Saturday, 18 August 2012

Livid in Tividale

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Friday 17 August 2012 at The Beeches
Tividale 3 Westfields 4
Midland Football Alliance (Step 5)
I am here for ground #467 on the lifetime list as a bonus geographical stepping stone on the way to Workington on Saturday.
Pre-match preparation
Tividale have 5 points from 3 games so far and drew their only other home league match with a late equaliser.  Westfields have 3 from 2 – a 3-2 home win and a 2-5 away defeat.  However, both teams had good FA Cup wins at the weekend and should be confident.
This match in one sentence
Westfields were good value for their 2-1 half-time lead but Tividale in turn deserved their late equaliser, before the visitors had the better of three very late goals.
So what?
Westfields may be the team to follow for fans of high-scoring matches - that's 25 (13 for and 12 against) in four games.  They are sixth in the fledgling league table with Tividale a place beneath.
The drama unfolds
I am still experiencing momentary disorientation after last week's labyrinthitis and the evening almost started badly with adding milk to my pie rather than my coffee, but some deep-rooted survival mechanism clicked into place in my brain stem and equilibrium was restored just in time.  I did not have long to wait before the first goal of the evening.  Westfield are in white.

From this 4th-minute corner, the defensive header was missed and a moment later, Westfield's #5 and captain, Scott Jackson, hit the back of the net with his.  0-1

Tividale almost scored with their first attack but Jon Pugh made the first of several decent saves and blocks.  The first equaliser came very soon after, and Ashley Edwards celebrated with a double cartwheel.  1-1

Tim Beech, in the Tividale goal, was called upon to make a save with a Hollywood dive and catch as Westfields gained ascendancy.  Aiden Thomas was leading the line well and it needed a timely intervention from fullback Tyrone Falconer to deny him a good chance.  The visitors regained the lead after 26 minutes.  Will Loughman burst through from the right-back position, played a neat one-two and smacked the chipped return past Beech, who got a hand to it.  1-2

Beech was rather lucky not to gift Westfields another one almost immediately as he dithered at the edge of the area.  Here's a first-half clip, from 35 minutes into the game, showing another half-chance for Westfields and a yellow card for a tackle.

Thomas played a magnificent through ball but the flag went up for offside, but Westfield could not extend their lead.  At this stage they seemed to have more invention, more options and more composure as the home side were reduced to "route one" for much of the time.  1-2 at half-time

Sadly, it was too cloudy to watch the International Space Station pass over at half-time, and I stayed a reasonable distance from the Tividale changing rooms so as not to hear any rude words.  Tividale indeed came out stronger and were very unfortunate not to equalise very soon.  Pugh tipped a shot onto the base of the post and Kyle Brady was able to send a looping header goalwards from the rebound - Pugh just managed to get another touch and push it onto the same post.

Westfields lost Jackson and Tividale continued to press, forcing another full length save from Pugh, albeit at a nice height for him.  Adam Hill also shot just over, before this happened.

Kyle Brady is the man doing most of the celebrating although my clip is inconclusive.  2-2

This would have been a fair result, but both teams tried for the win, the next chance falling to Westfields' Richard Kear who sidefooted over.  My final clip is from 85 minutes, just before the final goal glut!

After considerable Tividale pressure, Pugh made yet another save to his left but this time the ball fell to Adam Hill just on the edge of the area.  He took a moment to steady himself and finished really well.  3-2

Within a minute, the last one of the ninety on my watch, Westfield were level.  I cannot as yet identify the scorer (I was at the other end) but I have a 50% chance that it was Craig Jones, and I am still not really sure how the ball broke for him to have a straightforward finish.  3-3

Another unidentified scorer, but 50% chance it was Aiden Thomas, headed in a cross from the right, three minutes into stoppage time, and this time there would be no comeback.  Final score 3-4

Very entertaining for the passing neutral, good for my "Hopping for Moorfields" goal tally, and mighty frustrating for the locals.  As I left the ground, the home manager's words of wisdom about "the business end of the game" were ringing around the ground.  Thanks to @tividale_fc and the Westfields website for help in identifying scorers.
The programme

Something random
This particular Westfields is in Hereford, and one day I must pay a visit, especially if they keep up this goals-per-game average!
Hopping for Moorfields Update
This seven-goal thriller adds around a tenner to the value of the pledge pot, but there is still time to join in.  Please send any pledges through Twitter @GrahamYapp or by email to headyapp(at)  11 goals in two games so far, but I still reckon that it will average out at about 240 goals in 60 or so games by the end of the season.  This means you can pledge a penny-a-goal for less than the cost of a premier league programme or Robin van-Persie's left bootlace.  (Do boots still have bootlaces?)  No Dutchmen met, no farm animals observed.  See earlier blogposts for some more explanation of why this matters.
What Next?
Workington v Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday afternoon, as determined by the Burnley Express.  Trust me.

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