The match between Richmond Mavericks and Colburn Town took place on Richmond School’s equivalent of a ploughed field, and when the rain set in the scene was set for a dour struggle.
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Early exchanges were tentative as players got to grips with the conditions, which were on the face of it more suited to Mavs’ direct play than Colburn’s short game.
After eight minutes, Colburn fell behind to a disputed Luke McCormack effort.
The ball was played through and Colburn thought McCormack was well offside.
However, referee Mark Ullyott played on and McCormack took the ball round Colburn’s stand-in keeper, Josh Crisp, and put Mavs one up.
This perceived injustice seemed to fire Colburn and they turned up the pressure on the Mavs defence.
Colburn changed things around. Ashley McInerney moved to left back, meaning Rory Wallace went to central midfield.
The change almost paid dividends when a Craig Teasdale corner reached Jamie Dempster, who laid it back to Luke Hamilton, but Hamilton’s shot flew just wide.
Colburn continued to test the Mavs back four and once or twice, Colburn efforts were well saved by the keeper. But just before the half hour, Colburn got the equaliser they craved when a Nige Cole header came back off the bar only for a Mavs defender to turn it into his own net.
Next it was a shot from Dempster which went wide, having been unwittingly set up by Joe Woodall when a Mavs clearance struck him and fell to Dempster.
The state of the pitch made football very difficult for both sides, but Colburn pressure paid off and just before half time they went ahead.
Some admirable persistence from Teasdale, coupled with excellent play from Dempster, produced a chance for midfielder Callum Sheridan whose shot was rifled home.
New manager Hammy Hamilton was delighted with how his reshuffled side had responded in the first half, but there was still much to do.
Shortly after the resumption Colburn made a change when Shane Parkinson came on for Teasdale down the right.
After a subdued start to the second half, the game sprang back into life on the hour when a speedy Mavs counter attack down the right resulted in a fine cross which came to McCormack who claimed his second of the game and an equaliser for Mavs.
But Colburn roared back again. Woodall found space to the left of Mavs’ area and put a in a lovely cross, which neither Dempster nor Stuart Murray could quite get a touch on.
Colburn were having to be patient in their build up, always alert for Mavs’ long ball over the top for McCormack and Adam Emson to run on to. Ten minutes from the end, Murray had to come off, injured in a goalmouth scramble. Colburn brought on Connor Weatherbed and another reshuffle was needed.
Weatherbed went to left wing, Woodall switched to the right, and the versatile Wallace went upfront with Parkinson.
Almost immediately, these changes nearly produced a winner when Wallace slid the ball to Woodall, whose fierce shot was tipped over.
But Colburn were not to be denied and two minutes from the end McInerney played a clever ball through to Parkinson on the right of the area.
His shot went across the goal, over the keeper and seemed to take an age to drop into the far corner to make it 3-2 to Colburn. No way back for Mavs, and Colburn had their revenge for their Challenge Cup defeat pre-season. It has been a good start for Colburn’s new manager but could they still rue those three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player?
Storm Brian had more than a mention on the fixture between Catterick and Carperby before a ball was even kicked. The wet conditions had effected not only Catterick‘s pitch but has also removed the markings, so the game was switched to the Carperby’s Mars Bar Arena which looked in marvellous condition to start with.
A frustrating first half for Catterick ended 0-0. During that half Stephen Fleming saw his shot somehow stay out after he placed his shot of the inside of the post. Various other chances went a begging too as Catterick looked assured without managing to add the final touch to the intricate moves.
Carperby defended well and the keeper made some fantastic saves with his feet.
A slight tweak at half time for Catterick saw three players switch positions and it seemed to have the desired affect.
Ten minutes into the half and the deadlock was broken. A beautiful move ended with Tim Holland driving one towards the corner.The keeper made a full stretch save to keep it out, but Neil Jenks Wright was on hand to follow up for his seventh goal in the last five games from eiught yards out.
A period of pressure ensued for Catterick. James McCormack had his seasonal nosebleed moment after having what can only be considered a breakdown in the six yard box with the keeper grounded.
It was 2-0 on 68 minutes, however, when Liam Walker’s well-timed run almost saw him finish a sweeping move. But the Catterick man dragged down right on the edge of the area for a free kick.
Holland stepped up to take a free kick left footed, and Storm Brian claimed an assist when his lofted cross evaded the keepers’ gloves and dropped under the bar.
The game was sealed by man of the match Jonny Holmes. When James McCormack burst down the left and crossed into the area, Damian Hargreaves cushioned the ball into Holmes’ path. He dummied to shoot before gliding past the last defender. His left footed shot was low, hard and across the keeper for 3-0
There was still time for Daniel Deeney had a goal strangely disallowed too. Jez Mortimer had burst clear and rolled in the winger, only to see ref Syd Nye awarding an offside.
The sides had met two weeks earlier when Hawes knocked the young side out of the North Riding Cup after being behind for much of the game.
After coming close to a cup shock the Richmond management decided to go with the same 4-5-1 formation with Danny Weatherall the lone striker supported by Lewington and Simpson on the wings.
Hawes controlled the first 20 minutes without really creating a chance other than a Jordan Iveson effort.
The three lads in the middle of the park for Hawes; Scott Guy, Jordan Iveson and the man mountain Andrew Fagg were coping with initially dominating but town started to get into their stride as the game progressed.
On 21 minutes Academy’s Weatherall slipped Simpson through and his shot crashed off the underside of the bar. Three minutes later Weatherall was put through and shot narrowly over when perhaps he should have done better.
The young striker could count himself lucky to see the half out after shouting the F-Bomb at the ref who requested him to repeat what he said, to which the cheeky chappy gave the relevant hand gesture to confirm what he heard was right.
The experienced ref let that go and must be said, had an excellent game making great use of the advantage rule as the youngsters received some rough treatment from the Hawes players’ robust style.
The second half began with Hawes, who had been instructed to press high and together, quickly in control, despite Academy being told to keep doing the same in the second half as they had been doing.
For Hawes the high pressing brought a corner within the first minute of the second half.
Tommy Calvert swung in a delicious ball which Andrew Fagg powered on to and netted from six yards out with a bullet header.
Two minutes later, another corner and a smart nod back from captain Brett Calvert lad to Faggy grabbing his second with a tap in from three yards.
Hawes scored again when young Walker showed a little inexperience in squaring the ball across his own box while under pressure from Jonathan Champion.
On 66 minutes Academy skipper Mackintosh tried to thread the ball through for Simpson. His pass was blocked but he hit the rebound on the volley from 25 yards into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.
But the goal was to count for nothing when Tommy Calvert, who’d been causing problems all day, broke down the right wing, showed great strength then squared the ball for substitute Matt Guy to cannon his first goal for Hawes off the underside of the crossbar. Final score 4-1 to Hawes who maintained their 100 per cent record.
In the game between Reeth and Unicorn, Liam Reeves scored a hat-trick as the Richmond team won 6-1.
With the score 2-0 to Unicorn, hope for Reeth arrived in the form of midfielder Karl Longden when he pulled a goal back with a neatly curled shot from 25 yards.
However, another defensive lapse three minutes from half-time allowed the visitors to steal in and make it 3-1 at the break.
Unicorn pulled away easily in the second half, three more strikes, in the 56th, 71st and 82nd minutes, giving them a comfortable win.
In the final game, Leyburn beat Spenni 3-1.