East Midlands Counties League
Arnold Town 2-5 Radcliffe Olympic 3pm ko (H-T 1-2)
Admission £5.00 / £3.00 concession
Referee Mr. Martin Beard
The Daftlad and the Bearded Wonder back on the road again! Another very local fixture, but one that suited us both.
Eagle Valley, the home of Arnold Town has a reputation for being a chilly venue. Today it was positively Baltic – as soon as the sun dipped below the tree line on the horizon, the temperature went from zero degrees and more or less bearable, to “f*** me, it’s f***ing freezing”!
This fixture was the reverse of the game played on the 27th December, which ended up three goals apiece. Arnold were slightly understrength - three of their usual first choice eleven were unavailable for one reason or another.
Radcliffe almost conceded in the first minute, just managing to scramble the ball away from danger, but the home defence failed to do so in the fifth minute, allowing Ian Marley too much space in the box, and the no. 8 took full advantage, gleefully firing past keeper Ross Cherry. The Eagles were level on 13, Radcliffe centre-back Jan Yeomons misdirecting a header over his own keeper and into the net. Ryan Smith restored Olympic’s lead in the 39th minute, turning and firing past Cherry from 8 yards. H-T 1-2
Smith was on target again five minutes after the restart, looping a shot over Cherry from 20 yards out. The goal of the game was undoubtedly Arnold’s second in the 55th minute – a superbly weighted through ball from Jack Smith was collected without breaking stride by Rian Charles, and the youngster ran into the box before firing across the Radcliffe stopper into the far corner of the net. Terrific goal and well worth the entrance fee! So, 2-3 and it was game on – but although the home team drove forward in search of the leveller, some of their passing was a little wayward at times, and the Radcliffe goal was rarely threatened.
As the game entered it’s final minute, the ball was fired at the Arnold goal and after hitting the framework it fell very nicely to Scott Litchfield who has a simple tap in at the far stick to notch his twelfth of the season. The thirteenth followed two minutes into added time, his low drive flying in past Cherry at the near post – the keeper could probably have done better, but it was academic really as Mr. Beard ended the game immediately after the restart. F-T 2-5