Saturday, September 14, 2013
Brighouse Town 4-1 Crook Town
Locals report it was like a scene from Malia in Crete, with teenagers spilling out of the bar into the car park and nearby road. I showed my face for a couple of hours, before turning in just before midnight. Sticky junior (my lad) staggered up the wooden hill at 3am.
My record of never having a player booked or dismissed lasts for of all of ten minutes. A lad I should have never of signed is shown a straight Red on his debut. The visitors behaviour is appalling. One is finally dismissed, when they could have easily been down to eight men. The moron refuses to leave the technical area and causes mayhem at the end of the game. Oh well Sticky, one down, nineteen to go.
There's a busy schedule on Saturday before the trip north to Calderdale. For those first-time (and probably last-time) readers from Brighouse and Crook, I'm Head of Talent ID for Notts County youth. I've been tipped there's a schools tournament at a village close by.
I bolt down a bowl of muesli and leave Murphy the Budgie arguing with himself in the mirror, as Brian Matthews plays the Spencer Davis Group's 1966 smash hit 'Somebody Help Me' on his Sound of the 60s show on Radio 2.
I introduce myself to the organiser of the tournament and produce my ID. I identify a player with potential. His teacher, a Notts County fan, tells me which club he plays for. I will go and watch him next weekend.
I dash home and grab a ham and cheese sandwich. Murphy is hanging upside on a clothes peg, smashing it with his beak in time to M People's 'Moving On Up.'
I leave my car at a pub close to the M1 and jump in with Phil, a coach I used to work with at Notts. It's plain sailing up the M1. Jon Moss, the referee, not to be confused with the Culture Club drummer, has refused to give a penalty at Old Trafford.
We turn off at Junction 40. Hopes are dashed of a real ale or two as Saturday shoppers clog up the roads enroute to the soulless retail parks in Dewsbury and Mirfield. The Dual Seal Stadium is tucked away from the town centre. The club are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season.
It's £5 on the gate and a further £1 for a programme which is a neat and tidy effort. It's an FA Cup first round qualifying tie. I adore the ground. The only thing that spoils it are the Potakabins behind the nearest goal. It's tree-lined, has hard-standing, wooden fencing and is fully-railed. The pitch has a side-slope, but looks immaculate. A big hat-tip to the groundstaff; you could play bar billiards on it. I walk to the stand on the far side. Dignitaries are sat on white tip up seats.
Over half of the 161 crowd have travelled down from the north. Brighouse play in a replica Wolves kit, whilst Crook's is like Coventry City's.
It's a breathtaking 45 minutes. The visitors are at sixes and sevens in the early stages. Ernest Boafo hits a rasping shot from the edge of the area to put Brighouse one up. Crook forward Kyle Davis leads the home defence a merry dance. His movement and touch are mesmeric; if only he'd lift his head and release the ball. He thumps a shot into the roof of the net on the stroke of half time. Brighouse have squandered so many chances. Crook will have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
Brighouse blow away the visitors with some high tempo football. Pocket rocket winger Ryan Hall puts them in front on 54 minutes. Tom 'The Hitman' Matthews (46 goals last season) plays a give and go with Boafo, rounds the keeper and taps the ball into net. Crooks misery is complete with 20 minutes to go when Ben Shaw makes it 4-1.
I'm sandwiched between a couple of moaning Minnies from Durham. They unleash their frustration on the young referee. The 4-1 scoreline doesn't tell the whole story; it could have been a wider margin. Now where's that bloody budgie?
Man of the Match: Ryan Hall