After a mauling at the feet of Colburn last week, Hawes were back to winning ways with a 3-1 win away at Unicorn.
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Matt Guy bagged a brace after Jordan Iveson had scored the opener to secure a victory against a team which had started the day at the top of the table.
Hawes were on the ropes after last week’s thrashing at the hands of Colburn Town, but the blues sprang back into life against Unicorn on their pitch next to the A1.
It was Unicorn’s first game back after the break and it showed.
Manager James Anderson summed it up by saying: “A team full of Christmas puddings didn’t pick up their men, didn’t communicate and even ducked out of the path of the ball.”
Hawes’ bright and determined pressing immediately pegged Unicorn in their own half and after a matter of minutes a free kick whipped in from the left found Iveson steaming in at the back post to score with a volley.
This almost woke Unicorn up and with their corner count racking up, Handley couldn’t convert at the back post with a header, a Ketley diving header was smartly saved by the Hawes keeper and the rebound was spooned over from close range.
But soon after, Hawes’ Jonathon Champion robbed the ball from a Unicorn centre back about 40 yards out. He played a one-two with centre forward Matt Guy and sprinted to the the by-line, before squaring it for Guy to knock in from six yards.
Hawes remained on top for the rest of the first half, leaving Hawes’ stand-in keeper Luke Barker with little to do. Guy made it three when he found himself free at the back post. He nodded a flick-on back across the goal and into the net. It was three-nil at half time.
The second half was altogether different. After an utterly embarrassing first half performance, a few home truths were fired in a half time during the Unicorn huddle.
This seemed to inject some much needed passion throughout the team with Duckett, Gray and Atkinson responding well to a rollocking.
Tackles were flying in, Unicorn were first to lose balls and winning headers. Hawes were pinned back for most of the half, but Unicorn only managed to reduce the deficit by a single goal.
After an incident of obstruction involving the Hawes midfielder crawling over the ball, an indirect free kick was awarded. Duckett laid the ball off to Atkinson who powered home from 30 yards.
A further free kick from Atkinson from similar distance was also flapped onto the bar. Unicorn missed a few further chances, mainly through Handley who had wandered upfront due to a scratch on his shin.
It was a case of too little, too late as Hawes had put the game to bed by half time.
When a second Hawes man went off injured, Jack Cloughton sprinted on to make his senior debut. Within minutes he had charged down the right and hit the post with a shot from inside the box.
Hawes had plenty of chances on the break, but most of the action was in their own half.
Hawes can breathe a little sigh of relief – their season is back on.
Angry Unicorn manager Anderson is expected to ring the changes for next week’s game vs the Mavs.
But in classic Unicorn fashion, it is expected that half the squad will go shopping, take their dogs for a walk on the beach, or have to take their hamsters to the vets in order to avoid playing.
In more positive news for Unicorn they have secured training top sponsorship with SC Electrics, which the team hopes will look ensure they alright even if they play sh***.
For the second week running, Colburn’s game had to be switched due to the unavailability of home venues.
Academy were again strengthened due to the first team not having a game, although manager Paul Ramsay decided to keep faith with the majority of his young squad and just drafted senior players Jason Newall, Scott Ryan and Josh Cartledge.
But Colburn themselves were fielding a pretty strong side, with Ashley McInerney & Timmy Taylor filling in for the absent Luke Hamilton and the injured Nige Cole.
The game kicked off in a biting wind, and spectators were well wrapped up. Early exchanges were sluggish on the pitch, with neither side looking too sharp.
After 18 minutes, the game sprang into life, when a McInerney clearance reached Tom Sweeney on the left of the goal.
Sweeney’s instant control and turn inside the defender gave him room to fizz his shot home. 1-0 to Colburn.
Two minutes later the scores were almost level when Lewington crossed and Cartledge rose to head towards goal, Bishop proved equal to it though and tipped it onto the bar.
The next period of play saw some feisty challenges. Callum Sheridan was booked for one particularly late tackle, but Academy put in some similarly mistimed challenges which went unpunished.
Colburn looked more likely to increase their lead, as Academy were largely reduced to long balls out of defence which were comfortably dealt with by Colburn’s back line.
The highlights of the rest of the first half were a testing Sweeney cross, which went just past the outstretched legs of both Stuart Murray and Gary Hutchinson, and one Murray header which went just over. So at the interval Colburn still held a narrow lead.
The second half was certainly high in endeavour, but short of quality from both sides.
Academy were finding more joy raiding down both flanks and Colburn were often pushed back in their own half with the young Academy legs carving them open time and again.
Colburn’s Bishop made a smart save from Simpson before Ryan went clean through, once again the ageing stopper was up to the task. Ryan was starting to get more space and wriggled through again but this time fired over.
But Colburn stood firm, and Tim Bishop was not over-extended in Colburn’s goal.
Academy were assisted by some questionable refereeing decisions, one offside not being called, when the Academy player was at least five yards adrift.
On the sidelines, Colburn’s manager and supporters, who were in line when that decision was made, were understandably furious, and Hammy did apologise to the ref at the end.
The game continued, and the longer it went, the more nervous Colburn appeared, but they dug in deep to protect their slim lead.
Colburn’s front two, Murray & Sweeney were starved of service, as Colburn’s midfield was being overrun. Colburn brought on Josh Crisp for Sheridan, to give fresh impetus in midfield, and Craig Nisbet replaced Brandon Bishop, with Rory Wallace moving into midfield.
Murray went close once or twice, and Hutchinson flashed one effort right across the goal, but in added time, there was a bit of a melee, and Tom Bentley, who’d just come on for Joe Woodall, was in the right place to knock the ball in. 2-0 and Colburn began to breathe more easily.
There was no time for Academy to respond, and Colburn greeted the final whistle with relief – this had been a hard fought struggle, but three points is three points.
The first half of the game between Catterick Garrison and Leyburn was mainly played in midfield, with various break away chances at either end.
Both goal keepers Jack Davison (Leyburn) and Catterick’s Steven Files made important saves to keep the scores level at HT.
Kalem Stanger had chances for Leyburn but scuffed several shots from outside the box.
CGFC dominated the opening minutes of the second half but couldn’t find a way past Stanger.
As the hour mark approached Leyburn were starting to click however it was CGFC that countered superbly to take the lead.
A sweeping moved ended with Stephen Fleming curling a ball into Tim Holland’s path. He did well to slide the ball beneath the onrushing Davison from just inside the box.
Moments later CGFC had a great chance to double their lead when Damian Hargreaves was sent through one on one with Davison again, however this time the Leyburn stopper came out on top with a fine low save.
Just before Leyburn drew level via a fine free kick, they almost did via a clever short free kick. With CGFC setting up the wall Leyburn took the kick early and had it not been for Jonathan Holmes remaining switched on for Catterick and getting a last ditch block in it could have been 1-1.
It was however 1-1 moments after this. Catterick were incensed at the award of another free kick believing the Leyburn player stood on the ball before falling over the defender.
However, it stood and Sam Lane used plenty of dip and curl to hit the top corner of the net.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw however Lee Davison of Leyburn had other ideas. He went past three defenders and tucked the ball past the keeper, celebrating by whipping off his tight shirt to reveal a dazzling kite underneath.
Leyburn deservedly took the three points as they punished Catterick for a poor performance by their usual high standards.
Elsewhere, Reeth beat Carperby 3-2. Goals from Andrew Calvert, Jason Dewhurst and a Jame Guy own goal cancelled out two from John Pickard.
Richmond Mavericks beat Spennithorne 4-2. Mavs’ scorers were James Kelly, Sam Bainbridge, Nathan O’Connor and Ian Smurthwaite.
James Smith scored for Spenni who also benefited from a Mavs own goal.
Leyburn Town 2 – 1 Catterick Garrison Football Centre
Reeth & District Athletic Club 3 – 2 Carperby Rovers
Richmond Mavericks 4 – 2 Spennithorne & Harmby
Richmond Town Academy 0 – 2 Colburn Town
Unicorn FC 1 – 3 Hawes United
Fixtures – 20.1.18
Carperby Rovers v Colburn TownC
Richmond Town Academy v Leyburn Town
Catterick Garrison Football Centre v Hawes United
Richmond Mavericks v Unicorn FC
Spennithorne & Harmby v Reeth & District Athletic Club
North Riding Cup
Richmond Buck Inn v Thornaby Dubliners