Saturday, 1 May 2010

Newark Town v Nettleham - Central Midlands League Supreme Division

Saturday 1st May 2010.
Central Midlands League Supreme Division.
at Station Road, Collingham
Newark Town (0) 4
Simon Ellison, Liam O'Looney, Luke Parsons, Sam Wilford
Nettleham (0) 0

Admission £3 inc. programme.
Attendance 46
Today marked a personal milestone for yours truly.
I have now visited (and seen a game at) every single ground in Nottinghamshire down to the second division of the level 7, Central Midlands League.
Of course, that will change next season, because the Notts Senior League is now being granted level 7 status and the ground grading rules are seemingly being relaxed somewhat ... but until then at least, I have ticked them all off.
As of yet, I've only been to a small amount of NSL venues, though I've been to quite a few other Notts grounds even further down the pyramid scale. I need to stay in more!
But, I doubt if I'll be back to bore you with details of any further completed and fully ticked off lists any time soon.
This 'momentous' occasion was celebrated by way of a 'couple' of pints in the nearby Royal Oak public house (highly recommended), before moving on to Newark Town's clubhouse (also highly recommended) that they share with their landlords Collingham FC, to continue the ... err, pis ... party.
I'm reliably informed, that this ground is the most easterly in the county.
Don't ever say reading this blog isn't an education in itself sometimes.
I had originally planned to be at Newark Town's last home game later this week and to travel up to Edinburgh today instead.
Alas, Easter Road is undergoing a facelift (unfortunately this only extends to the stadium and excludes the hideous regular clientèle) and is currently a three sided ground, so tickets in the visiting fans section were hard to come by. The game was shown live on ESPN, but I don't subscribe to that particular channel, so I had to make do with regular text updates from somebody who was there.
With 15 minutes to go, Hibs were winning, with 15 seconds to go, Hearts were.
Not that there was ever any doubt that this was an inevitable nailed on away victory all along.
Sport hurts!
This was a well contested game at Station Road today, but never really overly physical.
Though you would never have guessed it from the amount of time some of the visiting players spent sprawled out on the deck ... or as one cheerful local suggested "They cover a lot of ground these Nettleham players".
I'm not suggesting for a single moment that they were a bunch of divers who would throw themselves into a bout of histrionics in response to the merest suggestion of any contact, but they certainly wanted to make sure the referee had spotted each and every alleged nudge and tap by a Newark Town player.
That said, their right back genuinely was caught by Newark's left back in the incident preceding the above picture, though the general consensus of opinion seemed to lean towards the late challenge being more of a case of misjudged timing rather than malicious intent.
Javin Pillay bends it like (Victoria) Beckham
At half time the game was still goalless, though both teams were playing open football and had created several chances ... with Newark, perhaps, looking the more convincing of the two sides.
Leigh Herrick, Nettleham's keeper, is a colourful character to say the least.
Having now seen him playing for Brigg Town, Lincoln MR and Nettleham several times, I have come to the conclusion that although he is a fairly competent performer in his chosen position, he he is possibly suffering from advanced Tourette's Syndrome.
His swearing and tantrums are non stop. He even took issue with a team mate as the teams were leaving the pitch at half time and got involved in some pushing and sulky silliness.
It's a real shame that he has to carry on that way, because he's not a bad goalkeeper.
After the break, Newark Town took control.
Curiously, Nettleham decided to take off Kevin Ryan, who I thought had been one of their better players this afternoon.
And Newark were soon taking advantage of the gaps that Ryan had been plugging up to that point and went two goals ahead in no time at all.
Simon Ellison netted the first and shortly afterwards Liam O'Looney (not a made up name) got on the end of a left wing corner to make it 2-0.
Luke Parsons was on hand to make it 3-0 and Leigh Herrick's vocals got even louder and he was voicing his displeasure at anyone and everyone within earshot by now ... ie. most of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire combined.
Unfortunately when you are that noisy and drawing so much attention to yourself, there is nowhere to hide out on the green expanse of a football pitch.
A Newark attack broke down on the edge of Herrick's box and the keeper charged out to intercept the danger ... at which time a pass to a team mate or a whack up the field would've been the safer options. But instead Herrick decided to take a few touches and play the ball out instead, at which point he stumbled slightly, gave the ball away and could only look on in despair as Sam Wilford sprinted away to tuck the ball into the now unguarded net.
I'm sure he didn't need telling who was at fault with that one, but while he was ranting and kicking lumps out of a goalpost somebody shouted out some helpful advice to him anyway, "Catch it in your big bloody gob next time!"
Ouch! No need!
Lesser men would've vanished into their shells after making such an arse of themselves in public, but Herrick is made of sterner stuff than that.
He ventured towards the half way line to take a free kick and being a studious exponent of the goalkeeping art had spotted his opposite number had wandered off his line leaving the whole goal to aim at.
So the Nettleham stopper launched a long range effort in an attempt to save some face.
The result of his audacious yet vainglorious endeavours can be seen below ... I hope the car parked 10 yards from the goal that the ball hit was undamaged.
Incidentally, I am in no way being overly critical of Leigh Herrick.
Football needs entertaining characters like him and he is usually a commanding and dominant performer in his box. I would definitely rate him as one of the better players I have seen in the NCEL or CMFL.
In fact I'd happily buy him a pint any time, but not today, given the kind of afternoon he was having he would probably have dropped it anyway.
Elsewhere on planet football ... Hearts won the Edinburgh 'Derby' after coming from behind (did I already mention that?), Grimsby Town beat Barnet to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the Football League next weekend, Boston United beat Bradford Park Avenue after extra time in the UniBond Premier play off final, Chesterfield drew with Bradford City and will now probably miss out on a League Two play off spot (bloody shame ... not!) and Edlington Town won 6-1 away at South Elmsall United Services to put themselves 2 points behind Swinton Station Athletic at the top of the Doncaster Senior League with 6 games in hand. Retford Town (didn't play today) are 12 points behind Swinton Station Athletic with 7 games in hand, but they still have to play the favourites Edlington Town, both home and away.
Oh ... and Nettleham's reserve team won 6-3 at Church Warsop Miners Welfare, so it wasn't completely a bad day all round for them in Notts.
Newark Town's next fixture is on Monday at North Street, the home of Alfreton Town FC, where they face Louth Town in the Quartet Catering League Challenge Cup Final, kick off is at 3pm if you fancy it.
Be careful where you park though, a lot of Retford United fans I know got parking tickets when they played a CMFL final there a few years ago.