WHITE HOT WHITE ROSE JUST TOO GOOD FOR SHELLEY
By Mark Duffell
Division 1 life begins with tough lesson
SHELLEY were handed a harsh lesson on life in the top flight as their first division 1 campaign opened with a heavy defeat against a competitive and slick White Rose outfit.
On a hot late summer morning, Shelley appeared as dazzled by their opponents as they were by the sun in their eyes in an opening few minutes in which they failed to heed the warnings from the home side's high pressing style and quick movement.
As such, they could already have been behind before the opening goal inside 4 minutes but the goal sparked a marked change, with Shelley stepping up through the gears to level matters on 8 minutes, a superb clipped through ball from Sam Meeson releasing Archie Eastwell to lift the ball over the keeper to level matters. And they could even have been in front when another smart move saw a shot from Ceinan Joyce fizz past the White Rose post.
But from then on, a combination of over-playing and routinely being second to every ball meant Shelley were always under the cosh. A superb last-ditch challenge from captain Ben Poulter kept the scores level but they fell behind again on 12 minutes and the home side's experience of the higher level showed for the rest of the game, despite the red and blacks' best efforts.
At 5-1 down at half time, Shelley started the second half brightly and had chances but it wasn't to be their day - best summed up when a great curling effort from Archie came back off the angle. And after White Rose scored again, against the run of play to be fair, heads dropped and the home side ran out deserved winners but by less of a margin than the harsh scoreline suggests.
No need to panic though. The step up was always going to be tough playing against sides who have had this intensity of matches week in, week out for several years. Though Shelley didn't deserve anything from the game, they also didn't deserve a 9-1 defeat but they can learn from this and as the season goes on, they'll grow into a league where there will be no easy games. On to the next one then and a home match against Drighlington next week at Storthes Hall.