Red card backfires on impressive Hucknall Town

SKILL SCHOOL -- John Whetton, renowned as one of the country's best freestyle footballers, was named Town's man-of-the-match.
SKILL SCHOOL -- John Whetton, renowned as one of the country's best freestyle footballers, was named Town's man-of-the-match.
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What looked set to be a cosy victory turned into a disappointing draw against ten men for Hucknall Town in their latest Central Midlands League, South Division game last Saturday.

In normal circumstances, a 1-1 scoreline away to sixth-placed Southwell City would be viewed as a good return -- especially as the home side went into the game on the back of a formidable run of form.

However, vibrant Town outplayed their hosts for at least 45 minutes, so their post-match frustration was understandable.

The big game-changer was a red card in the 70th minute -- not for Town, but for Southwell.

The home side were unlucky to have a player sent off for a challenge on midfielder Leon Aikman on the halfway-line that might have looked over the top but, in fact, lacked any kind of malice and would have been better dealt with by way of a yellow card.

The decision seemed to galvanise Southwell, who stepped up their approach and played with a real sense of injustice for the final 20 minutes.

Town lost their momentum and dropped deeper and deeper, eventually surrendering their 1-0 lead in calamitous fashion eight minutes from time.

First, defenders Josh Henry and Montell Gatland got into a tangle when trying a routine clearance and then Henry went to ground rather than stay on his feet, sliding in to give away a clumsy free-kick on the edge of the box. The free-kick struck a post and was cleared for a corner, from which Southwell substitute Liam Webster headed home unchallenged.

The consolation for The Yellows was that they showed enough throughout the match to hold no fears when they entertain the same Southwell side this Saturday in the Second Round of the Notts FA Senior County Cup.

From the off, they forced the game and put the home side on the back foot with some neat passing at a good tempo.

Leon Aikman, man-of-the-match John Whetton, Tristan Spencer and Joe Lomax all wasted decent chances.

So it was a relief when the deadlock was finally broken as the ball was played into lone frontman Lomax, who turned and clipped a left-foot shot into the corner -- much to the delight of another large contingent of Town fans.

Southwell re-grouped and enjoyed more possession. But they largely relied on counter-attacks, which Town broke up comfortably.

TOWN are hoping their search for a new striker is over after snapping up the much-travelled Ashley Whitt.

Whitt, who was on the substitutes’ bench at Southwell, has been recruited from East Midlands Counties League outfit Arnold Town on a dual signature, which means he can play for either club.

The experienced Whitt has been with several Nottinghamshire non-league clubs in the past, including Linby Colliery Welfare for a brief spell in 2006.

IN the Central Midlands League’s Floodlit Cup, Town have been drawn at home to divisonal rivals Mickleover Royals on Wednesday 20th November.