Sunday, 16 April 2017

Three-Hop Deluxe: Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape (continued)

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Friday 15 April 2017 at
a) Oxford Street, Rossington
b) Church Street, Armthorpe
c) Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium, Selby 
a)  Rossington Main 0 Hall Road Rangers 1
b)  Armthorpe Welfare 1 Hemsworth Colliery Welfare 6
c)  Selby Town 1 Penistone Church 1
Northern Counties East League - Premier Division (Step 5) for b), and First Division (Step 6) for a) and c)
Grounds 608-10 on the lifetime list.
Pre-match preparation
As I said in yesterday's post, credit where credit is due.  My pre-match prep is as nothing compared to the months of organisation that have come together for this Hop.  My thanks go to Chris Berezai, Laurence Reade, anyone I am accidentally omitting, and all of the club and league secretaries, officers and volunteers who made all of this happen, from match to parking to programmes to refreshments.  Great stuff.
These matches in one sentence each
a) Hall Road were made to work very hard for the points, a first-half penalty ultimately proved decisive.
b) Hemsworth controlled the game and will see this as an easy win.
c) Probably a fair result on the balance of play because both sides will think of moments that they could have scored a late winner.
So what?
The Division One title race goes to the wire.  Today's win puts Hall Road in pole position and they will win if they beat Campion away next week.  Rossington Main are 16th.  Armthorpe's relegation to Step 6 had already been decided before today, and Hemsworth remain solidly in mid-division.  Selby are also mid-table, and Penistone are still strong contenders for a playoff place. 
The drama unfolds
Hall Road needed the points to go top and they started looking more dangerous with Rossington playing on the break.  One of those breaks, on 35 minutes, had needed a good save by Hall Road's keeper but his side went in front soon after.  The penalty award was disputed by the home side but Chris Spinks slotted it home.

The second half was quite even and both sides had chances, but in the end Hall Road hung on and head to the top of the division, at least until Emley play later today.

Hemsworth took the lead in the first half at Armthorpe, but the hosts should have levelled from one of a couple of clear-cut chances.  When the visitors added two more before half-time, the game was over as a contest.  The fourth goal came after the break, and the fifth one was a neat floated finish.  Armthorpe got their consolation and Hemsworth got their sixth in the closing moments.

Postscript: I didn't notice until much later that four of the Hemsworth's six were scored by, wait for it, Collier.  Wonder what his ancestors did for a living?

The game at Selby settled into a tight but end-to-end contest of few clear chances, until 35 minutes when Dane Mortimer's header found the net via a very satisfying ping off the woodwork, giving the lead to the home side.  The second-half equaliser was fair enough, a good initial save rebounding to another attacker who finished well.  Both sides had late chances in a lively end to the game.  Selby's keeper was caught out of position and a goal-line clearance was needed.  Then a Selby cross dropped on to the bar and could have bounced anywhere, but a defender got to the ball first.
Ground Pix
Rossington Main:

Armthorpe Welfare:

Selby Town:

Match Pix
Rossington Main in blue...

Armthorpe in blue...

Selby in red...

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Grey beat Green at Rossington and kept the only clean sheet of the day.  It was also a bad day for Green at Armthorpe, where Orange took the points.  Finally, Green and Yellow shared the spoils at Selby.  Full updated table to follow later in the month - I have now tracked over 100 games.
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  A new term and the summer exam season beckons so expect last-minute decisions.

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