Clipstone were made to work very hard for their 1-0 win at a much improved Dinnington Town on Saturday.
Brett Marshall was forced into several changes through players being unavailable through work which gave a chance for recent signings Luke Weaver, Christian Watson and Louis Jackson to make a claim for a regular shirt.
Clipstone made a very bright start on a pitch that resembled a farmer’s field and in the very first minute it was Christian Watson who, with his pace, carried the ball well before being unceremoniously upended 20 yards out from goal, the free kick coming to nothing.
It didn’t take long for the match officials to let everyone that they were a part of this game and on 17 minutes the referee’s assistant decided to flag for a foul by Luke Weaver on Dinnington’s Martin Wade on the edge of the penalty area when both players were stood at least a yard inside the area.
It was a really soft decision, but the referee had no choice but to go with it and fortunately Sam Reed hit the resulting free kick high and wide.
To give Dinnington credit they were looking strong on the counter attack and if they had made the most of their possession could have taken the lead on a few occasions with Ed Eley in goal and centre half Keir Webster playing out of their skin to keep Clipstone’s unbeaten run going.
But Clipstone always looked capable of causing Dinnington’s defence problems in the first half with both Watsons and captain Snowden working well in combination with Jason Edwards while Chris Gill in the Dinnington goal was probably their best player in the first half.
Controversially Clipstone took the lead on 47 minutes.
Again it was the same assistant referee that adjudged Kieran Watson was tripped and indicated the referee should award a penalty, but again this incident clearly took place outside of the area.
The difference in both decisions was that Clipstone made the most of theirs, Rob Paling blasting the penalty past the keeper.
This was a very closely fought contest with the difference being Clipstone having the better footballing heads.
Manager Marshall would have been pleased with the performances of Eley Webster Edwards and the front three of Watson Watson and Snowden.
It was Webster who came closest to extending their lead. His clearance from fully 60 yards out had the Dinnington keeper scrambling all over the place to just get his hands to the ball and push over for a corner.
For the last 20 minutes the referee decided the only way he could keep control of this game was to brandish a flurry of yellow cards and how all 22 players stayed on the pitch was a mystery in the end.
CLIPSTONE: Eley, Armstong, Paling, Webster, Weaver, Carty (Wisdom), C. Watson (Millington), Edwards, Snowden, K. Watson, Jackson. Sub not used: Allan.