Shiners Make Their Point As the Sun Shines Too, In A Feisty Rearranged Encounter At Radcliffe…
Radcliffe Olympic 3-3 South Normanton Athletic
This match finally took place to ensure that the league table was finalised, a good while after the EMCL had finished its schedule but in far from a pre-season friendly atmosphere, South Normanton, The Shiners, needed a point to secure second place in the final league standings. Olympic had already ‘lost’ their manager and some players I believe but fair play to those guys for returning to complete the season. The weather was warm, many players were doubtless tired after a long day of work perhaps but there was also some needle in the match, for the original abandoned game had been stopped late on, I understand and a saga has been running for a while. Radcliffe began brightly, The Shiners began in a dull manner and soon a 2-0 deficit was facing the guests.
|HANDSHAKES AT TWO METRES...|
Hauling themselves level before the interval, Athletic began the second period strongly but then conceded a circus clown goal to Olympic, who then had striker Ian Marley dismissed. Of course eventually the visitors would achieve their goal, being driven on throughout by midfielder Tom Leighton, who won a penalty, subsequently scored it, eventually claimed the late equaliser but also clipped in the free-kick which had brought the score to 2-2 before the break. He also instigated some unpleasantness which other players were only too keen to exacerbate but in the end a point apiece might have been acceptable to both crews.
|DANNY ROBERTS: WORKED SO HARD FOR HIS TEAM...|
Radcliffe’s Sam Adams had an eventful match too; he was cautioned, scored a penalty and then contrived to concede a spot-kick and probably he could consider himself fortunate to remain on the field for surely Leighton was about to strike a scoring shot from a few yards out when he was clamped to the ground by the Olympic defender. It’s all conjecture anyway but Adams didn’t want to see the referee’s reaction as he lay huddled on the ground awaiting his fate.
Weird about surnames though because quite apart from a Dudley in the Radcliffe goal and a Mansfield in the South Normanton goal, the visitors had a Bartley (Hampshire), a Leighton (Buzzard), a Newton (Heath, Manchester), a Hatfield, a Leigh and a Lewis (Scottish isle) in their ranks… Shame there wasn’t a player with the forename Trent, really.
Olympic’s quick start from the blocks saw striker Ryan Smith, whose movement in the first-half in particular was impressive, swing a left boot from the left side of the 18 yard box and his fine shot was spectacularly turned away by the partially advanced Shiner goalie Charlie Mansfield. The rebound bounced awkwardly for Athletic’s left-back Sam Chambers though and the ball appeared to strike his arm, amid yells of “Hand-ball…” from the Radcliffe contingent. The referee was unmoved, his grin offering no opinion either way. Home striker Ian Marley rose like a tiled wall to head a right-side corner downwards for Mansfield to fall upon but respite was short for the guests, as their hosts opened the scoring with a smart piece of predatory finishing. Unfortunately, Shiner striker Lee Fell fell into the trap of conceding an own goal. The assist was by home left-sided player Conor Moore, who really ought to have been offered more service by his colleagues, for he was useful in possession.
A clearance by The Shiners was shoved left by busy home midfielder Ryan Perkins to Moore, who slipped to the byeline and in truth, Fell could not get out of the way as the ball flew off his boot from a couple of feet out.
|MOORE: "COULD I POSSIBLY CLAIM THAT?"|
|"I MUST LIE DOWN NOW..."|
|SO THE OWN GOAL PUTS RADCLIFFE 1-0 AHEAD...|
Still there had been no offense from a disappointing Athletic and it was Olympic who threatened again, with feature centre-back Liam Smallwood shrugging off the attentions of Warren Hatfield and jumping to cause Mansfield some hassle. Finally though Leighton drove inside from the left for The Shiners and fired a 22 yard shot which took a deflection and home ‘keeper Tom Dudley did well to drop left and parry the ball, allowing Wes Spencer to hack the rebound clear. At the other end Smith rose to head a Kieron Davies corner past the left upright, although he had been unable to garner much power behind his effort then home goalie Dudley was surprised by a low Shane Newton shot which suddenly popped up and struck him as he fell, possibly in the face.
|BARTLEY (2) GETS A FREE-KICK...|
|THE GRASS GROWS ROUND THE BALL...|
The Shiners were well miffed by the referee’s decision to allow the hosts to take a quick throw on the left and Mansfield was forced to push the alert Smith wider, allowing the Athletic defence to recover and relieve the danger. Home right-back Adams was then cautioned for a scything tackle which befitted the agricultural surroundings behind the sideline shelter and then when visiting player Fraser Kirk grabbed at Smith as he shielded the ball well inside the away penalty-box, a spot-kick was awarded to the hosts and Adams stepped forward to take it. He shot low to the ‘keeper’s left and the ball squeezed beneath Mansfield’s dive.
|SMITH: NO SUPPORT FOR HIS LOW CENTRE...|
|ADAMS GETS A CAUTION, WHILST LEIGHTON PREPARES TO TAKE A FREE-KICK...|
|PENALTY FOR RADCLIFFE...|
|ANGUISH FOR KIRK...|
SHOULD HE NOT BE SKIPPER?
|THE TWO GOALSCORERS IN ONE IMAGE...|
|WHILST CELEBRATING, ADAMS HEAD-BUTTS TWO SPECTATORS...|
South Normanton then stretched, yawned, realised that Dudley had the sun very much in his eyes from right-side crosses and attacked more from, er, the left… A weak Fell effort from 25 yards was well wide although Newton looked a likelier bet for a pass to his left, but then when Leighton intervened inside the penalty-area and his close range shot struck Dudley, the grounded Adams’ legs entwined themselves around Leighton’s and The Shiner collapsed like he’d been caught in a man-trap on the landowner’s estate. Adams escaped a red-carded exile on a convict ship to Australia, hiding his face from the still grinning official, Leighton grabbed the ball and netted a smart penalty low into the right corner of the net. And then he lit a fuse.
Leighton, in wanting to reclaim the ball from the net, even though other balls were lying about to be used if needed, found his efforts foolishly baulked by Dudley, whose calf was nudged by Leighton’s boot. The ‘keeper dropped to the ground, his colleagues ran to his aid and somehow the ball was mysteriously clubbed into the melee. I wonder how? Leighton, buzzard-like, flew from the scene with innocent arms wide like those of a redeeming Pope and the officials were left to restrain angry players and get the game going again.
|LEIGHTON SWOOPS LIKE A BUZZARD...|
|IT'S 2-1 NOW...|
|THE REDEEMING POPE...|
A rather unpleasant sliding challenge by Marley, more a Jacob Marley tackle than one by Ian, left Leighton (who else?) on the touchline, flattened in front of me and the home forward, who had looked lively, received a caution. Smallwood then escaped a yellow greetings card for a challenge on an opponent but his team was punished instead, by Leighton’s accuracy and Hatfield’s anticipation. Leighton’s left-side free-kick swung towards the far stick, where Hatfield dropped behind the ball-watching home skipper Matt Fowler (who wasn’t cautioned on the night, despite his suggestive name) and ducked to nod in a simple goal at the upright.
|MARLEY IS CAUTIONED...|
|HATFIELD, CENTRE, IS THE SCORER...|
2-2 and parity had been regained by The Rise and Shiners, so that following a left-side Radcliffe corner which saw Smith and others jump in vain at the right upright, the referee, grinning still, called a half-way halt to the feisty proceedings.
Dudley was troubled by a left-side cross by the now very influential Leighton’s early second period centre and spilled the ball but Fell was unable to capitalise upon the error, before another Leighton effort flew over the right angle of bar and upright. Certainly The Shiners had begun the second-half in the ascendancy but surprisingly, Olympic scored an unlikely goal and Smith’s assist in Smallwood’s strike was quite unique. A Davies corner from the right drifted beyond the target but Smallwood rose superbly to head goalwards, only for the ball to strike Mansfield and fly behind for a left-flank flag-kick. Visiting skipper Danny Roberts headed the ball away this time but Moore was able to retrieve the situation on the left and Fowler swung across a high delivery which was missed by all the jumpers, like an untouched Hail Mary throw by the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith. However, RYAN Smith swung a left boot at the ball from just a few yards out, miscued it behind his buttocks and somehow spun round with one hand on the ground, nearly sat on the ball but protected it and Smallwood accepted his striker’s gift with a low left-footer into the right corner of the net.
|3-2 NOW: SMALLWOOD THE SCORER, SMITH THE CIRCUS ENTERTAINER...|
Fell fell foul of The Shiners’ replacement tactics and Tom Lewis joined the fray in his stead but two home players rescued an awkward situation when Spencer’s defensive header flew vertically, Leighton screwed an angled cross towards the near post from the right byeline and Spencer blocked it almost on his goal-line, with Jake Morris conceding a corner. Leighton’s flag-kick was headed too high by Hatfield, who must have thought he would find the target but then Ian Marley became Jacob again and committed another bad foul and he, like the fictional Dickens character was dismissed to wander away, chained and tormented for his attitude towards mankind…
|THE GHOST OF MARLEY'S TACKLING HAS REAPPEARED...|
|...& JACOB EXITS, STAGE REAR...|
Leighton cut inside but his powerful drive was again off target, another shot ricocheted to Dudley and then the visitors went to a back-three, removing both full-backs, Courtney Bartley and Chambers, to introduce Kane Jellyman and Lee Mitchell. And sure enough, after the introduction of Jellyman, Radcliffe wobbled and conceded. Incredibly, it was Leighton who instigated and scored the all-important equaliser for his team. He was at the heart of everything positive for his team and when a long throw from the offensive right was headed away by Olympic’s Morris, Leighton nodded the ball forward, it maybe bounced off Newton for a kind of one-two and Leighton volleyed a low shot with a side-boot into the right side of the net from 12 yards.
|LEIGHTON, WITH CARROTS FOR BOOTS, HAS SHOVED THE SHINERS INTO RUNNERS-UP SPOT IN THE LEAGUE...|
It remained only for Newton to be cautioned then take a Mitchell pass and lash a fine shot from inside-left, just where Smith’s shot for the hosts had been hit from in the opening minute of the game, but like Mansfield had done then for South Normanton, Dudley now did for Radcliffe and dived to save the effort really well.
|A FINAL SQUABBLE...|
The game over, there were no obvious celebrations by The Shiners, just a walk off the pitch, but Leighton and Adams had affected this match considerably for their respective teams. I liked Smith’s contribution for Olympic, Perkins worked unceasingly for the hosts, Smallwood was really effective in defence, well supported by Spencer. The guests were well served by the powerful Mark Strzyzewski in defence and by Captain Roberts but Leighton’s contribution had been immense…
Me? A 70 minute journey to Solihull took me 135 minutes. The M42 was closed from junctions 9 to 6, so I used the M1 to the M69 but still couldn’t get onto the M42 from the M6, travelling north… I ended up in a queue and finally joined the M42 at the Motorcycle Museum…
It was the referee’s fault. Everyone else gave him stick throughout the match, so why not me?
I can see him grinning now…
TOM DUDLEY, SAM ADAMS, JAKE MORRIS, LIAM SMALLWOOD, WES SPENCER, RYAN PERKINS, LIERON DAVIES, MATT FOWLER (CAPT), IAN MARLEY, RYAN SMITH, CONOR MOORE.
STEVE MORRIS, MATT TURNER, SAM RALPH.
SOUTH NORMANTON ATHLETIC:
CHARLIE MANSFIELD, COURTNEY BARTLEY, SAM CHAMBERS, DANNY ROBERTS (CAPT), MARK STRZYZKEWSKI, FRASER KIRK, TOM LEIGHTON, SAM SIMS, LEE FELL, SHANE NEWTON, WARREN HATFIELD.
KANE JELLYMAN, DAVE LEIGH, LEE MITCHELL, KYLE JOHNSON, TOM LEWIS.