Wins for Unicorn and Hawes as top teams clash in Wensleydale Creamery League

Mouth-watering ties were on the menu on Saturday as teams got back to league duty following last week’s North Riding County Cup ties.

This report is sponsored by:

The game between Unicorn and Richmond Mavericks was the first time this season the Newbiggin team had a full squad at their disposal, minus long term absentees Tom Keegan and Stuart Brown, and Unicorn’s quality both on the pitch and the bench shone through.

Unicorn set up in a 3-5-2 formation, with veteran skipper Carl Handley finally agreeing to play centre half.

It was Handley, alongside Swainston and Elliott, with the aid of wing backs Marshall and Atkinson, who set out of nullify the Mavericks attack.

And nullify they did, restricting Mavericks to just one chance in the first half, which fell to Emson, but he couldn’t trouble the imposing Mutch in goal.

Unicorn controlled the first half without creating too many clear cut chances, with the final ball perhaps lacking at times.

Their exploits were enhanced when mid way through the first half Nath O’Connor was given his marching orders for two yellows, following a foul and a show of descent.

The man in black had already gone toe to toe with a Mavericks player in the early exchanges, and certainly wasn’t up for any nonsense.

Unicorn came out of the blocks fast in the second half and on 50 minutes the deadlock was broken.

Simon McGuinness fed the ball to attacking midfielder Shayne Ketley who put his man on his backside with a dangerous piece of skill, before rounding Ste Reed in the Mavs goal, whose despairing hand couldn’t keep out Ketley’s low finish.

Five minutes later, man of the match McGuinnes was at it again, expertly receiving the ball in the centre circle, whilst simultaneously spinning his man before sliding a lovely through-ball to Hickin.

Hickin in turn whipped a pin point cross to the head of Reeves who hammered his header home from six yards; capping a flowing team goal.

Wingback Marshall almost caught everyone napping as he ghosted into a right wing forward position from a goal kick. Mutch picked him out expertly and Marshall homed in on goal before releasing a nonchalant Cantona-esque chip which agonisingly sailed narrowly wide.

With ten minutes to go, Reeves had a chance to put the game to bed after closing down and winning the ball from the Mavs defence before racing clear.

He rounded Reed in goal, only to to see his shot creep agonisingly wide as the Mavs back line scrambled back to the goal.

Moments later Mavericks were handed a lifeline as Handley took his eye off the ball and skewed the ball to the grateful Bainbridge to score; making for a nervy final few minutes.

Unicorn however remained resolute and saw the game out to spare Handley’s blushes.

Had they known the result in advance Hawes United and Catterick Garrison Football Centre would have both seen their clash as a chance to take control of the title race.

Hawes took the victory against the same oppression two weeks ago in the cup fresh in their minds, but knew this would be a hard tight game with the visitors restoring to near full strength.

On a soft and boggy surface football was hard to come by but Steve Calvert, Tommy Calvert, Scott Guy and Jordan Iveson looked bright and sharp from the get go.

Hawes assumed control of the first period with the Garrison keeper Tim bishop called into action to make a couple of good saves from Tommy Calvert.

On the occasions Catterick ventured forward, the Hawes defence were more than a match with Brett Calvert and Daniel Peacock rarely putting a foot wrong all afternoon.

The strength and power of Andrew Fagg mixed with the flair and trickery of Iveson and Guy meant the Hawes midfield also looked in control.

The breakthrough for Hawes arrived after about 55 minutes when a ball was fizzed in to Jonathon Champion’s feet who controlled, turned and slipped the scampering Tommy Calvert through, who calmly slotted past the outstanding Bishop in the Catterick goal.

The second followed ten minutes later when Scott Guy played the ball to Champion, who this time with the worlds slowest Cruff turn played fed the midfield man allowing him to calmly pop the ball in the bottom corner.

Catterick pushed on in the closing stages but found the Hawes defence stood firm, with the whole team still pressing.

This suffocation paid dividend when Matt Guy forced the Catterick defence into a mistake before squaring to Steve Calvert to add the cherry on top of an already expertly iced cake.

Colburn would have seen the visit of Leyburn as an excellent opportunity to ascend the table but on a bright, breezy, but chilly afternoon they were left feeling frustrated with a 2-2 draw.

Colburn started strongly putting Leyburn on the back foot right from the first minute but nothing came from any attack leaving Colburn slightly ungratified.

Playing on the large Jaffa pitch, manager Hammy Hamilton asked his team to use the width to Colburn’s advantage.

Wingers Craig Teasdale and Joe Woodall both looked sharp, taking on their markers down each of the wings and delivering some great balls into Tom Sweeney and Jamie Dempster, but Leyburn stood firm and cleared their lines.

Leyburn had the odd attack but Colburn’s back four looked comfortable, even Nige Cole, who had partied hard on Friday evening, flashing his receding bonce and poor dance moves around Club Louis.

Leyburn had two long range shots tipped over by Karl Latcham, with one of the following corners causing a bit of a heart-in-mouth goalmouth scramble.

On 25 minutes some slick passing between Ashley McInerney, Sweeney, Mark Jamieson and Woodall, left Leyburn chasing shadows. Jamieson passed a neat ball to Woodall who struck his shot past the Leyburn keeper. 1-0

Colburn kept up the pressure, but couldn’t capitalise on their lead.

Leyburn started the second half much better than they’d finished the first.

It was now Colburn on the back foot, Leyburn moving the ball well.

Cole was a busy man in the air, winning almost every header that came at him.

Dempster was replaced by Connor Weatherbed on 55 minutes to try and give Colburn a bit more pace up front.

This immediately nearly paid off with an instant attack down the left, with Woodall finding Weatherbed, but his shot was weak and collected easily by the keeper.

A long goal kick on 58 minutes saw a mix up between Craig Nisbet and Luke Hamilton with neither of them winning the ball.

Leyburn’s midfielder spread the ball wide and a great low cross from their winger was met by their striker who put the ball past a helpless Latcham. 1-1

Colburn managed to keep calm, coming close with shots from Sweeney and Jamieson, but the Leyburn keeper was managing to pull off some fine saves.

On 70 miutes Leyburn attacked down the right, again a cracking cross was put in by their winger, which was this time met by Cole.

But his block ended up rifling into the back of his own net – an own goal even Aaron Waterhouse would be proud of. 1-2

Immediately Colburn changed formation. Josh Crisp replacing Nisbet, hoping to give Rory Wallace, who had worked tirelessly, a bit more freedom to roam.

Colburn took control again, Jamieson playing a great pass to Weatherbed, 20 yards out with only the keeper to beat.

He smashed his shot against the crossbar, reacted for the rebound but headed wide. A bit more composure was needed there. On 80 minutes Crisp found McInerney, who took on two players near the goal line. A little drop of the shoulder and a brilliant side foot into the far top corner. 2-2

Colburn again attacked and were nearly awarded a penalty after the Leyburn keeper bustled Cole to the ground.

The referee put his whistle to his mouth but then decided to change his mind.

Tom Bentley replaced Teasdale for the last part of the game and was involved almost straight away.

He attacked down the right, with players urging him to go for goal, but instead wanted to play a pass to Sweeney, but his pass lacked quality and was over hit for a goal kick.

Richmond Town Academy arrived at Spennithorne on the back of some good recent performances and once again started with nine players under 18.

Although the squad was a little depleted with two players promoted to the first team and another representing the county select team.

The match was fairly equal for the first 20 minutes as both sides struggled to build any rhythm.

Richmond started with a back three of Spence, Steed and skipper Mackintosh and they handled the young Spenni front line superbly throughout the 90 minutes.

As the first half progressed the Academy got into their stride and striker Weatherall forced a great save from the keeper with a header which was heading for the top corner.

They took the lead on 32 minutes when Eddie Lewington put over a corner which Spence stooped to head into the bottom corner.

Academy pushed for a second and got it ten minutes later when Ramsay turned is man and crossed for Donaghue to score with a looping header over the keeper.

Matty Turnbull and Tom Carnegie Brown were pulling the strong in midfield for Academy with Sadler marshalling the excellent Luke Wilkinson throughout.

On 43 minutes there was a moment of madness when Weatherall couldn’t reach a cross and decided to comically throwing the ball into the back of the net – an action that cost him a yellow card and £10 from his back pocket.

On the stroke of half time Donaghue was brought down in the box and everyone in the ground thought it was a penalty except the ref.

Less than 10 seconds later the young winger took on his man again with the same result but this time the ref agreed and pointed to the spot.

Mackintosh stepped up but the keeper easily kept out his tame effort.

Spennithorne enjoyed much of the play in the second half but couldn’t find a way through until 80 minutes when keeper Mudd made a great save with his foot from the advancing striker.

On 89 minutes Lewington made his last lung busting surge down the wing of the day and sent over a superb cross for Fox to score with the third header of the game.

In their game at home to Carperby, Reeth had a perfect started when Jason Dewhurst hooked a shot into the top corner after less than two minutes.

He stabbed home a second from close range on 26 minutes. and completed his hat-trick with a composed finish in the 37th minute, to give Reeth a 3-0 lead at the break.

Carperby reduced the arrears after 79 minutes with an angled shot from John Pickard.

Two minutes later, he headed in from a corner, to put the home side right back in the match.

Reeth responded quickly though, and Connor Metcalfe made it 4-2 within a minute and a neat finish from Darren Smith two minutes from time sealed a 5-2 win for the visitors.

In the North Riding County Cup, Buck Inn made it seven Wensleydale Creamery League teams in the last 16.

Buck, appearing in the second round of the cup after a home walkover last month, enjoyed a home walkover of a different sort to a hapless Slingsby.

Buck players were left feeling a little sorry for their opponents as they had a two hour round drive only to get steam rolled, barely registering a shot on target.

Mark Swanwick was the main beneficiary of a stuttering Slingsby and just past the half hour had recorded his third hat-trick of the season.

A Stewart Fotheringham penalty, a Ryan Howe header from a corner and a well deserved goal for the tireless Danny Allen made it 6-0 at half time.

Buck took their foot off the gas in the second half and it seemed like Mark Swanwick’s forth might be the only goal of the second half until Stewart Fotheringham placed a late free kick into the top corner and a injury time free kick from Ryan Howe completed the rout.

Liam Ryan and Marshal Thorogood claimed three assists apiece.


Carperby Rover 2 – 5 Reeth & District Athletic Club

Colburn Tow 2 – 2 Leyburn Town

Hawes United 3 – 0 Catterick Garrison Football Centre

Richmond Buck Inn 9 – 0 Slingsby

Spennithorne & Harmby 0 – 3 Richmond Town Academy

Unicorn FC 2 – 1 Richmond Mavericks

Fixtures 18.11.17

Leyburn Town v Carperby Rovers

Richmond Mavericks v Hawes United

Spennithorne & Harmby v Richmond Buck Inn

Catterick Garrison Football Centre v Unicorn

Richmond Town Academy v Reeth & District Athletic Club