Coach Rangers 7 Weston 0

Monday 8th August 2011
Coach Rangers 7 Weston 0
Summer League
At: Ashbourne Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 7-00 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Attendance: 20 (headcount)
Weather: sunny, strong wind
Duration (40): first-half: 40:21; second-half: 40:06

The race to become 2011 Summer League Champions will go all the way to Thursday’s final programme of games after both the top two sides won their penultimate fixtures this evening. While second-placed Bradley were winning 3-1 at Kirk Langley, I saw table toppers Coach Rangers defeat Weston 7-0 at Ashbourne Recreation Ground.

Going into the game league leaders Coach had 70 points from 24 games and a goal difference of +76, two points clear of Bradley and some 22 points better off than third-placed Kirk Langley. At the opposite end of the table Weston were bottom on 14 points also from 24 games. Weston had showed improved form of late defeating Rose & Crown last Monday and then narrowly losing at Osmaston on Thursday.

Coach manager John Scott had a pre-match dilemma over which regular outfield player went in goal with Dec Bacon donning the green jersey and keeping a clean sheet.

The bottom pitch at Ashbourne Recreation Ground is always a pleasant tree-lined place to watch football, especially on a sunny evening.

Teams turned round after the toss and Coach (wearing pink shirts, black shorts and black socks) got the game underway attacking the town centre end of the Rec and defending into the low sun.

The league leaders quickly got on top and took an 8th minute lead. James Carter got down the right and squared a pass for Sam Howard to sidefoot home at close range. While Coach dominated, Weston (wearing navy blue shirts, white shorts and navy blue socks) were well organised and could have twice equalised. Richad Robinson sent a 35-yard free-kick flashing past Dec Bacon’s goal while Ryan Allen hooked a shot over the bar after Luke Horsfield’s long throw wasn’t cleared.

The second goal came in the 20th minute, Sean Millward fed Carter who fired home from 15 yards out. Kevin Millward saw a header cleared off the line and Sean Millward hit the bar before the Coach scored again on the half hour. Kevin Millward’s right-wing cross was partially cleared to Ian Godfrey who dribbled towards goal and drilled a low shot into the bottom-left corner.

Weston, playing with the wind at their backs created the odd chance and Robinson narrowly missed the target from well outside the area.

Coach, hungry for more goals, added a fourth in the 36th minute. Howard sent a sweet right-foot shot from the inside left channel into the opposite top corner of the net. League Secretary John Brailsford arrived to watch the latter part of the first half and all of the second half.

After the interval, Coach scored their fifth goal in the 46th minute, not long after Howard headed against the Weston bar. Kevin Millward crossed from the right for Sean Millward to hammer home a low shot past Steve Smith.

Goals continued to be scored. Sean Millward pulled the ball back in the 50th minute for Carter to sidefoot home unchallenged to make the scoreline 6-0 with half an hour still to be played.

Smith produced a superb save just after the hour mark to tip out Sean Millward’s rising drive.

The seventh and final goal of the evening was scored in the 66th minute. Again Carter was left unmarked to fire home and complete a hat-trick.

For the last 15 or so minutes, I decided to watch the game from the George Handley memorial bench near the side of the pitch closest to the stream and bridge. I know that Mr Handley, ‘one of the best’, is well remembered and an annual game in held in both his and little Luke Elson-Handley’s memory.

In the closing stages, Dan Frith headed wide and Phil Dawson fired past the right-hand post as well as shooting over the bar in a bid to get on the scoresheet. Carter almost scored a personal fourth goal.

By the time Jim Conway blew the final whistle, I reckon that Coach had no fewer than 34 attempts on goal.

Coach go into Thursday’s final game at Doveridge with a two-point advantage and a better goal difference over Bradley who entertain Holly Bush.

Coach Rangers (pink/black/black): 1. Dec Bacon, 4. Martyn Taylor, 6. Paul Godfrey, 9. Richard Smith, 16. Craig Richardson, 8. Ian Godfrey, 15. Craig Frith, 7. Kevin Millward, 11. Sam Howard, 12. James Carter (capt), 10. Sean Millward. Subs: 5. Dan Frith (for Craig Frith, 50), 3. Phil Dawson (for Kevin Millward, 56), 14. Darren Handley (for Taylor, 60).

Weston (navy blue / white / navy blue): 1. Steve Smith, 12. Max Wilkins (capt), 16. Alex Wood, 2. Luke Horsfield, 15. Neil Chapman, 8. Ryan Allen, 9. Dan Lyle, 10. Ed Worthington, 14. Dave Gardner, 11. Dan Briggs, 17. Richard Robinson. Subs: 6. Jon Ratledge (for Wilkins, 62).

Referee: Jim Conway.

1-0 Sam Howard (8)
2-0 James Carter (20)
3-0 Ian Godfrey (30)
4-0 Sam Howard (36)
5-0 Sean Millward (46)
6-0 James Carter (50)
7-0 James Carter (66)