Monday, 9 April 2012

Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape (Three-Hop Deluxe)

Groundhopper ritual teamsheet completion

Maltby Main v Parkgate
Stocksbridge Park Steels v Chester
Worsbrough Bridge Athletic v Rossington Main

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 7 April 2012 in Yorkshire
Result & Competition
See below for individual match details
Today’s programme takes in the morning and evening matches from Groundhop UK’s Northern Counties East hop (sadly, I could not get to yesterday’s games) interspersed with a new step 3 ground.  I now have five triples and one quadruple on my lifetime list, and these are grounds #456, #457 and #458.  Thanks to Groundhop UK and the NCEL for making this day possible.

Maltby Main v Parkgate - The drama unfolds from 10.30am

The Maltby Miners Welfare Ground, Muglet Lane

Northern Counties East League Premier Division – step 5
In one sentence:  An unexpected but deserved win for the home side which improves their chances of avoiding relegation to step six.

The local home supporters were pessimistic about the prospects for this local derby and they would not have been cheered when their captain soon went into the ref’s notebook for a late challenge.  However, the Parkgate defence showed early signs of dithering despite the bumpy pitch and they were still drowsy when Thomas Something-Brown gave them the lead rather against the run of playafter 10 mins.  The “Something” is Foltym, Foylten or Folyton depending on whether you believe the cub website, the league website or the ground whiteboard.  1-0

Thomas Variable-Name puts Maltby 1-0 up
After 25 minutes, Parkgate’s Danny Cardwell went into the book for dissent and his manager failed to look surprised by this.  He was always in the game with forays down the left and long throws into the box.  The game was now very even and I spotted a replica gorilla on the porch of a nearby house that caused me to check whether the Maltby Main coffee should be a class A drug.
Exhibit 1, M'lud - gorilla identified by arrow
The home side should have gone two up after 27 minutes but an outstanding block by Matthew Needham denied Rob Branagan, who had broken the offside trap.  The party piece routine from the resulting corner failed to function.

Here is a scene-setter clip from this stage of the game.  Parkgate are getting back on top, pressing for an equaliser, and ‘keeper Andrew Carney is busy. Maltby Main are in red-and-black.

That equaliser duly came after 41 minutes.  Full-back Jonathan Wragg neatly but accidentally sent a glancing header from a corner into his own net.  1-1 at half-time

Both number 11s were involved immediately after the restart.  Cardwell fell over as the result of an alleged trip but there was no second yellow even after he told one of the spectators to go forth and multiply.  Craig Gladwin’s fierce cross-shot for Maltby Main was at a nice height for Jamie Bailey to beat down.

Here are two more clips.  Is it just me or is that dog near me shouting, “Ref!!” repeatedly?  If so, he fits in well.

On 58 minutes, an overhead kick out of nowhere by Branagan gave Maltby Main the lead.  A great goal and deserving of a good crowd to see it.  2-1

After 77 minutes, the home side sealed the win with a breakaway goal that significantly improves their chances of avoiding relegation.  The scorer was Gladwin.  3-1

There was time for Carney to make the save of the day - a superb block from Parkgate substitute Nathan Forbes-Swindell.  In an open final phase, Maltby Main came close to adding a fourth but this was a great result for them.  I went in search of a plastic gorilla en route to Stocksbridge as the bulk of the crowd went off to Staveley and Hallam.  I would see them again later.  Final score 3-1

So what?  Parkgate are 7th.  Maltby Main are still bottom-but-one but have a must-win home game next Saturday against the team immediately above them (Lincoln Moorlands Railway).

Exhibit 2: I rest my case, m'lud

Stocksbridge Park Steels v Chester
The drama unfolds from 10.10am

The Look Local Stadium, Bracken Moor

Northern Premier League – step 3
In one sentence: Chester did enough damage to the scoreline early on and hung on to the three points for another big step towards the divisional title.

I joined a large crowd at Stocksbridge Park Steels in time to watch the large contingent of visiting supporters mercilessly take the proverbial out of the home side’s pre-match shooting practice.  The only time I ever watched these things with interest was when Kevin Phillips played for West Brom, and there was one time at Kenilworth Road, Luton, when I should have watched because “Super” Bob Taylor smacked me painfully on the head from behind.  Today’s drill can have done nothing for the players’ confidence and all recent results suggested an away win as Chester close in on the championship

Chester took the lead after 6 minutes.  Chris Simm broke clear, rounded the keeper, rode a challenge and slotted in.  0-1

Here’s a scene-setting clip from the early minutes of the game.  There are no gorillas, plastic or otherwise.

The second clip has a good save from Ben Scott and then Chester’s deflected second goal, given to Robbie Booth and timed at 18 minutes.  They are in the blue-and-white stripes.  The home players protested long and hard, but the goal stood.  0-2

Chester were comfortable for the rest of the half and even the visiting fans stopped singing as they sensed job done … perhaps they were all planning ahead for the Easter Monday fixture.  Stocksbridge had a couple of half-chances but the saves they forced from Matt Glennon were easy enough, and Michael Taylor had to intervene on one occasion to block Jack Muldoon.  0-2 at half-time

Happily for this passing neutral (now repositioned on a bank at one end) Stocksbridge upped their game and got a goal back after 52 minutes, and here’s the clip.  Daryl Weston is the scorer.  1-2

I also have a very short “if only” clip as the balance of power shifted in the game and Chester were put on the back foot.

The final clip is from the closing minutes, with Stocksbridge having plenty of pressure and possession.  Chester defended well and hung on for the win, though not without the odd scare.  Final score 1-2

So what?  Chester play second placed Northwich Victoria at home on Easter Monday and a win or draw gives them a second successive title on the day.  Stocksbridge have slipped into the relegation zone and still have some work to do this season.

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic v Rossington Main
The drama unfolds from 7.45pm

Park Road, Worsbrough Bridge

The Northern Counties East League Division One – step 6

In one sentence: Four unanswered goals after a forgettable first half gave a scoreline which brooks no argument.

The main incident of note in the first half at Worsbrough Bridge was the retrieval of a ball with a net on a pole from the adjacent stream.  It was a game with 0-0 written all over it.  Rossington Main had one headed chance after 25 minutes, and Worsbrough Bridge had a shooting chance just before half-time, but that was it.  0-0 at half-time

Things improved greatly in the second half and it was a super goal that gave Worsbrough Bridge the lead after 51 mins.  Spencer Goff’s turn and dipping shot was a great moment for him and the crowd.

Here are a couple of clips to set the scene - Worsbrough are in red-and-black.

The home side scored three more goals.  Tom Copping (according the the club website) headed into the roof of the net after 66 minutes.  2-0  After 72 minutes, Scott Ruthven scored with a glancing header from a corner and added his second four minutes later.  It ended up as a very comfortable win for the home side.  3-0 and 4-0

So what?  The clubs switch places and are now 7th (Worsbrough) and 8th (Rossington) respectively.
What Next?
Premier League ice hockey second leg playoff quarter final – Manchester Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats – an Easter Sunday confrontation in Altrincham.

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