Words and photo by Nigel Owen.
Ollerton travelled north to Bradford to take on eighth place Campion looking to maintain their good September form and took to the field with one change to the starting line-up that had beaten Swallownest, with Sean Dickinson replacing top scorer Conor Higginson, who was unavailable.
Campion started the game strongly and earned a second minute corner which almost saw them take the lead. A Tom Ponter header from a well worked front post corner routine looked to be heading goal wards, but a brilliant goal-line header from Tom Moody cleared the ball at the expense of a second corner.
The kick found Omar Habib and his dangerous header briefly caused panic in the visitors box, before the ball was finally hacked clear by Dickinson.
With six minutes on the clock, Leon Hurles-Brook was fouled just outside the Ollerton penalty area. Graham Hall’s free kick was well placed, but the ball eluded everyone to drift harmlessly wide.
Then, with their first real attack, the visitors took a ninth minute lead. Ben Partridge broke into the Campion box and was upended, leaving the referee with no alternative but to point to the spot. Up stepped captain, Sam Stretton, to send ‘keeper Declan Lampton the wrong way to give Ollerton a 1-0 lead.
Back came Campion and two minutes later, they almost equalised when a neat move involving full back Jay Carey and Habib which put Aidan Day in on goal. Day shot quickly, but Ollerton ‘keeper Levi Owen parried the near post shot behind for another corner.
At the other end, Partridge was enjoying some success running at the Campion defence, breaking clear again but failing to find an Ollerton shirt with his cross.
In the seventeenth minute, a long through ball bounced nastily for Owen as he raced from goal, but he was able to head the ball away from danger, with the hosts unable to benefit from the resulting corner.
The home side continued to press and got their rewards in the 23rd minute. Hurles-Brook got in behind the visitors defence, squaring the ball to Habeeb who made no mistake at the back post to make the score 1-1.
Ollerton had a great chance to regain the lead in the 34th minute, but Lampton saved well from Dickinson at his near post. From the resulting corner, Lewis Bingham’s hook shot went well over the bar.
Four minutes later Habeeb broke clear, but Owen was quickly out and the striker shot just wide. That proved to be Habeeb’s last contribution, and two minutes later he was injured in a challenge with Brandon Shaw and played no further part.
That was the last real action of note and the teams left the field at half time with the scores level at 1-1.
In the first real action of the second half, Nathan Hunt shot from outside the box, but Owen comfortably collected the shot.
At the other end, Lampton did likewise, saving from Aaron Sennett-Neilson’s 20 yard effort.
With the game entering the last half hour, Campion almost took the lead. Carney’s run was ended when he was fouled by Lewis Murr. With the home side appealing for a penalty, the referee decided the foul had taken place just outside the box and awarded a free kick. Hurles-Brook must have thought his effort was in, but Owen made a great save to turn the ball away.
Midway through the half, Campion were inches away from their second goal. Once again, the front post corner almost paid dividends, with Ponter’s header coming back off of the bar. As the ball bounced into the air, Owen made a good catch but was flipped by Campion’s Graham Hall and landed awkwardly, but managed to hold the ball despite hurting himself in the process.
With 20 minutes remaining Ollerton had another chance to edge in front. Partridge was once again brought down, this time just outside the box. From the resulting free kick, Murr bent the ball over the wall but couldn’t get it down quick enough and his effort drifted harmlessly over the bar.
As the game moved into the last 15 minutes, Hurles-Brook had another effort on target, but once again, his shot was saved.
The third, and what turned out to be the deciding goal, came in the 81st minute, and it was the home side who took the lead. A corner was once again hit to the front post towards Mohammed Qasim who completely missed his header. The ball eluded everyone except Shaw, who had no chance of getting out of the way, and the ball cannoned off his leg, back to Quasim who made no mistake from close range.
The goal was hard on Town who had matched the home side throughout the second half, and who must have thought they had earned a point.
With time running out, and the clock showing 90 minutes, hurled-Brook had another chance to get on the score sheet, but his free kick was easily picked up by Owen.
The ‘keepers long clearance set Partridge free again, but he was tackled at the expense of a corner. From the kick, the ball was finally scrambled behind by the Campion defence, and when the next corner was played into the box, George Slack got above everybody, but couldn’t keep his effort down and headed over the bar.
That proved to be Ollerton’s last chance and the home side were able to run down the clock and take all three points.
The result was harsh on Town who deserved better for their efforts and could have easily returned South with a point from such a determined performance.
The defeat leaves Town in eleventh place, whilst Campion move up to sixth.