GOAL drought? What goal drought?
That was the question Hucknall Town were asking themselves after an eyecatching victory away to last season’s Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South runners-up Newcastle Town.
After scoring just once in their opening four matches of the season, Hucknall faced the trip to Staffordshire with trepidation.
And they appeared to be justified when they fell 2-0 down inside the opening 37 minutes.
But then the match — and very possibly The Yellows’ season — was turned on its head as they plundered FOUR goals in 23 remarkable minutes, having managed just that aforementioned one in the previous 402!
The revival began just three minutes before the end of the first half when striker Grant Ryan went on a run down the left and delivered a cross that the Newcastle defence failed to clear. The ball fell to Callum Lloyd, who made up for his red card at Coalville Town last midweek by firing home from six yards.
The goal was just the confidence-booster The Yellows needed and five minutes after the restart, they were level. Home ‘keeper David Dyson was adjudged to have brought down debutant striker Phil Massingham (in for Nick Ghislanzoni) for a controversial penalty that Ryan stepped up to convert.
Two minutes later, things got even better for Hucknall as they went ahead for the first time when Aidan Brady was put clean through on goal to round Dyson and slot home.
And in the 65th minute, it was 4-2 as some quality passing fashioned the best move of the game as man-of-the-match Aidan Brady produced a telling cross for Nathan Watson to sweep home at the far post.
With the points seemingly won, Yellows boss Tommy Brookbanks withdrew both of his frontmen, Massingham and Ryan.
But shellshocked Newcastle hit back with a vengeance and were twice denied penalties when Leon Ashman appeared to be brought down and Hucknall captain Wayne Diuk appeared to handle.
The home fans were further enraged when defender Dave Whittaker was sent off late on when shown his second yellow card for diving in the box.
And Newcastle’s frustration was complete when goalkeeper James Lindley pulled off a stunning save in the dying minutes.
It had all been so different in the opening half-hour when Hucknall looked out of sorts and struggled to create anything of note.
With Joe Pheasant replacing Romaine Graham at the heart of the defence, they did manage to keep quiet the home side’s prolific top scorer Anthony Malbon.
But they still fell behind in the 13th minute when needlessly giving the ball away and presenting Dave Macpherson with a volley past Lindley.
And the deficit was doubled on 37 when Ashman tucked the ball home after Lindley had made a decent save.