HUCKNALL Town have had so many managers under Brian Holmes that it is inevitable they will bump into one or two on the rebound along the way.
But only an extraordinary coincidence of fate could have pitted them against previous boss Tommy Brookbanks in the first home match of Town’s new Steve Greaves/Michael Johnson/Des Lyttle regime.
So after Brookbanks’s acrimonious departure only two weeks earlier, it was painful viewing to see him lead Stamford to victory over The Yellows at Watnall Road on Wednesday night (October 26).
Even more so because one of the players he took with him, the immensely promising Nathan Watson, scored the first goal for the Lincolnshire team.
Considering the game generated so much interest, it was equally disappointing for Lyttle and Co that the gate was as low as 171.
Those who did turn up got their first sight of a couple of Town’s new recruits — Corey Gregory and Anthony Gregory, who slotted into midfield. Two youngsters, signed on loan from York City, Tom Allan and Tom Platt, were on the substitutes’ bench, alongside new player/coach Craig Armstrong.
Persisting with the 4-4-2 formation Lyttle adopted in the FA Trophy tie at Leek Town, The Yellows dominated the opening half and could easily have turned round in front.
Callum Lloyd should have hit the target from a cross from Grant Ryan, while striker Phil Massingham had claims for a penalty when he seemed to be pulled down by another ex-Yellow, young defender Joe Pheasant.
Massingham squandered a golden opening when heading over a terrific, swinging free-kick by Anthony Gregory, who added much-needed steel to Town’s engine-room. And as the home side continued to dictate play, more chances fell to Gregory and Ryan.
With Watson being successfully shackled by Matt Baxter, who was switched to left-back, things looked promising for a first victory for Lyttle.
But the game was tipped on its head in the opening five minutes of the second half when Stamford stunned Town with a couple of oh-so-soft goals.
First, when a hopeful-looking cross was not properly dealt with, Watson struck a shot through a crowd of players that somehow squirmed under ‘keeper James Lindley and nestled in the bottom corner.
And then Town allowed Stamford right-back Matthew Cook time to deliver a cross that travelled all the way to the far post where it hit defender Kieran Walker’s legs, wrongfooted Lindley and went in.
It was a crazy turnaround that seemed to knock all the stuffing out of Lyttle’s troops. Ryan shaved the outside of a post from 25 yards and Massingham was denied late on by a superb one-handed save from ‘keeper Mario Ziccardi after skilfully turning in the box for a left-foot shot.
But Stamford engineered more openings too. Watson nearly added to his tally and Gary King was foiled by the feet of Lindley.
The final whistle meant all smiles for Brookbanks and his side, who are now joint top of the table.
For Town, they face the prospect of a match against another of their former managers, John Ramshaw, when they travel to Shepshed Dynamo.