Ossett Town AFC A Review of 2016

2016 will go down as one of the most memorable in recent history here at Ossett Town.

Graham Nicholls - Former Ossett Town Manager

The year began with six consecutive defeats, 22 goals conceded and just three goals scored, it proved too much for the Ossett Town committee as manager Graham Nicholls was removed from his role with relegation the only outcome that looked like it was on the cards.

Grant Black Appointed Ossett Town Manager

Valentine’s Day saw Grant Black appointed as manager and it has proven to be a match made in heaven. His first game saw the club pick up three points for the first time in five months, two of Black’s new recruits Danny Frost and Alex Peterson on the scoresheet.

Alex Peterson and Danny Frost - A Strike Force to Rival Any in the League.

That was the highlight of the year for Chairman James Rogers “there have been so many highlights it is difficult to pick one, this game stands out above the others as we hadn’t won for so long, since that day things have been on the up”

March began with an away trip to Warrington Town, the eventual champions finished the season with 106 points and will have expected to collect three more with ease. By full time they knew they had been in a game, an early Danny Frost strike shocked the nearly 400 strong crowd. The Wire did fight back and eventually won the game 2-1, at full time the shock at how well Ossett Town had performed was evident from the home side, with a number of the home fans saying it was the toughest game they had had all season.

Danny frost with the early goal
Ralph & the Backslappers were immediately behind Grant Black & knew the team would be safe.

That was Black’s third game in management, and already the Town faithful now knew that relegation was not going to be an issue this season after all.

March was an intense month, a mixture lf ups & downs

March contained six games, four of which were away from home, a vital three points were taken from New Mills, it was key to take points from those at the bottom. Defeat was tasted at Scarborough Athletic, but for a harsh red card for Reece Farnhill and a fortunate goal for the Seadogs as a strong gust of wind took the ball sailing over Chris Backhouse the result could have been oh so different.

Simon Rogers impressed everyone with his performances under Grant Black.

April, and the final month of the season is where the club really got going, the transfer window closed, and despite the loss of Jack Siddall and Jack Wakefield Black had a settled squad that had been strengthened substantially with the likes of Frost and Peterson, Ridley and Mackie to name just a few, and just as impressive was the improvement seen in players already here, Simon Rogers and Daniel Monfredi to name just two.

Danny Frost with the opening goal against Harrogate Railway.

The first game of April was huge, home to Harrogate Railway Athletic, Frost again opened the scoring before Amar Purewall, on loan from Darlington 1883 drew the scores level. Simon Rogers scored the winner with 12 minutes remaining, sparking scenes of celebration throughout the ground.

Wild Celebrations after Si Rogers scored the winner against Harrogate Railway

Away wins at Prescot Cables and Bamber Bridge followed to comfortably secure safety and even more unexpectedly propel the side up the table, the final home game of the season ended in defeat, play-off contenders Glossop winning 3-1 – the season however ended with consecutive victories, first at Harrogate Railway and on the final day of the season at Droylsden. The Reds finishing the season in 17th place, a point and a place better off than 12 months earlier.

Si Rogers again coming up with a big goal against New Mills.

Grant Black afforded himself no time off, and by the time of the clubs end of season award party had already secured the majority of the squad for the next season, as well as the signature of a number of new players, most notably Leigh Overton, Ashley Jackson and Leon Henry.

Leigh Overton, Ashley Jackson and Leon Henry

Pre-season was long and hard, Black enjoying his first summer giving the instructions rather than having to follow them as a player. Former Assistant manager of Ossett Town, Clive Freeman, and father of Ossett Town forward Charlie, found pre-season amusing. Black had been a player under Freeman at Buxton for five years, Freeman said “Grant was a great trainer as a player but he hated all the running and now watching him barking out the orders and making players do what he hated so much is hilarious”.

Grant Black giving pre-season instruction and Charlie Freeman in pre-season action.

The Reds stuttered in early pre-season as Black looked to kick on to the next level, the Steve Kelly memorial trophy was retained against Hemsworth Miners Welfare and although the score was 2-2 against Frickley Athletic, it was an excellent performance against a side from the division above.

Alex Peterson with a deft touch against Hemsworth, Jack Wakefield with the Steve Kelly Memorial Trophy and Nick Wood celebrating after scoring against Frickley.

The season started with a good performance at Prescot Cables, but ultimately pointless as the home side took the lead from the most dubious of penalty decisions before securing the points with a second goals as Town pushed for an equaliser.

Danny frost

A run of three wins saw first Brighouse put to the sword at Ingfield, Brighouse were the early pacesetters in the NPL First Division North; that defeat the only one they suffered in their opening 13 league games.

Danny Frost & Alex Peterson with the 3 goals against Billingham in the FA Cup.

Relative FA Cup success followed, 10 men performed superbly against Goole to progress to an away trip at Billingham Synthonia, it took a replay to dispatch the Northern League side and a home game against FC United was the reward.

FC United of Manchester fans in full voice during the FA Cup match.
Bumper crowd at ingfield

A large crowd swelled the coughers and on paper it looked like a disaster, 1-7 at home. But everyone who was there, including the visiting supporters were shocked by the result. It was just one of those days where one side took every opportunity given to them and the other just couldn’t hit the net. There is no disputing the correct side progressed, just the score difference is still hard to believe.

Tyrone Gay with a bullet header to score for Ossett & Andy Hawksworth in action.

A result like that could so easily have destroyed a squad – but somewhere a lot of positivity was taken from that game. Tadcaster were the visitors three days later, a side on paper that has enough quality to instil fear in any side. They have a Champions League winner in Jon Greening and a number of former top flight professionals too. But what followed was a stunning performance from Ossett Town, a 3-1 victory that could easily have been more.

October started with James Rogers’ favourite game of the year “Colwyn Bay on the 1st October without a doubt. One of the great away trips that will be forever remembered by those that were there. The great performance and convincing 2-0 win. The great and loud support from the fans. And of course the trip home on the Ossett Town party bus. Classic day”

Darol Lucas & Reece Farnhill in action

Town had county cup success at Eccleshill with Darol Lucas scoring his first of the season and Reece Farnhill his first for the club. There was less success in the FA Trophy as the run ended at the first hurdle, 1-0 at home to Bamber Bridge. Lancaster City, top of the tree, were beaten 2-0 on their home patch. Ashley Jackson scoring twice in this game and four times in the month.

Ashley Jackson proving to be an outstanding acquisition for Ossett in 2016.

The fourth goal coming at Hyde United in the final game of the month, for a period of the game results were in Ossett Town’s favour and we sat top of the tree, an equaliser for the home side, and goals elsewhere however saw the reds end the month in 4th place.

A foggy end to november

November proved to be another great month, starting with three victories and a run of eight games unbeaten, right until the last game of the month.

Scarborough Athletic were first put to the sword, so impressive was the performance by Frost that the visitors tried to sign him, Grant Black put a counter offer in for Scarborough’s David Brown and such is the strength in the squad at this time Frost never considered leaving and Brown jumped at the chance of a return to Ingfield.

Fans favorite David Brown returns to Ossett Town in November

Town gained revenge over Bamber Bridge for the FA Trophy exit and a first ever home victory over Burscough was to follow. The final victory of November was Danny Frost’s highlight of 2016 “we had a lot of important games last year to stay up but for me this year away to Tadcaster sticks out. I didn't have my best game in fact Blackie described it as the worst strikers performance he had ever seen! I was getting a lot of grief from more or less everyone in the ground and to pop up with the winner with literally the last kick of the game was a great feeling for myself and also for the lads”

Danny Frost with a rare miss in front of goal.

Frost continued “Since signing in February it has been nothing but positives from the minute Blackie, Norbs and Rids came in. That's now the feeling he has imprinted on us which for me is the reason why we didn't get relegated and are now where we are in the league”.

"... nothing but positives from the minute Blackie, Norbs & Rids (above) came in"... Danny Frost

“All the lads believe in themselves more than ever and the togetherness is there throughout the club and also in the dressing room! For a bunch of lads who have only been together a few months is unreal we have our laughs before and after but the minute Blackie gives the team talk the focus and professionalism starts straight away. All the lads and I have all bought into it, that's why I believe majority of 2016 as gone well”

A Team united....

The final game of November saw the end of the eight match unbeaten league run as Droylsden gained revenge for the final game of last season with a 3-1 victory at Ingfield, as disappointing as it was Black was able to use that as a reality check and re-focus the side.

December has begun with a bang as first Kendal were defeated 2-0 to show the Droylsden result was a blip and that was backed up when Burscough were defeated for a second time this season. The reds having lost to three of the bottom four in Prescot Cables, Ossett Albion and Goole needed the win to prove they can scrap wins against the sides battling at the bottom.

With January on the horizon Town will be seeking revenge on Albion for the 0-2 loss in August.

With 2017 now on the horizon Frost cannot wait for it to begin; “We’re joint top of the league as I write this and we have to be in the play-offs at least when the season ends, I see no reason why we cannot win the league and go up automatically. This team and the management are ready for a massive push and we are definitely good enough, that we have proved already. We have to keep our feet on the ground and not underestimate anyone. Maybe we can be this season’s Leicester”

Supporter Rob Billing is of the same mind set and sees no reason why promotion cannot be achieved whilst James Rogers, and match day PA Craig Biddlestone will be happy to take each game as it comes and look to continue as we are, then who knows what could happen!

Ossett Town afc - dare to dream!

Words by Neil Spofforth

Photography by Mark Gledhill

Created By
Mark Gledhill

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