Frickley 1 Sheffield 0
Young guns and old hands do us proud...
With such a punishing schedule over the last week and the knowledge that we face a playoff semi final on Tuesday night, Spencer took the decision to rest as many first team regulars as he could. It was a mixture of young guns and old hands that went out against Sheffield FC but you wouldn’t have known the difference. They played with the same battling spirit we’ve come to expect from all who wear the shirt to emerge victorious over the World’s oldest club for the fourth time this season.
In team news, the starting 11 was unrecognisable from even Thursday night, let alone last Tuesday, resting players as mentioned. The lineup was Stan in goal, Jammer, Liam Carrick, Ishy D and coach Craig Spink, playing his first game in 3 years, across the back, Callum Doherty, Sam Race, George Milner and Duggie in midfield, and Lewis Szanto and Dangerous Dan Palmer up front. On the bench were Cammy Hough, Aleks ‘Starman’ Starcenko, the Burns Unit and a certain Spencer Fearn – as goalkeeping cover.
This game was never dull, with chances galore for both sides so we didn’t have long to wait for the first excitement. As early as the 6th minute the young Blues signalled their intentions, Szanto just failing to latch onto a Duggie cross before Dangerous Dan had the first of many dangerous runs. Sheffield countered with a break that finished at ex-Blue Waide Fairhurst’s feet, his shot stopped by Ishy D. Then back at the other end Szanto won a 10th minute free kick several yards outside the D, and in the absence of Algar and Haze, George Milner smashed it against the bar. Next up, a spate of Sheffield efforts, a cross cleared by Carrick and a Leon Osbourne blast over.
Osbourne was involved in a reckless clash of heads with Jammer in the 21st minute, leaving Jameel with a cut under his eye, necessitating him to be replaced by Danny Burns (word on the street is the Master Blaster will be fine for Tuesday). When the free kick was taken in the 24th minute, Duggie floated a 40 yard ball in from the right which seemed to hang in the air, long enough for George Milner to get his head on it at the back stick and nod past the keeper for 1-0.
Duggie continued to be a thorn in Sheffield sides, with two tempting crosses near the half hour. Soon after, Sheffield had a shot from range that required Stan to punch clear and Spink made an exquisite tackle to halt a Sheffield foray into Frickley territory. Their best chance of the half came in the 37th minute as Osbourne glanced a James Gregory ball wide of the right post with his head. Quickly followed by a rare fumble by Stan that gave another ex-Blue Jules Lawrence the opportunity to back heel at goal, unsuccessfully as it turned out. Half time – Frickley 1 Sheffield 0.
An early bit of pinball in the Frickley box opened the second half before Duggie took a well-earned rest, the Starman took his place in the 54th minute.
Frickley then had a handful of half chances in quick succession, one falling to Ishy D and two to Szanto, none seriously troubling the Sheffield goal. Cammy Hough came on for Liam Carrick in the 66th minute.
Waide Fairhurst ran onto a 68th minute through ball only to be kicked into the air by the onrushing Stan for one of the easier penalty decisions the ref will have to make. Up stepped Waide to take the spot kick but I’m sure he’d admit he’s taken better ones than this as Stan made a superb save, diving low to his right to smother the ball and keep the score at 1-0.
The last 20 minutes were end to end. There were chances for the Blues to extend the lead, Burnsy had a header blocked in the 72nd minute and the Starman instigated a swift break in the 77th which saw Dangerous Dan trying to round the keeper but Jamie Ingram made a fingertip stop. Another by Szanto, shortly afterwards, ran out of steam as he shot wide. There was backs to the wall defending, Spinksy nicking the ball from Fairhurst’s toe as he shaped to shoot and, in time added on, Luis Morrison hit a low diagonal drive from the edge of the area that needed Stan to smartly turn around the left post at full stretch. From the resulting corner, Fairhurst kneed the ball over the bar when it looked like the goal was at his mercy. It should be mentioned that ex-Blue Waide kindly wished the club the best of luck in the playoffs after the game. Many thanks. Final score – Frickley 1 Sheffield 0.
The win was our 26th league win of the season, equalling the club record, and a very watchable win it was too. Plus the three points won could possibly be important in the Points Per Game rankings used to decide who gets promoted through the playoffs. Tuesday beckons…
WEBMASTER MOTM – Where do you start? With young guns like Sam Race, Dan Palmer, Liam Carrick, Callum Dotty, Starman or Lewis Szanto? Cool heads every one of them. Or with the old hands, Spinksy and Stan? Proof you never lose it. Ishy D, Duggie, Cammy and the Burns Unit weren’t bad either ;) And who knew George Milner could defend like that as well as score? Simply impossible to pick out just one of today’s team, a decent case could be made for any one of the 14 that got onto the park (and the one that didn’t) so this weeks’ glitterball goes to the whole team! Very well done, gentlemen!
255 through the gate, we thank you for your support, as ever it really means a lot.
Pictures courtesy of our good friend Onion Bag.
We’re next in action in the big one, the playoff semi final against Stamford, on Tuesday evening, 19:45 kickoff at the BigFellas Wezzicana. Please come and cheer the boys on!