No hard feelings from Hucknall over abandonment

Eastwood CFC v Hucknall Town FC (match abandoned after 25 minutes)
Eastwood CFC v Hucknall Town FC (match abandoned after 25 minutes)

Hucknall Town’s Central Midlands League clash at rivals Eastwood CFC on Saturday had to be abandoned after just 25 minutes when a linesman pulled up injured.

Hucknall were on top at the time so boss Andy Graves said he didn’t blame Eastwood for declining the chance to play on with a member of the Hucknall staff running the line.

“It was a weird one,” said Graves. “In that first 25minutes it would have to be someone totally biased to say we weren’t on top.

“From that point of view we’re disappointed the game got called off.

“The linesman pulled a muscle and, being the home, team they got the offer of supplying someone to run the line.

“They weren’t suitable so they asked us if could provide one. We could have done but he was one of our coaches.

“He does referee and run lines and did step in during a pre-season game when one of the linesmen pulled a muscle.”

Graves continued: “The referee called myself and their assistant manager in and said there were two options. He said we could go with this guy or, if either one of you objects, we abandon it.

“To be fair their assistant manager didn’t need any second chances and said he wasn’t happy with it, though he said he wasn’t saying our man was going to cheat or anything like that.”

Now the league and the clubs need to sort our how supporters will be compensated.

“It was a bit disappointing and many of our supporters are wanting to know what they do about getting their money back with the game not even having reached half-time,” said Graves.

“That’s going to be an interesting situation when we play again. I suppose Eastwood and the league will have to sort something out on that.

“Obviously their assistant manager took advantage of the situation that had presented itself as we were well on top.

“But, in the same circumstances I would have probably done the same and taken the chance to regroup. So I am not going to hold that against them. It’s just one of those things.

“This situation has never happened to me before. The ironic thing was that our reserves were playing their reserves and the referee didn’t turn up.

“Neither my reserve manager nor coach were able to ref the game so they allowed one of their guys to ref the game and he gave a soft penalty! These things happen and we move on.”

Hucknall are waiting to learn how long they may be without captain Joe Atkinson after his ankle injury forced him out of Saturday’s game before a ball was kicked.

“This Saturday we won’t have the skipper,” said Graves. “He broke down before kick-off against Eastwood so I had to make a late change.

“It was a bit of a blow and I have him an appointment with the physio. We will take advice on how long he will be out.

“He was carrying an ankle injury from the first game of the season and we had to bring him off against Kilburn.

“He’d had a week or more since and thought he’d be okay. But I think the artificial all-weather pitch found him out a bit in the warm-up. So we were not taking any risks.

“Other than that we should be strong, virtually full strength this weekend.”

On Saturday they host a visit by Matlock Town Reserves and Graves warned: “Matlock mugged us at home last season.

“People said we missed out last season because of the teams who finished above us, but it was actually due to our results against the likes of Matlock.

“They are a good young side. We should have taken our chances but didn’t and got punished by a penalty and a late goal. We must be on our guard to make sure that doesn’t happen this Saturday.

“I won’t be there as I am away, but I will be watching the game by my usual methods and giving the team talk still. I am in the sun at the moment but still conducting things.

“We have a reserve team game Wednesday night so we’ll have one or two of the first teamers play in that and then look to get three points from Matlock. They will have to be a very good side to take anything off us, but if we are not on our game we will get punished.”