Clipstone suffered a third consecutive away defeat on a glue pot of a pitch in a game that saw both sides reduced to ten men.
Referee Gareth Myers sent off Athersley’s Ben Walker and Clipstone’s Luke Morgan following an off the ball incident in the 31st minute. The Cobras’ player reacted to being grabbed by the throat and was unlucky to be dismissed.
The home side were already a goal up at this stage through Kai Hancock. The visitors then struggled after the double dismissal to regain their shape and two goals from former Ossett Albion striker Jimmy Eyles secured the points for the North Barnsley side.
After the game Cobras’ boss Jamie Hardwick commented “I’m disappointed. I thought this might be the game to get us three points. We were naive in our distribution and gave away too many cheap balls and didn’t pick the second ball up”.
Hardwick will have been pleased though with the performance of his latest recruit Blessing Adeleye. The 20 year-old forward held up the ball well and has the strength and power to succeed at this level. Indeed the Cobras best chance of the game came with two minutes left when Adeleye burst through the centre and despite appearing to be pulled back forced a good low save from home ‘keeper Jordan Greaves with the goal at his mercy.
The opening stages of the game were even although it became apparent that the pitch was more suited to the home side’s physical approach. The Cobras had an early chance when a cross from Adeleye found Liam Jepson but the midfielder’s shot lacked power and direction. Simon Poole then had a chance for the home side after he beat three defenders but his cross shot was well claimed by Warren Squires.
Athersley opened the scoring in the 16th minute when a throw in from the right found Kai Hancock in the area and he had time and space to fire a low shot past Warren Squires.
Adeleye then forced a save from Greaves after latching on to a long ball from right back Connor Wright. At the other end Eyles had a good opportunity after the Clipstone defence failed to clear but shot wide of the target.
However Eyles made no mistake in the 39th minute when he was gifted time and space in the area and drilled the ball high into the net from the left hand side of the area.
The Cobras nearly grabbed a goal back just before half time when Jack Dando headed narrowly wide from a corner ensuring that the home side had a two goal advantage at the break.
Clipstone were guilty of giving away cheap possession on many occasions in the second period and as a result the majority of the chances fell to Athersley.
The home side almost increased their lead within a minute of the restart when Aiden Salmons forced a good save from Clipstone’s man of the match Squires.
Adeleye’s curling shot from the edge of the area forced a save from home stopper Greaves but Squires remained the busier ‘keeper as he kept his side in the game with further saves, the best being a one handed save at full stretch to keep out a 22-yard shot from Hancock.
The crucial third goal came in the 72nd minute after Jaydan Thorne fouled Eyles in the area and Eyles put his low spot kick just inside Squires’ left hand post.
The Cobras then had a similar penalty appeal turned down when Adeleye looked to be fouled whilst shooting at goal.
The Cobras never gave up the fight and a 30-yard shot from Dando fizzed just past the post. The final action of the game saw Squires save bravely at the feet of substitute McCauley Shillito in added time.