Santa Claus or possibily The Grinch clearly had us on the naughty list when he came up with the pre-Christmas fixture list…not content with giving us a pre festive fixture against second placed Penistone Church and a tricky Sheffield Cup tie against Rossington in the previous two December games he decied to throw in this one against the league Leaders Yorkshire Amateur who were not only seven points clear at the summit of the NCEL Premier Division, boasted the leading goalscorer – ten plus goals clear Ash Flynn they were also one of the two sides to have beaten the Trojans earlier this season, and good value they were for that to. Although the personal hasn’t changed that much since that second game of the season, we are a “different side” and having collected three points and progressed into the semi-finals in those previous December games this was not going to be the forgone conclusion that a cursory pregame glance at the table might have suggested….
There was only one change to the starting lineup from recent weeks with Brad Jones returning from league suspension at the centre of defence replacing an unwell Charlie Oglesby who took a place on the bench alongside two new additions to squad in former Nottingham Forest prospect Kevin Da Silva Bastos who joins the Trojans from Grantham Town and Michael Burke formerly of Maine Road who has actually played at Inkersall Road already this season…
..Straight from the off Staveley set about denying their opponents the time and pace to settle into the rhythm that’s seen them rise to the top of the league this season, Sam finalw in minute one robbed possession away from his opposite number Luke Sharry in the attacking third and sent Joe Pugh through on goal, where from just outside the six yard box he beat the onrushing goalkeeper Graham Mclachlan with a shot across goal but also the far post.
That great start continued with a high press that forced the visitors to go long where a hopeful looking forward pass was sent back in the opposite direction by Brad Jones where Jahmal Riley an Joe Pugh combined allowing Riley to send in a teasing cross to the far post which just eluded Matty Davies…another ball forward was intercepted by Jordan Claxton this time and he combined with Riley and Sam Finlaw to allow Matty Parkin to try and thread it through to Joe Pugh in the box, that was intercepted but a determined Sam Finlaw wouldn’t allow it to be cleared once again robbing the ball in midfield as Yorkshire Amateur tried to play their way out of danger into attack… Finlaw stepped forward and clipped the ball into an unmarked Jahmal Riley who passed it perfectly into the bottom right hand corner with a static visiting defence holding their hands up for offside but the assistant kept his flag down and the Trojans lead 1-0.
The visitors settled and had an early opportunity to get back into the game when a crunching yet expertly timed tackle on Matty Davies from Ryan Serrant allowed Brice Tiani to run at the Trojan defence, working an angle which saw him hit one from the edge of the box to which Myles Wright had to be at his best to parry with Jordan Claxton then knocking the ball out for corner, which came to nothing in the end as Fernando Moke was about to poke it home.
Back came the Trojans with Sam Kay pinging a free kick in from the halfway line which as only half cleared to Matty Parkin who met it with a powerful header sending it wide in the direction of a chasing Jahmal Riley. His pace and determination got him to the ball before covering defender Tinique Fishley where his skill and power got him the opportunity to cross with his weaker left foot to find Matty Parkin on the far post whose second header of the move got the Trojans second goal of the afternoon.
Straight from the restart–Robson Doolan intercepted the first pass ran into the box and as was tripped as he was about to cross the ball in and so within sixteen seconds of going two up Joe Pugh was given the chance of making it three from the spot which…he did. Despite Graham Mclachlan diving the right way.
There was simply no way that the scoring rate from that first eleven minutes could / would continue and 3-0 to the Trojans is how it would finish at half time but it wasn’t for the want of trying, Jahmal Riley, Joe Pugh and Matty Parkin all had good chances to increase the lead still further with perhaps the best of the m falling to Joe Pugh after Graham Mclachlan in goal for the visitors fancied himself as a winger trying a turn that didn’t quite come off allowing Pugh to steal it off him but spooned his effort wide of the open goal.
There simply isn’t enough time, space or even the words to describe what was arguably the best half of football Staveley have ever produced but there is a video so…just watch that..yeah? #below
HT: Staveley MW 3 – 0 Yorkshire Amateur
In the second half Staveley produced a different kind of performance from the first as visitors piled on the pressure trying to get back into the game, the Trojans reverted to a more dogged determined style, pretty much dictated by the amount of energy / effort they’d put into establishing the lead during that brilliant first forty five…
To their credit Yorkshire Amateur didn’t abandon their beliefs and continued to try and play their passing game rather than chase the game but its fair to say that they struggled to create clear cut chances all afternoon, having a rare off day in front of goal, and despite enjoying the lions share of the possession in the second half, with more efficient use of the ball the Trojans created the better chances. Joe Pugh notably having been put through by Matty Davies ten minutes into the half firing over the bar when well placed to increase the lead.
The visitors though haven’t yet failed to score in a league game however and sure enough just before the hour a corner from the right found its way out to Luke Sharry whose shot on goal from the edge of the area found its way past Myles Wright to reduce the arrears.
That set up an “interesting” last half an hour, one where the “next goal” took on huge significance as it so often does, again the visitors piled on the pressure but Staveley stuck at it, resolutely shutting the door and attacking at pace when they could and saw out the remaining minutes to record a superb victory.
FT: staveley MW 3-1 Yorkshire Amateur