Welfare Ground, Oxford Street, Rossington
Pre Season Friendly
Rossington Main (2) 2
Callum Wiffen 25
Cameron Johnson 32
Sheffield United (0) 1
Callum Howell 77
He eyed me suspiciously: "Are you leaving that bugger there!?" he growled, pointing at my motor conveyance.
"Sorry pal!" I replied, I've just moved in up there...", I explained, gesturing down Oxford Street "...and I couldn't squeeze in outside my own house 'cos of all this lot parked here, who are going to the football"
"It'll be alright there for a couple of hours until our Chris gets home from work", my new neighbour advised me.
"Cheers mate!" I retorted, as I strolled towards the Welfare Ground, wondering to myself whether 'our Chris' was a big bastard who suffers from 'parking rage' or not, while hoping that he was putting a few extra hours of overtime in this afternoon.
Upon entering the ground, I was greeted by a club official by the name of Ged Parsons, who also does some sterling work for the Doncaster FA. He enquired why I wasn't in Bristol today. I gave him a puzzled look and shrugged my shoulders. "I thought you were working for AFC Mansfield the last time I saw you" he explained.
Hmm, to the best of my knowledge I am not employed by their chairman Andy Saunders; who by way of a massive coincidence I had just happened to be watching the game at Handsworth Parramore with last night. But I am beginning to fear that I must have a doppelganger; because last week some Worksop Town fans asked me when I had started working for Retford United (again, this was news to me) and a couple of nights ago a Retford United supporter asked me if I was enjoying life back at Worksop Town. Uh!?
I hope this football slag twin of mine hasn't been misbehaving and getting me into any bother.
It sure as hell beats the crap out of me as to where these rumours originate from, because, for the record, I am actually doing my bit for and am 100% committed to Gainsborough Trin... err, Maltby Main!
And I have been happily pottering around with them since October of last year, along with circumnavigating the globe with the Mansfield Town (back to back title winning) Under 18 side on Saturday mornings for the past two seasons.
Oh well, they say that there is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is getting Swarfega patio and driveway cleaner in your eyes... obviously!
One of the players I know, came over and shook my hand as the teams headed back to the changing rooms from their respective warm ups: "Hi Rob, have you gone to Frickley with Spencer Fearn mate?" What!!!? Somebody pass me that bloody Swarfega!
This is getting beyond a freakin' joke, I'll tell ya!
For the record, Maltby were playing at home this afternoon, just a few miles away, over t'other side of the A1. But I went at Oxford Road instead, because they had a game against Chesterfield today and nobody, nowhere, no how, will ever be even remotely interested in watching them play... will they!?
As is the norm at this time of the year, one of this afternoon's teams had a Trialist in their squad, as a consequence, I will not be using his name or publishing the team line ups... and I have diligently gone through all of my photographs with a fined toothed comb (I certainly don't have any other use for such a thing these days) to ensure that I didn't inadvertently publish any pictures that he could be recognised from.
I find that good manners go a long way in football.
And for the record, this Trialist had a decent game and on today's showing, it is perfectly understandable why he is attracting interest from elsewhere too.
Both sides had opportunities to open the scoring early on, with Ogden in the Blades goal spreading himself at the feet of Johnson to make a save inside the first couple of minutes, while Charlesworth, somewhat adventurously, got under the ball and put it into orbit and out of the ground from twenty five yards out.
Buckham, the Main left back looked useful all afternoon, covering his defensive berth well and getting forward to link up with Johnson and Trialist. A combination of these three forced Bond, on the right hand side of the visitors defence into conceding a corner, which Trialist took, but Williamson couldn't keep his header on target and put it over the bar.
United's number nine Evison was quick off the mark, sprinting after a succession of through balls,but he was a little too fast according to the linesman who kept flagging him for offside, though it needs to be said that there was a school of thought that suggested that the linesman was struggling to match the young strikers pace and he might not actually have been off when the ball was actually played for him to latch on to.
Trialist went close after Douglas had threaded a sideways pass to him on the edge of the Blades area, but having turned a defender to make room to shoot, his effort was blocked.
Evison broke forward quickly, but found if the linesman didn't pull him up in his tracks for speeding, Bytheway was looking very comfortable at the back for 'Rosso' and he thwarted the lively youngster several times.
Once again, Trialist almost opened the scoring, with a free kick from out on the left, three yards away from the touchline, that whistled wide of the right hand upright.
An eye catching end to end passing move by Rossington, led to the first goal in the twenty fifth minute, when their captain, Williamson, sprayed a pass to Wiffen who linked up with Trialist before continuing his run into the box, Trialist took the ball forward five yards before rolling it out to Buckham who had made an overlapping run on the left and delivered an inviting cross into the Blades six yard box, that Wiffen stabbed past Ogden amid the resulting skirmish.
Ogden was then forced into making a double save as Trialist tested him and the Buckham struck an angled drive from the left hand side of the six yard box that the Blades keeper blocked with his feet.
The Blades went in search of an equaliser, but Smith's long range shot lacked any power and Morton in the Blues goal gathered the ball up easily, while Bytheway gave Evison another welcome to men's football with a firm, but perfectly legal, saving tackle.
A promising looking move forward by Rossington broke down but as Ogden moved to routinely gather a harmless looking knock into his area, he flapped at the ball and left Johnson with the easiest of tap ins for the Blues second goal, after he had instinctively followed the ball to take advantage of just that kind of slip up.
Waqar Ahmed, the match referee called for a drink break while he struggled with a pull in his calf and had a sit down for five minutes. This eventually led to him running the line for the second half while one of his assistants (not the one in this photo) took over in the middle. By the end of the second half, the replacement ref must've wished that he had not undertaken the role of senior match official... and I'm damn sure that just about everybody else in the ground would share that wish too.
It would be fair to say that he won't be missed by either side if they never saw him again.
The home side almost killed the game off before the interval, but when Buckham headed Trialist's cross back across the face of the Blades goal, Ogden did well to smother it, with three players queuing up to score and right on the stroke of half time, Linley put the ball narrowly wide after getting onto the end of another decent cross from that omnipresent Trialist fellow.
HT: Blues 2 v Blades 0
The substitutions came thick and fast after the break, as did the niggling off the ball challenges and squabbles, as the substitute referee failed to gain the respect of the players and struggled to control the game. Mr Ahmed is one of my favourite NCEL officials, I've always found his handling of games to be fair, professional and efficient and if you read back through this long winded self indulgent blog, you'll find that in general, I have a 'sympathy' for the devil approach to match officials, many of whom I count on as friends, so believe me when I say, that when I single out a referee for criticism, it would only be as a last resort, if he had a complete stinker. Although two of the guys in charge of this game were thoroughly competent, it was a case of not being sad, because two out of three ain't bad! The substitute ref had a (really) bad day at the office and I suspect that he already knows as much, I will leave it at that.
Get well soon Waqar!
The Blues came out for the second half like Linford 'Lunchbox' Christie, which would've come in useful if running fast in straight lines won football matches for you.
McCredie was the width of a slender Tory majority away from making it three nil when his header skimmed the top of the crossbar, while that there Trialist fizzed a great opportunity over from the left hand side of the six yard box. I hope he is registered with Rossington anytime soon, so I can actually name check him the next time I visit this most welcoming club.
During a slight altercation in the middle of the park, as the consequences of testosterone charged competitive young men spending too much time out in the sun, occasionally descended into a bit of name calling, the referee asked one of the Blues coaching staff to nip off and get the kettle on, or similar, for attempting to calm some of the players down and telling them to 'cool it!'.
It was getting so seriously heated, that I even her one of the Sheffield lads shout: "If you talk to me like that again, I'm getting my big brother down here to sort it!"
It was much ado about nowt if truth be told, but when these things aren't nipped in the bud, they can lead to more serious stuff, like finger pointing and prolonged sulking.
The 'rolling'subs and bickering broke up the flow of the second half, but a Blades goal seemed to refocus everyone and a game of football broke out again in the seventy seventh minute, when Lumley advanced towards the home side's area and as Williamson and the Blues second half keeper (sorry, I didn't get his name) came out to block his run, but between them only managed to half clear the danger and the loose ball fell to Howell, who did well to knock the ball first time towards the unguarded net and halved his sides deficit.
The input of the late second half substitute Quinn ensured an up tempo finish to the game, he went close from a Davies corner kick and set Johnson up with a late shooting opportunity that eventually came back down to earth somewhere in the general direction of the London to Edinburgh East Coast Main Line, while at the other end Reeves got met a right wing corner with a thumping header, but didn't get above the ball and his chance to steal a late equaliser went begging.
And that was that.
FT: Rossington Main 2 v Sheffield United XI 1
Final thoughts: Joe Bytheway and Jordon Buckham could walk into any team in this division, or even make the cut at a higher level.
Some referee's are better than others, but we all make mistakes and there would be no game without them, so one must make allowances from time to time.