Staffs County Senior League Division Two
Keele University Reserves 2
(Adam Fall, Arnold Agbor)
Audley Reserves 1
Attendance: 8 (approx. headcount)
Keith Harrison Sports Park (4G)
Making the most of handing in an assignment earlier today I celebrated by heading just a couple of miles up the road to watch Keele University’s second string entertain Audley Reserves.
I was clearly turning into Audley’s biggest fan having watched their first team lose on Saturday. After two defeats however I am sure Audley will be happy to see me return to Coventry next week. Tonight I was kind of neutral but my allegiance was more towards my former employers and the place where a lot of my family have worked over the years and that was Keele University.
This is my second trip to the University for a match this season, having watched the second team come from behind to beat York St Johns in a BUCS league game in October.
Last season I attempted to watch a scheduled reserve game at Keele that was advertised on the Staffs League website but as I got to the venue a few minutes before kick off, it was clear that nothing was happening. Luckily for me as I pulled up at 7:25 for a 7:30 kick off, the players were on the pitch doing their handshakes on a freezing cold night in the North Staffordshire.
The first thing I had noticed when walking up to the ground was the visiting ‘keeper (the Audley captain) sporting a bobble hat. Not usual fashion for any footballer to wear during a game but with the temperature dropping I would let him off. After the game I was greeted by the ‘keeper and amazed to see that it was an old school friend in Adam Mason (usually an outfield player alongside his twin brother James who unfortunately wasn’t at the game).
This game comes in the 13th tier of English Football (Step 9 in the Non-League set up). I doubt I would go any lower than this and tonight, with the use of rolling substitutes, I questioned why I had even bothered with this match.
If you read Saturday’s report from Audley you will see I reserved a special mention to the referee and officials who kindly let me look at the team sheets for this blog. However tonight with the officials, it was a case of good cop/bad cop. One linesman said it wouldn’t be a problem and the other point blanked refused on the basis that he didn’t know me. After all, the Staffs Division Two must be a local league for local people. I explained that I write a Non League football blog and even Adam (the Audley captain) vouched for me, however I will soldier on with the few names I did get.
I also witnessed my 200th goal of the season with the award going to Keele match winner Arnold Agbor!
To see my comments on the ground please visit my report from earlier in the season: Travelling To- Keele University.
One note I will add is that with no tea bar and literally no one to talk to at half time, I found myself counting the seats in the seated stand. There are 44 for anyone that cares.
Arnold Agbor scored a second half winner as Keele University Reserves came from a goal behind to beat Audley Reserves 2-1 to give them their first win in five games and only their third win of the Staffs County Division Two season.
Lee Hattersley put the visitors into the lead inside ten minutes with a drilled free kick finding its way into the bottom corner, however Adam Fall levelled the score for the students before the break, allowing Agbor to grab the winner shortly after the restart.
Audley had the better of the early chances with Hattersley racing through and dragging his shot wide after a cutback from his team mate.
The powerful striker then had got his eye for goal and after his strike partner was tripped on the edge of the box, Hattersley drilled the shot low into the corner, out of the reach of home ‘keeper Ben Gooding.
Keele were on the back foot as the Audley #11 saw his shot blocked away for a corner shortly before #8 fired a shot at goal that Gooding could only save with his legs to keep the score down to just 1-0.
However on 27 minutes against the run of play, the students managed to draw level when some good build up play on the left involving Dave Mosley and Ignas Maciulaitis picked out Fall inside the area who took a touch before smashing the ball past Adam Mason in the visiting goal.
Two minutes later Fall had the ball in the back of the net again when he raced through and kept his composure to round Mason and slot the ball home, however the linesmen had flagged for offside.
With rolling subs, Audley made their first change in the first half with a change in attack to freshen things up as Keele managed to get a foothold in the game.
With the scores all level at the break, Keele came back out for the second half with some real intent. Fall again seeing his shot saved by Mason before Maciuliatis smashed a shot off the outside of the post moments later from a great diagonal ball from Chris Durose.
On 49 minutes Keele took the lead through left-winger Agbor. He picked up the ball out wide before directing his run into the area before cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and drilling the ball into the corner of the net.
With plenty of rolling substitutions the game lost a little bit of momentum but Keele managed to stay on top of the game to hold their slight lead. Agbor nearly made it three for the hosts from a corner but could only direct his header straight at Mason.
Hattersley wasted a great chance to pull the scores level for the visitors in probably their best chance of the half when he latched onto a great threaded pass from midfield however he dragged the effort wide of the mark.
Maciuliatis tried a shot from the edge of the box for the hosts however it lacked any sort of direction to trouble Mason who collected with ease.
A highlight of the second half came from the Keele bench when Fall made way for Elliot Kitchen with the attacker sporting the number 102 on the back of his jersey!
Kitchen looked lively after his introduction to the game and instilled some energy into the Keele front line. He managed to race into the area before squaring the ball to Joe Mason who could only angle his shot straight at his namesake in the Audley goal, Adam Mason.
2017/18 Games: 46
2017/18 Grounds: 41 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 190 (51)