Untidy Scrap Sees A Point Apiece
Lye Town 1-1 Highgate United
‘Incongruous’ means ‘not in harmony with the surroundings’ and when Highgate stripped to their uniforms at Lye and revealed their pink away kit, ‘incongruous’ was the word which sprang to mind immediately. The encounter was not in harmony with the Midland Premier League either, for too many errors were made, poor passes too and there seemed to be few occasions when a player took responsibility to attempt to create offense, rather than bludgeon the ball forwards, sideways, or even slicing it backwards sometimes. So this was a scrappy game which ought to have finished as a 0-0 draw really but two goals did go in, albeit very soft ones. Perhaps the pitch wasn’t conducive to creativity, maybe Highgate’s missing players would have improved things but what was surprising, despite many long kicks forward, plus corners and free-kicks, is that there were so few goalscoring chances to report… ‘Gate manager Ashley Pulisciano was in Dubai and he was surely fortunate to be there and not at The Lye. The link between Dubai and Lye could be described as, er, incongruous…
|FAMOUS WELSH SURNAMES TOSS A COIN: EDWARDS & WILLIAMS...|
There was no match programme…
|THE 'GATE BEGIN THE GAME...|
Once the off-white snow lying in one corner of the stadium and ‘Gate’s pink wardrobe began to fade into the general Black Country scene, the match stumbled into faltering action with a Lye free-kick which came to nought and a left-side centre by ‘Gate’s Jazz Luckie which drifted over the heads of supporting players. The willing home forward Jack Till managed a left-wing cross for his team at the Corrugated Barn End but Lee Chilton could manage no power in his header which visiting goalie Brad Catlow gathered. A curling free-kick by ‘Gate left-back Steven Leslie was overhit, a fine Till drive from inside-right arced not too far off target but then another Lye shot flew towards the target, forcing a save from Catlow. Brandon Hague was the shooter after he had moved inside from the left but although his low drive stretched Catlow, the ‘keeper pushed aside the effort.
|WE LIKES THE CORRUGATED BARN END...|
Home central defenders Chris Knight and Adam Meacham did really well to head successive ‘Gate crosses away from danger, whilst at the opposite end, hopeful and successive shots from around 21 yards by both Adam Garmson and Lee Chilton were stubbed out by United bodies near the 18 yard line. Garmson was listed on the team-sheet as Gramson, or should that have been Grayson? Home ‘keeper Tom Turner didn't know either, so I had to check the league’s website for confirmation… The opening goal stemmed from a foul by home skipper Simon Williams, who was cautioned for his misdemeanour.
|TYE LOOKS AGHAST THAT HIS SKIPPER WILLIAMS IS ABOUT TO BE CAUTIONED...|
|IT WAS TRUE THOUGH...|
Leslie’s right-side, left-boot free-kick bounced across the 6 yard box and the ball seemed charmed, as nobody reacted to it until ‘Gate’s Richard Bachelor overpowered Lye right-back Dan Jones at the far post to poke a left-footer over the goal-line from a couple of feet. Not a thing of beauty…
|0-1: BATCHELOR THE SCORER...|
A scramble near the edge of the Highgate penalty-box brought a frustrating, untidy, careless half to an end and I then realised that I hadn’t even had to field a loose ball from behind the goal for Lye goalie Tom Turner, so lacking had the game been in attempts to score. I managed to correct the names of Marco Adaggio, Corey Currithers and Jazz Luckie on the team-sheet during the break, as well as Adam Garmson’s but after the restart, little changed, except perhaps that Lye became more desperate to regain parity. Even Lye stalwart Scott Gennard had waived partaking in this match, travelling to Barcelona to avoid it and I thought of the Nou Camp and Lye Town. ‘Incongruous’ came to mind again…
|TOWN WOULD NOT TAKE DEFEAT LYEING DOWN...|
Jack Pearlman, the Lye midfielder was cautioned for a foul, Knight kindly blazed a shot way to the right side of the mound (my left) and although Catlow said: “Sorry…” to me, I kindly jogged to field the ball, by then nestling in the bonfire area of Lye’s remarkable stadium. Till was fed on the right but volleyed his 19 yarder way off target and the ball dropped into the rubble at the foot of a floodlight pylon. Ryan Rowe replaced Garmson for The Lye and soon turned beyond the left upright but his low shot deflected off ‘Gate skipper Trev Edwards to Catlow, before Tom Turner did well to get down to his left on the goal-line and keep out a downward header by Batchelor, from Leslie’s right-flank corner.
|FOUL BY PEARLMAN...|
|...& A CAUTION...|
Then the Flyers were flying again, after equalising with a strange goal. A long pass from centre-field to the right saw Till chase and gain possession but as he was challenged on the wing, he back-heeled the ball smartly to Hague, who moved across the edge of the penalty-box, evading ‘Gateman Scott Turner and shot for goal. There seemed little danger in truth, for the ball would surely be headed away by Rich Bryan but he ducked and that wrong-footed and dummied Catlow, who was only able to watch as the ball bounced inside his left stick. Two soft goals, certainly…
|1-1: GOAL BY HAGUE...|
United relieved James Wilcock for the evening and Connor Mooney appeared but the subsequent substitutions simply added more untidiness to the game, although more urgency was slightly more evident from both teams and more space was being utilised. Reece Shilvock and Dan Flowers appeared for The Lye, whilst Jamie Molyneux and eventually John Onyeaka were introduced by The ‘Gate but chances were still hard to come by. An Adaggio header was nodded clear by a Lye defender and from the ensuing break, Till’s right-side centre saw Hague slap a near post effort from an angle which struck a ‘Gate defender. Mooney drove a shot way too high for the guests and as time ran out Adaggio threw himself at a Mooney delivery from the left but he couldn’t get in a telling touch.
Incredibly, in the final seconds of added time, Lye were presented with a deep free-kick and surely the ball would be punted forward in the hope of someone getting in a header, or maybe a shot, or perhaps a defensive error by ‘Gate could be forced? Er, no… The kick was struck towards the left corner-flag, it bounced out of play and the referee blew the final whistle… Maybe that summed up the game.
It was sad that United’s George Curry lacked support as he attempted to glide through the midfield area but even he was unable to affect the game more than barely. Lye’s full-backs Jones and Sam Tye did try to support their midfielders with wide rushes but so little accuracy was evident in the home midfield. It was telling also that Adaggio and Luckie were rarely threats at all for Highgate, players who have performed at a higher level, so something wasn’t right on the night.
Lots of hard work, lots of running, lots of mistakes, lots of unproductive football and I guess the teams would therefore settle for a point each.
The only remaining thing to say was that this match wasn’t like a 1-1 draw. This had 0-0 stamped all over it.
And that is truly incongruous…
TOM TURNER, DAN JONES, SAM TYE, JACK PEARLMAN, CHRIS KNIGHT, ADAM MEACHAM, LEE CHILTON, BRANDON HAGUE, JACK TILL, ADAM GARMSON, SIMON WILLIAMS (CAPT).
DAN FLOWERS, BRAD DREW, REECE SHILVOCK, RYAN ROWE, BRAD ROBERTS.
BRAD CATLOW, TREV EDWARDS (CAPT), STEVEN LESLIE, RICH BRYAN, SCOTT TURNER, GEORGE CURRY, COREY CURRITHERS, JAMES WILCOCK, MARCO ADAGGIO, JAZZ LUCKIE, RICH BATCHELOR.
CONNOR MOONEY, JAMIE MOLYNEUX, JOHN ONYEAKA, DANNY ROLFE, BRAD HAYWARD.