If Richmond Mavericks are to slip up in their pursuit of back to back titles, Saturday’s game against Buck Inn could have been on of the banana skins.
But in a game of few chances, Mavs highlighted their champions’ credentials sneaking a 1-0 win with a resolute defensive display.
Buck felt they’d done enough to earn at least a draw in their final league game of the season.
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In the first half Dave Andrews swung in some vicious corners that were dealt with in a continental style by Mark Briggs who was on commanding form in the Buck goal.
A Dunwoodie in-swinging corner was headed over the bar by Phil Stirling, while a Davey Andrews downwards header was tipped round the post by Briggs.
There were limited chances for either team in the first half but it was Mavs who took a one goal advantage into the break after a deflected header from a long throw found its way past the despairing dive of Briggs.
The only goal of the game came from a Dunwoodie long throw into the box which was flick on by the head of in form Reuben Bainbridge and over Briggs into the goal.
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In the second half a good move from the Buck released Marshal Thorogood into the area who went down after a second attempted challenge from Miller, who had been superb so far, and a penalty was awarded, much to the frustration of Mavs players.
Player manager Stew Fotheringham stepped up and opts for power but keeper Reid read the spot kick well and made a fine save, getting finger tips to the ball and sending it over the bar.
Both teams huffed and puffed in a fully committed game but Mavs came out on top and got the result they craved.
The two teams meet again next Saturday in the Dales Cup.
The current league leaders Hawes United came from one-nil down to beat Carperby Rovers 3-2, with striker Jordan Iveson scoring his fourth hat-trick in five games.
Rovers offered much stiffer resistance than earlier in the season. Improved by youth (Kory Spink) and experience (Paul Barnard), with two strapping centre-halfs, they were well organised and hard to beat.
They had the added bonus of playing at home, as Hawes United’s Old Station Yard pitch remained waterlogged. And in a sign that luck might be on their side, too, they took the lead against the run of play with their first shot on goal.
A big kick from goalie Jim Guy was allowed to bounce and in the next moment fresh-faced Max Landau was through on goal to pass it past Jim’s brother Jonny with a good finish.
Hawes were moving the ball around well, yet struggling in the final third. Until Iveson came to the rescue. But it was by no means a one man show. He might have put the ball into the net, but he was on the end of three outstanding assists.
Jonathon Champion on the right wing whipped a ball behind the Carperby back four with such speed and accuracy that it hit Iveson’s shin and bounced into the net from ten yards. One-all at half time.
There was a good crowd at the Playing Fields. There always is. Access to a hot cup of tea must be a factor.
Hawes took the lead when Scott Guy beat a man on the right side, dribbled into the box and pulled the ball back, giving Iveson a juicy sitter.
Iveson’s third was almost a copy of the first, only even better. Champion got the plaudits from the fans as he whipped in a ball from the right touchline for the striker to walk into the net.
Carperby did not lose this match through human error or by being second best in the tackle. They lost it because of several moments of real quality from Hawes.
But Carperby fought back with a header from Craig Marshall. Hawes’ captain Calvert warned his men that there was an unmarked man in the box. But no one took any notice.
It created a nervy last ten minutes for Hawes. Despite a lot of late pressure Carperby couldn’t get an equaliser, with a late Paul Harmsworth header as close as they got. If only the Mavs hadn’t squeaked past Buck, Hawes will think.
Colburn blew Leyburn away inside 15 minutes, ultimately winning 7-1.
It took just one minute for Stuart Murray to set up Craig Teasdale for the first.
On five mins Murray was fouled about 10 yards inside the Leyburn half.
Up stepped Tom Sweeney. He’d spotted the Leyburn keeper just straying too far from his goal line and sent the freekick over him into the net. Outrageous.
Next it was Aaron Stoney’s turn to shine as he was forced into a fine save then after 11 minutes Stoney in Colburn’s goal sent a clearance well into Leyburn’s half.
Murray flicked on past the defence to Sweeney, who absolutely buried the ball home. 3-0.
Colburn appeared to switch off for the rest of the half, though Brandon Bishop missed with a header, Murray headed over, Joe Woodall’s potshot was saved by Leyburn’s keeper and Brandon Bishop shot narrowly wide.
But Colburn had certainly lost their intensity of the first 15 minutes.
After the break, Colburn went back into attack mode. Woodall played a cute one-two with Rory Wallace before rifling the ball home.
A few minutes later Teasdale followed up and profited from a goalkeeping clanger to put the ball in the net, making it 5-0.
Then a Sweeney freekick was flapped at by Leyburn’s keeper; it fell to Woodall who prodded it home.
So that was three goals in ten minutes at the start of the second-half.
A good effort from Teasdale flashed right across the goal area, then Rory Wallace sent one over the bar.
After 70 minutes, Leyburn got a consolation goal, when a swift move with a couple of clever turns gave them an opening to score through sub Jams Stanger.
Five minutes later, Colburn completed the scoring when Teasdale whipped a cross in; Sweeney’s shot was blocked, but he fired the rebound in for his hat-trick
The last 15 minutes drifted by as the rain came down and full time came with a good victory for Colburn.
The game started with Catterick looking frightening in possession. Half chances for Luke McCormack and Stephen Fleming went narrowly wide early on.
The Catterick midfield was running this show and no surprise when Reeth kicked the ball clear it fell to Tim Holland whose first time side foot through ball was right into Mccormack’s stride. He chopped the ball back onto his left foot inside the box. He then curled the ball left footed beyond the keeper to give the home side the lead.
The first half was played in the Reeth half, Catterick relentlessly pressing in packs and winning the ball back quickly.
Reeth dropped deeper and deeper but chance after chance went by unpunished. Damian Hargreaves reacted first in the box but only saw his shot go inches over.
Daniel Deeney had the freedom of the right hand side all game and was getting in at will. On one occasion he twisted and turned his man twice and got to the byline. His cross was driven head height towards the near post. Fleming still up from the back got in front of his man, but his header only hit the wrong side of the side netting from his perspective.
Other chances went by until McCormack got his and CGFC’s second with a minute remaining in the half.
Luke rose highest in the box to head home following a wicked in-swinging corner from Holland.
The half ended that way and Catterick were sent out with reminders of what was working and to be patient.
Four minutes after the restart it was three when a blistering move ended with Jonathan Holmes’ shot being blocked. He still had the presence of mind to tee up Hargreaves on the edge though and he curled a beautiful right footed strike into the top corner for Catterick’s third.
Minutes later it was four and McCormack completed his perfect hattrick, finishing neatly with a right foot shot following a great run and cross from Deeney.
Just after the hour mark goal of the game arrived from the excellent Liam Walker.
There was to be several enviable goals on display but this was total football – a well built attack involved seven or eight different players. The ball was then played into Hargreaves’ feet with his back to goal and Walker had set off on a third man run.
It was laid into his path from Hargreaves and the ball was swept into the corner before Reeth knew what had happened.
McCormack’s games was cut short when he was caught with a high tackle that went unpunished. He had to leave the field to be replaced by the ever willing Steven Files.
A dubious decision this time went in Catterick’s favour and they were awarded a penalty when a ball struck a Reeth hand at point blank range.
Walker very sportingly refused the chance to grab his second and drove the ball against the post. Reeth booted away the rebound.
The pressure was relentless on the Reeth goal and another flowing move ended with Files playing in Hargreaves in the area.
With the keeper fast approaching Hargreaves returned the earlier favour and set up Holmes from around 12 yards, who finished well between 2 defenders on the line.
Unfortunately Holmes could not find similar composure moments later when presented with a similar chance ten yards out. He had to watch through his fingers as the ball squirted wide.
Catterick were not done and after a spell camped in the Reeth box, the ball eventually fell to Holland on the edge.
He shifted the ball superbly onto his left foot and away from the defender before driving the ball into the corner beautifully from 18 yards.
Steven Files wrapped up the scoring after being sent in one on one with the Reeth stopper by Holmes.
Files taking the ball early and crashing the ball past the helpless keeper for an eighth.
Catterick’s attention now moves to the Medals shield final againstRichmond Mavericks on Thursday night.
The game is a 7.30pm kick off under lights at Northallerton Town’s Calvert stadium, postcode DL7 8HJ.
Elsewhere, Spennithorne ended a bad run with a good 4-1 win over Richmond Academy.
Spenni took the lead on two mins when Neuer, AKA Kenny Mudd, tried to turn the striker who blocked the ball and tapped home.
It was 2-0 shortly after when a hopeful punt forward flew into the top corner.
Town’s 3-5-2 formation struggled as the opposition played with one up top and two wide men but they did pull one back when Lee White flicked on a throw and Mark Swanwick went round the keeper to score.
Even in a poor first half, town dominated the general play but found themselves 3-1 down when the winger crossed for an unmarked forward to score with ease.
Swanwick then hit a thunderous volley against the post and it became apparent that this wasn’t to be Town’s day.
Town changed things around at half time bringing on Matty Bateson and Ethan Rowland with Oli Mann and Matty Turnbull making way as they switched to a 4-3-3 formation.
Town started the second half much brighter and dominated the first 20 minutes.
The ref awarded a penalty for handball from a corner but White hit the post from the spot before Swanwick again found the woodwork with a great header.
In a final last ditch attempt to get a goal Academy threw centre half Adam Walker forward and he caused some problems but the goal wouldn’t come.
Special mention should go to Gary Eggleston who came on at right back for Academy and put in his best performance of the season to earn man of the match.