Sunday, 7 August 2011

Handsworth 1 v Hallam 0 - NCEL Division 1

Sunday 7th August 2011, at Oliver's Mount
NCEL Division One
Handsworth (0) 1 (Sam Smith 48)
Hallam (0) 0
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance 297
At the opposite end of the Handsworth ground from the 'infamous' Railway End, on the adjacent field, there is a derelict old stand crumbling away, overlooking a pitch that still obviously gets some use.
Both grounds, new and old, can be seen from the Sheffield Parkway A630 stretch of road, looking left as you head out of the city towards Junction 33 of the M1, just after the B6200 (big Asda) exit roundabout (Handsworth Road) immediately after you cross the bridge over the Sheffield to Lincoln railway line that serves Retford and Worksop.
Keep notes, there's a quiz at the end.
Quite a few pitches are going to look a lot worse than they usually would do at this time of year, due to the battering they got during the winter of 2010/11. Handsworth's playing service appeared to be hard and dry ... and not ever so green.
The rain that looked to be on it's way at the end of 90 minutes will do the pitch a world of good.
Today's gate was swollen by a few dozen Hallam supporters - a whole load of ground ticking travelling types, eager to visit Oliver's Mount- football supporters from other local sides who were glad to have an extra game to watch on a Sunday afternoon - the Handsworth hardcore and a couple of secret HJSCFC fans ;-)
I fit into one of those categories (at least)
Some people, quite innocently, entered via the walkway that players use to enter the field of play via a flight of steps, so maybe the crowd total the club announced might be a bit inaccurate.
However, those who came in the wrong way and missed the opportunity of buying a raffle ticket, don't need to feel left out, because I unselfishly won first prize for you by proxy and it's currently cooling to the perfect temperature in my wine chiller.
Five English Pounds, for a football match, a programme and a bottle of plonk ... a good investment me thinks.
Much to the consternation of a chap nearby who didn't have his stopwatch set yet, the referee started the game a few minutes early.
It quite possibly wasn't the only mistake he made this afternoon ... though his assistants were getting far more right than several perimeter hogging and rather vocal 'experts' were giving them credit for.
I don't have the mindset to be a linesman, I would have had to clobber at least two of his detractors today if I was in his shoes.
"Oh, it's good to touch, the brown, brown grass of home"

I was a bit disappointed that Steve Wankiewicz, the former Worksop Town Under 19's captain who progressed through to the Tigers first team, wasn't playing for his current club Hallam today.
I had a brief chat with him before the game and it transpired that he was banned for three matches.
Anybody who's seen 'Cat' play might not be too surprised to hear that, ahem!
After 10 minutes Handsworth broke from wide left and ... err, hello linesman!

There was quite a stiff breeze blowing diagonally across the 'difficult' pitch, which wasn't entirely helping either side get to grips with the ball very well.
But the home side settled first and on 15 minutes Brian Cushworth, the former Sheffield FC front man, had his close range shot well tipped over by the Hallam keeper Adam Valente, who then held onto Cushworth's header from the resultant corner.
At the other end Matty Thompson nearly put the visitors in front, but he somehow contrived to hit the ball over the goal from underneath the crossbar.
Look ref, some people are sneaking in for nowt over there!

Just after the restart, while that very nice lady who sells raffle tickets was handing out the prizes, Handsworth went ahead, via a cross cum shot from Sam Smith, a player of such renown in the county of Yorkshire, that they've named a Brewery after him in Tadcaster.
This lot were happy about it ...
They're treating me to a trawl around the pubs of Handsworth the next time I go to a Saturday game at Oliver's Mount.
There are nine of them.
Pubs that is, not Handsworth supporters!
The back-heel, past 8 Handsworth defenders and their keeper,
was perhaps just a little bit over ambitious

Hallam did push forward looking for an equaliser, but they were mainly restricted to lumping crosses in towards a well manned Handsworth defence, who had adopted a safety in numbers policy, to close down any threat the visitors had to offer ... and to be honest, the visitors didn't offer very much in the way of attacking ideas at all.
They were obviously missing W@nkiewicz's threat at set pieces then, hey Steve!?
Though for their effort alone, once they had gone behind, Hallam possibly deserved something from out of this game, but Handsworth were stubbornly hanging on to their lead.
To be honest, I've seen more entertaining games than this, but it was still an absorbing and intriguing game anyway ... and there's always a few laughs to be had when the Captain Birds Eye impersonator from Scotter I watched the game with is around and the Railway End lads are in attendance.
My next visit to Oliver's Mount will be later in the week, when I'm treating the younger members of my family to a trip to the Smurfs movie at the nearby cinema a few minutes up the road, then looking for something to do locally for a couple of hours.
I love it when a plan comes together :-)