Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hucknall Tn 1-2 Northwich Victoria

Evo-Stik Div 1 South - Saturday 1st September 2012  kick off 3:00pm

Before the HTFC fans start decrying their teams fate again, they need to know that this wasn't really a bad game - and after the first half tactics were ditched, the Yellows were good enough for a point - but football is a hard mistress. They were strange tactics in the first half, and left us scratching our heads, and some of the players looked a little bemused at times as well. Have to say though - me and Kev are just ordinary football fans - we don't profess to know the minutiae of the game - but sometimes things just look so wrong.....

We tried to work out why Corey Nightingale was given a man to man marking role on the Vics front men, first Conor Roberts, then Chris Luby when that meant  the back three of Nightingale, Hayes and Austin was, at times, all over the place - Corey being dragged out of position time and again by the opposition's strikers. We failed. 

Chris Baugh played in the centre of a midfield five alongside Warren Hatfield and Lee Mellon, with Rod Paling and Steve Carty right and left respectively. Slack and Good were at the sharp end.

Looked to be a good move putting Baugh in the midfield early doors, it was his superb through ball that picked out KARL SLACK in the 3rd minute, and the striker didn't have to break stride before firing over Gary Spotswood to give the Yellows an early advantage.

Vics looked a bit shell-shocked for a while, but when Joe Guest and Lee Dodgson got their act together down the left hand side, Paling was left exposed time and time again - something that all those around us could see, something the Hucknall players could see, but the Management team couldn't.  As Vics piled on the pressure, little was being created by Town, and debutant Mellon had to curb any offensive thoughts as he was required in front of the defence in an attempt to try stem the flow of attacks.

The equaliser came in the 11th minute - Guest the instigator down the left, firing the ball into the 6 area giving DODGSON a chance to play a neat one-two with a team-mate before slotting past Fisher from close range.

Fisher the pulled off a great save on 17, tipping over a fierce drive.  Roberts hit a free-kick wide of the goal after 25 minutes had been played, then when Nightingale was beaten to the ball by Luby, a mad goal-mouth scramble saw the final poke at goal hacked off the line.

Carty cleared a corner off the line at the far stick after the ball in from the left had flown straight across the Yellows' goal.  With five minutes of the half left, Hucknall were guilty of poor play outside the Vics' area, and when Hatfield failed to find Nightingale, Dodgson intercepted the ball and raced down the pitch.  The no. 11 made it into the area - and with Hayes afraid to challenge for fear of giving away a penalty, Dodgson picked out CHRIS LUBY at the far post and the striker flicked the ball neatly home. H-T 1-2

Andy Mutch and Alan Wright kept their players out for the half-time team talk - I don't know why, but it was great to see these former top players in action. Iw was a bit surreal listening to Mutch, who scored 96 goals for Wolves in 280 appearances, giving coaching tips to his keeper! If memory serves, Mutch and strike partner Steve Bull were not actually players who were over-fond of keepers!!!

Vics almost went further ahead with the second half barely three minutes old - Luby's header well blocked by Hayes as it headed goal-wards. The inevtiable changes for Town came on the hour - Julian Topliss and Jamie Brown on to replace Slack and Hatfield, the Yellows forgetting the man to man stuff, and returning to a 4-4-2 that effectively snuffed out the danger from Guest. He had far more defending to do now....

Dodgson had a decent long range effort that flew wide of Fishers' post, but Town were now exerting a little more pressure on the Northwich back line, and Brown had a good effort cleared off the line on 64. The visitors soon learned how to cope with the Hucknall changes though, and won a series of corners that caused a few problems to the home defence. The last five minutes belong to Hucknall - first Brown ran into the box and crossed. The ball clearly hit a defenders arm, but neither the Ref of his Assistant saw the offence.  They missed the trip that followed straight after, but Topliss didn't appeal - he smashed the ball at goal, only to see it crash off the upright and away to safety.

Ben Good fired just over as the game entered stoppage time,  and when Kyle Ludlow was picked out at the far post, the sub looked certain to score, but a magnificent point-blank save from Spotswood ensured all three points headed back to wherever it is Vics now call home. F-T 1-2

The next two games look to be winnable - both Lincoln United and Brigg Town have had poor starts to their respective campaigns.  No need for the Town faithful to panic yet. The season is still in it's infancy - and if the  second half of this game is anything to go by, the Yellows can climb the table and hopefully attract some of the Hucknall public through the gates. Attendance for a game against Northwich Victoria, 119? 

Admission : season ticket 
Programme : £2 ( thanks for the blog mention! )
Attendance : 119