Sunday, 31 March 2013

Glasshoughton Welfare chairman Phil Riding hails successful NCEL Ground Hop day

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Ecstatic Glasshoughton Welfare chairman Phil Riding has hailed the annual Northern Counties East League Easter Ground Hop day as a success after 307 people flocked to Leeds Road to see his club play Nostell Miners Welfare.
Football fans from countries including Denmark, Sweden and Germany saw Glasshoughton win their crucial Premier Division clash 2-0 on Friday morning.
Riding was delighted and paid tribute to the organisers.
“It was fantastic to see so many people and there was a great atmosphere,” he said.
“I think it is what most non-league clubs at our level aspire to, wanting to get gates like that week-in-week-out. It was a great day and I think the ground-hoppers enjoyed their visit to Glasshoughton.
“We as a club will sit down and look back on what we did well and what we can improve on. I had some fantastic feedback from the ground-hoppers and I think from 307 people, myself and the committee did not have one complaint. Hopefully the good PR that comes from it will put a few more on the gate for the next home game.
“It has been a wonderful experience for us as a club and I would like to thank the NCEL officials and the Ground-Hoppers organisation on arranging such a wonderful day for the whole day. It brings national exposure for the league and they should be applauded for their hard work.”

Farsley AFC manager Neil Parsley slams Evo Stik League season extension

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Farsley AFC manager Neil Parsley has criticised the Evo Stik Northern League’s decision to extend the Evo Stik Division One North season.
Farsley’s season will now finish on May 4th when Bamber Bridge will visit Throstle Nest – a game which has been moved from April 9th.
The Evo Stik claim the recent winter weather has left them no choice with some clubs still having to play 12 games before the original April 27th deadline.
Parsley, whose side have eight matches to play, believes the Evo Stik didn’t think the decision through and didn’t think of other counter measures to curb the strain on clubs who were struggling to fit their fixtures in.  
“I think it is a poor decision and has a financial implication on sides and it is an easy get-out for the league,” he said.
“They should have made teams play Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday if need be and let teams register more players. If teams are struggling to get their games in and that’s the way it has to be. I think the league have just dived in and made an easy decision.
“It is a strain on the finances of certain clubs because they have to pay an extra week’s wages to the players and a strain to the spectators who may have a long journey fitted in because of fixture re-scheduling.”
As a player, Parsley played in the Football League for Huddersfield Town, West Brom and Exeter City before moving back into non-league football with Witton Albion and then Guiseley.
He has managed Guiseley, North Ferriby United in his management career and has never encountered this scenario before.
Parsley also suggested starting the 2013-14 season earlier than normal to avoid a repeat situation next year. The Evo Stik campaign usually kicks off on the third Saturday of August.  
“This season extension is the first time I have experienced one and I find it unprofessional,” he said.
“I’ve played on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and a Saturday. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to do it again, but if that’s the situation you find yourself in then that’s what you’d have to do.
“People struggle at work to meet deadlines and they have to work the overtime so why extend deadlines? Starting next season earlier is an option or play more mid-week games.
“The weather has been dreadful this season and I have full sympathy in that respect for the league. I also don’t want to see teams who have good cup runs get penalised because the league fixtures get forfeited for a cup game.
“I want teams to be successful and good representation for this league in cup competitions, of course I do, but the rules are still there and we have to abide by the rules.”

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Gareth Grant strike hands Farsley AFC away win at Ramsbottom United

Ramsbottom United 1-2 Farsley AFC
By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HERE
If Farsley AFC had played like they did against Ramsbottom United all season long, Neil Parsley’s men would have been challenging for the title. It was a vintage away performance against a team that were hot on the heels of leaders Skelmersdale United before the game in second-place in the Evo Stik Division One North table.
Farsley hadn’t won since the 2nd February so the omens didn’t look good. Farsley did ride their luck and goalkeeper Tom Morgan was their man of the match. Inside the opening 20 minutes Ramsbottom’s Lee Gaskell had a shot cleared off the line before Morgan denied Gary Stopforth and then Phillip Dean rattled the crossbar.
Ramsbottom looked good value, but Farsley dug-in and went a goal ahead just before the break. Ryan Harrison’s floating free kick landed kindly for centre-half Matt Dempsey and he headed home from close range.
Now what I didn’t mention was that there were tensions in the first half, mainly due to a string of poor decisions from all three officials. And as the sides were drifting into the tunnel at half-time, the Ramsbottom joint-manager Anthony Johnson showed himself to be a bit of an idiot. He needlessly squared-up to Farsley management and caused a mini-brawl. He did a similar thing at Throstle Nest last September so it was hardly a surprise when he started behaving like it was a Sunday morning match and shouting “let me at him” as sparks began to fly.
It did provide some entertainment for the 446 strong crowd. Ramsbottom had launched an initiative to try and achieve an attendance of 1000 for the game and did really well to get nearly 500. But as Ramsbottom is a small and tight ground, it was probably a good thing they didn’t. It was rammed with 446 so had they reached 1000, it would have been a game of sardines. It nearly was with 446 people. You simply can’t fit 1000 people in the Riverside Stadium.
No action was taken over the brawl at half-time and Ramsbottom equalised in the 57th minute when Jon Robinson twisted and turned in the penalty area to score. Minutes later Morgan turned away a Dominic Smalley header as Ramsbottom turned the screw.
But, Farsley weathered the storm and the help of Neil Parsley’s inspirational substitution, they got the winner. Stalwart Gareth Grant replaced Adam Priestley and within eight minutes of coming on, the striker had scored.
Matty James was the provider, the playmaker showing the tricks he has stored in his lock erwith a deft pass which opened the door for Grant. He still had a lot to do, but he made the chance look easy with a curling finish which crashed off the stanchion and into the net.
Farsley had further chances to seal the win, but Grant’s moment of genius was enough ahead of a local derby with Harrogate Railway on Easter Monday.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Glasshoughton Welfare beat Nostell Miners Welfare in crucial NCEL Groundhoppers day fixture

Glasshoughton Welfare 2-0 Nostell Miners Welfare
By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HERE
Glasshoughton Welfare took a giant leap towards securing Northern Counties East League Premier Division safety in front of a bumper 307 crowd on the NCEL Easter Ground Hoppers day.
Football fans from Sweden, Germany and Denmark flocked to Leeds Road to see a Wayne Ball own goal and a late strike from Tom Woolard (pictured above) earn Welfare a deserved victory and second consecutive Premier Division win.
Under-strength Glasshoughton also had a Darrell Young penalty saved by Nostell Miners Welfare goalkeeper Josh Proctor during the second half, but that did not detract from a vital win.
And Glasshoughton manager Rob Hunter (pictured below) admitted that victory was of huge importance as he looks to rebuild the Leeds Road outfit for next season.
“It was a great result for us as Nostell were in a great position to finish above us so we’re really pleased to get the three points when we were also struggling for players,” he said.
“We had seven players unavailable so we had a little bit of a scratched team and Andy Sunley, who came off the bench, that is the first time he has played at this level in two years. He broke his leg playing for Tadcaster against Scarborough almost two years to the day so it was great to see him playing.
“But it was a crucial result because Nostell and Armthorpe are the closest teams around us so that puts a bit of air between the two teams.
“There is still work to do because it is not just about the amount of points we get this year.
“I believe we will be safe. However, it is about building. We (Hunter and assistant Mark Smitheringale) have been here ten or eleven games now and some of the players have done really well, while some have moved on because they haven’t done so well. We know we have to bring some new players in during the summer and I’m saying to the players we have now that you have to fight for a shirt next season.”

The current players played their heart out against a poor Nostell side, who could only manage two real chances all game. Glasshoughton, who had Liam Tuck, Paul James and Dave Ward among their absentees, had three attempts cleared off the goal-line and were deserved winners.
Hunter agreed that it was a poor match, but he was thrilled with his own side’s display.
“It wasn’t fantastic as a spectacle, but the conditions were really difficult,” he said.
“It was so difficult along with the 11 o’clock kick off and we managed to get every player here at least an hour before the game. It wasn’t easy. I know it’s a Bank Holiday, but at 11 o’clock on a Friday morning you’re still in work mode and you’re not quite ready. It seemed like a Sunday morning match at times.
“Although there was a big crowd watching the game, the majority of people were neutrals so it wasn’t a game where the crowd’s atmosphere tried to create something.
“But, I thought we worked really hard, the back four were outstanding. Freddie Swales (pictured above), 19-years-old at centre-half was absolutely outstanding along with Blaine Kellet who played the holding midfield role and has played in the reserves all season.”
With former Guiseley frontman Robert Pell (pictured below) leading the attack, Glasshoughton were dangerous and his experience was a key factor in the victory. Pell was involved at all times. Former Farsley reserve team goalkeeper Proctor needed to parry away one of his free kicks and was grateful to one of his defenders for clearing another Pell attempt off-the-line.
Glasshoughton had to ride one storm on the hour when Darren Rushton’s shot cannoned back off the post. But that was all Alan Colquhoun’s Nostell had to offer and the breakthrough for the home side came on 66 minutes. The ball was played over the top of the Nostell defence with Matt Stirland looking to latch onto it. Nostell defender Ball (pictured below) stepped across and got a touch on the ball on the 18-yard-line. But unfortunately for him, it was too much contact and the ball trickled past the helpless Proctor and into the bottom corner, with the help of the post.
Glasshoughton scented blood and pushed for a killer second goal. They should have got it with ten minutes to go. Ryan Waugh was adjudged to have handled the ball in a goal-mouth scramble giving Glasshoughton the chance to score from the penalty spot. Young stepped up and fired low, but Proctor made an excellent save to his left and then gathered the rebound.
In the closing stages Nostell failed to test the Glasshoughton defence, despite being a goal down and the clock ticking towards the final whistle. But they were still throwing bodies forward, allowing openings for Pell and Woolard, who took advantage of one in the final minute. The ex-Farsley Celtic and Tadcaster Albion forward broke clear and kept his composure to score his fourth goal since arriving at Glasshoughton in January.
Relief was evident around Leeds Road and Hunter and his team celebrated a win that is likely to ensure Premier Division football for next season ahead of a trip to Staveley next week. It leaves Nostell with more to work to do in their battle to avoid the drop.
Glasshoughton Welfare: Wetherell, Beaston, Nodder (captain), Kellet (Sunley 73), Swales, Chappell, McGrory, Young, Pell, Woolard, Stirland. Subs unused: Slater, Robson.
Nostell Miners Welfare: Proctor, Rutter, Ball, Rothera (T Hope 74), Waugh, J Hope (M Brooke 86), Nicholas, Rushton, Redford, Marchant, Pearson (A Brooke 80). Subs unused: Jackson.
Referee: D Street (Normanton)
Attendance: 307
Man of the match: Robert Pell (Glasshoughton Welfare)

Ossett Town boss Craig Elliott aiming to be top half hit

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
With 11 games remaining, Ossett Town boss Craig Elliott has eyes firmly focussed on an Evo Stik Division One North top half finish.  
Ossett lie in 14th, five points away from 12th placed Farsley AFC with two games in hand during Elliott’s first season in charge at Ingfield.
Elliott, whose side won 1-0 at Curzon Ashton on Monday night, has achieved two of his targets and wants his team to complete the job to round off the campaign. The former Glasshoughton Welfare manager also reflected on the last ten months.
“The aim for the last 11 games is to get in the top 12 and if we can do that then I would be delighted with the season,” he said.
“My aim when I took over was to have a couple of good runs which we did in the Trophy and the County Cup and get a top half finish. If we can do that, I’ll be really happy and it is still in our hands. If we can win six or seven games out of the last 11 then we should be able to do it.
“I’m not going to lie, it has been a stop-start season in terms of injuries and suspensions and me having to trial more players than I would have liked. But I’ve learnt a lot so progress-wise I know what is needed to improve and make us better for next year. Me personally, I know what type of players we need. This year I’ve probably tried too many players. I brought a lot of players up a few divisions and some of them haven’t been good enough, while some of them have.”
In November Elliott guided Town to the First Round proper of the FA Trophy and took his team to former Football League giants Stockport County. It is a moment he will look back with fond memories.
“The FA Trophy run is something to look back on – it is a real highlight as it was the furthest Ossett Town has gone in it and to get a big team like Stockport made it a great day for everyone,” he said.
“We also did well in the County Cup and I was really gutted to lose in the semi-final, but we came across such a good team like Halifax.”
Ossett’s success has not been just restricted to the cup competitions. Exciting forward Jimmy Eyles has been a revelation since arriving from Nostell Miners Welfare and Elliott hopes to hang onto for next season.
“He has been brilliant and a big success,” he said.
“He is 21-years-old and we got him from Nostell who are struggling in the Northern Counties East League. He’s come and he has been brilliant on his day. Not just with his goals, I think he has scored 12 goals in 16 games, but his performances have been excellent.
“He is exciting to watch and I hope we can keep him next year because I know a few teams have been looking at him.”
Elliott is now slowly planning for the summer and when asked on whether the play-offs were the target for the 2013-14 campaign, Elliott said: “I wouldn’t say as far as that, but obviously you try and aim as high as you can.
“If we can get top half this year and say to ourselves ‘can we be a top seven side next year’, you never know. What I would say is that I don’t think there is much in the league this year apart from the top couple of teams. I think anyone can beat anyone on any day. I can’t see that being any different next year. It’s about consistency for anyone.”

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Jamie Peacock goes from hero to villain as Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls draw

Leeds Rhinos 18-18 Bradford Bulls
By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Jamie Peacock went from hero to villain as Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls shared the spoils in a pulsating Super League encounter at Headingley Carnegie.
Former Bulls prop Peacock scored a tremendous try to put the Rhinos 18-12 ahead in the second half before his petulance denied Kevin Sinfield a crucial drop goal.
Peacock was then sin-binned with two minutes left on the clock for a professional foul which allowed Adam Sidlow to crash over the try-line to secure the Bulls a deserved point.
Considering the start the Bulls endured to the match they would have taken it – Leeds scoring and converting their first try within 24 seconds of the kick off.
Sinfield’s kick-off took an awkward bounce in front of the Bulls’ posts and fell nicely back into Rhinos’ hands. And on the second tackle, Kallum Watkins was over and Leeds were dreaming of a heavy win.
But, momentum swung into Bradford’s favour after Ryan Hall’s try was ruled out due to Jamie Jones-Buchanan being offside. From Jamie Foster’s fine individual play, Adrian Purtell levelled the scores midway through the first half. Further Bulls pressure told when
Leeds responded and ensured that it was 12-12 going into half-time. Interchange Mitch Achurch, with only his second touch of the ball, forced his way over the Bulls try-line – the try given after a brief look from the video referee.
Leeds continued to press with vigour as the second half begun and a succession of penalties against Bradford opened the door. Peacock, in his 50th appearance in this fixture, bulldozed his way through the Bulls defence and showed sheer brute force to plant the ball down for 18-12 on 53 minutes.
The Rhinos then had to survive a relentless Bulls attack and seemed on course for the win until the game began to get tasty on the tackles front. A dangerous challenge by Elliott Whitehead on Jones-Buchanan triggered a lively five minutes with referee Phil Bentham handling the situation brilliantly.
However, the experienced Peacock then stupidly got involved with a Bulls defender just as Sinfield kicked over a drop goal, which would have effectively sealed the game. Bentham penalised him and Leeds never got another chance to attack.
Bradford knew they had one chance left and when Peacock was sent packing for his professional foul on Brett Kearney, the Bulls had it – Sidlow made himself the hero to send the Bulls’ supporters delirious.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Why Paulo DiCanio must not be the next Leeds United manager

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Nigel Adkins’ appointment as the new Reading manager has meant that the controversial figure Paulo DiCanio is now the bookies’ favourite to take over from Neil Warnock.
But, such a move by GFH Capital would trigger the eruption of a volcano that is already on the verge of erupting. DiCanio, an admitted fascist, being given the job would upset a number of supporters and may even cause a small boycott.
Leeds United is a Jewish club in its roots and heritage and the sight of DiCanio as manager at Elland Road would be a punch in the face to its history. The success Don Revie enjoyed in the 1960s and 70s was mainly funded by rich Jewish businessmen, such as Manny Cussins so the arrival of DiCanio would be seen as a betrayal of the past.
DiCanio’s political views are not welcome at Elland Road, but is he even qualified to take on the role of leading Leeds to Premier League? All DiCanio has on his CV is a promotion out of League Two with Swindon. He has no experience of managing a Championship club.
He is too much of a gamble in a number of ways. The recently-departed Swindon chief executive described his reign as like managing with a hand grenade. As Leeds fans, we want to see our team back in the top flight, we don’t want to be reading headlines about our manager every day of the week. Swindon were a struggling League Two club when DiCanio took charge. He re-ignited interest in their club, Swindon needed someone like him. Leeds does not.  
So the message to GFH Capital, appoint DiCanio if you wish. But you will pay a steep price.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Leeds United: The runners and riders to replace Neil Warnock

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
With Nigel Adkins on the verge of being appointed the new Reading manager, Leeds have missed out on one of their best candidates for the manager’s job when Neil Warnock steps down. Adkins was sacked by Southampton earlier this year after two successive promotions with the Saints and was widely seen as the man to take the Whites back to the Premier League.
Sports Performer accesses the other (in no particular order) candidates:

Gus Poyet – Skybet odds 7/1
Poyet is an outsider, but does have an affinity to Leeds after being Dennis Wise’s assistant six years ago. However, Poyet is in a comfortable position at Brighton and has money to spend as the Brighton hierarchy persuaded him to turn down the advances of Reading. Poyet is probably an unviable option to Leeds as it would cost a fortune to compensate Brighton.
Likelihood – Unlikely
Paulo DiCanio – Skybet odds 3/1
GFH would be mad to appoint such a character. The Swindon chief executive described his reign at the County Ground as like managing with a hand grenade. Leeds don’t the need the publicity Di Canio brings. Swindon needed someone like that to reignite the interest in their club. Leeds need a manager who will quietly get them into the Premier League without fuss. But will GFH see it that way?
Likelihood – Possible
Phil Parkinson – Skybet odds 25/1
Parkinson has done a magnificent job at Bradford City in the sense of getting them to the League Cup final. However, he has not achieved his objective of getting them promotion. The Leeds job would be a step too far for him at the moment. Parkinson also failed at Hull City when he was given a shot at the chance of managing a Championship club in 2006.
Likelihood - Unlikely
Steve McClaren – Skybet odds 25/1
As Leeds fan, McClaren could be seen as the perfect fit for Leeds. Currently unemployed after leaving FC Twente would require no compensation, which would attract GFH. But, he does have black marks. The England experience is one and the other is the calamitous short spell in the Championship with Nottingham Forest.
Likelihood - Possible
Alan Curbishley – Skybet odds 28/1
Curbishley would be a steady choice, but he has been out of the game for four years since leaving West Ham. However, he’s a respected figure and would have the backing of the players from day one.
Likelihood - Likely
Owen Coyle – Skybet odds 14/1
Coyle is a manager who likes to get his teams playing football in the right way. He took a club like Burnley into the Premier League by passing the ball and this style of play would be welcomed by Leeds fans. Neil Warnock likes to play route one football which has infuriated them. He’s available and certainly worth an interview.
Likelihood - Possible
Karl Robinson – Skybet odds 25/1
MK Dons boss Robinson was linked to the job when Simon Grayson left. But he’s still probably not ready for the step-up. Had MK Dons won promotion last season, Robinson would be a viable candidate. He’s one for the future, but he's not the man for this moment.
Likelihood - Unlikely
Gareth Southgate – Skybet odds 16/1
A likeable and media friendly guy, Southgate can talk a good game. But does his managerial credentials fit the bill for Leeds? Probably not. Southgate is someone who would impress at any interview, but Leeds need someone with proper managerial experience. He managed Middlesbrough in the Premier League, but all he managed to achieve was getting them relegated. GFH need to look elsewhere.
Likelihood - Possible
Brian McDermott – Skybet odds N/A
He got Reading up under the radar. That makes McDermott an ideal man to lead Leeds to the Premier League. Quiet and unassuming, McDermott would make Leeds a team that people like and respect and he would go about his business without fuss. GFH have to take a look.
Likelihood - Likely

Adel Players hope Ghosts will be a success

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Adel Players will continue their tradition of “challenging” productions when Henrik Ibsen's classic play Ghosts premiers at the end of April.
Following on from the success of Bedroom Farce in January, chairman Dianne Newby, who plays the lead role of Mrs Alving, admits the amateur dramatic group try to push themselves.
And Ghosts represents a difficult play to produce, according to Dianne.
“It’s a challenging play in terms of setting, theme and language,” she said.
“It is an adventurous play, but it’s a classic and we tend to do challenging plays as we have done plays likes The Lady in the Van and Taking Sides.
“It’s a play which is serious, but it does have comedy within and a lot of the issues in it are very valid today.
“It was written in 1881 and it caused a furore when it was first staged.
“All I would say is come and see it if you have never seen it before.”
Ghosts revolves around untold family truths and Mrs Alving’s decision to send her son Oswald (Chris Andrews) abroad and without giving too much away, Dianne gave an overview of the play.  
“It’s about family values and a woman who sends her son away to Paris and away from the family environment,” she said.
“When he comes back, she the decision made comes back to haunt her.
“She realises what she has done to her son, in the best intentions, may have been a mistake.”
Directed by Beth Duce, Ghosts runs from Wednesday 24 to Saturday 27 April at 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £7 and can be booked by email at

Why the Conference have to sacrifice Wembley and extend season

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)

The weather throughout this season has been freakish to say the least. The wettest summer for 100 years wrecked a number of club’s pitches and caused them to have postponements early on in the season. Then snow in March, yes snow in March, has meant the 2012-13 season is limping to a finish with teams struggling to fulfil all their games.
The Evo Stik Northern League and the Northern Counties East League have averted a possible disaster by extending their seasons to May 4th. This should be enough time for clubs to fit fixtures in. The Conference should follow suit.
However, it is are resisting the call and arguably putting unnecessary pressure on their teams. The showpiece play-off final at Wembley on May 5th is the key to all the problems. It cannot be moved because of the Champions League final taking place two weeks later. Because of when the final is, the Conference Premier campaign ends on April 20th. With snow likely to create more postponements this week, it leaves the likes of Newport County, Ebbsfleet and Gateshead having to fit in up to ten games in the next three weeks.
They will have to play Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday minimum to get them in. It is unfair on everyone – the clubs, players, supporters, even referees. From Thursday night games, club are unlikely to make any money – who wants to turn out on a cold night, especially if their team has just played at home on the Saturday and Tuesday. We are in a deep recession, no-one is flush with cash – supporters or clubs. Conference clubs don’t 30-man squads. What does Newport County manager Justin Edinburgh do if he picks up five injuries on a Tuesday night match when they are due to play on the Thursday evening.
The Conference likes to be seen as a professional league, but teams playing nearly every night of the week looks amateurish, especially if they are struggling to field a team.
The Conference Premier clubs need at least one more week to sensibly fit their games in. As a one-off, Wembley has to be sacrificed and an alternative venue has to be found. It would be nice for it to be played there, but the weather has made life almost impossible for clubs.
For the integrity of the league, the Conference has to bite the bullet and accept that Wembley is not viable this year.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Northern Counties East League Easter Hop preview

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Glasshoughton Welfare chairman Phil Riding has praised Northern Counties East League officials ahead of the Easter Hop initiative next week.
Local football enthusiasts will be treated to eight specially-timed NCEL matches over three days – starting with AFC Emley’s Division One home clash with Bottesford Town on Thursday night.
Glasshoughton’s crucial Premier Division clash with local neighbours and fellow relegation strugglers Nostell Miners Welfare is the next fixture on the list – taking place at Leeds Road on Friday morning at 11am. The hop then moves onto matches at Pontefract Collieries, Hemsworth Miners Welfare and Athersley Recreation.
The final three games are the following day and they begin at Bridlington before Pickering Town’s home game with Worksop Paramore then the hop’s final match at Tadcaster Albion on the Saturday night.
Glasshoughton’s average attendance is 66 and the hop is likely to provide bumper crowds and much-needed revenue for the teams involved and Riding is fully in support of it.
“The NCEL officials deserve a lot of credit because they are working ever so hard behind the scenes and it is important their work gets recognised,” he said.
“They have brought recognition to the NCEL League with the Ground-Hop day and I hope they get rewarded with a good day out. It will be a fantastic day and we’re pleased to be recognised by the league and to be involved in the day.
“We believe there will be one to one and half full coaches and anything between 70 and 140 ground-hoppers. So we may get 200 for the game which would be financially welcome income. It is a really positive thing, but let’s not forget that there is a football match to be played and there is a lot at stake in it. It is a mammoth game and the pressure is really on.”  
After four games without a win, Rob Hunter’s men beat Long Eaton United 2-1 after two goals from Darrell Young last Saturday to edge closer to safety. Glasshoughton currently sit in 16th, six points ahead of Nostell who are four points ahead of the relegation zone.
Weather-permitting, Armthorpe Welfare is next up on Saturday and Riding admits that the trip to Armthorpe and the Ground-hop day clash with Nostell are crucial matches.
“We had a mammoth win on Saturday,” he said. “We hadn’t played well in the last two games against Arnold and Winterton, but we managed to get a good win against Long Eaton and it has given the club a big lift.
“We’re coming down to the business end of the season and we’re on 33 points now and I think we need a couple of wins to be safe. It’s in our hands.
“We have Armthorpe on Saturday which is a winnable game, but the flipside is that if we lose the next two games then the gap closes and the pressure is back on.”
All admissions on the day of the game will be charged £5 as there is no concession price.
However, advance tickets may be purchased for £3.00 from the Club at all Glassshoughton first and second team games before the fixture.
For full list of the Easter Groundhop fixtures and more details see the NCEL website.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ex Leeds United man Mark Jackson on why Nigel Adkins is the man to replace Neil Warnock as Whites manager

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Former Leeds United defender Mark Jackson believes Nigel Adkins is the perfect choice to replace Neil Warnock, if the Whites manager steps down at the end of the season.
Jackson, currently assistant manager at Evo Stik Division One North outfit Farsley AFC, played for Scunthorpe United when Adkins was the physio at Glanford Park under Brian Laws.
Adkins, who is believed to be still negotiating his pay-off from Southampton, took over as Scunthorpe manager in 2006 before taking charge at Southampton in 2010.
He led the Saints to back-to-back promotions and into the Premier League and Jackson is convinced that Adkins has the right attributes to lead Leeds.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Nigel for a number of years at Scunthorpe, this was obviously before he went into his managerial post at Scunthorpe and into the public eye,” he said.
“During my time at Scunthorpe when he was the physiotherapist, you could see something in him which has brought him to the managerial table. You saw his philosophy on how he likes his teams to play, his man-management of players and the psychology which is really important.
“He is really positive in everything he does and you see in the interviews he does on Sky Sports that he really is. He’s a forward-thinking manager, a new breed of manager. He is a manager who likes to embrace new ideas and new tactics and not afraid to try something new.
“I think a manager like that is what the game needs now and me being a Leeds supporter, who has been lucky to play for them in the past, I would love to see the days when they were competing in the Premier League back.
“I think a manager of that calibre and a forward-thinking vision would be the man to take them there.”
As a player, Jackson broke through the ranks at Leeds and played 19 times under George Graham in 1997 before moving onto Scunthorpe, Kidderminster, Rochdale and then Farsley in 2007.
He has moved into coaching himself and he points to the success Adkins enjoyed at Southampton as another key reason to why he would like to see him in the Elland Road hotseat.
“There is a lot of luck in management, you drop lucky at the right time, but the way he conducts himself and the way he gets his teams playing is something I like,” he said.
“He gets all his players to buy into what he is doing.
“They may not be the most talented players in the world, with all due respect to them. But if you get them all playing a way and all believing in themselves then you can achieve things. Southampton’s achievements were obviously getting to the Premier League.
“I follow his career and I like what he does and I think Leeds United needs someone like that now.”
Warnock has confirmed in the last few weeks that he won’t be the United manager next season if the club are still in the Championship for the 2013-14 campaign.
Leeds have slipped away from the play-offs in the last two months and Warnock has openly said that he has discussed his successor with the owner GFH Capital.
Leeds and Warnock had huge hopes for promotion this year and Jackson admitted he had believed that Warnock would lead United to promotion.  
“It has not panned out the way they hoped and I thought when Neil Warnock was taken on, he was the right man for the job,” he said.
“He had a track record of getting teams promoted and I remember speaking to someone over the phone and saying that I didn’t think it was a long-term thing to get Neil Warnock in. I don’t think he (Warnock) saw it that way. But for whatever reason it hasn’t panned out this year.
“People talk about budgets, but I do think Leeds suffer from the respect of teams coming to Elland Road, a fantastic stadium, and upping their game every time. And we probably haven’t got the quality of players that we need to get us out of the Championship just yet.
“We still have a chance of the play-offs, but it is slipping away so now might be the time to start thinking about the future.”

Success eludes Farsley AFC after Matlock Town Doodson Sport Cup defeat

By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Silverware will elude Farsley AFC for a second consecutive season after the 3-1 Doodson Sport Cup quarter-final defeat at Matlock Town. For a campaign that began with such high hopes, the last eight Evo Stik Division One North games will finish with a whimper when compared with last year’s play-offs charge.
The change to a 4-3-3 system did not work and big-name new signings like defenders Rob Pacey and Aaron Hardy weren’t successful – both had left Throstle Nest by December. Then manager Neil Parsley had to cope with injuries to players such as Simeon Bambrook, Ben Jones and Mark Jackson.
However, while success has not been forthcoming, Parsley is already rebuilding his squad for next season. He has the base of a good defence in James Riley, Ryan Serrant and Matt Dempsey, along with youngster Rob Etherington (pictured above) who had a coming of age at Matlock. Etherington had to cope with Massiah McDonald, a player who Football League are looking at. The striker is a handful and Etherington made some fantastic tackles and showed huge confidence by bringing the ball forward himself at times.
In midfield, the deadwood has been cleared out. Robbie O’Brien (pictured above) is a major signing, having been the backbone of the Bradford Park Avenue for the last few years. Parsley also has classy wingers in Ryan Harrison and Steve Mallory along with Bambrook who is still a class act. Upfront, Gareth Grant is still banging the goals in, but key to next season could be the retention of Adam Priestley, who is on the verge of scoring 30 goals.
More quality is obviously needed and if Parsley can bring those players in, success will come and Farsley will win games like Matlock away. The cup clash on Tuesday night was lost in the first 20 minutes – James Ashmore and Lewis McMahon scoring.
But it should be said that it was a good performance from Farsley in the second half – a 45 minutes which were extremely competitive and provided plenty of entertainment for the 126 watching. The referee adopted an ‘anything goes’ rule with the official deciding not to punish stamps, diving alongside a string of incorrect decisions.
Gareth Grant scored a fine goal to bring Farsley back into the match at 3-1, a couple of minutes after McDonald had headed home Matlock’s third. But, as Farsley tried to find a way back, shots from Harrison, Bambrook and Chris Walton were kept out as Matlock held on to secure a semi-finals spot.
Farsley now have to take their second half performance in Saturday’s trip to New Mills as they look to end their barren run which stands at seven games.
Match highlights below:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Missed Chances Cost Farsley AFC in New Mills Defeat

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Two goals from Daniel Douglas-Pringle ensured New Mills won the first leg of the double-header Evo Stik Division One North matches with Farsley AFC.
Farsley were desperately unlucky having been the better side, but Neil Parsley’s team will rue the amount of wasted chances.
The result strengthens New Mills’ bid for a top five place and gives them the psychological edge over Farsley when the two sides meet again at Church Lane next Saturday.

The match itself was far from a classic. Despite being low on confidence after five games without a win, Farsley looked dangerous going forward. Adam Priestley had two good chances before scoring on 20 minutes after he rounded the New Mills goalkeeper.
But, Farsley’s frailties in midfield and defence were soon exposed when New Mills equalised just six minutes later. David Fitzpatrick was allowed time and space down the left and he saw his effort cannon back off the crossbar. The home defence failed to react and Douglas-Pringle lashed a strike into the bottom corner past Tom Morgan.
However, apart from the winner and one more chance at the start of the second half when Morgan pulled off a great save to keep the scores level, that was all New Mills had to offer.
Farsley had plenty of chances to score. Ryan Harrison went close with a header at the far post. Gareth Grant was guilty of a bad miss after being put through on goal. The striker and Priestley then both had efforts well-saved
And with time drawing to a close, the signs that New Mills would win it were there. They got the goal on 77 minutes. Fitzpatrick was again involved and his whipped cross found Douglas-Pringle waiting who simply headed the ball past Morgan from close range.
While there were negatives, there were a few positives. Among them were the referee's performance. The referee Craig Grundy (pictured above) had a superb game. He had full control of the game and was there on hand for every major decision. All the players respected him and he only needed to show two yellow cards. Craig is an example to all referees young and old on how to referee a football match properly. In a day and age when yellow cards are handed out like confetti, young referees should watch Craig referee and see alternative methods to dishing cards out. If only there were more like him.
From a Farsley perspective, it was a much better display and a win at Matlock Town in the Doodson Cup on Tuesday night will help get the confidence back.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Review: La Cage Aux Folles

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Wanting to raise the bar was the reason behind why Yeadon Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society’s chose La Cage Aux Folles as their spring production. A brave move, some would say, based on the tools needed like sets, costumes and male dancers. But the decision has been a masterstroke as YAODS have produced a fabulous musical.
Colourful, humorous, mixed with fine acting and memorable musical numbers, such as Gloria Gaynor’s What Are What We Are, La Cage will live long in the memory for years to come. While the two main stars deserve the plaudits, there were superb performances from the whole cast and crew.
The chemistry of the leading men Georges (David Kirk) and Albin/ZaZa (Andrew Walton) ensure that La Cage’s star shines brightly throughout the production.
Kirk, who enjoyed a fantastic stage presence, is magnificent. His never-wavering smile and facial expressions light up the stage and the audience enjoy watching him perform. Walton, who has the harder task of dressing up in drag, is equal to him. Walton, who admitted it was his hardest role yet, is ZaZa, a world-renowned and temperamental drag artist.
The story is easy to follow. Gay couple Georges and Albin are enjoying life running their famous drag club, until Georges’ son Jean-Michel (Rob Durkin) announces his engagement to the daughter (Emma Fearnley) of a far-right politician. Albin is initially told he will have to be ‘uncle Al’ and ‘play it straight’ for when fiancĂ©e’s parents come for tea as Jean-Michel’s real mother will be there. In one of the most memorable scenes, Georges tries to teach Albin how to be a straight man and act like John Wayne.
All is going well until Jean-Michel’s mother fails to show which Albin forcing back into the role of ZaZa and become mother. And this is when the comedy reaches boiling point as Georges and Albin try, but fail to act normal towards Dindon (Garth Rookes), who soon sees through them, leading to a hilarious finale.
Alongside Walton and Kirk, the butler Jacob (Greg Silverwood) enjoys the limelight with a marvellous performance as Albin’s faithful ‘maid’. Jacob has his fair share of one-liners and the audience love his role.  
While the main actors take credit, praise should be reserved for the dancers, orchestra and backstage crew who ensured the difficult production went without a hitch. YAODS knew it would be tough, but La Cage has been a huge all-round success.   
Yeadon audiences have been given a treat and La Cage will be a hard act to follow next year when Me and My Girl will be performed at Yeadon Town Hall.
The bar has been set.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Match Report: Leeds United 1-1 Peterborough United

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Leeds United’s hopes of reaching the Championship play-offs hang in the balance following a disappointing 1-1 draw with relegation strugglers Peterborough United at Elland Road.
A second half equaliser from man-of-the-match Sam Byram rescued a point after in-form Peterborough striker Dwight Gayle had put the visitors ahead on 15 minutes.
And boos rang out at the final whistle as Peterborough finished the stronger side.
The result leaves Leeds five points off the play-offs with only nine games remaining.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock had warned his players not to under-estimate Peterborough and they clearly hadn’t listened as Darren Ferguson’s men made a fine start to the match.
Gayle saw an effort cannon back off the crossbar just minutes before he held off Leeds captain Lee Peltier and fired his shot past Paddy Kenny and into the top corner.
Gayle, who has made an impressive start to life with Peterborough since his move from Dagenham and Redbridge, caused endless problems for Peltier and Tom Lees, who would have to withdraw due to injury in the first half.
His replacement Jason Pearce then wasted four guilt-edge chances in the last 60 minutes – including a close range header when the goal was gaping.
But Leeds knew they could find a way back into the match. The Peterborough defence looked vulnerable and were making careless mistakes.The goalkeeper Robert Olejnik looked a bag of nerves and was suspect with his kicking and throwing ability.
However, forward talisman Steve Morison, double goal-scorer at Crystal Palace, was being kept under lock and key by defender Gabriel Zakuani.
So when Warnock brought off Morison and replaced him with El-Hadji Diouf at half-time, it breathed new life into Leeds. Diouf allowed Leeds to attack with the ball on the ground and this caused Peterborough to start rocking.
And after a few half chances, Leeds scored the equaliser on 57 minutes.
Stephen Warnock’s corner went across goal and teenager Byram, recently linked with Manchester City, connected with the ball with his shin which took the ball over-the-line.
Leeds pressed for the winner, but it was Peterborough who nearly won the game in the closing stages.
Gayle, Kane Ferdinand and Lee Tomlin all got behind the Leeds defence towards the end, but the Whites managed to survive. Gayle also had a decent attempt tipped over the crossbar by Kenny.
Peterborough will look back on the game as two points dropped, while Leeds’ weaknesses were exposed again ahead of a local derby with Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Theatre Review - God's Official - Harrogate Studio Theatre

By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Don’t kidnap a football referee after a bad decision as they never change their minds. That’s what Degsy (Keith Hukin) and Cliff (Matthew Booth) found out during the botched kidnap of referee Greaves (Stephen Crane) in the excellent God's Official.
Inside the small and cosy Harrogate Studio Theatre, the audience are gripped as Degsy and Cliff struggle to cope with Greaves, who they discover is annoying off-the-pitch as well as on it. There are non-stop laughs throughout the Reform Theatre Company production and Cliff and ringleader Degsy’s description of the ‘goal that was not goal’ gets the play off to a fine start. You almost feel that you are there inside a stadium watching the game.
The decision to kidnap Greaves and make him replay the game comes after Cliff and Degsy’s team are relegated following a controversially disallowed goal. Degsy decides to take matters into his own hands and goes round to the referee’s house (after finding his address in the phone book) and take him hostage. The humour comes out as Greaves describes his kidnapping. He nearly escaped, but forget he had recently had an inside door fitted and knocked himself out on it as he tried to get away, which gets the audience laughing.
Degsy makes Greaves relieve the disallowed goal hundreds of times in an effort to persuade him that it should have been allowed as Cliff stands watching and wishing he wasn’t there. Cliff, who did not want to be involved, tries to walk away on several occasions. But he still ends up driving Degsy and Greaves to a different location in his van, which has his phone number on the side.
The change in place allows Greaves a second escape attempt, but this time he is halted by hilariously halted after sliding on some dog poo. He is then taken to the church for the finale.  
And even as the play looks set to end on a sad note, the play is pulled back from tragedy and ends on a humorous note as Degsy faces up to his crime.
While there are serious moments, God’s Official is a laugh-out comed and for any football fan, it is a must-see. However, there is a disclaimer: don’t follow Degsy and Cliff’s lead if a referee makes a bad decision during your team’s match.
God’s Official runs at Harrogate Studio Theatre until March 16th.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Farsley Riled by Ref in 2-2 Draw at Radcliffe Borough

By James Grayson
Ten minutes to go at Radcliffe and the scores are tied at 2-2. Ryan Harrison exchanges a neat one-two with Gareth Grant and takes a touch inside the box which will open up a goal-scoring chance. That was when he was brought down by two (not just one) Radcliffe defenders. Or using a slang term – he was ‘banjoed’.
Now to the majority of people that is a straightforward penalty decision. But this referee decided it wasn’t and played on. It was absolutely shocking from any Farsley fan’s point of view.
When you look at how Sergio Aguero won his penalty against Leeds United a few weeks ago for a tiny bit of contact on his shoulder, how could the referee not give the foul on Ryan (pictured above). It was simply not good enough.
But it wasn’t just that key moment that the referee got wrong, he was very poor all afternoon. He was too far behind play throughout the 90 minutes. He wasn’t consistent with his yellow cards for both sides and his decision-making with certain types of fouls were inconsistent. A minor aerial challenge may have penalised one minute but then later, the same type of challenge went unpunished.
On a more serious note, due to his inability to follow the game properly, the referee missed a dangerous challenge which left Farsley defender Rob Etherington (pictured above) almost unconscious. The young lad could have easily ended up lying in intensive care. Rob went to win a header and was taken out by a ridiculous aerial challenge by Ben Wharton. Rob had to be substituted and quite how the referee failed to punish Wharton is incredible.
The referee was not the only person to have a very poor game. The linesman on the dug-out side in the second half had an interesting afternoon and his best moment was when he flagged Ryan Harrison offside in the last few minutes. Ryan’s corner was headed back to him by a Radcliffe defender, at which moment the linesman gave offside. I think I’ll check the rules on offside.
But while the draw was disappointing for Farsley, there were some good performances out there. Matty James (pictured above) returned from Bradford Park Avenue after four years away and he was impressive. His skill and trickery allowed him to roll the ball across for Adam Priestley to make the score 2-2 on the stroke of half-time.
Ryan Harrison, back in the starting line-up, was Farsley’s man of the match and he deserved his goal. Number one goalkeeper Tom Morgan was back with fine display after a five month absence due to injury.
But, there were negatives. At times, the centre midfielders were anonymous and this put the defence under unnecessary pressure. The midfield were mainly at fault for the second Radcliffe goal.
And a poor back-pass in the final moments nearly gifted Radcliffe the winner. Fortunately the miss of the season, which I’m sure will be soon appearing on YouTube, ensured a point was taken.
However, it could have been three, if only the penalty had been given.