Monday, December 3, 2007
Glapwell FC 0 Pickering Town 0
It’s not often I have sympathy for the rozzers but I did feel sorry for the City of London Police this week. I mean the thought of seeing Harry Redknapp at six o’clock in the morning is enough for any human being to retch up their breakfast.
Recently the groundhopping has been as hectic as Mrs P’s soap schedule. The previous Friday I dropped in at the Pirelli Stadium, the home of Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion. He certainly has his father’s Midas touch as they play a beautiful game of football on one the finest surfaces the East Midlands has to offer. Unfortunately they met their match in a resurgent Cambridge United; going down 2-1.
Last Wednesday was a day I have waited for all my life. My team are Lincoln City and for the first time in 50 years we played Nottingham Forest in a competitive game at The City Ground. It was a stroll in the park for the Reds. But a very young Lincoln side didn’t disgrace themselves.
Today I head across the border into bandit country (Derbyshire). I’ve missed “The Skipper’s” game, to get some jobs done around the house. His team keep a clean sheet. He’s as happy as Larry.
Glapwell is just off Junction 29 on the M1 and lies between Mansfield and Chesterfield. White Van Man fails to make the trip. He claims to have a big house move on, followed by a heavy drinking session in town. It’ll be more than likely a pot of tea for two at Café Keyworth!
I pick up The Architect; he’s had the green light as his and my kids are skating on the ice in the Market Square. It’s a trip for the mums.
We’re on the A617 driving through Glapwell, past Ma Hubbard’s and the Young Vanish public house. We pass a winding wheel, which acts as a monument to Glapwell Colliery, which closed down in the 1974. We turn left towards Bolsover and park in the club car park adjacent to Glapwell Nurseries.
Glapwell FC were formed in 1985 and are having the season of their lives. They got to the FA Cup third round qualifying stages, losing to Corby Town. And they remain unbeaten in the Northern Counties Eastern Premier League.
The village has a population of 1500 and their football team are punching above its weight. This club refuse to stand still. They are developing the ground in anticipation of promotion to the Unibond League.
Pickering are today’s visitors. It’s a beautiful market town in North Yorkshire with a population of 7000. I had a wonderful Christmas there a few years ago.
Cult television series Heartbeat is filmed in the area. You won’t find PC Alf Ventriss walking the beat though; he’ll be more than likely making a brew. Craig and Chris Short both began the football careers at Pickering Town and had successful period at Neil Warnock’s Notts County. Brian Clough’s assistant, Ronnie Fenton, was born in the town.
The Pikes have won nine on the spin and are unbeaten in 14 games. I saw them at Long Eaton a few months ago and was impressed. One of their star performers that night, Matthew Biggins, has since emigrated to Australia.
It’s £5 entry and a further £1 for the programme. We are harangued into buying a raffle ticket. It never bothers me, and I always oblige, as this is how clubs like Glapwell survive.
The clubhouse is one of the smallest I’ve been in and is crammed full of fans. They have Sky on. We watch Joe Cole score for Chelsea. Why can’t he do it on the international stage? The Architect has a lager, I have a shandy; it’s £3.90. The Pickering fans tuck into that famous northern delicacy: pie and mushy Peas.
The pitch is on an amazing slope. It looks heavy. The rain has been relentless up north this week. One side of the ground has a small seated stand and further along the touchline a covered area.
We stand on the opposite side, which is open to all the elements. The rain keeps off but it’s bitterly cold. We have a chat with a Pickering fan. He tells us a lot of their players are from Whitby. They can’t get a game for Whitby Town because their hometown club only sign Teesiders.
Pickering kick up the hill and soon begin to display their passing game. But Glapwell look dangerous on the counter-attack. The game needs a goal and the referee fails to play advantage on more than one occasion. I get a touch of the match ball on eight minutes.
Glapwell are managed by former Stag, Les McJannet. He is ably assisted by John Gaunt and Kev Gee. I worked with both of these characters at Notts County’s Centre of Excellence. Their coaching experience is proving invaluable.
There seems to have been a steady influx of players arriving from Sutton Town. One of those, Ian Brown, is full of running and is proving to be a handful for the Pickering defence. He goes close several times.
Glapwell keeper Neil West makes a fine save from a Mark Swales free-kick on the stroke of half-time. It’s nip and tuck; there’s nothing to choose between the two teams. Darkness descends on Hall Corner and the referee shouts to the bench to get the floodlights on.
There’s a horrendous queue at the tea bar and we haven’t won the raffle. We endure a miserable half-time. I nip in the club shop to check the line ups. Apparently even the boardroom is a portakabin.
There’s a familiar pattern to the second half. Neither team wants to lose and both go for the win. Glapwell hit the bar and score a goal that is ruled out for offside. Pickering go close through Swales and Whitfield (we call him June because he’s wearing gloves).
Ricky Greening is the Pikes’ right winger and brother of WBA’s Jonathan, who once played for Manchester United. He has all the skills and pace of his brother but has no end product to his game.
Glapwell’s Brady and the Pickering both miss sitters at the death to win the game. It’s been entertaining fare and no one deserves to lose. Varley and Brown shine for the hosts but it is Pickering captain Joe Connor who catches the eye.
Glapwell FC 0 Pickering Town 0
Attendance: 97 (including 4 car loads and mini bus from Pickering
who were all loud and had an opinion)
Man of the Match: Joe Connor