nervous times

Moments make the difference, a couple in a 60 seconds period here could make a whole season.

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tigers tamed

Moments make the difference, a couple in a 60 seconds period here could make a whole season. As the promotion race gets turned up to red hot; Hyde United, Scarborough Athletic and South Shields are fighting for 2 automatic positions. The dreaded play-offs await for the unlucky team.

As it stands on Easter Sunday, it is disadvantage Hyde United. Take away those 60 seconds and it would have look a fair bit more favourable for the Tigers.

With the clock ticking past the 80th minute Trafford’s Neville burst into the box in a very tight match, the hosts themselves hoping for a play-off spot, Harrison stuck out a foot. Was there contact? From my viewpoint, no. The referee who was about 30 yards closer, yes. Trafford and their fans agreed. Hyde United and theirs didn’t.

Up stepped Frost, the striker had been largely quiet all match, he hit his effort hard and straight. It smashed against the underside of the bar. Down. Back up against the bar. Down again and into Crook’s arms. Frost attempted to get to the rebound (not sure why as he couldn’t put the ball in the net, no other player had touched it). The referee didn’t give anything. The assistant did, he signalled it was over the line. Trafford led.

Was it a penalty? Was it a goal?

At half-time, there was a race across the pitch for several men in costumes. Not sure if the players were looking forward to this or not, but before the event, neither side were at the races.

They must have enjoyed the entertainment because straight after the restart, the game picked up, Trafford’s Palma hit the post, United took control and started to lay siege at Trafford’s penalty box, but Mason et al were holding firm. The final ball was missing. Substitutions were made, final dice thrown. Then those two moments came along.

Advantage Scarborough Athletic. They have Trafford to thank and their fans for the half-time race for waking the players up even more.

little wembley

Monday night. Nelson. Where else? Daisy Hill were there too. Though I am sure if you asked him, their keeper and skipper Haynes will probably wish he hadn’t been. To be fair though the home winger Townsend will have felt the same way too.

A bottom of the table clash that was tight from the off, both sides nervy, giving away possession constantly, it was the hosts who looked to settle a little earlier. They went in at half-time 1-0 to the good, it should have been 3-0. Turner curled in an effort from 25 yards that Haynes should have easily collected, only he thought he could leave it. He couldn’t. 1-0 Nelson. Mr Townsend then did his best to make Mr Haynes feel better, firstly he had a simple nod in chance at the far post, he headed it clear, followed by a complete air kick minutes later with another golden chance.

After the break Nelson grew in confidence as Daisy Hill lost their heads, on the hour the game was pretty much over, Haynes electing to punch a cross, the ball ending up in the back of the net via the head of Wolfenden.

Nelson have now raised themselves above Daisy Hill and off the bottom. I am sure neither can wait for the season to finish and start afresh.

ducks cannot ground the robins

A new manager for Shaw Lane, he must have been fairly pleased at half-time. His side had come back into a game that Altrincham had threatened to dominate from the off, even more so when Peers gave them the lead on 10 minutes.

However, the Ducks slowly but surely got back into it, firstly stopping Altrincham and then getting on the front foot a bit more. When Harris equalised from the spot not long before the break it was more than deserved.

What happened after the restart must not have made pleasant viewing for Chris Willcock. Firstly 3 minutes in, Richmond ran straight through the midfield unchallenged and fired past Wright. Eight minutes left and a cross was flicked in by Hulme, 2 minutes later he had another as he slid in at the far post. The visitors were falling apart.

After a 15 minutes break Altrincham put another one in for good measure, Moult nodding home from all of 6 inches. The second half was all one way.

rot stopped at the grove

After 10 defeats on the bounce you do not really need a team chasing a play-off spot to visit. To be fair, after 10 losses there cannot be too many sides you would like to face full stop.

The Sheffield side turned up late due to an incident on the M6, though they only arrived around 19:20, we only got underway 8 minutes late.

Whilst Stocksbridge were the better side early on there wasn’t a lot to talk about, both sides look to have been affected by Steels late arrival. Finally being on top told for the visitors, the impressive Litchfield cut in from the wing and fired beyond Parton, 1-0 Stocksbridge.

In the second half the ride slowly started to turn, especially after Litchfield had a strike ruled out for offside. With 20 minutes to go Grove equalised, Graves fouled for a penalty and Diskin sent Greaves the wrong way 1-1 game on.

Forward came the hosts, Steels hit them on the break, it had really opened up, but neither side could find a winner. Then with 3 minutes to go the hosts won it, a corner was cleared to the edge of the box, Ashman struck the ball and it screamed into the back of the net. A valuable victory for Athletic.

this is football. apparently

An overdue visit to the refurbished Moor Lane has been on the cards all season, Good Friday was the day I finally managed it.

Anybody who puts money into football at grassroots level gets a thumbs up from me, though from my visit, City’s days as a non league club are over in all but name. I understand the ground had to be refurbished, but it is just too much for me. The soul has gone, yes you can still see some of the old fans and those that go now for the right reason, however, like my experience last week at the Etihad, too many people were at Moor Lane to take selfies. The lack of atmosphere with 1500 people in the ground was incredible. This feels like the future of football, as did last week. I’ll keep to my other much more beautiful game thanks.

The match was not the best, whether it was nerves or not I don’t know but City struggled to get going all afternoon. The first half was awful. City lacked composure, Nash looked happy with a point. Neither keeper had much to do, efforts on target were pretty much straight at them.

After half-time, Salford took the lead almost immediately, Dieseruvwe got to the byeline, pulled the ball back, it looked like too much, somehow Maynard hooked his foot around the ball and wrong-footed Mason, the ball bobbling over the line, 1-0 to City.

Until I left the game bang on 90 minutes as I had seen enough apart from Curzon controlling the game more and more the only other thing worth mentioning was Dieseruvwe’s miss, through on goal, Mason stayed on his line, at most 10 yards out, he cleared the stand, that pretty much summed up the match.

Both teams scored in added on. Salford march on. I hope it continues.

stats ‘N’ stuff

games: 5

goals: 15

total att: 2,874

milestones: Altrincham v Shaw Lane; 150th penalty.

totals – all-time

games: 490

goals: 1665

total att: 552,466

female officials: 14

red cards: 102

penalties: 152

0-0s: 13

highlight of the week: Kidsgrove Athletic’s late late winner. A potential relegation saver for the team. Take a bow Mr Ashman, a sweet sweet strike that screamed in from the edge of the box.

Mysterious Ways

If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)

GAME OF THE WEEK

Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

The Evo-Stik South

Attendance: 184

Gate: £7

Programme: £1.50

This visit has been a long time coming, far too long. I ran into Cleethorpes Town on the NCEL Easter Groundhop over 2 years ago at Barton Town Old Boys (now Barton Town). On a fresh Good Friday morning, in the vicinity of the Humber Bridge, the Owls visited in numbers, entertained us on and off the pitch, stealing the show for the weekend. Later that same day we visited Grimsby Borough at Bradley Road. Same nest that the Owls call home.

Finally, I realised plans I made that day and was heading east on a sunny Saturday towards Cleethorpes, or actually, Grimsby. Kind of weird that, use Grimsby station for Cleethorpes Town and Cleethorpes station for Grimsby Town. Off into the seaside air, a short bus ride later I arrived at Bradley Road.

This is a council owned football centre, where Clee Town and Grimsby Borough play at home along with a number of other projects using the facility. Sorry to say but the ground does lack character, the main building on your left after entering houses a bar, toilets and changing rooms does what it needs to, but is very much what you would expect. Food’s decent though.

Unfortunately, there is very little to tel you about, at the far end is a small covered standing area and opposite the main building a larger covered seating area. If only the ground matched the people you meet, it would be a cracker.

Whilst both teams are through to the next round of the cup, their starts in the league have been quite different. Town have won both of their games, whilst Athletic have managed only 1 point from the possible 6. Given that information, any stranger would have thought the teams were in the wrong kits in the opening 45 minutes. An even start gave way to Grove looking the brighter and starting to create more. Town were limited to balls over the top and the odd run from Taylor.

Aside from a moment of madness from keeper Parton, Grove looked fairly comfortable at the back. France and Cocks looked dangerous, though the latter became public enemy number one for going down under a hefty first half challenge. Cropper and Malbon were starting to pull Bloomer and Donald around. It was therefore no surprise when the visitors took the lead. A move down their right side saw Malbon free in the channel, drawing the keeper he fed Cropper who’s outstretched foot poked the ball just inside the post, 1-0 to Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove looked comfortable for the rest of the half and quarter of an hour into the second period, then the Owls management team had seen enough and three quick substitutes just after the hour mark changed things around, going 3 at the back and giving a bit more oomph up front started to make a difference.

Substitutes Oglesby and Dickens added purpose and a bit of zest, Davis looked a different player. Though Town still could not find a way through, when they did Parton was there for Grove. Until, the 75th minute that is, when an umpteenth corner for the hosts was swung in. Donald rose highest and his header was on target, it looked stoppable, however Parton could only get a hand on it and the ball bobbled over the line at the near post, if only somebody had been stood there. 1-1, game on.

The atmosphere around Bradley Road changed with the equaliser, and it was no surprise when Clee went ahead 3 minutes later. Cooper had had a chance moments before but took to long and the chance passed, he did the same thing here, but it worked out brilliantly for the Owls. His first attempt was blocked, but the ball sat very nicely for him, this time the substitute thumped the ball home from 12 yards giving the keeper no chance. In less than 20 minutes we had seen a complete transformation of the game. Credit to the Town management team.

Game over and I was back off home, another pleasant train journey and a nap so I would be ok for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.

ADDED ON

On Monday I was back at Brantingham Road, again with George Cheetham, he of Manchopper fame and Mark Riding, later on we were joined by the legend that is iBreezeblock. As much as I like these 3 gents, that was pretty much as good as the evening got.

The match was not good, both keepers pulled off a good save, Abbey Hey took the lead with a penalty, Road equalised with a belter from Poxon, though unfortunately this only brought us extra-time. Unfortunately, an injury to Hampshire shortly into the additional 30 minutes led to the game being abandoned.

The following night I was in Tameside to watch Stalybridge Celtic entertain Marine. Relegated last season, Celtic need to steady the ship, judging by this performance it could be a struggle. Second best pretty much all over the pitch and from start to finish, I think the only surprise was that Marine only won 2-0.

Confidence appeared to be draining away as the game went on, things do not look too good at Bower Fold and it looks like another Tameside team will make the drop from the National Leagues to the Evo-Stik North.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road A Abbey Hey A

Tues: Stalybridge Celtic 0 Marine 2

Sat: Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

FACTS

Games: 408

Goals:  1385

Grounds: 197

Games since a 0-0: 21

SOUNDTRACK

Achtung Baby – U2