Month: September 2014

27.09.2014… Dartford (h)…

Nuneaton Town 1 Dartford 2

JPR James Parnell Stadium… Saturday September 27th… 3pm

Attendance: 759

Ticket: £14 – Programme: £3

First home game for new manager Liam Daish; and one which Nuneaton conspired to throw away in the last quarter of an hour.

Struggling to Stay Up... Could be a Metaphor...?

Struggling to Stay Up… Could be a Metaphor…?

Leading 1-0 at the interval through a 35th minute Craig Curran goal, Nuneaton appeared to go on the defensive in the second half in an attempt to hold on to what they had. It didn’t work, as the half progressed they surrendered more and more possession, and chances culminating in a Dartford equaliser from Elliot Bradbrook via the penalty spot in the 78th minute.

Second Half Action...

Second Half Action…

Almost immediately Nuneaton had a strong penalty appeal for handball turned down, only for Dartford to break quickly and score their second through a Danny Harris header.

Nuneaton went forward in search of an equaliser but it was a case of too little, too late…

Nuneaton Town; Charles-Cook, Franklin, Dean (YC), McSweeney (Brown 68), Geohaghon, Armson (John 90), Streete, Fowler, Walker, Curran, Brown (Hutchinson 21) Not Used; Starosta, Wren

Goals; Curran (35)

Dartford; Mitchell-King, Mcauley, Sweeney, Bradbrook, Collier, Daley (Cornhill 72), Burns, Bradbrook, Hayes (Bender 71), Crawford (Harris 58) Not Used; Green, Ibrahim

Goals; Bradbrook (78) [Pen], Harris (80)

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

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20.09.2014… Derby v Cardiff…

Derby County 2 Cardiff City 2

The iPro Stadium…

Saturday September 20th… 3pm…

Attendance: 27,251

Ticket: £32 – Programme: £3

Derby County versus managerless Cardiff City…

A chance to watch a game as a neutral observer, although black and white always takes preference. A stress free afternoon after last weekend’s trip to Southampton…

The Ground…

Only my second ever visit to Pride Park, sorry, the iPro Stadium, and my first since Boxing Day 1997. It’s definitely bedded in over the intervening years (all 17 of them, scary) but suffers from the same curse as a number of other modern grounds, i.e. location, being stuck in the middle of an industrial estate…

Looks good on the inside (a fantastic choice of seat colours), a situation helped by the fact that it was almost full, with the exception of a few small gaps in the corners. The atmosphere was pretty good too, especially during the second half. The Derby fans really got going after the interval whilst the Cardiff fans were noisy throughout…

A small observation… not too keen on the level of sponsorship, numerous hoardings attached to the outside of the ground as well as announcements during the game stating ‘substitutions sponsored by…’, ‘goal time sponsored by…’. A little bit too much for me but I guess that’s just the nature of the modern game at all levels…

derby v cardiff...

Outside the iPro Stadium…

The Game…

Derby dominated the first half, without some great goalkeeping from David Marshall the game could have been over by half time. The general expectation was that Derby would kick on in the second half and win the game rather comfortably, it didn’t happen…

Within ten minutes of the restart they were 2 goals down. The first came from a hooked effort by Aron Gunnarsson from the edge of the six yard box following a corner; the second, a rocket shot from 15 yards to the top right from Peter Whittingham…

Substitute Jordon Ibe got one back for Derby from close range soon after coming on, gradually the noise and the Derby pressure began to build. With 6 minutes left Johnny Russell fired in an equaliser from 20 yards out, via the post, and the comeback was complete. Derby could have won it in the time remaining but, even taking the first half into consideration, it would have been harsh on Cardiff…

derby v cardiff...

Inside the iPro Stadium…

In summary, a great game played out in front of a large and noisy crowd, and one that could have gone either way. It’s good to see that despite the best efforts of the Premier League, the Championship is still in a healthy place; and given the likelihood that it’s where we’re going to be playing next season, that’s definitely good to know…

Derby County; Grant, Keogh, Whitbread, Christie, Forsyth, Hughes, Eustace (Best 59), Bryson, Martin, Ward (Russell 79), Dawkins (Ibe 53) Not Used; Naylor, Roos, Shotton, Mascarell

Goals; Ibe (61), Russell (84)

Cardiff City; Marshall, Ecuele Manga, Brayford, Ralls, Connolly, Gunnarsson (YC) (Maynard 72), Pilkington, Noone (Le Fondre 63), Whittingham (YC), Adeyemi, Jones Not Used; John, Daehli, Javi Guerra, Moore, Morrison

Goals; Gunnarsson (51), Whittingham (55)

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

13.09.2014… Southampton (a)…

Southampton 4 Newcastle United 0

St. Mary’s Stadium… Saturday September 13th… 3pm

Attendance: 29,678

Ticket: £25 (Reciprocal Agreement) – Programme: £4

What can I say that hasn’t already been said…

Abject, woeful, shambolic, gutless, heartless, inept… All words  that could, and probably have, been used to describe this performance. The sight of Alan Pardew, welded to his seat, whispering instructions to the one man PR machine that is John Carver would have been laughable if it wasn’t so depressingly familiar.

southampton v newcastle...

Outside Ikea, Yesterday…

The Match (Sort Of)…

At no point during the afternoon did we look capable of mounting an attack, let alone scoring a goal; and at no point during the afternoon did we look capable of even the most basic defending… 4-0 flattered us…

The players turned up in a coach with blacked out windows, disappeared into the ground, headphones in, without a word. They then proceeded to spend 90 minutes barely going through the motions before leaving the pitch at great speed with their heads down. One exception, a special mention has to go to Daryl Janmaat, he may have played as badly as his team mates but at least he had the decency to wander down and acknowledge the 2,500 travelling supporters at the final whistle (and encourage one or two of the younger stragglers to do the same)…

southampton v newcastle...

The Riverside…? Can’t Be, Not Enough Empty Seats…

The Rest…

First trip to Southampton since 1998, St. Mary’s has replaced The Dell in the intervening period; I never saw us win there either but at least the place had some character. Like many modern grounds, St. Mary’s is utterly uninspiring, flanked by a railway line, industrial units and a gasometer. Neat and tidy and practical but lacking anything to distinguish it from any other new build, in fact, squint and you could be at the Riverside…

Always find at least one positive though; in this case, I managed to make it back to Southampton Central for the train back to Birmingham with time to spare, even taking into account the bottleneck on the bridges after leaving the ground. In fact I was back home in time for ‘Match of the Day’. Did I watch it? Of course not…

Southampton; Forster, Fonte, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Clyne, Davis, Cork (Gardos 89), Schneiderlin, Pellè, Long (Wanyama 45), Tadic (Ward-Prowse 67) Not Used; Davis, Yoshida, Mayuka, McQueen

Goals; Pellè (6, 19), Cork (54), Schneiderlin (90) 

Newcastle United; Krul, Coloccini, Williamson , Janmaat, Haidara, Anita (Tioté), Gouffran, Sissoko (Ameobi), Colback (YC), Cabella (Pérez Gutiérrez), Riviere Not Used; Elliot, Obertan, Taylor S, Armstrong

Goals; None

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

09.09.2014… Forest Green (h)…

forest greenNuneaton Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

JPR James Parnell Stadium… Tuesday September 9th… 7.45pm

Attendance: 789

Ticket: £14 – Programme: £3 (Double Issue FGR / Aldershot)

First game post-Brian Reid for Nuneaton Town.  First midweek game of the season for me; football always seems that little bit more exciting on a warm evening under floodlights, always has, always will…

Very short version as I’m getting behind…

A much improved performance from Nuneaton, it’s one of the oldest clichés in football but teams always seem to find that extra yard following the sacking of a manager, I always tend to wonder where they’ve been hiding it…

nuneaton town v forest green rovers...

Misplaced the ‘Rovers’…

Forest Green Rovers missed a couple of good chances either side of half time; James Norwood was put clean through in the first half but fired wide, Jon Parkin missed from close range just after the restart. Nuneaton started to impose themselves as the game went on and took the lead on 75 minutes through a Jorrin John shot from just outside the box. There was still time for Reice Charles-Cook to push a Luke Oliver header around the post but Nuneaton hung on for a deserved three points…

nuneaton town v forest green rovers...

Match Action: iPhone Struggling at Night…

Nuneaton Town; Charles-Cook, Geoghaghon, Smith (John 69), Franklin, Dean, Walker, Fowler, Dyer, Streete, Curran, Brown Not Used; Starosta, Waite, Wren, Quinn

Goals; John (75)

Forest Green Rovers; Russell, Stokes, Kamdjo (YC), Oliver, Coles, Frear (Kelly 83), Wedgbury, Sinclair (Guthrie 62), Pipe, Parkin, Norwood Not Used; Arnold, Oshodi, Rodgers

Goals; None

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

06.09.2014… Kidderminster (a)…

kidderminsterKidderminster Harriers 2 Gateshead 1

Aggborough… Saturday September 6th… 3pm

Attendance: 2,604

Ticket: £10 (Reduced from £14 for Non League Day) – Programme: £3

A confession… I’m one of those fans that used to look down his nose at non-league football, it was all about Newcastle at the expense of everything else. I don’t think I was alone, in fact it probably explains why a lot of non-league sides in the North-East haven’t generated the support that they deserve. As I’ve found out over the last few years (thanks to Nuneaton Town), this was entirely my loss. If you want to watch good football, in great surroundings, from clubs with strong ties to their local communities then you really should get involved…

Hard sell over… This was another short away trip for me, Kidderminster being only 45 minutes from Birmingham; and a rare chance to support a North-East team that appears to be heading in the right direction both on and off the field…  I’d been to Wembley last season but felt like a little bit of a fraud, a glory hunter perhaps. So this was the chance to make a first repayment on that day at Wembley, with the added benefit of a new ground to add to the list…

kidderminster harriers v gateshead...

Aggborough Outside…

Anyway, the match itself… Gateshead had the vast majority of the possession in the first half but couldn’t turn it into anything resembling a chance, Kidderminster never really got going…

Within 5 minutes of the restart Gateshead found themselves two down. Craig Reid scored the first from close in within 10 seconds of kick off,  Nathan Blissett heading a second three minutes later. Gateshead pulled a goal back with 25 minutes left through Jon Shaw but never really looked like getting an equaliser…

kidderminster harriers v gateshead...

Aggborough Inside…

Overall impressions, two good sides, both of whom should be in contention for promotion to League 2 next April but like a certain other club I could mention, Gateshead are crying out for a centre forward…

Aggborough… Loved the place, in comparison to Nuneaton it’s palatial; covered terraces at both ends, seated stands up both flanks, and a fantastic playing surface. The travelling Gateshead contingent were noisy throughout, the Kidderminster fans less so, although they did crank it up in the second half once the goals had gone in…

The whole match day experience reminded me of away trips with Newcastle in Division 2 in the early nineties (in the days before grey hair), a day of happy nostalgia. Back then the joke always used to be, Q. ‘Who’s your second favourite team?’ A. ‘Newcastle Reserves’. Well not anymore, I do have a genuine second favourite team, and it’s Gateshead FC…

Kidderminster Harriers; Lewis, Nicholson, Grimes, Dunkley, Gowling, Hodgkiss, Storer, Byrne, Reid (Styche 67), Johnson (YC), Blissett (Gash 72) Not Used; Verma, Gittings, Singh

Goals; Reid (46), Blissett (49)

Gateshead; Bartlett, Curtis, Clark, Chandler, Turnbull [YC] (Guy 81), O’Donnell, Oster (Ramshaw 61), Rodman (Allan 82), Jones, Wright, Shaw Not Used; Baxter, McDermott

Goals; Shaw (64)

As usual, More pictures on flickr…