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Monday, 23 July 2012

Eastwood Town 2-4 Lincoln City

The Imps pre season continued today and again they faced Nottinghamshire opposition. Unfortunately i was billy no mates today due to Baz working, and Felice having some cock and bull very valid excuse to miss out on ticking off a new ground and seeing the Imps notch up another pre season win. Not that wins are the be all and end all of pre season, as i have stated in blogs previously.

Today the sun finally came out and i must admit that i was thinking of not bothering with this game and just sitting in a beer garden somewhere, but in the end i decided to go and in the end it was just about worth it. And only spending £30 was a plus.
There was no early start for me today (can't do two all day sessions in a week at my age anyway) So i elected to catch the 11.00am train out of Retford which got into Nottingham at 12.45pm ish. As it was sunny i decided to sample a swift pint in The Mallard at Worksop while waiting for the connecting train to Nottingham, and rather nice it was too.
For any saddos reading this who have a burning desire to know how to get to Eastwood Town's ground using public transport, fear not i am here. From Nottingham railway station you need to take a short stroll down to the Broadmarsh bus station. From there collect the free shuttle bus link out to Victoria bus station, which leaves from the opposite end of the station to the one that you enter on. When you alight at Victoria you want the Rainbow 1 bus link which leaves from the next bay to the one that you arrive at. Just look for a light Blue bus with Rainbow 1 Eastwood on it. Returns cost £4.10. Leave plenty of time though as the journey to Eastwood takes a good 40 minutes. Thankfully i didn't have a drink in Nottingham otherwise this could have been a real test for my bladder. When you get to Eastwood just keep you eyes peeled for the floodlights poking out from behind the houses on the left hand side. Buses run every ten minutes. Another sad fact for you is that the bus goes past Kimberley Town's Stag ground so know you know how to get there aswell. You just need to alight at the Stag pub and bingo, red hot smoking CML football action right there for you.
I was last at Eastwood a couple of seasons ago when the club was on the up and everything look rosy. They were well backed and had plans not only to get into the BSP but longer term League football was the aim. Since then the club was denied entry to the BSN playoffs due to ground grading as they fell foul of not having 500 seats in one stand. The owner withdrew his backing and last season the club slumped to relegation finishing rock bottom of the BSN, although they did retain the Nottingham cup, the season just gone could be described as nothing short of disastrous as it appears the local council aren't being terribly helpful to their cause. With all that going off its a small miracle that the club is being kept going. Hopefully they will get themselves sorted but they do seem to have a bit of battle on their hands at the moment.

Given all their problems it was great to see Eastwood set the admission price at £5 and they were rewarded with a decent following from Lincoln, quite a few of which had sampled quite a few beers in Nottingham city centre before the match. Before i went into the ground i had a couple in the smart clubhouse and a pint came in at only £2.70 which is about 50p cheaper than the average pint in Nottingham, so hats off there. On a trip to the toilet i noticed that they had this framed shirt up on the walls. I can only assume one of their fans won it on a raffle and didn't want it so they donated it to the club. I mean would you want this hanging on your wall?
I noticed on the Eastwood website a few days ago that the club were advertising for a programme editor so it wasn't a huge surprise that they didn't produce one. It seemed that teamsheets were pretty scarce judging by tweets from some of Lincolns media team. Thankfully they tweeted the Lincoln side so we knew who was playing, but if you didn't have Twitter you were screwed. The Imps only played the one trialist; that being Dan Gray who spent last year at Chesterfield.  On entering the ground i headed straight to the food hut in search of food but was told that the chips would "be about 5 minutes" I said i would go back later but alas i am not a man to wait, in the end i didn't bother and decided to spend my cash on food in Notts city centre after the game.
Eastwood Town's ground is decent enough. You get a smart modern stand next to the clubhouse and covered terracing behind each goal. Opposite the main stand is a small seated area flanked by open terracing. On this side of the ground they have built a brand new toilet block but this was shut, which begs the question as to what is the point of shutting that, but leaving the scabby old porta cabin toilets on the other side of the ground open. It was another decent Imps following, with fans bringing drums and making quite a bit of a racket throughout. Just imagine what support we would bring if we actually started doing well. The crowd was given as 199 and i would say well over 120 had travelled with City.

The Imps started with a back four of Robson, Gowling, Boyce, and Nutter with Gray, Nicolau, and Mills in midfield. Up front we had Barraclough, former Eastwood man Jake Sheridan, and new signing Rob Duffy. 4-3-3 is something of a new look for the Imps but then again this is what pre season is all about; trying out different formations and stuff. Lincoln were pretty much in cruise control for the first twenty minutes or so as the homeside struggled to get into the game. For Lincoln, Duffy and Sheridan both went close to opening the scoring. Then as so often happens in football, Eastwood scored against the run of play although Lincoln gave them a huge helping hand.
Josh Gowling had the ball and was being closed down by an Eastwood attacker (Sorry i didnt catch his name) Gowling then attempted what should have been a routine backpass to Keeper Paul Farman however he chronically under hit it and allowed the on rushing striker to nip in and bury the chance. New season same old shit is the phrase that springs to mind here.
After conceding a shit goal like that its imperative that you take the game straight back to the opposition and thankfully that's just what City did. When newly signed centre back Andrew Boyce got above everybody to thump home a header at the back post. City could have been on level terms even sooner as they had a shot blocked on the line prior to this move. From here on Lincoln really stepped it up and took the lead on 28 minutes when Duffy got down the right hand side and sent in a great pass along the deck to the far post when Jake Sheridan was waiting to pounce from a yard out to fire the Imps in front. Lincoln had another chance to add to the lead just before halftime when a Gowling header was cleared off the line. On paper the 1-2 scoreline looked close but it didn't really tell the full story as Lincoln had pretty much dominated the match and should have been out of sight. During the halftime break i strolled round to the end of the ground that the Imps would be attacking second half and had a nice chat with Bubbs; one of the photographers, about all things Imps and general football.
There was only one change for City at the break with Jake Turner replacing Paul Farman in goal. Just after the restart City added another goal with a fine header at the far post. Not long after this City started to make changes with both the Smiths, Jamie Taylor, Peter Bore, and Alan Power replacing Barraclough, Nicolau, Duffy, Mills and Gray. Lincoln still continued to be the better side but the game, as so many pre season friendlies do, began to run out of steam.

Eastwood did have one or two moments (Including this pic of a free kick) but in truth i never felt they looked like scoring. That was until they benefited from a deflection off Robson that gave Turner in the Lincoln goal no chance at all in the 77th minute. Adam Smith was having a fine game since coming on, and the Eastwood defence was having a hard time containing him. Jamie Taylor had a great chance to wrap up the game for City but his effort came back off the base of the post.
Eight minutes from time Lincoln were awarded a penalty when Adam Smith was tripped in the box. Alan Power stepped up and buried the penalty to give the scoreline a more realistic look. Lincoln could have had a fifth a minute or two later but the Eastwood keeper made a smart save from Adam Smith.

FT Eastwood Town 2-4 Lincoln City.

After the match i headed back to the bus stop and managed to get the 4.50pm bus which must have been running a tad late. On arriving in Notts i decided to get some snap and chill out in the city centre. Mexico and Japan had locked horns at Nottingham Forest's City Ground earlier in the afternoon and there were a few Mexican fans dotted around the square. I headed off to the chipshop near the station where I tucked into Lamb Donner meat and chips, which was a tad disappointing and not a patch on the stuff you get at the lace market chippy before ice hockey matches.
I got the 6.55pm train home which was, as normal, full of idiots. This time we were treated to a couple of families from Mansfield who had been to the footie at the City ground trying to get an Olympic style Mexican wave going on the train. The sad thing is that some passengers on the train actually joined in with this shit. You will be glad to know that i refused to join in with such highjinks and continued to read the Nottingham Evening Post whilst ignoring the antics around me.
Elsewhere there was some good news from Boston as news filtered through that the Lincoln City youth side had smashed their counterparts from Boston 4-1 so all in all a decent day for Lincoln City.
Peace out my friends. Next stop Newark Town v Lincoln City

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