Saturday 7th April 2012 ko 10.30am
Northern Counties East League Premier Division
MALTBY MAIN 3 (Folyton-Brown 9 Branagan 58 Gladwin 79)
PARKGATE 1 (Wragg 41og)
Entry & Programme Hop Ticket
A slightly earlier start than on the Friday, reflecting the slightly greater miles covered today. As I sat at the hotel watching once again watching a gaggle of hoppers taking full advantage of a buffet breakfast, I began to feel sorry for any club hosting the morning game, but then there are the others who stay at room-only locations.
We headed down the M1 to the the metropolitan borough of Rotherham, and the town of Maltby, at its eastern edge. The area is dominated by the coal mining industry, and unlike most of the towns we’ve visited the local colliery is still working, no pit wheel sunk into concrete as a quasi-gravestone here. There’s nothing pretty about Maltby, this is an unashamedly industrial town and Muglet Lane reflects this.
As I stepped off the coach I inhaled, the ground is breathtakingly ugly, but in that I found a kind of beauty. The floodlights topped with barbed wire, the stand built with girders. I’ve not seen anything like it, and the longer I lingered, the more I loved the place. A lovely friendly club too, Derek wasn’t feeling well so the club let him sit in the hospitality area so he could watch the game from the warm.
I helped the club sort out the lineups for the hoppers and settled down for my usual 20 minutes or so before it was time to do the crowd count. On paper this looked like an away banker with Main struggling, but with Parkgate being a mere 8 miles away the other side of the M18 this was a local derby with real bite.
It was first blood to Main after Parkgate’s Danny Major attempted to head a through ball back into the hands of Jamie Bailey but the full back didn’t manage to get enough behind the header and striker Tom Folyton-Brown nipped in to slot home confidently in the 10th minute.
Parkgate equalised as a Danny Cardwell corner was headed into his own net by Jonathan Wragg whilst under pressure from Matt Griffin in the 41st minute.
It was a truly astonishing goal that swung the tie towards Main. A looping cross from the left found forward Rob Brannigan on the edge of the area and his bicycle kick went high into the top corner of Jamie Bailey’s goal.
Parkgate had the majority of the possession as Maltby only threatened through the occasional counter attack but a good display of goalkeeping by Andrew Carney thwarted all their efforts.
Maltby made the game safe in the 79th minute as a counter-attack was clinically finished by Craig Gladwin.
A three points that I suspect was of more use to the home side than the away. After directing a local pressman who wanted to speak to someone who’d been to lots of grounds to Jens from Dusseldorf (5,500 and counting), I found Derek, thanked the club and made for the coach.