By Chris Gibbs
Castle topple table-toppers!
Kidsgrove Athletic 1 - (Cole 5)
Newcastle Town 2 - (Cockerline 43, 90)
In a dramatic game full of incident in which both teams ended with ten men, ‘Castle came out on top in this outstanding local derby thanks to a brace from our big number 9 Dan Cockerline.
It’s a job to know where to start frankly. Two goals from Dan – he could have had more – a centre half from both sides getting their marching orders for taking down the last man and stopping a clear goal-scoring chance, missed chances, good saves and a moment of opportunism right at the death, which ultimately saw us end Kidsgrove’s unbeaten start to the season.
And that’s before we even mention a superb full debut for the brilliant Australian Phoenix Lee.
Credit though to our opponents Kidsgrove for continuing to take the game to us after being reduced to ten men in the 15th minute of the game.
At that point, the home side led 1-0 thanks to a back post tap in from Jordan Cole as we were cut open down our defensive right-hand side.
But then a superb arcing run from Phoenix to latch on to our captain Tommy van der Laan’s through ball, forced Kidsgrove’s skipper Josh Thorpe to bring the Aussie down as he bore down on goal with the red card an inevitable consequence.
Ten minutes on and a lung-bursting run from Josh Jordan after winning the ball clearly on the edge of his own box, led to him playing in Phoenix down the left and he then put it on a plate for Dan Cockerline.
On this occasion though the big man was off target as he smashed it against the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Just before half time the big man made no mistake though - this time Ollie Ritchie playing the pass to him. Dan steadied himself and finished confidently as his right foot finish kissed the far post on its way in.
Kidsgrove started the second half strongly, undaunted by playing with ten and but for a save from Slinny with his chest, ex-Castle player Nathan Morley would have put the home side back in front.
The home side largely sat in but continued to carry a threat and it required a moment of opportunism from the big man to take the three points in the last minute.
A drop ball was kicked against him by a Kidsgrove defender and Dan reacted quickest to nip in and finish by sliding the ball under the body of Kieran Harrison.
And yet still the game wasn’t done. In the fifth minute of added time, Josh Jordan cleaned out Kidsgrove substitute Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi and was dismissed.
The free kick thankfully, was blocked by the wall and moments later the full time whistle was blown and a second local derby victory of the season was ours.
Kidsgrove remain six points clear at the top while we move up to 6th a point off the three clubs above us in the play-off positions. What an extraordinary game!
Castle team: Slinn, Derbyshire, Ritchie, Tommy van der Laan, Jordan, Stubbs, Lee, Graham (Holdham), Cockerline, Edwards, (Jack Van der Laan), Speed, (Mazurkiewicz).