Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nostell Miners Welfare 1-5 Cleethorpes Town

It's 7pm on Friday evening. I'm stood at the bus stop outside The Fairway pub in Keyworth, with my boy Sticky jnr. Big Col Stol is giving me pelters from the pub's smoking shelter. We're off out to see some old work colleagues who have been made redundant this week. I could have hung around for some wonga, but I was desperate to leave and couldn't miss out on the opportunity that came my way.

Sticky jnr is growing up a bit now; he's 19 in November. We had some run-ins when I ran his football team last season. I'm proud to say that he never received one caution. He's landed an apprenticeship at Barratt Homes. It was all going swimmingly on his induction week. On his second day on site in Leicester I received a text to tell me he had cut his thumb. See picture below  ...... ouch. The fool played football for his local village team at night. He didn't volunteer to go in goal.

The night out with my old work colleagues makes me feel flat and sombre. 'Shifty' has landed a job and 'The Zuffler' has a second interview, ironically in Loughborough, where I work. Some of these folk I'll never see again. It makes me feel sad. We only manage three pubs in the Canning Circus area of Nottingham: Hand and Heart, Organ Grinder and The Falcon, before I jump on the 12:30am Trent Barton bus outside The Approach on Friar Lane.

Saturday morning seems strange. I no longer work for Notts County as Head of Talent ID at the Academy. I'd usually be dashing around a few games in Nottingham city centre, before heading off groundhopping. It will leave a huge void in my life.

'The Skipper' is playing football at Tividale near Dudley. A parent has very kindly taken him. It's just me and my faithful budgie, Murphy Palmer in the house today. Sticky Palms Cleaning Services are in full flow. Windowlene, Domestos and Jif are given an outing in the bathroom. Forget Hilda Ogden or Winnie off Early Doors, I'm the boss when it comes to cleaning.

I jump in the Rolls Royce and head down the A46, up the A6097, joining the A614 before jumping on the A1. I fell in love with a pub I went to twice last season in Ossett. It's only 8 miles from Nostell's ground. I sail up the M62 and I'm soon parking up outside the Brewers Pride opposite a tractor.

I love the flagstone floors and open fires. There are usually seven guest ales on. I plump for a pint of Farmers Blonde from the Bradfield Brewery in Sheffield. I scan the lunchtime menu. Beer-battered haddock in a ciabatta sounds rather appealing and turns out to be so.

Tom Tom sends me through the city of Wakefield. I'm soon back out in the open countryside in the village of Crofton. I have a spot of bother finding the ground, before an opening appears at the end of a housing estate, as some filthy black clouds hover over the Crofton Centre, the home of Nostell Miners Welfare.

The Club play in the village of New Crofton, which appears to have had some money thrown at it, probably from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust. They were formed in 1928 and are nicknamed 'The Welfare.' Former Stockport County and Norwich City striker Oli Johnson began his career here.

Those black clouds have opened up and emptied vast amounts of water onto an already sodden surroundings. I sit in the car, with steamed up windows, as it rains cat and dogs on the roof. I finally venture out five minutes before kick-off, only to be told by a friendly club official that the start time has been put back by 15 minutes.

The thunder and lightning is spectacular. It sets off house alarms. Power is lost in the community centre for a few brief seconds. I walk into the entrance, past the National Union of Mineworkers flag. Nostell Colliery closed in 1987. It's £5 on the gate and £1 for a cracking programme, my favourite of the season so far. There's even a folded team-sheet inside the programme; a nice touch that.

I sit in the main stand that towers over the pitch. I admire the new playing surface. They've spent close on £100,000 on a complete make-over. It is a beauty. The new drainage system is put to the test on its first outing, as it's sheeting down with rain.

I get chatting to a guy from the FA. He asks if I'm a groundhopper. I haven't brought a rucksack, programme cover or Tupperware sandwich box, so how the hell does he know? "You're not a referees' assessor are you?" I ask the man. "Yes mate." he replies. "Bloody hell." I say under my breath.

The Welfare are struggling a wee bit this season, whilst visitors Cleethorpes Town are flying high. They were in my neck of the woods last week, playing against Radcliffe Olympic in the FA Vase. The teams walk out to some God damn awful rap song. I'm begging for a power cut as the rain continues to lash down.  Two brave saves by The Welfare 'keeper prevent Cleethorpes taking the lead in the first minute.

The first injury of the day is on ten minutes when Sticky Palms bangs his head on a barrier, bending over to pick my programme up. I'm as hard as nails, physio is not required. Cleethorpes take the lead with a bullet header from an inswinging corner out on the left.

The game has a real ebb and flow about it. The heavy surface proves a great leveller. Cleethorpes passing game is a joy to watch, without an end product. Nostell get the ball forward quickly, using the 11 jacket's pocket rocket pace.

I've noticed on my Livescore app that former Lincoln City winger Lennell John-Lewis has scored for the Mariners. I love the Grimsby Town chant to the Beach Boys song 'Sloop John B' - "His name is a shop, Lenell John-Lewis, his name is a shop."

The Welfare equalize on 46 minutes following some sloppy defending. The visitors are rocked for ten minutes or so and let Nostell come onto them. The visitors take the lead, replicating their first goal. It ends up 5-1, a tad harsh on Nostell who were in the game for an hour.

Attendance: 42

Man of the Match: Referee Colin Whitaker (different gravy)


Anonymous said...

Been reading your reports for quite a while now. Reckon yours is the best non league blog on the internet. Nice succinct writing style and funny tales of antics outside football - keep it up!

Sticky said...

Many thanks for the comments, they are very much appreciated.