Coach Rangers 4 Brassington 2

Thursday 16th August 2012
Coach Rangers 4 Brassington 2
Summer League Division One
At: Ashbourne Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 7-00 pm
No admission or programme
Weather: cloudy, dry
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Duration (40): first-half: 40:52; second-half: 41:46

By my reckoning, Coach Rangers will need to win their last league game away to Bradley on Monday to retain the title, even though they extended their 100% record in Division One to five wins out of five with a 4-2 victory over Brassington. Arch rivals Bradley also maintained their 100% record with an impressive 8-1 win over Osmaston to move to the top of the table on goal difference.

Tonight, goals from Sean Millward (two), Kev Millward and Mark Maznenko seemingly gave Coach a comfortable advantage. However, Brassington fought back through Joe Beech and an Ian Godfrey own goal.

Since the league fixture I saw towards the end of last month, the League Council had to take the difficult decision to suspend the original 14-team league due to the high number of postponements. Instead, two divisions of seven-teams each (One and Two) were formed with each team playing each other once. Prior to this evening, five of seven rounds of matches had been played and the races to become Division One and Division Two champions will still very much alive.

Going into tonight’s game at Ashbourne Rec, Coach Rangers (12 points from 4 games) topped Division One on goal difference from old rivals Bradley (also 12 points from 4 games). Unfortunately, Brassington (7th position with 0 points from 4 games) had lost all four fixtures since the new divisions were established.

Coach (in pink shirts, black shorts and socks) got the game underway defending the Town End of the Rec. They, however, survived an early scare when Tom Batterley sent a rising right-foot shot flashing past the net.

After Mark Maznenko twice went close to putting Coach ahead, Sam Howard hit the far-left post with an angled shot and the loose ball rebounded into the hands of Brassington goalkeeper James Orme.

Brassington posed a threat and Phil Dawson, in goal for Coach tonight, produced a diving save to hold a long-range drive from James Slater.

The save proved vital as Coach took the lead in the 16th minute. Maznenko fed Sean Millward and the striker ran into the area from the left and fired low past Orme.

Coach doubled their lead nine minutes later direct from a Kev Millward right-wing corner which somehow squeezed in despite a defender guarding the near post (photo right).

Orme parried a well-stuck shot from Kev Millward before Coach were awarded a penalty for a foul on Tom Donnelly just after the half-hour mark. Ian Godfrey stepped up but saw his spot kick brilliantly saved by Orme. However, the ball ran free and Maznenko drove home the loose ball. Tough luck on the goalkeeper.

With goal different likely to prove crucial if Monday’s title decider at Bradley finishes as a draw, Coach added a fourth goal at the end of a nice move. The Millwards combined with unchallenged Sean slotting home a low right-wing cross from Kev.

To their credit, Brassington kept plugging away and pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time. Joe Beech took full advantage of some poor defending and fired low past Dawson at close range.

So at half-time, Coach held a comfortable lead but I wondered if Brassington’s goal would prove costly if the title is decided on goal difference.

Coach almost had a dream start to the second half as Maznenko shot just wide just 30 seconds after the restart. He also fired over from a Kev Millward corner and just before the hour mark, unmarked Sam Howard couldn’t keep his header down from a few yards out.

I watched a good portion of the second half in the company of Coach striker Callum Woolley who missed the game through injury.

One moment I enjoyed and sticks in my mind from the second half occurred in the 75th minute. Kev Millward broke down the left, vocally encouraged by the overlapping and pacy Maznenko. Kev kept going into the area and shot just wide.

I mentioned earlier about goal difference and Coach conceded a second goal in stoppage time. I didn’t get a perfect view of what happened (so apologies for any incorrect description) though I think Ian Godfrey headed into his own net.

Straight from the kick-off, Jimmy Carter sent an audacious shot towards goal to try and catch out Orme. The keeper was alert to produce a fine save which kept out what would have been one of the goals of the season.

So with Coach winning 4-2 and Bradley winning 8-1, the two sides are level on 15 points with one game to play. I think I’m correct in saying that Bradley have a goal difference of +18, three better than Coach’s +15. So Coach need to win on Monday otherwise Bradley win the league.

Coach Rangers (pink/black/black): 1. Phil Dawson, 9. Tom Donnelly, 5. Martyn Taylor, 6. Paul Godfrey, 14. Jimmy Carter, 7. Kev Millward, 8. Ian Godfrey, 2. Sam Howard, 4. Mark Maznenko, 11. Matt Hackett, 10. Sean Millward. Sub: 15. Jordan (for Sean Millward, 68).

Brassington (yellow and black stripes / black / black): 1. James Orme, 3. Ben Ormsby, 12. Paul Alsopp, 4. Tom Coley, 2. Steve Abbrell, 8. Joe Beech, 16. James Slater, 5. Mark Alcock, 7. Tom Batterley, 10. Joe Redfern, 9. Daniel Wagstaff. Subs: 6. Steve Jack (for Beech, 62), 15. Tim Coupe (not used).

Referee: ???

1-0 Sean Millward (16)
2-0 Kev Millward (25)
3-0 Mark Maznenko (32)
4-0 Sean Millward (34)
4-1 Joe Beech (40+1)
4-2 Ian Godfrey (90+2 og)

Cards: none