This game was played on the 28th April 2012 - despite what the programme tells you.....
We were scheduled to go the South Normanton v Basford game, but this semi-final looked like it could be a good game. We have seen both teams recently and they both have impressed. Gave us another chance to hop on the tram from Hucknall to Radford - a real multi-cultural experience that everyone ought to experience at least once if they ever visit God's County......
The fare has gone up from £3.20 to £3.50 since we last used the tram - not exactly in line with inflation!!!
There were not as many people in attendance as we would have expected for a semi-final, but it was a bitterly cold afternoon and to get 58 (my head count) through the gates wasn't too bad I suppose.
On the subject of the weather - this has to have been one of the coldest seasons ever......and if this drought doesn't break soon, we will soon be having games called off because the pitches are too hard.....
The Radford pitch was in decent nick considering the recent climatic abnormalities, but the biting, swirling wind made it difficult for both teams to put anything together in the first 10 minutes or so, but when they did manage to work out the conditions, they gave us a great game . Clipstone keeper Briggs had to be alert in the 12th minute when a ball in from the left took a huge deflection, forcing him to tip it over the bar.
Welfare's first real chance came after some neat play between Mike Taylor and Mark Carter saw Taylor go one-on-one with Clifton stopper Joe Parlatt, who blocked the strikers eventual effort superbly.
On 28, Briggs made another fine save to deny Alex Haughton, then at the other end Welfare had a series of 5 corners that were all dealt with admirably by the well organised Clifton defence. H-T 0-0
I have no idea what managers Chris Driffill and James Turner said to the Clifton players during the break, but the came out for the second half on fire! With Mike Banister charging down the right and Heath down the left, the Welfare defence was unable to cope with the early pressure.
That pressure told in just the third minute of the second period, when Briggs failed to clear a Heath cross, allowing Haughton a chance to flick the ball back across the goal to where MICHAEL EVANS was waiting to nod home from very close range.
Evans on the run after opening the scoring
Clifton doubled their lead on the hour mark after the Clipstone defence let Heath stroll through their ranks before picking out EVANS in front of goal, and the striker calmly fired home with his right foot.
On 65, Evans almost completed his hat-trick, but could only watch in agony as his fierce drive clattered the post before going safe.
Clipstone centre-half Lee Hunt and Assistant Manager Jamie Kirk were having a right old slanging match due to some tactical disagreement - and while they were calling each other names that I couldn't possibly print on here, ALEX HAUGHTON latched onto a through ball and after controlling superbly, calmly chipped Briggs to make it three-nil to Clifton, effectively ending the game as a contest. F-T 0-3
So next Sunday -- off to Alfreton Town's Impact "Arena" to see if Clifton can cap off a superb first season in the CML with a cup final win against Dronfield Town.
Straight out of the ground after the final whistle, a quick stroll across Asda car-park to the tram stop - home by 5:30pm.
Admission £3 inc programme