|Braintree Twon FC. Nothing to see here today chaps. Move along.|
Today we received some great news at just gone 9.am. The Imps were due to play away at Braintree Town but due to a water logged pitch, the game was called off. This gave us chance to take in the Lincolnshire derby between Gainsborough Trinity and Boston United just over the Lincs/Notts border in Gainsborough. Only two of us in attendance today as Baz was having a family day. However the talking point was the whereabouts of Lee, as yet again he was missing in action saying he was busy...Or was he?
As i didn't have too heavy a drinking session the previous night, i was up quite early, so after making plans for our departure time i headed off into town for a few drinks and to put a couple of bets on (England to win the 6 nations at 2-1 was the main one). As I sat supping my pint and studying the form guess who strolled in looking fresh as a daisy? Non other than the lesser spotted Mr Houseman! So surely you would have thought he had time on his hands to watch a rip roaring derby match? Alas nope. He must have been far too busy eating his belly buster breakfast and knocking back 12 pints of lager to attend a game of football. Either way i think we can say that he has been officially rumbled!!
As hard as it seems to believe, football wasn't the biggest story today; for today was the 2nd of February. Better known as Groundhog day! The day when a groundhog by the name of Punxatawny Phil comes out of his small burrow in western Pennsylvania and predicts the weather for the next six weeks. Will it be another six weeks of winter weather, or will it be an early spring? At this time i feel it is only right that I recite a small verse to you all.
Away in a manger all covered in snow
A little old groundhog looks for his shadow
The stars up above will determine our fate
When winter will leave us
Be it early or late.
And his verdict for 2013? At just gone 7.28 am eastern united states time (12.28pm UK time) Phil proclaimed... AN EARLY SPRING IT WILL BE!! Great news for all i am sure you will agree. For those of you that missed it. Here are the highlights. Enjoy dear readers enjoy!
It was always going to be tough for any football match to live up to the excitement of Groundhog day but if any game was going to do it then a Lincolnshire derby stood as good a chance as any.
In recent years Boston have had the upper hand on Trinity. They have spent time in higher divisions, attracted better crowds, and have generally been more of a force in football. However over the past couple of seasons the tide has turned in favour of the Blues. Last season Gainsborough lost out in heartbreaking fashion in the Blue Square play off final and are sat in the playoff positions this time around. Boston on the other hand finished in midtable and are in a midtable position again. Both sides went into this clash in very different form. Last time, Gainsborough ran out 3-0 winners away at Workington while Boston crashed to a 7-1 away defeat at bogey side Altrincham. The Pligrims recently appointed Graham Drury following the sacking of Jason Lee and after an indifferent start, the poor sod is already under pressure from some sections of the Boston faithful. Having said all that though, a win for the visitiors today would leave them only three points behind Trinity in the table. All to play for as they say.
A large crowd was expected today so we rocked up a little early which gave us chance to sample a pint in the famous Blues club. As you would expect the bar was doing a roaring trade with a good number of fans from both clubs enjoying a pint. The blues club bar may be stuck in a timewarp but its a good time warp, the kind of place that you could spend a good few hours supping in. On TV we had the QPR V Norwich game on. I have decided that Norwich have the smartest away kit in England this year. No doubt Lee will be purchasing one at some point. The game wasn't much to write home about. QPR missed a penalty and that was about it. Anyway onto some real football.
One plus about watching either Gainsborough or Boston, is that there is normally a good number of former Imps on display. On the Gainsborough side we had one of Barry's favourite Imps in Shane Clarke, fellow midfielder Simon Russell, with Danny Hone starting at centre back. On the bench for the blues today was former Imps striker Paul Conner and recently signed midfielder Tyrone Thompson who was with the Imps last season.
Boston too had former Imps in their ranks. One time Lincoln centre back Phil Watt, former long time servant Paul Mayo, and former Imps loanee Spencer Weir-Daley all took to the field. However my favourite former Imp in the ground today wasn't on the playing staff but on the coaching staff in the Boston dugout. None other than former Imps full back Dean West. Dean was one of the better Lincoln players when i first started watching City and came through the youth system at Sincil Bank. Unfortunately his Imps career was cut short when Steve Wicks did a swap deal with Bury for Kevin Hulme. Deano went on to play over 200 games in the championship for Bury and Burnley. Kevin Hulme on the other hand played half a dozen games or so for City and was soon out of the door when John Beck replaced the hapless Wicks. In my view this is the biggest balls up in City's transfer dealings since i have been watching the Imps. Dean had a spell coaching at Lincoln Moorlands last season and its great to see him back in the game.
There was a decent sized crowd in the Northholme today but it was still a little less than i was expecting. It was however bloody cold, which isn't really the type of thing that you want when you have chosen not to wear a woolly cap. One thing that is guaranteed to not only to impress you, but also to warm you up, is the food at Gainsborough which is fantastic. Over the years i have been dragging my arse around various football grounds no other venue has come close to cooking chips anywhere near as good as those dished up at the Northolme. These are real chips not the crappy "fries" style you get elsewhere. I opted for the chips and peas option for a mere £2. If you haven't sampled them yet then you must put this on your list of things to do before you die.
On to the match. If i am honest the first half was a tad on the poor side. Although Boston didn't exactly park the bus, they did play a more cautious game than Boston sides down the years have done. After the tonking they received in the previous game this was entirely understandable. If a side is serious about promotion then it has to learn how to break formations like this down and unfortunately for them Trinty spent the entire first half looking like a side that didn't have a clue how to unlock the puzzle that Boston had placed in front of them. Nether side really looked like scoring and the only real moment of quality came on 24 minutes. Paul Mayo launched a trademark long throw and was flicked on by Marc Newsham, who directed the ball into the path of Ben Milnes, who blasted in a low shot straight into the bottom corner thus giving the Trinity keeper no chance. It was a quality goal and it came totally out of the blue. This was the signal for a few Boston fans to jump onto the pitch to celebrate. Trinity did try and take the game to the visitors but they never really threatened the Boston goal. As the halftime whistle went we made our way back into the club to check out the halftime scores and get warm. It has to be said that the Trinity fans around us weren't happy with their team's efforts.
After a bit of a damp squib of a first half, the game got much better. It looked like Trinity had had a rocket up there arses, as they came out like a house on fire. They hit the bar following a corner, then on 63 minutes, the Blues were level when Danny Hone of all people produced a tidy finish to level the scores. However Trinity's joy was to be short lived as after six short minutes the Pilgrims were once again ahead. A teasing low cross was sent it which the Trinity Keeper could only push out into the path of Newsham who made no mistake from close range. Again Boston fans spilled onto the pitch and punches were thrown between the two sets of fans.
Again Trinity came back and they levelled on 77 minutes another long throw was latched onto by Jamie Yates who finished well under pressure. In game was now real end to end stuff as both sides looked for a winner. Even as the game entered stoppage time both sides looked to win it. In the end neither did find the winner and both sides had to settle for a well earned point.
One the way out several Gainsborough fans were commenting that it was two points dropped. I on the other hand, think that given how clueless they looked in the first half and after going behind twice in the game, they should view it as a decent enough point. Boston two should be happy with their display after Tuesday night's drubbing. Both sides showed a lot of heart and fight at times today and although the quality of the game wasn't always the best, it was still a very entertaining encounter. Certainly better than spending all afternoon in the pub because you are under the thumb, not mentioning any names of course.......