A sickening sight was witnessed by Sticky junior and myself on Saturday morning. “The Skipper” had nipped off to AFC Vernon on a scouting mission. Keen to collect some Brownie points, I went into town with Mrs P. Whilst the good lady had a mosey around the M&S Food Hall, me and junior sat outside a continental cafe on Low Pavement, eating a bacon and egg cob. And that’s when it happened. Junior, for once, stopped talking. He went as white as a ghost. I was incandescent with rage. The police did nothing about it. Yes, you’ve guessed it, some tosser was walking round Nottingham city centre with a D***y County shirt on. The Galleries of Justice is just round the corner; they should have taken the guilty party there, and hung him!
I arrange to meet The Auctioneer at the delightful Cap and Stocking Pub in Kegworth. He is from Yorkshire and supports L**ds Utd, but I don’t hold this against him; he is welcome on the hop. The pub is tucked away in the back streets of Kegworth. I’m seriously hung-over and elect to have a pint of Charles Wells Bombardier.
I nipped out for a couple with the Nuclear Scientist last night. We bumped into Jacko at The Tavern and reminisced about the beautiful game his team played last week. It ended up a bit messy.
Coalville is in North West Leicestershire and has a population of 30,000. It’s another old coal mining town. Nearby is the Snibston Discovery Park, an interactive museum focusing on mining, transport and engineering. The best I can come up with for a famous person from Coalville is GMTV Soap TV “journalist” Tina Baker. I only seem to remember her on Fat Club. Apparently Coalville is famous for its club night “Passion” held at the Emporium. It attracts all the top international DJs.
We arrive in Coalville in good time. We drive past the Clock Tower which acts as a War Memorial to those that lost their lives in the two World Wars. A couple of youths show disrespect by skateboarding around the landmark.
Owen Street Sports Ground is concealed down a side street, not far from the town centre. It’s a charming ground, situated in a dip. Above it appears to be an old colliery spoil heap. Towering in the distance is the winding gear of the old pithead.
Coalville were formed in 1926 and were originally called Ravenstone Miners Athletic, hence the nickname The Ravens. They have been at this ground for over a decade now. They reached the first round of the FA Cup a few seasons ago and the monies raised have helped develop the ground.
There’s time for a quick half of Greene King IPA in the bar. Scotland are playing Italy at rugby. We turn our backs to the television and read the impressive programme. A couple of boys are clambering over the furniture and are reprimanded by a club official.
Black clouds hover over the ground, the wind has dropped and we are in for a wet afternoon. The Coalville Town DJ is no Paul Oakenfold and plays a tune that has never graced the Emporium: it’s Teenage Dirtbag by Whetus. It’s a slight improvement on Atomic Kitten who featured in the Cap and Stocking an hour earlier.
We decide to sit down today, it’s beginning to drizzle. The Ravens attack our end of the ground. There’s nothing doing in the first twenty minutes, The Auctioneer might as well have stayed in bed on his boat that’s moored up at Sawley Marina.
Coalville beat Dynamo convincingly earlier in the season. Ravens’ striker Carl Lawrence netted all four for his team that day. Today he is suspended and has gone on holiday.
Loughborough Dynamo are a tidy outfit but their intricate passing game produces nothing in the early stages. The tackling is tasty, as you would expect in a local derby. The Auctioneer is not fussed by the physical side of the game; he’s seen it all before; he supports “Dirty Dirty Leeds.” He talks fondly of halcyon nights in Europe. Sadly the nearest they get to going abroad these days is the pre-season tour to the Emerald Isles.
Dynamo get their act together, Craig Noble goes close following a great period of passing football. Dynamo look sleek and play stylish football. Their coaches John Folwell and Joe Sargison are well known students of the game in Notts. Their team shuffle the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. Coalville can’t get near them.
The Loughborough full-back Spriggs realises he’s played the first twenty minutes without shin pads and waves to the bench for some.
They finally take the lead on the half hour; a four man move is neatly finished off by former Notts County trainee Kris Nurse. They are beginning to look good value.
Midfield general Karl Noble is calling all the shots and should have made it two before the break, but is thwarted by Coalville goalkeeper Chris Gibson, who makes a brilliant save.
The Auctioneer is craving for a tray of chips, but there is a ten minute wait at the Refreshment Bar. We settle instead for a Cadbury’s Crème Egg and a packet of Walkers Salt and Vinegar. The tea is poured from a pot and is a steal at 40 pence. It’s one of the best brews of the season and we mark it with an eight.
The conditions are more testing after the break, as the rain becomes more persistent. The Coalville faithful optimistically stand behind the goal their team attack. It’s hard to see them troubling the scorers today, Loughborough Dynamo look comfortable.
Dynamo turn it up a notch after the break. The Ravens create very little and hardly trouble the visiting goalkeeper. Nifty winger Callum Riley completes Coalville’s misery with two smart finishes. He scampers in from the left hand touchline, a position he has hugged for most of the afternoon, and elects to finish with his stronger and trustier right foot.
A Coalville player boots the ball away in disgust after the second goal; it lands at the feet of The Groundhopper. The teams are waiting to kick-off and everyone is looking for the ball. I try to blast it in the general direction of the centre circle, but only succeed in shanking it like Forest goalkeeper Paul Smith. It dribbles a miserable 15 yards along the ground. Despite the cold and the rain I feel may face glow red with embarrassment. Groundhopper stops play.
There’s no answer from Coalville, despite their endeavour, they’ve been beaten into submission. There’s further good news for the visitors: league leaders Atherstone Town have lost heavily at home to Market Drayton. It’s game on for them.
White Van Man texts me, between prawn sandwiches, to tell me a ragged looking Man Utd have scraped past D***y at The Sheep Dip.
I’m walking towards the exit, the linesman turns around and says hello to me. I recognise him. I scouted his boy a few years ago when I worked for the Pies. The last time I saw him was at a presentation night at Meadow Lane, when he doubled up as an Elvis impersonator. His boy’s at Mansfield Town now and he’s doing okay.
Coalville Town 0 Loughboro Dynamo 3 Nurse and Riley (2)
Man of the Match: Karl Noble