York Minster Engineering Football League – Reserve ‘C’ Section
FT: Cliffe FC Reserves 1 – 3 Stamford Bridge Reserves
Cliffe succumbed to their first defeat of the league campaign against a very experienced and savvy Stamford Bridge side in their second outing at The Bowling Green.
Steve Wilcockson writes…
Ominous black clouds were hanging over the Cliffe side from the start, both actually in respect of the flow of “that fine rain that soaks you through” and metaphorically, in the form of Steve Butler’s best Goodfella’s impersonation as he collected the players registration fees.
Quickly it became apparent that conditions would not be ideal for either side as the combination of a still hard ground and the rain providing a very unpredictable surface.
After a tepid opening exchange, it was the visitors who took the lead when a goal kick was immediately returned and poked past the helpless Wilson who had relinquished managerial duties to reprise his role as goalkeeper this week.
The rest of the half almost played out without incident, neither ‘keeper was troubled by either side, with the home side only conjuring half chances for Collins, Horner and Hutton.
The second half begun with the self-substitution of Fenton for the returning Lambert as the home side attempted to swing the game in their favour.
Once again though, neither side managed to control the game and it looked to be petering out into somewhat of a repeat of last week’s “thriller” with Thorpe. That was until Hogg was introduced…..
First, a typically mazy run ended with a lob from distance which bounced agonisingly off the foot of the post as the home side tried to play their way back into contention. He was then warned for catching his opposite number with an arm, only to be caught himself with the misdemeanour going unpunished.
Sadly, this early pressure didn’t pay, and the home side found themselves 2-0 down after a late run into the box left an unmarked Bridge player the simplest of tap ins that left no one with a chance of stopping it.
2 soon became 3, when a freekick was deflected beyond Wilson’s sprawling grasp, effectively ending the tie as a contest.
Cliffe mounted a late rally at this point. Collins had a shot tipped wide by an excellent save from the keeper, he also had a 6 yard header blocked on the line by a combination of defenders bodies and the keepers hands.
Finally their reward came when a deep cross from Bennett was missed by the entire Bridge back four leaving Horner the job of chipping home, and winning his bet.
All in all, it was a below par performance from Cliffe, but one which still left them in contention for a long period of the game. With so much left in the tank, it seems logical that once the side clicks back into gear, they have the potential to be a force within this league.
Cliffe FC Reserves: Wilson, Wilcockson, Collins, Birch, Summers, Lees (Capt), Horner, Bennett, Fenton (Lambert), Hutton (Heron), Ellwood (Hogg)
MOM: ‘Tat’ Birch