Just two of us again for today's game. You have to back to the away match at Grimsby on New Years day to find an occasion that 3 or more Retford Imps all attended a Lincoln City match together. Hayes and Yeading are playing at Woking FC at the moment as their current ground is being rebuilt. The journey is a good three hours or so on a straight run and it means negotiating the M25. We left our North Nottinghamshire base at bang on 2.00pm and headed down the A1. The M25 wasn't too bad (by M25 standards anyway) with the only real congestion of note being around the junctions for Heathrow airport. Woking FC play on the outskirts of old Woking, driving around the town you get the feeling it is quite a well to do commuter town for those in the big smoke. The ground is actually a bit of a bitch to find as you have to go through the town and then its in a quiet residential area. As we were quite early we pulled up into the club car park and asked if we could park there to which we got a negative answer but we were told we could park in the leisure centre just opposite the ground.
We still had plenty of time to kill so we went in search of beer (coke for the driver) Looking at the conference ground guides we deduced that there was a clubhouse at the ground but we could only gain entrance to it if segregation wasn't in operation. Now if this game was a Saturday match i would have been pretty sure that it would be segregated but as it was a Tuesday night i thought there was a good chance that it wouldn't be.
When we got back to the ground we asked a steward if we could get a drink in the clubhouse and we were directed to the snooker club next to the away turnstiles. From this we deducted that segregation was in place.
We wanted to beat the rush at the turnstiles and left the comfort of the snooker club at just gone 7.20pm. Today's admission price was a very pleasing £12 (which is the cheapest we have paid all season) Another pleasant surprise was the gateman, who was sporting a Glasgow Rangers home shirt and was only to happy to chat for a minute or so about the old Firm result at the weekend. It was such a shame that the "Man of a thousand teams" couldnt make it tonight as he claims to like Celtic. His Celtic knowledge may be limited to the fact that he knows that Neil Lennon has ginger hair, but when you have as many teams as he does he tough to keep track of them all. I watched the old Firm game from the pub and texted him updates incase he wasn't watching it but received no replies or reaction to Celtic getting a good kicking on the pitch. The matchday programme was on sale inside the ground for the standard price of £2.50 and was a joint issue combining this match and the previous Saturday home game with AFC Telford. In the programme it said programmes from the original match were on sale from the programme hut for £1.50 but as we couldn't go round to the hut i was unable to get one. The clubshop was also out of the question, so i got a club badge on EBay the next day (Yet more cash lost by the club). Another waste of money seemed to be the outside security team they got in to steward the away section who would have looked more at home controlling the London riots than a 5th tier English football match with 280 or so people at and taking part at a neutral venue.
The first half came to a rather tame end with the score goalless. With only 327 hardy souls in the ground the atmosphere was rather flat. An Imps fan we spoke to before kick off said he was from Hayes and he had a 1hr 45 minute journey to the ground. With that kind of travelling involved its not surprising so few home fans made the trip. HT 0-0
The lead didn't last too long. Two minutes later the hosts were level when Pele headed home unmarked from a corner. I had one of the best views in the ground of the goal as I was about to "empty the snake" and the toilets in on the away side are bang in line with the penalty box which Hayes were attacking. So before i went into the toilet i watched the corner and saw on of the best headed goals i have seen this season. The City defence were all rooted to the spot as Pele ghosted in at the near post. Hayes corner taker was no other that famous City flop Jamie Hand.
This win opened up a 5 point gap inbetween City and the bottom four sides. Lincoln also have a much better goal difference than the sides in those relegation spots. There is still a hell of alot of work to do before we are safe but its just nice to celebrate two wins on the bounce. We arrived back home in Retford at just gone 1.00am, but very happy, tired, and another ground ticked off.
Up the Imps!!