The first away fixture in the newly formed Evostik East looked to be a tough test on paper, with a visit to Ossett United. The recently merged Club enjoyed a 3-1 victory on the opening day at Loughborough Dynamo.
There were 5 changes for the Owls from the team who drew 1-1 with Spalding United. Manager Marcus Newell went with the following XI in a 4-4-2 formation. Dylan Parkin was again in goal with a defence of Tim Lowe, Paul Walker, Mark Gray and Sam Topliss. The midfield was Josh Batty, Craig Disley, Alex Flett (captain) and Jon Oglesby. Up front Saturday’s scorer Brody Robertson partnered Scott Vernon.
Summer signings Lewis Collins and Tom Davie were on the bench, along with Laurence McKay, Jack Richardson and Oli Donald respectively.
It was a positive start from Clee, with Flett firing a free-kick a couple of yards too high. In fact, it was a fairly even opening quarter, which gave little sign of the problems that lay ahead. Robertson burst through in the 18th minute but his attempted pass to Vernon was intercepted by a defender.
Ossett were indebted to their keeper on the half hour mark, when a deep cross from Batty was met by the head of Oglesby. However, the winger was denied by a low save from Leigh Overton.
The game began to turn in favour of the hosts as the clock ticked towards the break. Away stopper Parkin made a simply outstanding save from a fierce Adam Priestley drive in the 37th minute, somehow getting down to his left to tip behind.
Clee began to be pinned back and the home side forced three corners in quick succession. From the last of these, the appropriately named Tom Corner climbed highest to head in from close range.
That was the last action of the half and Ossett had a narrow advantage as the players left the field, with Clee possibly a shade unfortunate to be trailing.
HT Ossett United 1 (Corner 44) Cleethorpes Town 0
Any glimmer of hope for the travelling fans, however, was extinguished within 11 minutes of the restart. Ossett began to totally dominate and scored twice in 90 seconds to effectively settle the contest.
First of all, Priestley hit the target in the 54th minute when his low shot found the net and then, before the stunned Owls could regroup, a slick build-up came to Adam Porritt, who gave Parkin no chance.
All three substitutions came in close succession in an attempt to alter the course of the encounter. Disley, Batty and Flett were withdrawn with Richardson, Collins and McKay entering the fray. Unfortunately, these changes had little effect in stemming the blue tide of the home attacks. It now appeared to be a case of damage limitation for the visitors.
To their credit, the players never gave up in the chase for a consolation but it was just one of those nights, when nothing seemed to be going the Owls’ way.
McKay and Gray picked up bookings in the last 10 minutes before Jason Yates provided the coup de grace in the final minute. Some hesitation in the defence allowed the substitute to ghost in to complete the scoring.
The referee’s whistle came as a welcome relief for the beleaguered Owls, who had slipped to their heaviest league defeat since the 6-0 reverse at Heanor Town in 2015.
HT Ossett United 4 (Corner 44, Priestley 54, Porritt 56, Yates 89) Cleethorpes Town 0 Attendance: 502
Very much a night to forget!! Not going to ponder on the result for too long but, suffice to say, there was little positive to draw from the action. Frankly, Ossett were better in all departments and are clearly one of the favourites for promotion.
What has really worried me about the first two games is not necessarily the one point gained (I have watched football long enough to know that heavy defeats come along!) but the lack of cohesion within the side. Also, three efforts on target in 180 minutes is very alarming and is not going to win you many matches.
The management team has proved time and again that they have what it takes to turn things around. So, certainly no need to panic and we move on!
No time to mope around with an important FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Midland League Premier Loughborough University on Saturday.
Loughborough University – Saturday 25th August 3pm
Univerity Stadium, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU
Adults £5, Concessions £3, Students and under 16s £1
The away support was superb last night! Get yourself down to the East Midlands this weekend to see the start of the recovery…
UP THE OWLS!