Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hucknall Town 2-2 Stamford AFC

Town : Garnett (24), Large (34) 
Stamford : Brooks (41), Hamilton (42).

After Saturday's terrific game at Watnall Road, the visit of high-flying Stamford was one not to miss - even if it was only to gauge how far the team has progressed from the early troubled days at the beginning of the season and how they would fayre against one of the division's top teams. Chasetown were good, Stamford were better and if they had been a little more clinical in front of goal, they would probably have taken all three points back to Lincolnshire. 

Mind you, the Daniels were more or less gifted the two goals that they scored - but no point dwelling on that. The Hucknall Town team is coming together nicely now - another couple of additions and Brett will have a team that will more than hold it's own in the league.

The only changes from Saturdays starting eleven - Jason Fisher was back in goal, and Rob Austin replaced James Leggitt at left back. Not being unkind to Jason who we like to think of as a friend, but he looked very nervous throughout the 90 minutes, and will have to step up his game a little if he intends keeping his place between the sticks. 

Stamford attacked with pace and skill straight from minute one, and Louis Hamilton down the right was lightning quick - not quite as quick as his namesake, but he was rapid! Hucknall soon steadied the ship and began fighting back. Their first real chance came in the 12th minute.

Jack Green played the ball out right to Evan Garnett and the tricky winger crossed into the box to Alex Ford, but the striker shot just wide under pressure.

Julian Topliss saw his 23rd minute drive deflected for a corner, and Jamie Brown's kick eventually fell to EVAN GARNETT who absolutely lashed the ball into the top corner. The ball was hit from 15 yards out, but Matt Finlay never saw it until it had bulged the net. Wonderful hit, very skillful player.

10 minutes later the lead was doubled by AARON LARGE, nodding home after the keeper had kept out his first effort. Lee McAnulty had won the ball in midfield and sent it forward to Large who went in one-on-one with Finlay. The keeper was unlucky when his parry went up in the air straight to Large, who had the simple task of heading the ball over the line.

Two-nil up and in charge - and with half-time four minutes away, it looked good for the Yellows. Until - DANNY BROOKS was given too much space 25 yards from goal and hit an arrow straight shot into the bottom corner.  The effort was so well placed that Fisher didn't even move as the ball entered the net. Not a lot he could do, but he must have felt let down by his midfield and defence who failed to close the Daniels' no. 6 down.

Seconds later it was all square, and I'm afraid Fisher has to shoulder some of the blame for the equaliser after failing to hold onto a drive, giving LOUIS HAMILTON a simple tap in.  Again, you could point at the Town defenders for not reacting quickly enough after the ball was spilled, but the initial shot ought to have been held. H-T 2-2

The second half was a pulsating, thoroughly enjoyable romp - chances at both ends and plenty of skill on show from both sets of players. So good was the game that I forgot to take notes!

We spent the half in the company of Brian Franks - and he was full of praise for both teams. Stamford arguably had the better of the chances in the second period, but some poor finishing ensured the game ended 2-2.

Stamford will be happy that they have kept their unbeaten away record in tact, while Hucknall have to be so pleased at the progress made in the last couple of weeks or so. The addition of Jack Green and Evan Garnett, plus the outstanding Lee McAnulty have added a touch of class that wasn't previously always present.

Admission : season ticket
Programme £2
Attendance : 105