Toolstation Northern Counties East – Premier Division
Saturday 22 April 2017
At The Worksop Van Hire Stadium, Clipstone
Clipstone FC (1) 1
Armthorpe Welfare (1) 3
Radford 41 pen Morley 52 Collier 79
Attendance : 101
Clipstone: Francis, Burbanks, Paling, Thomas, Taylor ©, Egginton (Bowler 83), Blaney, Bircumshaw, Walker, Curzon, Gregory.
Unused substitutes: Williams, Rogers
Sent off: Thomas
Cobras’ Man of the Match: Barry Clarke (for dedication beyond the call of duty in the café)
Report by Jim McIntosh (@Realalerunner)
Despite taking an early lead, Clipstone’s final home game of an eventful season ended with a third consecutive defeat.
Opponents Armthorpe Welfare had already been relegated from the NCEL Premier and had not won in their last 12 games.
However the visitors took all three points as they outmuscled a young Cobras side, who also had Luke Thomas sent off in the second half.
Clipstone boss Ian Cotton made five changes to the starting eleven that was well beaten at AFC Mansfield seven days earlier.
The home side had an early chance when Rob Paling crossed the ball to the near post and Max Curzon got a connection that forced goalkeeper Liam Copley to divert the ball round the post for a corner.
The visitors went close after 13 minutes when Gary Collier fired an angled 18 yard shot just wide of the right hand post. Seven minutes later Liam Radford sent Collier clear but Cobras’ ‘keeper Andy Francis was out quickly to clear on the edge of the box.
The hosts struggled to create any clear cut chances during the middle period of the half but took the lead on 32 minutes against the run of play when a corner was half cleared as far as Jake Eggington who hit a thunderous low first time volley past ‘keeper Liam Copley and into the bottom left hand corner from 28 yards.
Clipstone were unable to build on the advantage and Armthorpe came close when a good move down the right hand side saw Radford put a dangerous ball into the box and Cobras’ captain Charlie Taylor made an excellent interception to clear the danger at the expense of a corner.
The visitors got a deserved equaliser on 41 minutes when Liam Radford scored from the penalty spot after he cut in from the left and was needlessly brought down by Ben Burbanks.
Half Time 1-1
Clipstone had a fantastic chance to restore their lead in the first minute of the second half when Tom Blaney was inches from getting a foot to a tremendous cross by Tim Gregory from the right.
Six minutes later the visitors took the lead when Michael Collins sent Collier down the right and his low cross was met by the unmarked Craig Morley who steered the ball past Andy Francis at the near post from close range.
The home side did their best to respond and Luke Walker showed tenacity to regain possession and put a ball into space near the area but Copley was quickly off his line and cleared the ball before Max Curzon could reach it.
The match slipped further away from the Cobras on 67 minutes when defender Luke Thomas was shown a straight red card following a late challenge on Morley.
A Clipstone break on 73 minutes saw Blaney in space on the right of the box but Copley pushed away his angled drive.
Francis was then in action after 74 minutes with a smart double save to deny Armthorpe’s Collier and Morley. However he was beaten for a third time on 79 minutes when Chris Gowen sent Radford away and he went around the out-rushing Cobras’ ‘keeper before setting up Collier to finish from 6 yards to seal the game.
The game concluded with a melee in the final minute when Tim Gregory and Liam Copley squared up to each other and although Copley clearly manhandled the Cobras winger, both players were only cautioned.
Full Time 1-3
Clipstone remain in 16th place in the league with 49 points from 41 games.
The Cobras final game of the season is away to Staveley Miners Welfare on Saturday 29 April, 3pm.