Ambers lose out to Pikes
The Ambers were unfortunate to get beaten by Pickering Town in a tough encounter ....
It was an unchanged Ambers side that lined up to face promotion contenders Pickering Town looking to avenge September’s 3-0 reverse in North East Yorkshire, and the early signs were certainly positive as the home side started on the front foot. A succession of early corners were capably defended by The Pikes, although young keeper Andrew had to spectacularly palm away an excellent Jon Froggatt header before The Ambers broke through after just ten minutes. The goal came from nothing, Adam Johnson firing home from 25 yards after picking up the ball near the halfway line.
The Ambers were well on top, and Andrew again came to the visitor’s rescue when he saved from Ollie Yates, before Johnson just missed out with a flying header at the back post from Joe Thornton’s teasing cross. The failure to add a second goal when on top, was to be The Ambers’ downfall, as Pickering started to string a few passes together and looked a lot more positive. The dangerous Blott played in the overlapping Danby who was flagged for offside but it was a warning of how dangerous The Pikes can be.
Jason Yates fired a decent effort just wide from 20 yards before some good midfield play by The Ambers broke down and Blott raced clear of the Ambers back line, only to be denied by Gary Stevens who stood up tall to save.
With the central midfield pairing of Steve Istead and James Ashmore setting the tempo, it wasn’t long before Handsworth were in on goal again, but Yates was just crowded out at the back post after a delicious cross came in from Johnson. As half time approached, The Ambers suffered a body blow when Istead brought down Dalton in the area, allowing Blott to slot home the equaliser, and the striker was only stopped by a goal saving tackle by Ozzy Radford in injury time as he raced through again.
The second half began with Town in the ascendancy and they took the lead ten minutes after the re-start when Blott scored a similar goal to Johnson’s opener after picking up a loose ball in the middle of the park. The Ambers picked themselves up and responded well, with Thornton in particular leading the charge down the left. From one cross, Froggatt was only inches away from converting at the front post, whilst a matter of minutes later, a deep cross found full back Yates whose shot was saved at point blank range by the keeper.
With Istead tactically withdrawn after another good performance, but having received a yellow card for his earlier discretion, debutant Ben Partridge came on, and his first action saw him race away down the right before feeding Johnson in a 3 on 1 situation, but the striker failed to get a shot off as the retreating hordes surrounded him and the chance was gone.
As often happens when one team is on top but fails to capitalise, along came the sucker punch in the shape of Dalton who waltzed through the defensive lines and placed his shot past Stevens to seal the points for the visitors. There was still time for Partridge to shine in an excellent cameo performance, and The Pikes were once again in the debt of Andrew who pulled off another great stop from the substitute’s fiercely struck drive.
As the referee called time, Ambers heads were low but to be fair, they had dominated much of the game but were just outgunned when it mattered by a striker at the top of his game.
HE Barnes Man of The Match – Ozzy Radford