He won’t be aware of it -- but Stuart Pearce inspired not only Nottingham Forest’s dramatic last-minute win over Derby County last Saturday. He also had a hand in the result of the season for BULWELL just hours later.
In a re-run of the Nottingham-Derby rivalry, The Bulls took on Mickleover Royals, the unbeaten leaders of the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
And with the sight of Forest’s televised victory, topped by Pearce’s celebrations, still fresh in their minds, they evoked the spirit of ‘Psycho’ to add to the woes of Rams followers.
After Bulwell’s 4-1 triumph, manager George Hulley couldn’t quite emulate the Reds’ boss’s wild antics on the pitch at the iPro Stadium. But he wasn’t far behind, doing a Nobby Stiles-dance across the Greenwich Avenue ground, while his assistant, Ian Lowe, made do with a conga, alongside his brother and coach, Darren ‘Wheater’ Lowe!
The Bulls’ band of supporters got involved too, giving the team their first standing ovation of what has been, by the club’s lofty standards, a traumatic season at times but one which seems firmly on track now, judging by this sensational result.
Mickleover had swept all before them this term, winning 13 of their 14 league matches. And although they had been out of action since the end of November because of a catalogue of postponements, they still arrived as odds-on favourites to lift the title.
They certainly didn’t look in any away rusty either, starting the contest like a house on fire, pressing forward at pace.
The start induced a late challenge by home defender Lewis Wheelhouse, for which he was lucky not to see red rather than yellow. And it also led to the opening goal in the 21st minute when Wheelhouse was caught ball-watching, inviting a square pass to Louis Menson, who drove across diving ‘keeper Matt Simpson and into the far corner.
Bulwell took only two minutes to equalise, though, as Conor Carter turned to drive a low shot from the edge of the area that had ‘keeper Daniel Spencer beaten all ends up. And they went on to teach Mickleover a lesson in neat possession football for the remainder of the first half, with the Chadwick brothers, Ashley and Daniel, running the show from the middle of midfield. Ashley was particularly impressive with his constant bursts forward that forced the visitors on to the back foot.
At the interval, the Mickleover management were noticeably unhappy with their players. But displaying spirit and determination, those players hit back to contribute to a second half that was a superb spectacle.
Indeed the Royals looked sure to go in front and take control, until the afternoon’s game-changing moment on the hour when man-of-the-match Ashley Chadwick was upended on the edge of the box. While the visitors sorted out their defensive wall, Bulwell’s top scorer, Jake Fisher, placed the ball and sent a low drive into the bottom corner.
From then on, Bulwell had the upper hand. Carter, Fisher and Chadwick squandered further chances and substitute Luke Attenborough had a goal disallowed for offside.
The icing on the Bulls’ cake finally arrived with two goals in the last four minutes. First Attenborough slotted into an empty net after linking up well with the irrepressible Chadwick, who then teed up Carter to smash home from 20 yards.
Cue joy and jubilation from the sidelines, including from general manager Terry Witts, who has missed many matches this season because of work and family commitments but who certainly chose the right day to catch up on the progress of his beloved club.
BULWELL LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Matt Simpson/ Lewis Wheelhouse, Adam Whitehead, Jay Knight, Tobias Richardson/ Liam Towle, Ashley Chadwick, Daniel Chadwick, Tommy Kemp/ Jake Fisher, Conor Carter.
SUBS: Richard Saunders (for Kemp 72), Marek Vipond (for Chadwick D. 72), Luke Attenborough (for Fisher 83), Leon Roberts (not used), Jorge De Pina (not used).
BULLS STARMAN: Ashley Chadwick.