Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Carlton Town 2 Matlock Town 4

A week to forget for Sticky, I coached my final session for my beautiful team on Wednesday. I have witnessed some appalling behaviour. I want no part of this. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders; I should have walked away in the summer. I am rock bottom, and my heart is broken. It’s an impossible job, but I go with my head held high; the boys have been a credit and a joy to be with. Child Protection is paramount, sadly, not all see it that way.

To complete a miserable week, Leeds United have coasted to victory in the south west of England last night. My favourite front pairing of Beckford and Kandol have bagged again.

I’ve been busier than a Northern Rock Building Society cashier this week: football, cricket and my wedding anniversary. It was so convenient of Burton Albion to bring forward their game by 24 hours so Mrs P and I could slip down to Perkins Bar Bistro at Plumtree, on Tuesday night.

I missed “The Skipper’s” first game in 3 years this morning. My stomach churned from the moment he left here at 9am until he got back. I knew things hadn’t gone well because I didn’t get a text update. He scored so at least he’s happy.

I washed the car and cleaned the windows, but my mind was elsewhere; I’ve enjoyed coaching the boys and will miss it more than the 20 Embassy Number 1 I used to smoke years ago.

Carlton’s ground is just down the road from Gedling Town, who I visited the other week; they are also at home today. The Millers have had four successive promotions. Chairman Mick Garton and manager Tommy Brookbanks can take all the credit for this.

It’s a charming ground, which looks out towards Gedling Church. A railway line runs close by. It’s a FA Cup 1st Round Qualifier today against Unibond Premier League giants Matlock Town, who currently lie 5th in the table. Carlton play in the league below, and are mid-table.

Admission is £6, with an additional £1.50 for a programme which puts Burton Albion’s poor effort to shame: take a bow Andy King. Because of it’s poor location Carlton Town only average around 80 people a game, Matlock bump this up considerably, there’s double that today.

The Bill Stokeld Stadium is bathed in glorious sunshine, the huge away following sit on the patio outside the clubhouse, basking in the glorious conditions. Just a Lucozade today for me, I’ve a feeling I’ll be downing a few tonight. Portsmouth and Liverpool play out a goalless draw on Sky TV; personally I’d rather buy a season ticket at Derby County than watch this drivel.

There are a few sore heads around the ground today as last night a testimonial dinner was held for Tommy Brookbanks at the Village Hotel in Chilwell. Former Premiership referee Jeff Winter was guest speaker.

Since I last saw The Gladiators a few weeks ago there star striker Ian Holmes has moved on to Mansfield Town, but they have an able replacement in Steve Taylor. Marquin Smith, a player I raved about a few weeks ago, has recently joined Carlton.

The Millers edge an entertaining first half on a bumpy and uneven surface, with Bignall twice going close. He’s a big strong lad who Notts County were watching a few years ago during my scouting days. He gives Matlock defender James Lukic (nephew of Arsenal’s John) a rough ride.

Matlock keeper, Andy Richmond, looks like his partial to the occasional slice of Bakewell tart and a dollop of cream but he commands his area well. Aidan Brady’s trickery prevents Matlock left back Paul Riley from getting forward.

Matlock have a good whinge and moan at the ref first half and would have been better concentrating on the job in hand, they can have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle.

At the break I spot a lad I signed up for Notts County called Simon Wilkinson, he’s strolling round the ground, he’s only 17, and not quite ready for the cut and thrust of the Unibond League, but it won’t be long.

The Gladiators’ management team get their players fired up; the game is all but over on the hour. A sloppy piece of defending by Carlton Town defender Dominic Thomas lets in Taylor for the first. Taylor doubles their lead shortly after, with another one on-one effort. Simon Barraclough finds the Carlton defence napping again to make it 3-0. Taylor completes his hat-trick on the hour with a simple close range finish.

Thomas and Chaplin score consolation goals for The Millers but their early slipshod defending means they pay the price. It’s a year of stability for this young Carlton Town team and who knows what would have happened if they took their chances.

I spend the second half with the Grandparents of one of the keepers that used to be at the Pies Centre of Excellence; their Grandson is now in Carlton Town Under 16s and is once again enjoying his football just like I have this afternoon.

Carlton 2 Thomas Chaplin Matlock 4 Taylor (3) Barraclough

Attendance: 187

Man of the Match: Steve Taylor.

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