Ambers hit Clipstone for six
The Ambers triumphed 6-1 against relegated Clipstone ....
With games coming thick and fast, there were a few changes to the personnel as The Ambers entertained basement club Clipstone, a potential banana skin of a game if ever there was one. Jon Hedge, Stuart Ludlam and Jon Hill returned to the starting eleven alongside full debutant Parirs Dixon, following a number of short but impressive performances after coming off the bench.
The Ambers went for the jugular from the first whistle and soon came to realise that the long throws of Brad Nicholson were a potent weapon designed to cause panic in The Cobras defence. In the first five minutes, Hill twice and Dixon had opportunities via this route, as did Jamie Green minutes later. The opening goal came on 14 minutes and Nicholson was the provider, albeit this time with a pinpoint cross which Hill expertly guided into the corner of the goal via the inside of Birch’s right hand post.
Jed Phillips crashed a long range strike against the post as The Ambers dominated the game, and Hill could and probably should have grabbed a second, but was kept out twice by the heroics of Birch, who was then beaten by another long ranger from Phillips which nestled nicely in the back of the net after 22 minutes.
The young visitors were really struggling to contain Handsworth by this point but they did manage to hold out until the 39th minute when Dixon chased a long punt forward, and after an aerial challenge with the keeper, the midfielder was first to react and hooked the ball home from the edge of the box with Birch and his retreating defenders stranded.
As half time approached, the visitors finally made some inroads into The Ambers half, but Adeleye shot well wide after making a good, positive run. A minute later, some good play down the right by Dixon and Alex Rippon created an opportunity for Phillips to try his luck, and after Birch parried the shot, Nicholson was on hand to snaffle up the opportunity and claim his first senior goal for The Ambers.
The early part of the second half followed the pattern of the first as The Ambers pressed forward in the hunt for more goals, and Phillips was unlucky to see his flick again strike the woodwork with the follow up cleared off the line. The visitors were then architects of their own downfall when they tried to play out from the back after winning a free kick, but simply gave the ball away to Rippon who curled home a great effort from just outside the box. A minute later, Rippon’s cross found Hill who saw his thundering strike come back off the bar.
Such was The Ambers dominance now, that the Manager was able to change things round and bring on James Ashmore, a fit again Ben Partridge and the long awaited introduction of Lee Stevenson. As expected, this interrupted the flow of the game and the visitors were able to gather themselves and find a footing at last. Hedge was finally called into action just past the hour, when he saved an effort from substitute Gledhill, but The Cobras were able to break their duck when Adeleye fired home after an indirect free kick was awarded in the box following a mix up between keeper and defender over a back pass.
Stevenson’s first main involvement was a great ball over the top which Green ran onto but just missed the target, as the game became rather scrappy as the clock ticked down. As the game moved into injury time, Dixon scampered away down the right and his cross eventually fell at the feet of Green who blasted home the sixth to conclude a comfortable afternoon’s work for The Ambers.
HE Barnes Man of The Match – Stuart Ludlam