Sunday, December 31, 2006

Stalybridge Celtic v Droylsden

It’s a tricky one tonight/morning – and if the telephone call had gone right at lunchtime this would have said “Frickley Athletic 0 Mossley 4” at the top – but the spare seat was grabbed literally seconds before I rang – so Bower Fold it was…

Bus to ‘Bridge (in order to get a beer at the Buffet – ended up serving my own, cus Jo was very very busy !!). It was spitting when I left Mossley – when I left the Buffet it was bucketing down ! Never mind – quick sneak to Tesco to get money and top up phone before a wet walk up Mottram Road to the Fold – only 5 late – still 0-0 - and I was wet !!

An early "view" on the game..

Stood up the ‘Bridge end for the first half - a very even half it was as well if I may say so – plenty of action at both ends and a large noisy crowd. I felt the officals seemed to be a bit intimidated by “something” – crowd, players shouts, even the weather – they weren’t good. Towards the end of the first half there seemed to be a number of Droylsden players falling over and staying down – and when it came to be “2 minutes added on”, and the Bridge fans (where I was stood) were sloping off for a half-time drink, Jagielka smacked one in for Droylsden to give the first half a slightly lopsided edge.

Stair-rods ......

A half-time “drinkiepoos” in the H&H (plus a txt to find out that Mossley were 3-0 up @ Frickley) helped to restore sanity (in my mind anyway). The second half began with a bang as Droylsden hit the post within 30 seconds – and then they seemed to take control – not too many chances, but comfortable on the ball and seemingly coping better in the conditions – although I must say Neil Prince for ‘Bridge was giving it his best shot too, switching wings and having a go. It just seemed that Droylsden could cope.

Twenty minutes into the second half – penalty to Droylsden – some reckoned “deffo” - myself not so sure (I was down the “right end” to see it – I’m sure the conditions had something to do with it – I’ve seen them given for less – but with the state of the officials today I was a little disappointed in the decision). All you old peeps will remember “Lee One Pen” from days of old – here it’s called “Fearns Pen” – and he did to make it 2-0.

A blurry pen from Fearns...

Having predicted 2-2 on the Droylsden Prediction League, my Bridge hat appeared, had a wander round to the stand passing a very very very very wet Carlf (Droylsden snapper) on the way to try to get a better view on the game. Stalybridge definitely “huffed and puffed” – but just didn’t seem to have that spark that was going to turn it around.

A very very very very wet Carlf

Five minutes from the end – penalty – Bridge – too far away to comment, but Ellington tucked it away to set up a grandstand finish – which didn’t happen in my eyes. Droylsden seemed comfortable throughout the final minutes, and I have to be honest, the pressure was just not there from Bridge.

Towards the end I wandered towards the gate - as did many Bridge fans - and I bumped into Benny Phillips, he of Witton Albion with traces of both Stalybridge and Mossley in his blood (Witton's game off today) - he was sneaking out early to avoid the traffic !!

So 2-1 to Droylsden, helps to cement their position at the top of the Nationwide North. Bridge on the other hand find themselves played two lost two over the Christmas period – there was a distinct lack of front running to me anyway – whereas the Bloods seemed a lot more confident back middle and front. The attendance was 813 - I think - and contrary to poplular belief Droylsden had a good turnout as well..

The Droylsden "Elite 170" - or maybe more..

Wandered back to Stalybridge Station (with MikeB – Droylsden fan) – couple of pints (Millstone “Tiger Rut” and Ossett “Silver King”) before the return to Mossley – to find Mrs Smiffy and daughter in the Britannia – hey ho a couple of pints of Hydes “Jekylls Gold” didn’t go to waste !!

Home to find that the biggest argument of the night was an alleged spitting incident by the Droylsden keeper – in true “Premiership” conditions, something like this always manages to take one’s mind off the actual score – especially when it’s the defeated side who come up with the “goods” - doesn’t work for me though – on the balance of play (if I had the “Optiva” stats !!), it was the right result – although I have to say that it was a game played in sh*tty conditions – OK same both sides – but it might, just might have been a little different if it had been played on a 2 inch blanket of snow with an orange ball..

And Mossley finished up 4-0 winners at Frickley.....................

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mossley v Ashton United

Yo Ho Ho and all that – ‘twas derby day at Seel Park with fellow strugglers Ashton United making the short trip up the hill. It was going to be a tricky one today – for me that was. No alcohol before, during or after a Mossley game (had some driving to do until 1900). It would be interesting to see the game from a completely different perspective !!

Ashton were not playing in their normal red strip (pictured)

It was a chilly afternoon but it was Mossley’s best home gate of the season (372). Things got off to a good start with some early Mossley pressure leading to a free kick on four minutes. The magical left boot of David Eyres lined it up – hit it no too hard but low – and somehow it managed to elude the best part of 16 legs, heads and various torso parts to trickle into the bottom left-hand corner – I was still warming the camera up ! A lucky goal maybe – but when you’re down at the bottom, you take it with both hands !

Ashton Player-Manager Scott Green climbs the highest.

Now those who watch Mossley on a regular basis are well aware of the phrase “false dawn” – and not long after the goal, Ashton finally got to grips with their light blue shirts and started to claw their way back into the game. Mossley keeper Danny Trueman (ex-Ashton) was much busier than his Ashton counterpart Lee Bracey (ex-Mossley). Trueman’s performance was truly an “eclectic mix” – a stunning save from Kharas was followed by some “dropsy” in the box, followed by more saves followed by more “dropsy” (leaving Steve Shiel to hack it off the line).

Danny gets his fist to it.

Meanwhile it was mostly “All Quiet at the Mossley Front” with little to shout about at the other end. Phil Cooney – resplendent in his new Christmas mittens – was giving Mossley new-boy Will Ryder a hard time down the right, but fortunately (for Mossley) the final ball was not up to his usual high standards. So, more by luck than judgement, Mossley went into half-time one goal to the good (cue 15 minutes in the club watching the scores and avoiding the draw of the bar !!).

The second half began in very subdued fashion from both sides – although the “hoof ball” tactics from Mossley were starting to become more apparent, as was the complete inability to string more than two passes together (remember the phrase – “false dawn”).

Bax "drums up" the Ashton support.

Twenty minutes into the second half it all exploded, when the Ashton attack seemed to find acres of space in the Mossley penalty box. Whilst they were passing it around, trying to decide whose turn it was to score, in came the inevitable tackle – and yes it was a penalty. I was stood behind that goal at the time and had no complaints – unlike my “sponsored player” Steve Burke who managed to talk his way into the ref’s book. Tom Baker climbed out of the Tardis, lined it up – and gave Trueman no chance – 1-1.

Tom Baker prepares....

After this it was only a matter of time, and ten minutes later Danny Forde (who spent some time on loan at Mossley a couple of years ago) made himself some space with a deft one-two (or maybe even a one-two-three-four – the lack of tackles was evident !) before unleashing a left foot screamer past the despairing Trueman.

Lee Bracey keeps it organised towards the end.

And that was how it finished – a few late efforts at both ends, but after the second goal had gone in, most Mossley fans had probably accepted the inevitable, and so Ashton United get the “Christmas Shouting Rights” – for 6 days at least. The return match is on New Years Day up at Surrey Street. The trapdoor of relegation creaks further open.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas... all "STS" viewers - and to all non-league afficionados everywhere - may your teams win everything - and never go down !!

Next stop - Boxing Day to see another relegation "six pointer" - this time Mossley v Ashton United - until then however there's beer to be drunk and food to be eaten.

Enjoy !!!

Chorley v Belper Town

OK so once again it’s not exactly “Six Tame Sides” (especially with the chance to watch Curzon Ashton v Nelson), but in my defence I could say I was going to see a couple of Mossley “old boys”, i.e. Jordan Goodeve and Kenny Mayers – both now at Chorley.

The shopping was done – very efficiently – and it was on the 1157 train to Manchester Victoria – one change and I was in Chorley for just after one o’clock. This gave me time to complete the “family presents” jigsaw at the Chorley Argos !

From the underpass @ Chorley Station - remember "Phoenix Nights" ?!?

Got to the ground in good time – to find out both Jordan and Kenny were on the bench !! met up with a few of the Belper faithful in the club – including Davro still “recuperating” from the previous day’s alcoholic exertions !! Outside to an overcast and bloody cold Victory Park to witness what was a real relegation “six pointer”.

Belper certainly made the brighter start, although after 10 minutes, an attempted clearance by new Belper ‘keeper Adam Ogden hit the onrushing Chorley forward before bouncing to safety. After 15 minutes, a long deep cross from the left was met by Belper’s Ashley Foyle – and his looping header (came down with snow on !) managed to evade Chorley’s Danny Hurst (remember him from Radcliffe earlier this season ? to put Belper one up).

Early Belper attack - 60 seconds later - they scored - I missed it !

One the half-hour mark Ogden raced from his box to head the ball clear – to find himself stranded. The ball went back in and Sean Wright’s effort was cleared off the line by Gary Middleton. Within minutes Chorley were level when the ball was played out to Rod Thornley and he unleashed a screamer across Ogden – and excellent goal which was well worth the admission fee alone.

Jordan "sits this one out" !!

The second half was pretty even, with chances at both ends, and some good saves from both Hurst and Ogden. The last 10 minutes saw Belper up the tempo a bit – however they were unable to find a winner. In the end I suppose a 1-1 draw was a fair result. A step in the right direction for both clubs – it actually moved Chorley off the bottom on goal difference (OK Bridlington’s 5-0 home defeat by Eastwood Town probably helped a bit too !)

Across the dug-out - 0.5 of the Belper Management Team - Andy Carney

A word about the officials – I thought they were poor, and rather too easily influenced by the Chorley players and fans (especially the Chorley “moaners end” under the stand). I guess when you’re “down there”, you’ve got to shout for everything though.

A few beers in the bar afterwards – a quick “Merry Christmas” to all my friends from Belper, and then it was back to Mossley via Manchester Victoria – and Stalybridge Buffet Bar of course !!

Back in Manchester - we've got a "big wheel" !

Got home to find that “Snapper” from Belper had won the “camera war” – and even included a piccy of me in his “portfolio” – good job my Mum knows that I smoke !! To see Tim’s pix try..

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Belper Town v Bradford PA

“Grandma’s Party” – yes it was a ‘three-line whip’ as they say in the House of Commons so I was (luckily as it seems !) spared the full horrors of Burscough v Mossley for the delights of Belper Town v Bradford Park Avenue. Traffic down the A6 was not too bad at all, so I arrived in good time for tea, natter and then a “slope off” down to the “George”, where pints of Woodfordes “Nelson’s Revenge” and Coach House “Christmas Pud” awaited – I was soon joined by Nosmo from Ilkeston who was giving the trip to Ashton United a miss.

A Belper sky....

Into the ground at 1504 – sold out of programmes ! The early pressure came from Bradford, urged on by a good turn-out of away fans, but Belper slowly but surely started to get back into the game - some good work between Hobson and Rushbury saw some equally good work by Skiba in the Bradford goal. It was all pretty “even stevens” as the half came to a close – with Belper probably being the more satisfied of the two sides.

Belper's Danny Tollerfield makes an early save

However Bradford took the lead while I was still finishing my pint of Pedigree through Lennon ! This galvanised Belper back into action with chances coming from free-kicks and a succession of corners. Belper finally got their deserved equaliser on 72 minutes, when debutant Peter Smith (not my Peter Smith !!) got onto the end of a cross from Glarvey.

Celebrating the equaliser !

More sustained pressure from Belper came to nought however and the proverbial “kick in the teeth” arrived with 10 minutes to go when Flynn was first onto a shot that came back off the bar. Belper pushed on in search of another equaliser, but with three minutes to go it was Park Avenue who won a free-kick. Neil Ross fired it straight through the wall to give the unsighted Tollerfield no chance. One late chance for Belper by Jon Pickess, but once again it was Skiba to the rescue - 3-1 at the end – a scoreline that truly flattered the visitors.

"Mad Pete" in the bar afterwards.

Back to the refreshment corner after waving farewell to Nosmo, who was “zig-zagging” his way back to a curry in Ilkeston. A few beers and a natter – plus checking out the trip to Holland in May with Belper Secretary Dave Laughlin. Back to “the party” – more beer and the asleep at 0200 this morning. Ten hours later it was “drop daughter back in Derby”, home to Mossley – and this …

Just changed to the new "beta" version of Blogger - and have been have interesting results in signing in - we shall see how it goes !!!.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Trains at Mossley

I made it - and so did the train !! Checked on the Internet first - it had left Manchester Victoria on time, so I hot-footed down to Mossley Station, expecting brass bands, local dignitaries, pink ribbons, find just the empty cans and chip wrappers of Saturday night. Bravo Mossley Town Council - it would have been nice to have seen former councillor Geoff Brierley down there (he did a lot of work with Greater Manchester Transport Committee) - but at least he's got an excuse, unlike the rest of that parochial bunch of alleged "do-gooders" whose interest in the big wide world outside of Mossley seems to be sorely lacking.

A little bit of (blurry) history - Sunday 10th Dec 2006 - 0837 - Mossley Station

Anyway rant over - in the end it was just me and Dennis who boarded the 0837 train - and we promptly doubled the number of passengers !! Also noted that - accidentally or not - the unit number was 142 001 ! Four minutes later we arrived in Greenfield - where there was a welcoming committee !! Paula and the rest of the crew from the "Railway", plus snapper Carl and "thespian Dave" (who allegedly caught the last Sunday train out of Greenfield nearly 40 years ago !) - Dave jumped on as we jumped off.

Arrival at Greenfield

We adjourned to the pub for a bacon butty and natter before returning to the station to get the 0930 back to Mossley - there were a few more people around by now, despite the rain - it was a princely one minute late !

Back in Mossley - note the 142 001 unit number..

Grabbed the Sunday papers, and got back home before anyone had got out of bed - and here endeth the "anorak moment" !!!

Mossley don't rock (Mossley v Frickley Athletic)

After the “high” of DragonForce on Friday night it was back to the perceived “low” of Mossley today, at home against a Frickley side who were “on a roll” and climbing the table as rapidly as the Lilywhites were plummeting….

However – it was Mossley, sporting smart new white socks, who started the game the brighter. Some good work by Chris Ward in the first few minutes, a few borderline offside decisions – this was not the team that capitulated at Matlock 7 days earlier.

Offside again !! Peter Wright

And then ……aargh !! On 23 minutes, new boy Jonathon Smith made what can only be described as a “rash challenge” on the edge of the box – result – penalty – dutifully tucked away by Paul Palmer. After 23 minutes of Mossley pressure, first shot – 0-1 down. Five minutes later it was “comedy of errors” time, when a clearance from Mossley player #1 rebounded off Mossley player #2 and into the path of Frickley player #3. “Merci beaucoup” as they say in South Elmshall – second shot on goal – and Ward made it 2-0 to Frickley.

"Cooke in the book" - Christian gets a yellow.

Frickley weren’t brilliant – but they played the ball to feet and used the full width of the field, whereas Mossley were playing far too narrow and too much on the right-hand side (poor old David Eyres was cutting a lonely figure out wide on the left – “waiting for Godot” ? waiting for anything…). Two nil down at half-time – and into the club for some respite from the rather cold weather for my bloody finger. Five weeks on from the accident, it’s still twice the size of its left handed twin, and it hurts like hell when it gets a bit of cold weather on it / in it – I feel a trip to the doctors coming on…

The second half saw changes – Steve Burke was brought on for the injured Christian Cooke – who’d been booked early on for one tackle and then spent the rest of the first half being assaulted by various Frickley players. Lee Shillito came on for the ineffective Fraser Robinson – and all of a sudden the attack came back to life. With 15 minutes to go, a shot by Peter Wright managed to squirm its way under/through Frickley keeper Jon Hood – and Mossley were back in the game.

"Butterfingers" was the cry - Hood hides head - it's 2-1...

Then we had a moment that somehow passed me by completely – Mossley’s Gary Furnival was sent off - I can only assume it happened during my one and only “toilet break” !! With five minutes left – PENALTY !! (saw that !!). Chris Ward took the responsibility – took his time – too much time – and saw his shot saved low down by Hood. A collective expletive echoed around the ground – and another three points went down the pan.

Chris Ward (far right) prepares for "that penalty"

Things only got worse after the game when the Sky “videprinter” showed that Radcliffe Borough (4 points in front at one minute to three) were now seven clear after a 2-0 against Ashton United (6 in front), and Leek Town (6 behind at one minute to three) were now three behind after an unlikely 5-1 away win at North Ferriby.

And Stafford lost….. And Belper lost …. One other result of note though was the vegetarians of Leicestershire beating the red meat of Bury – and I’ll leave you all to work that one out, because it’s late and I have an appointment at Mossley Railway station at 0837 later today to see (and travel on) the first train to stop at Mossley station on a Sunday for donkey’s years (believe 40) – yes the new railway timetable kicks in today and it includes Sunday stoppers at Mossley – not before time (Geoff Brierley – it’s finally happened !!).

Bet it’s late – or a Rail Replacement Bus ….

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tonight in Manchester.....

You can discount Status Quo (old gimmers !!).

Yes tonight it's ..........

and weather permitting it's down with a bump on Saturday when the latest combination / permutation of players commonly known as "Mossley" take on Frickley Athletic.

In the meantime - let's rock.....

Bad week for football..weird stuff elsewhere.

Because there's been nowt locally this week - what makes it worse was that "ju-jitsu" taxi service was cancelled - as ju-jitsu was cancelled due to "nativity doings" at the skool venue - so I was available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week for football.. OK I watched Man City in their entirety on Monday - it was just like watching Mossley (without the defeat) - but other than that I couldn't be bovvered.

However I have kept a diary of trains this week (aargh Aspergers !) - I may note this down at the end of the week - be warned it proves conclusively that the rail system in this country is crap - and NO-ONE CARES... (I warn you - it makes frightening reading up to now).

Ho - hum get happy - in 19 hours time me and middle boy will be having a grand time at the Manchester Academy watching DRAGONFORCE - we need to take the car because - yes - the trains are crap (beer will have to wait)

Manchester 24 hour city ?? Absolute b*ll*x. In fact tonight we had a "bit of a do" after work - I left Cheadle Hulme at 2057 - I got back to Mossley at 2300 - that's big city trains for you....when I got to Manchester Victoria, the station bar was shut (2200) - the place is a shambles, the train service is a shambles - I'll get round to doing my "to/from work" times for my week's travel sometime this weekend - it's awful - and it seems that nobody in authority really cares ... I took photos on Man Vic station tonight - and got accosted by "security" who insisted on seeing my pictures - and telling which ones I had to delete. When I get my head around the whole evening (yes I'm still sober) I'll relay more info...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

50 up - then Matlock Town v Mossley

It’s been a busy couple of days – for obvious reasons – much drinking, much eating and 90 minutes of (mostly) misery in between.

Friday was just another day at work – pub at lunchtime to buy the office a beer – home via Stalybridge Buffet for a couple more beers – and out to Fu’s Chinese Restaurant for a family nosh-up Home for more beer, cards and pressies – I’m going to be a steam train driver for the day next year !

Saturday – drive down to Matlock, leap out of the driver’s seat to let Mrs Smiffy continue to Belper. Into “The Crown” where Nosmo (Ilkeston Town) was waiting with the first of several pints of Oakham Brewery “Raucous Reindeer”. Soon joined by one-third of the York Branch (Martin) and the Mossley Booze Bus crew. Headed for Causeway Lane just in time to miss the kick-off (!) We wandered round to the Cricket Ground End and settled down on the railings with feet oozing into the turf – within 90 seconds “security” arrived and we were informed that we couldn’t stand there. FA rules state that it’s unsafe to stand on grass at a football match ! I asked for an immediate abandonment of the game – refused.

"You can't stand here without a yellow jacket !!"

“The Alamo” began after about 15 minutes – a goal-line clearance, a shot off the post and one great save from Danny Trueman to name but three. It was no surprise when Matlock took the lead after 20 minutes through Holmes. Mossley then made a double substitution which seemed to work wonders for the last 10 minutes of the first half – yes we ended up with players playing in the correct positions !!! However it remained 1-0 at half-time.

"Yes we're stuffing Mossley again listeners !"

The team talk obviously worked wonders – for Matlock – and they doubled their advantage 5 minutes into the second half through Bowler. Then Mossley put together a lovely one-touch move ending with Peter Wright smacking it home – a glimmer of hope maybe ?? Fat chance – Matlock got their third after what can only be described as a “catastrophic balls-up” in the Mossley defence leaving Cahill time to wipe his boots, comb his hair, wash the dishes etc etc before tapping in to an empty net. Any confidence Mossley had at this stage – which wasn’t much anyway – promptly evaporated, leaving sub Barraclough to score with his first touch.

Beer, football and Riber Castle.

There was still time for some “handbags” after an awful tackle by Brisco (should have walked), but by then I was watching out of the Social Club window – much warmer and wetter (alcoholically speaking).

"OK everyone - learn the words - Happy Birthday to Smiffy Happy Birthday to You !" - handbags really !

So 4-1 – into the bottom three – and overall we got what we deserved. The wheel nuts are definitely loose now – even the players were arguing amongst themselves. As Colin the Butcher has said elsewhere, it’s took 13 years to get back where we think we belong – it’ll probably take about 12 years less to …..oh …grrrr.

Caught the 1701 train back to Belper with Nosmo (who carried on to Derby for a “meeting” in the “Brunswick” no doubt !) and headed for the “George” to meet friends and family” for another couple of hours of liquid refreshment before crawling up to Mother-in-Laws for a well-earned rest/collapse. Fine this morning though – back to Mossley….and this…