‘GET down Shep!’ was the famous catchphrase of former TV presenter John Noakes on the BBC show ‘Blue Peter’.
But the ‘Shep’ of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South — namely Shepshed Dynamo — are determined NOT to get down, judging by their unlikely fightback to deny Hucknall Town three points.
Battling relegation to the Northern Counties East League, lowly Shepshed scored two goals in the last eight minutes to earn a precious 2-2 draw and leave The Yellows frustrated and angry.
Frustrated because they had thrown away a two-goal lead. Angry because the visitors’ goals stemmed from dubious decisions by referee Malcolm Steward.
The first handed Shepshed a penalty when new signing Craig Reid, making his full league debut at left-back, was adjudged to have fouled striker Jerome O’Connor. Kieran Davies slotted home the kick.
The second came during an inexplicably lengthy six-minute period of injury-time. Town still looked likely to hold on, electing to play the ball into the corners to wind the clock down. But one of their former players, David Boafo, had other ideas. As the panicky Yellows defence failed to clear, despite several opportunites, full-back Boafo pounced to equalise — much to the delight of Shepshed’s shirtless travelling fans!
Boafo was one of six ex-Yellows in the Shepshed squad — the others being manager Chris ‘Chalky’ White, who took over when John Ramshaw left to join Eastwood Town, captain Joe Ward, winger Jermaine Hollis, striker Steve Chaplin and substitute Max Pemberton.
But at few stages in the game did the sextet look like celebrating a winning return to Watnall Road. Even in the goalless first half, Town were the better side.
Yes, Shepshed brought a couple of smart saves from goalkeeper James Lindley, the first a tip over the bar from Ryan North’s 25-yarder and the second from point-blank range.
But The Yellows finally went ahead in the 58th minute when striker Phil Massingham tucked away a low shot from eight yards.
More chances came and went as Grant Ryan blasted over, Callum Lloyd screwed his shot wide and man-of-the-match Lee McAnulty should have done better than force ‘keeper James Martin into an easy save.
However, Town appeared to have wrapped up the victory eight minutes from the end when substitute Aaron Farrell scored with his first touch after replacing Massingham. Farrell converted a pass from leading scorer Ryan, who was then taken off too, so comfortable did The Yellows appear.
ONE footnote from the game is that the crowd of 171 was UP on the previous home league game, shooting down fears of a fans’ boycott in protest at the ousting of ex-chairman Steve Greaves.