalkeeper, Josh Diggles deserved to be on the losing side, given the quality of some of those saves he made in the second half.