Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter and beyond

Busy few days in the football world coming up so here's a run down of the next couple of weeks

Games i hope to be at.

2-4-10 Retford United v Durham City
3-4-10 Cheltenham Town v Lincoln City
5-4-10 Lincoln City v Morecambe

10-4-10 Berwick Rangers v East Stirlingshire
13-4-10 Notts County v Lincoln City
17-4-10 Lincoln United v Sheffield fc (subject to change if i find something better)

Just looking a bit further forward.

It has been announced On May the 3rd (bank holiday Monday) That Sincil Bank will play host to a match in with all the money taken on the gate etc etc will go to the family of the late,great Keith Alexander.former manager of the Imps.

The game will see Keith's hand man Gary Simpson lead a team of Keith's ex players (not just Lincoln ones) against an all stars side lead by Barry Fry and former Inter Milan midfielder and current MK Dons manager Paul Ince.
As of yet no names have been announced but i am sure this will be one not to miss.

The added bonus for Retford based fans is that you have a reason not to go to the crappy Retford charter day that we have every year! So you can either walk round the town, see the crappy tombola stalls with the same old cheap shitty prizes look at the tractor display that hasn't changed for years Watch the boring displays in the park while you sink up to your ankles in mud while wondering why your council tax money has been spent on this dross.
Or you can go along to bank and support this great event at Sincil Bank and see some familiar names form days gone by. The burgers at both events though will more than likely be rank.

Get to the Bank, you know it makes sense!!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Its Official!

Just as i was leaving for the Imps match on Saturday The postman delivered my Groundhog club membership pack and i am now officially a member of the world famous Punxsutawney groundhog club.

Membership card

For a mere $10 you get a membership card,Signed picture, Certificate of membership, a birthday card and vouchers for a couple of dollars of at a nearby pizza restaurant. you also get a card telling you all the members of the "inner circle" The group who look after Phil and uphold the groundhog honour and spread the word about this great powers!

Membership certificate

Signed picture

Birthday card

But for me the biggest thing you get is knowing you have joined a club of such standing in the field of weather predicting that is respected all around the world.

But what next what can we the good folk of Nottinghamshire do to show our application for Phil? Well we can form our very own Groundhog charter! We need at least ten of us to do it then we contact the club pay our fee (again $10 per head) and we can become an official part of the club! Let me know if you are interested. the details can be found on the Punxsutawney club website it the links bar of this blog!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Lincoln City 1-1 Northampton Town

Ok today's blog post has gone abit arse over tit. I have got a bit bored of blogging the home match's, down to the fact that i am running out of ideas for fresh pictures. My plan was to go up to the top of steep Hill in Lincoln and get a few nice pictures of the city to put in here. Alas as soon as i got up to the top the camera battery's packed up! So that fucked that idea.

I had spend most of the week thinking we weren't going to win this match. Northampton had won 5 games on the trot and were in the last playoff position. We had been in decent from with only one defeat i the last 7 match's but all good things come to an end. Over the years Imps/cobblers matches have been pretty boring, Apart from once when we came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 the rest have been very dull and drap affairs. The match down at Northampton earlier was predictable crap and resulted in a one-nil home win.

Today though we played well and for me it showed the progress we have made. We bossed the first half and scored a great free kick from Matt Saunders, his third goal of the season. Northampton's goal came on 84 Min's and i am afraid that Rob Burch has to carry the can for this one.had he come and claimed the ball instead of letting Moses try and deal with it when he was facing the wrong way we would have be OK. Moses did what he could but the ball ran lose in the box and bang 1-1!
Northampton then picked up the pace and we were hanging on for the last ten minutes or so.

Chris Sutton has said recently that he wants Burch to make a decision as to if he intends to sign his new deal or not. A lot of Lincoln fans on various forums seem to think we would be lost without Burch and he is destined to be a playing in the Championship next season. In my view neither of these last two statements is correct. He could well hold his own in league one but goofs like this will put championship sides off. And secondly i am sure that with Chris Suttons wealth of contacts we have a very good chance of getting a more than capable replacement. And it wont be some Muppet from a side like Forest who like to loan us poor players from the poor youth and reserve set up they have there. Lets stick to dealing with sides like Fulham and Villa.

I want to give a special mention to Paul Green. Due to our injury problems at center half he was asked to play there and mark Adebayo Akinfenwa a player who looks like he should be playing Center for the steelers instead of center forward for Northampton Town. Green kept him quite all game and was eveybodys man of the match. (apart from the match sponsors!)

Overall i am a happy bunny. We are progressing,the crowds are coming back Sutton's proving the douters wrong and we are 12 points clear of Grimsby with eight match's left.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Gainsbrough Trinity 2-0 Corby Town

The fourth visit of the season to watch Gainsborough Trinity. I have seen them quite a few times over the last couple of seasons and they have never impressed me. The last time i watched them i left the ground thinking that they were odds on for relegation. I am now happy to eat some humble pie and i am delighted to say they look to have turned a corner and look well safe of relegation.
Tonight's opponents were Corby Town. I was very impressed with them (and there support) when i saw them lost 2-1 at Eastwood Town in the FA cup. Corby Town have a few ex Lincoln players in there ranks just to add further interest to the match. Its always nice to see old faces. The weather wasn't to great but as i hadn't seen a game at the weekend my football itch needed scratching.

First stop was the Blues club where two pints came in for under £5. One item of notice in the bar was the dart board. Not any old board but a "Lincoln" board.

As you can see there are no trebles on the board. As a few people know i was quite into darts in the early 2000,s running the Anchor team for a while alongside Retford darting superstars like the "lord of sod all". The Lincoln board isn't seen outside of Lincolnshire but most of the pubs in Lincoln have these kind of boards and are very proud of their game. I haven't played much on these types of boards but i do remember a very drunken game of Lincoln darts with Gav and co after our 1st round FA cup match with Bury in the 2001/02 season. If only i could remember the score of the cup game. was it 1-0 or 1-1?I do remember debating if we were going to go for a "Swift shot or two" in the Northern or the Clinton when we got back. They are both now shut. And it was the Northern who beat us twice in cup semi finals at darts all those years ago. Even though we beat them in the league. sods law eh?

Corbys support wasn't as large as at Eastwood but was respectable none the less. I havnt been to there ground yet but we did drive through on the way to Northampton earlier in the season. Gainsborough have had some impressive results recently. The standout one was beating league leaders and friends of this blog Fleetwood Town at home. Brian little looks to have turned the tide (at last). We paid out ten quid to enter and picked up the programme. First port of call was the food counter and i snapped up sausage chips and pies for the bargain price of £2.50. Gainsborough's chips are the best i have ever had in a football ground and tonight was no different. the mint sauce was great as well. Baz gave the pie a big thumbs up!

The opening to the match was bright with Gainsborough causing trouble down the left hand flank. The Corby number four was a portly fellow but he and the rest of his defence held firm. Ex Imp Paul Mayo was at Left bank for the steel men. After watching his playoff goal against Scunthorpe utd on the big screens at Lincoln a week or so back its sad to see him playing at this level. In the other center back position was Phil Watt. He will always remembered for the way John Schofield threw him into our starting line up against Shrewsbury town on the opening day of the 2007/08 season and he got ripped to bits. Had he been given chance to develop he may have had a decent go in the football league.

Trinity took the lead through a header from Lewis McMahon on 13 min's and that was pretty much that for the first half. Corby looked a totally different side from the one i had seen at Eastwood. maybe they don't like the Lincolnshire cold and rain. They did come into it much more in the second half though. Trinity were on the back foot for much of the first 25 minutes or so and you got the feeling that it was when not if Corby would score. Then as so often happens in football Corby smacked the bar with a header and the game changed. Had it gone in i am sure they would have gone on to win the match,as it was it was the home side who upped there game. Trinity all but wrapped up the points in the 85th minute when sub Darryn Stamp drilled home from the edge of the box. It was harsh on Corby but that's football for you.
There was just time for a brief appearance from ex Imps and Forest star Jason lee but he failed to do much(although he didn't have much chance).

One thing to comment on about a trip to Gainsborough is the music played on the PA. You get a blast of "blue moon" when the home side score, at halftime we had "Great balls of fire" and on they way out after the match we had the "Happy days" theme song!

And with this win any threats of relegation are now gone, but will it be happy days for the blues next season?

Admission £10
Programme £2 6/10 good football quiz in it though, almost as good as Worksops
Food chips sausage and mushy peas £2.50- fantastic 9/10
Match quality 5/10 - average stuff

Monday, 22 March 2010

Retford Town

Great news has for football in Retford has reached the mind of an Imp HQ this week. Retford Town have reached the Nottinghamshire Intermediate cup final. Fans of this blog may remember we had the pleasure of watching there 5-3 demolition of Awsworth villa in the third round. I predicted there that they should fear nobody in the competition and are now in the final after beating NSL side Attenbrough 4-3 after extra time.

There opponents are another NSL side Gelding Southbank. The match is to be played on Tuesday the 20th of April at Kirklington Road home of Rainworth Miners welfare (The Rudy funk express) The match will KO at 7.30 pm. for details on how to get there check out the directions here

Rainworth have a cracking little ground so if you can get yourself down to support Martin keetons all red army bring the Trophy back to Retford and prove once again that the true non league footballing power lies in the north and not the south of our great sporting county.

Retford towns director of football eyes up the way to Rainworth

Meanwhile in the Notts senior cup Retford United have made it through to the semi finals and have a very winnable home tie with EMCL side Dunkirk fc at home. this will be played on the 30th of April at Cannon Park,Retford. The other semi looks even more one sided with CML side Forest Town playing Blue square north Eastwood Town.So it looks odds on for a repeat of last years final.
If so lets hope its the same result and both of Nottinghamshires two senior knock out trophy's reside it Retford at the end of the season

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Midweek reaction.

More to follow about the Imps home draw against Dagenham and Redbridge and the only side from Milan to make the last eight of the Champions league. Plus the Steelers 2010 fixture list and my reaction to it. (limited as my knowledge is on the matter)

Stay tuned!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Shirebrook Town 1-2 Selby Town

The good thing about the Imps playing on Friday nights is that i can do another random non league match on the Saturday. Its even better when they win because i can sit back, relax and just enjoy the match knowing all around us are playing catch up. There were a few matches i could have done, but i decided to watch the latest gripping episode of Shirebrook Town's battle against relegation in the NECL Premier division.
Shirebrook is quite an easy one from Retford on the train. I left Retord just after one, then its a half a hour wait in Worksop for the Nottingham train (which stops at Shirebrook) and the ground is a 2 minute walk from the station. Although waiting around in Worksop isn't the most inspiring thing to do in the world it is made much more pleasant due to the Mallard Pub which is built into the Station and must be one of the smallest pubs in Nottinghamshire.

Sky sports news was on the TV with Phil Thompson spouting off about Liverpool's latest woes, thankfully i couldn't hear it totally but i would imagine he would be blaming the owners for everything. Not the manager for bringing in crap players and letting go of good ones and paying over the odds prices for them. To say the pub is so small, it was surprising to see there was a bloke from Denmark and a chap from the Dominican rep in there out of the 5 people in there, including the barman. Interesting fact of the day i learned in there, was that the "World series" is named after a man whose surname was World and had something to do with setting Baseball up. I have no idea if this is true or not if you do then feel free to comment in the comment box below this blog entry.

I was chatting to a rouge Mansfield fan on his way to the Stags and Tamworth match about all things football. The Stags new away kit sounds quite smart. Shame that it will be only seen in the conference because Mansfield's support deserves to be in the league and we can watch more 4-2 Lincoln away wins there.

I was sat in Shirebrook's clubhouse at about ten past two drinking Carling cold at £2.61 a pint. It didn't seem too busy so i settled down to watch the build up to the Ireland v Wales six nations rugby union match. I don't care for rugby too much,but it was the only thing on. I went into the ground at just gone 2.30 and it looked as if i was the first paying person in the ground.

The Shirebrook players were warming up at the far end of the pitch. Some of them were wearing Peterbrough United wind tops from about the 2000-01 season. They had sewn Shirebrook badges over the Peterbrough ones but having the word posh written across the front gave the game away. I walked around and took a few crappy pictures then when and sat down to read the programme.

Shirebrook have struggled this season and are firmly in the relegation battle and are points 9 clear of Lincoln Moorlands Railway in the last relagation place. (although LMR have 5 games in hand on Shirebrook) down at the bottom of the NECL. The last time i saw them was at Armthorpe just before Christmas and they were well beaten. Selby are in upper mid table, and the first match between the clubs finished 0-0.

Selby had the first chance; drawing a great save from the home keeper down at his near post in the first few minutes, but that was about as interesting as the first half got although i would say that Selby shaded it just. I can honestly say that this was one of the dullest 45 minutes of football i have watched this season. The boredom was broken up by a trip to the snap bar where i got an above average cheeseburger and a cracking cup of tea for £2.10. This will be right up there for the value for money award at the end of the season. The half time whistle signaled a return to the bar.

The rugby was still on the tv with Ireland giving Wales a good kicking. I had to check the half times scores on my phone and saw that our good friends from Grimsby were losing up at Morcombe. Torquay and Maccelsfied were both winning and Cheltenham, who are the club the cods are most likely to catch if they catch any, were losing at Burton. After I had finished my pint i trudged into the ground hoping the game would get better. I got in just in time to see Selby take the lead when a cross come shot ended up in the back of the Shirebrook net.

I got talking to a Selby fan who told me that they had lost about 7 players in midweek are were in his words "up shitstreet" Even if this was a weaker than normal Selby side they still had to much for Shirebrook. The goal seemed to settle them down and they started to knock the ball around alot better. The home team seemed a tad rattled and stared giving away more and more free kicks.
Selby looked to have the points wrapped up when their number 9 latched onto a ball over the top and shot past the keeper to make it 2-0. It looked like a soft goal to me, and one the defence can't take a great deal of credit for.
Shirebrook then played their best football of the match. Why do teams start playing when they go 2 down? They got a good, well worked, goal a couple of minutes before the end, "Come on there's still time for a couple of goals" came the cry from one Shirebrook fan. Alas there wasn't and Selby held on for the win.
I enjoy going to watch Shirebrook but if they dont pull there socks up soon then they will be looking the NECL division one firmly in the face.

As i waited for the train back to Worksop i checked the scores. Grimsby had got a draw, as had Torquay with Crewe. On the face of it, the cods draw looked a decent point.. until i saw that Cheltenham had pulled off an amazing 6-5 away win at Burton; thus Grimsby lost some more ground. The Imps were now ten points clear of the cods with a game in hand. Grimsby now trail their nearest rivals by 6 points.

From time to time i do ask myself why i go and watch matches like this and do i need to get a life? Then you come across a group of people who make you feel much better about yourself and life in general. A bit like watching the Jerermy Kyle show. Watch out America show is coming to you in 2010!
My pick up came at Worksop station; on the way from Shirebrook to Worksop i chatted with the same Stags fan from earlier about how bad the two games we had both watched were. When we alighted we could tell something wasnt quite right. Worksop station at 5.20 pm isnt normally busy but tonight was different; it was full of Roy Cropper lookalikes with very expensive cameras and note pads a-ready yep... the station had been taken over by...TRAINSPOTTERS!!

So we took the only sensible course of action we could..head straight over to the Mallard for more beer. The pub was busy so you could hear all the conversation and it all seemed to centre on "it"

"Whens it due?"

"I think somebody said the signal man said it was running an hour late"

"it was an hour late out of Baranby"

Although i was tempted to ask what "it" was i knew that it would be a fatal move to do so. Then somebody asked us if we were here to see "the train" i was tempted to say "no i am fucking not i have been to watch the mighty Shirebrook" but manners got the better of me. With that we gulped our pints down and headed out to get the Retford bound train.
As we waited some guy below told us "it" was about an hour late. Not the Retford train but this special steam train that every misfit this side of the Watford gap had come to see. He then went on to bore us shitless about the train and how it had a diesel engine on the back so they dont have to pay network rail docking charges or some shit like that.
Its each to there own with hobbies of course, but it does get on my tits when you go to catch a train and every freak going has there cameras pointed on you. A coal train went past and some of the prats still recorded it. Why? I mean what are you going to do with that? Who is going to want to watch a goods train rumbling through Worksop at 5.45 pm ever again? At least with football you dont know how the match will pan out. With trainspotting the train just drives past! Simples!

A sober thought to add, is that there were a couple of lady trainspotters! so this all means that sometime, somewhere in the future, these spotters can proudly show the video of a crappy March night in Worksop when they filmed an old goods train rumbling past, and talked to a freak who had nothing better to do with his time or money that to go and watch a crappy football match at Shirebrook to their grandchildren.
But why oh why can they afford top of the range cameras and stuff but get trousers that dont fit?

Admission £5
Programme £1 5/10
Food Burger& tea £2.10 tea 9/10 Burger 7/10
Match quality 3/10

Lincoln City 3-1 Hereford United

A couple of weeks ago when this game was all about the "coupe de monde" (World cup) making its only UK appearance on its world tour here. However since the tragic and sudden death of former Imps manager the focus of the match had changed for many Imps supporters. As this was the first home match we have had since he died at his home after his Maccelsfield Town side had played at Notts County.
Over 5000 tickets had been sold pre match and fans could pay on the gate. The picture below was taken at about 6.55 and is a sight that may not be seen at the bank for a while, a cue to get into the ground!!! i kid you not my friends i kid you not!

You could just tell it a different type of match. It took us a while to park up,the cue was at least 25 deep at the fish and chip shop out side the ground, there were no programme sellers about (i thought they had sold out!) Once inside the ground i was told i had to change seats as from where my seat is i couldn't see the Big screen that had been set up by FIFA set up give fans a clear video of all the crappy official adverts from world cup sponsors,woops sorry i mean i couldn't see the world cup being lifted! It didn't matter to me anyway because we never sit in our season ticket seats anyway but surly the club should have told me before the match via email or letter about this? As it just placed more work on the stewards who already had a lot on there plate tonight. In fact its only down to the fact i know them all i found out about this.(although i dont know them as well as a couple of them know each other)
In the center circle a plinth had been erected. For what we thought the trophy would be lifted. In the pre match build up England legend Martin Peters, who scored the 2nd goal in England's 4-2 win over West Germany in the 1966 final was interviewed by Lincolns MC. Martin was a total gentleman and spoke with a huge passion about the match. He must have been asked the same questions thousands of times since 1966 but never once did he come across as being bored with it all. I really can't see the likes of our current "hero's" the likes of Gerrard, Terry etc etc acting with such dignity and class in 40 years time

The big screen wasn't to bad though. although there were the normal adverts and stuff there was also some nice features and highlights from world cups gone by. (Italy in 1982 being the main feature) Lincoln had prepared a tribute video for Keith and FIFA lets us play it which was a very nice touch. FIFA get alot of flack in the British press but on this occasion i take my hat off to them. The video brought back alot of great memory's from Keiths two stints in charge of the Imps The highlights being our 6-3 aggregate semi final win over Scunthorpe in the playoffs back in 2003. Specking of which isn't it great to see Brain Laws making a total balls up of it at Burnley? Also in the programme there were lots of tributes written from the world of football to Keith including one from Mr Laws. Wasn't he the man who when asked why he didn't shake hands with Keith after there 5-3 first leg kicking gave this answer "i only shake hands with gentlemen and i didn't see a gentleman in front of me? " He did give the big man a great tribute though.

Before the match there was a minutes silence followed by the crowd singing a verse form the football hyme "adie with me" and then a minutes applause. With a picture of Keith on the big screen. All very moving and touching. Although Keith was probably looking down,eating a bourbon biscuit and thinking why are they making all this fuss over me!
R.I.P Keith.
It was also great to see so many (me included) wearing yellow socks in honour of Keith. The sports shops in Lincolnshire must have made a fortune. This however is the only time i plan to wear my trouser bottoms on the inside of my socks!

Oh there was a game tonight! Both sides were in the bottom 7 and a win for the Imps would draw them level on points with Hereford and take them 11 points ahead of Grimsby having played the same amount of games. Although with Grimsby playing the next day The Imps would again have a game in hand. Which is to be played at Home to Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday night.

The game starter with both sides looking a little nervous with both sides misplacing passes and knocking the ball out of play alot. After 11 minutes though the Imps made the break through. On loan striker David Somma with a great finish after holding off the Hereford defence. Scott Kerr with the through ball. It was a great finish and it was Sommas second goal in three games for the Imps.
Although the crowd was over 6,000 the atmosphere was still a little down. Hereford started to knock the ball around and took control of the match leaving the Imps chasing shadows at times.
Then on 21 minutes the Imps doubled there lead when Matt Saunders hit a 35 yarder in to top corner. It was his first goal for Lincoln since arriving on loan from Fulham.
Hereford didnt let there heads drop and continued to have more of the ball. Hereford got back into the game in the 42nd minute when City again messed up when they had a couple of chances to clear it. So City were a tad lucky to go into the break 2-1 up.

HT 2-1

So on to the reason some of the crowd had come to see,the world cup Trophy in all its glory! The stand was set up infront of the right hand(as we were looking) of the St Andrews stand. It took a while but eventually Martin Peters lifted up the cup for all to see. Here's a nice little fact. The only people who are allowed to touch the world cup are either heads of state or people who have won the world cup. Hence it is always carried around in its box. Some people where disappointed it didn't come out on to the pitch but i was just grateful to see it. Its the closes that i am going to get to it.

The First 20 minutes of the game were very poor from a Lincoln view point. Rob Burch in goal was having a nightmare from crosses and balls into the box either having to gather them at the second attempt or rabbit punching the balls and letting the defenders deal with it. In his defence he was the star of the show last week and Rochdale by all account's gobbling up everything that came his way. Tonight he was doing his frighten kitten impression.
After one such goof the bulls nearly got it back to 2-2 but city got in not just one but two goal line blocks to keep them level. it was to be the turning point.
The Imps made it 3-1 when Saunders blasted home from 12 yards from a pass from the outside of David Somma,s boot. The game then petered out and the Imps gained a great 3 points.
The down side to tonight's match was that Ian Pearce and Moses Swabiu both limped off bringing the total number of injured center halves to four. With only Danny Hone being fit. We all know we wont see Adam Watts this season so lets hope we can get a couple of the other four back ASAP.
There were lots of plus points from the match but for me the biggest point was the forward link up play between Drew Broughton and David Somma was something we have been missing for far to long now.

Is it your turn or mine for the tea dear?

Great credit must also go to both sets of players as it would have been easy to have got carried away with all that was going on pre match. But knuckled down and put on a good show. The Stewards in the Stacey West did a grand job as normal. I was even told to get away from the front of the stand when we made it 3-1 by a certain team member who may or may not be close to a male team member. As we left the stadium the tribute video was played on the screen again and the helicopter set of to France with the World cup for the next leg on its world tour. Lets hope it doesnt go back there after the World Cup Final.

Admission - season ticket
Programme- Great Tribute to Keith 10/10
Food sausage roll- crap.
Imps performance 7/10
Man of the Match David Somma.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The CML Football Bonanza! Three games,Three fools! One day!

One of the high points of the season for me. The seventh Central midlands league (CML) football Bonanza. It is the day when the league stages several match's on the same day with different kick off times so fans can see all the games that day. Indeed the CML hold the world record for holding 5 games in a day. I think that may be too much for me but i can imagine the excitement for getting into the record books.
Although the CML is at step 7 of the non-league pyramid it is very important. Here is where both clubs and players start out if they are serious about progressing in the game. indeed several former CML clubs are now in the Unibond league and still progressing. Retford United for example were in the CML in the early 2000,s.

For the clubs chosen to host these games have to but alot of work into getting them on because where as they were normally get a crowd of say 20-50 they have to cater for 200-300. The plus side is they can make a huge difference to the clubs bank balance and its a big plus for the players as it could well be the largest attendance that they every play in front of. It means pretty much the same to the clubs as a FA Cup 3rd round tie means to clubs like Lincoln City.
This year we went to some of the CML more isolated clubs so only three match's but for me that was more than enough.
First stop was North of Hull to watch Eastington United v Hutton Cranswick United with a 10.30 ko.

Part one Easington United v Hutton Cranswick United.

The journey from Retford to Easington was easy enough.(apart from a Tesco lorry holding us up) leaving at 7.45 we arrived with time to spare at about 9.45. Thankfully it wasn't raining as they would have put a downer on the day from the off. Driving through Hull brought all the memory's back form the times when Lincoln used to spank Hull regularly. Off all the beatings we gave them my favourite must have been when we inflicted there first defeat at the KC Stadium on them with Bimmo,s penalty kick in front of the Lincoln fans. Hull City are now in the premiership if they can do it?

After showing our tickets at the entrance table. (it was a very reasonable £10 for all three match's and programmes) we collected our programmes from the non-league legend that is Rob Hornby. The whole hop idea came from Rob and he puts hours into planning these events and does a great job.
Another thing i like about the hop is that there are stalls selling programmes and my favourite- pin badges! Last year i must have spent about 20 quid so this time around i limited myself to just the host clubs and if i saw it a pin i have been after for a while- and i found one! The one in question was Nottinghamshires most northerly club Harworth C.I! success to me already! Next on my list is getting a Pittsburgh Steelers pin!!! if only somebody would get me one ;-)

Next on the hit list breakfast! As many people know i can't stand bacon. Not the smell the texture the look the taste nothing. So waiting in the hut for a sausage cob and a bacon sandwich for my fellow hopper and i wasn't my idea of fun but i held on and didn't rolf up. How bad i am? When ever bacon is being cooked in a room i try to get out of there quicker than a greyhound out of the traps. The two cobs cost £4. The bacon got a 8 and i gave the sausage a 7 due to the cob being a tad to big for the sausage. The tea as it was the first cup of the day and served in a proper cup got a 10. Best cuppa of the season so far.

The Ground may be basic but that's no bad thing. The pitch is fenced off all the way round with the changing rooms and tea huts on the left hand side as you enter the ground. The ground staff did a cracking job to get the game on as the pitch had been underwater during the week. Indeed the club did a great job catering for so many people. and gained nothing but praise from the "hoppers" Even the local police popped in to have a look, and warn a chap selling programmes to tone down his bright green shirt!

On to the match and Hutton must have had a late night as they were three down in about twenty minute or so.Maybe it was nerves. Easington controlled the first half and could have added to there total on many occasions.

To there credit the away side rallied in the second half and gave a much better performance. in what was if truth be told a pretty boring second half. That's the problem as a neutral when a team builds a big lead early it kills the match. but it is the players job to win and win well is what Easington did and all credit to them.

The great thing about these hops is as you walk around you hear all different accents from all over the UK and indeed the world. also the range of scarfs and hats being worn is quite interesting and varied and hail from all leagues all over the place. It just goes to show how popular this event has become and long may that continue. I played it safe wearing my Imps Jumper and Steelers cap.

So it finished 3-0 and like a herd of wilder beast at the final whistle we headed to our respective automobiles and were on our way to match number two in the town of Brough and the 2.15 pm kick off between Westwella and Willerby and Paramore Sports

Part two Westella & Willerby v Parramore Sports.

I spent the journey stuffing my face with a cheese sandwich bought from bacons the previous day and reading the three programmes for the day.Oh and staring at my very rare Harworth pin badge!.
We pulled into the car park and pitched a space in the cheekiest of parking moves. Such underhanded tactics haven't been seen since the days of Gavs ankle taps up the field many moons ago.

We made our way to one of the most important places in any football ground-The bar! and very smart it was to and reasonable priced to. The board outside the ground said it was a 2.00pm kick off but it turns out it was indeed a 2.15 ko as we had been informed.So more time for beer and conversation. Tea and coffee was also available in the bar.
Along with the programmes you also got a certificate as a memento of the day. Below you can see me with mine looking rather fine i am sure you will agree!

The two most shocking thing i saw in the club was the fact that Portsmouth were winning in the FA Cup Against high flying Birmingham city! Only in the FA Cup eh? and also some chap had a Grimsby Town Scarf on! The beer went down well and it was out to check out the stalls and get a badge from the home side (all badges were £3)

It was another basic type of ground but it did at least have hard standing at one end and that end was raised and was where the bar area is. I got a nice complement from a chap who reads this blog and worked out it was me who does it due to the fact there arnt many Steelers/Imps fans about. It is great to hear people read this crap, whats more enjoy it! :-) I forgot to ask him how Danny is getting on at the fox,s after his move from the Imps in the summer.
So after a minutes silence for Big Keith it was go go go!

This game was much more even than the first with both sides struggling to find any rhythm and put few passes together. It started poorly and got worse. both sides gave away free kicks a plenty but neither could do anything with them. We took a stroll around the ground. and made it back to the bar a full ten minutes before half time. Not the we missed anything.
As it was 3.o clock we spent half time watching the scores come through and i was amazed to see that the Imps were holding run away league leaders Rochdale in the first 15 minutes.So Carling downed we headed out for the 2nd half.

Our group leader was getting a tad hungry so he tried the pie and peas and found them to be vile. He had however found a four legged friend who gladly took the pie from him. I hope the pouch made it home ok!

On the field it didnt get much better Parramore scored halfway through the 2nd half to take the points despite late pressure from the home side. This is one of the dullest match's i have seen all season but you could fault the effort of the players who gave it there all and for the most part cancelled each other out.

But the biggest shock was... THAT THE IMPS HAD TAKEN THE LEAD!!!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Part three Louth Town v Nettleham

So after a few narrow scrapes in the carpark we were on our way to out third match of the day the 7.00pm kick off at Lincolnshire based Louth Town.
The Pints consumed in the club at the previous match were beginning to take there toll on my bladder which was slowly filling up. What with that and the fact that Lincoln were still holding at Rochdale made it a tense journey for me. In the end my bladder held on and the Imps got a 1-1 draw which is a hell of alot more than i thought they would get before the match. We arrived at Louth Town fc at about 5.30 with plenty if time to kill.

After being in the Hull/Grimsby area it was great to be back in Lincolnshire. It was quickly apparent that Louth are geared up to a much higher level of football than the CML and seem to have a descend home support for this level of football. We were welcomed to the ground by a couple of friendly club officials and took a stroll around to take a few pictures of the ground. The amount of banners was quite impressive for a club this size. "The white wolves" certainly have some artistic fans.
The white wolves were the champions of the Premier division last season and are riding high at the top of the supreme this time around and scoring for fun. After Sutton town dropped points a win tonight would but some daylight between them and the chasing pack with games in hand. In contrast Nettleham are in the thick of a relegation battle. On paper an easy home win but as the Imps had proved earlier football isn't played on paper.

The clubhouse is built on top of the terrace than runs the lenght of the pitch. From the top of the steps leading up to the bar you get a great view of the stadium. The club had placed raffle ticket sellers outside the door to the club house,but i wasn't tempted to buy one. I don't think i have bought one all season long so i don't see the need to start now. And as were were chatting about earlier in the day at Easington you just know that if you win it the prize will be crap. and i have already got my mothers day present sorted this year.

With plenty of time to chat we/i talked about doing the Devon hop i mean who could turn down the chance to see 7 games over three days at Easter i ask you? (all the other people in the car apart from me it seems) I chatted to a fellow Imps fan about our great point today and how Keith would have been proud of a performance like that. He then showed me his yellow socks. There will be many such pairs on display at our next home match on Friday night.
At about 6.50 we ambled outside for the 7.00 pm kick off. It was getting very cold but the hope of a few goals cheered us up and drove us forward.

As the game started a minute silence was again held for the big man and it was observed impeckabley.We decided to take a stroll around the ground only to find that to get all the way across the front of the main stand you had to scamper in front of the two dugouts which is what we did. both management teams gave us a look to say "are you somebody?" I am sure this thing happens all the time at Old Trafford when Fergie and Wenger are getting ready to face off.
What i liked at this ground compared to the other two was the fact that there was hard standing all the way round the ground. I know i am going to sound like an old man but the cold does get to you when you stand on grass for a while in the weather.

Louth cheered on by a sizebale home suport,including a chap with a drum behind the goal were good value for the win . I am sorry but after watching three games in a day they all tended to blend into one thus the match report will be short.
HT 1-0
FT 3-1

Nettlehams goal was a well taken penalty although why it was given was abit of a mystry. This was well into the second half and by this time i had retreated to the clubhouse to watch the last part of the match. I think i was suffering from "fish eyes" from watching to much football. Although i can remember Louth being a good footballing side and the third goal being well worked.

One of the high points was the food. one of my traveling companions had already had a burger and a bacon roll (on top of his pie and the prevoius match!) so i felt i had to try the burgers and they lived upto the hype and were a mere £2.20!

And the best looking man on the hop award goes to...