Hucknall Town’s hard-earned three points at Keyworth on Saturday came at a cost after it emerged Sam Hawkins is facing a lengthy time on the sidelines.
The Yellows returned to winning ways to keep them within touching distance of top spot in a 2-1 victory after a narrow defeat to rivals Eastwood CFC seven days previous.
Joe Ashurst had put Hucknall into a half time lead at Keyworth before the home side levelled. Kajally Danso popped up with what proved to be the winner.
Andy Graves, the Yellows manager, was pleased with the win but said it had come at a cost for Hawkins who is suspected to have damaged his cruciate ligaments.
Graves said: “It was a very slippy pitch. It looked fine when you first looked at it but when you played the game it turned very slippy and unfortunately Sam Hawkins has injured his cruciate ligament.
“That was after about 20 minutes so we’re pleased with the win of course but it was a costly win. We could have been more comfortable but we were wasteful. But I did say afterwards that that was a big three points.
“We’ve gone to a place like that where they’ve put 11 men behind the ball, they’ve tried to hit us on the break, but in the end that could be quite a crucial three points. I think last year we dropped two points and that sealed our fate.
“In that respect it was a good three points, although we made life hard for ourselves, which we always seem to do.”
Hawkins was taken straight to hospital and has a MRI scan to come before the extent of the injury is confirmed.
“It’s a costly win and an unfortunate one for Sam. He’s only just returned. But the club will look after him. We’ll get him a proper sports physio as opposed to occupational physio. We’re just waiting for the swelling to go down and see what the MRI scan says.
“The scan could be two weeks, it could be a couple of months before he has it. We don’t know at this stage. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed it’s as soon as possible so we can start his rehabilitation. But the club will look after him.”
Town sit second in the table, three points behind Sherwood Colliery, after a festive double header with Eastwood which saw each side win won of the two games.
“We couldn’t fault the performance against Eastwood,” said Graves. “I think over the two games we were clearly the better side and definitely deserved a draw at their ground but we got mugged right at the end with one corner too many.
“I think the first time they got behind us where we had to make a block tackle for a corner and they’ve scored from it. We went to sleep and the ball managed to find its way past four players on the line.
“We’re a bit gutted about that but all it did was cancel out those fixtures with Eastwood out. I said after Saturday, that this (Keyworth) was a bigger than what had happened last week for that reason.”
Hucknall are yet to play third-placed Pinxton while leaders Sherwood visit Watnall Road on 31st March - but Graves added there is still a long way to go in this race.
“Sherwood have beaten us but we’ve got them to play so we can cancel that result out. We’ve got two games with Pinxton to come so we don’t know how that’s going to go. It’s what you do elsewhere.
“The fact we’ve only played seven home games and Sherwood have played 11, they’ve only got three left for the remainder of the season, they’ve got to go on their travels. Looking at their form it’s as iffy as our form away.
“There’s a long way to go.
“A few weeks ago I watched Pinxton play Sherwood and they lost 4-0 and everyone’s saying they’re out of it but look how quickly things can change. Football changes very quickly and they’re up there again.
“You’ve got to be winning your games at the little places as well as the big places. More importantly at the little places, which is what I said last year, we drew too many games at the little places when we were in a position to win games.
“If we had done then we would have been up there. We give them the respect as we always do, no game is easy, Saturday against Holbrook isn’t going to be easy,” said Graves.
Meanwhile the club is waiting on a fixed rearranged date for their match at South Normanton, which was postponed on Wednesday due to a waterlogged pitch.