Persistent rain all day long had put this first game of the new NCEL League season in some doubt and the forty mile an hour speed limit on the motorways due to poor visibility did little on the journey to Pontefract to dispel the thought that this game would be eventually postponed and on arrival nor did the waterfall cascading through the roof of the main stand onto the seats or the puddles that were literally everywhere… yet unbelievably the pitch was deemed fit to play football on!
The Trojans named the same starting eleven that made it through the Extra Preliminary Round of the Fa Cup three days previously and even though the middle of the pitch looked better suited to hosting a round of the World Powerboat Racing Championship the uncut grass meant that the ball could just about roll over it so the game began… and Staveley got off to a good start as Grant Allott for the home side mistimed a defensive header allowing Kurtis Morley to race down the right hand side to square the ball to Tyla Bell inside the box but he was prevented from turning to shoot by a number of covering defenders so instead Bell laid the ball off to Callum Mawbey who from the left hand side of the area shot for goal but former Trojan Ryan Musselwhite was equal to it and palmed it out for a corner which came to nothing.
“Play” quickly swept up the other end and Luke Jeffs found Eli Hey in the middle whose shot was well saved by Matty Leese in goal for the Trojans and Ash Rawson cleared the resultant corner.
Seven minutes in and Ash Rawson played a crossfield ball from right to left to allow Josh Barker to advance from left back and let fly with a drive form outside the area that looked in from certain angles but had infact gone just wide.
Nine minutes gone and although the conditions were getting worse the game was certainly entertaining Callum Mawbey showed a bit of skill with a dragback then knocked it passed his marker to run onto before finding Kurtis Moreley who drove inside the box, was fouled and a penalty was given, but unfortunately Morleys spot kick was saved by Ryan Musselwhite.
The next attack was from the home side with Chris Jackson meandering his way through into the box where Ricky executed a perfectly good sliding challenge to knock it out for a corner but the blindsided assistant referee flagged for a penalty kick and after discussion with the man with the whistle it was given. And not to be outdone by his opposite number Matty Leese dived to his right and saved that spot kick also.
Only fifteen minutes had been played and the players weren’t able to stand up for long never mind keep possession but Adam Colton looked to be enjoying it… after picking himself off the deck he slipped a ball inside fullback and central defender hitting the run of Callum Mawbey perfectly but he was given offside then Colts switched the play to Josh Barker who cut inside and used his right foot this time to shot just wide of the near post but if the conditions needed highlighting anymore it stopped dead in a puddle right near the post…off the field of play but under normal circumstances it would’ve hit the stand at the back or gone through it.
Although both the players were trying to play “football” the best option was arguably to keep it in the air and that’s exactly what Josh Madin did with twenty four minutes on the clock and his pass out of defence dropped perfectly for Kurtis Morley in that no mans land between defender and goalkeeper (which did resemble the somme by this point) and he took it round Ponte ‘keeper Ryan Musselwhite and from a wide angle stuck it into the top corner.
Pontefract Collieries 0 – 1 Staveley MW
Adam Colton used the same tactic five minutes before half time to drop it to Morley once more but Ryan Musselwhite closed down the space this time with the ball landing at the feet of Tyla Bell who was clipped just as he attempted a lob over the stranded Ponte ‘keeper. The resultant freekick was blocked and with the home side employing a tactic of defending but leaving three players “up top” they were able to break quickly but Matty Leese was able to preserve the Trojan lead going into the break…
HT:Pontefract Collieries 0 – 1 Staveley MW
The second half was a war of attrition and the home side were in the ascendency for its majority, with full backs Lukes Jeffs and Scott Brown pushing on whipping cross after cross into the box although the Staveley defence were dealt with it early on it was only a matter of time before one of those dangerous attacks found its target and it duly arrived just after the hour when Ashley Emmett found space in the box to head home a long throw from the left.
Pontefract Collieries 1 – 1 Staveley MW
The “moment of the match” came ten minutes from time as Callum Mawbey crossed for substitute Liam Vardy on his first tam debut on the far post who just couldn’t quite get on the end of it. In a carbon copy move a few seconds later Kurtis Morley flung himself at another Mawbey cross and but for an simply breath taking save from Ryan Musselwhite who flew across goal and somehow manged to claw it to safety which was pivotal as straight from that the ball went up the other end where substitute Michael Dunn from the left worked his way into the area, opened himself up and slotted it in.
Pontefract Collieries 2 – 1 Staveley MW
Then five minutes from time the home sides victory was secured when Dunn got the benefit of some considerable doubt on an offside decision and chipped Matty Leese who had come out to narrow the angle.
FT:Pontefract Collieries 3 – 1 Staveley MW
Team:1.Matty Leese.2.Liam Nelthorpe.3.Josh Barker.4.Ash Rawson.5.Josh Madin.6.Ricky Hanson.7.Mickey Collins.(16.Liam Vardy).8.Adam Colton.(15.Joel Smith).9.Kurtis Morley.10.Tyla Bell.11.Callum Mawbey
Man of the Match: Josh Barker