First visit of the season the Harvey Hadden Sports Village, home of Bilborough Town FC. Town were hosting F.C. Cavaliers in a Notts Senior League Premier division game and I’m sure the result was not quite what Manager Steve Lee envisaged prior to kick off!
Maurice and Paul MacFarland were already inside the stadium when I arrived – they were supposed to be going to Staveley, but opted for a game a tad closer to their Long Eaton base.
Cavs' kit is a dark green shirt and black shorts. The trouble is that the shirts have black numbers, and my eyesight isn’t the best, so it was a bit of a struggle to make them out.
Town had the first real effort on goal in the third minute, but Nichloson’s shot was well held by the Cav’s keeper. With the teams more or less cancelling each other out in the middle of the park, we had to wait until the 34th minute for the opening goal. A ball in from a corner wasn’t dealt with by the home defence, and when it fell to the feet of David Kolapo a couple of yards from goal, he gleefully hammered it home to give his team the lead.
Four minutes later, a visiting player was tripped in the box, giving Ref Alex Smith little choice other than to award a penalty that Zibusiso Sipanda despatched with some ease. Cavs were unlucky not to go in a the break three up when their no. 2 shirt crashed a free-kick off the bar with Ivanov waving the ball bye-bye!! H-T 0-2
The home team began the second period on the front foot, and if not for a slight deflection by a Cavs defender, Rick Law’s shot from the edge of the box would no doubt have nestled in the back of the net. Cavs reacted well, and when Kolapo went on a mazy run, shrugging of two meaty challenges, it looked like he might take the ball all the way. Instead he chose to shoot from just inside the box and mis-hit the ball sending it rolling slowly out for a goal-kick.
Jake Kane had Town’s next attempt, but could only watch in anguish as his header crashed off the Cavs’ bar. Liam Taylor’s volley on 55 flew just over the bar as the home team tried to claw their way back into the game.
As it happened, the home team went further behind on 71 when a terrific ball from midfield picked out Blessing Adeleye who controlled well before stepping past Ivanov and slotting into the empty net.
Law’s free-kick was met well by Lyam Webster on 83, but his shot was collected comfortably by the visiting custodian. Law had one final effort for town on 88, but again the keeper was alert and did well to palm the strikers header over the bar. F-T 0-3 (charity £0.90)
First NSL game of the season, and I was waiting in anticipation to see the sin-bin in action. This ten minute removal from the game is utilised by the Ref for dissent. Even when Town had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside by Assistant Mick Leslie, the players simply asked for an explanation, rather than go off on one at the official. I know this was my first sin-bin game, but if the threat of a ten minute “rest” results in less abuse of match officials, I’m all for it!