Frickley Athletic are off to a flying start to the new season with wins in their first two games in the new Evo-Stik East Division.
After a hard earned 1-0 success at Wisbech Town last Saturday a second victory followed in the opening home game on Tuesday night when the Blues came from behind to beat Marske United 2-1.
With Marske winning their opener 4-0 against Sheffield FC they were expected to be tough opponents and showed exactly that with a goal in the first four minutes. There was controversy about it as keeper Hugo Warhurst could not hold Craig Gott’s 30-yard free-kick and clawed the ball away only for the assistant referee to signal the ball had gone over the line.
Frickley gradually got their game together, but Tyler Walton hit the post and Gavin Allott was denied by the keeper before Allott made it 1-1 right on half-time with a penalty after he had been brought down.
Marske were reduced to 10 men after the break with a red card shown to Liddle after a late challenge on Jacob Hazel and the hosts took advantage when they went in front as substitute Jack Burton headed home from a corner.
The visitors kept battling, but never looked like pulling the goal back and Frickley went closest to another when Allott shot wide after a great break and only a goalline clearance denied Hazel.
Frickley manager Spencer Fearn was pleased with the way his players bounced back from their early setback.
He said: “It was an unbelievable result because Marske are going to be up there at the end of the season.
“Whether their goal should have stood I don’t know, but the lads reacted positively. We were the better side in the first half, we were popping it about and looked really good. We passed and moved and they couldn’t handle us at times.
“The second half they had the fella sent-off and it made it more difficult. They sat deep and didn’t leave the gaps for us to exploit and it was all about patience and keeping the ball. We did that and there were some big performances.”
In their first league game of the new season, Frickley were made to work hard at Wisbech, but came home with all three points thanks to Walton’s goal and a penalty save by Warhurst.
The Blues made a lively start without creating a clear chance until the 15th minute when good interplay between Gavin Allott and Jacob Hazel led to the ball going into the box where Walton applied a deft back heel to send the ball into the net for the first goal of the campaign.
The game was then well contested for the rest of the first half with the closest Frickley came to a second goal being when Jamie McGuire’s cross was nodded on by Jameel Ible, but Richard Patterson’s header drifted just over.
In the second half Patterson saw a header well saved before Wisbech had their big chance as McGuire was adjudged to have climbed on the back of a home attacker and a penalty was awarded. The Wisbech striker hit the spot kick well, but Warhurst threw himself to pull off a great save.
With confidence restored the Blues came up with the move of the game as they broke up a Wisbech attack and Connor Smith broke at pace, cutting through the home team, rounding the keeper and only being denied a likely goal of the season by a desperate defender just getting his toe to the ball. From the resulting corner, Dan Palmer had a chance, but could not get a clean strike in.
Frickley felt aggrieved when Patterson powered a header into the net only to have it chalked off for a controversial offside decision.
Palmer set last season’s top scorer Hazel up for a good shot, which was palmed away, but it did not matter in the end as the Blues saw out the game to take all the points.
Manager Fearn was pleased with his side’s efforts.
He said: “It was a tough game against a side with a lot of momentum after promotion.
“They are very direct and it was a physical game, but we’ve got players that can handle that this season. We dug out three points and kept a clean sheet, which we are very happy with.
“What a save from Hugo. We shouldn’t have given a penalty away, but it happens and he stepped up. He will be worth a lot of points to us this season, he’s a fantastic young goalkeeper.”