Friday, 17 May 2013

Nottingham United 0 v Sutton Town AFC 2 - CMFL South

Friday 17th May 2013
At Bilsthorpe Sports Ground, Eakring Road, Bilsthorpe
Central Midlands League (South)
Nottingham United (0) 0
Sutton Town AFC (1) 2
Craig Mitchell 16,
Craig Charlesworth 82
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance 99
Sutton Town AFC games are like buses. I don't see one for ages and then two turn up together, straight after one another.
Tonight saw Nottingham United bid farewell to the CMFL South, they'll be plying their trade in the Notts Senior League next season, with Bulwell moving in the opposite direction between the two leagues.
This was a feisty game, with tackles flying in all over the place and some fairly unsporting stuff going on, both on and off the ball at regular intervals.
Neither team seemed particular intimidated by the other and they both seemed more than willing to meet fire with fire.
It wasn't pretty to watch and any football purists present (I know! Football purists at a CMFL game in Bilsthorpe on a Friday night, but allow me to waffle on and indulge myself, if you please) would've been watching on squeamishly through their fingers.
But in a perverse kind of way, I really enjoyed the game.
There is a time and place, for geometrically correct, awe inspiring, tippy tappy, easy on the eye, intricate football.
But sometimes, it's quite therapeutic, to watch a game where two teams are knocking the crap out of each other instead and going all out to 'win ugly', while some of the central characters are losing their cool and making embarrassing spectacles of themselves.
I feel compelled to say at this juncture, I'm not being critical of any individual in particular, or singling anybody out for attention, because I'm sure that we've all let our emotions get the better of us and made ourselves look like complete tools at times over what is, in essence, just a game ... I know I've done it quite regularly, though the anger management counselling has helped me no end.
As long as you remember that you can't *always* blame the match officials for everything. Getting it off your chest is therapeutically healthy.
I'm a big believer in the fact, that if you don't go through the whole gambit of emotions and put far too much importance on the outcome of the games your team are playing in, even when, in reality, there is very little at stake, then you really aren't suitable to be involved in the first place.
One must uphold a modicum of decorum for the majority of the time, when things aren't going your way and all that pre-planning and practice goes up in smoke.
But occasionally, well, you need to rant and rave to let off a bit of steam, or you'd go nuts. Seriously!
Of course the powers that be can't provide rules to accommodate this theory. But that doesn't mean they don't know I'm right, or that they don't agree with me 100%, or that I haven't struck a chord with both of the regular readers of this blog, that I haven't scared away yet.
Does it!?
Anyway, my blueprint for saving the game of Association Football, if not planet earth and the entire known universe while I'm on with it, will just have to wait a little while longer.
Because I'm sure you want to know how Sutton Town AFC went on tonight and if they're still on course to win the CMFL South title.
So without further ado ...
Craig Mitchell put the visitors ahead on 16 minutes, but United were hell bent on leaving the CMFL with a bang and not a whimper and they dug in and battled, quite literally at times, to ensure that this game didn't become the one sided rout that most people had predicted.
There were no further goals before half time, but plenty of heavy clattering sounds, swear words, over the top squealing and appealing and a good few genuine cries of pain.
It was like sweet music to my ears.
HT - Nottingham United 0 v Sutton Town 1
I'm not saying the first half was rough, but even the referee went of injured at half time.
Note* that is neither a lie not a space filling fabricated 'one liner', it is the truth, the whole truth and 'nowt but the truth.
Fortunately, there was another match referee in attendance and he took over on the touchline after the break, while one of the 'liners' took over in the middle.
I hasten to add, he had aggravated an existing injury and hadn't actually been fouled by either team.
The game carried on in pretty much the same vein, but Sutton put things beyond United's reach with eight minutes to go, when Craig Charleworth headed home a right wing corner.
The game was over as a contest, but further 'fun and games' were just about to start.
The replacement linesman, signalled that he wanted a word with the replacement referee and pointed out an incident he had spotted off the ball. On the strength of what he was told, the ref showed United's centre half, Dennis Hickey, a red card and ordered him from the field of play.
The Nottingham United players were incensed, as were their staff on the touchline.
Hickey went to the bench.
And as the game recommenced he stayed there.
When the ref spotted that the red carded player hadn't actually gone outside the perimeter fencing, he insisted that  Hickey moved, as per what is supposed to happen when a player is sent off, in accordance with the rules of the game.
The official was unmoved by the United managements complaints, that Hickey wasn't interfering with anything ... and nor should he have been, because rules are rules.
But then the home team secretary, Martin Minkov, who was also on the bench, launched into a four letter word rant about the referee being a cheat.
Another consultation between the ref and the linesman took place and Minkov was also sent from the bench.
It was a messy end to the game, which possibly should've kicked off 30 minutes sooner as the night drew in and darkness started to fall.
Nottingham United didn't as much as say goodbye to CMFL, but slammed the door on the way out instead.