Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Hednesford Town 2 Ilkeston Town 0
I got the call-up for the Boss Hogg Sunday X1. They had their final fixture of the cricketing season at the picturesque setting of Colston Bassett, which is where Stilton Cheese is made.
All was going well for yours truly, a couple of catches and some tight bowling, and there was I thinking this game is a piece of p*ss. Unfortunately for me, Duncan bowled one donkey drop too many. With the ball travelling at the speed of sound I made a heroic attempt at a hat-trick of catches.
I’m in Sally Gunnell driving like a lunatic down the quiet country lanes of the Vale of Belvoir towards the QMC. I’ve split my ring finger open and it is dislocated. If things couldn’t get any worse the Eastenders Omnibus edition is on at the A&E Department, on my arrival. Ninety minutes of Ian Beale could tip me over the edge.
Six hours later nurses have administered more injections on my hand than an afternoon surgery with Dr Harold Shipman. I’m sorry to say this but the NHS are a bigger joke than D**by County. It’s like a scene from Carry on Doctor.
White Van Man is driving tonight; we are joined by HM Inspector of Taxes. We meet in the Fairway Public House car park. I saw a crane in this excuse of a watering hole on Saturday and smiled at the delight of it being knocked to the ground; sadly there was a charity bungee jump being held.
We drive down the old A38, it’s years since I’ve been down here, and boy can WVM drive.
Hednesford is in Staffordshire, close to Cannock. It’s Forest legend Stanley Victor Collymore’s patch – he often took his “dog” for a walk down Cannock Chase. Former Man City and Macclesfield manager, Brian Horton, was born in the town. He has managed over one thousand league games. Hednesford has a population of 7,000. It’s famous for stock car racing and coal mining.
Both teams tonight are managed by former Forest players: The Pitmen by Phil “Bambi” Starbuck and Ilson by Nigel Jemson. Both are under pressure. Hednesford Town won the FA Trophy in 2004, a fantastic achievement for a town and club of this size.
We pay £9.50 to sit in the Main Stand behind the dug outs. It’s a bit fresh tonight and my ring finger is playing up. The ground is large but deserted, it’s soulless.
The Managing Director of the Pitmen has made a scathing attack on the players in the club’s programme. It’s no holds barred and an interesting read. Philip Starbuck’s patience has snapped too, Club Captain, Dave Macpherson has been stripped of the armband and placed on the transfer list.
Ilkeston are a bit light tonight. Two of my favourite players Paul Robinson and Chris Adam, now ply their trade for thehe Pitmen and not Ilson. Ironically Adam scores against his old club after six minutes, after being allowed too much time and space.
Ilkeston create very little, Holmes and Walker huff and puff. Jermaine Palmer, the son of Pies’ legend Charlie, is the Ilson centre forward tonight. WVM saw him rip Lincoln United to bits a few weeks ago, but he is powder-puff on this showing. The Pitmen have him in his pocket.
Jemmo is pure entertainment on the Ilson bench; he kicks every ball and questions every decision. “Gerd” Muller runs his socks off without reward.
Rene Gilmartin is the home team’s Achilles heel, but Ilson fail to exploit this. They have a good spell of pressure before the break but the ball just won’t drop for them.
WVM is a happy soul. I treat him to a Jumbo Hot Dog and a cup of tea, as a thank you for driving. There’s a non-league who’s who in the crowd tonight: Steve Burr at Stalybridge Celtic and Eastwood’s Paul Cox sit in the stands, as well as a couple of Lincoln United players.
The second half is dire. I’m desperate for it to end. Jemmo rolls back the years with a 45 minute appearance at centre half; it’s cringe worthy.
The game is effectively over in the 52nd minute after a sixty second game of pinball in the Ilson box; Tom Marshall finally puts the ball in the back of the net.
The Pitmen shut up shop; Jemmo goes 4-3-3. Former tricky tree, Ross Gardner, is far more effective in the centre of the park and goes close on a couple of occasions but Ilson rarely trouble the home keeper.
Hednesford Town 2 Adam and Marshall Ilkeston Town 0
Man of the Match: Paul Robinson