Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Penistone Church 1-0 Pontefract Collieries
Jordan Coduri’s second half winner ensured Penistone Church completed the double over title-chasing Pontefract Collieries.
The shut-out is only the second time the Colls have failed to score in the league this season.
Pontefract’s hopes of clinching an unprecedented promotion to the Evo Stik are dented as AFC Mansfield beat Worksop Town, but destiny remains in their own hands because of their six games-in-hand.
Penistone’s victory will not have surprised many people. Church are unbeaten in eight league games and have drawn with Pontefract’s promotion rivals Pickering Town and AFC Mansfield recently.
But Church did heavily ride their luck in the first half as the Colls squandered chance after chance.
The only moment where Penistone looked a real threat was on the stroke of half-time. Visiting goalkeeper Ryan Musselwhite spilled a cross and Kieran Ryan somehow blasted over from close range.
The Colls enjoyed a period of early second half pressure. Eli Hey stung the hands of Church goalkeeper Chris Snaith, but that was the last time the home side were really exposed.
A rare piece of poor defending from Pontefract saw the home side snatch the winner. The Colls backed off from the dangerous Coduri, the former AFC Emley starlet, and the attacker fired low and hard and beat Musselwhite.
Tempers then frayed and Church were fortunate to keep their inspirational centre-back Brett Lovell on the field. After a poor challenge on Luke Jeffs, the heat got to a few and the experienced Lovell sparked a mass brawl after sprinting 30 yards and confronting Colls captain Jimmy Williams like a rutting stag before pushing him in the chest with two hands. The former Stocksbridge defender somehow escaped with a yellow card when calm was restored.
From Penistone’s point of view, it was a good job as their heroic captain was their best player in the final half-hour. Lovell led Church’s back-line. No-one could get near him as he headed, kicked everything that the Colls threw at his side.
It meant Snaith was heavily protected and a Mark Whitehouse header was the only real danger moment for Church in the final throes.
The victory keeps Penistone on course to challenge a top six finish, while the Colls need to bounce back quickly when Garforth Town visit on Tuesday night.
Penistone Church: Snaith, Johnson, Russell (Richards 65), Ellis, Brennan, Lovell, Howes (captain) (Cadzow 77), Coduri, Keightley, Ryan, Ring (Whittington 82). Subs unused: Dickinson, Smith.
Pontefract Collieries: Musselwhite, Greenhough, Jeffs (Whitehouse 73), Cromack, Williams (captain), Clarke, Redford, Scargill (Darley 82), Moxam, Hey (Reece 59), Dunn. Sub unused: Ramsey.
Who Was In Charge
Leo Howard (10/10)
Mr Howard handled proceedings very well. Even though it could be argued that Brett Lovell should have been sent off in the second half, Mr Howard handled the tense situation very well and everyone accepted his decision to show only a yellow card.
How Many Were There