Three points to start the season
The Ambers kicked off the season with a deserved 3-1 victory over Penistone Church ....
There were starting debuts for Phil Barnes and Jake Currie as The King of Soho Stadium played host to Penistone Church in the first game of the season. With the sun shining and the pitch looking in remarkably good nick despite the extended spell of hot weather, all was set for an enthralling fixture between two teams that are expected to be right up there come the end of the season.
The Ambers started on the front foot and visiting keeper Snaith will have been delighted when an early header from Lee Cooksey bobbled into his arms after coming through a ruck of players, with Jon Froggatt volleying over a difficult chance a minute later after Cooksey had again got on the end of a James Ashmore corner.
Church forged their first opening after 11 minutes but centre back Brennan fired well wide, before Froggatt came so close to breaking the deadlock, his 35 yard strike crashing against the crossbar with Snaith well beaten. Church countered well, the lively Scrivens picking up the ball in midfield and driving forward with purpose before shooting narrowly wide.
The game was fairly even and just needed a spark to ignite it, which almost came when Currie picked up a loose clearance, beat his man and sent a vicious drive goalwards, but again Snaith was rescued by the woodwork as the ball hit the inside of the post before being cleared.
Church picked up a couple of yellow cards as half time approached and the last action of the half saw Snaith react well to parry away another long range strike from Currie.
The Church stopper was soon back in action, saving well with his feet from Jordan Turner as he raced through, and then leaping to deny Froggatt whose header was goal bound. Handsworth had started the second half really strongly and it was no real surprise when they finally broke the deadlock, Jed Phillips rising well to glance an Ollie Yates cross into the far corner after 61 minutes.
After waiting for an hour to make the breakthrough, the inevitable happened and a second goal came just four minutes later, Phillips and a defender between them turning the ball over the line after an excellent surging run from the impressive Jamie Green had opened up the Penistone right flank.
The second goal saw the introduction of another debutant in the shape of Cameron Rigby, whilst Church introduced their own big hitters Coduri, Lovell and Howes in quick succession to try and turn things around. It had the desired effect as Coduri had a couple of decent efforts before Scrivens missed the target by inches after another good run and shot.
Barnes was now the busiest of the keepers and a good save from Ryan kept the visitors at bay, as Alec Denton and Josh Hemmingway came on to shore things up. With Church pushing on, they were always likely to be hit by a sucker punch and as full time approached, Green’s crossfield ball was flicked on by Froggatt to the lurking Rigby at the far post, and the winger volleyed the ball home to increase the lead.
There was still enough time for Lovell to smartly fire home a consolation goal for Penistone, but a strong second half performance had earned The Ambers a well deserved three points.