Friday, 17 August 2012

Cambridge United 2-1 Lincoln City

The first away trip for the Imps and a decent one to boot. We have always enjoyed our trips to Cambridge but haven't been in recent years. It is also one of the few grounds that i am yet to see City lose at. In two visits here i have seen a 0-0 draw in 02/03 and a 1-0 City win, courtesy of a Franny Green goal in the season that saw United lose their league status. We had managed to muster three hardy souls up for this trip. Baz was again missing in action but for once he had a decent enough reason as he was celebrating his 40th birthday. So its a big congratulations to him from all the Retford Imps.

The journey did get off to a rather chaotic start because when Felice picked me up it became apparent that Lee was in distress as he had somehow managed to cut himself shaving and was spurting blood all over the inside of Del boy's motor. Thankfully some kitchen roll and a hungry caterpillar plaster seemed to do the job and we were soon on our merry way down to deepest darkest Cambridgeshire.
We had plenty of time to kill so we stopped at Cambridge services for refreshments, in the absence of a Burger King,  KFC was the nourishment of choice. As we dined the Imps team bus pulled up and the whole squad wandered in. Thankfully they didn't head for the McDonalds.
Whenever i travel to a town or city i always like to check out the local press to get a feel of the local area and also,when the imps are in town, to read a preview of the match from the other side of the ring. Felice was still gnawing away on his large variety bucket so i headed over to WH Smiths and picked up a copy of Tuesday's Cambridge News for 50p, which in hindsight was about 30p too much. Cambridge does seem to be a sleepy middle England kind of town and the local cricket leagues got more column space in the paper than the U's home match with the Imps. Elsewhere the main talking point in Cambridge seems to be the plan to put in another cycle lane through the town. Boy, life must be tough down there. It seems that Tuesday is business focus day in the paper which may not be the most interesting thing in the world to many, but i found it interesting enough, and it passed the time as we journeyed around Cambridge. I have never spent much time in Cambridge but it does seem like quite a nice place and the kind of town you could spent a weekend in. As for the paper i am sure my guinea pigs will have fun crapping all over it when it gets used as cage bedding. Although it has to be said that the non league paper is their poo poo paper of choice.
Normally when we travel to Cambridge we park up at a sports complex nearby. This time however we searched for somewhere closer. And after about ten minutes or so aimlessly driving round like moths looking for a lamp, we parked up on a side street a short walk from the Abbey stadium. On our way in we had passed quite a few City fans. We normally have a decent following at Cambridge and it looked like tonight was no exception. To walk to the away end we had to go past the club shop and offices so i was able to pick up the programme (£3) and check out the club shop, which was a tad disappointing. I already have a CUFC pin badge but Del boy didn't and he was most disappointed that they didn't have any with just the crest on. He is never happy that boy. The programme is quite simply outstanding with plenty of articles to read and very well presented. I know this is only the first away game of the season but its going to take a hell of a programme to prevent Cambridge winning the programme of the year award.
For tonight's game the city fans were placed behind the goal. In the programme for the Kiddeminster game and on various websites, the information was that both terracing and seating was available to Lincoln fans but it transpired that only seating was available.
Quite often in this situation United could have been accused of just trying to make an extra few quid out of the Imps fans by only opening the seated area which cost £3 more than the terrace (Macclesfield Town are rather good at this little trick)  however they only charged the terrace price for the seats and deserve huge credit for doing this. Not only this, but the away fans do seem to get the best stand in the ground which is quite a novelty. The only other place this happens, that we have visited in recent years, in my view is Rochdale. £15 to sit in Cambridge's away end must be one of the best value for money deals that we will encounter on our travels this year. Wherever you sit in the away end you get a decent view although it does seem strange how far back the stand is set from the pitch. I can only conclude that the long term plan is or was to move the pitch about 20 yards in the direction of the away end once all four stands were redeveloped.
This is a  big year for United as they  celebrate their centenary season. The chairman has provided funds for the manager and most tipsters have backed them to be challenging for the playoffs at the very least. They were moments away from taking three points away at Forest Green before a late equaliser denied them on the first day of the season.
One of the main criticisms of Lincoln manager David Holdsworth last season, was the fact that he made too many changes to the city line up from game to game. A sort of tinker man if you will. However tonight he kept faith with the same line up that played so well on the opening day of the season. Alas all didn't go according to plan as United took the lead within three minutes when a pinpoint cross was met by Tom Elliot whose header flew past Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal. This was going to be a real test for City and a good indicator as to the character of this Lincoln team. For a good five minutes or so after the goal Cambridge really built up a head of steam but Lincoln managed to hold them out and gradually settled into the game. Rob Duffy lead the line up front very well and gave the Cambridge defence plenty to think about, but he wasn't getting a huge amount of help from the ref who blew for pretty much every challenge the poor sod made. Lincoln's main threats were coming from Dan Gray's long throws and the pace of winger Luke Medley. On 38 minutes Lincoln were awarded a corner which Adam Smith took and was headed home by Andrew Boyce. Unfortunately i didn't see the goal as i was returning from purchasing a Bovril, i did get get to see the corner being taken but not the goal. A case of sods law striking on the first away match of the season.
The goal rattled Cambridge who were all over the place but unfortunately City couldn't capitalise. So from total despair after 3 minutes Lincoln went into the halftime with their tails up and ended the half looking much the better side.
At halftime Felice and Lee dashed down to the "smoking area" at the side of the stand for a quick puff. Felice also had time to pick up a burger at the snap bar which he rated with an impressive 9/10 although how it had room to fit it in after the huge KFC bucket at the services is anybody's guess. Away from home this season Lincoln are decked out in an all white Real Madrid style strip which looks the dogs bollocks. However it will be interesting to see how much red sauce and the likes gets spilt on them at games. I will be getting one at the Macclesfield home game, so its odds on that i will be one of the first to spill something on it be that beer, kebab sauce, curry etc.
For the first twenty minutes of the second half Lincoln really took the game to their hosts, who at times struggled to put two passes together and get out of their own half. Lincoln continued to press and had an Adam Smith effort hacked off the line. Once that happened you knew what was going to happen. In most football matches there will be a time when your side is on top. If you dont score when you are on top then the odds are that you are going to be in trouble. And with the game entering the last 15 minutes or so, trouble arrived for the Imps. Since the goal, Lincoln had failed to make a mistake at the back all game and looked good to claim a point. Unfortunately full back Dan Gray got on the wrong side of the Cambridge winger who managed to get to the byline and cross the ball in for Moke who slammed into the back of the net; giving Cambridge the lead with their first meaningful attack of the second half. It was tough on Lincoln, very tough, but that's football for you. If you don't take your chances you are in trouble. The Imps tried to rally but you never felt that we were going to get the goal that would have given us a share of the points.
  Ok so we lost but i didn't feel down hearted about it. At times over the past few seasons we would have collapsed after conceding an early goal. We could still do with being a little sharper up front but all in all i feel we are going in the right direction. I just hope that it isn't another false dawn. We have had enough of those over the past few years.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we managed to get lost in Cambridge after the game. After a few wrong turns we decided to switch the sat nav on and surprisingly enough it got us back on the right track in no time. Isn't technology great. The plus side of getting lost in the centre of Cambridge was getting to check out the nightlife as it seems as if Tuesday night is student night in Cambridge. Even after a defeat there is always a plus side.

No comments:

Post a Comment