Pontefract Collieries' 'El-Classicoal' win leaves Frickley Athletic in last chance saloon

Frickley Athletic must now win their last match and hope results elsewhere go their way in order to stay in the Pitching In Northern Premier League after their relegation worries deepened following back to back defeats over Easter.

By Tony Harber
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 1:14 pm
Frickley Athletic's luck was out at Tadcaster Albion as they hit the crossbar and missed several good chances in a 2-0 defeat. Picture: Keith A Handley

The Blues suffered a 2-0 defeat to Tadcaster Albion on Saturday and were then beaten 3-1 in a local derby with Pontefract Collieries on Monday.

Again they were left to rue missed opportunities in both matches, not least with their opponents going down to 10 men in the games.

Frickley had the better of the early play at Tadcaster, but found themselves a goal behind against the run of play when Jack Carr netted.

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Carr was then sent-off for a dangerous tackle and the 10-man hosts rode their luck to stay in front at the break with Joe West hitting the crossbar, Josh Scott somehow missing the target from close range and Rod Orlando-Young having a header saved.

It was a similar story in the second half with Scott shooting wide, Kegan Everington off target from a corner and Michael Hollingsworth heading over from close range.

It seemed a goal had to come, but it went to Tadcaster with Mark Ferguson scoring a goal that broke Frickley hearts.

Monday’s game was the “El-Classicoal” against a Ponte side looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a 2-1 home defeat to Dunston on Saturday and it was Colls who struck first with their former Frickley player Ben Morris finding the net from range.

Ponte then went down to 10 men with Jack Shepherd red carded in the 27th minute, but they extended their lead as Rob Guilfoyle put away a penalty.

With their extra man Athletic pressed in the second half and were left cursing their luck as Orlando-Young hit the post.

Joe Lumsden made it 3-0 with a superb strike before Lloyd Allinson made a fine save to keep out Orlando-Young’s penalty.

Nathan Perks finally netted for Frickley then he was inches away from a second when hitting the woodwork, but Colls saw the game out for their win.

Frickley are now away to Shildon in their last game of the season and find themselves second from bottom, one point behind Sheffield FC and two behind Lincoln United and Bridlington Town. It is not an impossible task ahead of them, but they have not won away since March 5 at Pickering Town.

Ponte manager Craig Rouse was pleased with his side’s display at Frickley, particularly with the way they coped with having 10 men.

He said: “It was a good away performance and it backed up what we did two weeks ago at Cleethorpes, doing the right things at the right times.

“But we’re going to get a grip on the sendings off. We’ve got away with the game really, going down to 10 men.

“It’s a learning curve for Shep. He’s done ever so well and obviously he’ll learn from it. It’s not so much the game he's coming out of, it’s the games he misses going forward that hurts us as a group. It’s something we have to get better at.

“But overall I thought it was a good away performance and three really good finishes. It’s obviously a good day for us.

“Coming out at 2-0 for the second half we knew we would come under pressure. You have to weather it with 10 men and we rode our luck once or twice. They hit the post and Lloyd’s saved the penalty. But we’ve also missed opportunities at the other end.

“We saw something on social media before we came that we had nothing to play for, but we’ve got good players in the dressing room and have a lot of pride so there’s always things to play for – we want to win every game.”

Pontefract now wrap up their season with a home game against another of the relegation battlers, Sheffield, this Saturday.

“They are going to come and throw everything at us – and we have to stand up to that,” added Rouse.

“We’ve shown we can do it over the season.

“It was a big result against us at Sheffield when we went down to nine men that day and got done heavily.

“We’ll have that in the back of our minds and want to put that right.”