27 Oct Thirsk Men 3 v Bradford 3
Despite a familiar team, Thirsk started the match as strangers, against a Bradford team without a point. The first 15 minutes were scrappy with Thirsk frequently gifting possession to Bradford, allowing the opposition to attack and failing to test a slow defence by taking the ball into contact rather than passing or running wider around the defenders.
Bradford were clumsy in their tackling using their size against smaller Thirsk players with Ollie Dale and Jack Foxley suffering, but Michael Crampton returing the compliment from the back. Towards half time, Ollie responded to some overly close attention with a short verbal outburst, to which the umpire responded with a yellow card. By this time Thirsk had switched Sam Kelly to centre midfield and started to control the match despite being a man short. Nigel Smith aged 54 on debut made important contribution as wing back supported by James Shepard in only his second match.
Wise words provided by Chris Booth at half time that essentially we were better man for man, better as a team, but needed more height from the forwards and to slip the ball left or right at short corners to take the charging defenders out of the equation.
On restart, Thirsk quickly won a short corner, which was slipped to Michael Crampton on the right, who shot and scored. Almost immediately, Thirsk won a another short corner, this time slipped left for Sam Kelly to double the lead. Thirsk now dominated the game, with Sam casually drifting past opposition players and releasing Jeremy Barker, Joe Tart, Ollie Dale and Jack Foxley to harrass Bradford. Eventually the pressure paid off with Ollie Dale finishing off a goal mouth melee.
Against the run of play, Bradford reduced the gap with a great individual goal, but Thirsk did not lose their composure, with Ken Shannon providing a ready outlet on the right wing and Joe De Winter closing out potential threats in defence. At a final short corner, the Bradford defenders stayed on the line rather than charging out, but Patrick Hunt's shot crossed the line at head height and was disallowed.
Man of the match: Sam Kelly