Wednesday, 29 December 2010

England retain the Ashes!!!

Due to the crappy weather i haven't been to any sporting events since watching the Matlock v Retford match. Because of this i have spent far too much time in various drinking holes as oppose to updating this blog, but i am now back and with a back log of matches to be played (The Imps haven't played a single match in December) The blog should get back to its old self.
My two main sporting interests of the past month have been the Pittsburgh Steelers' quest for a seventh Superbowl title and England's quest to retain the biggest prize in cricket..The Ashes!
I am delighted to report that when i awoke today not only did i get the normal squeaking and rumbling from the Guinea pigs but also i received the news that England had retained the famous urn and won on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years!

Unlucky Aussies better luck next time! HA HA HA HA!
Lets hope we win the fifth test to get a 3-1 series win and really rub their noses in it.
Maybe to aid there plight they could sack captain and chief whinger Ricky Ponting and play good old Rolf Harris at number three? He can't do any worse.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Lincoln City 3-1 Hereford United

Upon studying the fixed odds coupon on Friday night i noticed that Sunnybank fc of the SJFA North superleague were a staggering 9-1 to win away at Ayr United in the Scottish cup. Only one man could confirm if this was a decent bet to go on and so a text was sent off to deepest darkest Leicestershire to get the inside goss on Sunnybank. I received red hot information back that Sunnybank are one of the top Junior sides in Scotland and could well spring an upset. Taking the shady one's word for it, i placed a whole one pound bet, confident in success and my thoughts turned on how to spend my winnings.

Full time result. Ayr United 5 Sunnybank 0

I really should have know better but there you go. His tip of the week this week is for the mighty Rangers to win at Dundee United. Should this one go tits up then the only action to take will be for me to put Kate Nash tracks on repeat in every pub we go in when we have the Jolly boys piss up ;-). By that time one of us could well be paying out on our Steelers v Giants bet. (Who gets the furthest)

Apart from that i can honestly say that Saturday was a good day. The Imps had been on a two game winning run and were about to face second bottom Hereford United who themselves were seven games unbeaten. The Imps have been making steady progress under Steve Tilson and look a totally different side to that under Chris Sutton. Crowds are up and everybody seems alot more positive. The chip shop at the corner of the ground has been shut for the last few home games so we have had to find a new pre match chip shop, which we have and very nice it is to.

We have been a few times now and it has been spot on every time. I can recommend the Kebab meat and chips with the only fault being that the girl serving them put a tad too much mint sauce it but it was still first class and the chili sauce is very hot. All this for £4.10. The battered sausage chips and curry is also a big hit (and for less than three quid).

Hereford had the first attack in the first few moments but from that point on it was all City as Lincoln looked to use the flanks and stretch the Hereford defence, under the watchful gaze of Mr Barlow senior who was making his first appearance of the season. City had already wasted several chances before on loan Celtic striker Ben Hutchinson headed home a cross form Mustapha Carayol. City didn't let up and then in the 35th minute the moment i have waited all season for finally arrived.
Felice and myself have had a bet on which player scores more goals for Lincoln this season. I have gone for international striking sensation Delroy Facey while Felice is championing Drew Broughton. The loser has to pay for the others ticket for the Imps last away match of the season at Oxford United. If its a draw..Baz pays for both of us. Up till now both of us have been locked on...none, which could explain why the Imps are nearer the bottom of the league than the top.

Sir Delroy in his Grenadian National team kit.

The cross was floated in by Jarret and quick as a flash Delroy got across his man to plant a pin point bullet diving header into the top corner of the Hereford United net to give Lincoln (and Baz) some breathing space. Sincil Bank erupted and by far the largest cheer came from Baz. As for the time being he doesn't have to find a way of telling his good lady that he needs the best part of £100 quid for the last away game of the season. The downside of this however is that we now lose Delroy for a couple of games as he is on international duty. But after scored a couple the last time he was away and now opening his Lincoln account you have got to say the boy is on fire at the moment. Over to you Drew old boy.
HT 2-0

After hardly getting out of their own half for much of the game, Hereford were back in the game on 56min when a long range shot was only punched out by Anyon and Hereford tucked away the rebound. They werent in the game for long as a couple of minutes later Carayol made it 3-1 with a great solo goal. Lincoln continued to create (and miss) chances and saw the game out easy enough.

With about 10 minutes to go i saw a sight that i never thought i would see and i bet few have seen or can imagine seeing. Baz turned down A FREE chicken balti pie from one of the caterers!
So there you go. The Imps score three goals, Delroy scores and Baz turns down a pie! Not even a far eastern betting syndicate could have dreamt that little lot up could they?
This was by far Lincolns best performance of the season and a repeat of this performance next week,again against Hereford will see us into the third round of the FA Cup.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sheffield FC 2-2 Quorn FC

Today i managed to get a ground ticked off the list that has been on our radar for a couple of seasons now. The oldest football club in the world. Ladies and Gentlemen i give you Sheffield FC formed way back in 1857 members of the EVO Stick division one south and one of only two clubs to awarded the FIFA order of merit in 2004. The other being CF Real Madrid.

Sheffield or as they are nicknamed "club" play in Dronfield which is a short drive out of Sheffield. Dronfield is your stereotypical peak district kind of town with a very Yorkshire feel to it(even if it is just inside the Derbyshire border). There aren't many places i like in Yorkshire/Derbyshire but i can cope with places like this.

It was only an hour or so drive from Retford so there was plenty of time for a pint at the Coach and horses pub which is next to the ground. I have been trying a few real ales over the past few weeks as oppose to crappy 4-5% strength lagers so we went for a couple of Pints of "White Swan" which after the first mouthful went down very well(even though it looks like cat piss). The pub is a real country pub and the kind of place where you could have a real session in. Alas we had a match to go to. As it stands this place is my pub of the season so far.

It was only £6 to get in today which is the cheapest i have paid to watch a game in this division this year. The programme was £1.50 and was a decent enough effort with a few nice articles and not just the normal crappy adverts. The chap selling them was a decent fellow and we had a chat about Lincoln and the Imps (We had our Imps jackets on)

The first thing you notice as you walk into the ground is the members board. It reads as a list of who's who in world football. All the FIFA board members are there, England managers past and present many ex pros such as Alan Sherear and Les Ferdinand. Heads of national FA's are there from countries such as the USA, Holland and Hungary. People from all around the world have also joined, with members from places like Argentina, the US and Brazil. Probably the most famous name on the board has to be PELE, The greatest player to have ever played the game. When you see names like this up there it is very tempting to join and say that you to are a part of the oldest club in the world and in a way you are giving back to the club that started the game that we all love today. If you are interested in joining just check out their very good website.

The Stadium is quite smart and more than adequate for this league. The only seating is in the "MacDonald's community stand" behind the goal. To the right hand side of this is a small covered terrace. The rest of the ground is open with hard standing all the way round. The only disappointment was the club shop which was poorly stocked and didn't have any pin badges left. They did have team sheets on sale for 20p though.

Due to a decent FA Cup Run Sheffield have up to 7 games in had on some clubs in the division so its not surprising they are in the bottom third. Visitors Quorn were in midtable.
Quorn were fast out of the blocks and really took the game to the hosts forcing a flurry of saves from the home keeper. "Club" were struggling to defend set plays even though the manager was bellowing at his players to "Wrap them up" from corners. The pitch wasn't the greatest, not that it mattered as the ball spent more time in the air as oppose to on the pitch. After 20 minutes or so we sampled a cheese burger from the food hut. It was decent enough but little more than that. Sheffield doubled their lead before halftime but it didn't tell the whole story.
Quorn really took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and it was pretty much one way traffic they scored two and should have had more. The hosts will feel it was a better point than the visitors.

All in all i really enjoyed the day out and it is somewhere any football fan will enjoy going to. When people think of Sheffield and football they think of Sheffield United and Wednesday. Instead of going to either of them i would recommend either Sheffield FC; the worlds oldest club, or Hallam Fc who also play in the city and have the world's oldest football ground in the world. Plus you dont have to listen to Wednesday fans moaning about how the are a big club and shouldn't be in league one (Although it could be league two next year depending what happens on Thursday) Or Blades fans moaning about Carlos Tevez and West Ham.

Admission £6
Programme £1.50 8/10
Ground 7/10
Pub 8/10
Food Burger 6/10 £2.40
Match 7/10

Oh and the best thing about the day that we got to listen to the Imps hang on to a vital three points away at Morecombe! Happy days.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Lincoln City 1-0 Nuneaton Town

FA Cup 1st Round

Apart from last season the FA cup normally does mean "FA" as far as the Imps are concerned. Thankfully the Imps came through against a negative Nuneaton Town side who's sole aim seemed to be to put ten men behind the ball and try to get a reply.
The Imps were reduced to ten men a minute before halftime when Clark Keltie managed to get himself two bookings in the space of two minutes(Prat!). Even this didn't bring the visitors out of their defensive shell. I would have thought that will 20 minutes to go and the small home crowd getting edgy they would have made a go of it seeing how we had ten men, but it was Lincoln who finished much stronger and won the match with an Albert Jarret free kick in the 90th minute.
As the gate money is split in the FA cup it is up to the two clubs to agree ticket prices. Lincoln wanted to make it £5 for season ticket holders and £10 for everybody else. Nuneaton being the money grabbing barstewards that they are wanted full league two prices charged. The FA stepped in and set the prices at £14 in all areas. The result was that almost 2,000 less Lincoln fans attended the match than the previous home league game and thought fuck that and stayed at home or went to the pub. Thus making Nuneatons stance on ticket prices backfire on them. Bolton last season knew they couldn't sell tickets for the Lincoln game at premiership prices (much like we wont shift tickets for this game at league two prices) so the two clubs got together and came up with a sensible ticket offer and the game attracted a decent crowd considering it was just after Christmas and the weather was dreadful.
Lincolns reward is a trip to fellow league two side Hereford United in round two. I am reasonably happy with the draw, they are in the same area as us in the table and even though its away from home i think we are in with a chance of getting to round three. We will play them twice in a week as we play them at home the week before the cup tie.
Its another interesting sporting weekend for me. The Nottingham Panthers can go top of the league if we beat Cardiff and Belfast lose. Inter face Milan in the Milan derby, and on Sunday night i will be watching the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New England Partiots as we look to go a game clear in the AFC North.

All being well i should be taking in a local non league game at the oldest club in the world; Sheffield FC. The Imps travel to Morecambe and as its the "Shrimps v Imps" match i thought it would be a great time to share this video with you. It is amazing what crap some people put on Youtube, and what crap people like myself will watch.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A crappy few days in Adams sporting world.

It would be fair to say that Sunday through to Tuesday weren't the best few days for my sporting teams (bar the Nottingham Panthers who spanked both Hull and Newcastle this week)
Firstly on Sunday night i took a nights holiday off to watch Pittsburgh Steelers prime time showdown with the New Orleans saints only for the offence to forget to turn up in what was a dreadful 20-10 points defeat. Thus putting us in 2nd place in the AFC North on head to head behind the Ratbirds.
Then on Tuesday not one but two crappy results. Inter going down 3-1 at Spurs was bad enough but not nearly as bad as Lincolns crappy 2-0 defeat to Northampton at Sincil Bank. Since Steve Tilson has been here it has all been pretty positive but this was a reminder, if one was needed, that we still have a hell of a lot of work to do if we are going to stay up. At least the pre match chips were nice.
Just to complete my mood. When you have seen your team thumped at home, its raining and you are about to start a night shift and knowing you took a few hours off to watch a crappy game this song really isn't what you want to hear blasting out when you walk into work at about 10.30pm. Alas i did.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Carlton Town 7-2 Shepshed Dynamo

Today's trip nearly didn't happen due to my being a tad worse for wear after the night before. Thankfully i stuck to my plan to go to Cartlon and saw a decent enough game and saw my first ever 7-2 scoreline. I have had Carlton on my list of grounds to do for a while now and being the weekend after payday i thought if i didn't get it done this weekend i would never get it done.
Carlton is on the outskirts of Nottingham and as everybody knows Nottingham is the drinking and sporting capital of the East Midlands and always a good day out for a few beers. Nottinghamshire county cricket club have won the County championship last summer, The Mighty Nottingham Panthers ice hockey club won the challenge cup last season (and smashed Sheffield all over the ice 5-2 on Friday night in Sheffield). Shame i went to the first game in Notts on Wednesday night when Sheffield fluked a 3-1 win.
For me the best pub in Notts near the station is the Canal house bar which serves a great range of beers from all over the world. I can thoroughly recommend the Brooklyn Lager. Outside is probably the best sign outside a pub i have ever seen. And one i agree with 100%

The plan was simple enoug; train to Nottingham, then train to Carlton. Bus back from Carlton then train home and i must say everything went pretty much to plan. Nottingham city centre was full of Southampton fans ahead of their match at Notts County. There were actually a few County fans on the train to Notts all excited about welcoming yet another new manager to the club. Notts must be the only club with a higher turnover in managers than Lincoln in the past 3 seasons. How long will Paul Ince last? The man whose ambition it is to manage Inter Milan.

Carltons ground is about a 15 minute walk from the train station. There aren't any pubs around the ground so you are limited to the clubhouse that is inside the ground. It was 7 quid on the gate and £1.50 for the programme. Nottingham Forest ladies also play their home games there. As it was only about 2pm i headed straight to the bar and sunk a few pints while watching Soccer Saturday. Surprisingly enough the point of discussion was the Merseyside Red Sox crappy form and how much time should Roy be given to sort the mess out. Quite how anybody can get rid of one of Europe's most experienced and respected coaches after 10 or so league games is beyond me. He totally rescued Inter in the mid 90's; taking us from bottom of the league to the UFEA cup final in a season. Maybe the Liverpool board want him out so they can bring Chris Sutton in, such was the fantastic job he did at Lincoln? After about 5 minutes i had had enough of Phil Thompsons whining and grabbed a copy of Balls Mania, Nottinghamshires top sports paper to read. They seem to have stopped the babe of the week article, bad times. The beer was £2.80 per pint and was average at best. Not a patch on the stuff you can get in the city centre.

There were a decent number of Shepshed fans in the bar, in fact there didn't seem to be any home fans about. The ground can be descibed as basic. The only cover in the ground is a small seating area behind one of the goals. The bar, food hut and club shop are all on the side that you enter the ground. There is hard standing all the way round and that's about it. I must say i was a tad disappointed with it but when you look in the programme and see how quickly they have shot up the leagues in recent years you can understand why this ground suffers a bit in comparison to others in this division i have been to; Lincoln Utd, Brigg Town, Goole town etc etc. Carlton seem to be a club on the up though. Its just a shame they can't get many through the gate. (93 was the attendance given out and a good 20 or so of them were away fans.)

Carlton impressed me a month or so ago when i saw them beat Grantham Town 2-0 and they looked very good again here today. Shepshed got off to a dreadful start conceding their first goal after 4 minutes (which is still 3 mins and 14 seconds longer than Lincoln held out at Wycombe) When Carlton sprung the visitors offside trap. Goal number two came two minutes later and the third arrived on 11 minutes from a great header. We had to wait till the 28th minute for the fourth goal which came from the penalty spot. I didn't see what the penalty was given for as i was busy getting a portion of chips and mushy peas topped with mint sauce. They were first rate and well worth missing the offence. I did see the Penalty being converted making it 4-0.

Shepshed did get one back a 7 minutes later from the penalty spot again but any chance of a comeback was short lived as Carlton added two further goals on 35 and 39 to go in 6-1 up at half time. It was one of those games where everything Carlton hit went in.

Half time was my cue to head for the bar. Lincoln were trailing 2-1 away at high flying Wycombe, could we do what we have failed to do all season, score two goals in a match away from home or even get an away draw?
In the second half some Shepshed fans decided enough was enough and started their own game of football on one of the 5 a side pitches behind the stadium. A few others stayed in the bar. I must admit with the game as good as dead i spent about half of the second half in the bar watching the scores coming in, hoping for a second Imps goal. Carlton made it 7-1 on 69 although i didn't see it so i can't comment. With 15 minutes left i watched the rest of the game from outside instead of through the bar window and saw Shepshed get their second goal. This was met with great cheers from the traveling away fans and chants of "were going to win 8-7" and "You're not singing anymore" to the group of Carlton fans with a drum and a trumpet. Its good to see humour like this in defeat and for me sums up non league football. A nice day out, a few beers and a bit of football.

I would say that having seen them twice this year that Carlton Town are the best pound for pound side i have seen. This win lifted them up to second in the league and on the evidence of the two showings i have seen they will take some stopping. Shepshed slumped to bottom. I hope they turn it around as they have a great group of supporters but it could well be a long season for them on this showing.

Quote of the day comes from a Shepshed fan who said after the 7th when in. "Fuck me lads don't let in anymore we can't count past 7!"
Oh and the Imps got the draw!!!

Admission £7
Programme £1.50 not the greatest but far from the worse.
Badge £3
Food chips mushy peas and mint sauce. £2 very good. second only to Gainsborough.
Ground 5/10
Match quality 8/10
Clubhouse and beer 5/10 Good to see a Victoria Zizkov pennant in the bar.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

James Harrison

For some reason the NFL have fined Pittsburgh's James Harrison $75,000 dollars for these two hits in Sunday's 28-10 win over the Cleveland clowns. Tossers. Anybody else get the feeling the NFL dont like the Steelers very much?

This win put the Steelers up to 4-1 and half a game ahead of the Ratbird; who bottled it in overtime against New England. The AFC North is now looking like a two horse race. The AFC as a whole is looking a lot tougher than the NFC where weak sides such as 49ers, The Seahawks and the Giants ;-) are based. The Giants are also top of their divison so our bet is still very much on Mr Brown! See you in the Superbowl!!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Lincoln City 2-1 Maccelsfield Town

I wasn't really looking forward this game. Macclesfield were on a decent run, we hadn't won for what seems like an eternity, we hadn't scored for four and a half games, and we don't have a manager.

However upon entering the ground, things just felt different. The Imps were warming up at the Stacey West end of the stadium and it seemed a lot busier. People were discussing the managers position and prospective manager Steve Tilson was sat in the directors area after his interview for the job in the morning. It is looking like it is his job to lose.
Another couple of Sutton brainwaves had also been reversed. Firstly the Imps management team swapped the dugouts back to the positions they were pre Sutton and more importantly at kick off the Imps kicked towards the South Park end of the stadium first half and not the home end. I have always thought it is better to kick towards your home fans in the second half and it looks like the players agree with me.
The Imps backed by a larger than normal crowd were out of the blocks quickly and getting the ball down the flanks and firing plenty of crosses into the box. However as normal, we were struggling to get anybody on the end of them. Macclesfield have some tall defenders so it's no suprise that we struggled to win much in the air in the box. We were getting plenty of corners though which was a change, but all too many times the delivery was poor. We took the lead when Moses Swaibu poked it home following a goal mouth scramble. The goal drought had ended and the relief was clear for all to see. Macclesfield had the odd half chance but overall the Imps were well worth their half time lead.

At half time the youngsters in the crowd were given goody bags from the Lincoln mascot poacher and his helpers. In the bags were sweets, a fun quiz, some football trading cards, and an old Lincoln programme from last season. Its nice when the club does things like this. It doesnt take alot of time and money and it goes down well with the fans.

Macclesfield are lead by former Lincoln assistant manager Gary Simpson who worked so well along side the late great Keith Alexander during the playoff years here at Sincil bank. They also have several former Imps players in there line up. Former Imps captain Paul Morgan was on the bench while Natt Brown was in the starting line up. Former Imps Loanee Hamza Bencherif equalised for Macc with a header following some very poor defending by Lincoln from a free kick.
Lincoln retook the lead from a great free kick from Jamie Clapham. As he lined it up i said to Baz that this was going to be either booted out of the ground or smacked straight into the wall. Instead it flew straight into the top left hand corner as we looked at it. I must stress that Delroy Facey leant into the wall making a gap for the freekick to be slotted through. It was a great strike though, i can't remember a better one freekick in all my years watching matches at Sincil Bank.

All in all i felt that the atmosphere was much better and there just seemed a buzz about the place. Lets see who the new man is....

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The search for a gaffer leaves no stone unturned

Well it seems that the board are to draw up a short list of people they want to interview for the Lincoln City job on Thursday. After goofing up by appointing men who meant well but werent up to the job they have vowed to search far and wide to make sure we get the right man to get us out of the crap that we now find ourselves in...again.

"Holy smoke batman the Lincoln City job has come up AGAIN?"
"Why yes Robin but even we may not be able to crack this one!"

To be fair to the board the names being mentioned so far seem to be of a decent standard. They have also been taking advice from people who have failed as a leader, so as to not make the same mistakes.

"Yo bob hows things? no i am not to busy at the moment"

Even supporters have been involved in the process of selecting a new boss to lead us for the next eleven months or so. As you can see from this photo below.

The candidates discuss tactics before their interviews...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Chris Sutton leaves.

Well after 14 wins out of 51 games played, Chris Sutton and his number two Ian Pearce walked away from Lincoln this week for Personal reasons. The Imps are 20th in the table, the same place they were when Sutton took charge a year and a day ago. Since then he has totally rebuilt the squad so this is very much his team.
Over the past few months results and more worryingly performances have been dreadful. We haven't been conceding a vast amount of goals but have only scored 5 ourselves.
In the past i have tried to defend Sutton. I was willing to put up with poor football last season and hope to see us moving forward this. I wasn't expecting us to storm the league or even make the playoffs. I did think however we should be looking for a top half finish and an improvement in performances. Alas this hasn't happened.
On the plus side the table is still very tight so its not as if the incoming manager will inherit a side 8 points adrift and getting 4 or 5 goals slammed past them each week. Our defensive record isn't too bad, its just that because we are struggling to score, any goal we let in is fatal to our chances of getting a point or three.
I will give credit to Sutton for walking, as i am sorry to say if he had stayed you could only see one outcome. The loan market saved us last season but not being able to get a decent striker in this season has cost us. We do have wingers who can create chances and get at defenders but there is just nothing on the end of the chances they create.

Sutton struggled with his PR but i must say in the one chat we had with him at Bishop Storford in pre season, he came across very well and to his credit it was he who started the conversation. After Jacko we were always going to get somebody who was a little bit more reserved but i feel that the board could have helped him with his PR.
So who next? What let Sutton down in my view is that i don't feel he really knew what it takes to succeed at league two level. Or what players at league two are capable of. We need somebody who knows what league two is all about and have a bit of non league knowledge as well. Any takers?

Friday, 24 September 2010

Accrington Stanley 3-0 Lincoln City

Sorry for not posting much over the last few weeks or so i have been working night shifts and have had very little time to do anything else other than work, eat, sleep, and arse about. I am bearing up though however.
Sometimes in life a night that you thought was going to be crap turns out to be fantastic. Sometimes you build yourself up to a night you think is going to be fantastic and it ends up being one big let down; this one is without question in the second category.
I had been looking forward to this game all week. We were solid enough against Barnet at home the week before and i really thought we could follow that up with an away win at Stanley. Shows what i know doesn't it.

It all started so well. I had a few beers in town before we set off and all was well in the world. The journey over to Accrington went well apart from a missed turn off that was blamed on a discussion between the driver and myself as to which political party represents Guinea Pigs best(it wasn't the only time in the evening that his memory deserted him). As it turned out missing the turn off didn't really make much difference and the pigs were forgiven.

We got parked up and headed over to the Crown pub. Its a decent pub which is fine with away fans going in there. We all got our drinks (Well apart from one of our number who got his son a drink but forgot his own Doh! I had a quick flick through the programme which wasn't great to be honest and certainly wasn't worth £3 and we made our merry way into the ground.
And thats when it went tits up.

The Accrington home end used to be full of flag, banners, and colour. Now for some reason all flags have been banned as i found out when i tried to hang up my Canadian flag. Having been a steward in Lincoln for six seasons i know there is a right and a wrong way to do the job and the Stanley stewards most definately fall into the second class. Their whole attitude and the way they went about there job stank. From the way they failed to react quickly enough to a Lincoln fan who had a nasty fall on the concrete terrace, to the reason flags aren't allowed being quoted as "they are deemed to be a safety hazard". Yet out dated crumbling concrete terracing apparently is fine. In all fairness the Stanley fans are pretty pissed off at the flag ruling as well. I am sure that the Muppet's could have done the job better. When you see poor workmanship like this it makes you realise how well Gary and the gang do their job on the Stacey west end at Lincoln.

Right from the first whistle Stanley were on top. The Imps couldn't even get the ball let along do anything with it. On the rare times we did get the ball we just booted it high and long to the front man and with no support for him it just came straight back. Stanley scored two goals on 17 and 21 which as good as killed the match off as a contest.

The side pretty much curled up and died in the second half. What summed it up for me was the third goal when Adam Watts was shoved of the ball as if he was a bunny rabbit and their player ran on to make it 3-0 at the end where the Lincoln fans were stood. The only other action of note was when Scott Kerr who had only been on the field for about 15 minutes was shown a straight red which prompted a 20 man bust up. To be fair to Scott their player did make a meal out of it but if you make that sort of challenge then you run the risk of a card. For my money it was only worth a yellow.

Stanley then took their foot off the gas and the match petered out. City wasted a couple of half chances but that's all they were. We were well beaten and i can't remember City putting in such a negative performance away from home. I am sure that given time, this one will be looked back and viewed in the same class as Chesterfield and Wycombe away in 1998 and Halifax in 2000.

On this showing we are heading for the drop. I can take losing but there is a right and wrong way to lose and this was in the latter section.
On the plus side we had an excellent Kebab on the way back and for only £5! I will post the menu when i dig it out. This has the lot. Lamb Donner with Kofte, Lamb and chicken sheesh all served in a fresh naan bread! There is always light at the end of the tunnel!!

Admission £15
Programme £3 Crap
Ground Crap
Imps "performance" 0/10 Crap
Man of the match - All the Imps fans who travelled to watch this shit

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Northwood 3-1 Finchley and Wingate

Last season i was able to see all bar one of the six qualifying rounds for the FA cup. This season due to Lincolns home games clashing with when the cup rounds are due to be played i will miss them all bar one. So a chance to take in this extra preliminary round reply wasn't one to miss! The first game between these two non league London heavyweights finished goalless so something had to give....didn't it?

Thankfully the tube was in full working order so it was a straight forward enough journey up to Northwood hills from my central London base (passing Wembley stadium on the way). The road the ground is on is only about a ten minute walk from the station but finding the lane that leads up to the ground isn't quite as easy. If you go to the bottom of the lane and come to a posh gym with loads of fancy cars outside then you have gone too far. What you are looking for is a small crappy sign pinned up about half way down the road near to some allotments.(see below) The ground is about 500 metres down from here. To get to the bar you have to go past the turnstile block.

The bar is a tad on the small side but does have a cosy feel to it. There is a hatch serving hot food as well. I didn't have any as i had a Roasted beef salad with goats cheese and wholemeal bread washed down with tomato juice for lunch at a top London eatery. As i was tucking into this the rest of the Retford Imps were eating Kebabs 100 plus miles north in Rotherham ahead of the Imps JPT Match there. No way would this humble scribe eat such slop (And if you believe all that....)
I guzzled my pint and admired all the signed football memorabilia on the walls. Club badges cost the standard £3.50 and were available from behind the bar. On overhearing that they hadn't printed that many programmes i quickly downed my pint and took a brisk walk to the entrance to purchase one. Yes i am that sad that I rushed my pint down to make sure I got a programme that will more than likely be worth precisely nothing in years to come.

It was £8 to get in tonight. I decided to have a stroll around the ground as there was over 30 minutes to kick off. As i wandered to behind the goal where the visitors were warming up, one of the subs managed to boot the ball over the crossbar and into into the grave yard and nettle beds behind that end. "Can you get that mate" he said. Needless to say i didn't and just wandered on. If its in the ground i don't have a problem with fetching the ball but if he thinks i have come all the way to London just to fetch balls from a grave yard covered in nettles, dog piss, and god knows what else he can think again. In the end he gave up and went for it himself and the starting 11 headed into the changing room.

The ground isn't too bad. There is plenty of covered seating and standing and there does seem to be room for further expansion if required. The side opposite the seating area is raised up which gives a good view. I sat down as i was knackered from a tough days sightseeing and i had a front row view as well!

As the scoreline from the first match shows the two sides were very well matched and cancelled each other out. Both sides had a quick forward lines and were looking for the ball over the top alot although both sides looked to play the ball on the ground hell of alot more that most of the evo stick league sides i have seen (The northern version of this league). The coaching does seem to be geared to playing the passing game down south as oppose to the kick and run style of the north which is both a shame and a curiosity as to why the coaches up this end continue to play this way.
Finchley and Wingate took the lead when their number 9 Leon Smith beat the offside trap on the left and smartly rounded the keeper before tapping into an empty net for a very well taken goal.
Northwood drew level on 44 min when Leon Osei scored from close range, and with that it was back to the bar for more ale! In the second half Northwood grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 72 through Aaron Cato. Again this was a well taken effort; A long range shot came in from Northwood, which the visitor's keeper dived full length to beat out, but only into the path of Osei who did well not to either sky it or blast it into the keeper on the floor. Cue wild celebrations you could see how much the FA Cup means at this level to the players and fans. Northwood made the game safe with a penalty on 85 minutes from John Christian. A minute later they had another one but this one was fluffed and 4-1 would have been harsh on Finchley and Wingate. Good luck to Northwood in the next round.

The only down side to the night was my bladder. I knew I'd had a few drinks at the game but i was sure my bladder was empty enough as i left the ground. However London underground again had other ideas. The train back rattled and bounced along the track way too much for my liking and then had to stop at baker street. It didn't take long till the next one came but when you are busting for a piss it seemed like a life time finally the fucking thing got into Kings cross and i waddled like a duck to the gents. Thankfully i didn't have to pay and there were no gentlemen "sharing" toilets. There really are no words i could use to express how relieved i was after that piss, pure bliss it was.

Admission £8
Programme £2 again very good 8/10
Ground 5/10
Badge £ 3.50
Match quality 7/10

Friday, 3 September 2010

AFC Hornchurch v Wealdstone

A five day break in London seemed the perfect reason to catch a couple of non league games in that great capital city of ours. First up on Bank Holiday was a trip out to East London to watch AFC Hornchurch lock horns with Wealdstone. My plan was to go on the tube but as this was Bank holiday engineering works on the district line thwarted my plans so instead i grabbed the tube to Fenchurch street and got an over ground train to Upminster.(Which cost me an extra 7 quid) nothing is ever simple when i am involved it would seem.

Upon alighting at Fenchurch i went straight into the pub next to the station where Fosters was advertised at £1.60 a pint on Mondays. However once inside you discovered that they had run out of the aforementioned Fosters so i reverted to the normal £3 a pint for crap beer that is a feature of London life. The ground is a pleasant 15 minute walk from the town centre and is in a sleepy residential area. It was 9 quid to enter and £2 for the programme. As ever the first port of call on a warm summer day was of course the bar. It is situated in the corner of the Stadium and is elevated over the pitch. There are a few tables outside the bar as you enter so you can take your pint outside and chill which was my preferred option. To the far side of the bar there is another outside seating area where the club officials, WAGS and hangers on sit to watch the game (Well that's how it seemed although i am sure anybody can go out there if they wish.)

I sat outside and read the programme in the sun. It was actually quite a good effort. Not too much fancy colouring but plenty to read which is how programmes should be. All in all well worth the £2. The managers story about why the first team keeper will be out for a while was well worth reading.

The ground seems as if it was designed for athletics first and football second; with a running track around the pitch, pole vault and long jump at the bar end of the ground and a hammer/discus area at the other area. You can stand behind either goal but the view isn't the greatest. On one side there are two small stands with red and white seats in.(nice colour choice) On the other side there is another seated area and a terrace area where the most vocal Hornchurch fans stand.

Next mission was to try to get a club badge. The clubshop is a portacabin which sold more or less everything but badges. However help was on hand; one Wealdstone follower (I assume the chap who runs their club shop) Had a stall selling a large number of football badges. So i was able to pick one up from him. I also bought a Wealdstone badge and an Imps one from him that i didn't have.

Before the match a grabbed a burger; very nice it was too, and then went and sat on the far side on the halfway line for the first half.
The first half was quite dull; the ref didn't let the game flow and the match was littered with free kicks. Chances were few and far between but Hornchurch just about shaded it. Sorry if this seems a tab brief but there really isn't that much to tell about the first half. Wealdstone built up a head of steam and had a few corners late on in the half but that was that.

For me the star of the day was the club PA announcer. He is one of the few chaps who sounds like he like doing the job and is very enthusiastic about his work. Although he does like to repeat himself a bit e.g
"On Thursday Ladies and Gents its a Capital league game yes a Capital league game".
"Next up folks its away travel yes away travel!!"

I would still say though he is one of the best comperes i have heard over the past three seasons of watching non league football. Certainly much better than the chap we have at Lincoln doing the job.

Thankfully the second half was much better. I stood on with the Wealdstone fans over on the corner where they were attacking. On 53 minutes they took the lead when a great chip just crept over the line before the keeper punched it out. It was a bold call from the linesman to give it but the correct one in my humble view (I was smack in line with it). After that point, Hornchurch seemed to have run out of ideas till the Wealdstone defence took pity on them and conceded a needless penalty for a hand ball on 71 minutes. The penalty was rammed into the net and it was very much game on once again.

The game turned on its head two minutes later when the home side took the lead and it was from one of those goals that is so simple yet incredibly tough to defend against. A low cross was hit into the box with pace and met by the striker as he got across his defender from about 7 yards and turned it in. It was played brilliantly in that grey area between the Keeper and defender that is just a total nightmare to defend against. As a keeper if you go for it you run the risk of a deflection or bobble taking it away from you where as the defender doesn't want to go for it and bring the striker down.

Wealdstone huffed and puffed but never really tested the Hornchurch keeper after that. The home side held on for the points in what was a hard game that was at times ruined by the whistle happy ref. Both sides looked decent and i would think they will both be nearer the top than the bottom of the table come may.
All in all a decent day out and a trip to recommend.

Admission £9
Programme £2 9/10 good show all round here chaps.
Food Burger £3 decent enough 7/10
Clubhouse 8/10
Ground 6/10
Match Quality 7/10

The only problem of the day was the fact i managed to get lost coming out of fenchurch station when looking for the tube on Tower hill. Can there be a more annoying breed of person than the Japanese Tourist? Curse you London underground for your engineering works!