A MASS brawl resulted in two players seeing red as Hucknall Town lost a bad-tempered clash with FC United of Manchester at Watnall Road on Saturday (February 5).
All 22 players waded into the melee early in the second half after the visitors’ Matthew Tierney launched into a shocking two-footed challenge on Town’s Grant Brindley.
Punches were thrown and once the dust had settled, Tierney was dismissed for the tackle and Yellows front man Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale was given his marching orders for his part in the scrap.
The action leading up to that had been stodgy stuff with neiter side able to break the deadlock.
It was Town who eventually opened the scoring — but they still went down 2-1 to their more famous Evo-Stik League, Premier Division rivals courtesy of two strikes in the last 15 minutes.
FC United, who are nicknamed The Red Rebels, were formed in 2005 by a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans who were angry at the takeover of the Old Trafford club by Malcolm Glazer.
And against Town, it looked like FC United were on their way to replicating the Red Devils, who lost 1-0 last Saturday against Wolves in the Premier League.
For winger Callum Lloyd put Town in the driving seat on 73 minutes when he poked home after the visitors’ ‘keeper, Sam Ashton, had only parried a low cross from Fabian Smith into the danger zone.
But in front of a season’s-best crowd of 432, Town were hit by a double sucker punch.
Firstly, their lead lasted just two minutes as a through ball from Scott McManus found Simon Corden, who stroked the ball home.
Then, on 84 minutes, striker Mike Norton bundled Matty Wolfenden’s cross over the line to break Town hearts.
Town boss Tommy Brookbanks reverted to a 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to nullify the attacking flair of FC United, who had hammered The Yellows 4-1 two weeks previous.
Nightingale was the lone front man, with Dion Chambers playing in an advanced midfield position.
Behind Chambers were Josh Burge, who was making his full debut, and Jared Holmes. Martin Ball partnered Grant Brindley in defence.
On a mudbath of a pitch chances were few and far between in a dull first half and things only sparked to life on 52 minutes when the brawl erupted.
Afterwards, the game became stretched and Town almost took the lead when the ball was cleared off the line twice in quick succession.
After FC United’s two-goal salvo, Town threw the kitchen sink at the final five minutes. ‘Keeper Ross Whalin even went up for two corners, but it was to no avail.