Sing when you're fishing - Cleethorpes Town 7 Ossett United 1
It had been a while. The last time I went to Cleethorpes would have been on the ‘club trip’. Most of you of a certain age probably know what I’m on about here. It would have been the early 1980s. We’d board the char-a-banc parked outside the Working Men’s Club, the mams and dads would take their seats at the back, the kids at the front with pop, crisps and a bag of spice (sweeties, not drugs!). An hour or so later you were at the seaside. It could be Cleethorpes, it could be Skeggy, or could be Brid.
It’s a curious place. Two towns merging into one, Grimsby with its fishing industry heritage and Cleethorpes with its vast sands, pier and slot machines. For Ossett United Cleethorpes Town is a significant part of our history. They were the opponents for our first ever home league game back in August 2018. Cleethorpes have come a long way since that 4-0 defeat at Ingfield. Sitting comfortably in the play-offs, United would need three points to revitalise our own challenge. It wouldn’t be easy to knock them off their perch though, as Cleethorpes are bang in form, having bashed Taddy away at their plaice (sorry, something fishing going on here) the week before.
With players returning to the squad there were changes in the Ossett United line-up. With Harry Gagen missing at full-back, the returning Luke Hogg filled that unaccustomed hole. Ross Hardaker took up his usual left-back position, with Dec McGivern and Brad Beatson in the centre of defence, Jack Cowgill ruled out with a late knock. Louis Beckett, Charlie Wood, Ify Ofoegbu and the returning Nathan Valentine completed the midfield, leaving Aaron Haswell and James Walshaw to harass the Cleethorpes defence.
It was to be Cleethorpes doing most of the harassing, winning their first corner on 5 minutes. As the game really got going, Robertson ran through the middle, combining with Scott Vernon. Whilst Zaniewski comfortably saved between the Ossett sticks, this was a sign of things to come, with the home side mounting attack after crisp attack.
Ross Hardaker was meanwhile struggling with a knock and another enforced defensive change was necessary. Prince Attakorah replaced Hardaker, meaning the visitors now lined up without three of the usual back four, plus a midfielder playing out of position at right back.
On 19 minutes the in-form Vernon turned in the box and slotted the ball home for Cleethorpes. 1-0. For the next quarter of an hour the Owls continued to look dangerous in attack, with more chances going astray from Robertson and Vernon. Even from my biased viewpoint, it really should have been more.
Then on 35 minutes the Ossett travelling faithful, impressive again in their numbers, erupted with joy. Attakorah found Haswell who unleashed a ferocious shot from left. A slightly undeserved 1-1 but we’ll take it! At this point I carped on to a Cleethorpes fan that, “It just shows you’ve got to take your chances!” I would end up regretting those words.
Instead of being the turning point Haswell’s stunner was a red herring. Two minutes later Cleethorpes moved down the right and Vernon slotted home his and Cleethorpes’ second goal. 2-1.
It was fully deserved for the home side, with United struggling to contain the rampant hosts. It got worse for Ossett on the stroke of half time, Cooke leaping like a salmon to head home from a corner. It would be 3-1 to Cleethorpes at the interval.
There wasn’t much to report for the first twenty minutes of the second half, with neither side really threatening. As Ossett legs tired Luke Lofts came more and more into the game on the Cleethorpes left wing, combining well with left back Topliss. With 66 minutes on the clock Lofts cut into the box from the left and delivered an inviting low cross. Vernon was at the end of Lofts’ line, converting gratefully at the far post. 4-1 and Vernon’s second hat-trick in two games!
There were no chances going astray now, with the home side trawling forward, netting their catch at every opportunity. On 74 minutes a lost ball in midfield was quickly switched to Robertson. On his own and rampaging towards the Ossett goal, he composed himself and made it 5-1.
United striker, James Walshaw, who had received a yellow card for a rustic challenge, was replaced by young sprat and Ossett starlet Georgiou-Nicola.
That slippery eel on the Cleethorpes left, Luke Lofts, was tearing the United defence to shreds by this point. It was his turn next to try to get onto the scoresheet, though Zaniewski saved well to turn his shot over the bar.
The next foray down the left saw substitute McMenemy convert another inviting cross to make it 6-1 to the home side in the final minute. Into injury time a shot from the other Cleethorpes sub, Snelgrove, was deflected over Zaniewski into the Ossett net for number seven.
As the final whistle blew the Ossett faithful breathed a collected sigh of relief. Thank cod it’s over! As far as day trips to the seaside go, this one was a bit pollocks! We had been gutted, boned, filleted and battered in Fishtown.
7 (SEVEN on the vidiprinter) is one hell of a catch for the seasiders. Cleethorpes dominated this game, there’s no question. Although the Ossett side was a little patched up, it’s disappointing that we were outfought as well as outplayed. A big response is required at Liversedge!