Saturday 31 July 2010

Millwall 2 v Heart of Midlothian 3 - Friendly

Saturday 31st July 2010
Pre Season Friendly - Neil Harris Testimonial
at the New Den

Millwall (1)2
(Trotter 44, 61)
Heart of Midlothian (1)3
(Jonnson pen 16, Thomson 75,84)

Admission £12
Programme £5 (A4 testimonial magazine size issue)
Attendance 8376 (inc. 906 Hearts supporters)
Goal times are approx.
There were some presentations on the pitch prior to the game and a lengthy stoppage when Hearts Ismael Bouzid required treatment following an accidental clash of heads, he left the field on a stretcher with his neck in a support brace, luckily the injury wasn't as serious as originally thought.
A bit of a messy paint job but funny anyway ...
well played that man.

Millwall team: Forde, Dunne, Frampton, Abdou, Robinson, Ward, Schofield, Trotter, Harris, Morison, Henry.
Subs: Grabban, Hackett, Mkandawire, Smith, Lisbie, Laird.

Hearts team: Kello, Barr, Wallace, Mrowiec, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Thomson, Jonsson, Templeton, Eliot, Stevenson.
Subs: McDonald, Santana, McGowan, Novikovas, Smith.
We spent the previous afternoon, night and early part of this morning in the company of various members of the London Hearts Supporters Club at several different points in time and a variety of public houses in and around the Holborn area of the city.
I have a very clear recollection of the early part of the night, but don't even know how I got back to my digs if truth be told. And probably don't want to either.
I'm led to believe there are photographs of all this merriment in circulation, but the only ones featuring me are thankfully from quite early in the evening before I was totally and completely, err ... un-sober.
So much for my original plan of taking it steady on Friday night and saving myself for Millwall on Saturday then.
We fell out of London Bridge station on the morning of the game at around 11am, our designated meeting place 'The George' wasn't open until noon, so we started early doors in the 'Bunch of Grapes'.
The beer intake was slow but steady ... and at £7.40 for a pint and a Vodka and Lemonade, it was hardly likely to get much faster.
Note, the Vodka wasn't mine, Scottish people might take their alcohol diluted with fizzy pop, those of us born on Kilton Hill in Worksop don't!
After a couple of hefty blows to my bank balance at the bar, we moved on to our original destination and enjoyed better prices, a more improved calibre of beer the company of a courtyard full of Hearts supporters.
The police pulled up a discreet distance away and though they made sure that we had seen we were under observation, kept a low profile presence, save for a couple of them who walked amongst us trying to befriend anybody who was willing to talk to them.
It was good to catch up with my old mate Jimmy Galloway who travels to Tynecastle from Surrey these days as and when, having previously had the relatively easier journey of a mere 500+ miles round trip from the people's republic of Retford for Hearts home games before he moved even further away from Gorgie..
It never fails to amaze me how much planning and effort some people put into following Hearts around.
One of the London Hearts in the 'Duke of York' near Holborn tube station the previous night (Hi! Davy) was telling me how he already has all of his flights and trains booked for games up until the end of November.
At 2.15pm we made the short journey to South Bermondsey from London Bridge station and were ushered into the fenced off winding footpath that leads to the away end at the New Den, via a brisk five minute walk, out of the way of the locals.
We arrived at the turnstiles at around 2.25pm and there was a queue of around 30 people in front of us waiting to buy tickets.
Despite Millwall advertising this was a pay on the gate fixture they were insisting on ticket sales from a booth not more than 5 yards from the one entrance that was open.
By 2.50pm there were still a handful of people queueing in front of us and hundreds more turning up behind.
We spoke to the stewards who said it wasn't their fault, so we voiced our concerns to the police who then asked the stewards to open more turnstiles and do something about the painfully slow ticket sales ... they were unmoved and said there was nothing they could do about it and added that people should've got here earlier and it was their own fault.
Seemingly the police are powerless in South Bermondsey.
Way to go on the public relations front Millwall ... not!
There were still Hearts fans entering the ground 35 minutes after kick off, most of who had arrived no later than 2.45pm.
So if you're planning a trip to the New Den, take a flask and camp overnight if you want to be sure of making the kick off.
We did, but only just.
I don't think Millwall were expecting over 900 away fans to turn up and they misjudged how many turnstiles they would need to open, but it was crap organisation on their part not to to reassess the situation once they realised the ticket sellers couldn't cope with the demand and get people into the ground quickly enough.
Good afternoon boys ... and which one of you is Danny Dyer then???
(Photo taken by Chris Hopkins, Maesteg Hearts)

Neil Harris looked happy to see so many away supporters turning out to boost his testimonial funds and even singing his name, but the Hearts team wasn't going to be so charitable today and they were ahead on quarter of an hour when Eggy Jonnson drilled home a penalty.
Trotter equalised for the home side just before half time, but I was slightly unsighted and can't verify whether it was Rodney or Del Boy ... and I'm making no apologies for that one given the close proximity of Hooky Street to Millwall FC.
Nearly 7500 home fans ... apparently!
On the hour Trotter fired Millwall ahead with a cracking goal from a tight angle, it was a very well taken effort.
The Millwall supporters finally found their voice and drowned out their little band of wannabe hooligans to the left of us, who quite frankly, had been a bit of an embarrassment to the genuinely handy and big hard lads Millwall had tucked away somewhere, but who hadn't actually showed their hand today.
The PA announcer told us the scorer was actually called Liam Trotter.
I guess the original members of his family have moved on to A Touch of Frost and Goodnight Sweetheart since they were the stars of the show at the old Den.
The Hearts fans just upped the noise level and drowned out the home fans again.
We were here to party and in spite of the score, we were still partying.
Hearts second, Craig Thomson's first from a direct free kick at Millwall

Craig Thomson set up a free kick just outside the box with fifteen minutes remaining and caught everybody off guard with a peach of a free kick into the top corner of the goal.
Cue some very noisy celebrations.
I didn't know he had a trick like that in his arsenal.
Craig Thomson set up a free kick just outside the box with five minutes remaining and caught Millwall off guard with a peach of a free kick into the top corner of the goal again.
Cue some even noisier celebrations.
I know now he has a trick like that in his arsenal.!
Millwall for their part should've known too given what had happened just ten minutes ago, but they only gave their keeper the protection of a three man defensive wall.
That was the winning goal.
I suspect Craig will be taking more free kicks this season.
He's a very determined lad with a great future ahead of him.
It's was only a friendly and you can't read too much into the results from these games like these, but it had been a great day out and a really good game between two sides who had decided today would be about attacking and open football.
We nipped off right at the end, bugger slow moving police escorts and the like, we were back on the beer trail.
At the entrance steps to the station we found where some of the local big handy and hard guys were hanging out, but given that there were a lot of them and only a few of us (gulp!) and we hardly constituted a threat to their reputation, they just had a 'bit of banter' with us.
It would seem that Millwall fans hate Hibs from what a lot of them were saying, what a sensible and well adjusted lot they are ... don't believe the hype.
The train pulled in, the rest of the away fans finally arrived and by 5.15pm we were all on our way back into London to carry on with the party.
I opted not to end the night with a kebab, or rat burger, in Finsbury Park but went to a nice Italian place I know on the Seven Sisters Road instead, with some very select company.
We chose not to sit by the window because the streets were full of green & white and the view was horrendous ... a Glaswegian team were in London for the Emirates Cup, a four team tournament being staged over the weekend at the Arsenal, and North London has a massive Irish community, so they were all out n' about wanting to show their (somewhat plastic) allegiance to their colours.
A great trip to London (and Kent) all in, not soured at all by a drunken fool attacking me ineffectively outside a tube station late on the second night.
A hundred and two great stories will remain untold to protect a few guilty and innocent (well almost innocent) parties.
What goes on tour stays on tour.
Delete the pictures, clear all your text messages and let's hope Hearts manage such a good choice of opposition for pre season next year.
This trip was almost the equal of the Blackpool weekend for the game at Preston a few years ago and the pleasant afternoon out in Hull in 2005.

:-) Welcome to the Lions den ...

Thursday 29 July 2010

Gillingham 1 v Heart of Midlothian 2 - Friendly

THURSDAY 29th JULY 2010,
Pre Season Friendly

(Rooney pen 50)
Heart of Midlothian(0)2
(Novikovas 52,Bouzid 84)

Admission £10 (ignore what the ticket stub says)
Programme £2 (for Gills v both Hearts and Peterborough)
Attendance 2359 (inc. approx 230 Hearts fans)
Gillingham team: Julian, Sinclair, Nutter, Gowling, Bentley, J Payne, Weston, Palmer, Spiller, S Payne, Barcham.
Subs: Rooney, Jackman, Maher, White, McCammon, Akinfenwa, Essan, Aborah, Lough, Cronin.
Football needs more players with names like John Nutter.
Essex Hearts in the area. Heeeeere's Freddie!!!

Hearts team: Balogh, Barr, Wallace, Mrowiec, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Santana, Jonnson, Elliot, Stevensoin, Novikovas, Smith.
Subs: Kello, Templeton, McCowan, ThomsonI love it when a plan comes together.
Booking train tickets and accommodation in advance always saves a small fortune over the course of a season, but when the Millwall v Hearts fixture was announced, whilst my compatriots went ahead and got themselves organised I had to hang fire for a few extra days because I was sans computer and incommunicado with the rest of the world for a while ... it was quite therapeutic as it happens and I rediscovered the pleasures of actually reading books and walking for ten minutes without stopping to update my status on Facebook ... y'know the kind of real life stuff 99% of normal people do.
But, when I got back from that eerie dimension where they don't have the worldwide web and mobile phone signals don't work, I discovered that Hearts had added another fixture down south during the interim and whilst my mates all frantically tried reorganising their plans, I had all my party's travel, digs, transfers and 'added extras' sorted within 25 minutes.
Woo hoo!
At £190 for four nights (mine was £36 cheaper) in a London guest house, including 1st class return train travel from Edinburgh to London (obviously mine was from North Notts), return tickets from London to Gillingham, all London Underground travel for four days covered, breakfast every morning (for those who could get up after the excesses of the previous night) and pre organised social gatherings, there were plenty of takers, however being a bit of a snob I was fairly exclusive about who I could provide places for.
But through process of careful elimination I soon found a good few people for my entourage who fitted the requisite criteria.
AKA, must be willing and able to:
1) Drink lots.
2) Stand your round.
3) Stand your ground.
4) Drink lots more.
5) Repeat to fade.
Gillingham were perfect hosts, they even provided Hearts with an extra goal
to shoot at, it seems nobody had told them Christian Nade has actually left.

During the day I had a bit of a trip down memory lane around North London.
I lived in Tufnell Park (very nearly Finsbury Park) for a while.
Tufnell Park hasn't changed much over the years, but could do with a bit of TLC and a fresh coat of paint in places.
My 'reccy' included a look at Arsenal's old ground a couple of miles up the road from my former address.
Arsenal Stadium has now been redeveloped into a plush housing complex.
You aren't supposed to be able to enter the 'stadium' at Highbury any more, unless you are a resident with a swipe card and security number ... but there is always a way of getting in anywhere if you want to gain access enough, isn't there ;-)
Though getting out again proved to be a bit more 'awkward'.
It was slightly eerie standing in the ornamental gardens where the pitch once was looking up at the swish dwellings built into the stands.
I'd stood in more or less the same spot before (the corner where the North Bank and East Stand used to meet) in the early 80's when a knife fight between Arsenal's fledgling Gooners and West Ham's established ICF mob had spilled onto the pitch.
There was a massive cloud of orange smoke hanging over the corner of the pitch that day, when a distress flare had announced the commencement of a full scale pitch battle (a young Arsenal fan actually died that afternoon when he was stabbed in a street near the ground after the game), but today there were no police officers present shouting "Get off the fucking pitch or I'll arrest you!" (the alternative being to get back in the middle of a bunch of thirty and forty something meat-heads brandishing knives at anyone within arms length. Ah where would we be without the London Met. Police eh!?), but there was a fairly unfriendly looking security guy who wanted me to leave ... immediately!
It has to be said, with all due respect, that parts of Finsbury Park are going downhill fast and some of the area wasn't very nice in the first place.
I wouldn't really want to live round there nowadays.
NO ENTRY - apparently
On the outside it still looks like this
But on the inside - "Where's your famous ICF!?"
(Above) a fairly grotty building in mid demolition opposite the Emirates Stadium.
Left click and enlarge picture to see the maroon and white sign.
THE66POW on tour
Gillingham v Hearts

Without further ado ... on to the Medway town of Gillingham in Kent, 32 miles from London via the residential and 'lovely' outlying areas of the capital city and some caravan sites.
First stop is the Southern Belle opposite the train station for a quick couple of pints, then it's a short walk to the ground via the Livingstone Arms where t'internet forums have decreed the away fans will be meeting tonight.
I prefer the real ale bar round the other side of the ground myself, but it's always good to see a few familiar old faces at the start of a new season ... and indeed, make several new acquaintances, big up to the Purfleet Hearts ;-)
The other bar (I can't remember it's name) tries to accommodate away supporters tastes by putting on an ale from the area the visiting team of the day are from, i.e. Theakston's for Darlington, Old Bailey for Mansfield, Old Speckled Hen for Yorkies and Amyl Nitrate for Brighton fans, but I might have just made all of that up for purposes of telling a joke that Bernard Manning himself would've been proud of.
There were a few Rangers fans in the Livingstone singing silly songs about a foreign king called Bill and an O.A.P. who lives in the Vatican City, but they were ignored in the main ... we were here on a mission to drink beer, be sociable, watch Hearts and party.
We weren't here to give a toss about other peoples excess religious baggage.
On entering the ground we found bottled lager was on sale for £1.50, on discovering there were a couple of hundred more away fans in the vicinity Gillingham's caterers cashed in and the price of that beer doubled ten minutes later.
The first half was typical pre season, half paced, no hard tackles fare and passed without very much incident.
But the scores filtering through from Hibs Europa League game kept everyone amused.
This season Hibs are apparently (according to their forums) going to split the Old Firm clubs at the top of the SPL, trail blaze across Europe, win the Scottish Cup (for the first time since 1902) and show those 'Yams from Gorgie' who are the 'guvnors' in Edinburgh (we already know!).
Their 3-0 first leg defeat to Maribor tonight indicates that either, i) they are so confident of a resounding win the second leg they've let their Slovenian opponents have a massive head start, or ii) they're so deluded and completely crap they're just bigging themselves up for yet another inglorious fall ... yet again!
This annual declaration of intent followed by miserable failure from the green side of Scotland's capital city is so predictable it is hardly worth a cursory raising of the eyebrows these days, but it's still quite amusing never the less.
Bottom six at best beckons for you Hibees.
In the second half Gillingham went ahead from the penalty spot, there was almost a sustained murmur of appreciation from over their fans side of the pitch (neither end of the ground was open), but the goal seemed to wake Hearts up from their slumber. Novikovas had equalised within two minutes and Bouzid cemented a narrow win 6 minutes before the end.
Hearts had just about shaded the second half and deserved the win, but it was effectively a practice match with little at stake so though they were the better team and we'd all had a fun night, I don't think anybody was likely to get too carried away with the result.
We came to party ... and party we bloody well did!
A text message I received on the train back to London read - What do Heather MIlls and Hibs have in common? The second leg is just for show - now that wasn't very politically correct was it?
Back in London, I hopped off the tube a stop before my digs and ventured out into Finsbury Park for some supper before retiring to my bed.
I'd eaten in this very same establishment the previous night, but while I was queueing to place an order on my return, I saw two furry long tailed creatures run from behind the food preparation counter, while a young Greek guy attempted to stamp on a third one ... I kind of lost my appetite.
Hmm, some parts of north London are going downhill considerably faster than I had originally thought.

Saturday 24 July 2010

Shirebrook Town 0 v Worksop Town 5 - Friendly

Saturday 24th July 2010, at Langwith Road, Shirebrook

Shirebrook Town (0) 0
Worksop Town (3) 5 (Simpson, Mallon, Shiels 2, Whittington)

Admission £4, no programme
Worksop's 4th goal (above) was credited to Lee Whittington, though
Luke Shiels and Shirebrook OG both had good claims to it as well

Once the young and ever improving Danny Simpson had put Worksop ahead, there was only ever going to be one winner in this game and it was just a question of how many goals the visitors would rack up.
I have A LOT of time for Shirebrook Town, but today they looked completely out of sorts and it took them ages to find any kind of shape or cohesion.
But they've only just started their pre season schedule and will become better organised with a bit more practice and application.
This afternoon's game will certainly have given them a few pointers as to what they're going to have to work on before their season kicks off for real ... and Worksop, when all said and done, are three rungs higher than the Langwith Road club on the non league ladder.
Once again the Tigers defence looked solid, with James Colliver standing out particularly today, showing how much strength in depth Peter Rinckavage's newly built squad has in reserve.
When Mallon headed home from a Jackson cross to make it two nil it did look as if there was a rout on the cards.
Luke Shiels added a third before the break and if this had been a cricket match the Tigers could've declared and let Shirebrook chase their lead for the rest of the afternoon, secure in the knowledge that the result was already assured.
The referee reminds the defensive wall 'It's ten yards, not feet!'

Lee Whittington netted the Tigers fourth, getting the final touch with his head as three players went up together, Luke Shiels and A.N.Other of Shirebrook 'OG' being possible contenders too. But Lee will be happy to have finally opened his goal scoring account and it often works wonders when strikers who have had a slightly lean time of it when joining a new club finally get off the mark.
Whitto joined the club at a difficult and transitional time towards the end of last season and it can't have been easy to settle in under those circumstances, the goal will have done his confidence a power of good.
Luke Shiels added the fifth goal heading home unmarked, and must've wished he'd claimed the Tigers fourth goal too, to bag himself an hat trick.
Narrowly over

So a very one sided game, as the scoreline suggests.
Shirebrook are reeling a bit after being relegated at the end of last season.
It did look as though they would get a reprieve, but Farsley Celtic, newly formed or re-formed depending on your stance on such matters as Farsley AFC, are starting life (re-starting life?) in the NCEL Premier Division instead now.
Shirebrook must feel like they've been relegated twice under those circumstances.
Though I can sympathise with Farsley's fall from grace, there is a school of thought that says existing clubs should be considered a bit more thoughtfully when accommodating so called new teams into the structure of non league football.
I'll sit on the fence, uncomfortably, regarding this delicate subject, after all each and every case should be judged on its own individual merits and their but for the grace of God etc. etc.
But I know the people at Shirebrook personally and I'm gutted for them.
There are more knowledgeable, learned and articulate scribes out there who could cover this thorny topic with far more panache than yours truly ... and they're probably far less biased too.
Good luck for the coming season Shirebrook Town ... and err, Farsley AFC too I s'pose!
Straight after this match I headed to Doncaster to see some old friends (they're friends and they're old) playing at The Leopard with one of their bands, Who Shot Who?
A great night was had by everyone who turned out.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Worksop Town Under 19's 2 v Staveley Miners Welfare Under 19's 1 - Friendly

Thursday 22nd July 2010, Pre Season Friendly
at Manton Athletic Ground

Worksop Town (1) 2 (Steve Davis, Jason Markell)
Staveley Miners Welfare (0) 1 (Jason Lemon)

Admission Free. No Programme. Attendance 67
Aaron Knight and Pete Stafford double up on Staveley's left back

A good run out for both sides tonight.
The Worksop lads have been working very hard in pre season training and were good and ready for a game tonight.
Staveley, by tradition, have an excellent grass roots set up and a great reputation at Under 19 level, so this was always going to be tough test for the young Tigers.
They came through it with flying colours.
The second half team warm up

Tonight wasn't about the result, or even about who started the game, it was about assessing all the available squad in a match situation against some very good opposition.
That said, it was a very nice feeling to have won this opening pre season friendly :-)
Before the game two teams were selected to play for the young Tigers, one for the fist half and the other the second, with 'rolling subs' being agreed with the match referee.

One slight problem was overcome before kick off when it became apparent that the highly rated young goalkeeper who had signed for Worksop Town Under 19's earlier in the week had failed to show up.
Fortunately, outfield player William Morris stepped forward and offered to fill the void.
And though his technique was what you might call unorthodox at times, he performed admirably.
Football is a team game and everyone on the pitch is just as important as anybody else.
But under the circumstances, Will thoroughly deserved to be awarded man of the match tonight.
There was a spell in the game when the visitors upped the tempo and chucked everything but the kitchen sink at Will and threatened to lay siege to the Worksop goal, but he stood firm.
It was good to see that while this wasn't officially a competitive game, both sides weren't shy about getting their tackles in, in a firm but fair manner ... and it has to be said that the match referee Keith Golding handled the game very well.
Stephen Davies fired Worksop ahead in the first half with a cracking shot.
Jason Markell powered home a header for the second after the break, but Staveley finally breached the stand in keepers resistance to pull the game back to 2-1 through Jason Lemon and set up a grandstand finish.
There was a 'Lampardesque' moment where it looked as though the young Tigers had scored again, but they don't have goal line technology installed at Manton Club yet, so we'll just have to accept that decisions like this balance out over the course of the season and get on with it.
Never a bloody Russian linesman around when you need one is there!?

The lads from Staveley and their coaching staff were great company and they're going to be there or thereabouts again this season, I hope the young Tigers play them again soon, but next time they will be wary of the 'secret weapon' Worksop employ of playing people out of position (more by accident than design) to lure the opposition into a false sense of security.
All in all, a highly enjoyable and highly entertaining match.

Match report from the Staveley website here ...

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Worksop Town 1 v AFC Emley 0 - Friendly

Dickie Bromley. 672 WTFC first team appearances,
179 goals, never sent off or cautioned.

Wednesday 21st July 2010 - Pre Season Friendly
At Langwith Road, Shirebrook

Worksop Town (0) 1 (Ben Tomlinson 84)
AFC Emley (0) 0

Admission £7, Programme 50p
Andy, Andy, give us a wave
Worksop Town team:
Kennedy, Wharton Wood, Camm, Shiels, Simpkins, Simpson, Meikle, Knox, Bacon, Bettney.
Subs, Mallon, Colliver, Austin, Whittington, Tomlinson, Wankiewicz, Jackson, Billard (GK)
The AFC Emley team included 3 ex Worksop players, Martin Kearney, Andy Brownrigg and Carl Smith.
Quit with the camera hogging you buffoons, the pitch is the other way.

An even more solid performance from the Tigers tonight than in their opening game v Sutton Town AFC, even though the scoreline might not suggest it.
Lee Whittington was a layer of paint away from opening his goalscoring account for Worksop. You get the feeling with Lee, that he is a confidence player ... and once he does find the back of the net, he'll start doing it on a regular basis, this quite often happens when a striker joins a new club.
'Yellow ball'

Ben Tomlinson, on as a sub in the second half put the finishing touch to one of WTFC's regular surges up-field into the heart of Emley's defence, to secure a narrow win.
Once again the Worksop defence looked solid, with Wharton, Shiels, Simpkins and Wood all fitting in well together and Colliver offering an extra dimension to that unit when called into action too.
A solid backbone, with quality all over the pitch (and in reserve too) is what the Tigers are now building ... the bookies might still see them as second favourites for the drop, but expectations amongst the faithful who have been watching this team come together are considerably higher than that.
Without making any rash predictions, I think this side are going to come tearing out of the blocks this season and give a few people a bit of a wake up call.
Worksop are back!
'Take it from there three'

Saturday 17 July 2010

Worksop Town 2 v Sutton Town AFC 0 - Friendly

Saturday 17th July 2010
Pre Season Friendly
At Cannon Park, Retford
Worksop Town (0) 2 Michael Simpkins 49, Ben Tomlinson 75
Sutton Town AFC (0) 0
Admission £7, Programme 50p, Attendance 108
Worksop Town starting line up
Jon Kennedy, Scott Wharton, Chris Wood, Mark Camm, Luke Shiels, Michael Simpkins, Ryan Mallon, Niall O'Brien, Peter Knox, Danny Bacon, Chris Bettney
Subs all used
James Colliver, Rob Austin, Steve W@nkiewicz, Deon Meikle, Ben Tomlinson, Jamie Jackson, Daniel Simpson, Lee Whittington and the substitute goalkeeper (not on team sheet) was Adam Billard

Sutton Town AFC starting line up (Thanks to Mark Shaw for details)
Mimms, Sibson, Kay, Forbes, Shackleton, Hemsley, Gee, Hemsley, Camm, Menga, Jordan
Subs Peel, Under, Whitehead, Sykes, Hall, Hewitt, Gladwin, Stirland

Nail O'Brien!!?? Are you sure Keith?
And breathe in!
Sutton Town AFC of the Central Midlands Football League provided the opposition for this afternoon's first 'home' game at Cannon Park, Retford for the Tigers, as yet another ground share commences following previous stints at Hucknall and Ilkeston.
The current agreement is scheduled to last for two years and will mean a lot less travelling for the Tigers faithful ... and it's only a few minutes walk from my house too :-)
Who let the dogs in??

The playing surface at Cannon Park is looking better than it has done in absolutely ages, and when (if) the funds are released to build a breeze block wall around the pitch those 'wascally wabbits' who have made the pitch their own and caused so much damage will have to find somewhere else to live... hopefully not my garden!
Chris Smith - Turf Expert
Mark Shaw, immaculate as ever in suit that still had it's Asda sale tags on, said he hoped his Snipes side would give the Tigers a good game today to gauge how far his team had developed and they definitely did. in spells.
Though a 'home' win was hardly ever in doubt, Worksop didn't have it all their own way ... but on today's evidence the defence are gelling well together from the off and were a tight and stubborn unit all afternoon, which bodes well.
New boys Wood and Camm looked especially impressive on their first outing and Michael Simpkins looked solid on his return to the WTFC fold after a stint with Retford United.
Up front Peter Knox looks very strong. One of my friends at Harrogate Town says he had a thin time of it up there, so he'll no doubt be relishing a fresh start to re-establish his reputation.
Today he had a spot kick saved by Sutton's keeper Mimms and crashed the rebound over the bar, the training pitch and friendly matches are the place to do these kind of things.
This afternoon, Retford's caterers were able to assess how much food they were going to need when the hungry hordes from Worksop visit this season, they have asked me to post the following request, "Dear Stuart Eyre, could you please let us know in advance when you are coming again, so we can order some extra food in"
This afternoon's match referee was Matty Walsh, pictured
here while he was still a player with WTFC

Following a goalless first half Simpkins headed Worksop in front on 49 minutes and substitute Ben Tomlinson netted a second on seventy five minutes.
In the past I've heard some fairly horrific music and indecipherable mumbling emanating from the public address system at Cannon Park, but the 11th hour stand in with the microphone today didn't go in for any of that mullarky,
No mess, no fuss, keep it uncomplicated, play some decent tunes, any bugger can do it ... obviously!
And when an invasion of substitutes occurs around the hour, including several who aren't on the team sheet and who don't even got numbers on their shirts, the best solution is to leave the mic' switched off and nonchalantly shrug ones shoulders, innit!?
Ray Lucas will be back as master of ceremonies for the next 'home' game (at Shirebrook) and I'll be 'retiring', let's just hope he's left those David Essex CD's at Ilkeston's New Manor Ground.
Ah, Ray, he's so much more than a pretty face... "I don't think so!"
"And that's 11 subs in the 60th minute,
7 for Worksop and 4 for Sutton.

Have a bleedin' guess!"

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Brigg Town 1 v Scunthorpe United 5 - Friendly

Wednesday 14th July 2010
Pre Season Friendly
At the Hawthorns, Brigg
Brigg Town (1) 1 Jason Maxwell 10 (ish)
Scunthorpe United (2) 5 Matt Godden 31, Michael Rayne 43, Rob Jones 50, 65, Adam Boyes 76
Admission £6 Programme £1 (for a piece of A4 paper folded in half, not likely!)
Actually Brigg is quite modern these days, even the one eyed banjo plucker
that serenades you as you enter uses an electric amplifier circa 2010

To date, I've already seen loads of football this season, but none that I could actually officially tick off and count as an official game under the ever more picky Groundhoppers convention rules and regulations.
The red bibs v yellow bibs training games on the Manton Athletic Ground have been a joy to watch and without giving too much away, the Worksop Town Under 19's are going to be well prepared and ready to go when the season starts for real.
Tonight the lure of the liniment, the roar of the grease paint and the smell of the crowd got the better of me and for my sins I got six goals and a completely one sided, Non League home side completely being outclassed by their local Championship side mismatch, by way of a 'reward' for caving in to my match attending addiction.
Woo hoo! The first 'Ave it!' caption of 2010-11

It was a very last minute decision to even go to the Hawthorns for this 7pm kick off, but each and every journey needs a starting point and with Pontefract Collieries v Scarborough Athletic having fallen by the wayside, Brigg is as good a place to begin as any.
Scunthorpe started like they fully intended to make the obvious gulf in class between the two sides count tonight and they could've already been four goals to the good if their forwards hadn't taken on the persona of one legged men competing in a bum kicking competition during the opening exchanges.
However following yet another vainglorious attack by the Iron, Brigg's keeper cleared the ball up-field and Dan Barrett knocked a slide rule pass into the path of Jason Maxwell who ran on, waited for the Scunthorpe keeper to come charging out in an attempt to narrow the angles and then neatly slotted the ball home into the visitors goal on ten minutes.
For the next 20 minutes Scunny kept attacking in waves, but Brigg cut through them on the counter attack several times and though the score wasn't a true reflection of United's dominance, the Zebras were getting closer and closer to adding to their slender lead as the game went on.

Brigg line up to play the 'pump it over the council houses' game

But on 31 minutes Scunthorpe finally set about nailing the lid on their neighbours resistance when Matt Godden either 1) took his time to find his spot to drill home the equaliser or, 2) scuffed his shot slightly which deceived the Brigg defence and the ball nestled fortuitously in the back of the net, depending on which side of the M180 you happen to come from.
As a complete neutral, I would say Godden didn't strike it cleanly, but it went in anyway and they all count.
Former Mansfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday keeper Kevin Pressman
puts Scunny's substitute keeper through his paces during the break.
I think the KP on his tracksuit top are his initials, not his sponsors, probably.
Left click all photographs for full size image

Just beforeefore the break the Iron were in front, when Michael Raynes punished the Brigg defence for not dealing with a corner ... it was as simple a tap in effort as he'll ever get.
Half time 1-2

As is the norm in these games, there was virtually a complete personnel change for the second half. In a moment of uncharacteristic rage, I acted completely out of character and actually shouted out something VERY rude at one of the Scunthorpe subs as he was coming on, because of his Hibs connections.
But my abusive gusto probably fell on deaf hideous comedy sticky out ears, because he isn't entirely flavour of the month with the SUFC fans and several of them weren't exactly being shy about letting him know how unpopular the decision to send him out on the pitch was.
Of course Rob Jones, the substitute in question, scored not once, but twice, both headers from corners, the second one with an impressive amount of precision and power and the fickle element of the crowd all of a sudden had forgotten his completely useless 2009-10 campaign and were cheering their little socks off.
I wasn't!
In fact I was dreading him getting on the end of another cross to complete his hat trick.
He didn't!
But he did drop back into defence as Scunny shut up shop as the game disappeared into the distance and beyond Brigg's reach.
Rob Jones (5) warming up at half time

Adam Boyes netted a fifth goal for the visitors on 76 minutes by which time Brigg Town had adopted an 'if we don't kick them and just let them steamroller us they might come back for another money spinning friendly next year' approach to what was left of the game.
The Championship side spotting how polite their hosts were being reciprocated by not totting up too much of an embarrassing winning margin.
Pre season football, though not entirely meaningless, isn't meant to be taken too seriously either ... and for my part I knew that before I even headed to the Hawthorns tonight and it's my own fault if sometimes the excitement factor is somewhat lacking.
So as regards going to friendlies in future, I probably won't be watching any more ever again ... until this weekend at the very least.
Are you sure lads!? A slight typo vis the score on the Scunny fans forum.
You didn't think nobody had noticed before you amended it did you?