Hathern FC were formed in 1966 and played in the North Leicestershire League. They were accepted into the Leicestershire Senior League in season 2006-07. The North Leicestershire League champions thought they had missed out on their Senior League dream after losing in the play-off to City League champions Braunstone Victoria. But events at a higher level in the football pyramid meant there was a vacancy in the league ladder which Hathern were invited to fill. Promotion marked a deserved reward for Hathern who had been knocking on the Senior League door for the previous seven years, during which time they had been North Leicestershire League champions five times.
I got the Trent Barton Skylink bus from Nottingham Friar Lane heading for Loughborough. It goes past the village on the A6 and I got off at the Shepshed Road stop. I made my way to the ground by walking forward from the direction the bus dropped me off until I got to Narrow Lane. I walked to the end of Narrow Lane into Cross Street at the end of Cross Street is Pasture Lane and continue along until you come to Hathern Park. On the opposite side of the Road is the football ground.
No programme, floodlights, hard standing or cover but the pitch is railed off. There are two concrete dugouts on the opposite side from the changing room side and there is a nice little snack bar. The people are very friendly and Club Secretary, Brian Fisher even gave me an old match day programme from the 2006-07 season.
Castle Donnington Town put out a very young team, but it was they, in White shirts who had the first shot at goal (long range) on six minutes. The home side were stringing together some good passing moves and from a cross from the right, Ryan Thacker the visitors keeper fumbled in the box, and in the goalmouth scramble that followed the referee gave the visitors a free kick. A minute later Hathern's Matt Jolley clearly pushed his marker 30 yards out but was allowed to race on and fire a low stinging shot at the Donnington goal. Ryan Thacker dived to turn the ball out for a corner. From the corner Hatherns Carl Springthorpe saw his header crash onto the crossbar before being cleared. On the half hour Hathern took the lead. Hatherns Tim Culliman hit an unstoppable drive that sailed into the top right hand corner of the net from 25 yards out. Two minutes later the visitors got an equaliser. The ball was crossed in from the right wing and at the second attempt Karl Munton hit the ball past the keeper. HT 1-1.
The visitors were playing with more confidence at the start of the second half but poor finishing denied them from taking the lead. They paid the price on the hour mark when the Matt Jolley crossed the ball low into the area for Tim Culliman to score. Castle Donnington fought back and Hathern's keeper Paul Springthorpe was forced to make four important saves. The visitors got their just reward with ten minutes remaining, a fierce drive from outside the area took a slight deflection before flying past the stranded keeper. It all looked set for a draw but with seconds remaining Hathern found a winning goal when Culliman sent a shot from 18 yards into the bottom right hand corner of the visitors net. FT 3-2.