Frustration for BULWELL. Satisfaction for HUCKNALL TOWN.
They were the overriding emotions after the big Boxing Day derby had ended in a 1-1 draw in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
The first-ever meeting between the two clubs reflected the rapid rise of Bulwell, league leaders, and the sad demise of Town, 2005 FA Trophy finalists.
And the formbook made the home team overwhelming favourites to win and cement their new status as the top club in the Dispatch district.
But local derbies rarely go to plan and few in the crowd of about 150 would disagree that a draw was the fairest outcome.
The Yellows accepted that Bulwell were by far the best team they have faced this season. But equally, the home team were full of praise for the way Town defended.
They also admitted that the visitors controlled the midfield in a cagey first half of few clearcut chances -- with the impressive Leon Aikman pulling most of the strings.
Only after the withdrawal of fellow midfielder Jeremy Moran with a foot injury and when Aikman’s lack of match fitness began to tell later on did Bulwell get a foothold.
The second half opened with Town rattling the bar when teenage striker Adam Gilliott turned his experienced marker for the first time and unleashed a thunderous 25-yarder that left ‘keeper Matt Simpson stranded.
However, they did go ahead, courtesy of a blunder by Simpson that gifted them a very similar goal to the one that had earned them a point in another derby against Linby Colliery Welfare only five days earlier.
Receiving a backpass, the ‘keeper scuffed his clearance and the ball came out off a post for a grateful Gilliott to roll home.
In response, Bulwell desperately tried to up the tempo and finally found a way past Town’s well-drilled defensive unit. It was no surprise that Belgian star Emmanuel Kashida-Kanyinda was the instigator. Not only did he win the kick, showing speed and quick feet that induced a foul by Cameron Davidson, he also converted it with aplomb.
The goal at last released Bulwell into full flight, and they created a host of late chances that could have snatched all three points.
Jay Knight and substitutes Ako Abdullah and Scott Litchfield all went close. But Town bravely stood firm and almost pinched a goal themselves at the other end when sub Macauley Spencer cut into the box for a shot that grazed the outside of a post.