Matthews and Normanton combination proves irresistible
Handsworth Parramore 2 – 2 Thackley
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division Saturday 13th April 2019
Through the years there have been many examples of striking partners wreaking havoc on opposition defences with their adept interplay proving unstoppable. I think of Jones and Clarke (for the Chairman), Rush and Dalglish, Shearer and Sutton, Henry and Bergkamp to name just a few. Yesterday Thackley followers witnessed the naissance of such a pairing when Matthews and Normanton came together to spearhead Thackley’s assault against a stubborn Handsworth rear-guard.
Thackley made their penultimate away trip to Worksop to tackle Handsworth Parramore, currently lying in eighth place in the Premier Division. Thackley’s starting line up saw the return of Ryan Basi but most notable was the inclusion of four teenagers in the squad. Jorge Sikora made the starting eleven with Eisa Faulding, Darwin King and Asa Mitchell making up a very youthful bench.
When the game started Thackley began on the front foot. Normanton was immediately in action, he picked up the ball on the left and curled a right footed shot that evaded Budtz, the goalkeeper but also the Handsworth post. Matthews and Normanton were busy unsettling defenders to such an extent that Handsworth replaced the starting full back Ollie Yates with Joseph Thornton after only ten minutes. Matthews was winning his fair share of aerial battles, always a danger to a defence with the speed of Normanton running into the spaces beyond him. With a strong wind at their backs Thackley were dominating possession all over the field and the corner count began to rise. From one of them Matthews rose perfectly to glance a header which thumped against the crossbar and Sikora’s follow up shot was headed off the line. Broadbent was clearly uncomfortable from the beginning and was replaced by Mitchell after twenty minutes. It was Mitchell who created space on the right which was exploited by Marsh with a fine cross that Matthews with the goal gaping, headed past the post. The strong wind was proving difficult to play against, forward forays by the hosts were competently dealt with by Wilson. Their best chance arrived mid-way through the half when Howarth flicked a cross wide of the post when he might have done better. Just as we were preparing for half time Thackley scored the goal that their play had so richly deserved. White created some space on the left and slipped the ball inside to Matthews whose sublime pass forward was fed into the path of Normanton on the edge of the box. Normanton’s composed finish gave Budtz no chance.
Half time: Handsworth Parramore 0 Thackley 1
The strong wind, to a certain extent, made the game a reversal of the first half with Handsworth now beginning to dominate possession. Thackley were restricted to spasmodic raids forward, although when they gained possession Matthews, Normanton and Mitchell showed the potential to inflict damage on the hosts. The midfield was fighting hard to resist the Handsworth pressure and not for the first time Whiteley came to the fore. Now was the time for Wilson, in the Thackley goal, to show his immense potential. He competently dealt with crosses but one save, in particular, from a point-blank header brought words of approval from the opposition supporters. After fifty-two minutes Handsworth fashioned an equaliser. Boote’s challenge on the left was easily evaded by Harry Mitchell who fed Leon Howarth on the edge of the box. His cross shot into the bottom corner gave Wilson no chance. Wilson was again called into action when a Handsworth forward was clear on goal but the young keeper was able to foil his effort with a brave save. Thackley’s parity was not to last long after this. Howarth again found himself clear, his shot was parried by Wilson but the forward was able to follow the ball into the six-yard box and force it past the goalkeeper. Sibanda was replaced by Thompson to bring fresh legs to the contest. Soon after Eisa Faulding replaced Ryan Basi leaving the last ten minutes with two centre backs under the age of eighteen. So Thackley entered the final phase of the game trying to rescue something from it. They began to exert the kind of pressure that comes in the last ten minutes and Handsworth were beginning to wobble. The equaliser, when it came, was another product of the Matthews-Normanton partnership with an assist by Marsh. The ball was worked well on the right. Normanton won a ball that he had no right to do so, he laid it back to Matthews who cleverly fed Marsh who in turn returned it to Normanton inside the area. With admirable composure Normanton slipped the ball past the panicking defender and swivelled to place the ball into the bottom corner past the static Budtz.
Full time: Handsworth Parramore 2 Thackley 2
Thackley team: Luke Wilson, Robert A Marsh, Jerome White, Paul Whiteley, Jorge Sikora, Ryan Basi, Andrew Boote, Daniel Broadbent, Nicholas Matthews, Ray Sibanda, Jack Normanton. Subs: Kieran Thompson, Eisa Faulding, Darwin King, Asa Mitchell.
Handsworth Parramore: Jan Budtz, Oliver Yates, Bradley Nicholson, Harry Mitchell, Jed Phillips, Rikki Paylor, Joshua Nodder, James Ashmore, Waide Fairhurst, Leon Howarth, Jamie Green. Subs: Joshua Davies, Gary Mundy, Joseph Thornton, Parips Dixon, Steven Istead.
Referee: Mark Tinsley
Updated 14:04 – 14 Apr 2019 by Steve Paley Original Source