LOCAL amateur football was wiped out by the snow flurries at the weekend - but Sabden beat the weather to host this K. Supplies Ltd Burnley and District Sunday Football League First Division encounter.
Sabden’s hard-working groundsmen toiled throughout the morning to get the pitch playable for one of the only games to be played in the whole of East Lancashire.
Credit goes to Jack Birkett, Tom Connell and Jason Bates for getting the show on the road!
The game started exceedingly well for the home side.
With only one minute on the clock, Ryan Graves brought the ball under control and played a through ball to striker Jonny Heap.
Taking a touch to create an angle for himself, Heap finished smartly to give Sabden an early lead.
While it had undoubtedly been an aid to the drying of the pitch, the gale running the length of the pitch meant that Sabden had to rigidly hold their shape to nullify its effects.
On a couple of occasions, Zac Musker, who had a very solid game at full back, linked well with David Fallon, only for the normally lethal striker to be snuffed out by some excellent last-ditch defending from Dutchman.
The Sabden backline, marshalled well by Birkett and Will Child, held firm in the teeth of the gale until the 35th minute when a low shot from the left hand side of the penalty area nestled into the far corner of the net, to give Flying Dutchmen their equaliser.
Six minutes later, a fairly innocuous foul by Adam Fuller led to a free kick some 35 yards from goal.
Holding midfielder, Joe Keane, whose job in open play was to mark the dangerous set-piece taker, had to stand his regulation 10 yards from the free kick.
The dangerman took advantage of this rare time and space to swing over a superb cross that was headed onto the crossbar.
The relief was very short-lived as the rebound was bundled into the goal, to give the Dutchmen a half-time one-goal lead.
At the start of the second half, Sabden decided to make use of the considerable wind advantage by bringing on Zac Ashworth in an advanced position.
It didn’t take long for Ashworth to start causing mayhem with his physical presence and direct running.
In the 50th minute, Ashworth laid a ball across to Heap in the centre.
Heap tustled valiantly with his marker, and poked the ball through to the on-rushing Adam Fuller, who passed the ball into the corner of the net for a sublime equaliser.
Dutchman were having difficulties coming to terms with the wind, and a series of Ashworth howitzer-like throws caused sheer panic in the defence.
Birkett powered a header goalwards, only to be thwarted by a heroic visiting keeper.
Not content with that stunning stop, he then pulled off another to deny Graves’ 22 -yard rocket that was searing into the top left hand corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, the Sabden midfield was freshened up with the introduction of Tom Diggins.
Keane, who had run himself into the ground in a selfless display, made way.
The heavy ground was now taking its toll on players from both teams, and the play became stretched.
With nine minutes to play, Dutchman scored to make it 3-2.
Their joy was short-lived, as straight from the kick-off, Fallon found Ashworth in space on the right.
He strode forward before despatching a venomous finish into the bottom right corner.
With both teams now going for the jugular, Dutchman scored the deciding goal, with some poor team defending putting a slightly sour taste on what had been a good display.
Sabden have now lost four of five games at Nutter Barn this season, and will hope to lift their hoodoo next time out.