12th February – Match reports

Premier Division

Ivy Tavern 4

Ruston Sports FC 1

The Ivy put in a convincing performance this weekend beating Ruston Sports 4-1 up at Yarborough. In a game played in very testing conditions the pitch was heavy and the wind was blustery but it was the same for both sides and in the end the Ivy came out on top. As has been the case on many occasions the Ivy management were forced to shuffle the pack but today they got it spot on.

In recent encounters with their opponents Ivy have struggled to break down a resolute and hard working defensive unit. However today was a different story with the Ivy tactic being to match up Rustons and it worked to a tee. After an expected scrappy opening the Ivy began to get on top, with Sean Cann forcing the first real chance of note sending an effort just wide of the far corner. It wasn’t long after that the first goal did arrive, this time Cann found space in the box and he wriggled round a couple of challenges before being felled, leaving referee Steve Fisher with no choice but to point to the spot. Sean Wright stepped up confidently and sent the keeper the wrong way. This settled the Ivy down and their wide men, Wilkinson and Taylor, started to find spaces in behind their markers. Goal number 2 didn’t take long after a long ball forward found Cann who beat both the defenders and the goalkeeper before slotting into an empty net. Ivy were however fortunate not to concede just before half time when the Ruston’s number 9 cannoned a header off the inside of the post and into the arms of the grateful goalkeeper Chester.

Ivy made the worst possible start to the second period giving away a needless free kick which Rustons centre midfielder rifled into the area, skidding under Chester’s advances, and into the bottom corner of the net. This raised the visitors tails and they had a 5 minute spell without really troubling the home sides back line. Ivy’s two goal cushion was soon restored when another ball forward was collected by Cann who beat two defenders before laying it off to Jack Wilkinson who coolly slotted home from 12 yards out.

This signalled the opportunity for a change of personnel with Tom Reynolds replacing the injured Callum Dye and Joe Ayres replacing Wilkinson. Danny Wells then replaced Jordan Taylor who had also picked up a knock. Ironically the final goal was provided by all three substitutes as a ball forward from Tom Reynolds was flicked on by Wells into the path of the onrushing Ayres who coolly lifted the ball into the roof of the net to put the game beyond  any doubt for the home side.

A few more chances were created towards the end but the score line remained 4-1 and on the balance of play this was a result that the home side probably deserved. They gave a competent performance throughout the entire team. Chester was commanding when called upon and kicked well in difficult conditions. Callum Dye excelled in his new position of right back, always looking to burst forward. Aiden Reynolds has found his fitness at the right time and he didn’t put a foot wrong at left back, with some crunching challenges and wonderful deliveries. The centre half pairing didn’t lose a first or second ball with both Chenko and Swinny commanding in the air and on the deck, particularly Chenko who pulled off a number of last ditch interceptions. In midfield Jack Wilkinson was always an outlet and deserved his goal, Jordan Taylor in his unfamiliar role of right midfield, did exactly as he was asked to do and his work rate and desire allowed him to put in a strong performance. The central midfield trio was perhaps where the game was won, Sean Wright was his usual quality, driving forward and slotting home a pressure penalty. Craig Bridge put in arguably his best performance in Ivy colours showing confidence on the ball and putting in some telling passes. Liam Uzzel, who deservedly took home the MOM award with endless running, broke up play up and allowed the players in front of him to dictate the game. This was a special day for Uzzel too winning the football card in the pub going towards his wedding fund!

The final mention goes to Cann who cut a lone figure upfront but used his experience to lead the line superbly and his clinical finishing at the right moments has become a trademark. All 3 substitutes had an impact on the game, particularly Tom Reynolds, who played as if he had never been away, winning every ball and putting in some delightful through balls. Ayres got his goal and took it well and Danny Wells had an involvement in that even in his short appearance.

Division One

AFC Plough 5

Old Boys United 2

With ex-Secertary Glen Jewett saving the day for the Plough by paying all fines owed thanks go from all of the players to Glen for that great gesture. Onto the game and Plough did not start well in a game played in horrendous conditions. They found themselves behind after conceding 2 goals in 15 minutes following errors by inform goalkeeper James Seal. Wes Barratt gave Plough hope just before half time with a good finish into the bottom corner

Wes got himself a second goal just minutes into the second half with Plough then back in total control. Liam Bentley, on his Plough return, put Plough ahead before Barratt finished of his hat-trick with another neat finish. Not bad for a 36year old who, in doing so, registered his 25th goal of the season. Timmie Mann completed the score-line with a scrappy finish in the dying minutes. All in all Plough didn’t start until the second half but then they really did take control and if it hadn’t have been for the excellence of the Old Boys keeper the score could have been much greater on the day.

The Plough man of match went to Wes Barratt for his excellent performance throughout.

Division Two

Red Lion Dunston 1

Bassingham Bugle Horn FC 6

On a bitterly cold day but with some consolation that at least the rain held off for most of the game, Dunston entertained visitor’s Bassingham, who were looking to gain top spot in the league. The game certainly started off with both teams attacking from the first whistle and it was Dunston who created the first real chance when an excellent opportunity was missed by George Shores, as he sent the ball just over the bar. Both teams continued to create chances, however it was Nathan Holland who was to prove a thorn for Dunston, causing havoc every time he got the ball. With 16 minutes gone Bassingham went one up and very quickly in the space of the next 20 minutes scored another three times to lead 4-0 at half time. Dunston were still creating chances throughout the half but couldn’t get the ball in the net.

Bassingham started the second half much the better of the sides and continued to make chance after chance, however it was Dunston who pulled a goal back with the ball moved quickly and crossed from the right for Paul Masters to tuck into the bottom corner. Unfortunately for the home side it took only a minute for Bassingham to restore their four goal advantage and 10 minutes later, in the 75th minute, Bassingham wrapped up the scoring to make it 6-1 at the final whistle. To be fair to Dunston they never gave up and had quite a few chances of their own in the game but it was clear to see how Bassingham are looking like champions elect of the division.

Division Three

Turks Head 6

Ingleby Arms Marton 1

Turks Head continued their excellent start to 2017 with another good display, overcoming their visitors from Marton by an impressive 6 goals to 1. Injuries and work commitments had again hit the Turks squad, meaning that Manager Stu Cook was forced into a number of changes. Most notably the absence of top scorer Steve Foley saw winger Pete Blackmore recalled to the starting line up and Tom O’Rourke shifted into a more central position at the point of the attack. For the visitors they had to deal with their own selection issues as a mysterious wrist injury to their goalkeeper Joe Kelly and a mother stealing her son’s car deprived them of their preferred line up!

It was the home side’s O’Rourke who opened the scoring on 20 minutes with an accurate finish from 20 yards following a good spell of pressure from the home side. Not long after, the hosts made it 2-0, central midfielder Alex Knibbs powering his way into the area before tucking the ball away. 2-0 is sometimes a dangerous score line, and so it proved to be, when the visitors gained a foothold in the game. An attempted header back to the ‘keeper fell woefully short and was pounced upon by Kai Benson who neatly megged the stranded goalkeeper to halve the arrears.

The second half continued in much the same fashion as the first, with the hosts doing much of the pressing high up the pitch. This pressing paid off quite early, a glut of goals effectively ending it as a contest. O’Rourke doubled his tally for the day and then winger Chris Egan got the goal that his excellent play had deserved to make it 4-1. With the game moving into the latter stages, gaps were starting to open up in both defences but unfortunately for Ingleby Arms they could not make their chances pay and it was Turks Head who added to their advantage, full back Stevie Smith spotting the visiting ‘keeper off his line and attempting an audacious lob from fully 30 yards out. The back peddling goalie managed to just about tip the ball onto the post and in the ensuing scramble a penalty was awarded to Turks Head for a foul on O’Rourke. The big man picked himself up and tucked the ball away to complete an excellent hat-trick. Alex Knibbs completed the scoring soon after, notching his second of the day to make it 6-1. This result saw Turks Head move up to 5th in the table after this win, their 3rd in a row, and they will now be looking to carry this form into their Fred Quibell Cup semi final against Birchwood United next Sunday.

 Division Four

The Blue Lion FC 1

Birchwood United FC 6

A cold wet day at the Cowpaddle saw a match which unfortunately will be over shadowed by what appears to be a player suffering a broken ankle and all at Blue Lion wish the best to him for a speedy recovery.

The game started with Blue Lion under a lot of pressure and this continued for the first half with the boys giving away several goals to a strong Birchwood side. Birchwood continued to control the game until late into the second half when The Lion came to life. Unfortunately after their second injury of the game the home side were left with only 10 men on the field after using up all of their available substitutes on the day. Then, showing the great side to the wonderful game, the Birchwood manager brought one of his own players off to make it an even contest at 10 players per side. All at The Blue Lion are very thankful for this brilliant show of sportsmanship from Birchwood United.

The Blue Lion’s only goal came from an amazing long through ball from Harry Titchmarsh which landed at the feet of Tom Hirons, he advanced to take on the goalkeeper and role the ball into the net. The Blue Lion have to thank Jae Sellars, who is also the club chairman, for his outstanding performance after coming on from the bench and heavily influencing the game.  A special mention must also go to referee Mr Ian Sackree who had a brilliant game, controlling it perfectly from start to finish.

Ian Stephenson