Shirebrook Town FC 0 – 2 Hallam FC
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the Countrymen travelled across the Derbyshire border to face Shirebrook Town in this NCEL Division One fixture. Any thoughts of the game been postponed due to a water-logged pitch (as will no doubt be mentioned several times during this report, it was raining) were quickly dispelled upon arrival at the Langwith Road ground. The pitch was in fine condition, and the travelling Hallam supporters were hopeful that their team could extend their winning streak and cement their second place in the league.
The match started at a frantic pace with both sides determined to stamp their dominance on the game. However as the rain abated for a short while, it was Hallam who soon gained the upper hand. On 23 minutes, Kieren Watson tapped home from six yards into an empty net after a penetrating run from Iren Wilson, which saw him pass the ball across the face of the goal as the Shirebrook ‘keeper came out to meet him.
Hallam, playing in their yellow away strip, were now in the ascendency, pressing hard for a second goal. They did not have to wait long. On 31 minutes goal provider became goal scorer as Iren Wilson, always a joy to watch, slotted the ball past the Shirebrook ‘keeper for Hallam’s second of the afternoon.
As half-time arrived, the skies darkened, the floodlights were switched on, and the rain returned with a vengeance. The huddled masses shivering in the Shirebrook stands clung to their mugs of Bovril and discussed the possibility of the game being abandoned.
The start of the second 45 minutes saw Hallam begin brightly, almost grabbing a third goal straight from the kick-off. But as the rain continued to fall and the cold intensified, the game became a scrappy affair. A string of injuries to players led to a stop/start feel to the match, a fact that was only exacerbated when the referee gave one of the Shirebrook management team his marching orders from the dug out!
When the final whistle was blown, the 2-0 away win was enough to warm the hearts of the several dozen travelling Hallam fans who gave the Countrymen a rousing ovation as they left the pitch. The short drive back into South Yorkshire will have been brightened substantially by the news that Hallam remain second in the league. With the often decisive Christmas period fast approaching, it’s still all to play for at the top of NCEL Division One!