It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It

MOSSLEY 3 OSSETT UNITED 2

Northern Premier League North West Division

I hope that those present remember this game for the good that happened, this was a decent end to end match with both teams creating a number of chances.

In a game where one set of fans or the others seemed to be unhappy with the referee I thought he got most decisions correct, including the early penalty awarded to United for a foul on Greaves. The striker picked himself up, dusted himself down and scored to give the visitors the lead. 0-1.

It didn’t take long for the Lilywhites to draw level, substitute Hanley cutting in from the wing and shooting low, unfortunately for Ossett’s stopper Souter, they ball somehow evaded him and found the back of the net. 1-1.

Greaves then saw Mossley’s stopper Roberts deny him when through on goal and shortly afterwards with a spectacular save from his header. Then Basic curled in a free-kick on target, Roberts saved well, he had been warned. The break came with the game in the balance. Mossley having more of the possession, the visitors the better chances.

When we got restarted it was Souter’s turn to impress with a brilliant one handed stop from a Halfacre header.

Despite both teams pushing forward we looked like we could be heading for a draw with both sets of forwards having an increasingly frustrating afternoon. Step up United’s number 10, Basic. His free-kick from 20 yards out was curled perfectly over the wall and beyond Roberts’ grasp. Had the visitors snatched the game? 1-2.

Cue Mossley’s second inspired substitution. With Hanley already on for the injured Abadaki, the hosts changed Rainford for Halfacre. It worked a treat. With 10 minutes to go he turned and played a perfect cross-box ball to the oncoming Hanley who buried beyond Souter. 2-2.

A couple of minutes or so later Rainford hit the post. He had lifted his side. He then got the winner. Well I thought he did. Substitute Hanley fed another replacement Fitzgerald, his shot saw Souter get a hand to it, but he hadn’t stopped it. The ball hit the post and bobbled along the line. Rainford tapped it in from 2 inches out. 3-2. The man on the tannoy gave it to Rainford but then took it away. Either way the game was won.

A bloody good game.

Attendance: 341

Moment of the Match: When the ball was bobbling along the line before Rainford turned it in. Heart stopping moments like this are brilliant. Well, unless you were from Ossett.

Match Tunes: Fun Boy Three – Fun Boy Three

Down the Dip

CLITHEROE 6 OSSETT UNITED 1

Northern Premier League North West Division

It has been over 5 years since I visited this neck of woods and a return has been long overdue. As was seeing the hosts win a game. Six previous games had resulted in 3 draws and 3 defeats, including a quite bizarre 6-1 defeat at Burscough.

Burscough raced into an early lead and wiped the floor with Clitheroe, 3-0 up inside 10 minutes or so, the 6th came shortly after the half hour. The visitors claiming the consolation 10 minutes into the second half. The floodlights started going out at one end, the end Burscough were attacking, with the hosts obviously desperate that the game finished they practically refused to attack, the visitors wanting the game stopped as half the pitch was getting darker and darker. The referee finished the game keeping half of those there happy at least.

So here I was, back at Shawbridge and in search of that, so far, elusive Clitheroe victory. It’s a great ground Shawbridge, love the little bits dotted around, though changes have been made at the Castle End since my last visit the rest seemed pretty much the same. Including the pitch. This is one of my favourites. It slopes from side to side with dips and rises seemingly all over it. It is brilliant and if this was ever to be levelled then football will have lost a gem.

A friendly welcome at the gate by club volunteers, excellent food at the Tub Grub and a pretty decent clubhouse too; friendly smiles and greeting awaits all around this ground.

Underway it took a little while to get going, but once we did the hosts were in charge, though the opening 45 minutes were pretty much a tale of them wasting chances. The other action of note was a game changer. The blues forward Gaul was through on goal, fouled by Knowles and awarded a penalty, the red that followed for the defender looked a little harsh to me, but that would be being picky against the official. Especially when he and his colleagues looked to be spot on with their decisions for the rest of the afternoon.  Back to the penalty, Gaul coolly trotted up to the ball and scored.

Following the obligatory break the match continued and it struggled to get going for a while. Gaul added his second, played through, this time with no defender to foul him he scored and with 10 minutes remaining the score was 2-0. Then things went a bit crazy, Clitheroe’s sub Strizaker headed a third, United pulled one back through Greaves, who must have the whitest teeth in non-league football. Carney scored a fourth with a strike from outside the area, Strizaker scored again before Carney added the sixth with the defence just allowing shots from wherever the blues wanted.

As the ref blew time on this game and the fans headed for the warmth, United’s manager Benn must have breathed a sigh of relief that this was only 6.

Attendance: 416

Moment of the Match: When United decided after pulling a goal back to make it 3-1 to totally neglect any defensive duties. Opened the gates for another 3 from the hosts

Match Tunes: High Land, Hard Rain – Aztec Camera