It was a really good day for Ian Richards and his Penistone Church side as they thumped Harrogate Railway Athletic 8-0 at Church View Road with 203 spectators watching on.
Church raced into an unasailable lead by the break with first half hat-trick from Nathan Keightley (‘7, ’12, ’40) and a brace from Sam Scrivens (‘8, ’23).
Veteran striker Andy Ring (’50), Jordan Coduri (’74) and Conor Glavin (’81) rounded off the afternoon in perfect fashion as with Yorkshire Amateur not playing, Church extended their lead at the summit to five points.
“Sometimes there’s not a lot you need to say. Action speaks louder than words and I think the actions of the players today said it all for everyone”, Richards told Penistone Church’s media team.
“Yes, we were playing Harrogate Railway, who are third from bottom but Harrogate Railway have only lost one in their last seven. Rightly so their manager won Manager of the Month for January. They’d beaten Barton, who we’d lost to. They’ve drawn with Bridlington away even going down to nine men for the last minutes. They drew with Bottesford, who are a very dangerous side so it wasn’t a formality.”
“The players were in excellent spirits, if you like. Their attitude and their focus was first class and you could feel that just in the warm up and in the changing room. We’d talked about two areas we needed to improve on before the game and one of them was our starts to halves, the start to the game and it was devastating at the start today to score three in that first twelve minutes in the manner that we did and the quality that we did was exceptional.”
“The game was won then and it’s about keeping your standards, keeping your expectations high, keeping pressure on yourself to perform in the way that we expect our players to perform and they were outstanding from start to finish. At half time, going in at 5-0 after five well-constructed goals, it’s obviously a positive but you need the players not to be lazy, not to go into false football, not to pass for the sake of it, to keep passing with purpose and to keep a clean sheet.”
“A clean sheet again is a more important thing for me. To say a clean sheet over the eight goals, we can pride ourselves on that. You have a platform then to go and win football matches. We defended well and then we were just so devastating and exciting to watch going forward.”
“We took James [Young] off at half time. He had a bad knock. A tackle on him in the first half and we weren’t risking. Danny [Howes] did well at left back and Conor Glavin came on, fitted in, got himself a goal and did well. We also then had the opportunity for Kieron [Ryan] to come on, held the ball up and continued where Andrew Ring left off. Then it was great to give George Whittaker his debut and it’s a great learning curve for him, understanding how we play. Technically on the ball and in individual moments he was excellent. He did really well and you could see potential and you can see why we’ve signed him for now and the future. Over time he’ll understand the way we play because it’s very clear and that’s why we’re having success, because we have a clear way of playing and the players know how to do it and they put the team first and play for each other.”
“It was an excellent crowd. Harrogate didn’t bring many but there were 203 here so thanks to everyone from Penistone who came to watch. It was great that our match day suite was used for the first time. Hopefully they’ll come and use it every week because they got value for money and also it seemed to be a good moment so the club’s on a real high. Obviously the most important thing is three points and it sets us up nicely, going into Liversedge on Tuesday.”