Penistone Church remained top of the NCEL Premier Division yesterday with a slender 1-0 win over 10-men Maltby Main in a tough encounter at Muglet Lane.
“Today was all about the result,” Church Manager Ian Richards told the waiting media. “The last two months of the season it’s about results and we got the result that we needed.”
“We started well then their player stupidly, without provocation, got himself sent off. He has that in him in his previous record and he sort of changed the game. Rather than two teams going at it they sat back a little bit. Because of the conditions with the wind and the pitch surface, it made it very hard for us to take advantage of having the extra man. Usually when you have an extra man you want to be a bit more expansive – stretch the game – so you tire them out but, because of the conditions, it was stop-start. The ball being very lively, [it was] very hard to get it down and string more than two or three passes together. We knew we’d have to be patient and maybe the last fifteen or twenty minutes was when the extra man would count.”
“Saying that, the first half I thought we were obviously on top. We were in no danger. We created a number of chances and their ‘keeper was inspired today. Excellent. Both games we’ve played against them he’s been first class and very good goalkeeping. I was very impressed, even right to the death when Andy Ring’s hit the post and it’s come out to Elliot. He’s got up from the post, quickly across and then to push the ball over so he’s kept the score very respectable.”
“But, second half, we got the relief of the goal and it’s probably one the ‘keeper thinks he could do better with, even though he’s been their man of the match. Tom Cadzow’s followed it in and just got an easy tap in from a few yards out. We got that relief and you could feel it but then it made us be… not complacent but we take our foot off and we just started to play in the wrong areas and create our own problems with some cheap free kicks. For ten or fifteen minutes it was a very even contest. You wouldn’t see there was one team with an extra man.”
“Then, as they pushed on, we got spaces and we had some good chances but their ‘keeper made some good saves. Because we kept a clean sheet you only needed that one goal to win and that’s really important. We need to make sure we continue to be defensively strong, defensively sound because if you keep a clean sheet then you obviously only need to score one goal. As games get tighter and pressure builds we must make sure we don’t give any soft goals away or make silly mistakes and the players didn’t do that today.”
“It’s a great result. Maltby have got to play four of the other top six now and they’re a hard team to break down. They’ve got some very good players. They know how to defend as a team and, today, they didn’t have the attacking form they usually do.”
“But, for us, it’s another win. We’re now down to eight games. We prepare any niggles and knocks; they’ll see Ruth. We’ll train on Wednesday. We’ll just keep ourselves ticking over, stay positive and move on to Eccleshill next week.”