Friday 6th April 2012 ko 1.45pm
Northern Counties East League Premier Division
THACKLEY 1 (Mallinson 84)
LONG EATON UNITED 1 (Chambers 26)
Entry & Programme Hop Ticket
Copy of Jack Charlton’s autobiography £3
Team Sheet 20p
It really was a very shot drive across Bradford to Thackley, in fact we had enough time to call in at the Idle Working Men’s Club! The name is a simple pun as the club is in the district of, yes Idle!
Despite the Bradford address Dennyfield has a rural feel to it, it even has a stables at one end! The club once again had read their notes, and were ready for the descending hoppers! This time the food of choice was a delicious chilli-con-carne with rice which seemed to be very popular. The club ran a bookstall in aid of “Help for Heroes” which I thought was a nice touch, and again the club’s big day went like clockwork.
I took a few minutes to have a look around. I soon found well-loved hopper Derek Coope having a doze in the clubhouse. No hop is quite the same without Deadly, a retired professor of mathematics. He’s not in the best of health these days, and I doubt his doctor would approve of him going groundhopping but its obvious what a lift these weekends give him. What he probably doesn’t know if how much his presence lifts everyone else!
The ground would grace a much higher level. There’s hard standing behind both goals and a large stand at the half way line. On the other side there’s a open terrace which the club are fundraising to convert to a second stand. Beyond the near goal there’s an intriguing tower structure. It turned out we were actually standing on top of a railway and the “Tower” is in fact a ventilation shaft!
The game for all the world looked a home banker as Long Eaton are struggling to maintain Premier Division status so when Danny Chambers fired United into the lead from a corner, and the visitors looked strong in defence a minor upset looked on the cards. I had my cup of tea with the officials at half time, none of which seemed unduly worried, apart from the vexed issue of consuming the delicious but hot soup and be out for the second half!
That seemed to be following a similar path to the first. Thackley attacked and Long Eaton defended, it wasn’t a wonderful spectacle but I found it gripping in a “Will they, won’t they” way. Thackley did equalise, Matt Morgan’s through ball into the box was seized on by John Mallinson, who from the tightest of angles on the right managed to find the net. That was the very least Thackley deserved, but it did leave one person slightly disappointed, Long Eaton resident Chris Berezai! Not sure the accent is quite Derbyshire though!