Eight minutes into the second half at Park Road last night, Hallam looked to have got their Toolstation NCEL Division One challenge up and running. They led home side Worsbrough Bridge 4-0 and were threatening to add to their tally. All that changed in the 53rd minute, however, as floodlight failure brought proceedings to a premature halt, and after a twenty minute delay, referee Jamie Cogill abandoned the game, triggering scenes of absolute relief in the home dressing room, write Ian Jones and Glenn Poulton, covering the game live for the Hallam FC Website.
In an amazing twist of fate, it had been almost a year to the day since Hallam were similarly denied a certain three points when floodlight failure brought their game at East Yorkshire Carnegie to an early end after 63 minutes, with the Countrymen again leading 4-0. The NCEL determined that the fixture should be replayed, and a 0-0 draw in a busy April impacted seriously on the Sandygate side’s promotion push.
It had been a terrific away display from the Countryman, who hit the front after just two minutes through Danny Booth’s header. Combative Briggers Manager Lee Morris saw red shortly afterwards, and on 25 minutes, the returning Micah Bishop doubled Hallam’s advantage with a fine strike from 25 yards .Bishop scored again -from close range- just before the break after a lovely move down the left involving Richard Tootle and Will Wraith to send the visitors in 3-0 at the break.
Shortly after the interval, Jordan Turner stretched the advangtage to 4-0, rounding the keeper to open his account for Hallam and put the three points in plain sight.
Then the floodlight failure intervened, and despite the lights eventually coming back on, the referee called a halt to the evening’s proceedings to frustrate the dominant visitors and reprieve a well-beaten Worsborough team, left to celebrate the abandonment.
Ian and Glenn caught up with Hallam Manager Stephen Whitehead -a fully qualified electrician who offered his assistance on the night- and although frustrated, Stephen preferred to concentrate on what had been a super show on the road.
Stephen, we'll leave the NCEL to deal with the circumstances surrounding the floodlight failure, the abandonment and the aftermath, but, coming exactly a year after a similar abandonment at East Yorkshire Carnegie you must be beyond frustrated at not securing a deserved three points at Worsbrough Bridge last night after being four up after an hour.
Nevertheless, you must have been absolutely delighted by the performance. What pleased you most about the display?
SW: It was really pleasing for me to see the lads working hard for each other and in doing that when we got the ball, I was delighted by the number of good decisions we made with it. The amount of options the player with the ball had was really good to see.
You told us last week that you were sure that the goals would come soon-and you were spot on! Good to see Jordan Turner open his account too, but it was Danny Booth who gave the boys a flying start.
SW: Yeah, a really well-worked corner- one that their team switched off to. (Pardon the pun!). Going back to my earlier point, our lads were switched on; Fewksey (Sam Fewkes) gets the ball off the skipper from the corner and puts a great ball in to the back post- and Boothy nodded home. I’m really glad for JT; he works hard but he wants to score and last night he did that. I thought Micah was unplayable at times on the night, and he deserved his two goals.
Next up it' s a trip to Retford on Saturday. What do you know about them and how will you approach the game.?
SW: They have got off to a great start and have some good lads. Adam Scott is a good player so we will have to keep him quiet on the day. The lads are showing a great togetherness and work ethic at the minute, so if we carry that on into this game, we will be a match for most teams in our League.
Stephen Whitehead was talking to the Hallam FC Website