With Kev away for couple of days, I thought this would be a simple no pics, no notes game. Not to be! 9 goals, a splendid boxing match on the half hour, and three sendings off. Not to mention the myriad insect bites....the little bleeders!
Unusually for an NSL game, there was a matchday programme. Quite a good one as well. The £1 was well worth it for the "In Off the post" gags...
Bulwell lined up with most of last season's double winning team: Wheat, Murdock, Walker, Knight, Soar, Keetley, Vapond, Niblett, Jeffries, Litchfield, King. Bilborough were mainly unknown - they were given promotion last season after the NSL couldn't fill their Senior Divison through usual channels. I have to thank Danny Staley for most of the Bulwell names - I know some people think I'm memory man, but not always, eh?
ALLAN JEFFRIES was on hand to nod home at the near post, just 90 seconds into the game. Keeper Alex Smith had no chance. Hopper friend Deadly Derek turned up seconds later - he was expecting a 7:30pm ko, because some magazine had advertised it as such. He only missed the first goal though.
SCOTT LITCHFIELD grabbed the home teams second on 12, hammering past Smith after Referee Phil Towers played a cracking advantage. Bilborough no. 10, CRAIG McMORRAN, was played through into space in the 22nd minute, and he had no problem one-on-one with Bulwell keeper James Wheat.
Then things took an ugly turn. A needless kick out by Town skipper Daniel Lewis, enraged the entire Bulwell side, and Jeffries in particular who raced in and cracked Lewis on the chin. A 22-man brawl ensued - more punches were thrown and more angry words exchanged, before Mr. Towers calmed things down and had a chat to his assistants. Ended with both Jeffries and Lewis being shown red for their part in the melee, but Bulwell's Jay Knight was also dismissed - have to admit, I missed his offence. So much for the "handshake" pre-kick off!!
Back to the football some 7-8 minutes later, and while Bulwell were trying to reorganise, RYAN McKEAG flicked the ball across Wheat into the far corner of the net to bring the scores level. H-T 2-2
A bit of handbags at half time as the dismissed players met up outside the changing rooms, but by this time I was having a serious fight of my own -- a real nasty bite on the arm, and some serious head itching --- although Derek was in no discomfort at all... not one of the little sods bothered him!!!!
Bulwell were back in front through JOSH NIBLETT with just two minutes of the second half played, the midfielder beating Smith to the ball and sending it creeping into the far corner of the net. Niblett was then fouled as he played LITCHFIELD in on 49, but the Ref played another great advantage and the no. 10 calmly netted his second of the game.
Bilborough were back in it in the 54th minute, a back pass failed to reach Wheat allowing the visiting no.9 shirt, JAY RICHARDS, to stop the ball and then sit the keeper on his backside before tapping home.
LITCHFIELD completed his hat-trick on the hour, a cracking shot from the corner of the box that Smith never saw until it was past him. Seconds later, KING ran with the ball from the half way line, and managed to fire home, despite being tripped as he shot. F-T 6-3
Admission - by programme £1
H/C -- I counted 58 at kick off, but there were far more as the game progressed...