Friday, 25 November 2011

To Bilsthorpe bearing gifts

Saturday 19th November
CML North Division
FC 05 Bilsthorpe 4 Easington United 2

I had the idea to submit the following headline to the Holderness Gazette to describe Danny Blount's first game as skipper of the First Team - Blounty's big day goes as pear shaped as Charlie's tool.  That probably tells you all you need to know about our latest disappointing trip to Eakring Road...
For the first time in a long while, events at Easington United were not dominating my sporting agenda in the days leading up to the trip to Bilsthorpe.
This was partly because Hull KR had unveiled their 2012 playing strip; partly because England were playing two friendlies in which Capello was actually trying out new ideas; and mainly because the managerial situation at the Tigers was finally reaching a conclusion.  After Nigel Pearson’s protracted return to Leicester was finally confirmed, City unveiled Nick Barmby as their new caretaker boss.  It had originally been anticipated that former boss Warren (“The Great Escape”) Joyce was to be Pearson’s replacement with “Sir Nick” as assistant.  However, for whatever reason, Joyce decided against the move leaving The Tigers to unveil their first Hull-born boss. Here’s to the success of the “Barmby Army”…

Even Sir Nick's at a loss as to who comes in for Frosty

Monday brought with it our latest Development Group meeting (and a nice pint of Wentworth Imperial) wherein we had our biggest attendance since formation!  It’s night like this that have me thinking positively about the club again, although I’m sure there’s something just up around the corner that’ll knock that out of me before too long.
The following night saw a major shock in the East Riding Senior Cup when North Ferriby United – winners for the past five seasons – were beaten by Humber Premier League strugglers Hessle Rangers.  The same night another HPL side, St Andrews, dumped beaten 2010/11 finalists Hall Road Rangers out too.  Well I never.
The draw for the quarter-final of the Senior Cup and its Senior Country equivalent are to be made live on Radio Humberside’s Sports Talk programme on Wednesday 30th November.  I know this because the following day I was invited along to the event as representative of one of the clubs in the hat for the Country Cup.  I’m already rehearsing my, “Anyone at home” cliché!
Thursday brought the latest monthly meeting of the ER County League, at which Minutes Secretary (and Bridlington Town Chairman, Pete Smurthwaite) was in buoyant mood.  I wonder why??!!
By Friday I was back fully focussed on the trip to Bilsthorpe.  And suffice to say, we were back to the fairly familiar tale of counting bodies ahead of an away trip.  With Fitzy unavailable for the forseeable, Farny working, Gav not wishing to be considered for selection and Frosty “not right”, Mack and Nicho were already four down as well as left with some positional conundrums.  Potential replacements AJ and Stumo soon extended the list of absentees to six before the returning Brettles and former skipper Nige manfully volunteered for the trip despite neither being in the peak of full fitness. 
Despite the slightly depleted complement, everyone was in good heart when we finally pulled out of Hull at just after 11am.  Nicho took up a place in the front for the first time and was given a new insight into the workings of the Pistol’s mind.  Not sure he’ll ride shotgun again.

I'm a Celebrity lookalike, get me out of here...

An amusing game of ‘footballers lookalikes’ was conducted in the back.  Apparently I’m Antonio Doncel.  Hmm, reminds me of the song to the tune of Y Viva Espagna – “He came to City on a plane / An-ton-i-o Doncel / He was shit so we sent him back again / An-ton-i-o Doncel”.  He's a good looking lad though...isn't he?
Nicho was equally unimpressed with his apparent Stuart Ripley likeness - although even that was infinitely better than when the rules were extended to include lookalikes generally and he was suddenly tagged Corrie actor Anthony Cotton!
Meanwhile, highlight of the lot was The Pistol – or Frank Worthington as he’s now known!

Separated at birth

Having passed (and being passed by) several members of the “Barmby Army” en route to Pride Park, we pulled into Eakring Road at just before one o’clock.
The kit – which this week comprised first team shirts with reserves’ shorts & socks to avoid a clash – duly laid out, I invested in a cuppa and bite to eat just in time to see CML Chairman Frank Harwood coming across the car park.
It’s the first chance I’ve had to have a good chat with Frank since he attended our Presentation Evening at the end of our first season in the league and as on that night he was in good form.
Sadly we weren’t on top form when the game kicked off.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  In both previous trips to Eakring Road we’d struggled, losing the first by the odd goal and being denied by an injury time equaliser last year.  In addition, our opening day win over FC 05 at Low Farm had been our first against them in five meetings.
Even so we started relatively well and Nicho passed up a good early chance.  JC then saw one cleared off the line and I was feeling better about things.  Then they scored.  And what a fluke.  Jordan’s attempted pass cannoning back into the net off Michael Knight from fully 35-40 yards out.  Bizarre.
As good as it got

Just before half-time we levelled thanks to a Mozzer header from Nicho’s corner and I was quietly confident we’d go on to make it back-to-back wins.  Frank departed during the interval in order to collate the night’s results – putting a serious dent in the attendance figure in the process.  In total I counted twelve people who could loosely be classed as spectators and four of them were supporting the visitors.  The lack of programme was disappointing but the hospitality of new FC 05 boss Wayne Savage and his backroom staff wasn’t.
Sadly, it was our hospitality on show at the start of the second period.  First Charlie came for a free-kick he was never going to get then Blounty – skippering the side for the first time – showed that he’d learnt well from predecessor AG by heading powerfully into the top corner…of his own net!  Afterwards it was decided Charlie should have called...which went down well as you'd imagine!
And we were dead and buried.  Until that is Jamie H superbly volleyed Bezza’s cross back across keeper Darren Milnes and inside the far post.  Game on.
We did everything but score in the remaining twenty minutes.  Milnes was excellent, his defenders were brave – and lucky, no more so than when the ref and assistant missed a blatant handball just five minutes from time.  The assistant’s mitigation of, “It’s dark” had to be heard to be believed – the aforementioned FC 05 gaffer saw it and he was thirty yards further down the touchline!
In the final minute AG clipped Sam Clary who duly got up and converted the spot-kick.  4-2 and our 'Bilsthorpe Blues' go on.
Thankfully, the restorative effects of The Riding School Express soon worked their magic, along with a couple of crates of booze, making it an enjoyable trip home.  Meanwhile, some happy Hull City fans returning from a winning start to the Barmby reign were delighted (ahem) to be the latest people to see Mozzer’s naked arris at Donny North Services.  I do hope they recover.
A neatly timed stop-off at The Crooked Billet in Ryehill (don’t tell the missus) enabled a few of us to chew the fat over a lovely pint of Oxfordshire’s finest, Brakspear Beer, and by the time I rolled in it hardly seemed we’d lost at all.  Roll on next week... 

No comments: