Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nantwich Town 4-0 Droylsden

It's 8.30pm on Sunday January 25th 1989. I'm lying on my bed, drifting off to sleep. I've a 6 o'clock start in the morning. All hell has let loose in our house. The telephone is ringing off the hook. My Dad hurriedly changes into a suit, rummages around his office for a notebook and pen, before grabbing his car keys and heading out the door towards Kegworth.

He's the East Midlands reporter for the Daily Mirror, whose London news desk have just called him about a Boeing 737 which has reportedy careered across the M1, whilst attempting an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport. Forty seven people died, with a further 74 sustaining serious injuries. I'm reminded of it all on Breakfast TV this morning. It will be 25 years ago this Wednesday since the 'Kegworth Air Disaster.' He was one of the first journalists on the scene, due to the close proximity of where we lived.

A blade detached from a fan on the port of the left hand engine. The Captain, mistakenly shut down the wrong engine. It was a miracle that no cars were on the M1 motorway when the plane crash-landed.

Christmas has been quiet and uneventful. I've been streaming with cold since Boxing Day. I gave 'Gangsta' and my Godson Will a good hiding at ten pin bowling on Christmas Eve. I then saw Nottingham Forest football 'Dirty Dirty Leeds' off the park. Michael Brown doesn't fail to disappoint by picking up the game's first booking. The Tricky Trees Matt Derbyshire scores a goal that is worth the £28 gate money.

There's been no Non League football fix over the Christmas period. The Skipper's team's fixture on Saturday afternoon has fallen victim to a waterlogged pitch. It's an unexpected bonus to get a new ground in.

Murphy the budgie has had a bollocking for swinging on his perch whistling loudly to Cher's The Shoop Shoop Song. He's still sulking about me forgetting to buy him a Christmas present. I'm out the door at 12.30pm. I head down the A453 towards Kegworth, just like my father did 25 years ago.

I cruise down the A50 towards Stoke. Hoards of Foxes fans are enroute to the Britannia Stadium for the FA Cup third round. I'm on the M6 for one junction. Nantwich is literally 8 miles off the motorway. I notice a signpost that says Wrexham 28 miles. I make a mental note. I need to chalk-off the Racecourse Ground this season.

Five Live's Mark Chapman is broadcasting live from Grimsby's Blundell Park, ahead of their cup clash with the Terriers of Huddersfield. He remarks that the actor Sacha Baron Cohen was recently spotted in the stands of the Club during a 1-0 reverse against leaders Cambridge United. Apparently the actor is penning a new movie called Grimsby. He has been sighted in pubs, clubs and even chip shops in the town.

Leicester comedian Jim Smallman has selected Kidderminster v Peterborough as his groundhop for the day. I recommend their infamous Cottage Pie at £4 a portion. Trust me, you won't eat for the rest of the day.

 
Blimey Charlie, I'm going to have to update the old Tom Tom; it doesn't even recognise the postcode of the Weaver Stadium. Nantwich is a market town in Cheshire with a population of just under 15,000. The town has been a salt-producing centre since the 10th Century.

The first person to captain England at rugby and cricket, A N Hornby, is buried in a graveyard in the town. Aston Villa midfielder and former Crewe Alexandra player Ashley Westwood was born in Nantwich.

The Dabbers were founded in 1884. They were shunted out of their 123 year old Jackson Avenue ground, to make way for luxury housing, to the out-of-town Weaver Stadium in 2007. The year previous they won the FA Vase.

 
The club's car park must act as a park and ride during the week. Parking is free today. It's £9 on the gate and £2 for the Dabber programme, which is fairly thin on content. I head up to the top of the Main Stand and into the Fairfax Suite. It has a stage and wooden dance floor. The chairs are mauve-coloured as is the carpet. I grab a latte for £2. I sit at a table in the corner of the room perusing the programme, occasionally people-watching.

I'm bloody starving readers. I've had nowt to eat since my bowl of porridge. I don't usually partake in snap at non-league stadia, as on the whole it's unedible. Today is no different. My steak pie is pale in colour and dry in the mouth. The frozen chips are tasteless. The plastic prong on my fork shatters as it is drawn into the pie.

An army of volunteers have ensured that the game will take place. Plenty have bit the dust in these parts (games not people). The surface looks heavy, but the pitch appears to have been rolled after their late call-off last weekend. I have Trafford or West Didsbury as back-up.

 
Poor old Droylsden are in the doldrums. Two points from 28 games, with 112 goals shipped. In their last fixture Ashton put nine past them at the Butcher's Arms. I took Trumpy Bolton to Droylsden once. I recall him doing the Conga with the 'Eastwood Town Booze Cruise' following a 1-0 win. Rumours on the 'Net' suggest that manager Dave Pace has put seven days in for 21 players.

I sit behind and above the Nantwich ‘Technical Area.’ The DJ has banged out a few 80s toons from Deacon Blue and U2. He saves Cantrill Farm’s finest until shortly before kick-off –‘Groovy Train.’

The Dabbers are ahead within two minutes with a smart finish from Ben Deegan. The feeling in the ground is it could be a cricket score. Amazingly Droylsden increase in confidence and begin to play the better football. They have the game’s best player in former Bury striker Domaine Rouse. He has an outrageous touch and glides past defenders. His attitude towards his own team-mates is poor though.

Substitute Max Harrop thumps an effort into the roof of the net on the stroke of half time. His Mum, Dad and girlfriend, sit the row infront of me and celebrate vociferously. There's a reversal of fortune on the DJ's decks at the break with the dreadful 'Happy New Year' by Abba - topical, but bloody awful. The game is over with 20 minutes to go with further goals from Burns and Foster.

Man of the Match: Domaine Rouse

Attendance: 284


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