Clipstone pipped battling visitors Eccleshill United 1-0 to maintain their promotion push in the NCEL Division One.
In a game that was played at an electrifying pace for the whole 90 minutes and mostly end to end action, this was the best football spectacle witnessed at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium all season as both sides played their part in this non-stop encounter.
Clipstone created the first chance of the evening with some high tempo crisp passing involving Matty Ord, Dan Wood and eventually Josh Gibson shooting speculatively, dragging his shot well wide of the left upright.
Eccleshill had obviously come prepared to hit on the counter attack, which is exactly what they did on five minutes.
Their passing was just as crisp as Clipstone’s earlier move and they created an even better opportunity, threading a ball through to Steve Rivera and Clipstone found themselves backtracking as fast as they could to stop a three-on-one chance. Eventually Rob Paling and Tom Robley got in front of a Josh Rosenstraugh effort, which trickled out for a corner that Nick Siddons got both fists to and punched clear.
The game did not have to wait too long for the opening goal, and a terrific goal it was too.
It came through one of those great Ord runs on the left wing. He turned his defender inside out before hitting the by-line and crossing low for Jamie Smith to tap home from only a few yards out on 13 minutes.
But Eccleshill were as strong a side as Clipstone and on 20 minutes Rosenstraugh had another great opportunity after some great work by the visitors.
Again his right footed effort was half-blocked by the Clipstone defenders and Nick Siddons grabbed the ball down by the right post.
On 23 minutes there was a break in play so Eccleshill’s Ishmael Mills could receive treatment for an injury to his right knee.
Two minutes later Ord was fouled just inside the visitors’ half.
Clipstone sent Rich Mintoft up from the centre back position as Paling sent a ball onto the edge of the six yard box, which was only half-cleared to the just beyond the far post.
Mintoft got his right boot to the ball to send it back into the middle, but Eccleshill cleared the danger.
It was non-stop end-to-end football, as both teams trying to play the game the right way.
On 28 minutes Rawson ran onto a loose ball 25 yards out. He tried his luck with a pacey curling shot that had the Eccleshill keeper scrambling, only to see the ball miss the upright by inches.
Siddons continued his inspiring goalkeeping performances for the Cobras with yet another smart save from Marcus Edwards on 28 minutes.
Rawson was penalised for a slightly late challenge giving the visitors a direct free kick 32 yards out. Edwards sent a rocket towards the top corner of goal and Siddons tipped the ball over for a corner.
On 40 minutes Eccleshill nearly gifted Clipstone a second goal.
Ord worked his way once again on the left and sent a cross towards Wood with a defender just getting his head in the way, and the ball spinning towards the far post, missing by inches and out for a Clipstone corner.
Clipstone won yet another corner just before the interval. Wood received the ball 30 yards out. His turn and shot was deflected wide and the resulting corner was dealt with by the visitors.
Right from the start of the second half Clipstone looked to add to their first half goal. On 47 minutes Ord was tormenting the Eccleshill defenders on the left side of the penalty area. He nudged the ball past his defender and was cynically brought down and the game’s first caution of the game went to Eccleshill’s James Voissey.
Paling once again sending the dead ball into a dangerous area, which was put out for a corner.
Every time Ord received the ball at his feet, Eccleshill doubled up on him, but were scared to put in a telling challenge on him.
On 63 minutes he was once again 30 yards out with his back to goal, turned left then right and sent a vicious shot on the turn, again deflected out for a corner.
Two minutes later and Eccleshill had their turn to make inroads into their opponents’ half.
They won a free kick on the right edge of Clipstone’s penalty area, taken by Marcus Edwards to the far post area, Rich Mintoft and his team of defenders bravely clearing the danger.
On 69 minutes Eccleshill had the home defenders all over the place, switching left and right and finally Steve Rivera shot to the right corner, Gibson getting back well to get his head to the ball and put out for a corner.
On 74 minutes Wood was denied by a great save from Eccleshill’s Joe Stead, and he was at it again to keep Ord out just a few minutes later.
Ord twice sent the ball across the face of goal to the far post, but the Clipstone attackers could could not find the essential touch.
On 80 minutes Wood was weaving his way over on the right and won yet another corner for the home side.
When the ball came over, it was cleared to the edge of the D where Matt Austin blasted a shot goalbound. Again Eccleshill defenders put their bodies on the line and blocked his effort.
Just before the final whistle Siddons made his best save of the night.
Marcus Edwards fired in at goal from the right edge of the area across the keeper, who smartly dived low to his right and parried the ball onto the left post which was then well cleared by Mintoft.
This was a wonderful football match, played in the right manner, with credit to both sets of players, but Clipstone narrowly holding on for the win.
COBRAS MAN OF THE MATCH: Nick Siddons.