Cleethorpes Town 1 Frickley Athletic 2
LATE GOALS GIVE FRICKLEY THE POINTS
After the draw in the FA Cup, it was back to the bread and butter of the Evostik East for a match against Frickley Athletic. The visitors, who were one of the pre-season title favourites, boasted a 100% record, including a 10-1 thrashing of Liversedge on Saturday.
On the other hand, only one point from the opening two league outings for the Owls and the entertaining 3-3 against Loughborough University. Marcus Newell and Dave Smith opted for a 4-5-1 formation for this one, which was as follows:
Goal: Dylan Parkin
Defence: Sam Topliss, Matt Bloomer, Mark Gray, Tom Davie
Midfield: Josh Batty, Jack Richardson, Alex Flett (captain), Lewis Collins, Laurence McKay
Attack: Scott Vernon
Subs: Craig Disley, Luke Aldrich, Kieran Wressell, Jonathan Oglesby, Brody Robertson
Limited chances in the early skirmishes but it was Clee who started the better. McKay was getting forward well to support Vernon and Davie headed narrowly over from a free-kick. Another flowing move nearly found Collins but a defender did well to intercept.
After 26 minutes, Tyler Walton entered the referee’s notepad for a high challenge on Gray. Shortly afterwards, the big defender showed tremendous vision to pick out the run of Flett through the inside right. However, the captain pulled his effort wide.
Richardson became the second player booked in the 34th minute after an altercation in the middle of the park. Frickley had not created much but Parkin was handling some high crosses confidently.
However, after Batty had glanced a header wide for the Owls and just before the break, the visitors went very close to breaking the deadlock. A shot from Jacob Hazel beat the home keeper. Fortunately, it also flew wide of the upright into the side-netting.
The last action of a largely attritional half saw Gray booked in the 44th minute.
HT Cleethorpes Town 0 Frickley Athletic 0
Clee started the second 45 with attacking intent and seized the initiative in the 51st minute.
A high ball over the top found the late run of Josh Batty on the left edge of the box. The Summer recruit had plenty to do but he produced an exquisite hooked left-footed lob over onrushing away stopper Hugo Warhurst. The home faithful in the large holiday crowd held their breath as the ball bounced and then nestled in the corner of the net.
Just the boost needed for Clee and Frickley were now rocking, as they looked to protect their proud record of scoring at least one goal in their previous 51 games. Collins, Batty and Flett were all proving influential but keeper Parkin needed to be alert in the 55th minute to beat away a fierce effort from the prolific Gavin Allott.
The turning point came in the 64th minute when Gray received a second yellow for a foul on Dan Palmer. The central defender, who had enjoyed a decent game, will be left to reflect whether he needed to make a challenge, which occurred 40 yards from the Owls’ goal.
A couple of Clee subs were made, as fresh legs would be needed to see out the remaining time with 10 men. Wressell and Robertson were introduced at the expense of Davie and goalscorer Batty respectively.
As we entered the last 15 minutes, Vernon had a golden chance to settle any home jitters. A typically powerful run through centre field by Flett fed in the big forward. However, from only 12 yards out, he did not test Warhurst, slicing his effort high over the bar.
This miss was costly as, within 5 minutes, Frickley equalised. A ball on the edge of the box was brought under control by Hazel and he sidestepped a defender before giving Parkin no chance in the home goal.
Oglesby entered the fray with 6 minutes left on the watch (replacing Vernon) and was immediately involved, when he ghosted in at the far post to almost restore the Owls’ advantage.
In the second of five added minutes, Frickley forced a corner on the right. The flighted delivery was met by the head of Allott and bounced through a flurry of players into the net, with Parkin possibly unsighted.
Utter delight for the visiting contingent but despair for Clee, who were well worth at least a share of the spoils on the day.
HT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Batty 51) Frickley Athletic 2 (Hazel 81, Allott 90+2) Attendance: 442
A much-improved performance from the last league match at Ossett and there is no doubt we should have got at least a point (probably all 3). In fact, we will play worse and win during the course of the campaign. Excellent goal from Josh Batty, who I thought had a really good game.
Plenty to occupy the thoughts of the management though before the weekend. Particularly, in my eyes, only two clean sheets in the last 30 (and none in the previous 17). For whatever reason, we are simply far too porous. A big positive for me is that the midfield is really beginning to take shape, with some excellent players in our central unit.
Anyway, onwards and upwards! I am sure we will turn the corner (hopefully very soon!) and begin our march up the table.
It certainly does not get any easier though, with a trip to early leaders Stamford to look forward to on Saturday. Match details are below and, as always, all support will be much appreciated by the players and management.
Saturday 1st September – 3pm
Zeeco Stadium, Stamford, PE9 1US (note: not in most sat-navs, please use PE9 4QN)
Admission: adults £10, concessions (over 60, HM Forces, students) £7, 12-16 £3, 11 and under free.
Finally, keep an eye on social media around 1pm today, when it is the draw for the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round.
UP THE OWLS!