Yorkshire IFA’s first game of 2019 in preparation for this month’s Atlantic Heritage Cup that Yorkshire will be hosting at various grounds against 3 other CONIFA registered sideshow gets underway in blustery conditions, writes Glenn Poulton.

Their opponents will be hosts for the next CONIFA tournament that will take place next summer after London’s brilliant efforts in 2018. It was an entertaining start to the game with both sides going for the first goal. Yorkshire had the first corner but Somaliland had the first clear chance after some neat play only came to an end thanks to some last ditch defending from Rhodes who cleared off the line. The game kicked off 10 minutes late but by half past, Walshaw had his first of 3 goals, first winning a penalty and then placing it passed the keeper for 1-0.

40 minutes on the clock and Somaliland thought they had an equaliser only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. In an end to end first-half, that would have been a fair result, with both sides firing chances over the bar – that looked easier to score from where I was stood in the ‘Rec In Crew Stand’. Within 1 minute of what could have been an equaliser, Somaliliand switched off and found themselves 2-0 down. A cross from the left found itself at the far post only for Dempsey to smash home and send the sides into the break with clear day light between them.

Somaliland came out fighting and on 49 minutes, Abdi the left winger cut inside and rifled home into the top corner from outside the area and game on….

Some heavy tackles from both sets of players kept the crowd entertained until the next blow as Litchfield gets in on the action and pokes home to make it 3-1 to the hosts just after the hour.

The main man Abdi for the away side kept plugging away and tested the Yorkshire ‘keeper, Clarke with a wicked free kick at range. The resulting corner lead to Yorkshire counter attacking and Hunter’s initial effort was saved well by the ‘keeper, Walshaw headed in the rebound and made it 4-1 with 17 minutes remaining.

Somaliliand’s heads had gone, and within a minute gave away a 2nd penalty. Walshaw denied his hat-trick by the ‘keeper only for Normanton to lash home the rebound, 5-1. Into the last 10 minutes and the chances and goals kept going as the rain turned to sunshine and then back again! Walshaw did manage to get his hat-trick thanks to a brilliant cross/free kick from captain McGuire to the back post and left the keeper in no-man’s land.

Credit to Somaliland who gave a great account of themselves which the score line may not suggest; Abdi grabbed what ended up being a consolation with another cracker, curling another effort from range with 3 minutes left to play. 6-2; all in all, a very entertaining game which both nations can take positives from.

Goole’s player coach Danny Buttle was pleased to come away with the win, “It was a good performance from the lads today. On a bobbly pitch, we played a good possesion based game out from the back.

“We have players all over the park who are comfortable on the ball. The three lads upfront all got on the score sheet and were a constant threat throughout.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to represent my county. I’m 34 years old and I know opportunties like this won’t come along in the next few years so I will cherish every moment and continue to love playing as much as possible.”

Whilst Nostell MW’s Adam Hayton added, “Going into the game nobody knew what to expect from them to be honest. So the message from the gaffa and the boys were to just play our own game and adapt to whatever they throw at us. I thought we did just that.

“First half with the chances we had it could of been out of sight, bit of a sloppy 10 minutes from us, gave them hope but we knew the goals would come eventually and they did! the lads who came into the squad were class and shows the depth we have to pick from.

“The gaffa wants to play football and not just boom it long, so this obviously makes me happy as I can get on the ball and do what I do best. (instead of doing Pat’s running. Standard).

“I’m proud to be play for Yorkshire, but just to hear my little boy tell his friends about his dad playing for Yorkshire and when I see him wearing his Yorkshire top at the park pretending to play for us. Just makes me smile to be honest. But going into the tournaments with the squad we have, I am excited and know we can win everything we enter. Fingers crossed. “