Penistone Church edged a 4-3 thriller with Albion Sports at Church View Road last night to keep their title dreams and promotion well and truly alive.
In front of 201 fans, Sam Scrivens wasted no time in getting Church off the mark with just 90 seconds on the clock. Luke Aldrich then equalised for Albion on 36 minutes but centre-back and veteran Brett Lovell put Church back in the game two minutes later.
Then two early second half goals from Lamin Janneh (’53, ’63) looked to have turned the tie in Albion’s favour but Church came from behind with Tom Brennan equalising with 19 minutes left, then Ash Ellis netted the eventual winner in the 88th minute.
Church boss Ian Richards spoke to the PCFC media afterwards, “tonight was all about getting the three points and we did that, especially after Saturday and the disappointment and frustration of losing a game that we performed well in against our obvious title rivals. We talked about, before the game, that we weren’t going to hand the title to Worksop, that we were going to make them work for it and it was about winning tonight and having a reaction and cutting in to keep pressure on them. And we did that.”
“We started well with a fast start, got the goal and it did us more detriment than good. It gave them the positive. Because we broke their defensive line with a good ball and a great finish, we tried to do it too quickly, too early from too deep and kept giving the ball back or kept getting called offside. For whatever reason tonight, I don’t know why but we just did not defend well as a unit. Too many individual errors. Too many cheap free kicks. Too many times we dived in. Too many times we left ourselves one v. one in defensive areas rather than doubling up and getting across and squeezing and closing the space.”
“Sometimes it happens. I think tonight you’ve got to give respect to Albion Sports. Again I said at their place that their League position is false and I still think that and I think they’ve improved since then. They’ve got some excellent footballers going forward with real pace and technical ability that can hurt you and we allowed them to hurt us a bit. We went in at half-time 2-1. A good corner that worked well. Brett headed a good ball in by Jammy.”
“The second-half we started really well and I thought if we can get the third we’re going to relax, we’re going to enjoy it. Again, a pass is taken out in our midfield and they’ve broke down our left – their right – and the ball’s got to our person on the back post and it shouldn’t have done. It’s gone through three or four players and it’s trickled in and a really disappointing goal to concede. You then think: “Right! Reaction!” and we never really had it and again we’ve lost the ball eighteen yards from our goal, which you think is okay and the player’s run eighteen yards unopposed. We’ve not tracked runners, they’ve crossed the ball. It’s a good header but it’s too easy. It’s far too easy and it’s something we’ve got to work on because it isn’t like us and it’s not Penistone Church. Conceding three goals isn’t like us so we know we’ve got to do better in those areas.”
“But the character, the resilience and the desire, the hunger to not die and roll over and be defeated was first class. We chucked on the substitutes, who all had an impact in their own way, which allowed us get back into it. A great ball by Sam Scrivens and headed in by Tom Brennan to get us back to 3-all. Then we didn’t stop going and we kept going. We’ve gone in from a throw in. Brett’s gone up and it’s come out to Ash. An excellent drive at them to draw the defenders. He’s put it through to Brett and you’d have put your mortgage on Brett scoring! The ‘keeper’s put him to ground and he’s still put in an eye for a corner and he’s put it straight at him. Fortunately for us it’s bounced up. Ash had continued his run. He’s done a fantastic volley into the net with great power and venom and got the deserved winner.”
“Albion Sports… I think they should have got at least a point, probably three points, from it. I’m not going to argue that, just like I thought on Saturday, we should have got more out of it but, ultimately at this stage of the season, it’s about results. It’s the business end and we’ve got the result. We’ve got that response and we’ve got that confidence back into us and we need to take that forward now into Saturday’s game against Athersley Rec.”