So…..just in case Saturdays game is off, I give you this…..….I had this dream last night and just had to pass it on……( with apologies for those amongt you who can recall something similar from me in 2005)
It was Saturday April 26 ,2014 and I was in my usual position in the Cheadle Stand for the last game of the season against Harrogate Town .
County were 1 point clear of the relegation positions, and needed a win to ensure their continued existence in Conference North next season .
There were nearly 7000 present as the teams prepared to take the field circa 2.45 .
For Harrogate, relegation was not an issue- they had been in or around the top six all season, and 3 more points would see them extend their season by at least one game.
Unusually, despite the large crowd, Season ticket holders in the Pop side ,or regularly displaced persons as they are oft times known , were allowed to sit in their own seat, and what’s more there being no kids initiative on this occasion, they could do so in relative peace!.
Ken Boxhall was in full swing on the pitch as kick off time approached, and how the crowd roared when he introduced CEO Ryan McKnight ( ..bobble hat….scarf…….tasteful replica top.... clearly one of us and up for it) to the crowd.
Brief introduction over and the crowd roared again as, invoking the ghost of the ginger whinger, McKnight grabbed the mike and sprinted towards the Cheadle End.
It was stirring stuff as he gushed on…and on …..and on…about ….well….I don’t quite know what….….thankfully he was interrupted by the biggest roar thus far as the teams took to the field .
It was the blues to kick off,, and the crowd waited for the ball to be belted out to the left wing and out of play as per normal when the ball was played sideways to Jevons who indeed did belt it, but not to the wing but straight for goal .
Macgillivray, the Harrogate keeper was still studiously marking out his centre line, with his back to play, when the ball sailed past him into the net !
The crowd went barmy….1 /0 and only 5 seconds on the clock !
County were still celebrating when referee Uriah Rennie( who I thought had retired) restarted the game and Woods raced through the unprepared County back line heading for goal .
As he reached the edge of the box Ormson came out and plucked the ball neatly off his toes to the accompaniment of relieved applause.
The fans were still applauding when ……calamity…..Ormson shaped to throw the ball up field …extended his arm backwards to do so but instead (ala Garry Sprake ) sent the ball into the net .
Only 90 seconds into the game and it was 1 /1.….the crowd were staring in silent disbelief !
There the first half excitement ended as a truly forgettable 43.5 minutes saw Harrogate line 10 outfield players behind the ball and County struggled to cope .
There were a prodigious number of free kicks that interrupted the flow of the game -the bulk of them to County as Harrogate kicked lumps out of our boys-3 of them being booked for constant back chat to the official .
Jevons did try to brighten the gloom by trying (3 times ) to repeat his opener -only succeeding in forcing County to find 3 replacement balls .
One all at the break then and the unreality of it all was immediately underlined as a steward was , inadvertently ,polite to me as I left my seat to seek sustenance .
On the re start it was clear that County had hatched a plan to counter that of Harrogate.
It looked like 1 / 2 /3 /4 to me but , unfortunately , Harrogate had changed theirs and went out for all out attack .
County just could not cope as a sea of yellow and black shirts invaded deep into blue territory -we were 1 /2 down in no time as Bolder, the visitors number 4 took a free header at a corner .
County had endured a colossal run of injuries of late, and only had 16 fit players –even so it was a bit of a surprise to see Billy Byrne rise from the bench and take the field with 10 minutes to go!
Byrne’s introduction had an immediate effect- his fresh legs gave County fresh impetus and within 2 minutes of his arrival on the scene he had scored the equaliser with a cracking drive following an equally cracking run down the left flank .
Still we needed another goal….and 3 points for safety but progress was difficult as Harrogate opted to revert to their first half plan of action and County ran at them impotently .
Harrogate defended doggedly…..so doggedly in fact that 4 more Yorkshire names went into a clearly irritated Uriah Rennie’s book .
The visitors were still arguing the toss with the referee, and the scores were still level as play entered time added with Byrne on another loose limbed run this time down the right flank .
Cutting inside he sent a shot / cross over that had power but lacked direction.
By great good fortune however Mr Rennie arrived in the box at the same time as Billy’s effort but , not noticing a divot in his path , slipped and plunged forward in a near perfect swallow dive .
Smack…..the ball hit the officials head and soared past a static Macgillivray into the net !
“Still 2/2- it will be disallowed “ was the general feeling as the official regained his feet once more .
Maybe it was payback time for all the hassle he had endured at the hands of the Yorkshiremen all afternoon…..maybe he just enjoyed the pure beauty of the headed strike (he would be first in the queue for the video for sure )…he pointed to the centre circle and signalled that the goal stood .
Moments later he added insult to Harrogate’s injury by blowing for time leaving the field surrounded by yellow and black shirts and policemen .
Mr Rennie was a hero as far as County fans were concerned and his name was chanted enthusiastically in the happy knowledge that they would be watching Conference North fare next season .
Woke up…..felt good……it can’t last!