Evo-Stik Division One South: New Mills AFC 5, Quorn 3
An incident-packed second half saw New Mills eventually secure three points against Quorn at Church Lane on Saturday afternoon.
The gale force wind, that had dried the playing surface out from the previous 24-hour deluge, showed no signs of decreasing as kick-off approached and continued to blow across the ground all afternoon making for very testing playing conditions.
In fact, James Coates had to make a highly effective save in the opening 30 seconds of the game when a centre from the left flank caught the wind and the home keeper did extremely well to tip the ball onto the top of his crossbar.
The best chance of the opening half fell to the visitors from Leicestershire who are still looking for their first victory away from their Farley Way Stadium this season.
Tristram Whitman’s shot deflected very kindly into the path of Ashley Robinson but with only Coates to beat, the midfielder screwed his shot badly wide of the target.
The Millers, who played against the elements in the first half, created as many chances in the first five minutes after the interval than in the previous 45 combined.
Clive Brown’s dipping shot was neatly tipped over by Matthew Nurse but from the resulting corner, New Mills took the lead when debutant striker Ben Deegan’s knock down found Carlos Meakin whose skidding effort from twelve yards proved too powerful for the covering defenders on the line.
Quorn had posed very little threat up front until midway through the second half when they equalised.
New Mills conceded a cheap free-kick on the left flank and the subsequent delivery found Tristram Whitman unmarked in the penalty area and he proceeded to deftly head the ball into the corner of the net.
Football’s famed pundits say that a team is most vulnerable immediately after scoring and that proved to be the case again.
Within a minute of the equaliser, Ashley Stott appeared to be pushed to the ground in the penalty area by Quorn’s player manager Lawrie Dudfield and while referee Mr Thompson waved away the penalty appeals, substitute Antony Field kept his head by playing in debutant Deegan who slotted home from close range despite vociferous claims for offside.
When Stott neatly scored his first goal for seven games with just under a quarter of an hour remaining, it looked like New Mills had wrapped up the three points but a crazy spell of three goals in as many minutes ensued which saw the game’s momentum shift one way and then the other.
With ten minutes of the game remaining, Michael Bowler’s back pass caught up in the wind and this allowed Kris Nurse to round the completely exposed Coates to reduce the arrears.
Within a matter of seconds, Nurse then proceeded to bring the scores level with a thunderous effort from an acute angle which took a slight deflection off Luke Horrocks before crashing into the roof of the net.
That passage of play was a carbon copy of the opening game of the season when New Mills led, only for Quorn to score two late goals to force an unlikely draw.
Thankfully lightning didn’t strike twice as The Millers did not lose their composure and struck again quickly to ensure that they restored their advantage.
Deegan was tripped in the area and despite some clearly audible shouts from Quorn players in his run-up, skipper Meakin kept his cool to send Matthew Nurse the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.
Kris Nurse very nearly brought the teams level again but on this occasion, his well struck half volley could only find the very grateful hands of Coates and it was then left to Stott to bring the afternoon’s events to an end with his second goal of the game deep into stoppage time.
After a goalmouth scramble, Field’s free kick eventually found its way into the path of poacher Stott who could barely miss from three yards and scored the eighth goal of the half from which both teams emerged with credit for producing such an entertaining spectacle in such trying conditions.
New Mills: Coates, Bowler, Swirad (Field), Innes, Barras, Chadwick, Meakin, Brown (Stott), Deegan, Douglas-Pringle (Pickering), Horrocks. Unused subs: Edridge, Gale.