MATCH VERDICT: Twenty’s plenty as Pinchbeck United move closer to title
There are far too many ‘statistics’ in modern football – but all the figures add up to championship celebrations coming soon for Pinchbeck United.
The Knights are unbeaten in 20 games, 16 points clear and probably three wins away from taking the title.
Quite simply, they are unstoppable and far better than everyone else.
What an achievement in the first-ever season at this level.
Chris Shipley’s goal seven minutes into the second half at Harrowby United on Tuesday night was enough for another away win.
It wasn’t pretty – but they all count and he deserved to claim the honours during a man-of-the-match display.
Andrew Tidswell’s short corner was knocked on by Aaron Eyett to Liam Ogden. A mis-hit cross looped into the air and Shipley flicked the ball into the net.
Before the break, Shipley had sent a long-range effort off target along with a header from Tidswell’s free-kick.
Ollie Maltby fired over in a goalmouth scramble while Eyett failed to test keeper Sam Andrew and then wasted a clear-cut chance.
Tidswell fired straight at Andrew, having moved into a more attacking role for the second period.
Maltby should have done better with a free header from Tidswell’s right-wing cross but Pinchbeck’s lead looked safe.
In the early exchanges, top scorer Sam Grouse had a couple of openings – then the Knights gradually gained control.
Dan Swan made a key save to deny Kevin Hemagou and, in stoppage-time, he easily gathered Jawanza Grant’s shot.
Pinchbeck’s work-rate, energy and commitment forced errors to ensure they rarely looked in danger.
The Knights kept their shape and discipline all over the pitch, showing again why they are going to finish very comfortably in pole position.
A post-match scuffle near the tunnel area – sparked by a silly comment from a home ‘supporter’ who then started to attack Ash Murrell – was soon calmed down.
On the pitch, Pinchbeck had done the job and it’s only a matter of time until they are officially crowned champions.
5-3-2: Andrew; Spencer (sub Fieldhouse 87 mins), Briers, Bilson, Lucus, Philip; Large, Ofushine, Browne (sub Hogg 60 mins); Hemagou (sub Grant 70 mins), S Grouse. Subs not used: J Grouse, Sylla.
3-4-1-2: Swan 7; Murrell 7, Jack Smith 7, Wright 7; Sergeant 7 (sub Gordon 58 mins, 7), Shipley 8, Tidswell 7, Ogden 7 (sub Dunn 87 mins); Bishop 7 (sub Josh Smith 87 mins); Maltby 7, Eyett 7. Subs not used: Ross, Gardner.
Shipley (52 mins, 0-1).
Chris Shipley – match-winner and constantly regained possession for the Knights in a key role. Enjoyed plenty of time and space on the ball to drive forward or play simple passes.
Oakham United (H) – Saturday.