Wednesday 27th October
Northern Counties East Division 1
Eccleshill United 5 Staveley Miners Welfare 1
Programme: £2 (Poor value I'm afraid)
Tea hut purchase: None
Weather: Mild but plenty of swirling rain in the second half
Parking: Club car park
I'm still getting Tea Hut flashbacks after the £2.80p horror-pie I stupidly purchased at FC United last Sunday. I decided to play safe and have a big tea at home before setting out for Eccleshill, a gut busting homemade steak pie was provided (with proper meat), chunky chips, peas and gravy. The Match Shed hit the outskirts of a menacingly dark Bradford just after rush-hour. I got around the ring road took the A650 out past Bradford City FC and veered off right up the Kings Road for the suburb of Wrose, home to Eccleshill United. I then got lost. I had to ask for directions, there was a shop open across the way, "Do you want a jumbo mate or just regular" shouted the man behind the counter as soon as I entered, it was a fish and chip shop, I resisted the temptation to take up the offer of a large fried haddock. A kind lady in the queue was able to help me and point me in the right direction, 'Jumbo Man' thought I was a nutter, he'd never heard of Eccleshill United? After a bit of riding around I got my bearings again and eventually found the Smith Butler Stadium hidden away down a quiet little lane in an eerily dark housing estate, not the easiest place to find.I took a couple of photo's of the entrance and the lady behind the turnstile said "taking photo's are we, does that mean we're going to be famous then"? After I gave her 2 quid for a rip off programme which was 95% beleagured with adverts I concurred that the photo's were only for my humble blog but the 'match-magazine' might just get a mention. I know clubs need to get money in from whatever sensible source necessary and I fully support that but there has to be an element of value for money, to charge 2 pounds and just publicise carpets, coffins and washing machines is taking the supporter for a mug, at the very least get someone to write (or cut and paste) something football related in it, preferably to do with the match. A couple of tiny paragraphs from the Assistant Manager alongside a bit about the history of Staveley is not worth 2 pounds! Sorry.Time to press on with the football I think. Staveley ran out in their all orange kit as league leaders with a respected reputation, you could sense Eccleshill were well 'up for the event', although United had dropped to 13th in the league table, they'd been doing really well in the FA Vase with wins over higher placed opposition. In went some crunching tackles and up went some shouts from the Staveley contingent, there would be no respect from the home side tonight that was for sure, one of the Staveley players was already being carried back to the dressing rooms. Both sides played some high paced attacking football, there were some nice passing movements as well, this wasn't kick and charge stuff by any means. Eccleshill got the opening goal halfway into the first half through Matt Dempsey. Staveley turned up the heat and really took the game to the home side. They were piling on the pressure as half time approached but they just couldn't get that equaliser, the Eccleshill defence were pulling out all the stops to keep the league leaders back. Goalkeeper Tahj Bell was unbeatable and in masterly form (seems a damn good keeper).The second half witnessed more Staveley pressure but there were signs that the football was a little more panicked and not as composed as earlier, if anything, Staveley seemed to be rushing it and as a result Eccleshill quickly picked up possession and started to hit them on the break. It was one of these breaks in the 53rd minute which brought the second Eccleshill goal, an excellent solo run and a thumping well placed strike from full back Antonio Kennedy, it was certainly a contender for 'goal of the month'. More panic and frustration hit Staveley, more men burst forward seeking a way back into the match. As we approached the hour mark pure pantomime took over the Smith Butler Stadium, a Staveley player was brutally hacked down in midfield, the referee shouted "advantage, play-on", another Staveley player burst into the box with two defenders on him, he was dragged down, a penalty was given. As the players assembled for the spot kick the Eccleshill bench started shouting to the referee that the linesman on the far side had his flag up before the foul but had taken it down again? The forcefulness of the protests resulted in the referee going over to the linesman for a chat (a long chat), he then ran back to the 18 yard area and gave a free kick to Eccleshill for offside! Well....., what happened next was worth the admission money all on its own.
The Staveley Bench Pre Penalty Drama
The Staveley management team of Billy Fox and Neil Ransom went absolutely potty! They were jumping up and down in undiluted rage, they produced a whirlwind torrent of insults and swear words at the referee, they were going at it like a couple of those demented rabbits with extra powered duracel batteries. The linesman on the nearside right next to the apoplectic duo had to get the referee over to sort them out. He sent them off! He told them to get in the clubhouse or go and sit in the Main Stand on the other touchline. They told him to f*ck off! After another 5 minutes of non stop swearing, the nearside linesman approached them saying they'd been sent off, they turned on him with a stream of explicit, 'uncut' abuse, this included gutter-classics such as fat w*nker, you big tw*t and that old classic you're a c*nt. Such was the heat of the verbal attack, the poor little linesmans glasses had steamed up. Oh dear, the upset managerial duo were really in trouble now, the liner said he was going to write all those names down and they'd have to answer to it. The referee showed up again, he shouted at them to clear off, NOW! One ambled round to the Main Stand, the other just slinked off to the side of the dug out, I think that was as good as the officials could hope for (without calling the Police or some kind of SWAT team). Classic drama! The rain had started and it sweeped across the stadium taking with it any real hope for a Staveley comeback, the penalty incident was ultimately the game-breaker. Eccleshill went three up through the very pacy Marcus Edwards, Staveley supporters looked on in depressed numb shock. The visitors got one back with 15 minutes left, a super strike from Robert Ward, they still tried to get forward and somehow get something from the game but they had to start leaving some massive gaps at the back, as the defence became nothing more than one defender and the keeper Eccleshill ruthlessly exploited the counter attacking options, two more goals came their way before the final whistle. They had won a famous victory, 5-1 against the league leaders! The 'flat-cap' regulars near the clubhouse seemed mighty pleased, Staveley trudged off thoroughly dejected. I wonder what fate awaits the management team, that referees report will be an interesting read. Shame only 25 people featured in the official attendance figure (looked over 40 to me at least) this was an entertaining encounter in deepest suburban Bradford, and not just for the ball play on the pitch.
Fancy new bogs