Bank Holiday weekend and with Tim away, it’s down to me to provide information on Saturday’s game against bottom of the league Appleby. A team with only eight points were a potential banana skin for the Ambers because the 3 of the points they have gained had been taken from Albion Sports, who up until last weekend’s games, had been well in contention of winning this league. With tough games coming up against the teams in contention, that is Glasshoughton Welfare and Worksop Paramore, manager Eagle had a selection dilemma as Tom Roebuck had an injury. Finally settling on a team of the usual keeper Poulter, in came young Tootle as the expense of Wes who was a sub today, the rest of the team was Johnson, Colliver, Griffiths, Patterson, Gwindi, Sam Smith, Bates, Lee Hill and Ward with subs Carr, Hindley, Torr, Broadbent and Wes Hill.
The game started with the Ambers pushing onto the Appleby rear guard, but the ball seemed to bobble all over the place as our dry pitch isn’t in the best of conditions after a heavy season. With the Ambers doing all the running, Gaz Griffiths out jumped the defence after 12 minutes to score the first of the day, and when an Appleby defender in explicably tried to take the lace out of the ball in the goal area 6 minutes later,(sorry, I’m showing my age there, we don’t have laces in footballs any more),the referee awarded a spot kick. Up stepped the cool and collected leading goal scorer Sam Smith to dispatch his 29th goal of the season. At this stage, we thought it was going to be a landslide, but credit to some resolute defending, poor finishing and the home pitch, it remained 2 – 0 to the Ambers at half time.
At half time as I was organising the refreshments, I saw that the away team couldn’t be bothered in walking back up to the dressing room which meant to give the usual Handsworth hospitality to our guests, I had to take the drinks down to the halfway line then return the empty flask which meant that by the time I arrived for the second half, it was well under way, and seemed to be continuing as the first. Luke Broadbent had replaced Scott Bates, who had just returned from injury, Luke was soon in the thick of it, and should have done better with a chance that came his way, but again, Appleby had numbers at the back. On 53 minutes, the third goal came, courtesy of Lee Hill, once again, we fancied a few more goals may be on the cards. Alex Torr replaced captain Patterson on the hour, a precautionary move by the manager and one we thought might produce more goals as young Alex set about terrorising the full back, then “Massive” came on for the tiring Ward, but it wasn’t until the 85th minute that Sam Smith added the fourth bringing his tally to 30 for the season.
Whilst we could and probably should have won by a larger margin, the win stretches the unbeaten run to 14, with Albion Sports result, another home defeat against Pontefract Colls, it now leaves only three teams in the chase, and our last three games are back to back against Glasshoughton, with the Presidents Cup Final in between, and last game up away at Worksop.