Hallam FC 4 – 0 FC Humber United
The drama at Sandygate began a little more than an hour before kick off time, when a late pitch inspection by the match referee had both sets of players watching pensively from the side-lines to see if the match would go ahead. Following several days of snow and rain, it was a brave man who would have bet on the outcome of the pitch inspection. Happily, as the first supporters began to make their way into the Oldest Football Ground in the World, the referee decided that the game could go ahead, and so both sets of players scurried towards the changing rooms to prepare for this NCEL Division One encounter.
With the weather being decidedly wet and chilly, and with FA Cup third round matches being shown on TV, one could have expected a more modest turn out from the Hallam faithful. However the Hallam faithful did not disappoint. Who needs the warmth and comfort of football on TV when Hallam are top of the league? An impressive 787 fans turned out for the game, and there were high hopes for a comfortable Hallam win against a Humber United team that are struggling towards the foot of the table.
With the floodlights on and the rain thankfully holding off, the referee blew his whistle and the contest was underway. There were early chances for that dynamic duo of Iren Wilson and Kieren Watson, with Watson putting the ball in the back of the net only for it to be ruled offside. But despite these early chances, Humber were proving to be a tough nut to crack. The Humber resilience was finally broken in the 28th minute when Iren Wilson’s shot was parried away by the ‘keeper into the path of James Gregory who made no mistake slotting the ball deftly away for Hallam’s first of the afternoon.
James Gregory completed his brace just eight minutes later when he was on hand again to slot the ball away following a goalmouth scramble of quite epic proportions.
On the 41st minute, a long ball from midfield to Kieren Watson saw the goal-scoring machine bear down on the Humber goal and drill the ball into the back of the net. No offside flag this time, and as halftime arrived it was Hallam who were three goals to the good.
The second half saw Hallam kicking up the famous Sandygate slope towards the enthusiastic and vocal Hallam fans in the Shed End. One could have been forgiven for expecting Hallam to now run away with the game. Anyone who has seen Hallam play at Sandygate will know that they often prefer kicking up the slope towards the Shed End, but once again Humber displayed commendable resilience. A combination of the woodwork, fine goalkeeping, and desperate goal-line clearances denied Hallam that elusive fourth goal. Until, that is, the 75th minute when Iren Wilson became goal provider, crossing the ball across the Humber box and into the path of Richard Patterson, who made no mistake in hitting the ball into the back of the net.
The final score of 4-0 saw Hallam remain at the summit of NCEL Division One, and with closest rivals North Ferriby suffering a shock defeat, the gap at the top opened up to four points!
Hallam FC Media
Photographs courtesy of Louise Cousins and Ian Manewell. Mank thanks!