Last year’s champions Colburn Town got their title defence underway on Saturday with a comfortable victory over Spennithorne and Harmby.
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Within a couple of minutes, a Craig Teasdale shot had to be tipped over the bar by Arwel Carter in Spenni’s goal, then on five minutes, Nige Cole played a defence-splitting pass through to Luke McCormack, who controlled the ball instantly, turned and fired it past the keeper.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 when another Teasdale cross was touched in by a Spenni defender.
After 13 minutes, a fine Colburn move produced a third – McCormack, just outside the area, played Joe Woodall in with a beautifully weighted pass.
Woodall took it to the line and crossed for Tom Sweeney to guide it in.
Just before the half hour, Luke Hamilton played a lovely ball out of defence to McCormack on the right of the goal.
McCormack then calmly laid the ball across to Woodall, who made it 4-0.
Colburn took their foot off the pedal at this point and, to be fair to Spenni, they showed tremendous attitude and application to pick themselves and make several sorties towards Colburn’s goal, but Colburn’s back three, with Tim Bishop poised behind them, were largely untroubled.
Two minutes before the break, another sweeping move with one-touch passing, involving Woodall, Rory Wallace and McCormack ended up with Stuart Murray playing in his strike partner, Sweeney, who made it 5-0.
Colburn made their first switch, a straight swap, with Callum Henney coming on for Craig Teasdale on the right of midfield.
By this time, Bishop in Colburn’s goal was so underemployed, that he started doing Alisson Becker impressions.
Just on the hour, Colburn increased their lead, when a McInerney free kick found Cole at the far post, and his ball back across the goal was dispatched by Murray.
Immediately Cole was brought off, job done, to be replaced by Dean McCormack.
This necessitated a bit of a reshuffle along the back three, but no dramas.
Colburn’s third and final change saw Jamie Dempster coming on for an understandably tired Luke McCormack, whose effort and endeavour today, like the rest of the team, had been exemplary.
Ten minutes before the end, the scoring was complete when Sweeney played a ball over to Woodall down the left, and his cross was met with a rasping rocket of a shot by Wallace to make it 7-0. And that was enough excitement for one day.
Hawes United beat Reeth 3-2 in a high energy game.
Both sides had a fair amount of youth to them and both teams tried to play football on a surface at Hawes which was for once near perfect.
The early exchanges were fairly even and Reeth took the lead after about 20 minutes through Kristopher Barker.
Hawes fought back to level after a great delivery from Lloyd Iveson whose set pieces were on point all game.
The free kick was aimed superbly towards the leaping Dan Richardson who nodded down for Ashley Iveson to put in from close range.
The second half began pretty much like the first except Hawes started to exert their dominance with the final ball lacking.
Their pressure finally told with a great passing move resulting in Tommy Calvert stabbing home.
Reeth caught Hawes napping and equalised with a rocket into the top corner from Josh Hammond, Steve Calvert got a glove to it but the strike proved too hot to handle.
Hawes kept plugging away and got their reward with ten minutes to go. Johnny Guy played a sublime through ball to Jordan Iveson who ran through, held the defenders off and slotted home in the bottom corner.
Academy vs Unicorn was played at Richmond’s first team ground, Earls Orchard, although there seem to be a trade-off as four of the Academy squad were called up to play with the seniors.
Veteran keeper Kenny Mudd made a stand-in appearance between the sticks and showed he has still got it with a man of the match performance.
With Sims and Reeves up front for Uni, Academy knew it would be a day of facing long balls over the top to exploit the fearsome strike forces pace, which was exactly how the day turned out.
Academy started the brighter with Cromarty causing the Unicorn defence problems from the off.
It was strike partner Hart who got the opening goal on four minutes, finishing after Donoghue’s effort was saved by Mutch.
That was Donoghue’s last meaningful input into the afternoon as he rolled an ankle a minute later and was taken to hospital, although scans confirmed just a nasty strain.
Hart also had to be replaced before there was ten minutes on the clock and the two early changes seemed to unsettle the young side for a while.
Sims equalised after a ball over the top and finished smartly past Mudd.
Academy edged the rest of the half and took the lead on 38 minutes when Alfie Thompson broke down the left and found Weatherall who took the ball round the slowly advancing Mutch and finished.
Within a minute it was 2-2, Hunt crossing from the right for Reeves to head home.
Unicorn were the better side in the second half and Sims deservedly gave them the lead.
With 20 minutes to go Academy started to pass the ball around the tiring opponents and looked the likelier to score but then Sims went through on goal and fooled the ref with a Neymar-esque dive as Mudd dived.
Sims dispatched the penalty past a normally placid but now furious Mudd.
Richmond Mavericks, playing their first game of the season, overcame Catterick Garrison 4-1, with Nathan O’Connor scoring all four for the Mavs and Damian Hargreaves getting Catterick’s only goal.
Catterick came out the stronger and played the best football for the first ten minutes but failed to take advantage.
Mavs began to take control and their first competitive goal of the season acme after good work from Andrew Pritchard who laid the ball off for O’Connor to score with his weaker foot.
O’Connor got his second when he headed over the Catterick Keeper after a long pass from Adam Dunwoodie.
Catterick started the better in the second half but the Mabs back line stood firm until Damian Hargreaves pulled one back with a header.
However any hopes of the home side coming away with some points were dashed by two more from O’Connor in the final minutes
In the remaining fixture, Leyburn beat Carperby 4-1 with goals from Brandon Acton, Ryan Alderson, James Stanger and Callum Rankine.
John Pickard got Carperby’s goal.
Carperby 1 – 4 Leyburn
Catterick Garrison 1 – 4 Richmond Mavericks
Hawes 3 – 2 Reeth
Richmond Town Academy 2 -4 Unicorn
Spennithorne and Harmby 0 – 7 Colburn Town
Fixtures – September 15
Hawes United v Carperby
Reeth v Catterick Garrison
Richmond Mavericks v Richmond Buck Inn
Richmond Town Academy v Leyburn Town
Spennithorne and Harmby v Unicorn