Kelk glimmer of hope is real, not virtual!

Hucknall Town V Kings Lynn
Hucknall Town V Kings Lynn

It was billed as the match for fans to be there in spirit through the fundraising ‘virtual ticket’ scheme.

But it turned out to be the match when it was well worth being there in body too.

Only 108 braved a bitingly cold day. But they were treated to Hucknall Town’s best performance in many weeks, which offered a glimmer of hope in their fight to avoid relegation from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South.

Almost £3,000 was raised through the ‘virtual ticket’ idea. But the relief generated by Town’s first point since they won 4-2 at King’s Lynn Town on December 8 was incalculable.

“I don’t know who was more relieved -- me, the fans, the players or the committee,” said manager Darren Kelk, for whom the draw represented his first point and first goal since taking over in January.

The result also ended a dreadful run of eight defeats on the trot and hastily drew a veil over the humiliating 10-0 reverse at Northwich Victoria four days earlier.

“I have never been associated with a defeat like that in my career,” said Kelk.

“Northwich have a huge wage-bill. Some of their players were playing in the Conference last season.

“They are the best side I have seen at this level. And it was a great gesture by their chairman to leave £100 behind the bar for us after the game.

“After something like that, you either throw in the towel or regroup and push on.”

Regroup was what Kelk and his assistant, Bob Limb, decided to do. And they brought in more quality for the clash with fellow strugglers Lincoln.

New goalkeeper Michael Yates and defenders Corey Hardy, James Leggitt and Joe Storer bolstered the back four, while Chris Freestone (SEE BACK PAGE)and Dennis Simms formed a seasoned frontline.

Kelk was annoyed that his side conceded the lead to a set-piece in the 12th minute when Lincoln’s veteran defender Brendan McDaid headed home.

But he was delighted with the way they responded, and Simms equalised seven minutes into the second half when crashing home after young winger Anthony Rowley had darted past visiting player/manager Terry Flemming.

“After that, Lincoln were ready to pop and there for the taking,” said Kelk.

But for one-on-ones missed by Mitchell Slawson and substitute Nuha Jabbi, they might well have popped.

Now Kelk has targeted another home game tomorrow (Saturday), against Newcastle Town, as “very winnable”.