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Ilkeston Town 1, Boston United 1
There is something incalculably distressing about witnessing a dozen sixteen year-old football fans attempting to out-sing half a dozen twelve year-old visitors, all flailing, pre-adolescent bravado and witless banter.
watched this thoroughly depressing scene unfold on a toe-numbing evening
of pretty execrable football in Ilkeston, you couldn’t help but
feel you had somehow been teleported onto the set of Phoenix Nights.
Or, rather, Phoenix Nights: On Ice!
Ilkeston's pitch five minutes prior to kick-off
Still, it was lovely to be back at the New Manor Ground, a ground that actually turned out to be far more normal than memory served. It had been nine years since Boston’s last visit to Ilkeston in the league, and with the exception of an odd little corner stand and a bit of new terracing, it was all very familiar. Even the Boston United bench had a familiar feel: Micky Nuttell, 62, was in the starting eleven for that game in 1999, and, incredibly, would have an influential role in this game too.
Nuttell’s presence on the bench was certainly a surprise. Injuries, suspensions and all the rest of it meant United were, once again, stretching their squad to the limits. Welsh called upon the services of several teenagers to pad out the bench – lowering the average age of the United substitutes to 42.
ensure United’s venerable veteran made an appearance, the Pilgrims
huffed and puffed ineffectually for 80 minutes, making precisely no headway
against strong home resistance, falling behind to their customary early
goal after just ten minutes. After twenty minutes, Ilkeston might have
had four. As it was, they bagged just one, courtesy of Tom Cahill’s
point blank header, and then proceeded to miss a slew of chances.
The impact was immediate. Nuttell ran on, pissed off the entire Ilkeston team en masse and had created Boston’s only genuine chance of the entire match, retrieving a very deep free kick from a certain goal-kick with his noggin, knocking it across the area for Ryan to smack straight at Garner.
the Robins were rattled. So rattled that ex-Pilgrims boo-boy target Lil’
Thommo decided to fist the ball away from Nuttell in the Ilkeston area
in the last minute of normal time.
of the match – Mickey Nuttell
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