Jolly FC 5 – 4 Sabden

Jolly FC 5 – 4 Sabden FC

Sabden departed from Bacup pointless following a sixteen minute spell of first half madness which spoiled an otherwise pleasing display of football.

Jolly struck the first blow on 16 minutes, when the Sabden defence failed to clear their lines properly from a good save by Tom Diggins, despite 3 opportunities to do so! Four minutes later, Jolly`s impressive winger, Matt Lord, broke clear down the right flank and squared for an easy tap in for the centre forward.

On just 24 minutes, Jolly went 3 up as a cross went unchallenged and was bundled in at the back post, with Diggins furious with the lack of a challenge from his defenders.

With Sabden seemingly in a daze, a 32nd minute midfield run did not draw a challenge and Jack Birkett had no option but to haul the runner down in the box. Birkett avoided a straight red, as did Charlie Collinge following an altercation. Diggins saved the spot kick but the rebound fell back to the taker who slotted it into the corner.

This 4th goal did have the effect of waking the fire in the Sabden bellies, and Zac Musker could not quite deliver the finish that a scintillating run deserved.

With immense credit, the Sabden boys went on to produce a lively and powerful display of football in the second half, which almost gave them a deserved share of the spoils. On 47 minutes, the imperious Adam Fuller delivered a 45 yard free kick which bounced into the top corner of the net, with Charlie Collinge getting the faintest of touches to make sure.

Jolly responded, and Zac Musker, who is enjoying a rich vein of form for the Treacle Miners, was beaten on the flank by Lord, who crossed for an identikit of their second goal, to restore the 4 goal margin.

However, Sabden were now playing with poise and control. David Fallon hobbled off on 58 minutes to be replaced by Ricky Grayston, who has made a good start in his first season with Sabden. Within 8 minutes, the youngster collected a clearance from Diggins, and dribbled past 3 Jolly players before coolly slotting the ball into the corner for an exquisite goal.

This goal lit the fuse and tackles from both sides became wild and furious, and referee Mr Spencer did a good job, only using his cards sparingly.

With 11 minutes to go, Collinge did a clever step-over on the right to beat his man, before unleashing a venomous shot from a tight angle, which the Jolly keeper should have done better with. The score was now 5-3 and Jolly`s nerves were on the edge!

On 88 minutes, Collinge took advantage of some more panicked Jolly defending to secure his hat-trick and set the game on a knife-edge for the last few minutes. Sadly for Sabden, they were unable to score another goal, although Grayston was wrongly flagged for offside in the dying moments when he would surely have equalised.

Collinge (47, 79, 88), Grayston (66)

Charlie Collinge – A fine hat-trick and helped lead the fightback with his determination not to be easily beaten. Played through the pain barrier for the last 30 minutes but still scored two goals whilst injured.

Ricky Grayston`s mazy run and fine finish lifted the team and gave them belief