With some heavy Boxing Day wins for some in Midland Football League Division Three, these two side were engaged in a close encounter at Shenley Lane.
After the game both stay in fourth and fifth places respectively, but the Moors do edge to within a point of Town and with a game in hand.
This match was a bruising affair. Northfield do not take prisoners and much credit must go to referee Malcolm Steward and his assistants for the fact that the game ended with twenty one players still on the park. It could have been rather less!
Town did their best to put this young Moors side off their stroke, albeit with one or two players who could play some football as well. At the start Mikkel Hirst was having a torrid time against Fleming, but once the wing man had got past the Moors number three a few times, Hirst decided that was enough and stepped up his game and ensured that the Moors left flank was secure. So well did the young Mikkel do that we was – by common consent – the man-of-the-match. Dylon Bennett was a close contender for this honour.
With Town starting on the front foot, it was a surprise when the visitors took the lead in strange circumstances. The Town goalie, Hayes had the ball, and with Martin in close attendance cleared the ball, only for it to hit his own central defender and crawl into the net. It was tough on Boazman and Hayes, but the Moors were jubilant.
Not to be behind for long, Town launched a fierce attack, won two quick corners, the second of which resulted in the award of a penalty for a rash challenge by Rhys Mason. Captain Priest made no mistake from twelve yards to level the scores.
There were scares at both ends and Mikkel saved the day for the Moors on a couple of occasions. He and Bennett had grown into the game, and by the half-hour mark were in control, although Parker was a constant menace.
As we approached the break, Town launched a series of attacks and won three corners in quick succession. With these dealt with by Martin who did really well for the Moors and was unfortunate not to put the visitors into the lead.
Whatever was said in the Moors dressing room at half-time was effective. Within two minutes of the re-start Mason had made up for his mistake with a goal that ended some good work by the Moors down their left flank. Town were to rue their inability to convert chances into goals. They hit the woodwork at least three times in the second-half alone. Add to this some good saves by Nitiri. Josh Parsons was unlucky when a good effort was saved, and although the Moors were a goal to the good, one felt there was more to come, and one doubted the game would end eleven a side.
Town were dangerous from corners all afternoon, and on the 63rd minute they made one pay. The kick was from their left, Moors did not clear and Lawrence was on hand to stab the ball home from a yard.
One suspected that the Moors management would settle for a draw, but Town were intent on grabbing all three. Romario Martin, strangely quite for most of the afternoon, produced a piece of real magical quality with twenty minutes to go. He slotted home from an impossible angle after yet more good work along the Moors left flank.
Town huffed and puffed, but if anyone was going to score another it was the Moors. Indeed they ought to have done so, but somehow they managed to fluff their chances.
With five minutes to go, the inevitable happened. After talking his way into referee Steward’s book he moaned to the official once too often and he was off.
At the end Moors deservedly took all three points. As to us who watch, we look forward to the second encounter between these two side at Studley later on in the season.
On Monday 2 January 2017, Moors Academy FC have another crucial game at home to runaway league leaders, NKF Burbage (2pm kick-off).
Moors: Nitiri; McNally (Medford); Hirst; Willock; Taylor (c); Bennett; Parsons (Shade); Mullally; Martin ; Coyle; Mason  (Clarke). Sub not used: Hamer