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)
Man of the match: Robert Pell (Glasshoughton Welfare)