Saturday, 22 January 2011

Kendal Town 2 v Worksop Town 1 - Evo-Stik Premier Division

Saturday 22nd January 2011
At Parkside (AKA Lakeside Radio Stadium), Kendal.
Kendal Town (0) 2
Keiron Walmsley 50, Andy Dunn 55
Worksop Town (1) 1
George Melling OG 43

Admission £8, Programme £2,
Free Teamsheet, Attendance 245
Sensibly, it was decided that our coach to the Lake District would depart slightly later than advertised, owing to the second pitch inspection of the morning taking place at the same time we were meant to be leaving.
The referee hadn't fancied it first time round and was giving the playing surface at Parkside a second coat of looking at.
Well, good for him ... and all communication channels were being kept open too ... nothing like a bit of consideration and updated and accurate information to warm the cockles of your heart on a clear, but overcast and cold Saturday morning.
If only Dundee United had shown a modicum of Kendal Town's courtesy just over a week ago, I might not despise the Tannadice club more than any other in Scotland right now ... and that includes Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hibs Reserves, Hibs Under 19's and even Penicuik Athletic (I have my reasons, don't even get me started).
You see eight days ago, around Friday lunch time I rang Dundee United, to ask if their home game v. Hearts was on the next day and to enquire what the pitch, weather and general outlook was like.
I received a cheery and positive response, that 'the game is definitely on, the pitch is in great shape'. The person on the other end of the phone was a bloody liar.
I should have been suspicious ... Tannadice has never had a great pitch, for years it was always heavily sanded, hence DUFC been given their Arabs nickname.
So I caught the Friday afternoon train up to embark on a weekend of socialising, merriment and Heart of Midlothian football ... or any football in the area (except for the Hibs v Celtic game).
The Hearts Under 19's had a cup game at Tynecastle on the Sunday and I was hopefully heading towards both games if the fates fell kindly ... or so I thought.
Dundee United announced around midday on Saturday that they would be having a late pitch inspection (no point in setting off there too early then and I'd already decided I was going to a local game instead now anyway, when...) and finally postponed the game around 1.30pm. Bastards!
I 'calmly' referred to my lap top and began looking for alternative games and southbound train times and ticket prices ... Bonnyrigg Rose was only a short distance away - OFF WATERLOGGED PITCH, Newtongrange Star only slightly further away than the Roses club, with a regular bus service available - OFF WATERLOGGED PITCH ...Grr!
I would be interested to know how the Dundee United manager had got to Ross County (over 3 hours drive away) on a scouting mission by 2pm, just half an hour after the pitch inspection had apparently taken place. He was spotted there, so Dundee United must've known quite early on that he'd have a free afternoon.
He'd either flown from Dundee North End International to Dingwall Airport (please don't look for either on a map, I'm merely indulging in sarcasm here) or Dundee United are big fat liars.
All credit to those who update the Junior and Amateur League websites in Scotland for keeping them right up to date, but one by one all by plan B's and alternatives fell foul to the wet sticky stuff falling all over the east side of the country.
Hmm, I was disappointed, but football isn't everything y'know (no really), so I hopped on a bus down to the Bridges and spent the afternoon trawling record shops and several bars, making a few desirable purchases in both.
It's going to be a while until I travel up to Edinburgh again for football (or anything other than visiting a very poorly relative in Sighthill) so I figured I might as well make the most of a thoroughly miserable day.
I got a phone message during the afternoon from somebody who works for Hearts "There's no way the Under 19's will be playing on the Tynecastle pitch tomorrow and cutting it to ribbons mate, there's standing water on it, what a downpour, eh!?"
It was kind of the same person to ring me the next day to correct his false assumption, the game was going ahead and "kicking off in 30 minutes" after all, woo hoo!
Shame, I'd already changed my plans during the interim and was somewhere just to the north of York on a southbound train when I took his call ... in the quiet coach too - I'm obviously still a bit of an anarchist at heart then. York was far more fun than Edinburgh on my way home.
But I digress ... Fast forward, back to the present and ... "Kendal have just rung Worksop's secretary and the game today ... IS DEFINITELY ON!"
That's a relief after my Scottish nightmare weekend and the wasted drive to Handsworth for a non existent Under 19's game v. Matlock Town on Thursday ... nobody had contacted their league's website to tell them about the bone hard frozen pitch we discovered (in complete darkness) on arrival ten minutes before the apparent kick off time.
The roads were clear, the driver didn't hang about and we made good time getting to Kendal ... in fact we got there just in time for a steward to tell us, "Err ... we're not letting anyone in yet. They're not sure if it's on or not, there's a pitch inspection going on at the moment, we'll know more after that"
Thankfully (though, that is subjective given the standard of the game that unfolded) the referee gave a very 'tricky' surface a provisional thumbs up, but one or two people who'd been out onto the field of play with him, were mumbling doubts about the game actually finishing.
By 4.50pm Worksop Town probably wished it hadn't even started let alone lasted the duration. Because to be frank, they themselves hadn't managed either and didn't exactly do themselves any justice at all this afternoon.
Left click team sheet to enlarge

It seemed that the Tigers had decided that the best way to combat the 'bumpy' pitch was to keep the ball up in the air and off of it as much as possible ... and to a clattering backdrop of studs scraping and rattling on the frost bitten layer of the pitch just below the surface, both sides struggled to get to grips with the conditions.
To be fair to Kendal, they were coping a little bit better than their visitors, but not a lot better. But in spells they did manage to demonstrate why they too are play off contenders.
Just before half time, Worksop actually got the ball on the deck and passed it around in an almost assured manner, playing football as it was intended to be played led to the opening goal, when Goeorge Melling 'selfishly' prevented Ben Tomlison from scoring by putting the ball into his own net instead.
Half Time

Kendal scored twice early in the second half to go in front, you could say Jon Kennedy in the Tigers goal was probably at fault for the first, but I didn't envy the 'king sized' shot stopper, throwing himself about on that surface and he did well to keep to score down to 2-1 for the remainder of the half as Worksop struggled to find any shape and cohesion and the home side kept battering away at them for long spells.
I'm not making unkind observations there by the way Jon, merely suggesting you are the same size as a monarch I saw once. Far be it from me to comment on anyone's girth.
The Tigers have been having a great run of form until recently and you don't just suddenly become a bad team overnight, but Martin McIntosh will be pleased there is a midweek game coming along soon, where he can get his side concentrating on getting back to basics and putting the play off chasing campaign back on track against Mickleover Sports this coming Wednesday.
I won't be there, I'm on the wrong shifts to get to any more football until next weekend, so you can bet there will be no more bloody postponements for another seven days.
Kendal adapted far better to the conditions than Worksop, which were identical for both teams (obviously ... blame the random cliché generator built into my PC for that one) and got the three points they deserved from this sometimes scrappy contest.
Parkside is a curious hotch potch of a ground, cut into a hillside escarpment, making use of the natural uneven banking around the pitch, it isn't without character. Though it isn't very pretty to look at, it is functional enough and serves it's purpose. If it was a member of the opposite sex you could get quite attached to it I would imagine, not on the grounds of aesthetics but because it had a lovely and welcoming personality ... oh, and a bar that overlooks the pitch if you feel the need of an alcoholic beverage or two to get you through the last 15 minutes of a below par away performance from an Evo-Stik Premier League football club you've just made a 3 hour journey to cheer on.
Final word ... a big up to the locals at Kendal Town, a really friendly bunch with no airs and graces or hint of pretence about them at all.
See you all again soon.
Full Time