Match abandoned as ex-soldier injures leg hurt in Afghanistan warzone

RECOVERING -- Town striker Aaron Evans, whose serious injury forced last Saturday's match to be abandoned.
RECOVERING -- Town striker Aaron Evans, whose serious injury forced last Saturday's match to be abandoned.

A football match involving Hucknall Town was abandoned after a player injured the same leg he had blown up while serving as a soldier in Afghanistan.

Town striker Aaron Evans (27) thought nothing could be worse than the day he stepped on a land mine during his days in the Army.

But after a foul on him in the 43rd minute of last Saturday’s Central Midlands League (CML) game at Blidworth, he lay prone for 45 minutes before an ambulance arrived. And it was 10.30 pm before he hobbled out of King’s Mill Hospital at Sutton on crutches.

In Afghanistan, luck was on Aaron’s side because although the mine’s detonator went off, causing impact damage, the explosive failed. And he felt relief too this time because doctors found that he had sustained ligament and soft-tissue damage, rather than a broken leg.

“He’s a tough lad and, hopefully, he’ll be back before the end of the season fit and well, which is what really matters,” said Town manager Andy Graves this week.

At one stage, though, a serious injury was suspected, especially when Blidworth failed to find a stretcher and Aaron had to be carted off the pitch on an advertising board.

“He was shaking and in a lot of pain,” said Graves. “Gas and oxygen had to be administered when the ambulance arrived.”

Town were 1-0 down at the time after a peach of a strike in the third minute by Blidworth’s new striker James Beddingham. But they were pressing hard for an equaliser and dismissed as “silly” some comments that they wanted the game called off because they were trailing.

“We would have accepted the referee’s decision if it had been the other way round,” said Graves. “He abandoned it after consulting with both managers and gauging the feeling of our dressing-room.

“I felt he made the right decision because, at the time, no-one knew the full extent of Aaron’s injury. The longer he was left getting cold and in pain, the less likely the match was going to re-start.”

Town were back in action on Wednesday night when they reached the quarter-finals of the CML’s league cup with a tremendous 1-0 win at home to Pinxton, who sit second in the South Division table after an eight-match unbeaten run.

A pulsating encounter was settled in the second half when pacy, young substitute Montell Gatland calmly finished an excellent four-man passing move.

Other chances were few and far between, although Adam Nelson twice squandered one-on-ones and James Beddingham made a fine one-handed save at the other end. But Yellows boss Andy Graves was delighted with the energy and tempo that his side maintained.

TOWN LINE-UP (4-5-1) -- Beddingham/ Henry, Leak, Atkinson, Pitt/ Rigg, Davidson, Brown (man-of-match), Aikman, Maxwell/ Nelson. SUBS USED: Gatland, Dunlop.