Easter Saturday sees Cliffe FC hand Division 1 leaders Malton and Norton only their second league defeat of the season, with a 3-1 win, coming back from 1-0 down at HT. Cliffe FC Reserves march on also with a 3-1 win, at Fulford Reserves.
Malcolm Bryce writes…
York Minster Engineering Football League – Division One
FT: Cliffe FC 3 – 1 Malton and Norton
It was a blustery Saturday afternoon at Denison Road, Selby, and with the end to end wind Cliffe elected to kick with the wind at their back in the first half and look to build a lead to hold onto in the second half. The league leaders had the first goal however, with a set piece that saw a pair of headers won and the ball eventually being converted from close range at a tame pace, they all count though and it was 1-0 to the table toppers on the 7th minute.
Cliffe continued to defend well during open play, and limited Norton’s chances – but strangely Norton looked to hold onto a single goal lead, electing to slow the game down at times during the first half.
Cliffe did pick up a couple of knocks though, with Scott Jackson and goalkeeper Dave Laverack picking up back strains during the half – a set of forced changes would have to be made at half-time with Scott Jackson going in net as emergency ‘keeper, and Laverack having to be replaced by James Gallagher. The score remained 1-0 to the away side at the half-time break.
Cliffe knew that their opponents, for various reasons, didn’t really fancy it so they knew if they could get back into the game they’d give themselves a big chance of snatching all the points. A move started by Ben Ewart, then laid to Jamie England who assisted Sean Gallagher, with a pass across the front of goal, to score from close range to bring Cliffe level, 1-1. A darting Darren Jackson run from centre-back would lead to Cliffe going ahead, beating a couple men before being hacked down – Alex Hartley took the freekick, a nice effort that stung the hands of the ‘keeper which then fell into the path of Sean Gallagher to score his second of the game and put the home side 2-1 ahead with around 10 minutes regular time left. Norton, now chasing the game, were asking to make sure the watch was stopped every time the ball went out – a stark difference to how they tried to run the clock down in a couple moments in the first half. Cliffe had their third goal, and sealed the game in injury time, Darren Jackson’s bicycle kick chested down and finished left-footed by a confident England to make it 3-1 and see all the points go to Cliffe FC. 3-1 was the full-time scoreline.
A superb win for Cliffe FC, more character shown, and a point proven they can compete with the teams at the top of the division. Saturday’s win sees Cliffe move above York St John and into 8th position, with Cliffe having played the least amount of games in the division. Another title chaser is the opponent for Cliffe next week, as they travel to Pocklington Town on Saturday 2nd April. Then midweekers begin Wedenesday 6th April with Cliffe FC vs. Hemingbrough United.
Cliffe FC Reserves Summary
York Minster Engineering Football League – Reserve C
FT: Fulford United Reserves 1 – 3 Cliffe FC Reserves
Cliffe FC Reserves make it back-to-back wins also with a 3-1 triumph at Fulford Reserves, goals from the reurning pair of Andy Edwards and Aaron Lees, Edwards scoring twice and Lees completing the scoring for Dave Hebson’s men. Man-of-the-match was Carl Wilkinson. Next week, they face Wilberfoss who they narrowly lost to back in February – game is meant to be a home game for Cliffe so venue is TBC.