Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lincoln City 2-0 Southport

Now that's more like it City!
Tonight was one of those rare days following Lincoln City that i have nothing what so ever to complain about. We went a little earlier than we would do normally for a night game so we could get ourselves a nice pre match kebab. As discussed on the Grimsby away blog i was getting the drinks in at the kebab shop as my forfeit for missing the home game with the codheads on Boxing day. However Felice had wheeled out the old "I am at work" line and wasn't in attendance tonight. Whether he was or not is another matter entirely. He fed us the same line for missing the Colwyn Bay match which we have since discovered to be a porky pie.
We made good time and got into the Lincoln for about 6.40pm we parked up and took a stroll up the hightstreet to the Topkapi kebab house. Lincoln seemed pretty quiet and i had a feeling that the match wasn't going to be a sell out.
Soon enough we were tucking into large mixed donners and very nice they were too. As promised i got the three drinks in even thought there were only two of us present. It was a good job that we did have the extra can of drink because due to Baz being well in with the owner of the shop we got a free large portion of chips to go with our meal and the extra drink washed them down nicely. Its a shame Felice wasn't there to collect his drink but he did stipulate that i had to get the drinks in before the Southport home game which is what i did.
More often that not this season the pre/post match food has been better than the football but not tonight. Lincoln had fought back from 1-3 to get a 3-3 draw away at Gateshead on Saturday and were looking to take that form into tonight's match. Southport have had a decent season up to date and although they had faded from the playoff picture in the last couple of months they had a decent away record and would not be a pushover.
This was a rematch from the first game this season which seems a hell of along time ago. Back then it was a nice sunny day, and we had a different manager. Fast forward six months and we have changed manager, much of the current squad, and used 36 players in the process.
One criticism of David Holdswoth recently was the fact that we have been playing with only one upfront. However this changed last time out at Gateshead, and he did the same tonight. Sam Smith lead the line with recently signed Richard Pacquette (who bagged two at Gateshead and is a Dominican international player no less) up front with him. At the back club captain Josh Gowling returned to partner Robbie Williams who has looked solid enough since he arrived from AFC Telford.
The Imps got off to a great start when Christophe headed Lincoln into the lead on seven minutes. Lincoln looked the better side for much of the first half. Southport (as in the first game at their place) heavily rely on getting long throws around the box and using the long throw tactic. At their place back in October it caused City no end of problems but Lincoln were much more organised and prepared for it tonight.
The only downside for City in the half came just before halftime when top scorer Sam Smith got a nasty injury. After the game it was revealed that he could well be out for the season. Smith has had his critics but in my view some of this is unfair. Quite often he has been played upfront on his own and received very little service and support from others. He is still young and could well develop into a very good finding for City.
He was replaced for the second half by winger Danny Lloyd. Danny is quite young and raw but is very keen and covers as much ground as anybody else on the pitch. City continued to push forward and got the crucial second goal on 53min when Pacquette shot from 25 yards giving the Southport keeper no chance. City continued to push forward and continued to repel Southport's long throw tactic quite easily. Jo Anyon made a couple of smart saves but in the main had a very quiet night.
So all in all a first class night. The kebab was great, we got free chips, City played well and I paid my drinks debt off. I would have hated to have missed out on all of that. Its just a shame not everybody could have collected their free can of pop. It was very nice :-)

Radford 0-3 Blaby &Whestone Athletic

Its been a couple of seasons since i saw Radford play. I have been past the ground plenty of times on my way to Panthers games but unfortunately they always seem to be away when the Panthers are at home. Another reason for my not watching them for a while was the fact that Nottingham has loads of non league teams and i wanted to tick off a few new grounds. With quite a few new Notts grounds ticked this season i decided to pay the Pheasants a long over due visit.
Radford play in the EMCL (Step 6) and comprises of teams from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Alas the Nottinghamshire representatives are hardly covering themselves in glory this time around as before kickoff the four of them all sat in the bottom 5 places in the division. Radford have struggled for a number of seasons now and went into this round of fixtures in 17th place (Out of 19 sides) with a grand total of 15 points. Below them sit Greenwood Meadows and Gedling Miners Welfare, both on 14 points but both have two games in hand on Radford. I have seen both of them this season and i was intrigued to see how Radford matched up to them. Completing the Nottinghamshire strugglers are Radcliffe Olympic in 15th place and on 18 points.

Blaby and Whestone are in their first season in the EMCL and are currently just below halfway in the division. When the sides met first time around Blaby won 2-1 with a late penalty in added on time at the end of the match. The programme for today's match Radford seem to think it was a harsh decision. Well they would wouldn't they?

Notts County were at home to the MK Dons so the trains were pretty quiet. After the fun and games of trying to fathom the ins and outs of the Nottingham bus systems it made a nice change to do a match using the tram system. I had plenty of time to kill before the match so i decided to have a look around the area and try to find a pub or a chippy. Radford is one of the most multi cultural areas of Nottingham and has plenty of curry houses and kebab shops and the like. The best thing was that even though it was 1.30 in the afternoon most of them were open and doing a roaring trade. Normally i would be into one of them like a shot but i had wolfed down a large mixed kebab from Valentinos in Retford the previous night (and very nice it was to i may add). Although eating establishments and hairdressers were plentiful, pubs were proving much more elusive, I did find a kind of cafe type thing with pool tables and pictures of various middle eastern football teams on the walls serving soft drinks but that wasn't really my thing. I headed back to the ground in search of a pub but all i found was this closed down pub. Bugger.
By now it was about 2.00pm so I thought sod it a and headed into the ground. Because i was stupidly early the gateman thought i was an official. I told him i wasn't and paid my £5 entrance and headed straight to the bar. It looks like i was the first person to order a pint as it was quite frothy. In the end i ended up getting a pint and half a half pint glass. As the barman said, there aren't many clubs that would give you a pint and a bit more for your money. The bar wasn't overly busy; a few Radford officials and a group of away players playing darts badly and that was pretty much it. I saw somebody come in with a programme so i went in search of one a got one off the guy on the gate for £1.
The last time i was here Radford had one of the best programmes that i saw that season. Since then i assume that the editor has changed as this issue wasn't quite up to the same high standard. This seasons issue was on a par with others in the division so it did the job, I was just a tad disappointed that it didn't live up to its previous seasons quality level. But as i always say, any programme is better than no programme.

I finished my pint and headed off outside, Radford had a decent little clubshop the last time i was here but it was all boarded up this time around. It looked like a low crowd was going to be in attendance today. As you walk around the ground you can't help but notice that the ground looks a little run down. Plenty of building materials and tools are just lying around. The impression that i got was that the ground looked a little unloved and overgrown. There is more than enough covering. There is a small seated stand to behind the goal at the clubhouse end and a covered standing area down one side where i watched most of the first half from.
Blaby and Whestone were attacking the goal at the clubhouse end and despite the heavy pitch tried to play the ball on the floor. They had a couple of very quick nimble forwards who looked like they could cause the Radford back four problems. They had already created a couple of decent chances before they took the lead and when they did it was a total fluke. The winger on the Blaby right hit a powerful cross from a tight angle that flew straight into the top corner. If he meant it then it was goal of the season but his reaction when it went in suggested that he didn't mean it. Either way the visitors had the lead. It was tough on Radford but when you are near the bottom of the table this is the kind of thing that happens to you.
The Pheasants nearly hit straight back when their number 9 beat a couple of defenders only to mis-hit his shot when he was clean through. Radford didn't create much today but if anybody was going to get them back into it it was the number 9 who looked a cut above anybody else on the Radford team. The visitors went two up with a decent header that looped over the keeper as he was caught out of position. The Radford manager was clearly unhappy with the effort being shown from his side and was very animated on the sidelines. The third goal was the killer goal and was courtesy of a great finish from 25 yards, although the Radford defence helped out by backing off and giving the attacker plenty of time to pick his spot and putting very little pressure on the ball. The Blaby and Whestone took a three goal lead in at the break and even they must have been surprised with the way they had been gifted the goals.

I headed to the warmth of the clubhouse for the halftime break as normal i didn't come anywhere near winning the raffle. Radio Nottingham had commentary of Forest's latest defeat this time at West Ham United courtesy of a penalty that the commentary team described as a "shocker". After taking an early lead at Gateshead, Lincoln had reverted to type and were trailing 2-1 at the break.

The second half was dull in comparison to the first. Radford did show a bit more fight than in the first half but in truth they never really looked like pulling the three goal deficit back. The only real incident of note was a red card for the Blady and Whestone forward for a sliding tackle. I had a pretty decent view of it and for me it was a yellow but i am not the ref. It was one of those challenges that some refs would have given a red for and others wouldn't have even booked the guys for. Even though they were a man down the visitors saw out the game without to much difficulty.
I had checked the Lincoln score with about 15 minutes or so to go and saw that we were 3-1 down. Game over i thought. It wasn't till i was scrolling through the scores on the tram on the way back that i realised that we had staged a late fight back and drawn 3-3. Its a funny old game.
This defeat coupled with results else where left Radford and the foot of the table. Its always a good day out at Radford FC but i left the ground feeling that the club is in need of a little bit of TLC and has lost its way a little. Maybe scraping away at the bottom of the table has taken its toll on the club and the fans. I hope they stick with it and their fortunes improve soon.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sheffield Wednesday Ladies 0-7 Lincoln Ladies

The day after the night before in the kingdom of Impdom. Last night's dreadful result away in the replay at Carshalton Athletic in the FA Trophy had brought a backlash like no other result i can remember. Although the gap between the two sides wasn't as big as when as when we bowed out of the FA Cup to Emley in 1997, nor is the FA Trophy as big a competition as the FA Cup, the result seems to hurt far more.
Thankfully i missed the match but some however weren't so lucky. Baz had made the trip down to South London solo and had i not been on nights, no doubt i would have been there as well. To all the Imps that made the trip down i have nothing but total and utter respect. You all deserve medals.
The day had started very well for City with the news that £500,000 of investment had been secured and a new business model had been set out; the details of which will be outlined at a press conference Monday afternoon. But as is so often in football good news on and off the pitch rarely go hand in hand.
I must thank Baz for bringing me home a programme from the match. Only 100 or so were produced for the match meaning that in time it could be one of the most collectible City ones in the last 20 years or so. This result will go down as one of the worst ones in City's history in the same way as Manchester City's 1-2 defeat at York City in the 1998/99 season did for them. Lets hope in a few years we can look back at this defeat as the point when we hit rock bottom.
Anyway on to more pleasant things.
Lincoln Ladies are one of the top ladies sides in the country. Rubbing shoulders with(and beating) sides like Everton, Chelsea and Liverpool in the Women's Super league which is played over the summer months. Meaning that it is now pre season time for Lincoln Ladies. The club split their homes games between Sincil Bank and Ashby Avenue. Due to salary caps the England internationals are split between the clubs. Lincoln's England ladies are centreback and England captain Casey Stoner, Sophie Bradley, and Jess Clarke who scored for England when we watched England play Serbia in November.
Jess Clarke
The England players have just returned from a training camp in sunny Spain so it must have been one hell of a come down to play a friendly at a cold Cannon Park in Retford in January.
Sheffield Wednesday play their home games at Retford and are well below Lincoln in the ladies football pyramid. Given that there is a Sheffield Wednesday supporters club in Retford it is a tad disappointing that there seemed so few Wednesday fans at the game. Admission was free and how often do you get chance to see International quality players ply their trade in Retford? Could it be that the much hyped Sheffield Wednesday fan base isn't as big as folk make out? Shock horror.
Lincoln had started their pre season campaign with a 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest (another club whose fan base isn't as big as its cracked up to be) And they were in no mood to take Wednesday lightly either.

Lincoln looked a class outfit and passed the ball around beautifully. Having watched some right crap from the men's side over the past few years/decades it was great to see a Lincoln side playing like this. Lincoln scored early on from a great passing move then shortly after added a second with a crafty free kick fired low into the right hand corner (as we looked at it behind the goal) It wasn't overly powerful but the placement was top draw and caught the Wednesday keeper out. It must be said that the Wednesday keeper was by far the best player for the home side and can take a great deal of pride from her performance. Lincoln's third goal was also a nice one. Coming from a great corner that was played under the crossbar and pretty much undefendable. It is obvious that the girls put alot of work into their set plays. I can think of a certain team that could learn alot from them in this respect...
Lincoln went in at half time four goals to the good it really was a case of girls v Women. Although Wednesday showed plenty of effort they were chasing shadows for much of the game and barely tested the Lincoln keeper. Her biggest challenge being how to keep warm on this cold North Nottinghamshire night.

We headed for the warmth of the clubhouse at halftime. Retford United FC were holding a question and answer session with the manager and a number of club officials which seemed well attended. Baz and myself just stood at the bar and listened to the debates. I only heard a brief snippet of the meeting but i hope some good comes out of it. I had a quid on the football card (Norwich City) but i have no idea who won. Felice was meant to be joining us but failed to show, which is unfortunate as i got the hot drinks in. Never mind i will have to get him a soft drink at the Southport game. If he isn't there to receive it then its a case of tough shit and i will have to drink it. You snooze you lose as they say. I suppose he could have been doing the ironing....

Again we stood behind the end of the ground that Lincoln were attacking as we thought that would be the best place to see all the action and we were proved correct. Again Lincoln knocked the ball around nicely but were less clinical in front of goal wasting several good chances. They chased down everything though and created a couple of chances by forcing the Sheffield Wednesday defenders into mistakes when trying to play the ball out from the back. The Wednesday keeper was again the star for the hosts as they started to tire towards the end. The only blip on the evening was when one of the Sheffield Wednesday defenders went down in a heap with what looked like a nasty knee injury. It took a while for the ref to spot her and to stop the play. Maybe Lincoln could have kicked the ball out earlier but i am sure they didn't realise how bad the injury was. In any case the speed that the Wednesday bench acted wasn't great form. Thankfully somebody from the crowd came to help the physio get the poor girl round to the changing area. In the end she ended up getting a piggy back to the changing room. It was disappointing to see that no stretcher was available It is beggars belief that a club the size of Sheffield Wednesday can't sort out matchday equipment for their sides. I hope the player recovers as it looked a nasty twist when she fell awkwardly. It was during this break in play that another difference between the sides emerged. While the Wednesday ladies were stood chatting the Lincoln players were keeping warm doing quick sprints or star jumps. Lincoln added the final goal in the last minute with a great passing move that ended with a neat finish into the bottom corner.
Despite the difference between the sides the match was played in a good spite and Wednesday never let their heads drop.

This was the first time i have seen the Lincoln Ladies team and i must say i was very impressed. I will definitely be going to some of their games once the season gets underway. We have waited years for a side from Lincoln to be able to take on and beat the best sides from around the country and now we have one. Check out the fixture list and get yourself down to watch them over the summer. While you are at it join the Facebook group and follow them on Twitter @ladyimps you know you want to folks.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A song for City

A song for the Lincoln City squad after last nights result in the FA Trophy.
Take it away Suggs.

Huge respect goes to the fans who made the trip to South London last night. Had i not been working nights last night i would have been one of them.
Nightshifts do have there plus sides.

Monday, 16 January 2012

A jolly good Sunday.

After the "disappointing" result for Lincoln City on Saturday i had a much better Sunday. First up, Inter continued their climb up the Series A standings with a fine 1-0 "away" win at City rivals AC Milan. After the terrible start Inter had to the season, the side have really woken up and now sit just outside the champions league places. Although i still feel that the title is beyond us, Champions league qualification is certainly within our grasp.
Lets have a look at the winning goal :-)

On Saturday night the Nottingham Panthers managed to lose 3-2 away to the Braehead Clan in a match that doubled up as a league game and 1st leg of the challenge cup semi final.
Thankfully just as they did last year the Panthers turned it round in the second leg in Nottingham on Sunday night to win 3-0 on the night thus going through 5-3 on aggregate. The Panthers have won the cup for the last two seasons and are now bidding to become the 1st side to win it three times in a row. Our opponents in the two legged final will be either the Cardiff Devils or the side that the Panthers defeated in last years final the Belfast Giants.

On a different note, on Thursday night Sheffield Wednesday ladies are hosting Lincoln Ladies in a friendly match at Retford United's Cannon Park with an 8 o clock kick off. Admission is FREE so it would be rude not to watch it wouldn't it? You may even see a couple of Lincoln's international players in action.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Lincoln City 0-0 Carshalton Athletic

FA Trophy 2nd Round.
Well that's cup football for you chaps. Carshalton Athletic of the Ryman Premier league (two levels below the not so mighty Imps) comfortably held their own for much of this FA Trophy second round tie.
The match had quite a low key feel to it. Only the Echo stand and the lower Co-op stand were open to City supporters. Carshalton brought 147 supporters with them and they were given half of the South Park stand. Although 147 doesn't sound like a huge following they often only get 200 or so for there home matches so based on that and the fact that they are based in South London makes it an impressive following in this scribe's humble eyes. They made a decent amount of noise whilst waving their (rather new looking) claret and white bar scarfs around in the air.
We parked our arses in the co-op stand for this epic encounter just to the right hand side of the halfway line. Its very rare that we sit in this stand but the view of the ground was very good. Unlike the football that the Imps served up which for the most part was dire. I didn't feel too inconvenienced by having to move stands. I have watched football on all four sides of Sincil Bank and the football is by and large shit whichever you sit. A reduced programme was also issued costing £2 for a massive eight pages which was a tad disappointing in my view and not really value for money at all. Admission for this thrilling encounter was a mere £10 pounds. As this was a massive match i didn't want to chance it selling out and thus i bought my ticket before Christmas. In the end i needn't have worried. A mere 1,743 hardy souls were in attendance and all but the 147 away supporters must have wondered why they had bothered watching this tripe in the freezing cold when all the pubs were open.

City had two new faces in the line up with recently signed Paul Robson starting at right back. The City line up had been changed quite a bit due to three players being cup tied, centre half Robbie Williams being one of them which meant a debut for Matthew Pearson signed on loan from Blackburn Rovers.
Pre game i thought that Carshalton would come and put 11 men behind the ball and offer very little up front. To their credit they didn't do this and looked to get forward whenever they could. Although City had plenty of the ball we did very little with it in an attacking sense. It was the visitors who nearly took the lead in the early on when Athletic striker Paul Vines forced Joe Anyon to tip his effort onto the base of the post. City struggled to get any efforts on target with Conal Platts tamely hit free kick in the 9th minute being the best that City could muster. Sam Smith was playing up front with Jamie Taylor and neither looked totally match fit. Smith's first touch let him down on a number of occasions. The game was mainly being played in midfield with Tyrone Thompson having his best game for City. Half time was met with the sound of booing ringing from the stands with the visitors looking comfortable and well in the match.  Carshalton's manager is also the club's owner he must have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it had been for his team.
We all agreed that something had to change at halftime and David Holdsworth obliged. Jamie Taylor was withdrawn and Alan Power brought on and it seemed to be the rocket up the arse of the City team.
Lincoln did pick up the pace in the second half and forced the visitors to defend much deeper and limited them to a few break aways. Upfront Lincoln still struggled to get many efforts on target and when we did look to get a shot away, a Carshalton body managed to get a great block in. Power was running the show for City but it still wasn't enough to put any sustained pressure on the visitors goal. Five minutes of added time was added by the ref and it was deep into this that City came closes to scoring when Alan Power's chip from 20 yards out clipped the top of the bar.
The final whistle was greeted by an even louder set of boos as the visitors celebrated. They had forced a replay and thoroughly deserved it. For all of Lincoln's possession their keeper was never really tested and i doubt that he will need to wash his kit before the replay Tuesday night.
There was/is a lot of anger amongst Lincoln City fans after this result and i can thoroughly understand why. On paper this was a very winnable tie for the Imps and we were for the most part garbage. Credit must go to the visitors who played very well today but in truth City made it easy for them.

I am a pints half full kind of chap, so i am going to look at the positives out of it.. Yes it has taken a while but there was a few decent performances out there. The back four looked solid for the most part. Thompson looked the best i have seen him and when Power came on it he looked a cut above everybody else on the park. The main plus point for me is that despite playing like a bunch of turkeys and creating very little against a side two levels below us we are still in the competition and live to fight another day. It may not be much comfort at the moment but we are still in there. Yes it would have been nice to have gone through at the first time of asking but hey this is Lincoln City football club and we NEVER do things the easy way do we folks?

Keep the faith
Up the Imps.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Well thats that for another year folks

Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers crashed out of the NFL Playoffs with a 23-29 overtime defeat at the Denvor Broncos. Earlier in the evening the New York Giants booked their place in the next round of the playoffs with a fine 24-2 win at home to the Atlanta Falcons.
These two facts combined means that i have lost my annual bet to BBC Radio Lecestershire music expect and occasional columnist for the Leicester Mercury and Retford times; Mr Gavin Brown. Ten whole English pounds will be yours very shortly.
Congratulations mate. Dont spend it all at once :-)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Gedling Miners Welfare 0-6 Blackwell Miners Welfare.

After the shower of shit i witnessed the previous day i was a tad unsure as to whether i could face watching another game of association football today, but seeing how i will be taking in Imps games for much of January i thought it would foolish of me not to take the opportunity to tick off another Nottinghamshire non league ground. Had i not have gone i would only have either sat on my arse at home or gone to watch Retford United. While i enjoy going to Cannon Park, a lot more than in recent seasons in fact, I like to get out and about and visit new grounds. Especially ones in this great County of ours.

Having looked at a few websites, blogs and forums i had reached the conclusion that it would be simple enough to get to. Train to Nottingham, shuttle bus from the Broadmarsh shopping centre then the number 45 sky blue bus from Victoria Centre. Then alight at Mapperley Shops and its a mere 5 minute stroll to the ground. What could wrong with that plan of attack?

Pretty much everything really my friends.
Got into Nottingham easy enough. (£12.30 return robbing t**ts) and it was then that the fun and games began. Although NCT buses we running a Saturday timetable some other lines in Nottingham were running a Sunday service. Which meant no shuttle service between the two bus stations in Nottingham. Although there was no signs up saying which lines were operating which service and all the screens were blank thus not being a whole deal of help.
This wasn't too much of a problem. Its a mere ten minutes walk between the two and i had plenty of time in hand. It was only when i got to the Victoria centre that the fun and games of trying to find out where the sodding bus left from began. After much walking around looking like a tit in a trance i eventually managed to locate the stop. By a total fluke i have to admit. It was only when i saw one of the sky blue buses travelling along then walked in the direction that the bus was travelling till i got to a stop. I had envisaged it being easier to find but by hook or by crook i had found the sodding thing.
Once on board my next challenge was to get off at the correct stop. Once again i managed to goof this up as well. I knew i had to get off at Mapperley shops, so on seeing that i was in Mapperley and there was a few shops about i decided to jump off. A quick look at the information on the bus stop told me that i had got off a couple of stops early. In the end it didn't put me back too much. After a ten minute walk the flood lights came into view and i got into the ground at about twenty to three.
As i was a little pushed for time i didn't go into the clubhouse and went straight into the ground. It was £4 entrance and £1 for a well put together programme. The programme is quite a smart effort and printed in full colour whereas a lot at this level are just printed in black and white. It has won a few awards over recent seasons and you can see why.
The ground is fairly basic. As you enter the stadium the only covering is on the far side. Half of the side is a covered area and the other covers a single row of seating. There is hard standing all around the ground and that's pretty much it. The tea hut is in the corner of the ground near to the clubhouse. The ground is clear enough and looks well kept. Although its more than adequate for the EMCL (Step 6) this and quite a few other grounds in this league don't seem to be quite up to the standard of The NCEL 1st division (Also step 6) As it is a newish league i suppose that is very surprising, as you would have thought that ground regulations would be the same across the board. Not so it would seem.
I hadn't eaten all day so i headed straight to the food hut to stuff my face. I opted for the chip butty which was very nice. Not the largest you will get but the quality was there. I also picked up a smart looking pin badge for the standard £3. Although i didn't have one the burgers they looked nice and were of the homemade variety. Alongside the badges, club pens, and keyrings, various teamsheets from home games were also for sale, although i didn't see any for today's match. After scoffing my fodder i went to view the match from the seated area near the far goal. As it turned out it was a great decision due to the fact that it was at the end that Blackwell were attacking.
Gedling arent having a great season and sat in 17th place in the division (Out of 19 teams)with a mere 14 points to their name. Blackwell by contrast have having a much better season. In the last couple of seasons the club has struggled near the foot of the table but are up to the giddy heights of 6th this time around with 36 points collected from their 19 matches to date.
When you are struggling near the bottom of the league the last thing you want to do is go one down after 30 seconds, alas this is what Gedling did. After 7 minutes it was 0-2 when a swinging cross was sent in that went just under the crossbar, the keeper and defender collided, and the ball ended up in the net. Shocking stuff really. Blackwell had bags of confidence and looked like they would score on every attack. Gedling by contrast looked like rabbits in headlights. The visitors went in 0-5 up at the break and it could have been worse as they had also missed a couple of decent chances. Surprisingly the Gedling fans didn't seem too bothered about this and seemed to be more interested in the fact that Nottingham Forest were winning 2-0 at Ipswich Town in the Championship.
In fairness to the home side they made a much better go of it in the second half and fashioned the better of the chances. Blackwell added the sixth in the last couple of minutes. It must be hard for a team when you are a long way back in a game but Gedling can take heart in their second half performance.
After the fun and games of getting to the ground it was good to have such an easy journey back. Just as i got to the bus stop the bus pulled up and i got off at Queen street just north of the market square. Had i known where Queen street was i could have got the bus to the ground from here and saved myself a hell of a lot of messing around. But you live and learn i suppose. I caught the 17.25 train out of Nottingham which had a few Notts County fans on board fresh from their 2-2 home draw with Huddersfield Town; a decent result for the Magpies. Quite a few got off at Mansfield which surprised me. I didn't realise Notts had such a strong follow in Stagland.
Now that i have ticked off Gedling i have only one more step 6 Nottinghamshire ground to visit (that being Radcliffe Olympic) and a handful of step 7 clubs. I wont do them all this season but who cares? I wouldn't want to rush it would i?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Grimsby Town 3-1 Lincoln City

Well new year same old bollocks. I seem to recall writing something similar at the same time last year. And erm the one before that as well.
I missed the first derby match on Boxing day(as the above "Official" document shows though with the way the result went i am glad that i did) Although I was as sick as a pig that we managed to throw away a 1-0 halftime lead to lose 1-2, spending the afternoon with a gang of reprobates made the result far easier to take. Plus it was much easier to drown my sorrows. The one plus side to come out of it on the footballing side was that we didn't lose any ground to the teams in the drop zone but even that was scant consolation after to losing to our Lincolnshire rivals of 100 plus years. From what i have read we put up a good show but came up a bit short, in fact from what i was told and read on various sites most Imps fans were quite positive about our performance.
Personally i don't go in for all this clap trap. If you look at the league standings you can tell that both sides are in the bottom third of the 5th tier if English football i.e Shite. Its hard to take anything from a derby defeat but one against a side that hasn't pulled up any trees so far this season really is the pits. All the pre match talk about how well we would prepare for the boxing day game? Well that all went flying out of the window didn't it! "Prepared my arse" as the saying goes. The players and management owed us one. As Queen Victoria once famously said "We are not amused at any defeat by those fishy fellows from Grimsby Town" Well i am sure she must have said something like that at some point in her reign..
Breakfast for 50p
There has been a number of comings and goings on the transfer front in the last week or so. Adam Watts and Josh O'keefe have both left the club. Its fair to say that its never really worked out for O'Keefe at Lincoln City. That's not to say it wont work out for him somewhere else though. You don't come through a Premiership club's youth system unless you have some ability.
In a way i was sad to see Adam Watts go, before he had his leg broken for him at Grimsby a couple of seasons ago he was a very solid centre half and was one of our better players in 2009/10 (and yes i know that doest really say much) He never came back the same player. Throw into the mix that last season he played in one of the worst Imps sides ever, and at 23 was expected to organise the defence, the lad was always up against it. Had he steered clear of injury and had an experienced centre back to play along side of; somebody of Kevin Austin or Steve Holmes stature, then i am convinced the last 12 months would have been so very different for both him and the Imps. I for one really hopes he rebuilds his career. I always thought he was one of the few players that cared about what happened to the club last season.

With Adam gone it was obvious we needed to bring in a centre half in, and we did, when we signed Robbie Williams on loan till the end of the season. No, not the Tunstall gut bucket of Take That fame but the giant AFC Telford defender. I wont pretend to know much about the chap but he seems to know this league quite well having played 45 games in each of the previous two seasons, although injury seems to have stopped him from playing many games this time around.
We have also signed Danny Lloyd-McGoldrick on a deal till the end of the season from our FA Trophy opponents Colwyn Bay. Even though i was at the game i can't say that he stood out for good or bad reasons as the vast quality of Newcastle Brown one consumed has reduced my memory of the match to a mere haze. But he must have done something to impress David Holdsworth so that's good enough for me. I must admit i was underwhelmed with these two signings. That's not to say i think they will be crap, far from it in fact. There are plenty of diamonds to be found in non league football but for every Simon Yeo the Imps have found over the years there are about four Rory Mays out there. I have no doubt that the new boys will be busting a gut to do well at what is the biggest club that either of them have played for and will put the effort in, but its ability that wins football matches. While we were ferreting about in the bargain bin, Grimsby brought in proven quality by snapping up defender Ian Miller from Darlington. Whose transfer policy pays the most dividend remains to be seen but there is certainly more risk in ours but then again maybe that potential gains are also greater?
Anyway enough of the background onto the game itself, the main course if you will.

After a rock and roll new years evening of beer, pizza, Match of the day and great company i was quite fresh and ready for the day ahead. Lee drove to his away day and he did a fine job, aided by my first class directions, i hasten to add. We picked up Mr Delcol at his abode. After he mastered how to adjust the seat in the front of the car he thrust a piece of paper in to my mitt with a grin wider than the Watford Gap. On this paper was my summons to appear in front of the Kangaroo court. He made a fine job of the document if i do say so myself. He has been a very good boy this year and it would appear that after receiving his fisher price computer last year he has upgraded to the real thing this year. In fact a picture of him knocking up the summons appears to have been leaked onto the world wide web as can be seen below.
I can do computers me!
We made our merry way to Cleethorpes easy enough and got parked up thanks to Felice using all his years and years of experience. One thing that we always look forward to when going away to Grimsby is we normally get a great portion of pre match Fish and Chips. Last time we were here a couple of seasons ago we had a cracking pre match filling at the Mariners chippy so we headed there like moths to a lantern. Little could we have foreseen the tripe that awaited us.
When we got there the queue was outside of the shop which is normally a good sign. Plenty of Grimsby fans were queuing up so it was a perfectly acceptable conclusion to draw that the fodder was still of a high standard.
Three of us ordered the fish and chips which came in for less that four quid. So far so good. I took a bite of the fish and it was more than decent enough. However it then nosedived. The chips although quite brown weren't cooked and are to be frank some of the worst i have tasted at football. I enjoyed the fish but it couldn't carry the disappointment of the chips. We all left half of our chips which is pretty much unheard of our for our gang of gannets. Grimsby may have done the double over us this season (Treble if you count the Lincs cup final) but Lincoln has come out top in the pre match chip shop battle. See we can beat them at something!
Fish 7/10 Chips 2/10
Programmes were £3 and came in that awkward 5 inch by 5 inch shape. At one time only Burton Albion produced them in this size but now quite a few clubs are issuing in this format. As a sad twat you collect this kind of shit an avid programme collector this is something i am keen to see put a stop to. They are harder to carry and well its just not cricket old chap. The content inside it was decent enough mind. Just don't like this kind of style. But if it's more cost effective then we will see more of it i suppose.
We got into the ground at about 2.45pm and we seemed to have a reasonable following in well for us anyway. In the end i think it was something like 730 odd City fans made the journey. Normally this would be a decent enough following however its under half the number that Grimsby brought to our place and means that we returned about 400 tickets of our allocation. Its a bit like turning up for a double date with Miss Alex Jones on your arm only for your mate to walk in with Katy Perry in tow. We used to take 2000 plus to Boston on New Years day and Boxing day. If anybody knows where the missing fans have gone please give them a nudge and get them back on the road with the Imps. They might just enjoy it (unless its like this; this was shite).

Joe Anyon was back in goal for the Imps today and it was this that gave rise to my shite fact of the day and it was as follows.

Jo Anyon's last three appearances for Lincoln City football club have been in three separate competitions. The FA Cup v Alfreton, The FA Trophy at Colywn Bay and now the BSP here at Grimsby.
Fascinating, i am sure you will agree. The guys i was with didn't seem to agree. However i think they were just jealous (Or "well jel" as the cool kids say) Of the fact that i was warm in my Pittsburgh Steelers woolly hat and glove set that i was fortunate to receive as a Christmas gift from over the Atlantic.
On the pitch City weren't quick out of the blocks and although Grimsby didn't get many shots in they did have much more of the ball and made all the running. City had a new centre back pairing at the back with new boy Robbie Williams alongside Richard Hinds,the latter being City's man of the match by far in my book. Upfront we never really got much going with Jamie Talyor looking isolated and feeding off mere scraps. Then just as City looked like they had weathered the storm, boom the cods took the lead.
A ball was crossed in from the City right and the City defence stepped up trying to play offside only for it to go tits up. The ball went past everybody, and fell to Grimsbys Liam Hearn who controlled the ball and blasted it past Jo Anyon. A couple of the City players and quite a few fans around me thought it was offside but in my book you have to play to the whistle and we just stopped.
Lincoln had been overrun in midfield up until this point and when they did have the ball we just seemed to panic and scuff the pass. As we tried to up the pace and get back into the the game the mistakes intensified. Anyon had very little to do but so did Grimsbys number one. Then just as the game seemed to be petering out till halftime the homeside struck the killer blow in added on time at the end of the first half. A throw was taken by Grimsby, they controlled it and crossed it in and even though we had three defenders in the box to the one Grimsby player, he still managed to get there first and head his side into a two goal lead.
HT 2-0
Had we gone in at the break 1-0 down i would still have felt that we could have got something out of it but with the Imps facing a 2-0 goal deficit and up against a large home crowd with their tails up, it was always going to be a huge ask for a side that was without several key players and quite a few players who hadn't played together much before.
Things didn't get much better for us in the 2nd half as Grimsby kept us at arms length. We went further down when Grimsby were awarded a penalty when Christophe was penalised for handball after the ball hit him from close range. It looked harsh from where we were sat but we were on the second row behind the far goal so it was tough to say. I think you could definitely make a case that it was ball to hand. Anyhow i wont be watching the goals again so i will never know.
We did pull one back shortly after though when Jamie Taylor finished off a tidy move, although it did get a deflection on the way through, which led me to think it would be given as an O.G but it has now been given to Taylor. City did have a couple of long range efforts but in truth never really looked like getting back into the match. We were treated to a little bit of handbags in the last couple of minutes when a Grimsby player received his marching orders but it made no difference to the match at all.
FT 3-1
Felice said throughout the game that i needed to try and be a bit more positive about things. I thought i was very positive. I was positive that we were dreadful today. If i am to scratch around in the dirt of disappointment looking for a scrap of positivity like a chicken looking for the first grain of the morning then i will say that Hinds played well at CB. Taylor did well for the goal and it was good to see Sam Smith get some game time as he works his way back from injury. Bar that, one is struggling somewhat.

Happy New Year my Arse.
Football ground or WW2 POW camp. You decide