Heaton Stannington 0-1 Whickham
Ernest Armstrong Cup 2nd Round
Wednesday 16 December 2015
The referee seemed to lack the festive spirit as there were more yellow cards on show than Christmas cards at Grounsell Park tonight. This helped disrupt the flow of the match, making it relatively eventless, and antagonised everyone at the ground. Even the 3 comedy referee assessors could not believe some of his strange decisions and the amount of nit picking. Given that the match was only confirmed as being on just before 4pm, there was a healthy crowd of over 95. There were 5 changes to the starting line up from the last match 11 days ago including a debut for forward Michael Woldegebreal and a home debut for keeper Mathew Smith.
Not much happened in the first 10 minutes apart from a lot slipping as both sides tried to get used to the heavy pitch. With no wolves spotted recently in High Heaton, it appeared that storm Desmond had also taken its toll on the ground as the roof had been blown off the home dugout. In the 12th minute, the first clear chance of the game came when Wear took a free kick near the half way line which was headed on by Hayton in the box but caught by the visiting keeper. 3 minutes later and Smith had to catch from a long volley. A minute later he caught the ball again and immediately sent it up field to Woldegebreal who ran into the box and, with only the keeper to beat, somehow hit the side netting. In 17 minutes, the Stan had a free kick on the edge of the box which Waite hit the wall with and he then sent his rebound shot over. Both teams were trying to attack although it was Whickham who had a good effort in 22 minutes when one of their forward’s shot over 3 defenders but Smith made a great dive to punch the ball away. Smith was fouled 2 minutes later during another Whickham attack and this allowed him to send the ball back up the pitch. It resulted in a Burns shot but it was caught by the keeper. The Whickham defence had to clear another Stan effort off the line 2 minutes later. In 30 minutes, a Whickham corner saw the ball go through all the players in the 6 yard box but the visiting player waiting unmarked on the far side shot over. 3 minutes later another Whickham attack was blocked with the aid of the slippy pitch. A ball by Ray was caught by the keeper and in 37 minutes Waite then shot over. There were already at least 4 bookings and the inevitable happened in 41 minutes when after a tussle between Waters and Whickham’s Mark Fitzpatrick saw them both booked. As the Whickham number 9 had already been booked for dissent, he was sent off. Soon after, some members of the home dugout were concerned that he had not left the pitch, but it turned out to be his identical twin David. There was another attempt at either end as the half ended 0-0 or 2-3 if you count yellow cards.
The Stan started the 2nd half on the attack and were looking confident. The player advantage ended in 52 minutes when a Johnson tackle was deemed unacceptable and he was booked but also sent off as he had already been yellow carded for dissent. In 59 minutes, a Stan attack saw Hayton running into the box to meet a cross but the Whickham keeper just got to the ball first. 2 minutes later Dodsworth passed to Telford on the right wing who then had a great shot but the keeper got down to parry it and it was then cleared for a corner. In 65 minutes a Stan attack, with Wear at the centre of it, eventually ended with Imray shooting over. There was then a good ball from Ray to Hayton but he was wrongly flagged for offside. It was the Stan’s Imray who was next booked for complaining about being sandwiched between to visiting defenders. Including Lee’s 2, there were 6 yellow cards given to the Stan and at least 5 to Whickham players. In 73 minutes, a Whickham attack was not properly cleared and a Stan defender sent the ball out to the remaining twin who shot and scored. The Stan should have equalised 3 minutes later when Imray, running in on the ball with a defender in toe, was run into and floored in the box by the visiting keeper which allowed the defender to clear. Out of character, the referee said nothing and even the 3 assessors, who were running out of paper and ink, were shaking their heads. In 87 minutes, a Waite free kick was sent into the box for Telford but he was blocked. 2 minutes later, after winning the ball back, Imray had a shot that was caught by the keeper. A minute into injury time and the Whickham keeper flapped when the ball came down between himself and Hayton but he managed to clear it and the match eventually ended 1-0 to Whickham. After the match, the referee was even seen trying to use his card in the bar but luckily it had no authority there and, unlike the match, he could not disrupt the post-match banter.
Stan Team: Smith; Waters; Wear; Ray; Davison; Waite; Imray; Johnson, L; Hayton; Woldegebreal (Dodsworth); Burns (Telford). Subs unused: Stoddart; Yates; Fulcher.