Goole AFC 2 Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC 1
On Tuesday, December 29 the Vikings faced Hemsworth Miners Welfare for their last game of 2021 in front of a crowd of 478 people - a record attendance in the NCEL and the largest league attendance since the club was reformed in 1998.
The Vikings now have the third best average attendance in the league, 40.79 per cent up on last season, which is a fantastic tribute to the work of the management team, the squad of players, and the supporters. It does demonstrate that the support is there in the town, once the on-field success begins to flourish. From the on-field development to the tireless work of the volunteers, it appears that this great club is now beginning to emerge from the doldrums. Dylan Parkin took his place back in goal following his period of Covid isolation. Jordan Emery returned to the starting line-up in place of the suspended Josh Dacre and Ryan Noon returned to the bench. There were two new faces on the bench Lucas Robinson, and Gaell Nzayadio.
Despite rain over the last few days the pitch was passed playable, although heavy. Hemsworth started strongly, belying the fact that they were 19th in the table. After nine minutes a strong run by Luke Williams down the left pushed the ball to Tyler Walker whose cross was met by the head of Sam Cable, who just couldn’t get enough force behind it to trouble the Hemsworth keeper, Hagie Damba. Shortly after that Sam Cable broke through the Hemsworth defence to find himself one on one with Hagie Damba. He tried placing the ball to the right of Damba but Damba managed to save the shot and deflected it for a Hemsworth defender to clear the ball. After 17 minutes Sean Hesselwood won the ball on the halfway line, and lofted it down the right touch line, where Sam Cable chased it down and hit a low ball into the Hemsworth box.
Liam Parker chasing into the box managed to get his foot on the ball, but just as he was steadying himself to shoot, he had the ball taken away by a closing defender. On 20 minutes a Hemsworth throw, level with Vikings’ penalty area, resulted in the ball being played into the Vikings area. The Vikings defence failed to clear, and the onrushing Hemsworth no.10 hit a low, hard drive which came off the base of the Vikings right hand post and rebounded to safety. A corner in the 36th minute from James Arnold put the Hemsworth defence under pressure where a flurry of Viking attackers failed to connect with the ball, and it was cleared. On the stroke of half time Sam Cable put the Vikings ahead. A strong run down the right wing from Luke Williams who crossed the ball to the far side of the Hemsworth area. Sam Cable at the far post initially went to head the ball but miscued it. He then brought it down and curled his shot into the top left-hand corner. His fifth goal in three games. Hagie Damba could do absolutely nothing to stop it. The half-time whistle blew with the Vikings ahead by a solitary goal despite the fact that they had had more possession and created more chances. Hemsworth had been restricted to the one shot that hit the post and speculative balls over the Vikings defence.
The Vikings had been solid in defence throughout the first half despite missing one of their most influential players - Josh Dacre. They had had several opportunities throughout the first half to increase their lead, both Liam Parker and Sam Cable coming extremely close to putting the Vikings in front on numerous times but Damba in the Hemsworth goal was proving incredibly hard to beat. In the 51st minute, following a Hemsworth clearance, the ball was collected and taken forward down the Vikings right with Tyler Walker in possession. He played the ball into the penalty box where, after an initial shot from Mitch Pattinson it was cleared back out to him. This time his pass found Sam Cable close to the penalty spot who hit it on the volley. Unfortunately, he didn’t connect fully, and the ball rolled agonisingly past the keeper and the post. At this stage all the pressure was coming from the Vikings, but credit has to be given to Hemsworth, as they continued to try to play football despite a very heavy pitch making good football almost impossible
After 55 mins another Vikings corner created havoc in the Hemsworth area, and the ball was cleared acrobatically off the line by the former Viking player and manager Steve Jeffs. In the 65th minute the Vikings did score again. Sean Hesselwood won the ball just inside the Vikings half. He hit a long ball out to Sam Cable on the left wing who took the ball on and raced towards the Hemsworth goal. Surrounded by three Hemsworth defenders he lost the ball. Fortunately, Sean Hesselwood was on hand to pick up the ball as it ran free. He took the ball past a Hemsworth defender to fire home putting the Vikings two goals up. Despite the heavy pitch, both sides were playing good football with the Vikings having more attacking chances but just not finding the cutting edge needed to capitalise on them.
The Vikings could have stretched their lead on numerous occasions but their well-worked chances just didn’t work out for them. On 68 minutes Ryan Noon replaced Sam Cable, and on 77 minutes Reece Kral replaced Luke Williams. In the 82nd minute Hemsworth got themselves back in the game due to a mistake by the Vikings’ keeper. As he jumped up to catch the ball from a good cross into the box, he was jostled by the attackers and unfortunately dropped the ball into the path of Andrew Higgins who fired the ball into the back of the net. The final whistle blew with the Vikings getting the full three points in a game which was very hard fought from both sides. Overall, another solid performance from the entire Vikings side which carried them through taking them up to ninth in the league. Given the number of times officials have been criticised in the past, special praise must be given to the trio who controlled the game today -Arran Williams, Stephen Ridley, and Simon Keillor. Only one yellow was given. They controlled the game fairly and allowed it to flow without too many interruptions, which given the conditions was an excellent performance. Next Home Game - January 15, v Grimsby Borough, 3.00pm kick-off.
Report by Finlay Mattheis. (06-01-400 SU)