Penistone Church secured their highest ever finish on Saturday with a 3-1 win at Church View Road over Staveley – a result which guarantees Ian Richards side 2nd place in the NCEL Premier Division.
“Excellent win today against a very good Staveley side. I think the pitch conditions didn’t help the quality of the football. Both teams would like to obviously play expansive football and get the ball down and play in the right areas. Both teams couldn’t do that and they had to adapt their games and both teams second-half did. I think we did that better than they did.
I thought the work rate of the lads was first class.”
“A lot of them are playing through knocks, niggles. It’s been a long season, a lot of games in a short space of time. They played through the pain barrier and they did extremely well. I also thought defensively we were – especially second half – somewhere where we should be, where we haven’t been maybe in the last few games. Even though we’ve won convincingly, defensively we haven’t been strong in our own half but today we certainly were. Especially between the edge of the penalty box and the halfway line they found it very hard to break us down in the second-half, real organisation and discipline defensively. With the ball we had to be patient when we had the opportunity.”
“We had to play methodical percentage football to get the ball in good areas, but when we did we always knew we had that quality.
“The free-kick from Jammy in the first half is a good individual piece of quality to put in the bottom corner. He saw the ‘keeper had left that gap there and finished, but the other two were of real good quality. Starting in our bottom right-hand corner, where Ryan Johnson and Jordan Coduri worked really hard to double up and stop the cross and win the ball back. The ball’s gone into Andy Ring, whose great bit of skill and quality managed to bring it through two of their midfielders. Then it’s a great weighted pass to put into Nathan; and Nathan’s pace has taken him past the centre-half, who’s dived in. Then Nath had the composure to get his head up and pick out Andy Ring at the back post, who’s cushioned his header back in. Their lad’s half sort of half-cleared to the edge and Cudz, instead of going first time, which he did in the first-half, he’s had a touch and got his rewards.”
“We managed the game really well, better than we did Wednesday and last Saturday so the players are still learning. Managed it really well, nullified any threat they had and still looked very good going forward. And the third one… again, real quality. A good win defensively and played out, taken well to get it out to James Young, four yards from their goal out on the touchline. It’s a great ball in and Andy Ring’s movement is excellent. His first touch allowed him in; his second one to flick it past the goalkeeper. A high quality goal.”
“We’ve earned that by the way we’ve worked, by the way we’ve defended, where we played the ugly side of the game, where we’ve won seconds, where we’ve played percentage football and got our rewards and it’s a great three points. It practically secures us a top two finish. If somebody had said to us at the start of the season that’s where you’d finish, you’d have snapped their hand off and it’s an unbelievable achievement. Again, scoring a hundred and nine goals. Secondly, two months ago eight teams realistically had a chance to win this League and we’ve come out of that pack with Worksop. To finish runners up from two months ago again is an unbelievable achievement, something to be celebrated.”
“So I think we should be very proud. It’s been an exceptional season. Rightly so, the best one in the Club’s history. We’ve had the smallest squad in the League. We’ve got – probably in terms of the League, in terms of one to twenty – probably about fourteenth/fifteenth in terms of budget. We’ve made the fewest number of signings in preseason. We’ve made the fewest number of signings through the season but the players’ togetherness, spirit, quality, hard work, attitude, positivity has got them where they’ve been.
“And yes, obviously we’re disappointed to not win it but since the Worksop game we’ve won five, drawn one. Since the turn of 2019 we’ve won thirteen, drawn two, lost two. So in the same space of time that Worksop have won sixteen games in a row, we’ve had champions’ form. Don’t anybody deny that! We’ve had champions’ form! We’ve made Worksop win this League. We’ve not given it to them and it’s credit to Worksop Town.
“They were 4-0 up at half-time and that’s huge credit to them. They’ve gone there with the mentality to go and win it. You’ve got to celebrate it… sorry, not celebrate it! They celebrate it for us. We congratulate them.”
“We celebrate an unbelievable season: to be top two for 90% of the season, scoring 109 goals. It’s a phenomenal achievement and it’s credit to the players. We’ve now got a two-week window, which has come at a good time for players to rest, recover, prepare but we want to win the final game of the season. We want to go out on a high. We want go out on 82 points, see if we can break the 110-goal barrier! It’s a great game to finish, against Yorkshire Amateur so we’ll be doing everything we can to win it. We won’t just relax. We want to finish on a win and nothing else.”
“But, today, everyone just celebrate another memorable day in the fabric of our football club!”
Whilst Church player Jordan Coduri added, “Firstly, I want to say well done to Worksop on winning the League. Not dropping a single point since Christmas is a great achievement. Congratulations! “We at Penistone ran them close, and in all honesty we deserved the second placed finish. I personally just want to say a massive thank you to every fan and every volunteer that’s turned up and pushed us on this season!”