Fixtures and Losses

Kidsgrove Athletic 4 vs Goole AFC 0
Just seven days after taking Kidsgrove to the cleaners at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds, Goole AFC found a similar fate belittling them in the return fixture at the Stan Brown Stadium on Saturday, and it was an abysmal performance from a side believing they have play-off aspirations. An already weakened defence was made to look second rate as the home side still battling against relegation took full revenge for their 6-2 defeat and could have won by a far wider margin had it not been for a Man of the Match show from keeper Craig Parry.
However even he was powerless to stop the hosts taking the lead with one of the fastest goals of the season in just 19 seconds from Liam Shotton, who was allowed plenty of time and space, but finished with aplomb. Conditions were poor, strong, gusty wind accompanied by driving rain, but the Vikings could have been three down inside the first five minutes with Michael Lennon and Steve Hones seeing efforts desperately close, indeed the woodwork came to Goole's rescue via Parry's hand.
Slowly, Goole did start to get into the game and debutant Chris Kamara's surging run almost provided an opening, but the cross eluded everyone, inviting as it was across a muddy goalmouth. However any hopes of a revival were hit in the second half, firstly defender James O'Neill collided with the close proximity of the boundary wall and sustained a horrible looking ankle injury which make shim look doubtful for some time, and then the defence totally fell apart in the last half hour.
On 62 minutes a well wqorked corner routine saw Jones' near post run met with a powerful finish past Parry, and then two goals in the closing ten minutes from Phil Hadland, seconds after Parry had made a superb penalty save from Lennon, a harsh award, and then Lennon finished Goole off with a solo run and confident finish which even Parry could not cope with. Indeed not only was there the penalty save, but fine stops from Morris and Beeston saved Goole from further embarrassment.
Any bright spots for Goole? Well a sound enough second debut for Chris Kamara, and Andrew Jackson worked well without much success in the middle of the park. Perhaps had Steve Rollinson gone for goal instead of unselfishly crossing early in the second half, the outcome may have been different, but that is clutching at straws and the Vikings face tests of character in the last month of the regular season, and a need for a return to consistency, if they are to extend their campaign into the play-offs

Vikings cup hopes blown away - Goole AFC 1 vs F.C United of Manchester 3
Goole can have few complaints from a largely disappointing performance which saw them lose their UniBond League Presidents Cup semi final against F.C United at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds on Saturday. The side formed by disillusioned Manchester United supporters following the takeover of the club by Malcolm Glazer celebrated their reprieve from a quarter final loss at Nantwich and adapted to the conditions better at a windswept VPG.
And Goole, who normally master such conditions well themselves, simply had one of those days and also saw player/manager Nigel Danby sent off in the second half, an act simply borne out of frustration as he kicked out needlessly at midfielder Josh Howard. With the ground's largest competitive attendance in over twenty years ( just on the 1000 mark) and that was pretty amazing given distractions elsewhere in Yorkshire, the Vikings had the elements at their backs in the first half, and although dominating possession, they lacked the spark up front with Duncan Bray missing the best chance on 22 minutes when a long clearance by Craig Parry caught on the wing, but the leading scorer screwed his shot wide of Aaron Grundy's goal. The turning point came either side of the half time break, with Bray's free kick hitting the foot of the post on 43 minutes, and then in added on time United went ahead when good work by Rory Paterson saw the Goole defence fail to clear their lines and Chris Baguley shot home from 12 yards.
Worse was to come two minutes into the second half when more excellent work by Baguley, saw him beat three players and then his 40 yard shot totally deceived Parry, who could only help the shot into the net. And the tie was effectively sealed on the hour when Paterson had acres of time and space in the penalty are to make it three. To be fair Goole never gave in, and were given a little hope when James O'Neill finished well after Bray did well on the bye-line and had Andy Jackson then scored eight minutes later it may have set up a grandstand finish.
However Danby's dismissal and a largely overall bad day at the office contributed to this exit at the semi final stage and they are now left free to concentrate on the main goal which is to secure a play-off place and hopefully promotion to the Premier Division. That continues at Cammell Laird on Wednesday evening, kick off 7.45pm with Danny Buttle an absentee once more with ankle trouble. Another sour note on a disappointing afternoon was crowd trouble which required a police presence to try and bring matters under control.

Gresley Rovers 3 vs Goole AFC 3
A dramatic late goal by Chris Tate right at the end of five minutes of added on time earned the Vikings a point, of which anything less would have been a complete injustice. They dominated the magnificent game of football at the Moat Ground on Tuesday night, but had to rely on Tate's late, late show due to the finishing power of Gresley leading scorer David Blenkinsopp, who returned from injury to score twice and seemingly inflict defeat on the Vikings. However this team never lies down, and despite seeing a brilliantly taken effort by Brad Hill cancelled out five minutes from time for alleged pushing, and seeing Tate's header at point-blank range saved by Clarke, they persevered and won that more than valuable point.
Tate was the only change in the line-up from Saturday, replacing Joe Brown, and he looked as sharp as he has since returning from injury, which bodes well, but he was only one of the whole Vikings side who played their part in a thrilling game. Gresley went ahead against the run of play on 21 minutes when a corner on the left found Miles Chamberlain at the back post to head home past Craig Parry. That had been their first, and was their only serious raid of the first 45 minutes as Goole played their best football for some time, on the ground, at pace and after Tate had gone close with a header and Bray had seen effort blocked, Andy Jackson equalised with a fine shot from 30 yards, low and hard past Clarke, who had done well to turn away James McDaid's drive seconds before. It was the Goole-born midfielder's first goal since Boxing Day.
A curling 25 yard shot by James O'Neill was inches wide of the far post just before the break, a half the Vikings could feel pleased about. If the first half was good, the second was even better and had it not been for Clarke in the Gresley goal, Goole would have been celebrating the three points, never mind what transpired. And yet they had to come from behind twice with Blenkinsopp, a dangerous customer, taking full advantage of lacks of concentration by Liam Chapman of all people to score with the two chances the home side had. They were on 49 and 69 minutes as the former Nuneaton forward took his goals tally to 23 for the season since his September signing.
The fact Goole fought back twice speaks volumes and they did it with sparkling football which deserved nothing less, and on another night they would have won. Duncan Bray equalised at 2-2 on 53 minutes with a lovely finish on the run from 20 yards, and he almost embarrassed Clarke seconds later with a lob that drifted just wide. Clarke then saved from Jackson, Tate, Bray and Nigel Danby, albeit off the top of the manager's head as the Vikings did dominate, and it seemed it wouldn't be their night when Tate headed straight at the keeper at the beginning of injury time, only for him to apply the final touch to a Chapman header from a corner and this time Clarke could not keep it out.

Two late goals blow goole's chances - Carlton Town 2 vs Goole AFC 1
The Vikings knew what to expect from their trip to Carlton on Saturday, but how disappointing it was for the vast army of supporters that they threw away a hard-earned one goal lead with two pieces of sloppy defending in the last quarter as the home side got revenge for a defeat back in November. That night Carlton had hammered away at the Goole goal for long periods without reward, on Saturday despite having a lot of possession in favourable first half condition they met a resolute back four who allowed them few sights of goal, so even more upsetting that late on they lost concentration twice to go down to only their fourth league defeat since September.
How much of a bearing it will have on the race for play-off positions remains to be seen, but an angry Nigel Danby, who left himself out of the starting line-up said afterwards: " We deserved everything we got this afternoon, we have only ourselves to blame, and training on Tuesday will return to the basics." Into the teeth of a strong wind down the ground, Goole had to soak up plenty of Carlton possession in the first half, but only once were they seriously threatened and that was in a goalmouth scramble where Phil Bignall and Darryl Thomas had chances to net from close range before Chris Jenkinson cleared.
The last ten minutes of the first half saw the Vikings press hard on the home goal and Liam Chapman headed wide from Danny Buttle's cross and James McDaid was inches away from connecting with Chris Tate's pass. Tate and fellow strike partner Karl Rose worked tirelessly in the first half, and with little change in conditions after the break, the momentum of the game changed the Vikings' way. After Danny Buttle wasted a good opportunity on 56 minutes, shooting straight at keeper Barcherini, and then having to leave the field under a late challenge from Dominic Thomas, Goole broke through on 65 minutes in superb style.Tate's brilliant control and pass forward found McDaid in the inside left position, and he left the keeper for dead, who was some way off his line, but what vision from 25 yards.
McDaid had a goal chalked off for offside, dubiously so, but then the world fell apart for Goole as a long ball forward was allowed to bounce in the penalty area and substitute Smith beat the exposed Craig Parry for the equaliser. And eight minutes later fellow substitute Steve Chaplin took advantage of a poor clearing header by Chapman to cut inside and beat Parry with a lovely finish in the left hand corner. Sespite a late half chance for Tate, a lot of free kicks in the final minutes meant Goole could not recapture any momentum and they slid to a setback, one which will have to be erased quickly after a promising eight match unbeaten run.

A point dropped or one gained! - Goole AFC 1 vs Gresley Rovers 1
Although the Vikings slid a place in the table following their 1-1 draw with Gresley Rovers on Saturday, it wasn't too bad a day overall for Nigel Danby's side as their play-off rivals, Grantham apart, all slipped up. And looking at the overall performance from this game of two halves, it would be wise to assume that it may even be a point gained in the long run as the Vikings went from excellent in the first half to abysmal for long periods of the second.
The first half, at times, was as good in terms of football that Goole have played all season, and with more luck in front of goal could have been well ahead at the break as Andrew Jackson in the midfield, and Chris Tate and Duncan Bray up front caused lots of problems for the Gresley back four. That they only had a superbly taken goal by Bray to show for their efforts didn't do them justice, but the build up which saw the joint leading scorer head home was a joy to watch with Tate and James McDaid exchanging passes before the midfielder delivered a lovely cross.
Bray had gone close before and a volley overhead by Tate deserved more before the goal. Gresley had one or two dangerous raids themselves, and Stefan Marshall will wonder how he contrived to shoot straight at Craig Parry from inside the six yard box seconds before the half time whistle.
Gresley keeper Clarke had looked shaky under the high ball in the first half, and with the sun setting in his eyes in the second, it was expected Goole may give him more aeriel bombardment, but the visitors instead dominated the first 25 minutes of the second half, and had they not wasted a series of promising set piece positions, may well have made the Vikings suffer. As it was it took a penalty from Tom Groves for handball against Tate on 69 minutes to equalise, the Vikings striker keeping out a Marshall effort after a sliced clearance had put Goole under pressure. It was amazing that the former Halifax and Scarborough forward stayed on the field, but the referee claimed afterwards he was not sure which Goole player had handled and it was a let off in one respect, if not the other.
Goole tried to rally in the final quarter as Steve Rollinson and Joe Brown were introduced, and it appeared as if they may have grabbed the winner when Clarke came and missed a corner on the left, and Liam Chapman's header looked to have crossed the line, but the assistant waved play on, and it has to be said that any Goole claims were quiet and muted. And at the end, in fairness and Goole managed Nigel Danby confessed: " We didn't really deserve any more for our second half efforts."