Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Colwyn Bay 1-3 Lincoln City

FA Trophy first round proper
We had been looking forward to this game ever since the Seagulls won away at FC Halifax Town in their final qualifying round replay. I always enjoy away games that are quite a distance away and are at grounds we haven't visited. Throw in the "magic of knockout football" and the cheap admission price of £9 and you had all the ingredients for a great away day. Which is just what we got. And i haven't been able to write about many of those in the last year and a half! Even with all this fixture had going for it, only Baz and myself made the trip over to North Wales. Felice had some cock and bull very reasonable excuse for missing his second Imps away outing with the jolly boys on the trot. Tut Tut.

Unlike our last Lincoln away trip the journey down was straight forward enough. We left our north Nottinghamshire stronghold at just gone 10.20am and arrived a little after 1.15 pm. We had a quick piss stop just at a service station near Chester which sold all the normal over priced crap and a nice selection of Welsh tat such as cuddle dragons, stuff with dragons on etc. The most amusing thing in there was the sight of an old boy shuffling his way into the services just in front of us. It took the old lad quite a while to make it to the toilet so i just hope in made it in time.

Shortly after this we passed over the Welsh border. The Welsh seem very proud of there Heritage with dragons and Welsh flags being hung on quite a few bridges. We also passed a trout farm. This is where Felice missed out again as he is a dab hand at trout tickling if rumour is to be believed.
Colwyn bay's Red Lion Foods stadium is tucked away in a residential area on the outskirts of the town. You can park in the club car park for a couple of quid but we chanced it and parked the baz mobile on the street just outside the ground. We were greeted by a steward who gave us the great news that the bar inside the ground was open. Music to our ears indeed. We parted with our 9 quid at the turnstiles just as the programmes arrived. Good timing batman. The programme was £1.50 and was a great effort with plenty to read in it.
The clubhouse is a decent size and everybody in there seemed very welcoming. As we, well i, was going to have plenty of time to drink i opted for a few pints of Newcastle Brown Ale which is my session beer. I can't wolf it down like lager but it is perfect if you are just chilling out and chatting before the big match. We were joined by another Imps fan who had made the trip up from the south coast and got chatting about all things Imps and groundhopping. The match officials were tucking into their tea and biscuits while the snooker was on the big screen. As time passed more beer was consumed and more Imps fans made their way into the bar.
After a while one of those "Good old boy" types that you only find at non league football grounds came over with a football card and asked if we fancied a go on it. As the day was going well we all did without hesitation. We had some good banter with the guy taking the card round as he apologised for us having a wasted journey etc. When he had sold all the teams he gave Baz the honour of revealing the winning team. It goes without saying that none of us won the sodding thing. Some things never change. I picked first and went for Preston North End. I told Baz i had kindly left him Sheffield United. "Bollocks" came the reply. Charming.
And the winner is.....
Looking out at the ground it looked quite clean and well kept. To our right were two covered all seated stands. The far end was a covered terrace with the near end being open. An open terrace was on the other touch line and this is where most of the home fans stood to watch the match. All in all i thought it was a decent enough stadium with something for everybody. The stadium was also quite colourful with plenty of flags and some great artwork on walls.
Open side
Covered seating in the background
Groundhopper in the foreground
After we left the bar and Baz had sampled the chips (Decent enough was the verdict) we made our way on to the open terrace near the far end of the ground. Lincoln had travelled in decent numbers and the singers had gathered at the far end of the stadium and set up there flags and stuff and got a decent amount of noise going from under the covered stand. Well played chaps.
Colwyn Bay play their football a level below the Imps and are currently in midtable but they do have a decent enough home record while Lincoln have only win twice on the road this season.
Lincoln started well and were ahead after only ten minutes. Jamie Taylor who has been injured for much of the season finished from close range to settled any nerves that the Imps had. Things then swung even more in the Imps favour in the 20th minute when the homeside were reduced to ten men when Lee McEvilly was adjudged to have elbowed Francis Laurent. It looked a tad harsh to me but none of the home players seemed to appeal to much. City made their numerical advantage count when Connal Platt doubled there lead in the 32nd minute with a great finish from 20 yards out. As i headed round to the clubhouse to get in pole position for a halftime pint one of their officials joked to me that he didn't want to come to our place Tuesday night for a replay anyway. 'Nor did I' i said. I am on bloody nights again next week.
Clubhouse end.
The beer flowed in the clubhouse at halftime The Imps fans seemed in good heart as it looked like we had one foot in the second round. However if there is one thing i have learnt over my years of following Lincoln City it is that the job is never done until the final whistle goes and the Imps will always make it difficult for themselves no matter what.
The hosts were given a lifeline in the second half when Joe Anyon bundled over Rob Hopley in the box and Fraser McLachlan converted the spot kick. Game on and maybe we would need a replay.
As it turned out Lincoln stepped in up a gear and took the game to the Seagulls. Taylor got his second and Lincolns third of the game in the 71st minutes to kill the match off. Both sides created a couple of half chances but Lincoln always looked in control. Colwyn Bay battled well throughout the match but the sending off killed any chance they had off getting back into the game in my humble opinion. After the match David Holdsworth and the players came over and applauded the travelling Lincoln fans for the great backing they had given the side. The manager is getting the fans onside and more results like this will help even more.
All in all a cracking day out. Colwyn Bay have a great set up both on and off the pitch and you will receive a warm welcome. Nice food, great bar plenty of covering what more can you ask for? If you haven't been then get yourself there it is one not to be missed as they say.
No away day is complete without a post match Kebab so we made a trip to our old favourite the Hollingworth food stop on the way back. I went for the lamb donner with chicken tikka on a nan bread and very nice it was too. An away win, beer, and a great Kebab what more does a man need?

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