Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Southwell City 3 Hatfield Main 1
We had a pre-Christmas scare at our house on the evening of Sunday December 16th. We were watching the BBC Sports Personality 2007 when Sir Bobby Robson received a Lifetime Achievement Award. They wheeled out a procession of former players who’d played for Robson in his managerial career. That is when the scare happened. Me, Jack, Joe and Mrs P all had to hide behind the settee, such was our fear. How could the BBC allow Peter Beardsley on television before the 9pm watershed?
I bottled out of a game on my Christmas vacation in Northumberland and chose instead to amble around the plethora of beaches and castles on this hidden and beautiful coastline.
As some will know my brother in-law to be is PC Plod and a D***y supporter. But on holiday he plummeted to an all-time low when he confessed to forgetting to bring the Quality Streets. I mean, I ask you, we rely on this man to uphold the law in this shire and yet he can not complete the simple task of buying a tin of traditional chocolates. We had to settle for some Celebrations instead. Bah humbug!
White Van Man is in Tenerife at the World Smirnoff Ice Drinking Championships. The Taxman volunteers to pilot as I’ve spent the last two days on the A1. We drive down the A46 and through the charming village of Thurgarton (I always took wickets there). Today’s game is in the Buckingham Insurance Central Midlands League Supreme Division.
Southwell is in Nottinghamshire and lies on the River Greet. It has a population of less than 7000 and is famous for its Minster. The writer, William Ivory, was born in Southwell. He wrote the BBC dramas Common As Muck and A Thing Called Love. He’s a big Pies fan and played the character Eddie in Coronation Street. Former Forest full-back Colin Barrett is from these parts. He scored a goal in 1978 that knocked Liverpool out of the European Cup.
The Bramley cooking apple was first seeded in the town. The Taxman and I call in at the Bramley Apple public house, there’s not a soul in. It has recently been removed from The Good Pub Guide lucky dip section and I realise why when the landlord informed me that Saturday evenings is Karaoke time. Oh well, at least he serves a fine pint of Springhead bitter from the brewery down the road at Sutton-On-Trent.
The ground is in a lovely setting just behind the Minster. It’s £3 entry, including a high standard programme. It has plenty of match reports, a crossword, stats, player profiles and a history of Hatfield Main. It’s a groundhopper’s dream.
The clubhouse is modern and thriving. Tea and coffee is 50p. The walls of the room are filled with photos, trophies and memorabilia. The public address announcer is shouting out the teams but I can’t hear him as I’m stuck in the clubhouse and can’t get out because the players are waiting to enter the field of play.
Southwell City FC was founded in 1893 and are unbeaten since September. Hatfield Main are from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. They have had some recent upheaval but are still in the top half of the table.
We are joined by The Till Man, his nephew, Max Pembleton, plays for Southwell. He was released by Notts County at 16 years old and is due to go to the USA to further his education and football. He rarely wastes possession and has a good brain.
It’s a good open game played in appalling conditions. Southwell take the lead in the 4th minute when a Hatfield defender fails to clear with his head, Carty pounces on to it and finishes with the outside of his left boot.
Southwell, playing with the wind, create further chances but fail to take them. It’s all a bit rushed but Southwell’s left-back Danny Johnson sticks out like a sore thumb. He has a beautiful left foot and always takes a touch.
Hatfield’s previous manager has taken a lot of his old players to Brodsworth Welfare in the Northern Counties League. They’ve had to recruit from local league football and at times it shows. Number two Liam plays nervously and without his earrings. I didn’t know that men from Doncaster wore earrings. The number 5, Chappell, is older than The Taxman and looks like Kenny Senior from Phoenix Nights.
There’s a flashpoint near to half-time when Hatfield’s Brown is dismissed for a late tackle. It’s a harsh decision by referee Sporne from Sheffield. Carty completes their misery on the stroke of half-time with a neat finish from an excellent cross by Kettle.
The raffle draw has been made and I miss out by one number. David Kettle’s Dad wins the whisky.
It’s driving down with rain now and the fir trees bend in the blustery conditions. The linesman on our side is a source of much amusement to the spectators. He’s a little podgy guy with a beard and a ponytail; I’ve seen White Van Man move quicker at the pie stall.
There’s a dreadful challenge by Hatfield’s 11 jacket in the 47th minute but the referee only produces yellow. Southwell continue to carve out chances, Pembleton hits the post and Kettle and Hennessey both go close.
Hatfield’s ten men never give up and are beginning to pump crosses in from the left. They are rewarded eventually with a great goal from their midfield general Kirk Frost who is full of running and has been excellent throughout the afternoon.
The Bramley’s survive some late scares and Kettle puts the game beyond reach following a dreadful mistake by the Hatfield goalkeeper, who is slow at getting down. A case of too many mince pies.
Southwell 3 Carty 2 Kettle Hatfield 1 Frost
Attendance: ??? Hatfield’s No.11’s Dad very noisy!! Missed a wedding to watch his lad.
Man of the Match: Danny Johnson left-back for Southwell.