This season, Prostate Cancer UK is the official charity of the
Football League. To celebrate, each week
footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke - who played for
Arsenal, Rotherham, Southend, Carlisle and Stevenage - is rounding
up the best performances by No9s in the Football League, in
recognition of the fact that prostate
cancer affects one in nine men. In week three (Saturday 1
September), he highlights a former non-league star, a loan signing
with an eye for goal and a good old-fashioned centre-forward...
No-nonsense: Gillingham goalscorer Danny Kedwell. Photo courtesy of Action Images
Championship star man
Jamie Vardy -
A proper No9 doesn't just score goals. He chases lost causes, he
always wants the ball, he links up play and, above all else, he is
an absolute pain in the backside to mark. If the central defenders
are sick of the sight of you by the final whistle, it usually means
a job well done. For this reason, I'm awarding former Fleetwood
marksman Vardy the star performance in this week's npower
Championship for the way he got right up Blackpool's noses. He had
several shots saved, ran the legs off his markers and could have
been awarded two penalties. He did win one, slightly debatable,
spot-kick and was slaughtered by Blackpool manager Ian Holloway for
'diving', but that was just sour grapes because the Foxes striker
had given him a headache all afternoon.
Did you know?
Less than 14 months ago, Vardy was a part-time player for
Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Northern Premier League while
working as a carbon-fibre technician.
No9s scored just one of last weekend's 41 Championship goals
(take a bow, Middlesbrough's Marvin Emnes)
League 1 star man
Jake Cassidy -
Hat-tricks should normally guarantee you collect the week's
star-performer gong (if there actually was one), so spare a thought
for Swindon's James Collins. He bagged a fabulous treble to knock
Stoke out of the Capital One Cup, only to see 19-year-old Cassidy
pip him to the top spot at the weekend. The loan signing from
Wolves put Colchester to the sword with a splendid three-goal salvo
at Prenton Park, netting with a deft near-post header, a clinical
low finish and bravely sliding in with boots flying to crash in a
third from close range. It was a performance that took Tranmere to
the top of the table, too. The kid looks an excellent prospect and
won't forget his first professional hat-trick in a hurry.
Did you know?
The gifted Welshman banged in 28 goals for Llandudno Junction as a
16-year-old in 2009-10, becoming an instant hit with fans at The
No9s scored 15 per cent of League 1's goals last
League 2 star man
Danny Kedwell -
When I close my eyes and imagine a typical No9 (it doesn't happen
that often, to be fair), I see a big, bulky centre-forward
climbing aggressively above his marker at the far post to thump a
bullet header into the back of the net. Luckily for Gills fans at
the Priestfield Stadium on Saturday, they didn't have to use their
imagination, as top scorer Kedwell did just that to show why he's
the man wearing the iconic nine on his back. Well done, Danny.
Did you know?
Kedwell smashed home the winning penalty kick against Luton in
2011 to take AFC Wimbledon back into the Football League. A flag
bearing his portrait still hangs behind the goal at Kingsmeadow in
No9s scored a meagre six per cent of League 2's goals last