Calverton Miners Welfare 0 Newark Town 1

Monday 28th December 2009
Calverton Miners Welfare 0 Newark Town 1
Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League Buckingham Insurance Supreme Division
At: Hollinwood Lane
Kick-off 3-00 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1 (36 pages)
Attendance: 65 (headcount)
Weather: very cold, dry, clearish sky
Duration: first-half: 46:43; second-half: 49:40

The recent wintry weather hit the East Midlands football scene hard, so much so that this game was the first Buckingham Insurance Supreme Division fixture to take place since Saturday 12th December. It was always a tight affair settled in favour of title-chasing Newark Town by Simon Ellison’s first-half goal.

Outside the professional game and Blue Square Conference, there weren’t too many games scheduled for today in my usual midlands and north-western haunts. And with the freezing weather continuing to force postponements, I was pleased to read the message from Rob Hornby on the nonleaguematters forum that “CMFL Calverton MW v Newark Town Pitch has just passed inspection, so 3pm kick off”. Further to that: “Calverton is deffentley (sic) ON but wrap up warm its going to be a cold one!! Programme issued and I will have the teamsheets to hand if anyone wants to copy then down.”

The village of Calverton is located around six miles north-east of the centre of Nottingham and, as the directions I had suggested, there was no problem what so ever finding the ground. On the way I passed Arnold Town’s new ground and approached along Main Street from the B6386 junction by the golf course signed Calverton. Hollinwood Lane was first left and the ground on the left next to the household waste and recycling centre.

No problem as I said finding the ground but a lot of problems finding a parking space. The welfare car park was full and the surrounding streets were marked with single yellow lines complete with in-force parking restrictions. Eventually I found a spot on an unrestricted road – Collyer Road – around 300 yards away.

The ground was behind the welfare building (aka The Top Club) and the pitch ran lengthways from the entrance. Hardstanding ran the entire length of the nearest touchline, the Clubhouse End, with a recently erected covered stand occupying the area immediately behind the goal. There are plans to install black seats obtained from Derby County’s old Baseball Ground. Around the other three sides was flat standing on grass with the dugouts down the right-hand side either side of the halfway line.

The roots of the present-day Calverton Miners Welfare FC go back to 1946 when a gentleman called Arthur ‘Jotty’ Matthews formed a Calverton Colliery team. They joined the Notts Alliance in 1998/98 after another local team, Calverton Town, folded and CMW became a founder member of the Notts Senior League in 2004. The club took the bold move to join the Central Midlands League Premier Division two years later and gained promotion to the Supreme Divison in 2008. Last season, their first in the Supreme Division, Calverton finished in an impressive third position. However, during the close season, the first team management and almost the entire first-team squad defected to Gedling Miners Welfare.

As promised, programmes were available and teamsheets handed to those who wanted one. A few cars loads arrived minutes before kick-off having watched the early kick-off East Midlands Counties League game at nearby Radford.

Calverton, 13th in the 18-team league on 22 points from 22 games, had played more games than any other side in the Buckingham Insurance Supreme Division. Visitors Newark Town (34 points from 17 games) arrived at Hollinworth Lane in good form. With two games in hand they trailed leaders Kirkby Town by seven points and had moved up the table on the back of a run of five wins from their last seven games.

Both sides were last in action over two weeks ago on the aforementioned 12th December when Calverton won 1-0 at Blidworth Welfare and Newark won 4-1 at Westella & Willerby.

Before kick-off, I took advantage of Rob Hornby’s offer to get an on-pitch view of the fairplay formalities and also take a Calverton team photo as well. Thanks Rob.

Newark got the action underway attacking the Clubhouse End but it was Calverton who created the early chances. The visitors got a “Town wake up” call when Fraz Ahmed delivered a great cross from out of the left which the unmarked Gareth Clarkson headed straight at Garry Attwood.

Matt Roche had the ball in the back of the Calverton net just before the midpoint of the half only to be denied a goal by a raised offside flag.

A neat passing move led to Newark scoring the only goal in the 39th minute. Martin Wilson pulled the ball back from the bye-line and Simon Ellison fired home a low right-foot shot. It was the strikers 10th goal in as many games.

The visitors were in the ascendency and Simon Ellison headed against the bar before the interval. The feared striker wanted another goal and saw another header cleared from in front of goal.

The crowd adjourned to the Top Club, where a kitchen hatch did a roaring trade in hot drinks, unaware of the drama unfolding outside. Reported problems with the generator used to power the lights threatened to cause an abandonment until a puff of smoke and the ‘sweet’ smell of diesel provided good news. On came the lights and the second half kicked-off around 25 minutes after the first half had ended.

Newark almost doubled their lead early in the second half when Wilson fired against the left-hand post.

Calverton showed some urgency and Attwood needed to get down smartly to stop Gareth Clarkson’s curling free-kick. With time running out they brought on all three substitutes and pushed defender Seb Firman into attack.

The “big push now Calvo” almost led to an equaliser. Callum Kitchin hammered a 30-yard shot inches wide while Attwood reacted superbly to tip over a decent shot from Liam Harris.

Newark made absolutely sure of the win by getting the ball deep into Calverton territory at the start of stoppage time and made sure it stayed there until the full-time whistle.

The three points lifted Newark up one position in the table over Ollerton Town into fourth spot and nicely set themselves up for a sustained title challenge. Only one other Central Midlands League game survived today, the Premier Division game at South Normanton Athletic won 4-1 by visitors Church Warsop Miner Welfare.

On the way home, I found some elusive Namaqua wine in the Burton-on-Trent branch of Morrisons – Namaqua being the sponsor of Sky’s South Africa v England test match coverage. Who says advertising doesn’t work?

Calverton Miners Welfare (chilli red / navy blue / navy blue): 1. Mike Randall, 2. Marc Cannon, 3. Liam Harris (capt), 4. Seb Firman, 5. Justin Pinnock, 6. Fraz Ahmed, 7. Chris Jackson, 18. Rob McCoy, 9. Simon Gould, 10. Gareth Clarkson, 11. Chris Myton. Subs: 14. Tom Daniel (for Gould, 85), 16. Callum Kitchin (for Ahmed, 57), 17. Dan Clifford (for Cannon, 51). Manager: Tony Cox.

Newark Town (sky blue / white / sky blue): 1. Garry Attwood, 2. Sam Wilford, 3. Steve Carty, 4. Simon Greenfield (capt), 5. Ryan Stafford, 6. Martin Wilson, 7. Tom Mallinson, David Issott, 9. Simon Ellison, 10. Matt Roche, 11. Mark Ellison. Subs: 12. Louis Cree (for Issott, 76), 14. Ben Barnard (for Carty, 76), 15. Luke Parsons (for Roche, 81).

Referee: Alix Pashley.
Assistants: Damian Cottrell and James Robinson.

0-1 Simon Ellison (36)

Calverton: Rob McCoy (YC, 62).
Newark: none.

Highworth Town 2 Reading Town 4

Saturday 26th December 2009
Highworth Town 2 Reading Town 4
FTL FUTBOL Hellenic League Premier Division
At: Elm Recreation Ground
Kick-off 3-00 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1 (32 pages)
Attendance: 205
Weather: mild, rain during second half
Duration: first-half: 46:44; second-half: 48:12

I suppose there was a slight disappointing sense of failure about not managing to complete a Bank Holiday ‘double’ as I ended up with just a plain old 3 pm Saturday afternoon fixture. But there was nothing plain or disappointing about this feisty encounter between two in-form sides which produced six goals and two red cards. And I was able to plug a gap on my football CV I’d wanted to fill for a long while.

Highworth Town, nicknamed The Worthians, were formed way back in 1893 and played in various local leagues before progressing into the Hellenic League in 1984. The current season is their 16th consecutive season in the Premier Division which they won in 2004/05. Last season The Worthians won the Wiltshire Senior Cup for the fifth time. Reading Town joined the Hellenic League Premier Division at the start of last season after switching from the Combined Counties League.

With no luck in finding a morning kick-off, I got a “definitely on” and “kick-off 3 pm” when I phoned Highworth while parked at the entrance to Archdale 73 FC’s ground in north Worcester. Of course, I headed south ASAP and got to the ground around 2½ hours before kick-off. I like to arrive early but this was early even by my standards!

I’d time on my hands to play the sightseer role – the brown sign pointing down the High Street listed ‘13th Century Church and Market Square’. I also learned that Highworth is twinned with Pontorson and spotted the Post Office (which Wikipedia told me afterwards played a secret role for British resistance movement during the Second World War) as well as several pubs incluing The King and Queen, Saracen’s Head and The Globe. It was nice to see the pleasant and unspoilt Market Square area was a conservation area.

Back to the football and the ground was located just off the A361 towards Swindon. Travelling south, turn right into The Green leading The Elms by Sweeney’s Hairdressers and opposite The Fox (a pub that boasts the last pub food before M4) and the ground was 100 yards on the left.

With the pitch running lengthways from the entrance, there were two identical seated stands down the left-hand touchline, either side of an area of covered standing which straddled halfway. Dugouts were opposite on the side next to the cricket ground where there was no spectator access. The clubhouse and changing rooms building was located next to the entrance and the bar area included a tea bar.

Line-ups were announced over the tannoy just before kick-off.

Highworth (33 points from 19 games) went into this Boxing Day clash on the back of three consecutive league victories. Wins over Kidlington (3-1), Old Woodstock Town (4-0) and 11 days ago at Carterton Town (5-1) had lifted them into seventh position in the Premier Division table.

Visitors Reading Town (54 points from 21 games) arrived at the Recreation Ground on top of the table, seven points clear of nearest rivals Almondsbury Town. They began the season with a 20-match unbeaten run in the league which came to an abrupt end in their last game, played on Tuesday 15th December, which they lost 2-1 at Kidlington Town.

Attacking the Leisure Centre end in the first half, Reading got this game underway between a home side in a ‘rich vein of form’ and the visiting ‘table toppers’.

A mistake by Ian Gill led to the visitors taking the lead in the 11th minute. Graham Lewis picked up the keeper’s poor clearance and fed James Clark who slotted home from the left side of the area. Gill required treatment after challenging the scorer and was replaced by substitute Paul Haines in the 16th minute.

Mark Hughes’s deflected shot wrong-footed Haines and almost ended up in the net before Highworth levelled things up in the 23rd minute. Dan Hilder and Dave Stuod combined on the left and Steve Robertson hammered home the resulting low cross at the far post.

Highworth were awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute when Chris Grace brought down Stroud inside the area. The keeper was booked and Steve Yeardley sent him the wrong way from the spot.

However, the joy of putting his side in front changed for Yeardley two minutes later. The defender retaliated following a foul by Reading’s Hughes and unsurprisingly received a straight red card after the referee consulted both assistants.

The festive mood continued at half-time with the sound of Chris De Burgh’s ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ and other seasonal songs. During the interval I spotted a plaque commemorating the opening of the floodlights back in July 1994 by Mrs Anne Haines during a game with QPR.

I returned to my seat on the back row next to one sponsored/dedicated/reserved in the name of ‘Jacqueline Youd’. But a heavy shower forced fans to seek shelter and I moved one row forward to maintain my view of the action.

Both keepers made a decent save each just before the midpoint of the second half. Grace palmed away a curling free-kick from Hilder while Haines blocked a fierce rising 30-yarder hit by Lucca Riccio.

Reading got back on level terms in the 69th minute. Aaron Parfitt corner wasn’t completely cleared and unmarked defender Michael Hancock fired home from inside the area.

The visitors, with their numerical advantage, continued to threaten and Clarks’ header was held by diving Haines. They eventually regained the lead to take a vital 3-2 advantage in the 84th minute. Parfitt exchanged passes with Ian Brooks and fired past Haines at close range.

Hughes netted Reading’s fourth goal in the 87th minute. From Parfitt’s free-kick played forward into the Highworth area, the Reading skipper fired home as the ball wasn’t cleared. However, Hughes picked up a second booking during the celebration and the visitors also finished the game with 10 men.

Highworth Town (red/black/red): 1. Ian Gill, 2. Steve Yeardley, 3. Dave Stroud, 4. Stuart Pearson, 5. Tom Cole (capt), 6. Craig Curtis, 7. Tony Joyce, 8. Ben Snook, 9. Steve Robertson, 10. Matty Bennett, 11. Dan Hilder. Subs: 12. Kevin Tate (not used), 14. Dan Bishop (for Stroud, 79), 15. Richie Crocker (for Robertson, 74), 16. Lee Spalding (not used), GK. Paul Haines (for Gill, 16). Manager: Dave Webb.

Reading Town (blue / blue / sky blue): 1. Chris Grace, 2. Danny Williamson, 3. Mark Hughes (capt), 4. Michael Buck, 5. Michael Hancock, 6. Gary Clifford, 7. Scott Rees, 8. Lucca Riccio, 9. Aaron Parfitt, 10. Graham Lewis, 11. James Clark. Subs: 12. Tristam Dennis (for Parfitt, 89), 14. Ian Brooks (for Rees, 76), 15. Danny Brownlie (not used), 16. Dwayne Hamilton (for Clark, 79). Manager: Colin Millard.

Referee: D Sallis.
Assistants: J Cox and R Ashman.

0-1 James Clark (11)
1-1 Steve Robertson (23)
2-1 Steve Yeardley (33 pen)
2-2 Michael Hancock (69)
2-3 Aaron Parfitt (84)
2-4 Mark Hughes (87)

Stratford Town ‘A’ 1 Blackwood 5

Saturday 19th December 2009
Stratford Town ‘A’ 1 Blackwood 5
Midland Combination Division 3
Stratford Town FC 3G pitch, Knights Lane
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Admission: none; Teamsheet: free
Attendance: 41 (headcount)
Weather: very cold, dry
Duration: first half: 46:40; second half: 48:56

The 3G pitch used by Stratford Town ‘A’ proved the saviour of many a football traveller’s afternoon, including my own.

The weather forecast earlier in the week suggested problems for football today, especially after Thursday’s snow. I hadn’t anticipated that the ice and freezing temperatures would totally wipeout the entire Midlands non-league programme – apart from an artificial oasis in the heart of Shakespeare country.

I can’t, however, give myself credit for spotting this game and I must show my appreciation to ‘acmold’ for flagging it up on the nonleaguematters website forum. I must also thank Secretary Mr Stephens for replying to my email late last night.

When I left home not long before noon, the temperature on the car thermometer was a chilly –2.5°C. I travelled via Henley-in-Arden to check if Henley Forest’s game had survived the weather, which it hadn’t, and made my way through busy Stratford-on-Avon and out on the B4086 (signed Wellesbourne) to Tiddington. Knights Lane (signed Loxley 3) was on the right on the Stratford side of the village and the drive up to the Stratford Town ground around 1/2 mile down Knights Lane on the right just past the school.

I parked up and spotted ‘Tim’ sat in his car reading his Football Traveller. Into the bar and there were a host of travellers including ‘Leatherhead Pete’, ‘acmold’ and ‘Traveller Bill’.

The 3G pitch (orientated south-east–north-west) was enclosed by a tall green wire mesh cage. The entrance was adjacent to the club building and car park, and the pitch ran lengthways. The right-hand touchline was roped off as was a portion of the near byeline next to the entrance. Dugouts straddled the halfway line down the left with three floodlight pylons down each side. There was no spectator access behind either goal. Incidentally, the main first-team stadium was on the other side of the club building.

‘acmold’ produced a sheet giving the match officials, league table and Stratford’s results this season which was supplemented by two teamsheets kindly produced by Stratford. I said two because they produced a second one following a change in the home starting line-up. The Stratford officials couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming to their unexpected invasion of spectators.

Stratford (14 points from 10 games) went into the fixture in eighth position in the 16-team division. Last Saturday they drew 2-2 at Shipston Excelsior.

Visitors Blackwood (22 points from eight games) were in fourth position, ten points behind leaders Dosthill Colts Reserves with six games in hand. The only league points dropped so far this season were on August Bank Holiday Monday in a goalless draw at Clements ’83. Blackwood would be comfortably top of an American-style sorted by points per game.

Blackwood’s starting line-up including one name immediately familiar to me. Chris Milliard impressed a few years ago as a Stafford Rangers squad player without breaking into the first team. Chatting to the father of one of the Blackwood players during the second half, he reminded me that goalkeeper Richard Mills and substitute Ross Clarke (not Russ Clark as printed on the teamsheet) also played for Stafford’s Reserves and County League sides as well.

Once the fairplay formalities were concluded, Stratford (wearing blue shirts, blue shorts and white socks) got the game underway defending the near clubhouse end in the first half.

“C’mon Town, straight in!” while Blackwood were encouraged to have “plenty of chat on the ball”.

Blackwood (wearing black and red striped shirts, white shorts and red socks) took the lead in the 7th minute. Ashley Griffiths received a pass from David Johnson and fired towards goal. A defender attempting a clearance succeeded only in hitting his own keeper Duncan Thorpe with the ball which flew into the net.

After Stratford won the game’s first corner, Thorpe was forced into action at the other end to turn round a close range shot from Chris Milliard wearing a pair of distinctive yellow boots.

The visitors continued to create chances and Milliard saw another shot cleared from in front of goal by Tom Dyke. Blackwood, however, didn’t have to wait long for a second goal which came in the 24th minute. Adam Tilsley played the ball into the path of Johnson on the right who fired a rising shot across the face of goal and into the far side of the net off the hands of Thorpe.

Stratford pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark. Danny Bailey’s shot from the left side of the area took a deflection and flew past Richard Mills into the net.

In the 34th minute, Blackwood restored their two-goal advantage. Johnson found Milliard who thumped a well-struck shot against the bar. Griffiths reacted first and slotted home the loose ball.

The visitors wanted more goals and Thorpe did well to hold onto James Hudson’s curling shot as Griffiths looked to take advantage of any mishandling by the keeper.

It was the impressive Milliard who netted Blackwood’s fourth goal in the 43rd minute. Griffith’s initial shot hit defender Chris Stephens and the visitors’ skipper put away the rebound.

Blackwood looked home and hosed but stil it was a case of “let’s not switch off now”.

It was back into the bar at half-time where hot teas and coffees did a roaring trade – most welcome.

Half-time didn’t put a stop to Blackwood’s chances and Johnson saw a good effort saved just after the restart. Like the first half, I stood down the right-hand side like all the other travellers. Nine minutes into the second half, Johnson from the centre of the Stratford half fed Griffiths who saw a low drive fly past the right-hand post.

Stratford made a double change in the 58th minute, replacing tall forward Steve Hicks and midfielder Sam Allen with Dominic Trinder and Nathan Edgington.

Blackwood defender Warren Grant picked up a booking five minutes later for dissent and he was followed into the book by Dyke and Edgington, both in the 67th minute for separate fouls.

Tom Brown became Straftord’s third and final substitution in the 68th minute, replacing Jono Stephens. Their bench still had hope of getting something out of the game: “one goal and we are back in it”.

Blackwood replaced James Hudson with Joe Busst in the 73rd minute and they looked to “pick it back up”. And they almost responded with a goal. Griffiths played the ball into the path of Tilsley who sent a right-foot shot straight at Thorpe.

In a game that was anything but dirty or bad tempered, Blackwood’s Alyn Rose bcame the fourth and final player to pick up a yellow card, this one produced for a foul.

Just like Stratford, the visitors made all three substitutions; ex-Stafford Rangers man Ross Clarke replaced Griffiths in the 78th minutes and Joe Lynch came on for Wayne Hall two minutes later.

Even though the outcome was not in doubt, Stratford still looked to reduce the deficit and Trinder fired straight at Mills from just outside the area.

Thorpe produced a good block to thwart Johnson at the expense of a corner.

The game looked to be heading for a 4-1 win for the visitors until Milliard rounded out a great personal performance by scoring the spectacular fifth goal in the 90th minute. He hammered home a rising 20-yard left-foot shot that flew into the net past Thorne.

A sixth goal almost came in stoppage time. Clarke saw his initial shot blocked by Thorne’s legs and then had a follow-up shot fly off the keeper for a corner.

Stratford Town ‘A’ (blue/blue/white): 1. Duncan Thorpe, 2. Tom Dyke, 3. Clayton Foster, 4. Jono Stephens, 5. Chris Stephens, 6. James Bailey (capt), 7. Danny Bailey, 8. Sam Allen, 9. Ashley Wilkes, 10. Steve Hicks, 11. Ben Gibson. Subs: 12. Nathan Edgington (for Allen, 58), 14. Tom Brown (for Jono Stephens, 68), 15. Dominic Trinder (for Hicks, 58).

Blackwood (red and black stripes / white / red): 1. Richard Mills, 2. Simon Hudson, 3. Wayne Hall, 4. Chris Fitzgerald, 5. Warren Grant, 6. Adam Tilsley, 7. David Johnson, 8. Alyn Rose, 9. Ashley Griffiths, 10. Chris Milliard (capt), 11. James Hudson. Subs: 12. Joe Busst (for James Hudson, 73), 14. Joe Topham (not used), 15. Joe Lynch (for Hall, 80), 16. Ben Weldon (not used), 17. Ross Clarke (for Griffiths, 78).

Referee: K Cheeseman.
Assistants: K Morgan and N Chester.

0-1 Duncan Thorpe (7 og)
0-2 David Johnson (24)
1-2 Danny Bailey (31)
1-3 Ashley Griffiths (34)
1-4 Chris Milliard (43)
1-5 Chris Milliard (90)

Sherburn White Rose 2 Beeston St Anthony 1

Saturday 12th December 2009
Sherburn White Rose 2 Beeston St Anthony 1
West Yorkshire League Premier Division
At: Recreation Ground, Finkle Hill
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Admission: £1 raffle; Programme: none
Attendance: 40 (headcount)
Weather: cold, dry, sunny during first half
Duration: first half: 46:12; second half: 49:14

A pre-Christmas trip to relatives in Yorkshire provided an opportunity to dip my toe into the Step 7 West Yorkshire League Premier Division. At just six miles from our destination, the top of the table clash between third-placed Sherburn White Rose and leaders Beeston St Anthony was an ideal way to start a new league.

I’m a big fan of websites and have been for well over 10 years. As someone who used to edit a club website, I was mightily impressed with Sherburn’s site with news from a host of team the club runs – first team, second team, third team, over-35s, under-18s and juniors. It was the photo of the ground on the home page that ultimately persuaded me that Finkle Hill was the place to head to.

The site provided a club history, most useful to get to know the club. Sherburn White Rose reformed in 1960 and been members of the West Yorkshire League for 50 years. In 2003, they benefited from a substantial grant from the Football Foundation and used the funds to build a brand new clubhouse, encompassing a bar, function room, kitchen and four modern changing rooms. West Yorkshire League Premier Division status was regained in 2006 and a year later Sherburn began to field three Saturday teams for the first time.

The Finkel Hill Recreation Ground proved easy the find. I approached the village from the west on the B1222 to the lights in the centre by The Swan and Red Bear pubs. I took the Tadcaster road uphill and the ground was 300 yards on the right, past the Co-op and just before the national speed limit signs.

The pitch (orientated west–east) ran lengthways behind the clubhouse and slightly sloped from right to left. It was railed off down each touchline and behind the far goal with dugouts positioned either side of halfway down the left-hand touchline. There was no hardstanding around the pitch, apart from an elevated area in front of the clubhouse and changing rooms. The ground boasted five floodlight posts which I guess were only used for training. As well as football, the Recreation Ground also caters for bowls and tennis as well.

A second pitch, a couple of hundred yards to the north, and next to the bypass, was used by Sherburn’s third team for their home Selby League game against Ferrybridge.

Sherburn (in third with 23 points from 13 games) were looked to bounce back to winning ways after their six-match unbeaten run in their league came to an end at Otley Town last Saturday. They lost 2-1 and had two players dismissed.

Leaders Beeston (32 points from 14 games) were also on a good run of form of eight league games without defeat since they lost 5-1 at Field in mid-September.

Nick Peacock, the home manager, was most obliging in providing the Sherburn line-up and the referee kindly let me note down the numbers of the visitors. It certainly helped that the West Yorkshire League full-time website included squad lists and recent line-ups for both sides as no programme was issued today.

There was no official admission charge or programme, though everyone including the players appeared to participate in the raffle.

“Change over,” announced referee Emma Hock and, after Beeston were encouraged to “set the tempo early”, it was the visitors (wearing green and black stripes, black shorts and green socks) who got the game underway defending the changing rooms end in the first half.

Sherburn (wearing all yellow) almost took an early lead. Adam Priestley intercepted a weak backpass header before flicking the ball over the advancing keeper and just wide of the unguarded net.

Raffle tickets came round – £1 per strip – but with my luck there was no change of my pink strip 161–165 being drawn out… and I was right.

Play was mostly in midfield with few chances created. Just before the quarter hour mark, Priestley played the ball into the path of James Middleton though the brave Beeston keeper Karl Codd left his line to dive at the feet of the attacker.

Beeston midfielder John Ward tried his luck from the edge of the edge of the area with an angled left-foot shot which missed the far corner of the net. It was certainly “worth a go”.

Around the half-hour mark, Adam Sadler got the chance to shoot 30 yards out and his right foot drive flashed past the left-hand post. Sherburn appealed, unsuccessfully, for a penalty when David Haley went down inside the area under Sean Jeavons’ challenge.

The visitors seemed happy with the way things had gone in the goalless opening half hour. “We are getting there, just stay patient,” was the view of Lee McGuire. They continued to create the better chances and a cross-cum-shot from Matthew Bennett out on the right landed on the roof of the net. Simon Hudson got across well to hold a deflected 30-yard drive hit by Ryan Boden.

However, Sherburn went agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 40th minute. Middleton whipped in a right-wing cross for unmarked Priestley to head against the base of the near post. Soon at the other end, the diving Hudson held John Ward’s deflected shot which was heading for the bottom-right corner of the net. “We need to drive on,” shoute done encouraged Beeston player.

Referee Hock brandished a yellow card towards Ward in the 45th minute for colourful language directed towards an assistant. The Beeston midfielder felt he should have been given a free-kick.

I’d read a previous review of a visit to Sherburn which mentioned a tea bar and, thankfully, on a cold afternoon it was up and running again from a hatch next to the clubhouse entrance.

Into the second half and Sherburn, now attacking the far end, took the lead just over five minutes after the resumption. Middleton on the right fed Priestley inside the area and the striker fired across goal into the opposite bottom-left corner of the net (see photo immediately below).

It got even better for the home side in the 54th minute when leading scorer Priestley struck a second goal. He broke down the left and sent a curling shot into the far right corner of the net. The visitors responding with a substitution two minutes later as the more attacking Lee Turnbull replaced Baggaley which resulted in a reshuffle at the back.

Playing with a sense of urgency, Besston set about reducing the deficit and put the home side under pressure. Turnbull fired across the face of goal.

In the 72nd minute, Paul McMullen delivered a deep cross from the left which was headed back towards goal by John Wardropper (aka ‘Bomber’) and cleared by Danny Graham. Sherburn quickly broke and Priestley fired into the sidenetting.

The visitors remained confident that “it’ll come” and they had a penalty appeal turned down for a challenge on Jason Bradley. Beeston piled on the pressure and Hudson did well to hold onto a low 25-yard drive from Ward.

Beeston eventually reduced the deficit in the 84th minute from soft free-kick to set up an exciting finale. There was “no need for that” when Scott Williams fouled Ward 22-yard out in a central position. Sean Jeavons stepped up to curl the ball over a six-man wall and into the net via the underside of the bar. Keeper Hudson picked up a cut in the meleĆ© that followed in front of the Sherburn goal.

It was certainly heated and referee Hock needed to work hard to keep things under control with Sherburn defending in numbers. Goalscorer Jeavons picked up a 90th minute booking for a foul of Hudson.

Raffle ticket sales continued in the clubhouse after the game with players encouraged to participate. But, alas, when the winning ticket was drawn, it was no surprise my losing raffle streak continued as ticket 216 bagged the prize.

Sherburn White Rose (yellow/yellow/yellow): 1. Simon Hudson, 2. Neil Dixon, 3. Danny Graham, 4. James Jollands, 5. Rob Foreman, 6. David Haley, 7. James Middleton, 8. Alex Booth (capt), 9. Adam Priestley, 10. Adam Sadler, 11. Scott Williams. Subs: Chris Thompson, Daryl Carter (both not used). Manager: Nick Peacock.

Beeston St Anthony (green and black stripes / black / green): 1. Karl Codd, 2. Mark Baggaley, 3. Ryan Boden, 4. Lee McGuire, 5. John Wardropper, 6. Ryan Thorpe (capt), 7. Matthew Bennett, 8. John Ward, 9. Sean Jeavons, 10. Jason Bradley, 11. Paul McMullen. Subs: 17. Lee Turnbull (for Baggaley, 56), Anthony Williamson (not used), Matthew Fannon (not used).

Referee: Emma Hock (Leeds).
Assistants: Jim Jones and Garreth Rhodes.

1-0 Adam Priestley (51)
2-0 Adam Priestley (54)
2-1 Sean Jeavons (84)