Words by Paul Lewis

Leeds Adel 1st XI 3:1 Harrogate 2nd XI

“Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon.” Horatio Nelson

Part 2 of 4: A hard fought victory.

On an unusually balmy day at Church Lane, Adel Men’s 1st XI completed the second part of their quartet of must win fixtures. This game was a more tense and competitive affair than the previous victory against Airedale, but Adel maintained their upward momentum and head into the final two fixtures with chances of promotion still in their own hands.

Adel arrived early, ready and waiting when Walker returned from umpiring a routine victory for the Ladies 2nd XI. Harrogate turned up with an experienced side, boasting former top flight players and promising young members. Adel felt they knew their opposition inside out however, having faced them at many levels over the past few seasons, and perhaps it was this knowledge that gave the men in black the confidence to achieve a fine comeback victory.

The tone of the tense first half was set in the opening minutes, Captain Butterworth leading his troops by example and getting stuck into the opposition, not letting Harrogate impose their style of play on the game. Throughout the first period both sides threatened; Harrogate securing penalty corners that were closed down superbly by the rapid Bishop, and Adel looking strong on the break. Both sides were playing to the edge of their limits and the rules, using every means necessary to try to gain an advantage. The physicality of the match was highlighted when the flying Bishop was sent airborne and left winded by a Harrogate defender, but without punishment. Token Welshman Evans was unlucky before halftime to be sin binned for a challenge and Harrogate sensed an opening. At the break Player-Coach Walker encouraged the home side, and asked them to build on the good start they had mustered.

After the change of ends Evans was still on the naughty step. Adel battled to see out the additional two minutes, however shortly after Evans returned to the pitch, Harrogate scored from an excellent breakaway down the right flank with a neat finish. If anything this stirred Adel into action. Back up to eleven men, Adel pressed hard. The older legs of the Harrogate team seemed to fade, and ill-discipline saw them reduced to ten men for the first time. This gave Adel momentum and it freed the back four of Bishop, Hill, Partner and Brazier to feed the midfield. The relentless work rate in the middle of Purdy, Hemming and the slim line Mayhew (I think he’s been going to the gym) found more space, and the excellent movement of the forward unit including Norman, Reid Hendley, Evans, and Butterworth found gaps in the one-paced Harrogate defence.

Determined not to be pliant ‘little club’ hosts, the equaliser came from a penalty corner – Hendley forcing home to give Adel a foothold in the game. Harrogate were rattled, and they let their emotions get the better of them.  A second sin bin for an assault on the excellent Mayhew saw Harrogate playing with ten for the second time in quick succession, and this gave Adel all the advantage they needed.

Norman, who in previous weeks has said that he saves his goals for the big occasions, got his big game goal from an excellent free flowing move and a delightful through ball by Purdy, giving Adel the lead. Harrogate looked deflated. Then, with six minutes left on the clock, Evans joined the party. A huge lofted pass from Hardaker bamboozled the Harrogate defence who missed the bouncing ball. Evans moved rapidly onto the loose ball, and fired low into the bottom corner past the stranded goalkeeper.

Adel saw out the final few minutes comfortably and secured a satisfying and deserved victory. Harrogate now face the wait of other clubs results on their promotion campaign, while Adel will approach their next game against table-topping Grimsby in excellent form and with renewed confidence. Two wins, two games to go.

Thanks to the officials and the Ultras who support us home and away.


MoM – Bishop. A fine all-action performance from our January signing.

DoD – Evans. Will he ever stop mentioning his goal?