A thrilling match, laced with wonder goals, on the final day of Hucknall Town’s season was overshadowed by an horrific injury for captain Joe Atkinson.
David Leak’s stoppage-time equaliser earned Town a 3-3 draw at home to Pinxton to seal third place in the Central Midlands League, South Division.
But all thoughts afterwards were with Atkinson, who broke his leg in his last game for the club deep into the second half after the visitors had edged 3-2 up. He was caught late by one of the Pinxton players, and his cry of agony was a clear indication that he needed to be treated with the utmost seriousness.
Eight minutes passed before he was stretchered off to warm applause from the Watnall Road faihful. And as Town threw everything at the visitors in the closing stages, it was during the time added on that they snatched their dramatic leveller.
A corner from substitute Joe Ashurst found the leaping Leak, whose header hit the back of the net like a bullet, giving the Pinxton ‘keeper no chance.
The Yellows had also bagged the game’s opening goal back in the 15th minute when Sam Newton met Jamie Crawford’s corner and hit the target with a downward header that bounced up into the roof of the goal.
Pinxton striker Nathan Benger caused problems for Town in the reverse fixture and continued to bully the Yellows defenders here. He swiftly equalised for the visitors after some poor errors allowed the clinical finisher a shot on goal.
Despite the setback, the hosts were back in front before half-time when Ben Jones took the ball more than 40 yards down the right wing before squaring to Adam Nelson, who made no mistake, slotting into the bottom corner.
Pinxton were level at 2-2 early in the second half when 16-year-old substitute Brandon Castledine made an immediate impact by lobbing goalkeeper Michael Randall from an unthinkable distance and angle. The forward was alone and pushed out wide many yards from goal on a counter attack, but still decided to try his luck with an audacious effort that somehow found the top left corner.
Things then went from bad to worse for Town as the visitors snatched the lead when, after multiple attempts to clerar a corner, Benger netted his second goal of the game. Had the scoreline stayed that way, Pinxton would have finished level on points with the Yellows in the table.