Given my sub-heading on the September review, some may feel I was being slightly previous in stating we'd "bottomed out" as far as the season goes. Well, I stand by it - despite two hefty looking defeats in the middle of October. Of the two Newark gave most cause for concern as - for the first time this season - we came close to throwing the towel in. As for the Hessle game, well once again it was a case of a Humber Premier League team getting "up" for a game against a team from a better competition and we failed to match such enthusiasm. Cue the responses... ;-)
Saturday, 4th October
CML North Division
Easington United 2 Sherwood Colliery 0
Although perhaps a bit early for a "must win" game, this was, well, a must win game. Buoyed by the way we'd finished September, we needed to continue maximising our points yield at home. And especially so given the way we'd escaped from Bentley with a point our overall performance hadn't warranted. We now needed to capitalise on our good fortune of the previous week. And we did.
The official match report can be read here.
Further pictures of the game can also be viewed here.
Saturday, 11th October
East Riding CFA Senior Cup R1
Easington United 0 Hessle Rangers 5
I know I joked in the introduction about how Humber Premier League sides always appear to "want it more" in games against us but, unfortunately, in recent times I can find no other explanation for the "Indian Sign" that clubs from that competition - and particularly the lower reaches of the HPL - appear to hold over us. I refuse to subscribe to the view that the HPL is better in standard than the CML and certainly the latter's record of moving clubs up to the next level of competition - in particular the Northern Counties East League - undoubtedly makes it a better option for progression.
Anyway, whatever the reasons for our performance, this result was a real body blow given what had gone before. Quite simply,we were awful.
That's to take nothing away from Hessle who thoroughly deserved the win and indeed a win of emphatic proportions. But once again I spent the next few days discussing with AG just what it is about this competition that since 2003 has tended to bring out the absolute worst in us. Still, there's always next year...
Saturday, 18th October
CML North Division
Easington United 1 Newark Town 6
Very rarely do I have cause to take issue with referees. In the Central Midlands League I have generally found them, with few exceptions, not only very approachable but also more than competent. If I have had any complaints in the past, it's that they have perhaps appeared a tad unwilling to act decisively when games have required it.
This was one such case. I'm not saying that the dismissal of Newark Town's Ian Hillier in the first half of the game would have had a decisive effect on proceedings thereafter but it may well have - and that's what sticks in the throat.
Hillier's lunge on Adam Jamieson was not only reckless - airborne and two-footed (a fact acknowledged by the Newark supporters stood near me on the touchline) but was also pre-meditated, coming within minutes of Charlie's "robust" tackle on the Newark right winger. The only thing that saved our keeper was the fact he got something on the ball. Hillier didn't. He raked Jam down the back of the knee. Without exaggeration it was the worst "challenge" I have seen in many a season and Jam was very lucky the connection wasn't even truer as that could have been season-ending. Referee McGill obviously saw it differently and showed a yellow. My new-found acquaintances near my dugout agreed he'd got it wrong.
He also got it wrong after the break when failing to show any card to Ngoni Dongo for another lunge at Jam, this time from the front that raked his shinbone. This time Jam couldn't continue. In Dongo's defence he was over-stretching having had a poor first touch but the studs were high and in today's environment...
All this aside we were still in the game at both these points. We weren't soon afterwards. A second half collapse of the sort seen earlier in the campaign - and indeed just a week earlier - ensured that Newark's impressive start went on.
A red card did eventually come out of the referee's pocket, in the 90th minute, following Arron Martin's reckless jump at Charlie in an increasingly fractious end to the game. Had the same been shown some sixy minutes earlier, things might, just might, have turned out differently.
All in all these incidents detracted from what is a pleasant experience hosting the players, management, committee and followers of Newark Town. Thankfully, it wasn't allowed to spoil the cordial relations between our clubs when the Blues returned to Low Farm a fortnight later.
The Newark report can be read here.
Saturday, 25th October
CML North Division
Thorne Colliery 4 Easington United 4
Regular readers of this blog (is there such a thing?) will know that Moorends is one of my favourite venues in the CML. That is mainly on account of the fantastic grandstand that dominates the ground and has done since, I believe, the 1930s.
I wasn't in it today as I was still on dugout duty, where to everyone's pleasure I was joined by Sam Mc. Back from a brief spell at Hedon, the former skipper wasn't quite fit enough to start but was named on the bench and proceeded to offer plenty of wise words from the technical area.
They were needed as for the opening half-hour we brought our recent second half collapses forward 45 minutes! After 18 minutes we were three down and staring down another barrel. At the break we were 4-2 down and still with a mountain to climb.
You won't be surprised to learn therefore that the final scoreline was celebrated almost as much as the recent draw at Bentley. Although, it has to be said, we deserved this point more.