A glorious Sunday morning saw Yorkshire Rose record an emphatic 9-2 victory against a spirited Otley Wharfeside team in a Headmasters Barbers League 2 game. This was the biggest win for Yorkshire Rose since their 16-1 win against Hebdon Bridge Academicals 42 years ago – a game remembered for a then sprightly 17 year old Smex bagging 7 goals including a 45 yard header.
The week leading up to the game had began with an impassioned and heartfelt plea from Kris Sutton that the squad was big and some people will be disappointed to not be able to play every week. The team cast nervous glances at each other all thinking, “Will I be the one to be dropped?” “Does he mean me?” “Does that misplaced pass against Milford going to cost me?” “If I don’t play I’m going to be forced to watch Little House on the Prairie”
These words seemed a far cry come Sunday morning as the gaffer did a headcount and breathed a sigh of relief as he found 12 players sat in front of him. Migraines, church, Hollyoaks and a good old fashioned Sunday morning lie in were the excuses on offer. Nevertheless there was a good enough team to get a result as the players trooped onto the hallowed but rather bobbly Otley turf.
The Rose warm-up was sidetracked slightly as some dog dirt was cleared from the inside left position but it didn’t stop the team from making a quick start. Some good hold up play by Scatch saw him release a rampaging Darren Machell. The Policeman hared towards goal like he was chasing a Gipton Burglar before calming slotting in the opener. Otley missed a great chance to equalise when the enormous in width but talented Number 5 sauntered unmolested through a static Rose defence before slicing the ball horribly wide. It was a bad miss and was soon punished as the irrepressible Andy Davey twisted his way through a bewildered Otley defence before teeing up Arran who couldn’t miss from 6 yards. Two became three as a Rory Delapesque throw from Phil Rhodes found the neatly combed head of Scatch who flicked the ball into the net to make it 3. Rose continued to play some neat football with Ste McD and JT picking the ball up from a cool defence and starting bright attacks. Some more chances went begging and some dubious offside decisions cost certain opportunities but a goalmouth melee just before the break saw Arran play a neat but unusual one, two with the post to slam in the fourth. However, Otley pulled one back on the stroke of half time to make the scoreline a little more respectable.
The half time team talk was about keeping the concentration and making a quick start. A quick mention to the half time oranges which really hit the spot. In the meantime the twelve had become fourteen as Kris and Levine turned up.
The second half was more of the same really. Dav, Smex, Phil and the potty mouthed Jimmy Laughey held comfortable sway as the strikers dominated the hapless Otley rearguard. Arran was inches away from his hat-trick as a 20 yard screamer crashed off the bar. Jimmy got on the score sheet with a deflected drive which a more hardened writer than me would give as an own goal. However, hearing the language coming from this young man’s mouth means it would be foolish to deny him his goal. Seemingly ignoring the nearby packed children’s playground Laughey continued to eff and jeff his way through the game with some absolute pearlers. His rants did the trick though as Smex sent Andy Davey away for his well deserved opener before Darren got his brace with a bobbled effort that the Otley keeper should have saved.
Ste McD, JT and Darren took a well earned rest to be replaced by Kris, Levine and Ben. They all continued to terrorise the Otley defence and Andy completed a hat-trick with 2 composed finishes after good work from Scatch. Otley managed to bag a second towards the end but Scott could probably have donned his camouflage and had a game of army with the local kids so under-employed as he was.
After the match the team decamped to a local Otley pub which put on the usual sausage rolls and sandwiches but to the unusual backdrop of some hillybilly rock, hillybilly roll music.
So, the Yorkshire Rose bandwagon moves on. Tougher tests lie in wait but the 43,798 strong crowd saw a slick team in action and a team surely destined to challenge for the top.