Hemsworth MW 3, Hall Road Rangers 3
Tuesday August 22
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Neil Winsor
MATTY Crane’s first senior goal for the club provided a fitting finish to an enthralling six goal thriller after Hall Road Rangers had twice led at Hemsworth MW.
In terms of excitement and action, this clash had everything and Crane was on hand to rescue a point for Rangers in the eighth minute of added time as a shortage of match balls caused the game to run late.
Rangers midfielder Conner Harman had poked the visitors ahead on 18 minutes as they edged the first half and deservedly led at the break.
A frustrated Hemsworth boss Wayne Benn could be clearly heard voicing his displeasure at ‘The Wells’ first half display and they were vastly improved in the second half, equalising through Bill Law on 57 minutes before Danny Norton restored Hall Road’s lead two minutes later.
Brad Docherty equalised for the second time with 20 minutes to go before a well worked one-two resulted in Sam Jones rifling the hosts ahead on 79 minutes, before Crane netted his first senior goal for the club at the death to spark wild celebrations.
Hall Road were without Josh Batty through suspension but named an attacking line up with Chris Spinks and Danny Norton playing alongside Gareth Owen in attack.
There was a place on the bench for earlier acquisition Samuel Snsu a forward player who was added from North Ferriby, whilst Nathan Perks, a striker who scored one goal in four appearances for Hall Road last season was named amongst the substitutes for Hemsworth.
The hosts had the ball in the net within the opening minute as Bill Law slid home only to have the goal chalked off for offside.
Hall Road’s earliest threats came via a Jack Griffin and Owen one-two, with Griffin’s effort deflected wide for an early corner.
From that corner the ball worked its way back to Spinks on the left who cut in and his shot was straight at Hemsworth keeper Danny Rusling who watched the swerving effort well.
Hemsworth’s main threat appeared to be out wide and on the break but they fell behind on 18 minutes.
Chris Spinks corner worked its way through a mass of bodies as Conner Harman got the telling touch to poke a low finish into the net, bravely nudging ahead of his marker.
The hosts wide threat came to fruition once more as they looked to respond within three minutes.
Whilst hitting Hall Road on the counter attack a two-on-two situation looked to develop, however Richard Collier’s low cross from the left evaded Law at the far post, where any form of touch would have seen the Rangers defence breached.
The visitors then launched a counter attack of their own as Owen latched onto Griffin’s downfield pass however whilst barely wriggling clear of his marker Owen’s shot on goal was gathered low down by Rusling.
Harry Vigars strode forward from right back and it was only a superb last-ditch tackle by the covering James Piercy which denied the hosts before Hemsworth’s best move of the half involved an overlapping run by Nash Connolly who collected Sam Jones’ pass. Connolly’s dangerous cross found Law who again on the far post failed to hit the target from close range.
With the game just clearing the 30 minute mark, Owen rattled the outside of the near post from the right hand angle whilst Piercy and Sam Belcher smashed efforts over the cross bar for Hall Road.
They were also unlucky four minutes before the break after referee Mark Powell played a smart advantage and with the ball working its way to Owen his low driven effort was turned round the post via the legs of Rusling.
A flashing effort brought the half to a close as Collier’s dipping drive rattled the crossbar and Piercy again had to be brave to throw himself in front of the rebound.
Half-time – Hemsworth MW 0, Hall Road Rangers 1 (Conner Harman 18)
The hosts clearly raised their tempo at the start of the second half as they showed a desire to overturn the first half deficit.
For the first ten minutes of the half the defence stood tall, Piercy and Belcher in particular at centre-half making countless blocks and last ditched tackles, whilst Louis Bruce and Jack Binns on both flanks stepped in to make a number of crucial interceptions to limit their attacking threat.
Piercy was cautioned though on 55 minutes as he had to halt a smart looking run from Lloyd Henderson on the edge of the penalty area. Rangers skipper Phil Dobson positioned himself well to save the resulting free-kick.
Hemsworth restored parity though two minutes later through Law.
A seemingly quick possession on the right, led to Law finding space in the penalty area to finish low past Dobson and into the net.
The scores were level for just two minutes though as Hall Road responded well to conceding.
A sea of players in the six yard box all failed to clear their lines after a corner and Danny Norton raced in to tap home from close range to frustrate the hosts.
With Hemsworth’s upped tempo and urgency to force the issue more apparent once more, Rangers boss Dave Ricardo made three quickfire changes within a minute of each other between the 64th and 66th minutes.
James Whittingham first replaced Chris Spinks before Matty Crane and Samuel Nsue replaced Owen and Norton respectively to try and shore up the Rangers midfield.
The move backfired though as with 20 minutes remaining the scores were brought level once more.
Although an element of luck to the run from out on the left by Docherty there was nothing lucky about his finish as he expertly placed the ball into the top right corner after bundling his way inside from the left hand touchline.
The hosts for probably the first time in the game were in the ascendancy and used their spell of dominance to grab the lead on 79 minutes.
A slick one-two on the right edge of Hall Road’s box cut through the Rangers rearguard and Sam Jones made no mistake smashing the ball under Dobson from inside the penalty area.
With Hall Road’s main attacking threats seemingly replaced, it looked as though they would leave West Yorkshire empty handed.
Jack Griffin glanced a Tom Bennett cross narrowly, but safely wide, whilst Harman and Bennett were cautioned for dissent as frustration seemed to set in.
Dobson kept the deficit to within one by palming a deflected effort from Law to safety, and this save proved telling as the final moments unfolded.
There was a lengthy stoppage as the beauty of non-league football showed itself once more as the hosts ran out of matchballs going into injury time.
As Hemsworth officials frantically tried to locate a ball to finish the dying seconds of the game this proved enough for the hosts to lose their concentration.
A free kick from the Rangers left was pinged into the area looking for Dobson who had gone forward however nobody noticed Matty Crane who ghosted in at the far post.
The defensive lapse proved costly as Crane made no mistake to earn Hall Road a point with the last kick of the game in a fantastic advert for the NCEL Premier Division.
Full-time – Hemsworth MW 3 (Bill Law 57, Brad Docherty 70, Sam Jones 79), Hall Road Rangers 3 (Conner Harman 18, Danny Norton 59, Matty Crane 90+8)
Rangers star-larker – James Piercy
Although in a defence that conceded three goals, Piercy was a rock at centre-half making numerous brave blocks, whilst his performance was closely matched by Louis Bruce who made a number of crucial interceptions.
Rangers: 1. Phil Dobson (c), 2. Louis Bruce, 3. Jack Binns, 4. Sam Belcher, 5. Jack Griffin, 6. James Piercy, 7. Conner Harman, 8. Danny Norton (for Snsu 65) 9. Gareth Owen (for Crane 66) 10. Chris Spinks (for Whittingham 64), 11. Tom Bennett
Substitutes: 12. Samuel Snsu, 14. Kent Bannister, 15. Josh Tennant, 16. James Whittingham, 17. Matty Crane
Hemsworth MW: Rusling, Viggars, Schofield, Hayton, Danville (c), Steers, Connolly, Jones, Law, Ovington, Collier Substitutes: Wilson, Docherty, Henderson, Briggs, Perks