Thursday 23rd July 2009

Kirk Langley 2 Bradley 3
Summer League
At: G. B. Barrington Playing Field
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
No admission or programme
Attendance: 26 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, mild
Duration: first half: 40:12; second half: 42:03

I was good to get back on the road for more Summer League midweek action after a gap of two weeks, especially when ‘Aggedor’ emailed to say that he and ‘Over The Top’ were also heading for my chosen destination of Kirk Langley who were entertaining Bradley the unbeaten league leaders.

Having had an aborted trip last month for the postponed Peter Young Cup Final, I knew my way to the village. I arrived at the ground entrance around 6-55 pm to be fourth car in a queue waiting to enter the ground – the driver of the second car was stood talking to the driver of the lead car in front of what turned out to be a locked gate. Soon a man with a key joined the back off the queue and prompted walked up to open the gate. So in we went.

The G. B. Barrington Playing Field was located close the A52, Derby-Ashbourne road. Turn into the B5020 – Moor Lane and signed to Mickleover – then first right into The Cunnery after 100 yards then first right again into a drive that leads to the aforementioned gate. Through the entrance was a large cricket field, with the church on the right, a pavilion in the far left corner and the football pitch (orientated east-west) occupying the far side of the field, running lengthways away from the pavilion and on the other side of the cricket square. The said pavilion was opened in 1986 and inside the building, Peter Young, after whom one of the Summer League cup competitions is named, was remembered.

Soon after I parked up then Aggedor and OTT arrived as promised. There was no need for out fold-up chairs tonight as there was the choice of four park-style benches to choose from adjacent to the hedge.

Kirk Langley (32 points from 20 games) went into the game in a mid-table on the back of Monday’s 4-1 win at lowly Mayfield. Visitors and league leaders Bradley (56 points from 20 games and still unbeaten in the league), also won on Monday and last night fought for a 4-3 victory over Coach Rangers to reach the final of the Wayne Tarbard Memorial Trophy. Bradley opted to leave Jez Oborn and Richard Gage on the bench for this one.

Referee Ian Fraser got the game underway with Kirk Langley (wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and black socks) kicking-off and defending the pavilion end in the first half.

On an undulating pitch, there were very few opportunities during the opening quarter hour. Mark Sellers hit a 25-yard free-kick against the Kirk Langley wall while a half-chance fell to the homsters’ Rob Rooney.

Surely not a 0-0 in a league that rarely has games that finish goalless There will be goals suggested OTT and he was right.

In the 16th minute, James Marriott pushed Bradley’s Wayne Archer inside the area giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Archer stepped up and converted the resulting penalty to put Bradley ahead. Kirk Langley were certainly frustrated to concede having started well.

There was almost a second goal three minutes later. Richard Coates successfully chased a ball over the top, beat the last defender and rounded the keeper, only to fire wide from a narrow angle.

Kirk Langley got forward and both Pete Stanton and Rooney fired straight at keeper Ollie Maudling. A long throw from the left by Jay Tremlow was propelled into the home area where Stuart Coates rose to head over the bar.

The home side demanded a penalty just before the break. Marriott’s 25-yard free-kick took a deflection off the four-man wall and flew towards the far left-hand post. The ball fell to Stanton who hit an acrobatic volley which hit a Bradley defender standing a yard or so away. “Handball,” was the cry but the well-positioned referee waived away the appeals.

Mrs ‘i-w-f’ gets frustrated sometimes with what I describe for some reason as ‘funny logic’. Rain clouds were gathering so I through that if I retrieved my cagoule from the car and had it with me during the second half then the rain would hold off. So while the players took a short break, I headed for my car to retrieve my car and took a long walk round the pitch and back to the bench. It stayed dry until minutes after the full-time whistle!

Bradley (wearing grey shirts, black shorts and black socks), now defending the pavilion end, got the action back underway and, just like the start of the first half, chances were again scarce. Some ten minutes into the second half, Stanton hit a speculative 30-yard shot which almost caught out Maudling by dipping just over the bar.

Bradley needed a second goal and threw on Jez Osborn in place of Richard Coates, but instead received a big shock in the 56th minute. Kirk Langley went even closer with a header from Marriott that was cleared off the line and over the bar. Rooney swung in the corner from the right which took a touch off Paul Haynes and ended up in the back of the Bradley net. Game on!

Bradley have been unbeaten in the league for over 12 months since suffering a 2-1 defeat at Kirk Langley on Thursday 3rd July. But their run of (what I calculate to be) 32 league games without defeat looked like shuddering to a halt as the home side scored a second goal just 153 seconds after the first one. Striker Liam Smith latched onto a perfect throughball and coolly flicked a low shot past the helpless Maudling.

Bradley needed to press forward and appealed for another penalty, this time unsuccessfully, when Jay Tremlow’s long throw struck a defender inside the area. Oborn fired over from a narrow angle.

Another close effort from the home side when Haynes sent a well-struck shot flashing past the left-hand post, prompted another Bradley change with Richard ‘Gadget’ Gage replacing Stuart Coates. Were the leaders about to suffer their first league defeat of the season?

What an inspired move the substitution turned out to be as Bradley equalised in the 64th minute and within 45 seconds of Gage’s arrival. Oborn, on the right, squared a pass to the unmarked Gage in front of goal who made no mistake with a low close-range shot. This league doesn’t do boring and below-par Bradley were back in with a fighting chance of preserving their unbeaten league record.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the visitors pressed forward in search of another goal. Jay Tremlow played a diagonal ball forward into the area from the left which was flicked over the bar at close range by Karl Grocott. Grocott got forward again to fire wide of the target.

In the 71st minute, Bradley thought they had regained the lead. Jay Tremlow’s low left-wing cross was put in by Oborn, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

Kirk Langley weren’t out of it and Marriott rose to head over a long-throw propelled from the left by Pete Ascott.

There was one final twist when Bradley were awarded another penalty in the 76th minute – four minutes from the end of a 40-minutes each-way game. Archer went down inside the area and got up to coolly slot home what proved to be the winner past Rowland.

With time running out for an equaliser, Kirk Langley’s second goalscorer Smith was yellow carded for a hefty challenge while Clem Mellor suffered the same fate for timewasting. The game finished with the ball inside the Kirk Langley half. Oborn fed the overlapping Jay Twemlow who forced a save out of Rowland.

Great relief for Bradley at full-time who had banished the demons of last July and another blow to the chasing sides hoping to wrestle the title from the men in grey.

During the game we wondered who ‘G. B. Barrington’ was and good old Wikipedia provides the answer. George Barrington (1857-1942) was a London-born cricketer who played for Derbyshire between 1880 and 1887, and died in Kirk Langley at the grand old age of 84. He must have been a much-loved resident to have the playing field named in his honour.