Wharfedale Triangle League Quarter-Final: Sky Bet 0 Crossflatts Village 2
A shrewd change of tactics from Crossflatts Village manager Kevin Gill proved to be a master stroke as his side comfortably beat league leaders Sky Bet 2-0 away at Weetwood Playing Fields to advance to the semi-final stages.
Gill switched to a 4-3-3 formation, allowing his midfield trio of Matthew Bentham, Jamie Longley and Ollie Metcalfe to link up with front men Michael Garnett, James Gill and Colin Schofield beautifully.
On a very sunny early spring Sunday morning, Flatts started well from the word go and never let the home side settle. The playing surface was perfect and it suited Flatts’ style of play down to a tee.
Village dominated proceedings early on and when Sky Bet did forge a rare attack, they found the Village centre-back pairing of player-manager Kevin Gill and Peter Atkinson too big a barrier to overcome.
The first half was goalless and Sky Bet came out fired up for the first ten minutes of the second half - but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Two Village players picked up bad knocks in that 10 minute period; player-manager Gill sustained a hamstring injury and keeper Dom Bennett dislocated his finger - but both players carried on through the pain.
Flatts then took the game by the scruff of the neck and they were rewarded with the opening goal of the game after 70 minutes. Pacey front man Colin Schofield, who was a thorn in Sky Bet’s side all afternoon, nipped in to beat the onrushing home keeper to make it 1-0.
The goal galvalnised Schofield and the away side, and they were awarded with a second goal on 83 minutes when midfield warhorse Matthew Bentham almost burst the roof of the net from eight yards out, to seal his side’s place in the semi-finals.
Goalscorer Schofield’s goal and all-round play saw him rewarded with the man-of-the-match award, but Flatts manager Gill was once again ecstatic with the team performance overall.
He said: “I couldn’t have asked from any more from the lads. They all worked their socks off from front to back and we gave them nothing.
"Sky Bet are no mugs. They are clear at the top of the table and it is because they are a good side, but we weren’t to be denied.
"I am massively proud of our performance and we need to keep carrying on as we are because we still are in with an outside chance of winning the treble (league, league cup and Keighley Cup).
"Colin (Schofield) was on fire – full of pace. He’s unplayable when he turns up and plays like that. He more than deserved his goal and his man-of-the-match award. It’s up to him now to keep that level of performance up until the end of the season now.”
Player-manager Gill has done a superb job with the team since taking over from Stephen George as manager in the summer. He has built on some of the hard work that George put in last season and brought in some new faces to freshen things up, and created a fantastic work ethic which the squad have clearly bought into.
Crossflatts Village will play local rivals Keighley Town at home in the semi-final a week on Sunday.
Flatts lost 3-1 to Yeadon Veterans in last season’s final and they will be hoping to go one better this year.