Wednesday, 12 April 2017

South Normanton FC 4-4 Sherwood Colliery

Date: 11th April 2017
Competition: Central Midlands Football League South Division
Venue: Lees Lane, South Normanton
Attendance: H/C 55
MOM: Ricky Starbuck - tremendous all round game 
Admission: £4.00/£2.00 concession

This result finally put to rest any Sherwood hopes that they had of securing the league title. They needed to win all their remaining four games, with a +10 goal difference. The league title is now Selston's to lose. All they have to do is win both their upcoming fixtures. Anything else will see Eastwood CFC crowned as champions. 

This game saw 5th placed South Normanton entertain 3rd placed Sherwood - on paper it was never going to be an easy game for the visitors to win. The home team were forced back on their heels right from the off, and struggled to cope with the pace and skill of the attacking forwards. The Sherwood pressure was all for naught though, as the Shiners took the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute, Shaun Smith's close range header flying past Alex Smith in the Sherwood goal after their defence had failed to clear. 

The lead lasted barely 10 minutes, prolific goalscorer Liam Theakstone allowed space to jump and meet Ricky Starbuck's perfect corner to head powerfully home in front of goal. Dale Gilliatt saw his 25 yard effort fly just wide on the half hour mark as the visitors began to re-apply pressure. The pressing finally paid dividends on 34 when Starbuck fired home from close range after Jimmy Adcock's shot had been well saved by Branon Meehan, and Theakstone's effort had been hacked off the line, the ball falling kindly at the feet of the Sherwood left back. Two minutes later it was all square again, this time Tom Lewis stepping up to fire home from the spot after he had been brought down as he raced in on goal. H-T 2-2

Starbuck was almost on the score-sheet again, connecting with a cross from the right soon after the re-start, but on this occasion there was a covering player on the Shiners' line. Sherwood weren't to be denied for long though, and were back in front on 55 when Steve Sowter was on hand to sweep the ball home after Meehan had punched a Julian Topliss shot into his path. Meehan was culpable again on 63,  this time failing to keep hold of a Starbuck free-kick, allowing Jobe Shaw the simple task of drilling the loose ball into the back of the net. In the 70th minute, Shaw almost chalked up his second, but his volley from 25 yards flew just over the bar. Meehan did well to save from Theakstone on 77 after the striker had been played in on goal by Topliss.

With 4 minutes of regulation time to go, the home team reduced their arrears to just the one goal - Lewis again on the score-sheet, firing a low drive from an acute angle that flew through the legs of Adcock before entering the goal at the far stick. So, 3-4 and I reckon a few twitchy bums on the Sherwood bench! 

The visitors almost snatched a fifth soon after, when Meehan had a rush of blood and advanced way out of his area - tempting Jamie Yorke into having a pop at the empty net from some 40+ yards. Luckily for the keeper, the shot hit the top of the bar and the ball was eventually cleared. Walking towards the exit I said to Kev that Rob Fretwell had had a fairly quiet game and was a likely candidate to grab the home team a late equaliser. Wouldn't you know it, in the 4th minute of added time he found space to shoot in the box and peeled away like a good 'un after the ball beat Smith in the Sherwood goal to bring the scores level. Referee Arsali called a halt to proceeding sixty seconds later. F-T 4-4. A great advert for the non-league game - an eight goal thriller well worth the entry fee.