Tag Archives: Radcliffe Borough

A Bleak Night For Ossett

I thoroughly expected Tuesday night down at Dimple Wells to be a good one for the town of Ossett as a whole. Albion were playing Radcliffe Borough, a team fifteen places below them in the league. Three points a certainty, I thought, and into the bargain Albion would be doing a huge favour to their beloved neighbours, Ossett Town, by defeating one of Town’s close rivals at the squeaky bum end of the table.

I was looking forward to some post match dancing and singing in the streets of good old Ossett well into the small hours of Wednesday morning. How wrong I was. I forgot about the way teams so often raise their game when faced with adversity and possible relegation. Just look at how Swansea beat Arsenal the following night, for instance. Radcliffe certainly fitted that profile well and deservedly won the match 2-0. Albion are out of the play-off places now and, it saddens me to say, I do not think they will claw their way back into the top five this season.

Their performance in the first half was abject. That might be a bit harsh, but for a team striving for promotion the supporters have maybe come to expect a little bit more composure, class and accuracy than the players offered up in that first 45. Radcliffe led 1-0 at the break with a goal after ten minutes from Banim. Things did improve in the second half, but only after Radcliffe had made it 2-0 on 48 minutes through a McMahon penalty. Albion then began pressing more, they kept possession better, found more accuracy in their passing and created several decent chances, whilst Radcliffe always remained a threat on the break.

Things might have turned out differently if Bordman had converted a penalty awarded mid-way into the second period. The Borough keeper saved well and the rebound was launched over the bar and so it ended 2-0 to the bad guys …. err … I mean Radcliffe Borough. Those three points took Borough six clear of Ossett Town, who have one match in hand as Town’s match away to Witton Albion was called off due to overpowering sunshine and heatwave conditions in Northwich. Ok, I made that bit up, it was waterlogged of course.

So there was no dancing, no singing, not even any highland-flinging in the streets of Ossett on Tuesday night but, then again, there’s always Saturday!





Ossett Town show some spirit

I didnt have a good feeling on the morning prior to the Radcliffe Borough match. Eight league losses in a row doesnt really encourage good feelings and I admit to possessing an unhealthy burden of pessimism before the match. Ossett Town had just downsized their leadership team (ok, sacked the manager!) and were, in more ways than one, rudderless.

As I sat hunched over a pre-match lager in an Ossett pub and enjoying one of my favourite pastimes, watching Manchester United lose to a relegation candidate, I felt a sense of dread. No, it wasnt a dodgy bag of Nobbys Nuts. It was a definite feeling that Town would lose today and I couldnt see anything positive to focus on for the future.

Incidentally, its quite difficult to find a decent pub in Ossett to have a pre match drink. The Sam Smiths pub is cheap and there’s the added benefit of being called “sonny” and “young man” by the locals in spite of being well into my middle age, but its hardly the most comfortable place in town. The George is always shut or at least it appears to be and another central pub the name of which escapes me or more likely ive just tried very hard to forget, smells like its full of smelly socks. The Maypole is my preferred option due to the screening of sky sports matches as an hors d’oeuvres to the main event a few yards down the road at Ingfield.

Seeing Sunderland beat Manchester United set me thinking. If some no hopers languishing at the arse end of the league can defy the odds and win against a struggling Lancashire team, then surely Town can do the same. So with renewed hope and new found optimism I skipped down the road whistling “I will survive” clutching seven pound coins tightly in my hand. I actually set off a bit early thinking that I would allow time for the queue at the turnstile. Afterall, social media had been awash all week with tweets and pokes encouraging the townsfolk of Ossett to light their torches and brandish their pitchforks to support Town in their time of need and see off the evil Lancashire insurgents. I neednt have bothered. I could tell the turnout was poor by the fact the “golden goal” tub had at least 85 tickets left in it and they were announcing the crowd changes to the players over the tannoy.

The match itself was pretty exciting to be honest. Town started on the front foot but Brown squandered an early chance to take the lead. To a man, the players looked like they were trying to impress the new manager even though they didnt know who he was yet. Town were playing well and creating chances and definitely the better side. In recent games Town appeared disjointed and lacking coordination but this was different and I dont think it was just down to the quality of the opposition.

But, just when it was looking so promising, Town conceded a goal from a corner. Foster the scorer for Borough. Backhouse then saved well from another Radcliffe attack. Town had chances to level the scores, including a penalty appeal, but all to no avail.

The second half was more of the same. Both sides had chances before Assenso scored for Town from a corner in the 73rd minute. Shortly after coming on as a sub, Mangham went on a storming run down the flank and put in a great cross to Moore, but his header was saved by the Radcliffe keeper. A 1-1 draw was looking likely but then, towards the end of normal time, Radcliffe’s Lafferty was sent from the field following a head butt incident. Im not quite sure why the referee showed the yellow (Lafferty’s second) prior to the red rather than just a red card but, whatever the ins and outs, Radcliffe were down to ten men.

There was, however, to be a horrible sting in the tail to this game when, with seconds remaining, Radcliffe scored through Foster. I have to admit to not seeing this goal. Yes, I was still in the ground, but I was otherwise engaged when it happened. I was actually checking scores from other games on my phone. So, there you have it. A good performance from Town that deserved more than the null points they got. Something to work on perhaps? A silver lining?
That sense of hopeless dread I felt in the pub before the game had lessened just a little. With a new supremo at the helm perhaps Evo Stik safety in possible. Time will tell.

Judgement Day at Ingfields: A call to arms

Graham Nicholas’s first game in charge of Ossett Town was an away win at Goole in the Doodson Cup on 10th November. Exactly three months later his last game in charge was a humbling 5-0 defeat at Northwich Victoria, an eighth league defeat in a row for Town. The Board had seen enough and the ex Garforth boss was to be allowed no more time to turn Ossett Town’s miserable form around.

It is fair to say that the loss of some key players through injury and transfer has not helped matters and Nicholas who had said upon appointment that he wanted to put his own stamp on the way things are done at Ossett was hampered almost right from the start. The only visible progress was in the Doodson Cup. Im sure the Board, players and supporters would willingly have traded that progress for some league points. As it stands, Town stand on the precipice. In their last 4 games, they have shipped 18 goals and scored just once. Form appears to be getting worse and Saturday’s game at home against fellow strugglers Radcliffe Borough is Town’s most important game of the season so far.

John Francis, Town’s interim manager, has a real job on his hands but if he can motivate the players and harness the moment and if the Dunkirk spirit should prevail then Saturday may be the day Ossett Town start to turn things round and pull themselves away from the drop zone. It is to be hoped so, because a further defeat together with some tricky fixtures coming up spells trouble and a likely drop into the bottom two.

Radcliffe Borough have played three league games in January, losing two and picking up a point at home to Harrogate Railway last time out. Surprisingly, in a Manchester Premier Cup Q-F in mid-January they thrashed in-form EvoStik Premier Division side Ashton United 5-1 and last night in the semi-final of the same competition they took the lead at Conference North side Stalybridge Celtic before going down 3-1.

Whilst i would dearly like to see Ossett defy the odds and pick up all three points, the signs do not look good. The club is on a terrible run of form. Their manager has just been removed and things are in a state of flux. Confidence must be through the floor but there remains hope. So in good old Henry V manner, the supporters of Ossett Town can play a role. It’s Judgement Day and gentlemen of Ossett abed shall think themselves accursed they were not there and hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks that fought with us upon Judgement Day. In other words, let’s get behind the team and give them the best support possible on Saturday…. Apologies to the Bard!