I Took A Picture Of A Brussel Sprout

Heanor Town 2 
Borrowash Victoria 2 

East Midlands Counties Football League

There are adavantages to living in this part of the world. It's not London being one of the major ones. But when you scour the tourism brochures for the East Midlands, alarmingly few of them point to the surfeit of non-league football clubs populating the area. I'm sure this is just a temporary oversight.

Of course, with this such a  blessing comes great responsibility, and on days like today you have to chose your game carefully.  With so many games to chose from, a stupid hopper might accidentally return to a ground he visited previously when it served as a neutral ground for some tinpot County Cup final. Imagine how much of  a chump he would feel.

Luckily, as I don't keep document my visits in any way, other than this half-arsed blog, it matters not to me that I return to some places (see Gedling Town for example) And there are worse clubhouses to warm yourself up in, it has to be said. It's not every clubhouse that features a man with a box of eggs, after all.

I brought those eggs you wanted, Ken
Today's pre-match cocktails were taken in the Bull's Head in nearby Denby, a rose amidst the thorn that is this downtrodden part of Derbyshire. Do me a favour though. If you have kids that are still of an age where they don't understand the principle of talking quietly, take them to a Wacky Warehouse, please. 

Packed to the rafters
The match was one of the better ones I have seen this season. I suppose, given it was second v third, such a standard could have been expected. Both teams were bolstered by the news that title rivals Gresley had surprisingly lost in an early kick off, so the top of the table was there to be grabbed. The success of both teams this season lead to a healthy 120+ crowd packing the touchline (the oppossing side being a cornered off cricket pitch) and despite a supremely vocal home support, both sets of fans were extrememly affable with each other. United, perhaps, in their incredulity of the officiating. When the linesman admits he doesn't know what is going off, it's fair to say the ref is having a mare.

In the shower this morning (calm yourselves, ladies) I was pondering what happened to the portly ex pro within non-league football. It may or not have been inspired by this piece by the ever-mighty Fwtboll, but regardless, the journeyman who drops down the leagues as his waistband expands appears to have been eschewed in favour of younger players who possibly still harbour dreams of being spotted. Of course, that doesn't mean that all on view are lithe, athletic types who couldn;t stand to lose a pound or two. And true to form, both sets of centre halves were best described as "cuddly". Or "brick shit houses". Take your pick.

Happy New Year

In cotrast though, both sides offered impressive attacking flair. Fittingly both players sported Fancy Dan Boots, and had they been on the same side, they would have formed a lethal partnership. As it was, the toiled in increasing frustration amongst team-mates who simply were not up to their standard. The visitors made things harder for themseleves when the inexplicably brought on THE WORST PLAYER I HAVE EVER SEEN (c) Warming up I assumed he was the sub keeper, such was his girth and apparent age. As it turned out, he was an immobile centre forward who offered such little assistance to his impressive partner as to be a hinderence. So, "Giz", if you read this, hang up your boots.

For the visitors, Karl Demidh caught the eye with not only his electric pace, but his inability to keep his mouth shut. In his defence, he was on the wrong end of some ridiculous decisions, but you get the impression he could start a fight in a an empty lift. He did raise a smile towards the end however, when a man I assume was his father encouraged him to tun at the full back as he was knackered. "So am I!" came the reply. OK, so it won't have the writers of Come Fly With Me knocking on his door, but in the land of the blind and all that.

The goals were of varying merit. Demidh beat the offside trap, Heanor won a penalty (see below), Borrowash took the lead with a thunderbolt from a corner mele, and finally Benger curled in a peach of a free kick to pull things back to 2-2 (despite the prophecies of doom from the loud mouth home fan behind me) .

This title race looks set to go down the wire, which can only be a good thing. I'll have to hunt down Gresley now to see if they play on a par with these two. As things stand, neither would look out of place in the NCEL, and whilst it took them a bit of time to find their feet, Louth are showing that once up there, the difference in standard is minimal.

More photos (none any better than what's here) on the Facebook page. One day I'll do this reporting thing properly. Maybe when it's warmer, eh?


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