A fabulous four-goal first half hour was good enough for Clipstone to see off Hallam 4-0 at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium in Saturday’s final Northern Counties East League Division One game as they finished in seventh spot.
Even with the legend of Chris Waddle in the Hallam dugout, the visitors could not stop the Clipstone forward play in the first 30 minutes of this game, the trend of the game starting as early as the fourth minute.
The ever-dangerous Kieran Watson was bundled over 20 yards out from goal on the left edge of the box and up stepped Rob Paling who, with a fierce curling right foot strike, found the top corner of the goal to put the hosts 1-0 to the good.
Hallam did try to force Clipstone onto the back foot, but they left too many men up front and, as Clipstone captain Rob Austin cleared from the back on 10 minutes, the ball landed at the feet of Carl Snowden who thread a defence-splitting pass through to Kieran Watson in space 35 yards out from goal who ran on inside the left side of the 18yard box and calmly slotted the ball past the helpless Josh Branch in the Hall goal.
Clipstone soaked up all the Hallam could throw at them and when they got hold of the ball on 22 minutes they attacked down the right with some quick interchanging passes until Carl Snowden was pushed over 30 yards out.
Taken by Steve Carty the free kick was whipped onto the head of Snowden who created enough power to beat the keeper all ends up and put Clipstone 3-0 up.
The tactic of sitting back and soaking up the pressure paid off for Clipstone on the half-hour as Ed Eley’s drop kick bounced in between two Hallam defenders with both players totally messing up their attempted clearancesto let in Kieran Watson.
He picked up the ball on the halfway line with his pace leaving the defenders in his wake, calmly taking the ball to the left side of the area again to slot home into the same corner of the goal as his first to make it 4-0.
On 40 minutes Gary Armstrong picked up the ball on the edge of his own area and played into the feet of Snowden. He played a lovely pass to Watson who this time lobbed the stranded keeper, and if it were not for the bounce of the ball sending it inches over the bar, it would have been a five star first half performance.
The second half left Hallam carrying on chasing the game, again always leaving them extremely susceptible at the back.
Brett Marshall must have been thrilled how his tactics were working.
He, as well as everyone watchin,g thought his side had increased the scoreline on 50 minutes, except for the assistant referee who had his flag up to find Rob Paling offside before he had blasted the ball beyond the keeper.
Just a few minutes later Paling had a gilt-edged chance to add to the scoreline, this time putting his header beyond the far post where it seemed easier to score.
Paling was not the only one to miss good chances, Snowden and Wisdom, who replaced Armstrong on 72 minutes, were also guilty.
That should not take anything away from a great first half performance, though.
Hallam could only find one shot in the entire match to worry Ed Eley.
So it was not a great day for Chris Waddle and his son, who plays for Hallam, and it provided a magnificent end to a long hard fought season for the Clipstone boys.
CLIPSTONE MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Watson.