Report: Cleethorpes Town 1-2 Colls

One of the few low moments of the Colls previous campaign was the FA Vase 5th Round loss to Cleethorpes Town, ending a historical cup run just 180 minutes from Wembley, and in a game that could easily have gone either way. Chance would be a fine thing, and the FA Cup First Qualifying Round draw gave Clegg and his men an almost instant opportunity to right one of last season’s few wrongs. With a small number of players unavailable due to various circumstances, Michael Clegg named a slightly changed squad to last weeks trip to Trafford with Matty Grimshaw, Jordan Grant, Ben Hardcastle & Jordan Cover all re-entering the starting line-up. In the first of many parallels to the previous encounter between the two sides, Colls started the match the brighter of the two teams. The first half-chance of the game came to Darrhyl Mason, who headed just wide after being well set-up by Danny Lafferty. This was followed just moments later by Iain Howard playing a fantastic ball through to Jordan Cover, only to see the ensuing shot on goal well saved by Liam Higton in the Cleethorpes goal. This period of pressure culminated with a deserved first Colls goal, after just ten minutes of play. Jordan Cover was played 1vs1 again, this time after a nice piece of play by Ben Hardcastle, and used this forward momentum to effortlessly round the Cleethorpes ‘stopper and place the ball into the empty goal. Following this, Colls kept up the pressure as Cleethorpes grew into the match. Ben Hardcastle was the next to go close, firing a shot narrowly over from the edge of the box, missing out with fine margins but ultimately not troubling the keeper. With half an hour played there was a moment of minor debate as Darrhyl Mason was upended in the penalty area during a Colls attack. However, the referee chose to play on, with the movement ultimately leading to a corner, from which Danny Lafferty headed just over. Cleethorpes possessed a counter attacking threat throughout the match and Danny North was offered the opportunity to equalise for the Owls ten minutes before half-time. However the ever-imperious Adam Reid was on hand to keep the Colls ahead with a fine low save. The second half offered more of the same, with Colls generally leading the way but always weary of a Cleethorpes counter attack. Owls’ stopper Higton had another heart in mouth moment ten minutes after the restart when he failed to fully connect to a strong Iain Howard free-kick, gifting Matt Grimshaw a golden opportunity. The angle was just too tight for the defender and the resulting effort was blasted over. Jonathan Oglesby was the next to put major pressure on Reid’s goal, breaking into the right positions and firing a shot across the face of goal; an effort which was thankfully wide. Moments later, the Colls had a chance of their own when Jordan Cover headed home amidst the ensuing scramble from a long-range Matt Grimshaw cross. However, the linesmans’ flag was raised, keeping the score at 1-0. This was the second goal ruled out for Cover during this match, after superbly finding the net with an earlier long range free-kick, which was unfortunately taken too early for the referees’ liking. The game soon threatened to be a repeat of last seasons’ late Cleethorpes double as the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts with 10 minutes remaining. Richardson cut inside and ultimately went over during pressure from Jamie Forbes. The weight of any contact between the two can be debated but the referee pointed straight to the spot nonetheless giving an opportunity to the Owls’ Andy Taylor to make the game level; an opportunity which was gladly taken. However, it took the Colls just 1 minute and 31 seconds to regain their lead. Attacking immediately from the restart, Darrhyl Mason and Ben Hardcastle combined on the left, setting up a perfect opportunity for the experienced Iain Howard, who curled past Liam Higton with ease. Cleethorpes are a side renowned for their ability to score late goals, so the wind wasn’t taken from beneath the Owls’ wings just yet. The final ten minutes of the match saw intense Cleethorpes pressure, with an onslaught of dangerous corners and free-kicks ensuring that our bums were more than just squeaky. Great performances throughout the Colls backline ensured that the lead withstood, especially from Matt Grimshaw, who was fantastic on his return to the team. After the tense final moments, the Colls could finally celebrate earning their place in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round amongst high profile clubs such as York City, Salford City, Stockport County and Liversedge with the draw due to be made at midday on Monday.
Our club president Dave Norris sadly passed away days after the FA Vase defeat at Cleethorpes Town last season. He boarded the coach after the game and was bitterly disappointed to lose in the manner we did. Gareth Peet sat with him on the way home and they both talked through the match in fine detail. We didn't think it would be possible to draw Cleethorpes in this regionalised section of the competition, but we did and there will be somebody looking down on the club with a massive smile on his face. That one was for you.
Cleethorpes Town - Liam Higton, Luke Mascall, Laurence McKay, Liam Dickens, Matthew Bloomer (C), Matthew Coleman, Liam Davis, Jack Richardson, Mark Cooper, Daniel North, Jonathan Oglesby - Substitutes: Peter Winn, Alex Flett, Oliver Donald, Andrew Taylor, Luke Aldrich Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Jordan Grant, Danny Lambert, Matt Grimshaw, Jamie Forbes, Danny Lafferty (C), Ben Hardcastle (Matt Marsh 85'), Josh Messer, Darrhyl Mason, Jordan Cover (Johnny Gorman 84'), Iain Howard - Substitutes: Johnny Gorman, Rob Sadler, Gareth Peet, Matt Marsh, Dom Butler, Nathan Battersby Attendance - 196 Man of the Match - Iain Howard   Match report by Rob Clarke Photo by David Featherstone 

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