Sunday, January 20, 2008
Eastwood Town 2 Hednesford Town 2
With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote ‘The Hokey Kokey’ died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him in the coffin. They put his left leg in ...... And that’s when all the trouble started.
I’ve decided to toughen up them pair of pussycats who live with me. I’ve sent them down to a Boxing Club in the notorious Meadows area of Nottingham. ‘The Skipper’ sings as he skips: “floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee, and goes by the name of Joe P.”
We’ve a car full today for our trip to Coronation Park. I’m joined by White Van Man, The Taxman and a debut for The Plumber. He was a combative midfielder for our village team. He’s fell out of love with the game and these days prefers to Snowboard.
WVM is unhappy about the speed restrictions on the A610. He’s having a good old moan and shedding a few tears about the 40mph and 50mph limit. He compromises at 70mph.
There’s no time for me to visit David Herbert Lawrence’s bedroom today; we head straight for the club function room. It’s one of the best on the circuit. I settle for a Pepsi Max and shout them up. Sheffield Wednesday are turning over the Blades on Sky TV. It’ll not be long before Bryan Robson is propping up the bar again. Ex-Owl, David Hirst, analyzes the game. Lucky Eastwood has a big screen up because you wouldn’t fit him in a 34” television.
I get a text from Mrs P at 2.30pm. ‘The Skipper and her have had an altercation, resulting in him packing his bags and leaving home (he’s only ten). I text back and tell her The Badgers v The Pitmen is more important and I’ll address the situation on my return.
Eastwood manager has recruited former Lincoln United gaffer John Ramshaw as his assistant. He’s a personal friend of WVM. They exchange nods.
Phil Starbuck has managed to cling onto his job at Hednesford. He was under pressure a few months ago, when I saw them comfortably beat a disappointing Ilkeston Town.
Black clouds hover in the sky as Eastwood elect to kick down the slope.
The linesman on our side has a remarkable resemblance to the mass murderer Peter Sutcliffe. I don’t think I’ll be querying any of his decisions.
The Pitmen have a bright opening and look the livelier of the two teams. WVM’s mate, Iain Screaton, has recently joined the Badgers. I saw him last only 40 minutes at Frickley in December, before being asked, by the referee, to take an early bath. Hednesford forward, Ross Dyer, leaves him for dead in the early stages.
Ex-Lincoln United and Ilkeston Town stopper, Ben Scott, is in the nets today for the visitors. His goalkeeping can be best described as Kamikaze. He’s fortunate to stay on the field of play after a handball 30 yards out his area.
A very brave away fan quibbles a free-kick. ‘Peter Sutcliffe’ is not happy. He tells the fan: “I’ve flagged, he’s the made the decision, end of f***ing story.” We are wetting ourselves.
Eastwood take the lead against the run of play. Lindon Meikle has been farmed out onto the wing. The ball falls fortuitously to his feet. And he lifts the ball over the stranded Scott. The legend that is David Eyres is playing left back for the Pitmen today. He had a successful professional career in the North West. He has made over 700 appearances for Blackpool, Burnley, Oldham and Preston. When I went to Oldham on my charity tour they gave us two t-shirts signed by him. But today he is struggling to contain the livewire Meikle.
Screaton is beginning to get the measure of Dyer and is superlative in the air, winning a string of headers.
Hall misses an easy chance for Hednesford. But it’s soon two nil. Scott shanks a clearance straight to Sheffield FC loanee, Leon Wainman, who finishes coolly. Eastwood play with confidence. Their new signing from Guiseley, Marc Smith has terrific aerial ability. His flicks and nods often finding a black and white shirt. Screaton fails to reach half-time. This time it’s a hamstring injury and not his usual red card.
The Taxman and I have a walk round this delightful ground at the break. I notice a guy with an earpiece in and ask him how Forest are doing. They’re one nil down at cash strapped Swindon Town.
Eastwood can’t put the game to bed and sit on their lead. The play becomes scrappy. Hednesford begin to perform with belief. They are deservedly back in the game on 78 minutes when former Bluenose, Chas Sheppard hits a 30 yard fizzer into the corner of the net.
Hednesford search for an equalizer. Gaps are appearing in the home defence. Portuguese under 21 international Mario Pedro fresh airs a shot from six yards out. Nagington has been a major influence on the game since his introduction on the hour. Wicked Eyres’ corners cause panic in the home defence.
Time is running out. By now, I’ve strolled behind the back of the goal and have joined the excitable Hednesford supporters. They urge their team to restore parity. And are rewarded in the dying moments when a Nagington shot hits the base of the post, leaving Pedro a simple tap in.
They can’t be denied a point; they’ve never given up the ghost. Their fans are euphoric. It’s been entertaining fare.
WVM is weaving in and out the traffic. There’s more bad news from headquarters. Sticky jnr has been given a two week ban from the swimming pool. Too many high jinks at inflatable fun. Red card for Palmer.
Eastwood 2 Meikle and Wainman Hednesford 2 Sheppard and Pedro
Man of the Match: Richard Cooper, Eastwood Town