The rich vein of form continued for the Owls on Saturday afternoon with a comprehensive 3-1 win at Ossett United. It was a 4th successive away victory in the Northern Premier League – a club record!
A brace from Brody Robertson plus a strike by Alex Flett ensured a rise to 6th-place in the table, with the promise of a real promotion push in the months ahead.
There were a few decisions for Dave Smith to make ahead of kick-off.
Oli Donald was ruled out injured, so Tim Lowe moved into the central defensive three, after operating as wing-back last time out. Harry Middleton returned in midfield. Jack McMenemy was back from being Cup-tied – Josh Batty started on the bench. The final alteration saw Jon Oglesby in for Loz McKay.
The side lined-up as follows in a 3-5-2 formation:
Goal: Tom Jackson
Defence: Jordon Cooke, Paul Walker, Tim Lowe
Midfield: Sam Topliss, Harry Middleton, Alex Flett (c), Josh Venney, Jon Oglesby
Attack: Brody Robertson, Jack McMenemy
Subs: Lennon Stead, Liam Dickens, Josh Batty, Ollie Brackenbury (gk)
Clee arrived in confident mood but would surely face a thorough examination against their hosts, who boasted a 100% home record in the NPL. That theory was to be totally disproved however, with the visitors assuming total command with 3 goals inside 35 minutes.
It did not take long before the Owls hit the front. In the 6th minute, McMenemy held the ball up well before cleverly feeding Brody Robertson. The striker fended off a defender and fired powerfully beyond the home keeper.
Better was to follow and, after the all-action Venney was denied, Robertson popped up again. The prolific forward was at an acute angle, but his whipped shot found the target, to the delight of the travelling fans.
Ossett were totally shell-shocked by the quality of their opponents and, to the dismay of their expectant support, conceded again. This time captain Alex Flett latched onto a loose ball and calmly planted the opportunity into the net.
In truth, the score-line did not flatter the rampant Owls, who could have headed for their dressing room further ahead.
HT Ossett United 0 Cleethorpes Town 3 (Robertson 6, 24, Flett 34)
After some probable choice words at the interval, United were much more competitive. Nevertheless, the Owls’ defensive unit and Jackson between the sticks coped comfortably.
Batty, introduced as a sub in the 61st minute, forced the keeper into a decent save and then fired a yard or so over the crossbar. McMenemy was also a constant thorn in the side of the defence.
With time running down, James Walshaw curled a free-kick into the bottom corner in the 88th minute. The referee had to rule the strike out, once he realised that the set-piece was taken with an injured player still on the field.
Walshaw got a little piece of justice in the dying embers, guiding a through-ball past Jackson.
Scant consolation for the homesters, who had been well beaten on the day by an Owls’ side that is showing massive potential for a successful season.
FT Ossett United 1 (Walshaw 90) Cleethorpes Town 3 (Robertson 6, 24, Flett 34) Att: 403
We really are gathering momentum and it is great to be a part of!
A quality performance from the lads and there is every reason to think that a top 5 finish in the NPL is well within reach. I certainly strongly believe this to be the case.
We can now take a break from our top priority to enjoy next Saturday’s tie in the FA Cup at Curzon Ashton. Only the 2nd time for us at this stage of the famous competition, so it is day for everyone to savour!
Maybe we can cause an upset, time will tell – coach travel available at just £10.
UP THE OWLS!