Parkgate FC v Athersley Recreation FC
NCEL Premier Division: Saturday 14 April 2018
Match report & 71 superb photos [in photo section] by Nigel Owen.
Following another midweek cancellation, Parkgate went into the game against Athersley Recreation facing a fixture backlog that will mean two midweek games per week for the remainder of the season.
Updated 06:27 - 20 Apr 2018 by Parkgate FC
Athersley had the better of the early possession but were unable to carve out any clear-cut chances, with the Parkgate back line coping fairly easily with a number of long balls aimed towards Striker Lee Garside.
It took Parkgate until the ninth minute to apply any pressure, when Andrew Fox’s free kick was turned behind by the Athersley defence at the expense of a corner. The kick was taken short to Danny Flynn, but his cross was cleared by the visitors.
Next it was Athersley’s turn to attack but Garside handled the ball as he attempted to turn it towards the Parkgate goal.
On 17 minutes, Parkgate had the ball in the net. Elliott Simpson’s shot was saved by Rec ‘keeper Jordan Greaves but as Fox slid in to force the ball home, the referee blew for a foul on the keeper.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Flynn’s shot was deflected by Cameron Clark for a corner, but the home side couldn’t capitalise from the resulting corner, with Simon Mirfin heading wide from Simpson’s kick.
Half way through the first period, the visitors came close to taking the lead when the ball cannoned back off the Parkgate bar from Hancock’s effort, although the referee awarded a free kick to the home side for a foul on Tim Whittaker.
Parkgate ‘keeper Levi Owen was then called into action when he had to tackle striker Kai Hancock following a poorly hit back pass, with Chris Telling clearing the loose ball.
With play switching from end-to-end, the ball was played out to Fox, who hit a cross towards Chris Wood at the back post. Despite the ball appearing to be deflected behind by defender Andrew McManus, the referee surprised everyone by awarding a goal kick.
Two minutes later the visitors took the lead. After winning possession, Athersley switched the ball to Jimmy Eyles, who ran 30 yards before beating his defender just inside the box and firing home to give Owen no chance.
Back came the home side and Danny Critchlow was brought down on the edge of the Athersley box by Danny South, with the defender receiving a yellow card for the challenge. From the resulting free kick, Simpson fired into the wall and then hit the rebound well wide of the target.
With half time approaching, both keepers were brought into the action. Firstly, Owen saved by the post from Hancock’s header before Greaves mis-timed his punch at the other end. In the resulting scramble the ball fell into the path of Wood who went down under McManus’s challenge, with the referee waving away Parkgate claims for a penalty.
There was just enough time for the visitors to win a corner, before the referee blew for half time with a score line of Parkgate 0 Athersley Rec. 1
Parkgate enjoyed a good spell at the start of the second half, but Fox’s run and cross was turned behind for a corner by Danny South, with McManus clearing Simpsons corner kick. Minutes later, Fox again caused trouble in the home defence, but Wood had just checked his run as Fox played him in and the ball ran through to Greaves in the Athersley goal.
The visitors then had a good spell of possession with Owen racing out of goal to tackle Simon Poole by the touchline, before Poole’s run and shot ended with the ball hitting the side netting.
Then, on the hour mark, the referee turned down Parkgate’s appeals for a penalty after Owen’s long free kick was flicked on by Mirfin to Critchlow, who seemed to be brought down by defender Adam White.
A minute later, Fox sliced a shot which fell to Mirfin who blasted over from 12 yards out, before Critchlow was caught offside running on to Fox’s pass.
With the game becoming more physical, three visiting players were booked in quick succession, before Parkgate missed an excellent chance to draw level. After Fox was fouled on the edge of the box by substitute Aiden Salmons, Flynn played a great ball on to the head of Nathan Joynes, but the Parkgate player was unable to keep his header down and the ball flew over the bar.
That proved to be the last real chance for the home side, and despite their efforts, Parkgate were unable to put any real pressure on the Athersley defence in the remaining minutes to leave a full-time score of Parkgate 0 Athersley Recreation 1.
If Parkgate are going to complete the ‘Great Escape’ and retain their Premier division status, boss Billy Fox will have to quickly rally his troops as they go into a ‘must win’ home game with Staveley on Monday evening.
Athersley scorer: James Eyles 33 minutes.
Parkgate team: Owen, Simpson, Telling, Allali, Whittaker, Flynn, Mirfin, Fox, Joynes, Critchlow, Wood,
Subs: Hastings, Khalifa, Collinson, Haigh, Chapman.
Athersley Recreation team: Greaves, White, Clark, South, McManus, White, Poole, Kilner, Garside, Hancock, Eyles.
Subs: Walker, Briscoe, Salmons, Shillito, Singleton.