Monday, August 14, 2006

Sheffield Leave It Late

Sheffield FC 2 Mickleover Sports 1

Someone said that we were into the seventh minute of inquiry time when Darren Holmes rose to a centre in the far side of the penalty box to head the winner into the net.

On their home ground in the opening game of the season in front of just under 200 spectators, Sheffield FC has stolen the game 2-1 against Mickleover Sports in this Northern Counties East League game.

The end of the first half had been just as dramatic. Sheffield FC had dominated the first 45 minutes, except for a 10 minute spell when Mickleover took over. But it had looked as if the half would be goalless.

Then Gavin Smith, the Sheffield FC right back had a crazy attacking spell in the last three minutes of the half.

In the 43rd Minute, he hit the post. In the 44th Minute, he scored a goal that was judged to be offside. In the 45th Minute, he put his team 1-0 ahead and there wasn't even time to restart the game before the half-time whistle.

Yet the second half wasn't Sheffield's at all, until the end. Mickleover dominated and their captain Pat Lyons scored with a fine free kick.

In desperation, Sheffield FC made all three substitutions in a short spell. Then Paul Smith was taken off injured and they were down to 10 men. With no other hope they had suddenly gone on the attack, just as if someone had pulled a switch.

Darren Holmes is Sheffield's player of last season, but until he grabbed the last gap winner he had had one of his quietest games.

Sheffield fielded several new players, including Andy Brownrigg in central defence who showed the dominance you would expect from someone who had been on the books of several League Clubs, including Norwich City. Pat Lyons marshalled the game for Mickleover.

The match against Mickleover proved to be no knock over, yet Sheffield had finished 24 points ahead of them last season. In mitigation, Sheffield had a powerful Andy Townsend effort disallowed because the referee had blown too quickly for a Sheffield free kick. Whilst Sheffield FC spectators were convinced that Mickleover should have had two players sent off.

Tuesday's opposition on the Sheffield ground is Arnold Town in the League's President's Cup and it looks like a tough test as the two teams would have finished level last season, but for three points which Arnold had had deducted for an infringement. Sheffield will do well not to depend upon last minute smash and grab raids on that occasion.

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