Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lost in Kinsley

Saturday 16th November
Central Midlands League North Division
Kinsley Boys 5 Easington United 1

Kinsley is a place I’ve now been to twice and have got lost on both occasions!  Unfortunately, whereas on the first occasion I was only in charge of navigation for one car out of five (and had allowed extra time for the Bank Holiday Monday trip) this time I was Navigator-in-Chief of the “Pistol Pete-less Express” driven today by Shotgun Burt. 
So as we completed what appeared to be our third circumnavigation of the “Pontefract Triangle” with less than an hour to go before kick-off I admit to feeling slightly anxious...especially as I looked at the AA Route Planner in front of me and the iPhone sat-nav passed my way by one of the players and both appeared to be telling me different things!
Two hours later I was thinking we may have been better off having never actually located the Kinsley Timber Stadium! 
In truth, this scoreline does not tell the whole story.  As affable home secretary Andrew Rollin said afterwards, “You’ve hammered us second half and we’ve won 5-1!”
The more I thought about this – and the game in general – on the way home, the more I started to feel reassured about this season.  Now that may sound daft given the well-publicised pre-season problems and a run of results that currently sees us sitting second-bottom of the table.
Certainly the mood among the squad would appear positive enough.  In the immediate aftermath of the game, Biggie Smalls took it upon himself to conduct a post-match discussion as to where we thought, collectively, we could improve things.  He also set about reassuring his team mates that they had not been as bad as the scoreline would suggest and that the margins between continued setbacks and an upturn in fortunes continue to get finer.  He made some valid points.
"GerratimSam" as he's now known
On a pitch that played better than it looked, we had gifted our hosts two of the three first half goals that effectively decided the game.
Poor Willow’s rushed clearance that cannoned back off Dave W to home striker Josh Stacy for the first set the tone on 8mins. 
Having lost just two games thus far, Kinsley are a side enjoying their return from a one-year switch to the Sheffield & Hallamshire League and they certainly didn’t need gifts like we were presenting.
Just past the half-hour Tom Mc pulled up with a hamstring injury as he chased a ball into touch.  Amid the confusion this loss created, we struggled to defend the ensuing throw-in ad the ball sat nicely for player/manager Craig Rouse whose well-struck shot took a slight deflection and flew over Mad John into the far corner.
Stella Cidre - reasonably priced - available HERE!
The third looked farcical – Joe Gorner’s in-swinging corner simply dropping directly in for 3-0 on the stroke of half-time.  Gorner direct from a corner – a headline writer’s dream!
Thankfully there was still time for Dave W to fire us back into things and, encouragingly, we had shown signs towards the end of the half of being capable of causing our hosts problems at the back.
As I accompanied the unfortunate Tom to the changing rooms, I overhead the aforementioned Rouse conducting his half-time team-talk.  He was telling his players that we were trying to spray the ball about but were not good enough to do so.
Hmm, I think the second half proved him wrong.  We produced some lovely football as we immediately put Kinsley on the back foot.  And with the only upshot of Tom’s departure being the welcome return to the fold of Hutchie, we suddenly looked a threat at set-pieces again.
The returning Hutch had already gone close twice when JC was felled in the box; penalty!  
Some pointed towards our new man but Sumo didn’t wish to see another mistake of the Sherwood type.  Up stepped Willow – our only successful taker at North Cave and regular spot-kick man at previous club Withernsea.  He went to Joburns’ left.  Unfortunately so did Joburns – penalty saved.

He'll miss this
Willow later said it was his first miss in ten years.  He also said Hutch had admitted that he’d have gone the same way.  I think it provided him with some small consolation!
Two minutes later Hutch’s header from Sam Mc’s free-kick crashed against the Kinsley bar.  As Biggie Smalls commented moments later: this is not going to be our day!
He was right.  We enjoyed more possession, more half-chances and a couple of other near-misses but the two-goal cushion remained...and was then extended.
Willow’s day was to be consigned to the box marked “One to forget” as his attempted flicked clearance from a Kinsley breakaway sat up nicely for sub Jack Owen to volley home.
In injury time he was then out-muscled by Rouse who proceeded to take his season’s tally past the twenty-mark and consign us to our joint-heaviest defeat of the season.
All a bit of a blur really (Burt's camera doesn't do floodlights)
Helped by reasonably priced cans of Stella Cidre in the hosts’ smart clubhouse and Smalley’s earlier words of wisdom, there was still an upbeat mood about the lads as we tucked into the post-match buffet.  And this continued on the way home where much of the conversation focused on the future (the average age of the current squad is only about 24).  The way that some of them spoke there would clearly appear to be plenty of scope for optimism.  Now, if only we could string a couple of wins together...

Match report and more blurred pictures can be found here and on our Facebook page.

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