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Match report: Yorkshire Amateur 0 - 5 Beverley Town

As we approached the Community Sports & Activity Hub in Chapel Allerton for our first-ever Beverley Town away game, the moody-looking figure of David Batty loomed down on us from a giant billboard advocating the power of sport to bring people together. Nothing wrong with that message at all, but it was David’s namesake Josh Batty who played a prominent role in helping the Beavers to what was eventually a comfortable victory against Yorkshire Amateur, who find themselves at the foot of the table, having failed to win any of their opening six fixtures. It can be incredibly hard for relegated sides to stop the rot and avoid successive relegations, and the Ammers have a huge battle on their hands if they’re to avoid such a fate.

For their part, Beverley needed a victory to get back on track after surrendering leads in their last two matches, but, while the result was seldom in doubt, the final scoreline could be looked upon from two different perspectives. On the one hand, with a little more composure and luck, Beverley could have easily doubled their goal tally and reached double figures; on the other, had the Ammers converted their best chance of the game and reduced arrears to 2-1 with 20 minutes to go, then the infamous ‘squeaky bum time’ might just have come into play.

Manager Dave Ricardo fielded an attacking line-up, with all four of this season’s scorers – Ben Hinchliffe, Batty, Scott Phillips and Olly Baldwin – starting and, in a neat twist, all four of them found the back of the net again, along with substitute Joe McFadyen to complete a satisfactory afternoon in West Yorkshire, as several of the early pacesetters in NCEL Division One stumbled, allowing Beverley to narrow the gap on some of their promotion rivals. Despite the final scoreline though, this wasn’t a walk in the park. Or a walk through the long grass on a pitch that wasn’t exactly conducive to the sort of flowing football that Ricardo encourages, and neither did the swirling strong breeze that Beverley were downwind of in the first half.

The opening 20 minutes were littered with basic errors and sloppiness in possession that gave the Ammers hope that their poor run of form could come to an end, but just before frustration really started to kick in, Beverley hit the opposition with a classic double whammy of goals to calm their nerves. First, Grant Tait, filling in at right back, delivered a peach of a cross that sailed over the keeper’s head and into the path of the alert Hinchliffe, who netted the opener for his second goal in two starts this season, before Batty dummied to shoot on his right foot, then transferred to his left to drill a powerful shot into the net for a 2-0 lead.

In fairness to the hosts, their heads didn’t drop and they gave as good as the got in the second quarter, with a shot by Baldwin that was cleared off the line being as close as the Beavers got to extending their lead, while Will Taylor performed the same feat at the other end to keep the Ammers from sniffing an upset. And so a two-goal lead at half-time was about fair, although it still left some of the impressive travelling away support, including new-found ballboy Pip, a little on edge given Beverley had thrown away such a lead against Harrogate Railway only a few days prior.

The hosts made a significant change at half-time as they brought on 16-year-old Harry Abson for his league debut, and it’s great to see youngsters being given a chance at this level. As it happened, Beverley were also forced into a change shortly after the break, when Taylor came off second best in a fair 50-50 challenge for the ball, to be replaced by Eric Onyaka, who just about came out on top in his battle with Abson during the second half, nullifying the threat that he posed on the break. Batty, Hinchliffe and Phillips all went close to extending the lead, before Tait’s beauty of a free kick from 25 yards clattered back off the post with the keeper rooted to the spot, as the Beavers couldn’t quite put the result beyond doubt. Nath Ofori and McFadyen replaced Kai Larkin and Hinchliffe respectively, and Ofori in particular started to dictate the game, orchestrating a period of more sustained and patient build-up play that was ultimately to reap its reward. McFadyen also started to pull the strings in the No 10 position, although his shot from three yards out somehow hit the keeper rather than the back of the net, after Baldwin had fizzed over another excellent cross.

That profligacy in front of goal almost came back to haunt Beverley, when the hosts launched a corner into the box and nearly forced the ball home at the far post to halve the deficit, but that was the last of the game as a contest, as the Beavers went up the other end and finally put the result beyond all doubt. McFadyen was again instrumental in creating space on the edge of the box, allowing Baldwin the opportunity to bury a right-footed shot into the net, before being replaced by Chris Adams for the final 15 minutes. That third goal finally sucked the life out of the hosts and from then until the final whistle it was a case of damage limitation for them. McFadyen scored the fourth and his first of the season with an outrageous lob from out wide, and Phillips was rewarded for an outstanding performance with a richly-deserved fifth, and his fourth in the last three matches.

So what to conclude from this? Certainly that the Ammers are going to turn their season around quickly if they’re to avoid the drop, but what they lacked in cutting edge and quality they did at least have in character and fight. As for Beverley, this was a case of job done and a banana skin neatly sidestepped – three points and five goals in the bag and a return to winning ways ahead of their historic debut in the FA Vase against Prestwich next Saturday



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