Saturday, 28 August 2010

Lincoln City 1-1 Crewe Alexandra

Today was Lincoln's 2nd home match of the season. The performance against Torquay in the first one was too dreadful to blog so i didn't bother. Both sides went into this game off the back of wins last week. The Imps won 1-0 away at Gillingham while Crewe thrashed bottom club Barnet 7-0 at home. Both sides had won one and lost two of their opening games.

It doesn't matter where you go there's always a twat in a stupid hat!

We got there a little earlier than normal, so after getting the Chesterfield away tickets for next weeks game we made our way to the club bar and paid the normal £3 for an average pint and watched the Blackburn v Arsenal match on the big screen. It didn't seem as busy as normal so it seems that people are voting with their feet on the beer prices.

With the crowd just a shade over 3,000 it looks like people are also voting with their feet when it comes to attending the game. Its a shame that more people didn't show up because this was a very good game between two sides that looked to pass the ball around on the floor. From a Lincoln view point it was a huge improvement on the Torquay match and it was nice to build on the win at Gillingham.

"I know Romeo's over on the away section but you can still see him after the match!"

Lincoln had the lion's share of the ball in the opening twenty minutes. Plenty of passing moves were put together though most were from side to side, it is still nice to see us keeping the ball and not just booting it long either down the channels for somebody to chase, or straight to the opposing centre halves, which is what City have made a habit of over the years. Crewe seemed happy to let Lincoln have the ball and hit us on the break which is just what they did on 22 minutes when Shaun Miller rammed home after Anyon had pushed out a long range effort. I am not blaming the keeper, if anything it was the cover that let us down. It was a real kick in the teeth as City really didn't deserve to be 0-1 down but that's football for you.

Thankfully City drew back level on 40 minutes from a great individual goal from Albert Jarret. He picked up the ball about 20 yards out beat a couple of defenders and blasted into the net. An early contender for goal of the season me thinks.

After the goal the Imps really started to turn the screw on Crewe but half time came just at the right time for the visitors. The second half was pretty much the same as the first. Crewe started to look more dangerous when they brought on Calvin Zola but the city back line contained him reasonably well. Lincoln had to be strong in added time as Crewe won a flurry of corners but some great keeping from Anyon kept them out.

I feel alot more optimistic tonight that i did after the last match against Torquay. We are starting to play the ball around and are starting to gel more as a side. We didn't deserve to lose at Rotherham on day one (who are in the top three) and Torquay are top after winning all four league games. Add in the Leeds cup match and City couldn't have had a tougher start to the season.
Albert Jarret was the star man today but we'll be without him for Tuesdays JPT game at Rotherham and the league match at Chesterfield as he is on international duty with Sierra Leone and on this performance he will be missed. Chesterfield will be tough but if we play like this we could well turn them over. After that the fixtures look a little more kind so hopefully its onwards and upwards.

Admission- season ticket
Food had a chicken balti pie which was quite nice 7/10
Imps performance 7/10
Man of the match Adam Jarret (With Delroy Facey second!)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Gainsborough 0-5 AFC Telford

I have been a tad busy over the last week so i will just share a few pictures from the match between Gainsbrough Trinity and AFC Telford. It can be summmed up quite quickly. Telford were ok and Trinity were dreadfull. The chips were great as ever though! And it was great to catch up with an old friend.

Pre match pint

Club shop

Half time scores show Lincoln winning and Grimsby losing. To Hayes and Yeading...At home

Trinity manager Brian Little wondering why the hell he took the job.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Scarf Collection

Just a few pictures of my the scarfs i have collected over the years.

The below pictures are of my badge collections which i keep on a couple of scarfs. I got the Sheffield United one at the first ever football match i went to. A friendly between Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United at Hillsbrough. (3-2 to the blades) I keep my English league club badges on the Sheff Utd scarf and my non-league,European and International teams on the Norwich City scarf.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Leeds United 4-0 Lincoln City

Well here we go another chance for an upset in the league cup. I have seen a few of these supporting Lincoln down the years. Manchester City, Derby County, and Crewe have all been beaten when they were at Championship level. However i have also seen us get canned 6-1 at Sheffield United (although we did win the return leg 1-0). The Imps have also but up brave efforts against Premiership sides in the past. Southampton 1-3, Birmingham 3-1, and Fulham 4-5 in extra time also spring to mind.
Alas this very much in the Sheffield united class of result. Had Leeds really wanted it this could have been as bad as that night in Sheffield back in 2000.

I always like to go to these large grounds and see how the other half of the footballing world live. I love to see all the stalls selling tat, whoops sorry unofficial scarves, badges, and T-shirts; something you don't see at league two clubs. If there were these kind of stalls outside the grounds i go to regularly, i dread to think how much i cash i would waste on badges. To my delight there was also plenty of food vans outside. I went for the Half pounder cheeseburger at £4 and very nice it was to.

Another novelty was the electronic turnstiles. Your ticket has a barcode on it and you just put it into a slot on the wall and a green light comes on and the turnstile lets you in. I am not totally sure what the point of these is, as each turnstile had a steward by it so the same number of staff are still being used and it didn't take any quicker/longer to enter the ground. I wonder if we will use this system when we get to the Championship?

My reaction to going two down in seven minutes

We got into our seats quite early due to the large Lincoln following. I must admit that i liked Elland road; its a proper football ground that has bags of character. Its a hell of a lot better than some of the new era of Lego brick stadiums (Derby, Middlesbrough, Lecicester, Reading, Hull etc etc) that are cropping up all over the place. I don't know how often it is opened but i would imagine that the view from the top tier on the stand to our right must be fantastic.

The programme too was a worthy effort. Ken Bates page was a decent read, though it would appear he isn't a big mate of Derby County's manager Nigel Clough(Derby won 3-1 at Leeds on the opening day of the season)
Looking at that defeat for Leeds was the worst thing that could have happened from the Imps point of view. As it looked like the Leeds manager had given his troops a good rollicking.

As soon as the game kicked off Lincoln were on the back foot. On two minutes Scott Kerr gave the ball away Leeds ran at the Imps defence, got it out wide, crossed it in and scored. On 7 minutes it was two nil with our defence again all over the place. It was pretty much one way traffic and the only surprise was that it took Leeds until the 33rd minute to get the third (Again more crap defending by Lincoln) Leeds looked very good with one touch passing and good passes down the wings. Good as Leeds were though Lincoln made it easy for them.

To give Lincoln credit we knuckled down in the second half and at last started to show a bit of fight. We even pushed forward from time to time and had one or two half chances. When Delroy came on we looked better as he got behind the Leeds back line on a couple of occasions. Leeds 4th came from the penalty spot after Paul Green made the foul. Joe Anyon made a few good saves to keep the score down and that was that.

Overall we were well beaten on the night and there's plenty of work for Chris Sutton to do. The left back position is a major problem but hopefully Jamie Clapham will fully fit soon to help the defence which apears to have improved very little over the summer. An experienced centre half would also be a huge help.

Admission £12 At those prices you would have thought more home fans would have been there.
Programme £2 6/10
Food Burger for a stall outside the ground, £4 8/10
Imps performance 2/10
Ground 9/10
Man of the match Delroy Facey

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Rotherham United 2-1 Lincoln City

Well here we go the first game of the season and yes its the same old shit! An early goal after a defensive fuck up and a goal two minutes from the end due to another defensive fuck up cost the Imps the points. In all fairness Lincoln more than deserved a point and had Rotherham on the back foot for much of the second half after matching them for the first half.

I wasn't looking forward to the game. Lincoln never start the season well. I have never known us win the opening two matches of a season and even when we have won in week one we normally throw it away in weeks two and three. Add in the facts that Rotherham are our bogey team, they lost in last year's playoff final and they play in a crappy athletics stadium in the worst part of Sheffield; a city in which even the "nice" parts are rough and you have all the ingredients for a crap day out. Although it was more enjoyable than i expected it to be.

We took the train to Sheffield. It was fairly full with Sheffield Wednesday fans off to their match in league one, chavs and potential Jeremy Kyle** show participants on their way to the Meadowhall shopping centre, which, apart from the food courts, is overrated in my view. The F1 shop is worth checking out, but i am not going to pay £50 for a Loutus F1 polo shirt.
The Stadium is in the Attercliffe area of the city and to be fair has seen better days. For an idea of what you can expect from the area just type in "Berlin 1945" in images in Google and you will get a rough idea of what to expect. There were plenty of boarded up shops and pubs but there was one or two open like the one pictured below.

With over an hour and half to kick off we dived into a local pub to meet a friend of Baz's for a swift couple of pints. As with Grimsby the week before it was a real home fans pub but it was decent enough. We got two pints of Carling cold for £5 which is all to rare a sight these days. It was a decent pint aswell. Sky sports news was on and it was great to see England were smashing Pakistan all over the pitch in the 2nd test match. Its always nice to see England put our former colonies firmly in their place in sport but the real test for England is Australia away in the winter ashes series. The mistakes we have made in this test series will not go unpunished down under.

We said our goodbyes and left the pub at about 2.10. Its only a five minute walk to the ground. We walked past another couple of pubs on our way to the ground which all seemed quite busy.
Rotherham United had a disagreement with their former landlord and were booted out of their home ground two seasons ago. Since then they have played at the Don Valley athletics stadium in Sheffield. The Don Valley was built in the early 90's for the world student games. It has also hosted Rugby league and concerts.

I am sure that for Athletics the venue is grea,t but for football it is dreadful. The view is crap and the covering for away fans is quite limited. The Imps were the first side to visit the Don Valley for a league match back in the 2008/09 season; over 1200 away fans turned up and the organisation from Rotherham was the worst i have ever seen at a football match. The stewards didn't know their arse from their elbow, they ran out of change at the turnstiles and programmes inside and fans were still queuing to get in 20 minutes into the game due to them only having a couple of turnstiles open. Because of this (and other issues due to the local police force) many Imps fans have said they would never return to the Don Valley for a league match. For this visit over 500 travelled which is about half the number that would have gone had it been back at Rotherhams old home ground.

There seemed to be a decent amount of Imps fans in the stadium and it seemed alot more organised than the last time i was here two seasons ago. We sat in the bottom tier as the weather looked decent enough. Rotherham seem to have a sponsorship deal with some local music shop so they were banging out plenty of tunes; some decent, some not so. After a while it just got boring and the compere was a bit of an arse. We were treated to a couple of cheerleading troupes that looked like they would rather be anywhere then the DVS cheering on the "Mighty millers". One of the tunes that was played was the new one from Alexandra Burke. I am not normally a fan of X-Factor crap, but she is pure filth! this video is my favourite!

so to the match; the opening exchanges were fairly even. City looking to get the ball down and play down the flanks while Rotherham were content to bang the ball long and hope it found Adam Le Fonndre and then hope for the best (a tactic that worked very well last season it has to be said) Then after 7 minutes we conceded our first goal of the 2010-11 season. I thought we did well to hold on that long.

The ball was hit long down City's left and City left back Joe Anderson Cooly shielded it from the Rotherham attacker. However in trying to clear it he made a total pigs-ear of it and gave it back to the Rotherham player who crossed it in for a teammate to get in an effort on goal. Adam Watts tried to hack it way but only managed to send it in to the path of Le Fondre who doesn't often miss from 10 yards out. The result was the ball was smashed into the roof of the net and we were 1-0 down. City had two decent chances to clear the fucking thing yet the ball ends up in the back of our net just like last season, and the one before that.....

To be fair to Lincoln they dusted themselves down and gave the home side as good as we got for the rest of the half, we kept trying to play the ball on the deck without creating to many chances. City were playing 4-1-4-1 Although this can be an attacking system in relies on somebody getting forward quickly to support the lone front man; Drewe Broughton in this case. Half way through Baz and Fleech went for a pie. I didn't have one but they both gave decent reports on the fare on offer. We got to the halftime break 1-0 down and slightly unlucky to be trailing.

We weren't behind for long in the second half. Mustapha Carayol latched onto a long ball down City's left, beat a couple of Rotherham players, and blasted into the bottom left hand corner of the net. The ball took a slight deflection but the goal was credited to the Imps man. City then dominated the rest of the second half with Rotherham chasing shadows for most of the match. Carayol at one point beat 6 home players in a run that started in his own half only to blast the ball over. Had it gone in it would have been the best City goal since Gareth Ainsworth's effort against Hereford away in the 1995/96 season. All of a sudden i was feeling confident that we would get something out of the match. I should have learned by now really. After all this time following Lincoln i really should have known that they will let me down.
And so it was in the 88th minute.

Again Rotherham attacked our left back, the ball was floated into the back post and with two players free the ball was headed home by the homeside's centre back. The chavs in the home end went delirious and i had that horrible feeling you get when you concede a late goal. City went 4-4-2 for the last 5 minutes but by that time it was all too late. Our dreams of an unbeaten start to the season were up in smoke.

We got a lift back after the game but to get to the car we had to walk half way round the ground and not the way we came in. This was only a ten minute walk but it seems like a lifetime when you throw away a game so late in the match.
In the game we had lost centre back Adam Watts to an injury (again) and with only assistant manager Ian Pearce as back up it looks like Chris Sutton is going to have to get a centre back in ASAP. We could have got one in during pre season but that would be the simple thing and thats just not the Lincoln way, is it boys and girls?
Our next match? Away at Championship Leeds United in the Carling Cup Tuesday night. Great.

On reflection we didn't deserve to lose this match. Going foward we looked decent on the flanks through Jarret and Carayol, but we need to get support up to the target man much quicker. Both goals we let in were poor ones and this needs addressing. It was the same back four we had last year and we all know how that went. We dont yet know how long Watts is out for but we really do need more defenders in. All this begs the question as to why we let Danny Hone go out on loan to Darlington till christmas?

Another representive picture of the local area!

Admisson £18
Programme £2.50 5/10
Ground 4/10
Food The pies seemed to get a big thumbs up
Imps performance 6/10
Man of the match Mustapha Carayol.

** For those who dont know, The Jeremy Kyle show is a chat show that feaures the pondlife of Society and the show is on its way to the USA! Hope you enjoy it America!

Friday, 6 August 2010

New Riverhounds away shirt

I am now lucky enough to be the proud owner of a Pittsburgh Riverhounds away shirt. Here's a couple of pictures of me in it in two of Retfords finest pubs.

The Hounds are looking a pretty safe bet for the playoffs so if they make it i hope my losing run of supporting losing playoff sides is brought to an end (5 in a row thanks to Lincoln)