Monday, 6 March 2017


4 MARCH 2017 --- 3PM
Title chasing Bilborough Town were denied all 3 points when Tristan Comery fired home an equaliser on 88 minutes to reply to a first half effort from Jake Kane for the home side.  So delighted was Comery that he whipped off his shirt ran half the length of the pitch celebrating with shirt aloft needless to say the error then dawned on him as referee Marshall pulled out the mandatory, second, yellow card before converting it to a red.
Once again the joys of spring had greeted the week with Friday bringing hours of continuous rain which as usual meant Saturday morning was a constant check on games that were on and with a lack of 3g games locally we opted for a Nottingham trip and set off with every intention for the second week running of visiting Radford.  Secretly though on our usual services to Nottingham, Comet and R1, constant work found that Wollaton and Bilborough Town had passed pitch inspections.  The latter became the priority and provided I could manage a few pitch side pictures at this athletics stadium it would be todays choice and with thanks to manager and secretary Steve Lee that request was granted.
Departure early at Bobbers Mill Bridge for a M's were sadly there was no Robin mask for Mick to wear, see last weeks Batman blog on Radford for anybody who has lost the plot by this stage.
Refreshed with non corporate fish and chips we set off on a 30 minute walk along the ever widening boulevards of Beechdale to approach The Harvey Hadden Sports Village, which does what it says on the tin and contains todays venue the athletics stadium.
The whole set up is fairly smart with a new cycle way and too the right hand side the stadium which is entered by a turnstile were our £2 is paid plus 50p for todays programme.  This immediate block is a 2 storey affair with toilets below and officials changing rooms above, the players change in a new brick building to the right of your entry.  The original building has a nice old style plaque commemorating its opening in 1959 by Sir Arthur Porritt the stadium is in honour of course to Harvey Hadden, I guess many locals would have no idea as I didn't.  Sadly there seems to be no information board either at the ground or within the reception area but Mr Hadden was a former textile magnet from Nottingham who moved to Canada in later life and of course he has a ever lasting memory here in the north west of the city.
As with any athletics stadium its something I don't look forward to but it has to be said viewing here is excellent from the main stand and at varying banked parts of the venue.  The main stand as been widely adapted for accessibility but offers a good focal point.  Behind both goals there are terracing corners and further high walkways but obviously are a long way away from the pitch but still offer a good vantage point.  Opposite the main stand the walk way drops to pitch level before rising again the far side to our entry is somewhat blocked in the viewing stakes by athletics netting.  There is a drinks and chocolate bar operating on a mini cabin by the entrance and overall I was impressed with the set up although of course it can feel cumbersome for teams and spectators this was one of the better grounds of its type.  The ground is surrounded by its athletic track and then the former velodrome cycle track which shows how steep these raceways are, there are also remnants of the former use of the stadium by Nottingham Outlaws in a scoreboard encompassing their name.
There was a little time to catch up with a few hoppers including one visitor from Peterborough, Awsworth supporters who it was great to learn some more of about their club and The Notts Senior League and a few Sandiacre officials.
So with the game approaching kick off Bilborough were lined up ready waiting for Sandiacre who had not reached the approach point yet and some wondered if they were lost.  The home side were top of the table in a close race for the title although they are ahead on points they have played a few more games than their rivals.  The Notts/Derbys border side Sandiacre were struggling at the wrong end of the table but after a narrow loss at fellow title chasers Awsworth Villa last week todays performance would add to a thought that they are in the wrong position on current efforts.
Last weeks game at Radford was instantly forgettable and it has to be said the first half here was matching that performance a couple of group introductions on 20 minutes and then again on 24 resulted on each occasion in 2 bookings one from either side to keep parity by referee Thomas Marshall.
Sandiacre had controlled much of the first half but with Bilborough looking strong at the back they could not find the chance their efforts deserved.  As so often happens the other side take advantage and so it turned out here with 5 minutes to half time as Sandiacre got in a mess on the edge of their own box and with keeper Liam Way out of position the ball fell to Jake Kane who lobbed the ball back over his head for a lovely finish.  In reply Sam Tarrant for the visitors saw his one on one saved by home keeper Nik Ivanov.  Almost immediately a one on one came for Bilborough and again it was the custodian who came out on top Way saving from Ian Jackson.
The early action in the second half was pretty much shared with Liam Stewart firing over for the home side before Steven Bonez saw his effort blocked by Ivanov.  After a better opening by Bilborough the Sandiacre threat grew with Charlie Goodwin seeing his effort cleared off the line and then with 17 minutes remaining the same players saw his curling 20 yard free kick pushed over by Ivanov.  On 81 minutes it looked liked Sandiacre had missed their chance with Bonez scuffing his shot in front of goal but that was not to discount on 88 minutes the looping 20 yard effort from Comery that found the bottom left hand corner to level the scores hence the number 8's delighted celebrations and ultimate red card for that second yellow.

Over the 90 minutes this was a fair result, Sandiacre must question why they can get results like this against two of the top teams, are they in the wrong position or do they just play well against the top teams.  Bilborough will count this as 2 points lost but they look a well organised side and as ever its often better to have the points in the bag before the rush comes at the end of the season to get the games in.
From just outside the gates we made the Nottingham City service 28 back to Canning Circus where we just missed the R1 which was spot on time needless to say last week it was 25 minutes late but as ever that's the rule of public transport!  After a convoluted route changing at Eastwood and Ripley for the last Comet base was finally arrived at around 8pm and the thought springs to mind that I've got back faster from North Wales.
Enjoyable hop well worth taking a look at this stadium don't let the athletics track put you off their are some good views.

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