Droitwich Spa 3 Mile Oak Rovers 2

Saturday 11th April 2009
Droitwich Spa 3 Mile Oak Rovers 2
Midland Combination Division 1
At: King George's Playing Field, Briar Mill
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 20 (headcount)
Weather: warm and sunny
Duration: first-half: 45:41; second-half: 49:24

Televisual viewing again dictated where we went – they (the family that is) wanted to be back home in time for Dr Who – so this trip to Droitwich Spa was an obvious choice. It turned out to be great one with good company at the game, an interesting town centre for the family, fab programme and an unexpected twist on the field.

Droitwich Spa, who got the game underway defending the far bypass end in the first half, should have been awarded a penalty with less than a minute on the clock. Matt Crawford was cleared impeded, in my opinion, but the referee waived play on.

The home side (wearing black and red striped shirts, black shorts and socks) could have taken the lead twice during the opening 18 minutes. Roger Denby sent a low free-kick from out on the left through the populated area. No one got a touch and the ball flew inches wide of the far right-hand post. In the 17th minute, Mitchell Parrish stayed onside to latch on to Sean Parish’s defence-splitting throughball but couldn’t get in a shot after rounding the keeper.

Mile Oak (wearing sky blue and navy blue striped shirts, sky blue shorts and socks) went close just after the half-hour mark. Daniel Gilbert sent a fierce volley towards goal only to see the ball hit a teammate and loop over the bar.

A couple of good Droitwich chances went begging. Sean Parish was denied by keeper John Carpenter’s legs and Dave Fox lashed another shot wide of the target.

After a bit of chat about a potential 0-0, Mile Oak broke the deadlock in the first minute of stoppage time. Kye Smith’s low cross-sum-shot from out on the left went in off the inside of the far post possibly with the aid of a deflection. The referee played on for just 12 more seconds before bringing the half to a conclusion.

I read in the programme that ‘refreshments are available’ so I got myself a tea from inside the changing rooms block.

With no breakthrough at the start of the second half, both of Droitwich’s starting strikers were replaced as manager Goss shuffled his pack. However, the home side were left stunned as Mile Oak doubled their advantage in the 67th minute. James Evans, wearing distinctive yellow boots, burst down the middle and outpaced Denby the last defender. Evans slipped the ball past the advancing keeper, Nick West, before slotting into an unguarded net.

Game over? Would Droitwich simply give up? The answer to both questions was ‘no’.

Droitwich made a third change and reduced the deficit in the 70th minute. Jamie Hatfield rose inside the area to head home Fox’s left-wing corner.

Five minutes later, Droitwich were awarded a penalty for a foul on Sean Parish and Denby hammered the ball into the bottom corner in a manner not dissimilar to the way Stuart Pearce used to convert them.

The turnaround was completed in the 80th minute for another penalty. Carpenter was lucky to escape with a booking for bringing down Matt Bates inside the area and Denby stepped up again to put away another ‘Stuart Pearce style’ spot kick.

It could have been four a couple of minutes later. Carpenter produced an acrobatic save to turn round a well-struck shot from Hatfield. Fox almost scored as well with a 25-yarder that just cleared the bar.

The Droitwich bench were forced to endure a tense final few minutes as the visitors looked for an equaliser. Kenny Hawkins fired straight at West and Gilbert sent a free-kick forward into the arms of West as well.

Droitwich Spa (black and red stripes / black / black): Nick West, Jamie Hatfield, Roger Denby, Tom Sanders, Chris Parish, Dave Fox, Sean Parish, (17.) Dean Wise, Matt Crawford, Andy Pheasant (capt), Mitchell Parrish. Subs: Matt Bates (for Pheasant, 54), Adam Khan (for Crawford, 61), John Reid (for Wise, 69).

Mile Oak Rovers (sky and navy blue stripes / sky blue / sky blue): John Carpenter, Rene Lucas, David Holmes, Kenny Hawkins, Darren Morton, Luke Hitchman (capt), Daniel Gilbert, Jamie Evans, Scott Baker, Kye Smith, James Evans. Subs: none.

Referee: S. Gudger Assistants: R. Usher, J. Widdett.
Attendance: 20 (headcount).