Saturday, 15 July 2017

Maltby Main 2 v Frickley Athletic 4 - PSF

Saturday 15th July 2017
at Muglet Lane, Maltby
Pre Season Friendly
Maltby Main (1) 2
Alex Lill 27, 88
Frickley Athletic (1) 4
Tom Dugdale 13, Jacob Hazel 51,
Gavin Allott 74, Jameel Ible 86
Admission £3. Attendance 138
Flickr photo group from today's game: Click HERE
Maltby Main FC
Maltby Main:
Jack Hood. Jordan Edridge.  Jack Hutchinson, Craig Mitchell.  Tom Robley, Marc Peacock. Callum Littlejohn. Josh Aitkin, Alex Lill. Jack Wilson, Ryan Hall. 
Subs - Sam  Bartram, Curtis Birchall, Tom Goodison, Jack Greeves, Ollie Lawrence, Wes Ryder, Jordan Jones, Jake Ballinger.
Frickley Athletic:
Seb Malkowski, Nicky Darker, Adam Saxton, Danny Patterson, Jameel Ibel, Richard Patterson, Chris Fairclough, Jacob Hazel, Steve Hopewell, Gavin Allott, Tom Dugdale
Known subs - Danny Rusling, John Cyrus, John Stancliffe (I only had Frickley's starting line up)
These two sides met last year in a pre-season game, with Frickley taking the honours that afternoon, by the odd goal in five, courtesy of a last minute winner scored by Tom Guest; after the Miners had led 2-0 at half time. There are more details about that game HERE and HERE
Any game between these two sides would ever be anticipated as one for the faint hearted, but there was a further element of spice in  the mix today, because just a couple of months ago, two of the visitors management team who were present today, namely: Spencer Fearn and John Stancliffe... and half of their team, were still at Muglet Lane, relishing in the optimism that had been inspired by a post Xmas turn in fortunes on the field of play, that made the flirtations with the relegation places in the first half of the season seem like a distant memory.
The Frickley manager, old wotsisface? Holding the only
cup that he'll be getting his hands on this season.
The rest is history... last season the South Elmsall based side were relegated to the EvoStik Northern Premier League North and were subsequently switched to the South division in a reshuffle to equalise the number of teams in both leagues.
The Blues had been teetering dangerously close to edge of the abyss for  more years than their pragmatic and perpetually in turmoil fan base cared to count, save for a seventh placed finish at the end of the 2015-16 season, all things being relative, being mathematically safe before the final day of the season was looked upon as some kind of achievement among the dwindling numbers of the faithful, who not so many moons ago had relished in the fact that their team, still called Frickley Colliery, were a force to be reckoned with in the Gola League, which of course, as more recently been named the Conference and is currently known as the National League, y'know, that one a single step below Division 4/League 2 of the Football League.
There are those among the top end, age wise, of the Frickley faithful, who have suggested that being relegated is actually the best way for their team to turn the corner and rebuild, rather than slipping irreversibly into the psychological malaise and mindset that a soul crushing existence of annually struggling to avoid the drop inevitably ingrains into the psyche of the people who genuinely still care, a lot, about this 107 year old club, based at the top of a hill overlooking the very tight knit community that it represents.
Malty Main, as a club, are very similar to Frickley in many respects and have in common: the long history, local pride and camaraderie and an 'all in it together' spirit, that is the envy of a number of so called bigger teams, who purport to have that same regional togetherness, but fall some way short in truth. Because these are the foundations that the two clubs are built on and you can't imitate that kind of thing, regardless of how much money you spend, trying to convince yourself that it an be recreated and replicated.
Neither club is affluent, so don't believe any of the hype you might have heard to that end; but they are both steeped in the sort of riches that money can't buy.
As yours truly read out the teams in my dulcet BBC annunciation tones, that had the professional air of a much younger James Alexander Gordon about them, it became evident that the home side were missing three or four pivotal players, but these are the crosses that you have to bear on an almost week to week basis in non-league football, but in spite of these absences, none of those who represented the blood red shirts (or the fluorescent green one) were found wanting.
Thankfully, this was just the token home friendly against a non-league side from a division higher and not either of the games against Football League opposition, namely Scunthorpe United and Chesterfield, that this warm up game was sandwiched in between.
Frickley nearly took the lead as early as the first minute, but young Jack Hood did well to turn Jacob Hazel's angled shot around the post.
Randall & Hopkirk? Mind those fingers big 'un
A long throwfrom Nicky Darker, get used to seeing more of those you Frickley fans, found Gavin Allott, but the big number ten placed his header wide of the goal after Hood had moved instinctively to minimise the space that the prolific striker had to aim at.
Jameel Ible looked dangerous out wide for the visitors, but both Hazel and Rich Patterson both missed sitters as Hood forced them into rushing their efforts with his presence.
Hazel threaded a pass into the path of Allott, but Craig Mitchell, who put in a great shift for Maltby today, was on hand to thwart the visitors attack with a firm and almost fair challenge.
When all is said and done, it was Maltby v Frickley.
All part and parcel of etc
Jack Wilson fed the ball in front of Alex Lill, whose darting run left the Frickley defence stood around like a row of haphazardly arranged figurines, but Seb Malkowski was out quickly to intercept the danger.
Tom Dugdale, who I'd seen excel in the presence of Danny Buttle and Connor Smythe for Handsworth Parramore last season, looked very sharp and it was he who opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute, adding the finishing touch to a move where Fearn's side had strung six passes together before Allott created the chance with a diagonal knock to Dugdale's feet.
Another player who caught the eye in the visitors ranks was Chris Fairclough, who was on trial, with a view to signing for the EvoStik League club from County Senior League Club, Denaby Main. On this afternoon's showing, the Westfield Lane club are on the verge of snatching a gem from under the noses of any number of other local clubs.
The experienced Allott went down in instalments over a challenge from Tom Robley, but fell convincingly enough to hoodwink the referee. However, Dugdale's free kick flew inches wide of the top right hand stanchion, so justice was done and the need to ritually sacrifice yet another misguided match official behind the stand was narrowly avoided.
Adam Saxton pushed Josh Aitkin in the back as Maltby built up a head of steam, but Frickley scrambled the ball away to safety from Ryan Hall's free kick into the mix.
Jordan Edridge, playing at right back in the reshuffled Maltby pack, was establishing himself in the game and organising his team mates well as the home side started to impose themselves on  the game more.
Alex Lill chased a through ball into the Frickley area and despite colliding head on, literally, with the last defender, he managed to steer it past the advancing Malkowski, to level the game up.
Some guy wandering around showing us his aftershave
Even in pre-season, Lill has already hit a rich vein of goal scoring form since arriving from Parkgate in the Summer. My advice to the lad is this: keep your head down, keep doing what you're doing and block that bloody Spencer Fearn's phone number!
Having recovered from his knock, Lill broke forward at speed once again on  the left and played the ball sideways to Callum Littlejohn, who was unlucky to see two efforts on goal blocked first by Malkowski and then Richard Patterson off the rebound.
Just before the interval, Maltby were playing the ball out of defence, via some aesthetically lovely quick passing moves, when one of the 'Maltby Massive' in the stand boomed: "Bloody hit the thing! Playing it on the floor at the back is for bloody girls!"
Ah, I've missed these guys during the past few weeks since last season ended.
It's a good job that I turned the microphone off between announcements or the neighbourhood might have thought that we were staging a Tourette's Syndrome convention at the tastefully appointed Muglet Lane arena, that doesn't half look grand since it's closed season makeover.
HT: Miners 1 v Blues 1
"Nip across and fetch the picnic hamper Jake"
At half  time, whilst the visiting team took advantage of the lush greenery of the recently renovated pitch (great work Jim!), to conduct an outdoor team talk, the hordes descended on the newly opened and well stocked club shop to marvel at the vast array of goodies on offer, with new stock arriving all the time.
We interrupt this blog transmission to bring you a commercial break.
Please note, many clubs and badge manufacturers have been using the poppy symbol almost as a fashion accessory, but the profits from  the sale of Maltby Main badges displaying the logo, will go to the local British Legion. The bucket on the counter for loose change, is for a collection towards the Bluebell Wood Childrens Hospital, which is another of the local charities that the club supports.
Mail order is available, apply within: Darrell Johnson is waiting to take your call on 07907 502050.
Maltby Main already have sixteen players sponsored for the forthcoming season, but there are still ten more available at just £20 a throw. An absolute bargain for any company wishing to advertise themselves via the club programme, website and social media channels and inexpensive way for any of the clubs loyal fans to register their support.
Right, that brings this commercial break to a close. 
Check back soon, for a plug for the Centenary Club, Race Night, Bonus Ball and pitch side advertising fundraising efforts that are a vital lifeblood for this LITTLE CLUB WITH A BIG HEART
Happy that the club's public address system was working loud and clear on it's trial run, and knowing that both teams would be making approximately two hundred substitutions apiece after the interval, with players leaving the fray only to return to the field of play ten minutes later, we put the all new hi-tech sound system away under lock and key at half time.
One of the visitors second half additions, John Cyrus, made a telling contribution and his presence was probably the difference between the two sides, he's a big unit and no mistake and his combination of power, pace and skill, mark him out as one of the better players at Fearn's disposal.
But it was Jake Hazel who punctured the Maltby defence with a headed goal in the fifty first minute, that Hood got his outstretched hand to, but couldn't keep it out.
Fair play to young Hood who had been thrown in at the deep end this afternoon and couldn't be held at fault for any of the visitors goals.
Lill advanced forward again and found himself in a one against one race for the ball with the Frickley keeper,  sliced his clearance but managed to recover before Lill could take advantage.
Allott drilled a shot on the turn towards the Maltby goal, but Hood got down well behind it.
But in the seventy fourth minute Allott did find the net again, when he converted an easy chance from close range, after Adam Saxton had diverted Dugdale's right wing corner kickback across the face of the goal from the back stick.
Maltby had the chance to chip away at the two goal deficit, when Lill skipped past Saxton in the visitors area, but was grounded by a crunching tackle by the same player as he took aim.
Sam Bartrum delivered a right wing corner, to meet the timely run of Jack Greeves, but Ible got his head to the ball and cleared a good goal scoring opportunity,
Former Maltby keeper Danny Rusling had replaced Malkowski in the net for Frickley and he made an excellent save down to his left to keep Lill's well struck penalty out... if there is such a beast as a good penalty save against Maltby.
I used to like you Danny!
Jameel Ible found a glaring space in the Maltby defence and planted a free header into the top right hand corner from Fairclough's right wing corner.
The Miners were down, but not out and Ollie Lawrence broke free on the right flank and Rusling did well to block Jordan Edridge's close range header and the two saves that he made on his homecoming proved to be crucial, as Alex Lill helped himself to a late goal, to give the final score a more realistic look.
FT: Maltby Main 2 v Frickley Athletic 4
Frickley have recruited well, both on and off the pitch, whatever youmight read elsewhere... and the strong side that they fielded today will be a match for many a team further up the food chain than Maltby over the coming season.
But the Miners did well on an afternoon that was a big test for them and, just as importantly, as regards the new initiatives and facilities around the club, everyone involved deserved a pat on the back for the way that everything ran so smoothly and without any kind of hitch too.
Maltby play away at Eastwood Community on Wednesday night, then entertain Chesterfield at Muglet Lane next week. I won't be at either game, because I am away on spying missions elsewhere, but behind the scenes the Miners have a chameleon like and ultra reliable team of willing staff at Muglet Lane, who can adapt to each and every task that might arise at a moments notice. 
And everyone mucks in with a smile on their face (and occasionally a song or two) too.