By Mick Clough | Sunday 21st August 2011
Southwell City 1 South Normanton 1
Spectators at the Memorial Ground were treated to a great game of football by two good teams last Saturday when City entertained South Normanton Athletic in the Central Midlands South Division.
The visitors got off to a flying start when City winger Ben Smith was adjudged to have fouled South Normanton striker Steven Connolly in the area in only the 4th minute of the match and the resultant penalty kick by fellow striker Adam Nicholls gave young City keeper Nathan Burrows no chance. The early strike shocked City but they were soon linking passing moves together and finding their players. On 10 minutes City boss Jonathan Simpson delivered a free kick to the South Normanton far post and Grant Blackhurst came close with a firm header. Two minutes later and City’s Mark Lewis unleashed a fierce shot which went narrowly wide. Just after the half hour mark Steven Connolly spurned a golden opportunity to double South Normanton’s lead following a left cross and with the goal gaping headed the ball wide of the City post. At the other end another Jonathan Simpson free kick was met by Jamie Bennett whose header went inches over the South Normanton cross bar. Moments later following some good work from Mark Foster on the right of mi-field Foster sent a tantalising cross ball which eluded everyone, when only the slightest of touches was required to level the scores.
The best chance of the half however came with only two minutes remaining when South Normanton’s Matt Phillips missed another opportunity to put his team two up, the ball was cleared for a corner only for James Spence to head the ball off the line from a shot from Craig Froggart. City had created several first half chances but were probably a little fortunate to be only 1-0 down at the whistle.
City started the second half the better of the two teams and within one minute came close to levelling the scores when Grant Blackhurst could not finish off a great cross from Robbie Mawer. City’s Mark Lewis was having a fantastic game in City’s mid-field but on 52 minutes, due to an injury, he was replaced by Mark Ballard. City began to take the game to the visitors and again missed a chance to equalise when City defender James Spence could not capitalise on another Robbie Mawer cross. With fifteen minutes remaining substitute Mark Ballard levelled the scores with a superb 20 yard strike into the top corner of the South Normanton net leaving James Baker grasping at thin air. The ball had broken loose to Ballard after another City attack and un-marked picked his spot to rifle the ball home. The equaliser galvanised South Normanton who felt aggrieved by the score line and with bench making a couple of changes set about restoring their lead. This led to an Adam Nicholls free kick which was well saved by Nathan Burrows but moments the City defence were beaten by a long ball and Steven Connolly lobed the ball over Burrows head and was about to celebrate his goal when Mark Foster, who had anticipated the danger cleared the ball yards from the City goal line.
The final chance of the match fell to City when substitute Daniel Purves crossed the ball which was met by Mark Foster but unfortunately could not make clean contact with the ball.
The match finished 1-1. South Normanton may see it two points lost but in the writer’s opinion over the 90 minutes a draw was a fair result.
Southwell City: Nathan Burrows, Jonathan Simpson, Paul Durham, James Spence, Jamie Bennett, Grant Blackhurst, Ben Smith (Kyle Croft), Mark Lewis (Mark Ballard), Mark Foster, Jonathan Upton (Daniel Purves), Robbie Mawer.
Subs not Used: Alex Turpin, Max Danby.
South Normanton: James Baker, Shaun Roberts, Richard Blakemore, Steve Chambers, Ben Blount, Adam Moss, Ian Gee (Daniel Riley), Craig Froggart (Tom Yates), Steven Connolly, Adam Nicholls,
Sub not used: Steve Hamilton