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Belper Town 17th January 2009

(courtesy of the Belper Town website at www.belpertownfc.co.uk)

Belper Town emphasised their play off credentials with a fine victory over Sheffield FC at Christchurch Meadow last Saturday.

The Nailers made just one change from the side that started against Brigg Town in midweek with Ryan Hindley returning to the starting line up after a five week absence.

The player to make way was Andy Rushbury who had to be satisfied with a place on the bench.

The Sheffield side, managed by former Nailer Chris Dolby, had suffered a player exodus as result of their well publicised financial problems and to add to their woes, striker Mick Goddard and midfield man Jordan Eagers were both suspended.

Ryan Hindley registered the first on-target shot on goal with an effort from the edge of the penalty area in the 2nd minute but it was a comfortable save for Leigh Walker.

However the Nailers went in front in the 5th minute after Richard Haigh’s cross rebounded to Dean Oliver who turned and scored from an acute angle, although Sheffield defender Paul Smith played a part in helping the ball over the line.

Belper broke quickly in the 12th minute and the move deserved a better conclusion after Lee Stevenson headed Hindley’s deep cross just over the cross bar.

Sheffield were playing some neat football and forcing Belper into errors and in the 18th minute they came very close to scoring when Jack Muldoon beat the offside trap and crossed for the unmarked Steven Woolley to miscue and in doing so missed an easy opportunity to equalise.

Dave Clarke had just punched the ball away following a 23rd minute corner and Ben Walker streaked away, beating everyone for pace before putting the ball into the path of Lee Stevenson whose searing shot clipped the cross bar.

Moments later Walker punished the Sheffield defenders again with his speed of the mark but with only Leigh Walker to beat he lifted his shot over the bar.

Dean Oliver should have done better with a more difficult chance on 27 minutes but he completely mis-kicked and the ball went embarrassingly wide of the target.

Clarke had to dive quickly to his left to prevent the ball creeping inside the far post although it was difficult to tell which player had provided the final touch.

Oliver then attempted to flick a 32nd minute corner kick goal bound however the spin of the ball caused it to veer away from the near post but the visitors kept chipping away at the Belper defence and the Nailers knew that they couldn’t relax.

A quickly taken free kick by Micky Harcourt in the 40th minute nearly resulted in a goal for Ben Walker who went very close with a header, then Ryan Hindley had the ‘keeper struggling to hold on to his shot moments later.

In the dying seconds of the first half Ben Walker couldn’t direct the ball into the goal after everyone missed Danny Hudson’s corner kick.

Ryan Hindley got the ball in the net seconds after the restart only to have the effort ruled out for offside but the Nailers didn’t have long to wait for the second goal when in the 48th minute Hindley’s inswinging cross was met by Ben Walker whose diving header flew into the corner of the net.

Lee Stevenson fired in a good effort that had the ‘keeper scurrying across the goal line but the Nailers tightened their grip on the game with another Ben Walker strike on 54 minutes after Stevenson supplied the cross to the near post.

In a rare attack from the visitors Steven Woolley was allowed to run with the ball but his left foot shot flashed past the upright and, despite having caused the Belper defence very few problems throughout, Sheffield were doing their best to find a way back into the game.

The Nailers should have wrapped things up in the 79th minute after Sam Litchfield nutmegged Lloyd Gelsthorpe and send Stevenson away down the left but Richard Haigh couldn’t convert the cross that was put on a plate for him.

Litchfield twisted and turned his way in to the penalty area on 85 minutes but after doing all the hard work he failed to make the crossing opportunity count.

But while Belper perhaps should have won more emphatically they had never looked in danger of relinquishing their lead against a lively Sheffield side and victory saw them move into the play-off zone for the first time this season.

Ilkeston Town 3rd January 2009

(courtesy of the Ilkeston Town website at www.ilkeston-townfc.co.uk))

Ilkeston Town went into their first game since the departure of David Holdsworth with players Paul Hurst and Rob Scott taking over the reins. Sheffield were struggling with availability but the Robins were also without Anthony Howell, Amari Morgan-Smith, Lee Thompson and Louis Briscoe through suspension, injury and being cup tied respectively.

Both teams started brightly with chances being created in both penalty areas. Tom Cahill and Jon Douglas all had chances and Douglas actually put the ball in the back of the net only for the assistant referee ruled it out for offside. At the other end Vill Powell was proving to be a handful and Chris Adamson was required to make a number of excellent saves to keep the Robins in the game.

After the interval Ilkeston pressed Sheffield back into their own half and took the lead after 48 minutes when Sam Duncum's shot was blocked by Cahill. Cahill recovered quickly, turned and crashed the ball in to the net from  six yards out.  The visitors responded well and the impressive Powell again caused havoc and one shot rebounded off the post and Ilkeston managed to scrambled the ball away.

On 73 minutes the home sides nerves were calmed when Duncum broke again down the left and made an intelligent pass to Ben Pringle who fired the ball home from ten yards out.  Within seconds Ilkeston were 3-0 up when Cahill swap passes with substitute and then slotted the ball past Walker in the Sheffield goal. The goal effectively killed the game off and the Robins ran out comfortable winners.

Man of the Match – Chris Adamson – His saves kept Ilkeston in the game when Sheffield had reasonable hopes of causing an upset.

In Brief – In view of the recent upheaval at the club this was an excellent win. Many players had good games and Ilkeston were technically superior in most departments. However Sheffield worked hard and with the combative Vill Powell providing their main threat they could easily have won the game. Joint managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst can now look forward to engineering an Ilkeston giant killing when the Robins take on Kidderminster Harriers for what is the biggest game the club played in since they took on Swindon Town in the FA Cup just after they had parted company with manager Keith Alexander.

Durham City 18th November 2008

(courtesy of the Durham City website at www.clubwebsite.co.uk/durhamcityfc)

Despite two late goals and a seemingly close scoreline, City deserved no less than exit from a cup competition that seemed to interest them little on the night until it was too late.
City started with Nathan Fisher and Stewart Morris out wide and John Toft leading up front, but as early as the first minute Janusz Lipka chipped in a left-wing cross for Jeremy Mitchell, only for his header to give Craig Turns a comfortable save for his first touch of the match; three minutes later, Matt Roney shot but weakly at the back post after a Matt Outram cross had not been cleared.
On 5minutes the home side’s finishing was on target when Michael Goddard headed powerfully home Roney’s corner.
Lipka’s long-range drive was off target, but on 13minutes Mitchell got his name on the score sheet when Turns seemed to have had the latter’s free-kick covered but allowed it to squirm under his body.
A goalmouth scramble on 18minutes was a lucky escape for City after yet another lofted cross had proved troublesome for City’s defence.
Mitchell shot narrowly wide after a long unchallenged run and then missed a comparative sitter after leaving his marker for dead.
City were all at sea and had managed no link-up play in the opening half hour.
On 35minutes Adam Johnston had home keeper, Marc Furniss, scrambling the free-kick clear at the base of the post, but his effort five minutes later was well over the bar.
Only a goal line clearance by Stephen Harrison from a Mitchell shot kept City in with a chance with a minute to go before the break.
City showed no signs of any revised game plan in the second half and were punished on 63minutes when Mitchell scored his second when he profited from a Turns parry from a Jordan Eagers shot.
The feet of the advancing Turns denied Roney on a one-on-one break for another Johnston free-kick failed to test the home keeper.
Gavin Cogdon and Tommy English were given 20minutes to salvage the game and Johnston gave City a glimmer of hope on 73minutes when he hit the back of the net from the edge of the box from an original Calvin Smith pass.
However, City’s sorry performance got worse when Richard Smith was yellow carded for a most ungainly foul after surviving any number of warnings from referee Plowright, but English upped City’s tempo when he hit a thirty yard screamer past Furniss.
The injured Shaun Bell look a forlorn figure as he hobbled off some eight minutes from time to be replaced by the convalescing Steven Richardson.
Although forced to take up left-back duties, Lewis Dodds did more than most to make the game an even contest, but City as a whole did not match their hosts for enthusiasm.

Kidsgrove Athletic 8th November 2008

(courtesy of the Kidsgrove Athletic website at www.kidsgroveathletic.com)

KIDSGROVE were no match for an experienced Sheffield side whose attack was led by Scott Partridge,
a striker with more than 100 Football League goals to his credit.

Partridge's many clubs included Bristol City, Plymouth and Cardiff and while Grove had the satisfaction of
keeping the seasoned campaigner quiet, they were undone by a strike in each half by full-back
Greg Wright and winger Steven Wooley.

The first, after 39 minutes, had been brewing as the advancing Wright beat Steve Intihar with a shot that
came off the inside of his left-hand post, and Sheffield clinched the points 15 minutes from time as Wooley
weaved in from the right to give the home keeper no chance.

Grove manager Peter Ward said: "No complaints. It was probably our worst performance of the season
so we got what we deserved."

"Sheffield were up for it. They closed us down and we could not get our passing game going. Defensively
we did reasonably well, but we were not really at the races".

"Sheffield never peppered us and all Steve Intihar (standing in for the suspended Adam Wilkes) had to
do was pick the ball out of the net, but they were comfortable".

"Had Dave Shaw scored with a header early on it might have given us a lift and we had good claims for a
penalty turned down before they scored their second goal when Adam Beasley went through and was
clipped."
"But we never got round the back of them, so we have to put this game behind us. We have had a couple
of good results, but need to be a bit more consistent. We have to be able to dig in against sides like
Sheffield."

Blyth Spartans 25th October 2008

(courtesy of the Forum at www.spartanszone.com)

A stuttering, and frankly, awful first half saw Sheffield take the lead on 10 minutes with PARTRIDGE getting in behind Pell onto a long punt upfield and somehow lobbing the ball over Farman from a tight angle.

Spartans rarely threatened and could have been 2 down on 30 minutes when Goddard beat Pell in the air but his far post downward header was well turned away by Farman.
Blyth's attack finally got going just before half-time with Dale twice going close but Spartans went in one down at a wind lashed Croft Park.

New signing Shaun Reay came on at the re-start and after a clear handball by Sheffield's Partridge in the build up ended with the same player mis-cueing in front of goal which would have made it 2 up.
The game turned, somewhat oddly, when the away keeper pulled off 3 top drawer saves from consecutive corners to deny Todds' pile driver and 2 excellent headers from Pell- this seemed to lift Blyth (and the 680 crowd) and within seconds great skill in the box by Reay ended with a neat cross which BROWN gleefully turned in from 7 yards on 58 minutes.

Sub REAY scored a cracker 7 minutes later latching onto a clever pass into the box from Dale to instinctively hit first time low across goal and past keeper Walker from 14 yards. The same player held the ball up well and laid it off to Watson who pushed the through first time to DALE on the left of the area and a 16-yard drive, deflected off Sheffield's Ingall, putting Spartans 3-1 up on 76 minutes and progress to the 1st round was assured.

> Credit to the players in a fierce diagonal crossfield wind (luckily it did not rain as well!) and it's money in the bank - and who knows on Nov 8th.................?

On 47 mins they had a glorious, and I mean GLORIOUS, chance to go 2-0 up. Could've been very awkward then.
Once we went ahead their heads went down, credit to them tho', they had plenty decent chances in the game.
Shaun Reay got the sponsors man of the match and he only came on in the 2nd half - he looks class, I reckon Robbie is gonna love playing alongside him. Robbie - great 2nd half performance too.

It was never going to be an easy tie but we seem to make it even tougher by setting out to 'counter' there style rather than play our own game, just cannot understand why when were at home to a side 'lower' than us we change our tactics to counter act there game plan.
Sorry but Harry got it so so wrong big styleee in the first half, and it could be said we were lucky to still be in it before the equaliser.

For 58 minutes we were well and truly awful, that first half display was without doubt the worst I've witnessed in many years.
Yet again for supposedly having a 'lower' team watched they caused us so many problems it beggared belief, there tails were up after scoring with there first attempt an with our just lump it forward regardless tactics they looked on for an upset.

However once Shaun Reay produced the first of many superb pieces of skill to pull the ball down and set up Gary Brown for the equaliser there was only one team going to win it.
The second and effectively the match winner was a stunning finish form the very impressive debutant Reay, latching onto a great through ball the finish was breath taking.
The 3rd was thanks down to a large deflection but they rode there luck at times with there keeper pulling off at least 3 stunning 'world class' saves as it looked like we had another 'Gresley Rovers' on our hands.

But at the end of the day they just ran out of steam in the second half and looked a beaten side toward the end as we finally stamped our authority on the tie.

Superb debut 45 minutes from Reay, showed some excellent touches and his finish was without doubt thee moment of the match, you've either got the ability in you to even contemplate a finish like that or you haven't and this lad seemingly has.

All in all the we eventually did what was needed and the F.A. Cup 1st Round beckons

Forget the first half, the second half is where we made things count and made sure the means justified the end. Fate has been on our side for this cup run but I don't mind admitting I was extremley worried at half time.

And when their keeper pulled off three great saves within a couple of minutes I didn't think it was going to be our day. But as said yesterday patience was going to be key today and patient is what we were today.

Think it says a lot about our determination that we scored three past a keeper who pulled off so many great saves - he was not at all easy to beat!

Bamber Bridge 4th October 2008

Bamber Bridge fell at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy, going down to a 3-5 defeat in this ‘roses clash’ at Sheffield in a thrilling Preliminary Round cup tie. Brig went in at half-time just one goal behind, but with plenty to play for. However, the South Ribble side were completely undone when Sheffield ran in two quick goals within six minutes of the restart, and the game was all but over bar the shouting. The Yorkshiremen scored a fifth later on and although the visitors made a spirited rally with a couple of goals late in the game, they came away a well beaten side.

Brig arrived in Dronfield for this FA Trophy tie against the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield, and were on a high after having won six of their last seven league and cup fixtures. Bamber Bridge have never gone beyond the Second Round and were hoping to have a good run in the competition this time out. It was the first time that the teams had met. Their Yorkshire hosts have done well in various cup competitions so far this season, having won four and drawn one of the five ties that they have played and held down a comfortable mid-table position in the First Division South.

Brig manager Phil Entwistle made just one change to the line-up that had done so well against Radcliffe Borough seven days previously. Mike Mason was drafted in on the left hand side of midfield, replacing Tom Ince who was unavailable. Club skipper Glenn Steel passed a late fitness test, but midfielder Steve Flitcroft and defender Dave McCann, remained out of contention through injury.

Bamber Bridge kicked off at a very windswept Coach and Horses ground and were the first to show when Ryan-Zico Black threaded a neat through-ball into the path of Alex Porter who was immediately closed down by a couple of defenders before he had chance to get in a shot at goal.

The home side responded with a slick sweeping move down the inside-right position, and full-back Gavin Smith shot narrowly wide from distance.

Bamber Bridge almost got their noses in front after six minutes when a Stephen Brown cross was headed back across goal by Adam Tong and Sheffield goalkeeper Leigh Walker got down quickly to bravely block a Stuart Howson shot from six yards.

The visitors were knocked back on their heels however, when Sheffield snatched the lead two minutes later. Former experienced Football League player Scott Partridge, cut out an opening down the right, before expertly laying the ball off for the inrushing MATT OUTRAM to firmly shoot home beyond the despairing outstretched hands of Brig goalkeeper Andy Banks.

The goal lifted the Yorkshire side who began to play some cultured football with Matt Outram, Michael Goddard and Scott Partridge particularly impressive.

Brown worked tirelessly for Brig down the right but was constantly checked by some resilient defending. However, he was instrumental in the visitors grabbing an equaliser in the 25th minute. From his free-kick from deep on the right, Tong headed across the face of goal and full-back STUART HOWSON was on hand to tuck the ball home neatly on the half-volley from close in.

The goal galvanised the visitors who put together some flowing moves and seemed to have knocked the sparkle out of Sheffield for a while. However, Brig got caught out with a sucker-punch on 33 minutes. Danny Mahoney went close with a long range effort, as Brig drove forward in numbers, and Mike Mason brought a fine save out of Walker. However, Gavin Smith cleared the danger with a long punt out of defence, which caught the visiting rearguard flat-footed. The ball found Partridge who got away down the right flank. and his lay-off was put away clinically by STEVE WOOLLEY; the shot brushing a post on its way into the net.

Brig were stunned and nearly went further behind shortly afterwards when Tong hacked a Goddard effort off the goal-line following a fine cross by Partridge.

Despite the setback, the visitors came storming back and nearly equalised for a second time just prior to the break when Black put Mahoney away down the right and Mahoney’s cross was just missed at the back post by the inrushing Mason.

The game was put beyond the visitors reach within just six minutes of the restart with both goals coming from set-piece moves. Sheffield skipper Steve Hawes sent in a free-kick from a deep inside-right position on 47 minutes and MICHAEL GODDARD rose high to glance a header over the defence and beyond Banks. Four minutes later an unmarked GODDARD headed home at the near post, for his second of the game, following a Steve Woolley corner-kick.

To their credit, Brig kept plugging away and Walker was forced into making a couple of fine saves, first from Black following a neat Mason lay-off and then from a Howson header, following a Brown free-kick.

Sheffield went further ahead with a fifth strike on 74 minutes when substitute MATTHEW RONEY drew Banks from his line, before shooting home through the keepers legs, after a superb Matt Outram through-ball had completely unlocked the visitors defence.

Still Brig kept plugging away and reduced the deficit on 81 minutes when Tong sent a long ball down the right to Porter and the resultant cross was headed powerfully home by STUART HOWSON for his second of the game. The visitors then survived two near escapes, when both Woolley and Roney missed good opportunities before scoring a third in the dying seconds when RYAN-ZICO BLACK sneaked in at the back post to prod home a Mason corner from the right.

In time added-on Banks saved a Goddard effort with his feet as the striker bore down on goal.

Sheffield: Walker, Smith.G, Smith.P (Davy 45mins), Cochrane, Wright, Winter (Lipka 76mins), Outram, Hawes, Goddard, Partridge (Roney 45mins), Woolley. Unused subs: Gascoigne, Furness

Goals: Outram (8mins), Wolley (33mins) Goddard (47, 51mins), Roney (74mins)

Bamber Bridge: Banks, Fleming, Howson, Steel, Tong, Edmeads (O'Neil 60mins), Brown, Mahoney (Henders 60mins), Black, Porter, Mason. Unused sub: Nay, Peterson (GK)

Goals: Howson (26, 81mins), Black (90mins)

Attendance: 245

Bacup Borough 27th September 2008

Bacup Borough going into their biggest fixture for some time was faced with a mountain of problems before a ball was even kicked.

Already without the services of their leading goal scorer Tommy Turner & Captain Davey Luker, Goal keeper Paul Horridge had to withdraw on the morning of the game due work commitments, if this was not ideal for preparations, things did not get any better when five players arrived late for the game due to traffic problems on the way to the ground, if that was bad enough, it was not going to get any better from the moment Sheffield took a ninth minute lead through Michael Goddard, this goal came as a direct result of a counter attack from a Bacup corner, Sheffield broke very quickly the initial shot was saved by Melville but he could only push the ball into the path of Goddard who made no mistake from close range.

Bacup were fortunate to have only been going in at the half time break one goal down, squandering possession to the opposition cheaply enabling Sheffield to attack with menace.

At the half time break Bacup introduced Steve Sheils who was late arriving replacing Matthew Andrew, Sheils was only on the pitch three minutes when he gave away a needless free kick by pulling the strikers shirt, although the Referee tried to play the advantage, when there was no advantage a free kick was awarded some twenty five yards out, up stepped Paul Smith who placed an unstoppable shot that curled into the corner of the net giving Melville no chance.

The work ethics of Sheffield and the poor ball retention from Bacup meant that the visitors were creating nothing whilst the home side was capitalising on Bacup’s mistakes, this was made worse when on seventy minutes Bacup’s Lee Ellis squandered possession in the centre of the park, the ball was knocked wide before a quality ball into the far post where Darryl Winter had not been tracked with his marker enabling him to have a free shot which gave Melville no chance.

With the tie over as a contest Jamie Rother & Ben Blundell was introduced in place of Nicky Taylor & Lee Ellis. It took Bacup seventy three minutes before they produced a save from the home sides keeper, that he could only push out but Bacup failed to follow up,

On seventy five minutes Sheffield’s top striker Goddard made it four before Bacup pulled a goal back through Warren Collier who received a through ball from Jamie Rother before lobbing the ball over Leigh Walker in the Sheffield goal. For the last quarter of the game Bacup came more into it but their effort was little, too late.

Manager Brent Peters Comments “I knew what to expect from Sheffield as I had a comprehensive run down from Colne’s Manager Nigel Coates, the frustrating part for me was the fact that we had half of our starting line up arriving late which meant that our pre match preparation was a shambles, something I would not be happy with at the best of times but in a game as big as this does make it even worse to accept, in terms of their team and our team Sheffield were in a different class, something we have to accept, what I will not accept though is players continually cheaply giving the ball away which was happening to often, when it did happen the culprits giving away possession failed to work that bit harder to win the ball back, in addition to this whilst some players were working hard, it was working hard doing nothing, by this I mean attempting to take on other players responsibilities and neglecting their own, this was typical of Sheffield’s third goal. One major part of this game that my team should take from, was just how hard as a unit of players Sheffield worked all afternoon, they all worked very hard in defending as a unit and attacking as a unit, they were talking to each other as a team to restrict extra running, something my lads had lost on the day, their tongues, this resulted in some players taking on extra responsibilities but failing on them all. Sheffield looked a good all round workmanlike team that I wish the best of luck in the next round”

 

Team: Phil Melville, Ryan Marley, Matthew Cross, Kyle Harrop, Matthew Andrew (Steve Sheil), Warren Collier, Matthew Hampson, Nicky Taylor (Jamie Rother), Lee Ellis (Ben Blundell), Domminic Slavin, Martin Cosgrave

Subs Not Used:

Goals: Warren Collier 77

Shepshed Dynamo 9th September 2008

A superb team performance saw Shepshed Dynamo take all three points from a highly entertaining 2-nil Unibond League Division One South victory at Sheffield FC on Tuesday night.

With Stocksbridge losing to Goole and Rushall ‘washed out’, the win saw Shepshed leapfrog the two to go level top with last season’s champions, Retford United, who have an identical goal difference, but have played a game more for their 13 points.

Shepshed came out of their blocks running and might have taken the lead as early as the third minute. Rhys Powell, making his seasonal debut for the absent Ricky Hanson, floated into the home penalty area a free kick which caused havoc. Dynamo’s Matt Millns and Sheffield keeper Leigh Walker both unsuccessfully challenged for the high ball and somehow the ball deflected out for a corner. From the corner Shane Benjamin’s header was brilliantly palmed round the post by Walker. The second corner was headed into the net by Benjamin but the ‘goal’ was cancelled by the referee for foul play.

Shepshed continued to dominate and Sam Saunders flicked a pass from Benjamin inches over the bar. Then Benjamin was unlucky when he managed to get his head to a long ball by Shepshed keeper Gary Hateley only to see the ball bounce of the post and out of play.
As the half wore on Sheffield began to see more of the ball and put together some good passing movements but they lacked penetration. Hateley having few problems with the long range shots.

Minutes before the break Benjamin was hugely unlucky when, at the far post, he got onto the end of a cross from the left flank by Sam Saunders. The ball flew across the Sheffield custodian to hit the angle of post and bar and deflect safely away.

In the 47th minute Shepshed finally took the lead. The Dynamo broke down the left through Ben Saunders and his cross found Benjamin at the far post who had the easy task of heading past Walker.

For ten minutes or so Sheffield made little impression with Shepshed continuing to hold the balance of play. Then the home side made two substitutions and for twenty minutes they virtually laid siege to the Shepshed goal.

Just on the hour mark Hateley made three brilliant saves in the space of as many minutes. First he produced an unbelievable save to push a point blank header from Daryll Winter round the post. Then he somehow managed to fall on the ball on the goal line when Scott Partridge seemed destined to force it into the net. Sheffield captain Asa Ingall was then left shaking his head when his goal bound header was tipped over the bar.

Just when it seemed that Sheffield must score the pressure was lifted with the award of a penalty to Shepshed in the 81st minute, Gavin Smith handling in the area. The spot kick being gleefully netted by Benjamin.

Thereafter the result was hardly in doubt as one sensed that Sheffield had concluded they were never going to breach the Shepshed defence and certainly not get the ball past man-of-the-match Hateley.

AFC Fylde 2nd September 2008

(courtesy of www.afcfylde.co.uk)

AFC Fylde’s FA Cup dreams are over after a defensive lapses cost them dearly at The Bright Finance Stadium last night. It was a classic case of the old boys beating the new boys in Yorkshire after such a thrilling performance in the original tie at Kellamergh Park on Saturday. Fylde started the game in positive fashion in the opening 10 minutes, the hero from Saturday’s tie Matt Walwyn started the game and he had an early chance on 8 minutes which he could only blaze over from 10 yards following Phil Blackwell’s cross.

It was the home side who took the lead on 15 minutes when Sheffield’s Mike Goddard scored from close range following a high ball into the box which Fylde failed to deal with. Michael Clark had a chance to equalise on 20 minutes when he was put through by Mick Horsfall but his shot went agonisingly wide of the post. On 31 minutes Sheffield doubled their advantage, this time a Sheffield free kick was pumped into the box and Sheffield defender Gavin Smith rose unchallenged to head home to secure a 2-0 lead at half time. Early in the second half it was soon 3-0 to the hosts when Darryl Winter drilled home from the edge of the box following good work from Sheffield’s dangerman Scott Partridge and Fylde had no answers to Sheffield’s dominance. The final straw came in the 86th minute when a harshly awarded penalty was converted by Goddard for his second goal of the game to make it 4-0. This was AFC Fylde’s debut season in the competition and you can’t help feel that the game at Kellamergh Park was a missed opportunity to progress to the next round.

AFC Fylde 30th August 2008

(courtesy of www.afcfylde.co.uk)

AFC Fylde are still in the FA Cup thanks to Matt Walwyn's late penalty on 82 minutes.

The Visitors started the game well and had the homeside camped in their own half, experienced Scott Partidge Sheffields main threat going forward. Both defences were on top of their game and chances were limited with no score at the break.

In stark contrast the second half was highly entertaining with both sides creating chance after chance. Sheffield were given a penalty in the 51st minute when Captain Dougie Shaw was adjudged to have pushed Partridge, Smith took the penalty and it cannoned off the post.

AFC Fylde sprung into life and Phil Blackwell had a great chance on 55 minutes to take the lead, his shot well saved. A minute later it was Fylde again who came close to taking the lead, Mark Wane hitting the bar from McNivens cross.

Richie Allen was sent off on 73 minutes for a second bookable offence for Fylde and that proved costly. Sheffield scored from the resulting free kick on 77 minutes when captain Asa Ingall scored from close range.

It didn't deter Fylde though as they stepped up another gear and heaped pressure onto the visitors with a wave of attacks. Fylde got their reward when a cross was handled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Walwyn stepped up and drove the ball home on 82 minutes.

It wasn't over and both Fylde and Sheffield had chances to win the game in a frantic finale. Moran cleared off the line on 86 minutes following a Sheffield breakaway, Wane hit the post on 88 minutes and Walwyn had a chance to snatch victory in injury time with his shot well saved. This was great advert for an FA Cup tie at Kellamergh Park in front of the highest attendance of the season so far.

Spalding United 25th August 2008

(courtesy of the  forum at www.spaldingunitedfc.co.uk)

A drought of home league wins stretching back to April 2007 was ended in some style at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Saturday.
What better way to end such a dismal losing sequence than to take the points against the current league leaders. And the Tulips achieved their success in style. In fact it was a great game of football with both teams intent on playing crisp passing football and three match officials who were in sequence with proceedings.
Ricky Miller, lively as ever in the front line of attack, and Martin Wormall scored the match winning goals while Scott Partridge made Sheffield’s mark.
The Tulips were within a whisker of taking a tenth minute lad but Luke Kennedy tapped the ball just wide from Andy Stanhope’s free kick. At the other end Peter Davey looped a header just over the bar.
But back came the Tulips with Martin Wormall picking out Paul Tocco on the edge of the visitor’s area but Gavin Smith arrived in the nick of time to deny him a shot, although conceded a corner. The resulting kick however, produced the opening goal. Stanhope’s corner was partially cleared but the Tulips’skipper flipped the ball back into the area for Ricky Miller to steer in a super headed goal at the near post.
Shortly afterwards Tulips lost midfield kingpin Shaun Carey with a dead leg and within a mionute Sheffield were back on terms. ‘Keeper Luke McShane palmed away a free kick but no one covered Partridge who hooked the ball in from close range.
Five minutes into the second half a stinging effort by Stanhope was turned inches over the bar and from the two corners that followed in quick succession Miller twice went close to adding to his tally.
On the hour McShane was at his best with a full stretch save to deny Partridge and with pressure maintained Sheffield strikers squandered two fine opportunities – Kennedy clearing one effort from the line.
But with composure restored the Tulips came storming back. Kev Ward and Miller combined well to put Wormall clear and he did not disappoint with a crisp finish just inside a post to restore the home lead and set up a storming final 15 minutes. Neither side could add to their score and the Tulips were celebrating.

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Anybody wishing to get the opponents point of view should visit the Behind the Flag website of the Sheffield supporters but be warned there is a picture that includes yours trully but only if you enlarge it .

Quorn 23rd August 2008

Quorn  travelled to Sheffield minus the services of skipper Rory Squire , Paul White and the injured Sam Wood .   Joe Shaw and Russell Peel came in at the back and Justin Jenkins was back in the starting line-up , with Nick Hawkins and Leon Doughty both moved to central midfield . Quorn started well and Peel put in a deep cross that Leigh Walker in the home goal had to tip over . At the other end Scott Partridge's hurried shot went well wide . Brett Darby and Jenkins combined for the former to whip over a low cross that Walker did well to hang on to .   A Peel challenge in the box gave rise to penalty appeals but the Referee was well placed and was having none of it .  A sloppy ball in midfield set the home side on the attack but Adam Wigley read the situation well and blocked Partridge's effort for a fruitless corner . Hawkins was enjoying plenty of the ball and he set up another fine move with Peel feeding Liam Hearn who cut inside and brought a fine save from Walker low down a the near post .  Quorn took a deserved lead on 21 mins when Hawkins found Jenkins with a deft flick and the striker held off the challenge and fired home .  Sheffield countered and Steven Woolley jinked his way inside and set up a chance for Michael Goddard but Sean Bowles was in the right place to parry for a corner which came to nothing .  A fine ball by Shaw put Darby through but again Walker rescued his side with a fine stop . At the other end Bowles did likewise when Goddard's header was goalbound . A lengthy stoppage then followed when Adam Hart and Shaw collided and both suffered head injuries , both thankfully carried on after treatment with Hart sporting a  " Butcher " type bandage and a change of shirt . Hearn broke down the left and crossed but Greg Wright whipped the ball off the toes of Jenkins to save his side going further behind .  Paul Smith went on a crossfield run from deep but his shot was deflected over the bar . Peel found Jenkins but his first time effort went wide . Woolley's free-kick found Gavin Smith completely unmarked but totally missed his kick and the chance was gone . Just before the break Goddard went close but Bowles was untroubled. The 2nd half started with Jenkins shooting narrowly wide before Peel's deep cross was well held by Walker .Hearn's run from deep was halted when he was upended in the box but the Referee chose to ignore the challenge and this seemed to spur the home side . Hart broke up a Sheffield attack with a smart intervention but Sheffield had a spell of real pressure with Woolley , Goddard , Partridge and Matthew Outram all going close with last ditch tackles by Wigley and Shaw preventing the equaliser . A needless free-kick was conceded just outside the box and Paul Smith hammered his shot through the wall but Bowles somehow clawed his effort away inches from the top corner with a magnificent save . Moments later Bowles again came to the rescue , this time with his feet , to deny Gary Townsend . Just as it seemed that Quorn would hang on for the three points 3 goals in the last 5 minutes gave the home side victory . First , substitute Matthew Roney was allowed to advance from just inside the half , before firing home a shot from just inside the box . In a rare Quorn attack Hearn set up substitute Anthony Marriott but his first time effort sailed over . Bowles held a cross well but his poor throw failed to reach substitute Tom Byrne and Roney reacted to cross , Wigley's challenge on Partridge was deemed a foul by the Referee , to the Quorn defenders amazement and Paul Smith stepped up to fire the penalty past Bowles . Quorn , shell-shocked , went in search of the equaliser but left gaps and again Roney was allowed to advance from a deep position before firing past Bowles from 12 yards .  Disappointing to lose late on , but a much improved performance against a side who will be up there at the end of the season .  Several very good performances by Quorn players but my M.O.T.M. goes to Sheffield sub Matthew Roney - 2 goals and a hand in the other all in 5 minutes .

(courtesy of www.quornfc.com)

Carlton Town 19th August 2008

(courtesy of www.carltontownfc.com)

Carlton Town manager Tommy Brookbanks expressed delight at his teams response to the opening day defeat by Retford United."We were much better and dominated large parts of the game,I was delighted at the lads performance, we were unlucky not to win it"

For the record ,Powell gave Sheffield a lead against the run of play before Martin Ball and Grant Brindley gave Carlton a second half lead but with just five minutes remaining Partridge pulled Sheffield level.

Carlton had conceded too many free kicks late on and they finally got punished although Brookbanks felt one or two of the decisions against them were unjust.

"I usually blast my players for conceding around the box but felt one or two decisions went against us ,having said that Sheffield are a very good side and will be there or there abouts again at the death".

Although i thought we could have  won it a point here is a very good point"concluded Brookbanks

Gresley Rovers 16th August 2008

(all courtesy of www.gresleyrovers.com)

Managers Comments

"I feel like I want to kill someone to be honest and rip somebody's head off on the back of that!

"I was shell shocked about half an hour, forty five minutes ago watching that shambolic defensive performance.

"Ant (Tony Hemmings) has just said in the dressing room that 'football does not build character it finds them out!' and we'll find out after today who's got character, who's got heart, who's got desire.

"Last week I was willing to put it down to a bad day at the office playing against a quality side.

"I'm totally gutted. We have a new regime, a new season full of optimism there's been lots of things going off this summer. You wake up on the morning of a new season and you see the sun shining and everyone buzzing. Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to get down to the ground and you see the expectation and you turn in that!

"That aint happening. I'm not going to allow for that and I'm not going to stand for that. Key players let us down massively today. Players who have been bang at it pre-season were way off it today. I could pick names but I've done my talking in the dressing room, they know how I feel.

"No-one could give me a response. People have got things to say and they had the opportunity to say it. Every single one of them could not disagree with a word I had to say in there. There are one or two on the back foot in there today and I want to see a response like a hurt animal on Tuesday night.

"There will be changes on the back of that. There has been some difficult decisions today but we are not going to panic though. Obviously we've been in situations like this before but with all the positivity around on the opening day of the season you don't want to have a performance like that.

"The second goal was as a result of giving a silly free kick away like that in that situation was the root of that goal. We got to half time and to be fair it could have been more. We started the second half a little more positive and we give a soft goal away like that not putting enough pressure on their nine when he took his shot and it's gone in the middle of the goal through Dave's (Clarke) grasp.

"There were several key players today who haven't been at it. We weren't big enough, we weren't strong enough. Technically we were off it today and it's been a lesson. Last week was a lesson, a kick up the backside so we are not standing for that.

"Bringing on Mickey Lyons and Robbie Banks in particular as substitutes had an impact but having said that when you are five-nil up and a game on Tuesday you are going to make changes. I was glad to see Scott Partridge come off because he'd run us ragged all game. So it's hard to say it made a positive impact or not because you are five nil down at home. Putting them on if you're two-one down you can see whether they made an impact or not.

"They both went on and both did a job. Robbie's not quite fit yet but had an impact and Mickey; we know what Mickey can do. He's been feeling a little bit tired and a bit lethargic of late and if I was reflecting last night looking at my team that was the most difficult decision whether to go with Mickey or not. Neither of them has done themselves any harm about being included on Tuesday night.

"The way we defended probably Sam Wilson apart who did a fairly decent job for us I don't think anybody else can complain if they are left out on Tuesday night.

"Dan Douglas has been unlucky to be left out but he could well feature on Tuesday. I'm just disappointed we haven't got the likes of Barry Woolley around and obviously Lee Mellon. We could have done with a character like Lee out there today and maybe Chris White but unfortunately the damage had already been done. Putting Chris on being three or four down it's not going to change the game but putting Mickey on is going to get us back in the game.

"We're not going to panic. We're going calm down a little bit and reflect on things tonight. I was contemplating whether I got the players in tomorrow or Monday but we're just going to get feedback on the ground and consider things properly and prepare for Tuesday's game.

"I can only apologise on behalf of myself and the staff to the supporters who have been full of expectation. We're not going to stand for that and look for excuses. We are going to bounce back from that.

"It's no consolation that we played one of the strongest sides in the league. They've kept the nucleus of the side, the majority of the side and I was talking to their gaffer Chris (Dolby) before the game and they've added better players to it without a shadow of a doubt.

"If you look across their bench and the players who weren't stripped today they've got some great players but technically we have. Look at the side we put out today. It's a young side, very naive but they've got to start learning and it's no consolation as a manager saying that they are a strong side and they'll be up there because it's too early to say first and foremost.

"But, we've presented them with opportunities today. We've not been tough enough, we've not been tight enough - to me that's the basics. Get the basics right and you've got half a chance and you might be able to scrap a result out. But you give sides like Sheffield time and space like that and present goal scoring opportunities to them like that they'll take them.

"If you're not tight and track movement, and I'm talking experienced players, some of the younger players were left out to dry today and that was disappointing.

"Yes, they are a good side without a shadow of a doubt and we've got to be competing better than that or it's going to be a long hard season.

"Let's not forget, and I'll still back the players up, we've got a stronger squad this year than we had last. Maybe a little bit light in places cover wise but we are a stronger squad this season on paper and individually than many would give us credit for but on that showing we've got a lot of work to do to prove it!"

Gresley Rovers Forum

What a load of rubbish!!Until the changes were made.They were a class above us until then.Why was Micky Lyons on the bench along with Banksy?He caused a lot of problems when he came on.Dan Douglas even said that he'd had a pie in the face as "His" favourite was back.I and a lot of people were saying that the management has had long enough,and that he should be given a few games into the season and if he can't get it better than today he should go.It was his squad,his team and his tactics.He can't blame injuries this time as there aren't any
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We may have played the best team in the league on Saturday. Yes, we had serious defensive and leadership issues but we need to let the management and players sort things out. I would have been very happy with one point from that game beforehand. So in my mind it's only one point lost, 37 games to put things right. Let's be concerned but not make panicky assumptions about things.
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Sheffield where a solid team and i think they will probably win the league this year if they don't start playing silly friendlies like last year. Can someone tell me if Dan Douglas and Micky Lyons where injured. If not can someone tell me why 2 of our best players did not start today. Confused
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