Love is a Stranger
GAME OF THE WEEK
Atherstone Town 13 Uttoxeter Town 1
Total Motion Midland Football League Division One
This was my 450th match. In the previous 449 I have only twice seen a team reach double figures. This was my third. I had never seen 3 players score a hat-trick in the same game. This was my first. What an experience.
On a day when the fixture list was once again decimated by the weather, when Mr Wilks picked me up we set off to the Midlands with a list of 6 games, by methods a bit silly we eliminated one by one we finished with Atherstone Town being our destination. As we progressed down the M6 the weather was getting worse. Would the game still be on? After a pit-stop at Keele Services we carried on into the heart of the Midlands and towards Atherstone, once ruled by Countess Godiva, home to the Shovetide Ball Game.
Luckily, pretty much as soon as we arrived the rain stopped, though with hindsight I am sure the visitors wish it had continued by the bucketful. Sadly for them, it would be goals that would be aplenty later.
Sheepy Road is just off the A5 and entry can be gained on either side of the ground. We entered to the west, where the main stand, covered seating and standing area, and changing rooms are housed. Both ends have open terraced standing. At the east side is the clubhouse and a covered terraced area behind the dugouts. It is an older ground and an absolute gem, I hope my pics do it justice.
Following a minutes applause for long time fan Frank Bartlam we got under way, the Adders took the game to Uttoxeter from the off Mitch Thomson who must have had his unluckiest day ever missed a glorious early chance before the visitors took the lead. Yes 1-0 up to a 13-1 defeat. Oops. Richie making the most of being through against the keeper and chipping him exquisitely. Probably my favourite goal of the day.
Cue madness. The fact it took the reds 17 or 18 minutes to register their first goal and in the following 77 minutes they scored another 12 was a true spectacle. Uttoxeter’s keeper Allen didn’t have a chance with most of them, though I am sure a couple will give him nightmares if he thinks too much about them.
The rout was started by skipper Baxter, who pulled strings all afternoon, following comical defending and a wandering Allen. A minute later another followed, this time following a bit of a scramble Miller started his hat-trick off by firing home. If Town thought that was bad, it got worse for them another minute later as Harris swung in a cross that missed everyone’s head and bounced into the far corner of the goal. What a turnaround.
As we approached the break the hosts stepped up their game again and scored another batch of 3 goals in 3 minutes or so. Stonehouse started his hat-trick off when he controlled a cross , was given all the time in the world to turn and finish easily. Miller’s second was even easier after tapping a through ball round Allen he followed up and put the ball into the empty net, before the last goal of the half by Quinn, the last of the hat-trick heroes to get off the mark, as he finished off a fine move by firing the ball into the top corner from a tight angle.
The visitors trudged off for a brew, it was to get worse.
Four minutes into the second period, seven, Stonehouse hammering home a cut-back for his second, made by Thomson. He was also to have a hand in the eigth as he was in the clear, his shot was saved by Allen fell to Quinn on the opposite side of the goal and he finished into the empty net. Stonehouse then got his hat-trick finishing under Allen who could only get a hand on the shot, it was now 9-1 with still 30 minutes to play.
Double figures came via Williams, a deep cross swung in to the near post and the number 6 powered his header into the top corner. This now equalled my second biggest ever win, with 15 minutes still remaining I saw a team score an 11th goal for only the second time ever. Miller completing his hat-trick with ease as a loose ball in midfield was capatilised on.
A minute later and the third hat-trick of the afternoon was completed, Quinn taking hold of a loose ball from a scramble, twisting and turning before squeezing the ball under Allen. We finished with a touch of class as Harris got his second, wrong footing the keeper and stroking the ball into the bottom corner. Records had tumbled.
I wanted to say a few words about Uttoxeter Town’s performance, they fielded a young side and appeared to only have one substitute even though 4 were named. They never gave up and attacked at times when they should probably have shut up shop, I counted 8 or 9 of the goals came as a result of a breakaway. Allen got his hand to at least 3. Yes they were outplayed by a good side, but they can hold their heads up for the effort they gave.
It was a weird game in the end, the Adders wasted a few chances when the game was beyond doubt and could possibly have finished with close to 20 had they been more clinical, but to have 3 players score a hat-trick on a special day for one of their own will make this a game to remember for years down at Sheepy Road.
Sat: Atherstone Town 13 Uttoxeter Town 1
Games since a 0-0: 63
Milestone: Biggest ever win. Highest number of aggregate goals. 800th Home Goal – Danny Harris (Atherstone Town’s 13th). 100th Home Goal of the Season – Ryan Quinn (Atherstone Town’s 8th)
Performance of the Week: Atherstone Town. A true team performance.
Random Fact: Including programme, the goals cost 54p each. Pure football value.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics