Town taste home comfort with long-awaited Watnall Road win

MATCHWINNER -- classy midfielder Jared Holmes (right), whose late goal won the points against Rainworth -- DISPIC NHUD 11-1759-13.
MATCHWINNER -- classy midfielder Jared Holmes (right), whose late goal won the points against Rainworth -- DISPIC NHUD 11-1759-13.

IT wasn’t pretty on the eye. And it ended in ugly scenes with two players shown red cards for violent conduct.

But all that mattered in the Bank Holiday Monday local derby against Rainworth Miners Welfare was that Hucknall Town managed a home win.

Their first win at Watnall Road in the Evo-Stik League since way back last November.

And they did it — courtesy of solitary goal 13 minutes from time by midfielder Jared Holmes that lifted Town to the heady heights of seventh in the Division One South table.

Holmes picked the ball up 25 yards out and his low strike nestled in the bottom corner, via the despairing hand of goalkeeper Gavin Saxby.

It was nothing more than The Yellows deserved after a second period in which they applied most of the pressure.

Indeed they should have added a second goal when substitute Nick Ghislanzoni headed over from ten yards after good work by fellow subs Matt Baxter and Kieren Watson.

Ghislanzoni was in bad books again in injury-time when he was one of the two players dismissed — the other being Rainworth full-back Cameron Fearon.

But nothing could spoil the relief felt by Town after ten months of dreadful home form that contributed largely, of course, to last season’s surprise relegation.

Rainworth had also enjoyed a poor 2010/11 campaign but arrived at Watnall Road after a good start to the new campaign under manager Billy Millar, a former assistant to John Ramshaw at Hucknall.

Millar’s squad included three ex-Yellows in evergreen centre-half Chris Timons and strikers Joe Ward and Eugene Francis, while Town welcomed back defender Kieran Walker and frontman Carl Westcarr in the absence of Wayne Diuk and Phil Massingham.

The visitors were the better side in a grim first half, with The Yellows looking shaky and giving the ball away far too readily.

But whatever was said in the dressing-room at half-time seemed to pay off because the home side looked far more vibrant.

The best chances fell to Westcarr, who shot over from 12 yards when he should have scored after Pheasant had headed the ball across goal and later when he saw a weak effort trickle wide after a one-two with Nathan Watson.

THE win completed a Bank Holiday Weekend double for Town and set them up nicely for their first foray this season into the FA Cup on Saturday (September 3).

They entertain Lincolnshire outfit Holbeach United, who play a level below The Yellows in the United Counties League.

Holbeach finished 17th last term but have made a good start to the new campaign, winning three of their first four games.

It’s the Preliminary Qualifying Round, to be followed by four more before the First Round proper.