The story of a cracking Toolstation NCEL Division One at Rotherham Road last night probably comes down to one side taking their chances when on top, and the other not; and as the floodlights faded on a tremendous battle, leaders Grimsby Borough had overcome a significant hurdle to see off tenth-placed Swallownest 3-1 and take a three point lead over Campion into the weekend; and both camps pretty much agreed that the winning side was the more clinical one, writes Colin Muncie.
Swallownest started the game in brilliant fashion, in front of a crowd of 65 – which included TBG’s Manager of The Month, Dronfield Town’s Chris Millington on scouting duty ahead of his side’s upcoming two League contests with Borough (and almost winning the half time raffle too) – continuing where they’d left off in that fine 4-1 win at Harworth Colliery at the weekend and put the visitors on the back foot from the off. Visiting goalkeeper Scott Drury was in great form for the Wilderness Boys, but after 25 minutes, he couldn’t hold on to Richie Williams’ fierce strike and Nathan Morritt struck to put the home side in front. Further chances came and went, with Drury the hero on two or three occasions, last minute blocks, and an offside flag preventing Swallownest from extending their advantage. The visitors aren’t top of the league for no reason, though, and with just three minutes left until the break, a shot from Jack Debnam was deflected past Josh Lill and into the bottom left hand corner.
The Swallownest tea bar did a roaring trade in the cold wind at the break with Annie Lill (picture below) celebrating her birthday behind the counter, but as the second half started, it was Grimsby Borough who seized the initiative, with Josh Lill making a couple of fine saves. Jordan Stocks and Joel Evans moved quickly to 4-4-2 in an effort to stem the tide, and the hosts got back into the contest, with Alex Lill and Ollie Grady going close when one on one with Trott from tight angles. The league leaders were still a major threat, though, and a goal line clearance denied them the lead until the 75th minute, when Daniel Trott finished from close range after the home side had given the ball away cheaply in midfield. The game grew stretched as Borough mixed long and short passing, but after Jake Squires had thundered over, Caine Winfarrah caught the home side on the break to cap a fine performance and finish the game off at 3-1. The celebrations – respectful, mind – from the visiting side told you how important they felt this win had been.
Home Manager, Jordan Stocks was disconsolate. “Frustrated is the general feeling,” he told The Bootiful Game. “We started really well, we put them on the back foot and, no exaggeration, should have had 4 goals to show for it. We all know the pitch isn’t always in good condition so we can’t use that excuse, but we need to finish teams and games off, that’s our downfall. Nobody means to miss chances but as a collective we have to address this.”
“Going in 1-1 at half-time isn’t the end of the world, so we prepped up for the second-half but didn’t show,” Jordan admitted. “We offered a very good side a route to 3 points – and good teams take it.”
“Overall the game could have finished 6-6 and maybe we deserved a point; but we have to take advantage when we are on top.”
Assistant Manager, Joel Evans, struck a similar chord. “Tonight,is a very frustrating night for myself and Jordan,” he conceded. “We should have been out of sight at half-time and anyone watching wouldn’t disagree. That’s fine margins though as the second-half was a complete contrast. We huffed and puffed but never really got going and Grimsby began to get a foothold in the game, although, we still created the odd chance.”
“The simple factor is that Grimsby took their chances and we didn’t; that’s why they are where they are in the table,” Jordan acknowledged. We go again Saturday with a local derby (at Hallam) in which we hope to do a lot better.”
Winning Manager, Daniel Barrett, didn’t argue with that assessment, but was pleased with his three-point haul after a tough game. “Last night was a hard fixture,” Daniel told TBG. “It was a proper NCEL tie. I think we were lucky to come in at 1-1 after the first half. Scott Drury kept the scoring down with a few lads putting bodies on the line, but we couldn’t have argued if it was 3-1 at half time.”
“The second-half was a different story,” Daniel explained. “We started well and without a doubt should have been home and dry but we just missed 4 or 5 glorious chances: chances we must score as you don’t know if you will get anymore. We kept knocking and got what we deserved. We introduced 3 substitutes and they got us over the line on what was a horrific surface.”
“Credit to Swallownest,” Daniel told TBG, “they never gave in and worked hard all game. They are definitely an improved side and I think if they played on a better pitch, they’d cause a lot more problems to teams.”