There might be an end-of-season air hanging over Carnarvon Street -- but few excuses could be offered for the awful match, and performance, served up by fast-fading Teversal on Saturday.
Although they have taken massive steps forward in an excellent season, a 3-0 defeat at home to Humberside strugglers Westella VIP added to a growing cloud that has been cast over recent weeks.
It was their fifth game without a win and means they will definitely fall short of the 63-point target they set themselves in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League’s First Division.
They still sit mid-table in 11th, but with only four games left, starting with a trip to Winterton Rangers this Saturday (kick-off 3 pm), they are in danger of losing that status unless they can find some improvement.
Like Winterton, Westella are below Teversal in the table, but they boast an impressive record on their travels and eased to the three points, courtesy of goals in the eighth, 32nd and 68th minutes.
The hosts created only two worthwhile efforts all afternoon -- and one of those came as early as the second minute when a terrific break saw Sean Dickinson play a short pass to Gary Atkins, and he found the timely run of Lewis Weaver, whose effort was driven hard and wide.
Six minutes later, Westella were in front as a simple, well-weighted pass by Lewis Andrew released Luke Salas for a clear run on goal that the striker didn’t waste, finishing calmly with the hosts’ cries of offside ignored.
If that opening goal disappointed the Teversal faithful, the second was even more regrettable because a basic ball over the top caught the defence too square and too high, leaving Joe McFadyen time and space to take it in his stride and beat ‘keeper Dale Sheppard, who was totally exposed as his teammates strolled back.
Teversal have received a lot of praise during the course of this season for the entertainment at Carnarvon Street, which has been a credit to the league. But this match was the polar opposite and if the first period was bad, the second was even worse. In fact, the home team’s secretary Kev Newton went so far as to describe it as “a total embarrassment to both clubs”.
“Even the referee joined in when, on 49 minutes, Westella’s Alex Rookyard should have received a red card for an over-the-top challenge on Luke Fisher, but the full-back wasn’t even given a yellow,” said Newton.
The Tevie Boys went close to grabbing a lifeline in the 58th minute when a goalmouth scramble led to Weaver having an effort saved by visiting ‘keeper Nathan Otley, and also Atkins seeing a chance blocked.
But it was curtains for the Ashfield side ten minutes later when Westella added their third goal to wrap up the victory. It stemmed from arguably the only bit of quality amidst the uninspiring fare as Callum Stone’s free-kick from out wide on the left was flicked on by Alex Wood to Chris Spinks, who marked his arrival as a substitute by producing a superb strike to leave Sheppard no chance as the ball flew across goal and into the top corner.
As for the rest of the match, let’s leave the final words to Newton, who said: “The final 22 minutes felt like 22 weeks. They were painful and more like an advert for over-50s’ walking football. It was so lacklustre, you’d have thought it was a group of lads having a game on the local park.”
TEVERSAL LINE-UP -- Sheppard/ Hempshall, Burton (Moody 72), Gregory, Fisher, Staniforth (Short M. 74), Atkins, Sargent (Barke 45), Weaver, Dawson, Dickinson. SUBS NOT USED: Short D., Charlesworth.