For the third game in a row, Ollerton defeated Shirebrook Town 2-1
Ollerton Town will have been overjoyed after a sensational second half performance allowed them to inflict defeat on high flying local rivals Shirebrook, in what will hopefully be a catalyst for Ollerton to amend their somewhat inconsistent league campaign.
After quite a subdued start from both teams, Shirebrook started to grow into the game and looked to be the more threatening team for the opening 20 minutes. Shirebrook’s first chance came when Joe Cheeseman found himself relatively unchallenged from a corner but couldn’t fire his header the right side of the post.
Declan Brewin subsequently wasted another chance for Shirebrook as his attempt on the half volley from just inside the box was struck quite wildly and didn’t leave Ryan Brooks looking too worried.
For the opening exchanges of the half Shirebrook really started to pen Ollerton in and mainly restricted them to long balls which wasn’t ideal for the relatively short Ollerton front line. As the half went on, Ollerton managed to start to push their back line forward and not have to employ such a backs-to-the-wall defensive performance but both teams still struggled to create clear cut chances for most of the half.
In the latter period of the first half, Ollerton really started to grow in confidence and started to create a higher quantity of chances. At the start of this more positive period Lewis Bingham played in Gav King who struck a low effort which the keeper couldn’t hold but never really struggled to deal with. Jordan Buckham also struck a speculative effort from 25 yards out but it always seemed to be curling away from the goal.
Neither team were able to create many quality chances but the defences of both teams seemed to be in excellent form for large periods of the first half. One of the main reasons for this goalless first half was the ever present Liam Cooper for Ollerton. The whole Town defence excelled in the first half but Cooper seemed to stand out as the man who was always the one making interceptions and always making crucial tackles in what was quite poor half offensively for both teams.
Ollerton seemed to end the first half far stronger than Shirebrook and this improved performance was translated into a strong start to the second half. The effectiveness of Ollerton’s play was evident from their first move of the half when Ashley Shannon sprayed the ball out wide to Buckham who crossed a low ball in to the six yard box towards King who’s first touch brought the ball away from Shirebrook's Chris Timmons, King ultimately drawing a penalty from the veteran defender to give Ollerton a chance to gain a deserved lead. Ollerton captain Sam Stretton stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake as he scored his second penalty in as many home games to give Ollerton a crucial lead in the 57th minute.
Ollerton continued to grow in confidence in the second half and the forced switch of debutant Tom Moody for the injured Ben Bowring actually seemed to quite beneficial as from this point onwards Ollerton really started to gain a foothold in this game with Stretton putting in a commanding midfield performance.
Ollerton’s one goal lead made the two man strike force became even more threatening as Shirebrook committed too many men forward and Ollerton really seemed to dominate the game after the first goal.
In the next significant chance after the Ollerton goal, Buckham’s long ball looked like it wasn’t going to find an Ollerton forward but an sliced, mistimed clearance by Timmons put young attacker Ash Shannon in on goal and he was able to keep his composure to slot the ball under Gav Saxby for his 3rd goal in his last 6 league games to put Ollerton in a commanding 2-0 lead.
Shirebrook initially responded well to going a goal down as Brooks’ fumbled cross fell to Ryan Herbert but his low effort was superbly blocked on the line by Moody. Shirebrook continued to push men forward to try and overcome the goal deficit but didn’t seem able to create many clear cut chances for the rest of the game.
Former Ollerton favourite Sam Dockwray nearly came back to haunt his old side but he fired against the bar as Ollerton's two goal cushion remained in tact.
Ollerton continued to look dangerous on the counter and almost killed off the game when Bingham’s delicate ball over the Shirebrook defence reached King but his low strike across goal was just turned wide by Saxby.
Substitute Kyle Ludlow almost added to Ollerton’s lead from another well worked counter attack but a slight bobble meant that he scuffed his effort when he only had the keeper to beat.
Ollerton managed the latter period of the game really well and only looked to attack on the counter and kept a compact defensive line. Even from set pieces Ollerton rarely committed more than 2 men forward and as such managed to take the sting out of the game.
In spite of Ollerton's sensible game management, Shirebrook’s Kieran Watson was able to convert from the spot after what was widely accepted as a soft penalty, even by many of the Shirebrook fans. This lead to a nervy end to the game as Shirebrook were still attacking in the 95th minute even though there were no real interruptions but Ollerton were still able to see out a deserved 2-1 win.
Ollerton will have undoubtedly been delighted to not only secure a win against a high flying team within their division but to continue their three game winning streak against local rivals. From the defensive solidity of Ollerton’s defense to the industrious and clinical nature of their strike force, it was a brilliant performance from Ollerton which perhaps should been by a wider margin after their dominance in the second half.
Report by William Lavelle.
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Sam Stretton scores a penalty for Ollerton Town
Ashley Shannon scores for Ollerton Town
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Josh Bowkett is substituted on for Ollerton Town
Ashley Shannon is substituted off for Ollerton Town