It’s getting to the business end of the season and the weather should now have improved to ensure games go ahead.
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But question marks again hung over whether another Wensleydale League game would fall foul of the elements as the top pitch at Wensleydale School was passed fit only moments before kick off in Leyburn’s game against Buck Inn.
The also game had a long stoppage as Buck youngster Jacob Tate had a bought of asthma sickness and brought up his pre-match meal of alphabet spaghetti onto the already soaked pitch, that had to be cleared up by adding more water to the sodden surface.
Leyburn made the better start and went one up after a couple of minutes when a good interchange of passing released Leyburn man of the match Kalem Stanger down the right wing.
His cross was hesitantly left by rapidly aging veteran defender Andy D’Arcy, playing his first competitive match for over a year and in that time forgotten how to defend, and Lee Davidson happily converted the gift wrapped ball on a plate to net his 15th goal of the season.
Buck bounced back and were level within ten minutes when good centre forward play from Danny Allen gave recently out of retirement Mark Swanwick a one-on-one from 15 yards and beat the advancing keeper convincingly.
Leyburn played the neater football but Buck made headway into Leyburn territory with long balls and wing play.
It was winger Micheal Slater who put Buck 2-1 up before the break after a rebound from an Allen effort.
Slater, from the edge of the box and with two defenders behind the keeper blocking the goal, rifled the ball into the only part of the goal available with unerring accuracy/luck.
Leyburn had wave after wave of attacks in the second half, with several Buck players struggling to walk, and no more reinforcements available after making their one and only substitution in the first half.
However, Buck clearances occasionally led to counter attacks and Slater slotted another great finish for his second of the day after composed work from the tireless Marshal Thorogood to make it 3-1 and give Buck some breathing space.
Five minutes later, Slater could have had a hat-trick but for being called offside, for which he was still seething about on Sunday morning after an agitated night’s sleep.
Leyburn finally got the breakthrough they were pushing for when Swanwick feathered a back pass into the path of grateful Ryan Alderson in the 88th minute who finally beat Mark Briggs in goal who had made many fine saves and was unlucky not to get man of the match, along with Liam Ryan who also had a terrific game.
It was too late for Leyburn to muster another meaningful chance and Buck celebrated a morale boosting, hard fought win to start a packed fixture schedule in the coming month, weather permitting.
There was pre-kick off drama in the Catterick Garrsison and Richmond Academy game.
A lunchtime barrage of rain left the Garrison’s home pitch with standing water. It was both teams desire to play the game so the Easby nets were thrown up at short notice.
Catterick took the lead early on. When a clearance only reached Tim Holland midway inside the academy half it looked as though he would chip it over the keeper, with Mudd well off his line.
Holland however showed great composure to pick out the run of Jez Mortimer instead. Mortimer fired the ball across Mudd and into the corner for a deserved Garrison lead.
There was disappointment for Catterick and Liam Walker as he was brought down in the box but no penalty was given
The game then opened up and Academy grew into the half.
Catterick’s Deeney jad been getting a lot of joy down the right. Academy switched Simpson from the right to combat the winger and the move paid immediate dividends.
On 25 minutes Mackintosh squared the ball to Gilroy who cut inside his marker before firing in off the post to equalise.
Three minutes later Academy took the lead when a free kick from Stead found Ramsay who beat his marker before crossing low for Gilroy to net his second with Catterick’s Steven Files unsighted.
Catterick looking shell shocked but not beaten. They gathered their thoughts and switched the wide men.
This allowed greater width and they were now getting in at will. Stephen Flemo Fleming and Neil Jenks Wright went close from range and James Boyle almost smuggled in after a pinball corner.
Fleming wasn’t to be denied from three yards moments later. Daniel Deeney now switched to the left and almost instantly he drove down his wing past two defenders and put in a vicious low cross. It cannoned off a defender’s knee and Fleming was on hand to tap home for 2-2.
Fleming then squared the ball to Wright to tap home for a 3-2 Catterick lead at half time.
The second half continued with Catterick possession and Academy pacy counters. Jez Mortimer had to leave the field early for the second week running and was replaced by Damian Hargreaves.
Catterick extended their around the hour mark when Fleming finished at close range after Wright’s touch went into his path.
A stunning breakaway goal lead to a Catterick fifth goal. Hargreaves was released in the right channel. His pace meant he strode past the last defender and unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike from 25 yards.
The slightest of fingertips from Mudd meant the ball hit the underside of the bar and stayed in the six yard box.
With a defender getting back to clear Wright used his strength to hold him of and swivel the ball home for 5-2.
Academy didn’t lie down and kept pushing only a wonderful one handed save from Steven Files at full stretch kept out a beauty from 30 yards.
The drama wasn’t to end there though and CGFC gaffer Lee McKenny was brought on with 18 minutes to go.
He was unfortunately only able to play 13 of those and was to see red with five minutes remaining.
Referee Kavenagh adjudged his tackle on halfway to have endangered the opponent, Rowland. Despite Catterick appeals, the ref had the red card above his head in seconds.
Catterick saw out the remaining minutes and now move on to next weeks cup game, a tough Dales Cup semi-final vs Richmond Buck.
The game between Colburn and Reeth took place on a rainy Jaffa pitch, already marked out for Athletics, which made ref Kierran Corrigan’s job trickier than usual.
The pitch was very heavy but both sides were keen to get the match played; Reeth as they’d come all the way down Swaledale for it, and Colburn because of their daunting end of season schedule, surpassed only by that of the Buck.
As with Colburn’s match last week v Carperby, this was a game of two halves.
Soon after kick-off, Shane Parkinson had a header, which went straight to keeper, Matthew Short. Then after 15 minutes Stuart Murray was brought down by Short and a penalty was awarded.
Up stepped Callum Sheridan and he made no mistake. 1-0 and one might have expected Colburn to dominate from this point on.
They did have chances – another Parkinson effort was pushed wide by Short. Then Nige Cole created space for himself on the edge of Reeth’s area, but his shot flew over.
Next it was Parkinson’s turn again, but once more his strike went tamely to the keeper. Reeth had odd moments but didn’t trouble Colburn’s defence too much, and half time came with Colburn holding a slim advantage.
As last week, the second half began with a rash of goals and substitutions.
Cole had a sighter of a header from an Ashley McInerney corner, but it just went wide.
After 51 minutes, Colburn increased their lead when Cole headed the ball back over Short from another McInerney corner.
At this point Hammy Hamilton made two changes, bringing on Connor Weatherbed and Rory Wallace in place of Craig ‘I’ve put my boots on wrong way round’ Teasdale and Tom Sweeney, who was being bypassed out of the game in his role behind the front two.
A minute later, Sheridan played Wallace in, and he struck a fine effort which flew past Short.
Next it was Colburn’s final, and most effective, change. Gary Hutchison took the stage in place of Parkinson and proceeded to help himself to a hat trick.
Just before the hour, he was set up by a Luke Hamilton pass and, in his own words, “pinged one from 25 yards into the top corner”.
Four mins later it was five when a Murray back post header, from yet another McInerney corner, found its mark.
Then Murray played Hutchison in for his second and Colburn’s sixth, and the scoring was completed on 76 minutes, when McInerney’s pass found Hutchison, who made it 7-0 with a composed finish.
It says a lot for Colburn’s second half display, that they voted Short as man of the match, as it was he who prevented Colburn from turning it into a massacre.
Nevertheless, at the final whistle, it was very much a case of job done for Colburn. Next on the agenda, Unicorn on Wednesday.
Only ten men turned up for Spenni which made it an easy day for Hawes United.
But for some last ditch defending, a solid goalie and some hesitant and wayward finishing, it could have gotten ridiculous.
Hawes had chance after chance after chance, but went in at half time only one nil up, courtesy of an early strike by Jordan Iveson. He buried it in the bottom corner after drifting off his defender and receiving a pass from the ever industrious Scott Guy.
Iveson went inches wide several times and on other occasions had bags of time in the box only for the ball to stick to his feet like a magnet.
Spenni never complained about being a man down and fought the good fight, while Hawes – still raw from their two-one defeat to Leyburn the previous week – enjoyed the good surface.
Just as frustration was reaching boiling point, up rose right-back Sam Iveson to expertly glance in a header from a corner to make it two-nil about ten minutes into the second half.
Hawes then found their shooting boots. Tommy Calvert broke down the middle and slotted in the third. For the fourth, Matt Guy bore down on the last man but lost control of the ball, only for the defender to kick it right back at him. Guy ran on to the ricochet to bang the ball past the keeper.
Jonathon Champion scored the fifth with a left footer and Andrew Fagg rounded off the scoring. For the second season in a row, it was a walk in the (Ferrand) park for Hawes at Spenni, who are clearly struggling to field their best team each week.
Elsewhere, Richmond Mavericks beat Carperby 8-1.
Spennithorne & Harmby 0 – 6 Hawes United
Richmond Mavericks v Richmond Buck Inn
Unicorn FC v Colburn Town
Carperby Rovers v Leyburn Town
Catterick Garrison Football Centre v Richmond Buck Inn
Colburn Town v Spennithorne & Harmby
Reeth & District Athletic Club v Hawes United
Richmond Town Academy v Richmond Mavericks