NCEL round-up: Armthorpe bow out of FA Cup, Rossington Main draw opening game
Armthorpe Welfare fell at the first fence in the FA Cup as they went down 2-0 at home to Handsworth Parramore.
It was always going to be a difficult hurdle for Welfare to overcome against a team widely fancied to win the NCEL Premier Division title.
And so it proved, although Brian Johnston’s side gave a decent account of themselves in the extra-preliminary round tie.
The visitors made a strong start and took a 20th minute lead through Tom Dugdale’s tap-in.
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Things could have been worse for the home side had a defender not managed to clear a header off the line.
But Armthorpe hung in and it took a tremendous save from Handsworth’s former Newport County goalkeeper Joe Green to prevent a certain equaliser, while Craig Aspinall flashed a header wide.
The visiting manager Mick Godber took the unusual step of keeping his players out on the pitch at half time, presumably unhappy at what he had seen.
Godber’s mood probably did not improve as Armthorpe came out on the front foot and were almost level immediately when Aspinall got in on goal but saw his well struck effort from the edge of the box superbly saved by Green.
However, Handsworth grabbed a vital second goal slightly against the run of play just past the hour.
Will Biggs in the Welfare goal failed to hold a Connor Higginson shot and there was Froggatt to knock in the rebound.
Handsworth hit the crossbar late on but, in all fairness, Armthorpe had a real go in the second half and deserved a goal for their efforts.
Armthorpe have the chance to avenge the cup defeat when the two teams meet once more at Church Street in the league next Tuesday.
Before that Welfare travel to Liversedge on Saturday for their Premier Division opener.
Maltby Main also made an early exit from the FA Cup as they lost 1-0 at home against North West Counties side Squires Gate.
The Miners were reduced to ten men when Gary Hibbert was sent off just before the interval for violent conduct.
The Blackpool side made their numerical advantage count with a second half winner.
When these teams last met, in the FA Vase in the 2013/14 season, Squires Gate left 3-0 victors with Joe Noblet scoring all three goals.
And it was Noblet who again proved to be a thorn in Maltby’s side by winning and converting a controversial penalty, following an innocuous coming together with the Miners’ Jack Binner, which proved decisive.
Maltby will be looking to bounce back this weekend when they face Athersley Recreation at Muglet Lane in their league opener.
The Miners completed a league double over the Barnsley outfit last term by winning the corresponding fixture 1-0 in January thanks to a Steve Hopewell second minute effort and beating Rec 2-0 at Sheerrien Park in the penultimate game of the season.
Rossington Main drew their Division One curtain raiser 1-1 at home to Selby Town.
Manager Lee Holmes will feel a little disappointed not to have taken all three points after twice hitting the woodwork in the second half, either side of their equaliser.
Selby hit the front after five minutes when Chris Jackson got on the end of an Ashley Hope free-kick.
Main pressed hard and Shaun Pendleton equalised from the penalty spot 11 minutes from time.
After levelling the scores Rossington looked the most likely winners with Selby glad to hang on for a point.
Main go to Glasshoughton Welfare on Saturday. They were soundly beaten 5-0 in the corresponding fixture last August as the relegated West Yorkshire side went on to complete the league double.