It was late night for the hardy 108-strong crowd at Manse Lane last night ,as Toolstation NCEL Division One leaders Knaresborough Town and Premier League third-placed side Maltby Main were firmly locked together at 1-1 after 120 minutes in their NCEL League Cup Third Round tie. Eventually, the home side prevailed 6-5 after a penalty shoot out on a freezing pitch in North Yorkshire- and Knaresborough Assistant Manager Paul Clayton didn’t underplay the drama of the evening, writes Colin Muncie.
Joel Freestone put Knaresborough in front in the first period of extra time (95 minutes), but Dean Conway levelled for the Miners with seven minutes left. Town clinched victory after the visitor’s second sudden-death penalty was missed.
Paul told the Bootiful Game “An eventful night to say the least. We started the game really well and had a great chance in the first minute. We created some other good chances and hit the bar after great work by Gregg Anderson and Dan Thirkell. We then got Dan Clayton sent off after 35 mins or so. He tried to take a quick free kick but their player stepped over the ball and toe poked it away so he ended up kicking the player. He got a straight red, and their player got booked for stopping the free kick-harsh! We were superb after that”.
Paul takes up the story after the interval “They changed their shape in the second half and tried to get an extra man into midfield, but Ben Parkes and Dom Wilson worked tremendously hard to nullify their play” he said.” We moved Brad Walker to the wing and he worked tirelessly. We also got a couple of injuries to Gregg and Robbie Youhill, which meant we brought Conor Donoghue on for Gregg and Brommers and Joel on for Col and Robbie. Joel broke into the box and won a penalty after about 75 min but Thirks struck it well but just too high. Then Brommers and Joel combined brilliantly to create and score our goal in 1st half of extra time”.
“Maltby pressed a bit more as we were tiring”, Paul admitted “and had a cross- cum -shot that hit the bar ,which we cleared. The game ended up going to penalties; Brad missed our first one, and then everyone scored until they missed their last penalty of five each. On to sudden death: we scored our first two, and they missed their second. It was a really really eventful game, which I think we deserved to win against a side that are looking to get promoted to the Evo Stik!! The team work and togetherness of the Knaresborough players is tremendous”.
“There were a few outstanding performances but really the whole 14 deserves the credit for a great win. Now they need to rest for the next few days and do it all again on Saturday”.
Maltby Manager Scott Mason was sad to be exiting the competition, but put the result in perspective in a great campaign thus far “ We’re disappointed and weren’t at our best at all , but saying that the pitch was like a ice rink. It was the same for both sides- don’t get me wrong -but it’s hard to play your usual game when that’s on the player’s minds.”
Scott felt that the Don Clayton red card was an important moment in the game “Knaresborough went down to ten men- and after that it was like a scene from Oliver Twist on their bench, constantly at the referee begging for everything and asking for the game to be called off . But the game went on -Knaresborough defended well and had some good chances but again we’ve had four or five you’d expect to score. It went to the lottery of penalties- and we lost. The lads put a good shift in on a hard pitch and that’s all you can ask sometimes. The result and performance wasn’t what we wanted, but our lads will bounce back, so on we move to Saturday’s game.
“Good luck to Knaresborough in the next round”.
Main photograph by Craig Dinsdale