: 1. Nick Liversedge, 2. Ibby Hassan, 3. Mark Robinson ©, 4. Kevin Burgess, 5. Alex White, 6. Tom Portas, 7. David McTiernan, 8. Michael Tait, 9. Graham Armstrong, 10. Nathan Mulligan, 11. Liam O’Mahoney. Subs: 12. Darren Williams (Hassan, 45+2), 14. Nathan Evans (Tait, 79’), 15. Craig James, 16. Steven Snaith (Mulligan, 77’), 17. Darren Campbell (GK).
: 1. Chris Gemmell
, 2. Martyn Naylor, 3. Louis Keenan, 4. Lucan Spittle, 5. Wayne Daniel
©, 6. Decio Gomes, 7. Steve Abbott, 8. Nick Amos
, 9. Michael Clarke, 10. Dave Walker
, 11. Lei Brown. Subs: 12. Kyle Haynes
, 14. Jon Haynes, 15. Andre Landell (Clarke 79’), 16. Grant Beckett (Brown 85’), 17. Josh Craddock
: Mr. M. McGrath (Beverley)
was the hero for Rushall Olympic as he opened his account for the Pics with the only goal of their first Evo-Stik League Premier Division fixture of the campaign at Whitby Town. His headed goal just prior to the hour mark gave the visitors maximum points that made their long journey to the North Yorkshire coast on a sultry afternoon all the more rewarding.
After Rushall won an early corner that came to nothing, the hosts replied through Graham Armstrong whose weak deflected 20 yard drive went straight into the waiting arms of ‘keeper Chris Gemmell
in the fifth minute.
Three minutes later and a useful centre from the left by Liam O’Mahoney was played into the danger zone, but as a downward defensive header bounced awkwardly up an extremely hopeful penalty appeal rang out from within the confines of the visitors box that was quickly waived away.
With the Seasiders on the offensive again on 11 minutes a superb tackle from Rushall skipper Wayne Daniel
stopped Armstrong dead in his tracks as another telling centre was played into the box.
Two minutes later and a great challenge from Steve Abbott this time allowed the ball to run on to Michael Clarke whose deflected effort from just outside the penalty area went out for a corner.
As Olympic went on the offensive again in the 15th minute a long throw from Martyn Naylor was head straight back to the defender who returned a looping centre that Abbott headed just wide of the left hand upright from 15 yards.
There was danger for the visitors on 25 minutes as an initial effort was pushed away by Gemmell, but after the defence was slow to react Armstrong directed the ball goalwards and on to the crossbar, although an off-side flag had already been signalled.
The Pics responded just before the half hour mark when Walker unleashed a rising drive at the first time of asking from 20 yards out that ‘keeper Nick Liversedge plucked out of the air at full stretch.
Two minutes later and as Whitby’s Kevin Burgess overstretched challenging Lei Brown, the defender came off worse with the Rushall contingent left somewhat confused as to why their player was booked and free-kick awarded against them.
Nine minutes prior to the interval and as Town played the ball inside to the dangerous O’Mahoney he launched a dipping drive from distance that dropped just over the bar with Gemmell appearing to have it well covered.
Rushall were succumbing to some head injuries as the first period neared an end with Daniel requiring treatment above his eye and moments later Keenan followed with a gash to the top of his head.
The hosts ended the half in the ascendancy when in the 42nd minute they were again on the offensive as defender Mark Robinson sent a low shot from fully 30 yards out bouncing wide of the right hand post. However, in the second minute of injury time they were forced into a change as right back Ibby Hassan left the field with a knee injury and was replaced by Darren Williams.
Half-Time: Whitby Town 0-0 Rushall Olympic
Two minutes following the restart and the Pics custodian was forced into a great save to push away Armstrong’s low strike from an acute angle near the right by-line past the far post after Whitby had dangerously worked the ball onto the box.
As Rushall responded seven minutes later Keenan, who had return for the second period swathed in a head bandage, drilled a corner from the right into a ruck of his colleagues, but the ball rebounded past the near post.
Two minutes prior to the hour mark and the key moment of the contest arrived when Michael Clarke did extremely well to tussle with two defenders through the right channel to win a corner. Keenan’s subsequent flag kick was delivered into the penalty area where the hard working WALKER
out jumped his rivals and powered a header into the net, with Brown following up to make sure.
With 18 minutes remaining a great piece of skill from Decio Gomes saw the defender outfox a front runner by winning the ball and sent a long probing ball into the feet of Walker. However, the forward couldn’t quite take the pass under his control and his marker ultimately shepherded away the danger.
Three minutes later and as Walker was sent darting through the left channel he waited for team mate Abbott to make a storming run through the centre before delivering him a pin-point pass, only to see a defender somehow get in first.
In the very next attack on 76 minutes a great ball from Gomes out of Olympic’s defence to Brown along the right flank saw the midfielder cut inside and unleash a venomous 25 yard strike that the Seasiders custodian did well to push away for a corner.
With four minutes remaining some good work by Josh Craddock
at the right by-line saw the ball played into fellow substitute Andre Landell whose presence drew ‘keeper Liversedge well beyond his near post. However, as a looping centre was pulled back to the periphery of the penalty area it was met by a flying header from Walker that went wide of the left upright.
As play moved swiftly to the other end there was a moment of alarm for the visitors when a free-kick from the right flank was delivered into the box and the unmarked David McTiernan headed the ball just over the woodwork from 15 yards.
Despite the Pics coming under some telling pressure as injury time approached they ultimately held firm to record an excellent victory that should hopefully put them in good stead for their forthcoming games.
Half-Time: Whitby Town 0-1 Rushall Olympic