Frickley Cement Their Play-Off Claim At The Expense Of The Tulips
A rare start & goal from Jonny Lockie wasn't enough to prevent the visitors travelling home to West Yorkshire with all three points!...
Jonny Lockie (pictured), the teenage striker whose injury forced the game against Frickley Athletic a month ago to be abandoned, lined up for the re-match on Tuesday and fired the Tulips into an early lead at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field writes Ray Tucker. Unfortunately, it was not enough to secure even one of the three NPL Evo-Stik South points on offer, as the visitors roared into the ascendnacy after the half-time interval and a harsh talking-to from their management team.
The West Yorkshire visitors, challenging for promotion through the end of season Play-Offs if not via automatic promotion should they secure the vaunted second spot, took the shine off a superb first-half display by the hosts by slotting in two goals – one from the penalty spot - inside six minutes of the restart; they then grabbed a decisive third three minutes into added time at the end of the game to settle the match and, they will certainly feel, right the 'wrong' of having to replay a game they'd led 2-0 with eight minutes to go a few short weeks back: common sense might have determined that, leading 2-0 so close to the end, awarding the visitors three points then would have been fair in the circumstances; as it turned out, the League ruled otherwise.
The final result was hard on the Tulips who had battled superbly throughout, displaying loads of spirit and conviction in spite of being without several key faces (notably Kern Miller in defence and Danny Brooks in midfield). One visiting Frickley official admitted during the break that the Tulips were the team who appeared to be “more up for it”.
It was a night when the younger members of Chris Rawlinson’s charges came of age. James Hugo, Luke White and Lockie turned in stellar performances. And Cenk Acar, deployed in a forward central midfield role supporting Lockie and White up front, was fully involved throughout with his trademark wizard-like bursts.
After an initial flourish of superiority, Frickley were soon feeling the pressure, particularly from Matt Varley’s long throw-ins, the aftermath of one early goalmouth scramble ending with Teddy Bloor clearing from the line.
James Hugo forced a save from ‘keeper Jake Turner and moments later was at the far post to head a Luke White cross over the bar.
The Tulips were deservedly in the lead on 28 minutes. Perseverance and not a little skill saw Acar get behind the defence and cross low and firm into the area to find the advancing Lockie who made no mistake from close in.
The best chances were coming from the Tulips and their half-time advantage was fully deserved, with the defence dealing competently with anything Frickley threw at them and the opposition appearing to grow increasingly agitated at their own lack of forward penetration.
Five minutes into the second-half the Tulips’ Lincoln City Academy scholar loanees combined well, with White glancing a header from Hugo just over Turner’s crossbar.
However, the visitors (who for their pains had been forced by their management into an on-field warm up during the interval), were on level terms in the 56th minute thanks to a wreckless challenge by Tulips’ vice-captain Neal Spafford on Tom Dugdale inside the 18-yard area. Dugdale stepped up to give Duggan no chance with the resulting penalty.
Six minutes later Frickley had their noses in front from another set-piece move with Sam Liversedge rising above the home defence to head in a 25-yard free-kick.
The Tulips continued to battle manfully for parity although the visitors pulled the majority of the strings and put the result beyond doubt with a third goal, superbly executed by Jacob Hazel in the third of five minutes of added time; his exquisite lob from distance evading the desperate clawing of Duggan in the home goal.
Team: Michael Duggan, Ben Davison, James Hugo, Matt Varley, Elllis Humble, Neal Spafford, Conor Marshall (Scott Floyd, 66 mins), Gary King (Daniel Brooks, 80 mins), Luke White (George Couzens, 73 mins), Jonny Lockie, Cenk Acar. Sub (not used): George Stainfield.
Tulip's Man-of-the-Match, awarded by Match Sponsor, Maplethorpe Builders: Jonny Lockie.
The Tulips' final home league fixture of 2017/18 is schedued to take place on Saturday 21st April when Leek Town hit South Lincolnshire for a 3.00pm kick-off. we hope you'll come and shout yourselves hoarse one more time that day!
Ahead of that game, much travelling to and fro awaits Chris Rawlinson's men: this Thursday 12th April (weather permitting!) they visit Gresley FC (KO:7.45pm); on Saturday 14th April the team is away at Bedworth United (another Play-Off hopeful - KO: 3.00pm). On Monday 16th April we travel the short distance to Lincoln Road to take on Peterborough Sports (the re-arranged fixture, orignally scheduled for Easter Monday, but rained off - KO:7.45pm).