Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Castleton Gabriels Vs Padiham

The first home game in several weeks turned into one the Gabs would rather forget. The festive weather had so far left Castleton with a very uneventful Christmas period, but for today at least only the brisk wind would torment the eager crowd.

Castleton started the game with a completely different side from the team that started the season in the famous blue and white stripes, the new crop would need to gel well to battle against a side that had previously beat them 9-0.

The game began and Padiham applied some early pressure, testing keeper Canning from outside the box.

Fans favourite Alan Brannick was shifted to right back and had to be on his toes early on as Padiham’s wingers looked to tire the towering defender.

The first blow of the game came soon in the first half. Mark Baxendale brought down Padiham’s centre forward as he looked to run free. After some arduous discussions with the referee, not even captain Steve McCann could change the mind of the over eager Official who Showed a straight red to Baxendale. The referee deemed Baxendale to be the last man he brought down but that was debatable.

With 10 men the quest for victory was hard enough, but with 9 men it would seem impossible. 30 minutes in, the inaugural Alan Brannick was put under pressure as two Padiham defenders sandwiched Brannick and won the ball, but as one Padiham defender fell to the ground, Alan Brannick in a moment of madness seemed to stamp on the defender, and with the referee in close proximity, there was no doubt what happened next.

Gabs were down to nine men, and the task becoming more and more difficult.

Credit to the Castleton spirit as they held out for the next fifteen minutes with relative ease. They even hit the bar from a 25-yard lob. Padiham were restricted to nothing but long shots, which were easy for Canning. And Gabs entered the half 0-0.

The second half commenced and no sooner had I sat down with my pie, cup of tea, and weekly telegram from the queen Padiham had broken the deadlock.

A corner was swung to the back post, and it was collected by Vinny Braine who was alone and on hand to slot home the first of the afternoon.

Controversy again as Gabs would suffer another loss. 60 minutes in Moses Tahir came under pressure down the right flank, the linesman gave a decision Tahir and he rightly protested.

The officious referee still running high on the adrenaline rush of showing his cards waddled over and spoke to the linesman, giggled, then surprisingly gave him a straight red card! The officials reported that Tahir had used abuse language towards the Linesman. Gabs down to 8 men, and the task was now even more difficult.
Castleton held out for another 10 minutes but could not prevent two more goals being conceded.

After 70 minutes Lowber headed home for Padiham’s second, and five minutes later Vinny Braine Shot home after he was left unmarked in the box, marking had become a bit of a chore since Castleton were reduced to 8.

Gabs Michael Ward was brought on to calm the storm, and he tested the strong winds with a shot from the half way line, but the ball sailed minutely over the bar.

Castleton held out for another 15 minutes till the end of the game, and were resilient in Padiham’s advances and the game drew to a close at 0-3.

In what promised to be an excellent game, turned into a farcical as three straight reds spoiled the game. The referee had clearly eaten his shredded wheat in the mornin, as there were more Red cards on show than the regionally acclaimed Castleton home made meat pie.

Alan Brannick took the time to offer his opinions on the game; “It would have been a decent game of football but the referee obviously had other plans. I had just been fouled by two opposition players, knocked of balance and then landed on one of them, how the foul went against me I don’t know”

Castleton travel to Ashton Town this coming weekend. And will have no choice but to make several changes as Brannick, Tahir and Baxendale all begin their 3 game suspensions.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

New Mills Vs Castleton Gabriels

New Mills 6-1 Castleton Gabriels...report to follow shortly

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Castleton Gabriel's Vs Ashton Town

Game abandoned due to waterlogged pitch.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Blackpool Mechanics Vs Castleton Gabriel’s

Gale force winds, tormented Seagulls and a fine cup of Bovril laid the foundations for an afternoon of coastal football fun.

Blackpool being quite breezy at the best of times, turned into a mini storm as the brave supporters sacrificed hats and umbrellas to the swirling northern wind.

Two new signing’s were thrust into the gabs starting eleven. Despite top scorer Pheby available after returning from suspension, he was surprisingly left on the bench.

Blackpool began the game well, controlling much of the earlier play between the two sides. But several tame early efforts resulted to nothing.

Mid way through the first half Blackpool pressed down the left wing. A cross was swung in, despite no one being able to connect to the ball, Gabs keeper Canning presumed the ball was going out, but instead it hit the post and fortunately landed in the hands of the Castleton stopper.

Castleton seemed unable to get a grip of the game, and struggled to make it out of their own half. Clearly the game had to be played on the ground due to the intense winds, but in their wisdom Castleton continued to play the long ball presenting the wind with an opportunity to show us its football skills.

Half time approached and with the conditions dictating much of the platy the first half ended goalless.

The wind regrouped and intensified for the start of the second half. Castleton hoping to prove a point started the second half brightly and pressed forward. Michael Ward doing all he could to let loose wingers Entwistle and Eastmond. Eastmond’s best attempt came from 25 yards, but the keeper was on hand to collect.

Dean Watkinson’s bullet header also went close but the score remained 0-0.

On 75 minutes the first goal of the game arrived. Blackpool moved the ball down the right wing and swung a low ball into the area, it looked like Alan “Titus” Brannick had it covered, but as he went to clear, he slipped, and ball flew past him and landed comfortably at the feet of striker Cairns who was gifted a very easy goal.

5 minutes later disaster struck again. Whether the wind or rain played any part in what happened, only Castleton’s keeper Canning will know. A ball was played in, and Canning seemed to gather the ball easy enough. But somehow the ball re-appeared from under his legs and rolled free. Blackpool striker Cowell was on hand to grab Blackpool a second of the game. Mark ‘Taibi-Carson’ Canning was left to curse the conditions.

Blackpool could have added a third in injury time but fortunately the woodwork stood firm and denied Blackpool a 3-0 win.

An unfortunate loss for Castleton, who will rue two silly mistakes that led to both goals. They will need to think more creatively this Saturday against Local rivals Ashton, but at least they will have the buoyant home support to cheer them on.

Some transfer news. Goal Machine Andrew Pheby who was disappointed at being left on the bench against Blackpool, refused to sit amongst the substitutes during the game in protest to his elimination. During the week the Castleton management made the shock decision to release their top scorer from the club for this breach of discipline.

In response Pheby “questioned the clubs man management”, but also “wished the club the best of luck in the future”.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Castleton Gabriels Vs New Mills

A rain soaked evening saw Gabs play host to the division leaders New Mills in the first encounter of the season. Captain Steve McCann and poacher Andrew Pheby were both suspended, so Graham Hicks took the captains armband, and Christian Evans used as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

Assistant manager Lee Chadwick was also thrown into the 5-man midfield, hopefully his presence would inspire a depleted Gabs.

Mills as expected started the game brightly, attacking from the off set and looked to test the central defensive partnership of Watkinson and Brannick. But a resilient Castleton also began well; comfortably fending off any Mills attacks.

Skilful winger Nathan Eastmond started the game, his early performance must have had everyone wondering why he doesn’t start every game as his pace and skill was proving a huge problem for Mill’s defence. On the opposite side of the field, Right-winger Carl Winstanley was finally showing his worth, as he made several testing runs through the New Mills strong hold, but was unable to capitalise.

Against the run of play New Mills got the first of the evening. A miss hit shot landed to striker Kharas who appeared to be at least two yards offside, and with the help of the deluded lines-man, slotted home for the first of the evening,

Gabs clearly felt hard done by, and quickly went in search of an equaliser. A neat through ball fell to Gabs striker Evans who danced round several Mills defenders, played the ball to Eastmond whose tame shot was collected by the keeper.

Moment’s later Eastmond was on the run again. Given the ball on the left wing, he skimmed past the defence but again his shot was straight at the keeper.

As half time approached, and the anticipation of a meat pie, the second goal of the afternoon was scored. New Mills were awarded a corner in the 44th minute. The ball was played into the box; Gabs keeper Canning was unable to collect the in-swinger that fell to Mills striker Kharas who converted through a sea of bodies.

The second half started where it had left off, Mills awarded in a corner on 49 minutes, the ball was played low to Carlos Meakin, who was left unchallenged at the near post and volleyed home from close range to claim a very flattering third goal.

Assistant manager Chadwick and Michael Ward had so far controlled the midfield battle well, and were spreading the ball out as much as possible. Michael Ward on one occasion playing in Aerodynamic winger Carl Winstanley, who lacked composure in front of goal, and shot wide.

Disaster happened on 63 minutes. Taking into consider the strong winds, Canning opted to pass the ball to his defence rather than kicking against the wind from a dead ball, but little did the defenders know that New Mills forward Bingham was lurking around the box.

Dean Watkinson was given the ball just inside the area, But Bingham quickly pounced on Watkinson and muscled him off the ball, Canning could then do little to stop him slotting the ball into the back of the net to claim the fourth of the afternoon.

Undeterred by the score line, Gabs showed their ability and treated the crowd to some fine individual ability. Skipping through the defence, Eastmond did all he could to break the Millers defence.

Fellow winger Winstanley who was tremendous all game, combined well with anchorman Michael Ward, but some last ditch defending from New Mills prevented that elusive Gabs goal, that would surely open the floodgates.

Towards the end Alan Brannick skilfully bicycle-kicked the ball into his “own net” after a cross was swung in, but fortunately the referee signalled offside to spare his blushes.

The game finished a generous 4-0, and Castleton will feel hard done by knowing that simple mistake’s, and a Mills friendly linesman, gifted victory to Mills who had been dominated all game by a resilient Midfield.

A trip to the seaside awaits the Gabriel’s this weekend, and after a brief visit to the sea life centre, a quick blast on the Big One. Gabs will be hoping for a reward of fish and chips on the promenade after recording an overdue win against the Vegas of the north’s very own…Blackpool Mechanics.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Castleton Gabriel's Vs Oldham Town

Gabs played host to local rivals Oldham town and were hoping to avenge a 4-1 defeat earlier in the season. Top scorer Andrew Pheby was out along with midfielders Jackson and Riley. So Watkinson and Entwistle deputised in the centre of midfield, and Carl Winstanley pushed up-front.

Hoping to get an early grip on the game, Gabs did the opposite and conceded an early goal. After 7 minutes Oldham playing some tidy football in the final third, played a neat through ball which landed at the feet of Jones, who had no trouble converting from close range.

Castleton almost responded immediately, but Captain Steve McCann failed to hit the target from close range after a corner kick fell to the towering central defender.

A swift counter attack gave Town their second, the ball played quickly to the left wing, and a deep cross went beyond all four Gabs defenders, and fell to Town’s McGill who volleyed it in from close range, to claim the visitor’s second of the afternoon. Castleton’s defense would need to improve if they were to salvage anything from the game.

Castleton could have reduced the deficit soon after, But striker Christian Evans failed to test the Oldham keeper as his scuffed the ball wide after being put through 1-on-1 with the Oldham keeper.

An over eager linesman had also restricted Gab’s attacking mobility as several dubious decisions went against Castleton, Carl Winstanley voicing his opinion but to no avail.

Oldham soon scored a third to continue the rout. Striker Scanlan converting a header from close range, and making a victory ever more elusive.

Fans favourite Alan Brannick nearly treated the home support to a wonder goal; he picked up the ball out side the Oldham area, neatly side stepped round several defenders, but hastily blasted his shot onto the adjacent field.

A fourth goal was soon to come, but unfortunately Gabs would be on the receiving end of an excellent individual effort. Oldham midfielder Curley won the ball in midfield, and after running 10 yards un-challenged, struck from 25 yards out into the top right corner. Gabs couldn’t have wished for a worse start and desperately needed to stamp their authority on the game if there were to take any pride out of the game.

Dean Watkinson nearly cooled the manager’s rage just before half time but could only look on as his shot was cleared off the line.

The emphasis on Castleton’s half time team talk was clearly not to concede any more goals, and they did very well to bring the in-form Oldham’s scoring to an abrupt end.

Oldham pressed down both wings hoping for some luck, but talisman Alan Brannick used his experience and strength to fend back any Oldham advances.

Without top scorer Andrew Pheby in the side Gabs were lacking a cutting edge up-front, Christian Evans again spurning a 1-on-1 with the keeper, and Carl Winstanley was still being haunted by the over zealous linesman who took a personal dislike to Winstanley.

With temperatures dropping and the floodlights lit, we were treated to the final goal of the afternoon after 70 minutes. Unfortunately the home crowd would have to wait another week for a Gabs goal, as Oldham scored a fifth.

A free kick on the edge of the area was hit low and hard into the bottom corner by striker Curley who claimed his 2nd of the afternoon.

Without key players Castleton were unable to conjure the ability to match the in-form Oldham who eventually claimed their 6th win in a row.

The Gabriel’s are now without a win in six and play host to table toppers New Mills this Saturday at Castleton sports centre. Although the task could be no harder, they will be looking to put on a performance for the home support who will no doubt match the Millers loyal traveling support.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Runcorn Linnets Vs Castleton Gabriel’s

A cold Witton Albinon’s ground with a decrepit scoreboard told us two things;
1. Winter was on its way, and 2. We were about to witness the second round of the League Challenge Cup match between division 1 outfit Runcorn, and the Castleton Gabriel’s.

Castleton began the game with a blustery wind at their backs, but failed to use the conditions to their advantage with Runcorn having the better of the early exchanges. Canning being tested early on, but Runcorn’s effort from 25 yards sailed over the bar.

After 17 minutes the crowd were warmed by the games first goal. Collecting the ball in the Castleton half, some clever one touch passing from the Runcorn engine room finally ended up at the feet of midfielder Young who had no trouble converting from 15 yards

Runcorn continued to dominate throughout the half; both wingers causing several problems for wingback’s Brannick and Hicks. Runcorn could have taken an further lead had Thompson’s header been on target.

Gabs held back constant pressure from Runcorn, and the difference in class was beginning to show.

The second half was to bear few fruits for the Gabs. One minute in and Runcorn had scored a second. Castleton gave away a sloppy free kick on the edge of the area, and the Gabriel’s now playing against the torrid wind, failed to clear the ball, and the free kick found striker Halpin who headed home for his first of the night.

Gabs were lucky not to concede a third soon after. Runcorn’s Thomas Lamb made sure Canning had not seized up in the cold; as he made an excellent save to deny a third of the afternoon. Lamb also shaded the post from close range.

The brave but frost bitten crowd were then treated to an excellent goal on 77 minutes. Runcorn Midfielder Leahey tried his luck from 30 yards, and aided by the wind, the ball sailed past Canning into the top corner.

3 minutes later Castleton conceded their fourth of the afternoon. Canning parried a shot from close range, but the ball fell to Runcorn’s Halpin who poked the ball over the line from close range.

The final whistle was blown and a cold evening was drawn to an end. Castleton will be disappointed that they never got going, and despite having an excellent scoring reputation in the league, they failed to break a strong Runcorn defence…and muster a single shot on goal.

This weekend fixture sees the return fixture against Oldham Town at Castleton sports centre. Hopefully a vengeful Gab’s will turn on the style and treat us to another enthralling Goal fest, and a much overdue victory in front of the home crowd.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Castleton Gabriels Vs Darwen

After the midweek draw to Chadderton, Gabs hosted Blackburn outfit Darwen F.C.

Those who braved the brisk weather would be treated to a fiery encounter that would see seven goals and a well-earned red card.

That match began is typical Gabs fashion. Striker Michael Ward trying his luck from 25 yards, but to no avail.

The deadlock was soon broken on 25 minutes. A positive Castleton start suffered a set back when a defensive mix-up presented Darwen midfielder Hulme with the ball, and from a very acute angle on the right, tried his luck and surprisingly it sailed past keeper Canning, and into the back of the net.

But we did not have to wait too long for a Castleton equaliser when on 44 minutes the Gabriel’s were awarded a free kick. Right back Graham Hicks unleashing a powerful shot from the right that rattled the inside of the crossbar, and somehow bounced free to Gabs poacher Andrew Pheby who had no trouble heading into an open goal and claiming his 9th of the season.

On the stroke of half time Castleton could of taken the lead. A defensive error saw the ball fall to Christian Evans who rounded two defenders and with the goal at his mercy, shot wide, and understandably fell to his knees in despair.

The second half commenced, and almost as soon as people had returned to their seats, Darwen had taken the lead. A free kick played into the box, was met by the head of Ryan Mashitter who nodded home from 10 yards out. A fatal mistake by the Gabs whose woefully attempted offside trap, was clinically punished.

Gabs pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded on 72 minutes when ex Man City youth midfielder Todd Hayes poked home from close range after some excellent build up play.

Central defender Watkinson was lucky to stay on the pitch mid-way through the second half after a late challenge on a Darwen forward who looked as though he was the last man, but the referee deemed otherwise, and gave Watkinson a yellow card.

During the second half manager Canning brought on Nathan Eastmond for Michael Ward and the move sparked Gabs into life.

Eastmond’s added pace on the left provided Castleton with an extra attacking outlet and he left the Darwen defence far too easily inside the box before striking his close range shot into the hands of the Darwen keeper.

Gabriel’s Winger Russell also tried his luck from close range after marauding through the defence, but was unable to break the Darwen stopper.

On 77 minutes Darwen scored another to take the lead. Some clever play down the right wing, the ball was played into the box and on the volley, striker Anderton converted from close range, and gave Darwen the lead once more.

With the Gabs faithful thinking things could not get any worse, Captain Steve McCann was then sent off for a stern shove on a Darwen attacker. After looking like he had just attempted a unique backwards long jump, a broken Darwen player voiced his anger at the referee who had no hesitation in showing McCann the red card.

10 men Gabs held out for the remainder of the game, but unfortunately could do little to prevent Darwen scoring twice more with goals from Stephenson and Crompton in the dying minutes of the game. And condemn Gabs to an unfortunate 2-5 loss.
Gabs face a mid-week test at 1st division outfit Runcorn. And will hoping to provide a much sterner test for a side who will be looking to take out their frustration on who ever stands in their way.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Castleton Gabriel’s Vs Chadderton F.C.

In front of a boisterous home crowd, Castleton played host to local rivals Chadderton F.C and were hoping to get revenge after the early season 2-1 defeat against Chadderton.

Michael Ward was flung upfront to lead the attack and Andrew Pheby called upon to anchor the midfield. Graham Hicks returned to right back.

Castleton looking to impose themselves early on began strong and could of taken an early lead had the mercurial Carl Winstanley converted from close range after muscling his way past the defence, but he narrowly missed the target.

Gabs continued to press, Andrew Pheby in particular dictating the flow of the game with some neat passing and crunching tackles, but for now Castleton were unable to capitalise on a good start.

After 15 minutes the deadlock was broken, completely against the run of play, Chadderton who had been restricted to long-range efforts by the Gabs defence took an unjust lead when Chadderton wing back Davies gambled from 25 yards out and rifled a shot into the top corner past keeper Canning.

A lucky Chadderton goal did little to deter the Gabs spirit as Castleton went all out for an equaliser. After a fine passing movement Gabriel’s got their reward. A long ball in the box was cleared, but only as far as Castleton top scorer Andrew Pheby who on the volley smashed the ball past the stranded Chaddy keeper to bag a deserved equaliser.

Chadderton clearly frustrated began making some rash challenges, and a hard tackle on Carl Winstanley resulted in a mass brawl between players with many Chadderton fans unnecessarily getting involved, Castleton’s Winstanley was grabbed by a Chadderton supporter, either for his autograph or to voice their opinion (the former probably being slightly more valuable). When all calmed down, a Chadderton player was dealt a yellow card which seemed very lenient.

Undeterred by the Brawl, Winstanley would get his revenge. After 30 minutes from a corner kick, the ball fell to Winstanley who made no mistake in firing home from close range and The home side finally took a deserved lead which they held till half time.

Throughout the half Castleton created several excellent chances, Gabs captain Steve McCann put a powerful header over the bar, and Winstanley had also saw a few chances fly wide of the target.

The second half commenced, Michael ward moved onto the left wing, replacing the injured Winstanley.

Castleton looked to defend their lead, and had comfortably held back all of Chadderton’s advances until a calamitous referee decision on 56 minutes led to a Chadderton equaliser. The ball crossed the dead ball line and despite clearly coming off a Chadderton attacker the referee awarded a corner. The ball was played to the far post where it was met by Chadderton Striker Taylor who converted from close range.

Chadderton thinking their luck was in, tried to claim a penalty minutes later when a Chadderton player fell easily under a challenge in the box, but several possible Oscar winning rolls on the floor didn’t convince the officious referee, and the game continued.

Chadderton buoyed by their luck began to press, and could have taken the lead from a free kick had the woodwork not got in the way, but Chadderton had little else to trouble Gabs keeper Canning.

The game was then played in the middle of the park for the duration of the game, Andrew Pheby and Matthew Russell breaking up any Chadderton play. With defenders Watkinson and McCann easily dealing with anything that was swung into the box.

Fans favourite Alan Brannick was hoping to make a late impact on the game, but a late injury whilst warming up prevented a fairytale ending. And the game was settled at 2-2.

A very entertaining game, Castleton may lament missed chances in the first half in a game they could of put to bed early doors. But a free scoring Gab’s will look to their next home game this weekend against Darwen to inflict an overdue win.

If you find yourself at a loose end this Saturday, fancy some fresh air, or just a couple of hours away from the wife (or husband), take the short trip to Butterworth park where you will always be guaranteed an exciting game of football and may even get to see the implausible Alan Brannick at work.

Monday, 29 October 2007

New Mills Vs Castleton Gabriel's

With a mid-week game against local rivals Chadderton in mind, Gabs opted for a new look side to take on table toppers New Mills in this week’s cup clash.

Brad Barrington and Nathan Eastmond dropped to the bench. Graham hicks, Simon Riley, Mathew Jackson and Michael Ward all remain injured; this gave the likes of Alan Brannick, Christian Evans and Carl Winstanley a chance to stake their claim for a starting spot.

The game began in a positive fashion, both teams pressing for an early opener. The central midfield partnership of Russell and Hayes were doing their best to scope any gaps in the New Mills defence.

Then after 14 minutes disaster struck. From a short corner, New Mills crossed the ball into the box, and somehow through the mayhem, Mills debutant Zajac somehow managed to flick the ball into the back of the net and claim the opening goal. 1-0.

4 minutes later Mills had scored a second. Against the run of play, Mills played a long ball over the heads of the stranded back four, and striker Meakin was on hand to header home his first of the afternoon. 2-0

2 minutes later, Zajac through on goal, was brought down by Dean Watkinson who undoubtedly felt he had got the ball…but the referee deemed otherwise and pointed to the spot. Meakin was again on hand to slot home past keeper Canning and ease Mills into a 3-0 lead.

I didn’t have to wait long for a 4th goal as 2 minutes later Zajac was put through on goal, and claimed his second and Mills 4th of the afternoon. 20 minutes in and it was looking quite bad!

Obvious that more goals were going to come, Castleton held on for another 12 minutes before Mills were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Striker Meakin’s shot deflected of Andrew Pheby and sailed into the back of the net. Meakin’s hat trick, and Mills 5th. 5-0.

Gabs hoping to get to half time without conceding again, were left disappointed as on 45 minutes winger Nevins prodded home for the 6th goal of the afternoon, and a very dominating display from New Mills so far.

The second half commenced, and surprisingly the heads of the Gabs player’s were still high. An unchanged side proved resilient at the beginning of the half until any hopes of a fairytale Castleton fight back were shattered by New Mills’ seventh on 55 minutes.

Mills were awarded another free kick on the edge of the area. Danny Hopper stepped forward and curled the ball into the back of the net and claim the 7th of the afternoon. 7-0

Undeterred by the score line Gabs went in search of a goal which credit to them they had done all afternoon. Striker Christian Evans fighting for a place in the starting XI controlled the ball in the Mills area, his fierce shot rebounded off the post, but Evans collected the rebound and casually slotted home for Gabs 1st of the afternoon. 7-1

Had Castleton decided that they could win this?…unfortunately not! But Gabs held out for another 20 minutes. Keeper Canning making some excellent saves in the process. There was however one more goal left in the game.

On 90 minutes, after some scuffling in the Gabs box, Dean Watkinson brought down Nevins and the referee who was being monitored himself by a man dressed as the fisherman’s friend pointed to the spot. With two goals already to his name striker Zajac kept his composure to complete his debut hat trick and give New Mills their 8th of the afternoon. 8-1.

The final whistle was eventually blown and the afternoon’s excitement was over.

Another action packed game confirming the notion that you’re always guaranteed goal at a Gabs match. A weakened Gabs side were taught a harsh lesson against high Flyers New Mills, lets hope they take them lessons and apply a positive solution for the mid week fixture at home to Chadderton FC.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Oldham Town Vs Castleton Gabriel's

Castleton were forced to make several changes to the team that drew 3-3 with Cheadle the previous week. With injuries to Graham Hicks, Matthew Jackson and Dean Watkinson, Castleton would have to quickly adapt to get a result at mid table outfit Oldham Town.

Tenacious midfielder Carl winstanley was brought in at right wing, and Michael ward deputised for Graham Hicks at right back. Matthew Russell was brought in for central midfielder Matthew Jackson. Alan Brannick started his first game of the season at centre back for the injured Dean Watkinson.

Oldham started well and quickly went in search for an early goal. In particular Oldham’s left-winger stirring trouble on the left flank, but Castleton managed to hold back his early advances.
Gabs were lucky not so have gone behind after 10 minutes when an Oldham attacker rattled the cross bar from close range after a mazy run through the Castleton defence.

After a very rugged start and some harsh challenges, Castleton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Oldham area. Eager to have a go at the Oldham keeper, Brad Barrington took up the responsibility and placed the ball, and from 23 yards he picked his spot and drilled a shot past the bemused Oldham keeper to take a surprising lead.

Clearly shocked by the goal, Oldham went in search of an equaliser. Castleton Playing very deep sat back and welcomed Oldham’s attacks. A few long-range efforts were all Oldham could conjure and Gabs keeper Canning had no trouble in collecting anything that was thrown his way.
Castleton themselves were limited to a few long range efforts and were unable to break the Oldham defence from open play, but had done well to get to the halfway point in front.

Oldham who were playing in front of a frustrated home crowd, seemed to be heading for a loss as all efforts at goal were unfruitful.

Then around the hour mark, a pivotal incident that would change the fortunes of Castleton happened. Central defender Alan Brannick had to be taken off due to injury, and already low on defensive cover, had to push Matthew Russell into centre back, Andrew Pheby was pushed into central midfield, and Christian Evans brought on upfront.

Obviously disrupting the balance of play, Gabs suffered a serious lapse in concentration. After 72 minutes, right-winger James Curley who had tormented the Gabs defence all afternoon, swung in a low cross, which was met by striker Darren Scanlan who slotted past keeper Canning For Oldham first of the afternoon.

8 minutes later, a dubious free kick was awarded to Oldham, and from which defender Steven Shiel headed home to earn Oldham a 2-1 lead.
Oldham now hungry for goals, went in search of more, and were rewarded with only two minutes left in the game, substitute Elstrom Die providing Scanlan with the ball, who from the edge of the area, Fired a neat shot past keeper Canning. The floodgates had well and truly opened.

Things were to get worse for Gabs, after 90 minutes whilst Castleton’s confidence was low, Scanlan slotted home his third from a defensive mix-up, and claim a seventeen minute hat trick, and finally condemn Castleton to an away defeat at Oldham.
Thankfully the final whistle was blown, and having held back Oldham for much of the game, Gabs were the victims of a 4-1 defeat, and considering they conceded 4 goals with 18 minutes left on the clock, they will be kicking themselves, and hoping that confidence will be restored, and injuries healed in time for the weekend cup clash against table toppers New Mills.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

A word from No.6

As the reports that I write are now published in the Rochdale observer, I would just like to mention a few things about what I send and don’t send.

What I send to the editor of the observer is what you read on this site, and I can confirm that I do not write the headline that you read in the paper. The editor is the one who generates… “Pheby hits injury-time leveller as Gabs mount comeback” and “Pheby hits four in Gabs' spree”. I myself would have put “Pheby saves Gabs again in 6 goal thriller”, but unfortunately I cant. This is just incase anyone thinks any favouritism is being dealt towards certain players or staff.

Sometimes the editor changes the report slightly but the real report can always be found on this site, un-biased and truthfull.

Further more…I spent Saturday afternoon watching the game against Cheadle, accompanied by 6 Cheadle pensioners who kindly gave me a blanket to sit on so I “lessoned the chances of getting piles” as they said. I would like to thank them for also informing me that high blood pressure I caused by immigrants and Honda’s, and not sugar, beer, pie’s, etc…as I thought.


Monday, 15 October 2007

Cheadle Town Vs Castleton Gabriel's

Castleton stuck with the side that put six unanswered goals past Daisy Hill the previous week and would hope to keep up their excellent scoring form going into the game with Cheadle.

Gabs were hoping to get off to a quick start, but that didn’t materialise as Cheadle proved resilient and held off some early Castleton advances.
Both Andrew Pheby and Brad Barrington came close to opening the scoring early on, but some last ditch Cheadle defending held back an opening goal, for now atleast.

At the opposite end Mark Canning had to make several excellent saves, in particular Cheadle’s Andy Lindon having his powerful shot pushed over the bar by the Gabs stopper.

After 34 minutes the break through came. After some dogged play in the middle of the field, Andrew Pheby flicked the ball on for striker Brad Barrington, who showed great strength to hold off the Cheadle defender, and rifle a shot past the stranded keeper. 0-1.

Castleton could have doubled the lead but the Cheadle keeper made some excellent saves to deny Castleton a second goal. .

After 43 minutes the game was levelled. Cheadle’s Andy Lindon was given the ball on the left flank, and with acres of space he curled a shot over the head of keeper Canning and into the back of the net from 25 yards out. 1-1. Half time.

Cheadle went on the attack immediately in the second half. And very soon had taken the lead. Some slack defending resulted in the ball falling to Arron Riley who slid the ball into the back of the net. 2-1.
Castleton were then given a life line when Cheadle left back Ben Roberts was sent off for a two footed lunge at a Castleton player, the referee has had no hesitation in showing him the red card. Five minutes previous Roberts had received a yellow card for a similar challenge on Pheby.

Hoping to capitalise on the one-man advantage Gabs surprisingly did the opposite and conceded another goal. A defensive mix-up allowed Adie James who had come on only moments before, score with his first touch of the game and claim Cheadle’s 3rd of the afternoon. 3-1.
Unwilling to sit back and accept a defeat, Castleton went on the attack and threw everything they had at Cheadle, and this paid dividends as after 80 minutes, Substitute Todd Hayes layed the ball on for Simon Riley, who from 25 yards, unleashed a powerful shot and through a sea of bodies flew into the back of the net. 3-2.

With only minutes to spare Castleton pressed for the equaliser. Then after 90 minutes after a relatively quiet game, striker Andrew Pheby broke free of the defence, and from 6 yards out, calmly slid it round the Cheadle keeper to equalise with only moments to spare. 3-3. A very vocal crowd had been silenced by the southern hit-man who had unbelievably started the season a right back! And the final whistle was blown.

A very entertaining afternoon of football at the Park Road Stadium, some excellent goals and a brilliant fight back from the Gabs will give them confidence going into this Saturdays fixture against local rivals Oldham Town.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Daisy Hill Vs Castleton Gabriels

After a disappointing result at Bootle the previous week, Castleton needed a return to winning ways, and in an emphatic style they did just that, disposing of league strugglers Daisy Hill 6-0, with Andrew Pheby leading the scoring with four goals.

Michael ward came in on the right wing, and captain Steve McCann returned at centre back alongside Dean Watkinson.

The rout began after 10 minutes. Striker Andrew Pheby won the ball from ex Gabs player Mark Armstrong on the by-line, weaved through the defence and calmly slotted home for his and Gabs first. 0-1.

Gabs controlled the game for the next 30 minutes but were unable to break the Daisy Hill defence who were on the back foot from the start. Eventually after 44 minutes Castleton broke the defence again. Pheby held up the ball and released Simon Riley who had no trouble scoring Gabs second of the day. 0-2. The half time whistle was blown.

Gabs hungry for more goals continued where they had left off. Constant pressure resulted in several corners for the Gabs before Pheby rifled a ferocious shot at goal, the big Daisy Hill stopper could only parry the ball back to the lively forward, and could do nothing to prevent Pheby slotting home the rebound, and to claim his second of the game.0-3.

Pheby was hungry for his hat-trick, and after 57 minutes he was rewarded for his fine performance. Matt Jackson played a tidy through ball to Pheby who ran through 2 defenders, to then sneakily lob the stranded Bootle keeper and claim his much-deserved hat-trick. 0-4

Gabs sat back for the next ten minutes and Daisy Hill went on the attack. But Keeper Mark Canning was on hand to prevent any ball slipping through the net. The McCann/Watkinson partnership had yet to concede a goal in several hours of playing together, and today looked no different.

After 79 minutes, Gabs on the counter attack, Pheby picked up the ball around the half way mark, skipped through the Daisy Hill defence, and smashed home to claim his 4th of the game. 0-5.

The Daisy Hill defence was in dis-array, and further cemented this when Christian Evans was brought down in the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Andrew Pheby lookin for his fifth took the responsibility…but after a woeful attempt from the spot was unable to add to his tally! It remained 0-5.

After 87 minutes Gabs claimed their 6th of the afternoon. Skilful winger Nathan Eastmond converting a fine solo effort and condemning the home side to an embarrassing 0-6 defeat in front of a buoyant 40 strong crowd. Eastmond was denied another goal late on when he met Watkinson’s through ball and smashed home from 25 yards only to be denied by the linesman’s flag for offside.

Gabs didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon, excellent individual efforts by Michael ward who collected 3 assists, Nathan Eastmond scoring a long overdue goal, and versatile all-rounder Andrew Pheby bagging 4 goals in an very impressive Gabs victory.

Castleton will be hoping their good form continues into the next game against Cheadle town this Saturday.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Castleton Gabriels Vs Bootle

Castleton’s new signing Todd Hayes took up his position in the starting eleven for Saturday’s game against Bootle. Andrew Pheby kept his place upfront ahead of Christian Evans, and with Steve McCann still injured, Michael Ward took up the position of centre back.

From the off the Gabs pressed for an early goal. Wingers Todd Hayes and Nathan Eastmond testing Bootle’s wing backs. And Gabs nearly broke the dead lock when Eastmond was put through 1-on-1 with the keeper, only for his shot to be blocked by the Bootle stopper.

Not long after Eastmond again, darted down the wing, dribbled into the box and from an acute angle hit a curling shot that rattled the crossbar. The Gabs took a strong grip on the match early on and were unlucky not to have scored.

20 minutes in and Bootle began to change the direction of play. Mark Canning having to make several excellent saves from Bootle’s long-range efforts.
Dealing with the pace of the Visitors wingers was proving to be a difficult task for the Gabs defence. In particular, the Bootle right-winger was enjoying the freedom of the right flank, and was able to create a few chances, but to no avail.

A lapse in concentration from Castleton after 30 minutes resulted in the first goal of the game. Bootle had lost the ball to Michael Ward just outside the Castleton box, and instead of blasting the ball into the stands; he decided to pass to keeper Mark Canning, who under pressure from the leagues top scorer Andy fowler, fumbled the ball and Fowler was on hand for a simple tap in. 0-1.

Castleton’s midfield seemed unable to cope with Bootle’s neat passing and were loosing the midfield battle. They were forced to play very deep and resorted to playing long ball’s that, resulted in nothing more than Bootle counter attacking and having another shot go wide.

Half time eventually arrived with Castleton being forced to take a back seat in the game after making a promising start.

The game restarted and not soon after Castleton’s number one reporter had sat down, Bootle had scored again. A long ball played into the box found the diving head of O’Connor who had no trouble converting from close range. A soft goal and poor marking now left the Gabriel’s with a mountain to climb.0-2. Attempts at an equaliser were few and far between. Bootle controlled the game well and dominated for much of the game.

After 70 minutes Bootle began to press for a third. Again being very productive on the wings, they pressed down the left. And the wingman then cut inside, and was met by defender Graham Hicks who mistimed his tackle and left the referee no option but to award a penalty. Mark Canning did what he could to make the goal look no bigger than a matchbox … dived to his left … and remarkably “Saved” the penalty.

With shouts for handball appearing alarmingly regularly, on 77 minutes a shout for handball went up only this time there was real enthusiasm and conviction behind the appeal. The referee pointed to the spot for the second penalty of the game and Castleton’s first. Graham Hicks Stood over the ball and made no mistake in converting the penalty make the score a more respectable 1-2. Substitutes Carl Winstanley and Christian Evans did what they could to force an equaliser but were unable to prevent Bootle claiming a 1-2 victory away from home. And the final whistle was blown.

Castleton will need to tighten up at the back for the forthcoming game against Daisy Mill and will hoping to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Castleton’s new signing...Todd Hayes

TODD HAYES. Midfield. Aged 21 years. Signed on from Trafford. previous clubs include Bacup Borough and Ramsbottom United

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Club History and Information.

Castleton Gabriels Football Club are an English football club based in Castleton, near Rochdale, Greater Manchester.The club was founded as a church team in 1924, under the name St. Gabriels F.C. Until the 1960s, its players had to be Catholic and regularly attend both church and Sunday school. Once these restrictions were lifted, the club began to win regional trophies. They moved to their present ground, Butterworth Park, in 1979, and joined the Manchester Football League in 1984, having previously played in the Rochdale Alliance League. In 1990, the club's name was changed to Castleton Gabriels and they joined the North West Counties Football League, but they began to struggle at the turn of the century when their main benefactor stopped contributing and they had their worst ever season in 2003/4, conceding over 100 goals and finishing bottom of the league. They were bottom again in 2004/5, but were not relegated in either season as the league was under-subscribed.Their start to the 2005/6 season was no more impressive, with a 10–2 defeat to F.C. United of Manchester on 10 December leaving them bottom of the league on −3 points, having had four points deducted for registration irregularities.

Ground Address: Butterworth Park, Chadwick Lane, off Heywood Road, Castleton, Rochdale. OL11 3BY.

Telephone: 01706 527103.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Holker Old Boys Vs Castleton Gabriels

On the back of a 1-0 victory over Leek, Castleton made the long trip North to face the team that were making the bottom of the table their own, Holker Old Boys.

Again the Gabs had to make several changes due to injury. The versatile Andrew Pheby deputised upfront for the injured Brad Barrington, and Michael Ward moved into the central midfield role for the injured Simon Riley.

Gabs began well and dictated the pace of the game early on, but were then hindered after 20 minutes when captain Steve McCann had to be taken off injured; Alan Brannick was brought on at centre back as his replacement. After 25 mins Carl Winstanley thought he had claimed his third goal of the season, only for it to be ruled out by the officious linesman for offside. But Gabs didn’t have to wait too long for the break through as 5 minutes later they took the lead. Central Midfielder Matt Jackson headed home from a corner to claim his first goal of the season, and put Castleton into a well-deserved lead. 0-1.

Gabs pressed for another before the half but were unable to break the Holker defence, and the half time whistle was eventually blown. A positive start for Castleton and with obvious signs of weakness in the Holker defence, they would hope to increase their lead in the second half.

Unsurprisingly I was wrong, and 20 minute's in Holker Levelled the score. Christian Evans put wide a glorious chance, and from this Holker pressed forward and scored the equaliser through Michael Hargreaves. 1-1.

This prompted a response from the Gabs who weren’t about to let slip after their hard work in the first half. After 70 minutes, Carl Winstanley went marauding down the right flank, beat several players, crossed into the box and Matthew Jackson was waiting to calmly slot home from 5 yards for his and Castleton’s second. 1-2.

A few minutes later Castleton were rewarded for their hard work with a third. Michael Ward won the ball in Midfield, played in Andrew Pheby who coolly put it through the legs of the stranded and later embarrassed Holker keeper. 1-3.

The game was far from over. And once again a lapse in concentration late on and a defensive mix-up allowed Holker to capitalise and pull one back through Bernardo Morris after 87 minutes. 2-3.

With only a few minutes left the visitors went in search of a fourth to finally put the game to bed. After a period of sustained pressure, the visitors were rewarded with a corner. Michael Ward swung a swirling ball into the box, which was met by the head of Andrew Pheby who claimed his second and Gabs fourth of the game. 2-4.

The final whistle was blown, and a second successive victory for Castleton. Despite jet lag, injuries and Andrew Pheby claiming his second man of the match in a row (confirming his effectiveness in any position), Castleton performed well away from home, and condemned Holker to another defeat. And if other results go their way, Castleton will be hoping to remain mid-table until Saturdays Home fixture against Bootle.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Castleton Gabriel’s Vs Leek CSOB

Finally back at Castleton Sports centre, Gab’s were looking for a good result after the 9-0 drumming against Padiham midweek, and it would be an up-hill task with confidence obviously low. With ex Man City reject Carl winstanley injured, Andrew Pheby deputised at right wing, and Dean Watkinson was pushed into centre back with the absence of another Man city reject Michael Ward.

Gabs needed a performance, and a quick start, and from they off they were on the attack. Andrew Pheby trying his luck from 25 yards out, but his shot easily caught by the leek goalkeeper.

Continuous Pressure from Gabs for the first 15 minutes resulted in several excellent chances. Most notably Nathan Eastmond put through from the left, his pace left the defender for dead, but instead of drilling the ball into the back of the net, he attempted a neat chip from 7 yards out, and unfortunately failed to convert. Brad Barrington in a similar situation also failed to capitalise on what was looking like a weak Leek CSOB defence.

Castleton dominated the majority of the first half. Every Leek attempt at a run, cross or through ball was met by the solid defensive partnership of Watkinson and McCann. The only effort of the first half was a long-range shot that was comfortably dealt with by the Castleton stopper.

Obviously scoring had been a recent problem (as well as defending) and with several chances spurned I began to wonder if it was going to be another one of those days for Gabs. But I was left to rue my words because after 42 minutes Gabs broke the deadlock. Christian Evans who had yet to score this season controlled the ball in the Leek area, neatly turned with the ball between two defenders and fired into the back of the net. 1-0.

Half time and Gabs were looking very solid. The Jackson and Riley partnership in midfield was working well, and Nathan Eastmond’s skill and pace was a big problem for a poor Leek defence. Hopefully Gabs would be able to extend their lead and not concede late on in the game, for which they have a tendency for doing.

Leek began the second half needing a better performance if they were to salvage anything out of the game, and they started well and with more intent, but the head of Watkinson prevented any ball breaking through the Castleton defence. Several attempts down the wing resulted in nothing more than the ball boys collecting the ball from the adjacent fields.

After fifteen minutes Castleton took control of the game again. Despite playing very deep and with what at times looked like a 6 man defence, they held up the ball well. Few chances were created and the game was played in the centre of the park for the majority of the half. Andrew Pheby on one occasion ran through several Leek players, played a neat through ball to Christian Evans, who one on one with the keeper, shot wide and failed to add to his tally. Brad Barrington also saw his powerful shot from the left go agonisingly over the bar.

In the latter stages of the game Leek applied more pressure to the Gabs. But the team that had conceded 9 goals only 3 days earlier didn’t make the same mistake again and much to the delight of the ‘bumper’ 35 strong Castleton crowd claimed Gab’s 2nd victory of the season.
Andrew Pheby was named man of the match. But he along with Dean Watkinson and Nathan Eastmond all had excellent games, and a strong team performance will give confidence to gab’s for Saturday’s opponent’s…Holker Old Boys.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Padiham Vs Castleton Gabriels

Padiham 9-0 Castleton Gabriels...report to follow shortly