On a night when Hull City went down 4-1 at Manchester City in the Capital One Cup, It was more East Hull than Eastlands that had my attention. The big game of the night, the Hull derby, a Northern Counties East League clash between Hull United and Hall Road Rangers. Forget the Spanish Classico, this was Hull Classico !
First I must point out that anyone hoping for a blow-by-blow match report will be disappointed. This “blog” was never my intention to provide that. Firstly because by the time I get round to typing most things up it’s old news. Indeed this is 24 hours after the event, so anyone that’s seen my Twitter will know the score. And secondly I simply don’t have that kind of attention span needed to be analytical. A goldfish would put me to shame.
So the match itself. It’s fair to say it was far from a Classico ( I’m using the English spelling. As someone pointed out last night the Spanish version for the big match is Clasico – but we aren’t in Madrid or Barcelona, so Classico it is, rightly or wrongly ). Now before I go into any kind of detail, I must point out I was firmly rooting for the away side last night. I’ve loosely followed Hall Roads fortunes for 15/20 years. Until recently moving house, they were technically my nearest club. Ironically Hull United are now nearer to me in distance, but if I’m not at North Ferriby cheering them on, I try my best to get to Haworth Park to watch Hall Road. One thing that can be guaranteed there is goals. Having lost 9-2 the week before, last week they followed up with a 5-5 draw against Eccleshill ( A game where I sponsored the Matchball, but didn’t actually get there. Don’t ask ! ) Hall Road are a great little club. Forever fighting against the odds, it’s hard not to support them. To their credit they go about things the right way. It’s a friendly place run by good people. Their opponents, Hull United, are quite the opposite. Not that they aren’t a good club, doing plenty in the community. It’s just they are a lot more ambitious, and aren’t shy in letting people know that. Earlier in the season, club Chairman and Hull City legend Ian Ashbee was quoted in the local paper saying the club had ambitions to be in the Conference within 10 years ! This coming from a step 6 side would mean a promotion every other year. I have no problem with ambition, but if I had a quid for every time I’d heard that from non-league clubs I’d be a rich man. Richer than many of the clubs that crashed and burned after making such statements. Ironically less than 6 months after making that announcement the club were temporarily homeless after a fallout with the owner and founder. This resulted in Dene Park standing empty, and Craven Park ( home of RL’s Hull KR ) becoming the new base. Their ambition remains on course, and a victory tonight would take them upto 2nd in the table.
The game itself. A first half to forget. Stood with the now usual company of Nick, John, Simon and Pete in the Well, Johns running commentary of the Hull City vs Man City game was slightly more entertaining. The Half-time whistle sounded and the delights of Gold by Spandau Ballet crackled over the speakers. Early talk of Hall Road being happy to not lose by more than 5 were well wide of the mark. The 2nd half started with two excellent saves from the visiting keeper ( I’m reliably informed by Nick, local media celeb and a man with his ear to the ground, that he is in fact on loan from my team Ferriby – the keeper, not Nick ) As the pace warmed up so did the challenges, and finally this derby kicked into life. The fact the visitor’s had 5 ex-Utd players in their ranks perhaps explains the extra edge. Late in the game, a fantastic opportunity for Hall Road to grab one of the upsets of all time, but after rounding the keeper, the forward see’s the ball go agonisingly wide much to the disappointment of myself and the usual 25/30 Hall Road regulars in attendance. And then it happened. Just as I had my phone out to tweet the final score, I look up to see a melee, and the ball go slowly into the bottom corner of the visitor’s net. 1-0 to United. Last kick of the game. Delirium from the home team, celebrating as if they’d won the league ( they may well do ). Despondency for the blue half of the city. A moral victory snatched at the death. Quite the finish, witnessed by a crowd of 250+. Just time for the usual goodbyes and arranging of the next fixture. One definitely on the agenda will be the return fixture on Boxing Day at Haworth Park. Hull Classico Part II