James Williams, author of the Footyramblings blog, on last night’s Division Two game:
After making the 60 mile trip from the outskirts of Carlisle, Gillford Park lined up against Team Northumbria at Coach Lane in fading August sunlight. The first five minutes of the game were frenetic, with Team Northumbria’s neat midfield triangles effectively countered by Gillford Park’s more direct style. Gillford Park’s tactic of hitting diagonal long balls was rewarded when a raking pass from the right of midfield picked out the left winger, who was able to whip in a deep cross that evaded the defence and was forced home at the far post by Peter Ferris to give the away team an early lead.
It was a lead which only lasted four minutes before Team Northumbria levelled through Dean Critchlow. The Gillford Park backline got themselves in to all sorts of trouble and a weak back-pass was seized upon by Critchlow, who rounded the keeper and slotted in with his left foot to make it 1-1.
The game continued in a similar end to end vein. In the 24th minute Gillford Park number 9 Sean Bannon beat the offside trip, bringing down a through ball on his chest before sliding his shot under the advancing keeper to regain the lead for Gillford Park.
Just before the half hour mark tempers became frayed when Gillford Park midfielder Mark Brown was booked for standing on an opposition player as he got up from a tackle. After much shouting and gesticulating from both teams, the referee diffused the situation without going OTT. From this point on Gillford Park had much the better of proceedings and extended their lead on the stroke of half time as the long right to left diagonal paid dividends again, Peter Ferris picking up a long ball and firing a shot under the Northumbria keeper.
The second half was a more even affair. In the last twenty minutes Team Northumbria were camped in the opposition half, but were unable to put their chances away. Gillford Park remained dangerous on the break as the home side committed numbers forward trying to salvage something from the game.
In the 7th minute of stoppage time Team Northumbria substitute Mark McCutcheon found himself unmarked at the far post and curled the ball past the away keeper to pull it back to 2-3. A fracas followed as McCutcheon tried to retrieve the ball from the Gillford Park keeper. A couple of bookings later Gillford Park kicked off and were able to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
Man of the Match – Sean Bannon, who led the line excellently, holding the ball up, winning headers and grabbing a goal.