Match Details: Frickley Athletic 0 – Northwich Victoria 0 (NPL Prem)
Clueless & Scoreless: Back on the opening day of the 2010-11 season, I was at the first league game at Morecambe’s new Globe Arena stadium. Despite the anticipation, the game finished 0-0. One year, five months and a few days later, today I witnessed my first nil-nil game since then (with somewhere round 70 or 80 games inbetween). Given Frickley’s current plight and being down to a squad of less than 11 fully fit players though, a scoreless draw against second-in-the-table Northwich was a welcome achievement – even if I’d have preferred a 1-1 draw and to have kept the run going a bit longer!
Destination: Westfield Lane Stadium in that Frickley (see earlier reports for location and ground details)
Admission: 160 bob
Attendance: Two-hundred and summat
Glossy paper booklet with writing in: Quid fifty
Scran?: Didn’t get owt today as I’d just had me dinner
T’game: Not even the towering backdrop of Mount Frickley could shield us from the right bothersome gale that was blowing down the valley in God’s Own Country Park today – yes, the weather had ‘appropriate conditions for 0-0’ writ large all over it well before kick-off time. However, the wind turned out to not be the main problem. This accolade went instead to the officials, who turned out to be a right bunch of charlies that I’m guessing had been sent invitations to officiate in the same sort of mistaken identity as led to the Arbroath/Bon Accord 36-0 scoreline many, many years ago. A catalogue of catastrophic errors peaked with two needless sendings off – including one for poor old Frickley centre-half Lincoln Adams, who had actually been trying to stop a scrap breaking out, mediating due to the man-in-the-middle having seen fit to deal with a mass player melee by the really effective tactic of standing as far away as possible and pointing at something indefinable (see top pic). It did all lead to a funny moment late in the game though, by which time I think both sets of players had given up on the officials getting anything tricky right – such as noticing that when a defender thumps the ball into touch, the opposing team is the one awarded the throw-in. First time I’ve ever seen a player react to an obviously wrong refereeing decision (both he and the linesman forgot whose throw-in it was after a short stoppage) by deliberately giving the ball to the opposition to compensate though, while shaking his head in disbelief. Apart from being scoreless, it was quite an exciting game though – certainly an intense contest, and a hard-fought point by a depleted Frickley squad which also had striker Brad Grayson carried off midway through the second half. Having to bring on a couple of youth team players as subs pretty much ensured that the game converged toward stalemate as the clock ticked down. With Northwich having had mucho problemos of their own lately, I reckon neither side will be too disappointed with the outcome – though both will presumably have to do without the services of the players given their marching orders today. Actually, sod it. I’ll blame the referee for the scoreline as well. It would clearly have been 1-1 with goals from Lincoln Adams and Barry Northwich if those two players hadn’t been sent off.