Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stocksbridge Park Steels v Belper Town

Yep - I managed to escape the hype that was Lille v Manchester United, was almost tempted by the League 2 offering of Stockport County v Walsall - but no, Stocksbridge is only (apparently) 24.9 miles and 41 minutes from Mossley (www.theaa.com), so it was to Bracken Moor for the evening.

It took nearly an hour, but I was there in good time as the kick-off had been delayed until 2000 due to players, motorways and general global warming stuff. A swift glass of their finest non-alcoholic Pils (only £1-10 a bottle - actively encouraging non-drinking drivers - I like that !) and down the stairs to the pitchside.



Bracken Moor - in "widescreen"

The first half I'd put down as being fairly even - early long range Belper efforts from Piliero and Hudson were either dealt with/wide. Stocksbridge's Stuart Copnell (now there's a story - but possible libel prevents !) set off on a mazy run in the 10th minute, only to shoot wide. On 18 minutes Belper 'keeper Ogden came for a high ball, grabbed it - and then contrived to throw it out of his hands as he landed - the ball flew just wide of the far post ! Ogden was called into action again after 34 minutes, making a good save from Copnell, before staying down, requiring "fitters attention" - apparently it was "grass in his eye" !!


Ogden gets "blade" removed from eye ...

Seconds before half time - the "Sucker punch" - ball arrives from the left with the Belper defence appealing for offside and two Stocksbridge players "hit on Ogden" near the edge of the box . - ball runs loose for Copnell to put it into the empty net - and Stocksbridge go in at half-time with a rather undeserved 1-0 lead.



One Belper substitute itching to get on against his old team ...

The second half began with the Stocksbridge players appealing this time - however Pickess put the ball wide. Then we had the obligatory "touchline handbags", which led to Stocksbridge's McLean being booked and Belper's "demi-Manager" Andy Carney being asked to vacate his touchline position for somewhere "behind the barrier" (one for all you wannabee refs - and any real ones - Carney was a named substitute - could he have brought himself on - I saw no red card brandished by the ref).

On 55 minutes Stocksbridge's Cockerill put a shot wide when it looked easier to score, but two minutes later Belper's Middleton cushioned a header back to 'keeper Ogden - that didn't quite make it - Curtis Bernard nipped in to make it 2-0 to the Steels. Belper tried to get back into the game - Rushbury was getting some rather harsh treatment from the Steels' defence, but the free kicks came to nothing. Ogden too got a clattering from Calcutt which required treatment as the game ebbed and flowed.



A late Danny Hudson free-kick for Belper.

With five minutes left a Belper free-kick (was it Rushbury ?) was acrobatically tipped over the Stocksbridge bar by Hodgson - 60 seconds later Ogden was doing similar at the other end. With time virtually up, a late shot from Belper's other "demi-Manager" Danny Hudson was saved by Hodgson.

And that, I'm afraid, was that - one "semi-controversial" goal seconds before half-time and one defensive howler was all that separated 14th and 3rd in the table - so Belper should not feel too downhearted after this display - talks of a "play-off" place may well be a little premature however. And for those in the know, it was a lousy birthday present for "Pistol", the Belper kitman. Apologies to both Mr Oldrini and Mr Harrison for the quality of both words and pictures tonight - but there you go - at least Mr Darlington was kept updated whilst on his "death bed" !!!

The late start meant late finish - left the ground at 2200 on the dot to be back in Mossley for 2245, leaving time to dump the car at home and slip out for a couple at the "Britannia" - only "Old Speckled Hen" - but there you go.

E&OE tonight !!!

1 comment:

ilson_Stato said...

"Stuart Copnell (now there's a story - but possible libel prevents " interesting comment there smiffy ;-)