First Team vs. Belper Town (2 : 2)

Monday, 27 August, 2012 - 15:00
Evo-Stik League First Division South

Ten-man Sheffield FC managed to cling on for a point at a blustery Christchurch Meadows, writes Stuart James, in a game that almost certainly looked a sure-fire three points with an hour gone. A 24th minute Vill Powell strike had given Club the lead in a tight first half, and when a smart move started and finished by substitute Matt Roney after 60 minutes doubled the advantage, it appeared Sheffield’s excellent run at Belper would continue. But when Sheffield’s player of the match Jamie Hadfield handled on the line two minutes later - earning his marching orders in the process - Belper not only had a lifeline thrown with Colin Marrison’s penalty, they also had the upper hand for the first time in the game. After a constant barrage on the visitors’ goal, the hosts got their just desserts with an excellent Simon Harrison free-kick on 77 minutes, and despite a fraught last quarter hour Sheffield did enough to hang on for a hard-earned point.

 

The game started in typical fashion between these two rivals that know each other so well, a frantic pace trying to size each other up, yet neither side having the incision to make a vital breakthrough. The first actual attempt of note came from Belper, with Simon Harrison galloping through the Sheffield defence, before firing wide of the mark. Midway through the half Club finally opened the scoring, with Chris Adam finding and exploiting some space on the left, before squaring it into the middle where the ball stumbled to POWELL who finished in typical poacher’s style. That was Adam’s final contribution to the game, as the player-coach pulled up with a groin injury, with Matt Roney joining the field for his first competitive action of the season.

 

It was the Nailers however that were taking the play to the visitors in a hope of levelling before the game got away from them, with the best effort coming from Ash Longstaff after some good build up work from Warne, Marrison and Harrison. Club thought they’d doubled the lead shortly after, as a break from Steve Woolley picked out Shaq McKenzie who slotted home, only for the linesman to flag for what must have been a marginal offside. Sheffield were now the dominant force in the game, and should have doubled their lead when McKenzie put the ball round the corner to Powell, and with only the keeper to beat his shot was sliced wide. Visiting keeper Nicky Draper gave his own team-mates a scare just before the interval, as a routine backpass was swung at and missed by the youngster, luckily for Draper there was no-one in reach to trouble his recovery or enough pace on the ball to cause a real embarrassment. In injury time Sheffield had yet another chance to extend their lead, as Ben Turner showed some great individual skill from the corner flag, squaring the ball to McKenzie who’s effort was not far over the top of Aaron Chapman’s goal.

 

The second period started along the same lines as the first had, and neither side really looked like breaking through, despite a lot of effort and being played at a fairly fast tempo. On the hour mark though a fantastic move saw Sheffield slice straight through the middle of the Belper defence, as Roney played out to McKenzie who in turn played into Powell, the ball was then neatly back-heeled by Powell into RONEY who’d continued his run and fired beyond a despairing Chapman to make it 2-0.

 

But this bit of brilliance was soon tempered by an equal amount of despair, as almost immediately Belper got the ball up the other end, winning a corner. The ball was whipped in, hesitancy in the area caused a pin-ball effect with Colley hitting the bar, the rebound came out and in the scramble to keep the ball out Hadfield dived full-length to produce an excellent one-handed save. Naturally with Hadfield not actually being the keeper, referee Taylor had little option other than to produce a red card for the defender, with MARRISON stepping up to tuck the penalty past Draper.

 

With the one man advantage it was now all Belper, and it looked as if it would take a mammoth effort to even get anything out of the game, let alone a win. The equaliser eventually came, as a harsh free-kick against Steve Woolley was taken by HARRISON, and having had three attempts to get it right before, the winger curled a perfect effort into the furthest top corner to send the hosts delirious. It could have been even worse for Club, as the tide of yellow shirts came forward, and it took an excellent save from Draper from substitute Ryan Mallon’s volley to save the day for the visitors.

 

Overall on the way the game went, a draw was the fairest result, yet both sides would claim they could – and should – have taken all three points. After the game manager Curtis Woodhouse bemoaned the fact the game should have been wrapped up, having “wasted several chances that would have put the game out of reach before Jamie’s red card”, and was “happy in the end to come away with something from a difficult game”. Jamie Hadfield on the other hand was apologetic for his offence, despite having earned himself the visiting supporters and officials’ man-of-the-match award, saying “it was just instinctive!”

 

Next up is the rearranged game against Abbey Hey in the FA Cup, being played on Wednesday at 7:45pm, with the winners earning a home-tie against Atherton Collieries.

 

Belper Town: Chapman, Pride, Wright, Leonard (Stirrup), Adams, Colley, Harrison, Warne, Longstaff (Ward), Ball (Mallon), Marrison ©. Subs Not Used: Ratcliffe, Rushbury.

Sheffield FC: Draper, Turner, Weir, Thompson, Hadfield, Burrell, Adam (Roney), Foster ©, Powell (Stephens), McKenzie (Cardwell), Woolley. Subs Not Used: Knowles, Martin.

 

Attendance: 
251

Man of the Match: 
Jamie Hadfield

Players

Squad Player Goals
Anton Foster © more
Vill Powell
75
O more
Benjamin Turner more
Warren Burrell more
Shaq McKenzie
63
more
Charlie Weir more
Chris Adam
24
more
Steve Woolley more
Tyrone Thompson more
Nick Draper more
Jamie Hadfield
62
more
Substitutes
Squad Player Goals
Brandon Cardwell
63
more
Jared Stephens
75
more
Matt Roney
24
O more