The cold wind blew in from Brinsworth, Treeton and Catcliffe at around five o’clock yesterday afternoon – as it had all day – as the players and Management of East Yorkshire Carnegie trooped off to the cheers of their four intrepid travelling supporters, almost invisible under their black and white woolly hats and scarves. Carnegie had just completed a Toolstation NCEL Division One double over Swallownest at Rotherham Road with a battling 2-1 win – and it was a result which left visiting Manager, Leon Sewell, as delighted as the home management were left disconsolate, writes Colin Muncie for the Bootiful Game.
The wind and an uneven surface made life difficult for both teams, who struggled to settle in the first twenty minutes or so, and as half-time approached, the 82 strong crowd – most of whom were understandably gathered in the two grandstands – were on the verge of reflecting on a goalless first half of few chances when Phil Winn headed home a right wing corner, right on the half-time whistle to give the visitors the advantage.
Swallownest were on the front foot immediately after the interval, with new 21-year-old skipper Ash Cooper pushing forward at every opportunity down the left, and Alex Lill and Nathan Morritt looking lively up front, enjoying a robust battle with Carnegie’s Johnny Ricardo. Good work by Morritt on 52 minutes allowed the impressive Ollie Grady to curl a lovely right-footed strike into the top left-hand corner to level the game, and it looked for all the world as though the home side, with that wind at their backs, would go on to take all three points.
Chances came and went, and when Swallownest did hit the target, they found Carnegie ‘keeper David Robson in terrific form, turning away a thundering half-volley from Grady and tipping a Morritt header over the bar. With fifteen minutes left, though, the wind stranded home goalkeeper Spencer Bingley on the edge of his box, the ball broke loose, and Ryan Williams conjured up a fine chipped finish into the empty net to restore the visitors lead. The game opened up as Swallownest chased an equaliser for the second time, and there were chances at both ends, as Josh Walker hit the bar with a header from a set piece for EYC, a long throw from the left wing evading several blue shirts in the visitors’ six-yard box, and Bingley producing a brilliant save down low to his right in added time.
Try as they might, Swallownest couldn’t quite grab a point, and the whistle blew to clinch the away win, and leave Leon Sewell delighted, but respectful – an approach echoed by his players in the way that they helped to clean out their dressing room before heading back East. Classy.
“First of all, on today’s game I’d like to wish Jordan and Joel of Swallownest all the best for the rest of the season,” Leon told TBG. “They are a great little club – like ourselves – trying to do things properly. It wasn’t the prettiest of games and it was always going to be a tight fixture with one deciding goal – and fortunately for us Ryan Williams delivered the goods. An inch perfect cross from Ryan set up our first goal for Phil Winn to head home on half time for 1-0”.
“Fair play to Swallownest – they had a big spell of possession in the opening period of the second-half and got themselves back in the game with a good goal,” Joel summarised, before emphasising his side’s fighting spirit. “Our perseverance and desire to stay in the game was second to none, forcing an error from the home ‘keeper and Ryan was on hand to fire home from a tight angle.”
Leon was pleased to close the book on last Saturday’s home loss – and he had kind words for the shivering foursome. “I’m delighted that we’ve got the three points on the board and it shows that last week’s defeat was a one off.”
“Massive thanks as always to the EYC support!!!”
There is no doubt that Swallownest continue to punch well above their weight in a Division where many of the clubs around them are significantly better resourced, but Assistant Manager, Joel Evans found the result particularly hard to take. “I’m asking myself why we do it,” he told TBG. “Today’s performance was lacklustre, and, in bits, embarrassing. The goals we give away are comical and basic – whilst at the opposite end we are not taking our chances.”
Joel suggested that there’ll be a fair bit of soul-searching ahead of a tough-looking trip to Dronfield Town next week. “Over the last couple of weeks, I feel I’m on voice record and it’s becoming embarrassing and boring,” he admitted. “We need to look at ourselves as a group and try and start producing the performances, we all know that we are capable of.”
“Jordan and I have some big decisions to make – and hopefully they will be the right ones come 5pm next Saturday.”
Swallownest Manager, Jordan Stocks had slept on the result before giving TBG his reflections on the game, and although he was still struggling to explain the outcome, he was his typically honest self as he looked back at the last two weeks. “After a long night thinking over our defeat I still can’t believe we have lost the game with the amount of chances we had,” Jordan insisted. “That granted, the defeat has been coming; the last two performances have just not been good enough. We got out of jail last week and this week we just plain and simply gifted EYC the points.”
“At the minute we seem to be struggling with the mentality side of football,” Jordan suggested. “Maybe it’s the pressure of being a good young side expected to pick points up. In certain areas we are lacking characters who will take responsibility when things aren’t going well.”
Sensibly, Jordan put the result in the context of a much bigger picture. “I can’t fault the lads too much as it’s all a big learning curve for us all,” he conceded, “and it will be for the best in the long run – but sometimes these performances and defeats are hard to take.”