Saturday, 20 October 2018

Thurcroft Miners Institute 1 v United Worksop 6 - Sheff County Senior League Div 2

Saturday 20th October 2018
Sheffield County Senior League Division 2
at the Thurcroft Hub
Thurcroft Miners Institute (0) 1
Dan Bateman 80
United Worksop (3) 6
Przemek Mądrawski 9, 27
Aleksander Rutkowski 21
Patryk Żukowski 60
Alex Szynal 89
Łukasz Świderski 90+3
Point & hope Flickr photo gallery: click HERE
I was slightly mislead when they told me: "Thurcroft is a Spa Town"
Thurcroft Miners Institute:
Tom Brown, Howard Wood, Ollie Ward, Alex Nightingale, Jack Baxter, Ricky Mosley-Walia, Adam Nicholas, Callum Mustoe, Richard Williams, Dan Bateman, Rhys Claxton
Substitutes - Brandon Hush, Lewis Wright, Jake Dunn, Tom Hardman
United Worksop:
Piotr Strycharz, Michal Zukowski, Dawid Grudkowski, Jakub Gasior, Adrian Szewczyk, Grzegorz Koprowski, Przemyslaw Gulczynski, Przemyslaw Madrawski, Aleksander Rutkowski, Patryk Zukowski, Aleks Szynal
Substitutes - Karol Szczyglowski, Lukasz Swiderski, Mariusz Zagrodnik, Mateusz Skrzypczak, Vasile Cuciuc 
My avid and eagle-eyed, regular blog reading cult following (I know you're both still out there, I've seen the viewing figures), might be wondering how on earth I ended up in Thurcroft (right next to the M18, a few miles from Maltby); when I'd left my home all suited, booted, showered, shaved and raring to go, at 8.30 AM en route to Stoke-on-Trent, to watch Birmingham City's game at the 365 Stadium.
Well, I'll spare you all of the gory details, that led to my enforced change of plan and abandonment of my original journey; but suffice to say: today had been a major calamity thus far, but even though I never got to see Garry Monk's side beating Gary Rowett's Potters 1-0, I did manage to visit a ground that I had never got around to watching a game of football at before, to see two teams that have been on my 'to do' list for a while, in action against each other.
The home side contained several players... and a manager, who I was already familiar with, from around the local circuit, and others who have featured in Under 19 teams that I have been involved with in the past, in one capacity or another. Evidently, strangers stand out in this locality and I was asked at various points if: 1) I was a journalist from the Advertiser (too many O levels), 2) a 'scout' (no woggle), and... 3) the referee's dad (I've never even met his mother); not that this was the first or last time that the young man in the middle, Joseph Usher, had his parentage questioned this afternoon. Which was totally uncalled for mind you, as he officiated from a position of complete neutrality, without the assistance of any appointed linesmen. and for that reason, I didn't him envy his task today at all.
I've heard a lot of good things on the football grapevine about former Midland Amateur Alliance club United Worksop, who play at Manton Sports Club in Worksop; which of  course, used to be called Manton Miners Welfare, back in the day when my uncle Terry was the club secretary and events organiser on the committee. It's also where the Worksop Town Under 19 side used to train... and even played a few friendly matches, when I was involved with them in days of yore. In fact one of that young Tigers team, who got in trouble for swearing at a referee, when we played a Maltby Main XI one evening, was actually playing for the host side at the Thurcroft Hub today. Planet football, eh!? It really is a small world, innit!?
The mining industry in the (North Notts/South Yorkshire) area, attracted a lot of Polish people into the locality, after the cessation of World War Two... and it was from that influx of a much needed labour workforce, that a good few of my circle of friends of Polish origin descended; guys that I met during my teens, down t'pit... and on the rough and ready football terraces in days of yore, where it didn't go unnoticed, that "them Poles", would certainly weigh in if trouble ever flared up between rival factions, which it quite often did back in the day. Now we're all older (but probably non the wiser), we still socialise together and travel the length a breadth of this green and pleasant land in pursuit of beautiful game... and quite a few ugly varieties of it too.
The Polish community in and around Worksop swelled over the over the last couple of decades, with many of the influx of newer arrivals finding work in the factories and industries that have replaced mining in the area, and don't pay anywhere near as well as the wages that people were rewarded with in their pursuit of 'King Coal'. It stands to reason, that a good number of the young men among their number, have a healthy interest in football and that is how United Worksop FC... and a good number of clubs with players of Polish origin across the country, came into being.
A forward thinking former Worksop Town manager, Mark Shaw, had spoken about tapping into the resources of talent within the large local Polish  community, but nothing ever came of it, especially when Shaw and the club parted company. So it was left to these eager and willing footballers to find their own outlet and identity.
Ironically, when Worksop Town were looking for a site to build their own ground on, the Manton facilities were earmarked for a project, amongst other sites... and there was even mention that a bridge would be built across the adjacent canal, to make an access to the new 'stadium' from the Kilton area of town.
But the ambitious plans were shelved, because 'CISWO', an all powerful body who control the old miners welfare clubs, and who are infamous for upholding archaic rules and statutes, to the detriment of the progress of any number of local football clubs; decreed that there would be no building of any kind of ground infrastructure on the expanse of grassland available, because it would disturb the activities of the locals who use the field for their 'point to point' whippet racing events. For the record, Worksop Town are still on the lookout for somewhere to develop a new ground on... and probably always will be too.
Anyway, that is more than enough of my preamble, going off on tangents and an overly lengthy long winded introduction... from hereon in, this blog overview of today's game will concentrate on events at the 'Thurcroft Hub'.
I arrived about ten minutes before this County Senior League Second Division fixture kicked off at 2PM... and figured that if it wasn't a very good game, I could shoot off from here at half time and make it to Muglet Lane, in time for Maltby Main's game against Knaresborough Town, a tempting prospect, that pitted the NCEL Premier Division's fifth placed club, against their second placed visitors. In the event, I was enjoying the game at Thurcroft too much to leave it at the half way stage, and besides, I was looking after the referee's keys for him during the second half, until the end of the game.
Apologies in advance if I've spelled any of the player's names wrong, I struggled a bit deciphering some of the home players from the notes that I hastily assembled as I circumnavigated the perimeter of the ground, multitasking on my way, jotting down the salient events, while taking a few photographs and avoiding several large deposits of dog toffee.
The canine population can't read the signs about not being allowed to shit wherever they want to, but their owners can... so shame on them. This is a multi-sports facility used by people of all ages, not a communal pooch toilet. Shame on you, you wretched swines.
The first goal-scoring opportunity of the game, fell to Dawid Grudkowski, who broke into the right hand side of the Thurcroft area, but dragged his shot across the face of Tom Brown's goal and wide of the far post.
Rich Williams tested Piotr Strycharz in the United goal twice, including a good dipping long range volley,after he'd made himself some space twenty five yards out, but the Worksop keeper thwarted him both times. Zukowski went close again, but Jack Baxter unsettled him as he was about to shoot and he rushed his effort, stabbing the ball past the right hand post.
In the ninth minute, Jakub Gasior advanced along the left flank, before aiming a diagonal ball towards Zukowski, who chested the ball down into the path of Przemek Mądrawski, and he drilled it into the bottom corner of the Thurcoft goal.
The game continued at a lively pace and when Alex Nightingale's twenty first minute free kick into the visitors area was cleared. at the second attempt, Worksop counter attacked, at speed, and Aleksander Rutkowski was on hand to tap home the ball from the edge of the six yard box, after it had bounced back towards him off of the crossbar, as a combination of Mądrawski and Zukowski  had put Brown under pressure.
Thurcroft were getting forward plenty, but the final ball was lacking and their afternoon went from bad to worse, when Aleksander Rutkowski threaded a defence splitting pass through to Mądrawski, who lobbed the ball over the advancing home keeper and continued with his run to nod it into an empty net.
Williams tested Strycharz again, but even though the United keeper spilt the ball momentarily, Adrian Szewczyk was on hand to clear the danger.
Moments later, Przemyslaw Gulczynski was adjudged to have handled a knock towards the visitors area by Williams, but Ricky Mosley-Walia fired the resulting free kick high and wide of the target.
Strycharz was putting in a dominant shift in his area, cutting out and collecting a number of deliveries from Thurcroft inside the final third.
But despite the Miners best efforts to address their slide, and get a goal back before the interval, it was actually the visitors who almost added a fourth, when Szewczyk knocked a well weighted pass into the path of Aleksander Rutkowski's run, but United's number twenty two skimmed the top of the crossbar with his attempt on goal.
HT: Thurcroft Miners Institute 0 v United Worksop 3
Adam Nicholas was getting forward to good effect for the Miners, as the second half got underway, combining with Williams and Dan Bateman, but the visitors were very well organised at the back.
In fact their defence were so comfortable on the ball, that a large amount of their play, stemmed from getting the ball back to Strycharz in goal, who'd play short passes out to his back line for them to knock about and pick out openings further up the pitch.
The next goal was of paramount importance, if Thurcroft could get one back and keep up the momentum, then it was 'game on', but Patryk Żukowski had other ideas, when he muscled his way into the hosts penalty area and spanked home his sides fourth goal, even though Brown got a hand to it, on the hour mark.
I was tempted to return to my car to fetch Tom Brown a piece of A5 sized fluorescent coloured card and a permanent marker pen (you never know when the stuff that I keep in the boot for occasions such as this, might come in handy), so he could make a placard to hold up to his defence, saying "Oi! You ****ing lot! Any chance of me getting any sort of help here today!?" as the overworked keeper ran out of his area to take on the guise of a 'sweeper keeper' in between keeping Patryk Zukowski and Aleks Szynal at bay with two last ditch saves.
But while I was deciding which colour pen would be the best one to use, Thurcroft got a goal back.
Brandon Hush and Lewis Wright both had half decent efforts saved by Strycharz, as Thurcroft looked to mount the unlikeliest of comebacks with just ten minutes remaining ten minutes to go and the latter of that pair squeezed a sideways pass to his right, for Bateman to drill into the back of the Worksop net. "How long's left ref!?" went up a somewhat optimistic call from within the home side's ranks.
Hmm, sadly for the South Yorkshire host side, the answer to that question, was: long enough for the visitors to score two more goals and Alex Nightingale to get sent off for persistent 'Effing and Geoffing' at the referee.
Take a leaf out of the visiting team's book young Mr Nightingale, and if you really must badmouth the referee, in the final minute of the game, just after your side as gone 5-1 down... don't get caught swearing in the Queen's English; utter "spierdalaj sędziego!" in his general direction instead and walk away acting all innocent.
I'm sure any of the United players would happily tell you what that translates into in Polish.
Łukasz Świderski, on late as a substitute for Worksop, tested Brown from close range and the Thurcroft keeper pulled off yet another save, while Karol Szczyglowski nudged the ball past the wrong side of the post from the rebound.
But Alex Szynal added a fifth for the visitors from ten, when Jakub Gasior dribbled to the dead ball line on the left hand side of the Miners area and pulled the ball back across the face of the goal. Once Nightingale had been sent off, United netted a sixth goal in stoppage time, when Rutkowski was ordered to retake a free kick and he rolled the ball to his left towards Świderski who made no mistake with a low, well struck drive from twenty yards out.
FT: Thurcroft Miners Institute 1 v United Worksop 6
Maybe the visitors warranted all six goals they scored today in view of their efforts, but if anyone didn't deserve to have such a figure in his goals against column, it was Tom Brown. But football is a team game when all is said and done.
Y'know what? After narrating this lively encounter at the Thurcroft Hub this afternoon, I feel quietly confident, that I am not going to struggle to spell Lukas Jutkiewicz's name correctly every time he touches the ball at my next port of call, which is Birmingham City v Reading, in the EFL Championship on Tuesday night.
Thanks to both clubs for a friendly and informative afternoon today... and the chats with people from Thurcroft and Worksop after the event, were greatly appreciated too.
Footnote* Thurcroft Miners Institute FC are on the look out for a club photographer, get in touch with them through their Facebook group if you're interested in helping them out.