Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stalybridge Celtic v Redditch United - Updated

[Apologies for the delay - visitors and stuff - and we all went out to Bolton Abbey (Wharfedale) today for a thoroughly long walk]

Mossley were away at Fleetwood - and we had visitors coming round in the evening - so the choice was Bower Fold today - ironically the Mossley game was called off very very late - just as the "Booze Bus" was leaving the M55 at Blackpool !!

Visitors always means - sort out house - so a morning trip to B&Q was followed by fitting a nw light fitting in the front room (God - some of our wiring is .....!). Then on the 1357 down to Stalybridge, a quick pint of Phoenix "Double Gold" in the Buffet Bar, and then it was "gannin' along the Mottram Road" etc.

Bridge started well with loan signing Matty Barlow showing well - a good surging run in only the second minute led to a chance for Sykes which went wide. Not to worry though - a couple of minutes later a "Route 1" clearance found its way through to Barlow who put the ball away neatly to give the home side a 1-0 lead. After a quarter of an hour the lead was doubled when Ellington picked up the ball in the box, controlled, shielded, twisted, turned - and scored.

This seemed to be the "wake up call" for Redditch, and about 10 minutes later Walker nipped in front of a rather hesitant Ashley Tims to dink the ball over his head and halve the deficit - and on the half-hour Richard Ball picked up the ball on the left, cut in and curled one past Tims - and into the far corner (have to point out that a very good advantage was played by the ref in the build-up to this goal when a Redditch player was upended !). We had the obligatory "handbags" just before half-time, but the teams went in at 2-2.

He's even smaller standing up !! Redditch keeper Richard Anstiss.

Celtic came out the the blocks the better in the second half and a cross from Barlow should have been buried by Hume - but he headed over. Again, not to worry as a couple of minutes later a Stalybridge corner was cleared out to Olsen who hit it straight back in - it took the slightest of deflections (I was still walking round - so followed the shot all the way !) - but was a goal from the moment it left his foot. Stalybridge then seemed to "clam up a bit" after that, and allow Redditch to start pushing on (someone behind me in the crowd shouted "We can't defend for half-an-hour" - he was right !). Hume did get the ball in the net again (see the "aerial ballet" !), but the ref disallowed it - and Hume got a sore elbow for his troubles.

Pic of the day - Ashley Walker admires the "ballet" of Anstiss and Hume.

Redditch were attacking from deep, picking the ball up on halfway - or further back - and going on some surging runs as the Stalybridge defence went deeper and deeper. Once such effort from the wonderfully named Exodus Geohagon completely flattened Scott Maxfield. The other chances for Redditch came courtesy of a couple of ENORMOUS long-throws from Exodus - his trademark apparently.

Redditch "Man of the Match" - the mighty Exodus !

A late second half effort from Mark Hume ...

The second half ended as the first - only this time the hadbags flew a bit harder and Redditch's Richard Softley belied his name and was lucky to receive only a yellow. A couple of late late corners from Redditch - Tims had to be sharp to fist one of them away - but the whistle finally went and it was three points to Stalybridge - their first home win since sometoime in November!

A beer in the "Hare and Hounds" ("Bombardier") was followed by a stroll back down to the Buffet Bar for a couple before jumping on the 1841 train back to Mossley - and a quick "celebrity spot". There with with wife and kids was Mike Sweeney - a well-know DJ from the days of Manchester's Piccadilly Radio, still plays live with his band The Thunderbirds - and a thouroughly nice chap when I asked him if he minded if I took a pic....

Token man on train back to Mossley - no, wait - it's SWEENEY !!

Home - quick change before visitors arrive - and a jolly nosh-up of salmon and coq-au-vin washed down with a couple of lemonade shandies (!!)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Slash City Exile

...aka "Tannoy Man" - or James (Sunday name) - tonight drinking the wacky apple juice in Stalybridge Buffet Bar. It's drinking behaviour like that that probably led to football behaviour like this.....
Halifax Town v Hyde United earlier this season - not one of my pics of course !!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mossley Quiz Night - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory !

Tonight was Mossley Quiz Night up at the Football Club - and a very good turn-out as well with about 9 teams going for it. Mr and Mrs Smiffy joined up with Andy and Lynn - and in true "Mossley football style" we brought in our eldest "on loan" for the night (she was back from Derby Uni to go to a Media Recruitment Fair at Manchester G-Mex today). Also in true "Mossley football style", we named our team "Relegation Fodder".

There were a ton of questions, and the first couple of rounds of 25 were quite tight (me being the immortal competitor in "quizland" my eyes were on SJNR's team who were sat at the back - and aptly named "The Team at the Back",or something close to that). That was a mistake ......

A mixed bunch of questions - with a heavy sporting bent however (might struggle to get the missus up there again !), and round 4 was the bugger (Which Celebrity duo has a dog called Toby ? Where is Odense ? Where is the Ashdown Forest ? Opposite of Anode ? - to name but a few)

All papers in in - 'Commercial Steve' called across to verify results - to find that we - yes we - had won the quiz !!! Took the money (£26 to be exact), took the applause - but wasn't convinced. After the furore (!!) had died down, I went to have a quick check of the Quizmeister's "sheet" - to find some major arithmetical errors which put us equal 2nd and the team who "came 2nd" winning by two points - ironically it was 'Commercial Steve's' team ("Norfolk & Chance" !).

Mentioned this to Quizmeister who said that "Norfolk & Chance" had donated their 2nd prize money (£13) back into the pot for the next quiz (15th March if you fancy it - cus there will be Jackpot type stuff) - so we did same with our £26 - leaving a nice little Jackpot pool for the next quiz.

All in all a good night out - it's often tricky to gauge how many will turn up to events up at Mossley - and the fans often get called for not turning up to stuff (the thought that certain nights are unavailable to some or the idea of a "Race Night" can leave some - me included - totally uninterested seem to go by the board).

Let's put this one down as a success - and it's going to be a monthly event from now on - so if you;re in the vicinity - 15th March with a 8pm kick-off. Thanks to all for a good night out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stocksbridge Park Steels v Belper Town

Yep - I managed to escape the hype that was Lille v Manchester United, was almost tempted by the League 2 offering of Stockport County v Walsall - but no, Stocksbridge is only (apparently) 24.9 miles and 41 minutes from Mossley (, so it was to Bracken Moor for the evening.

It took nearly an hour, but I was there in good time as the kick-off had been delayed until 2000 due to players, motorways and general global warming stuff. A swift glass of their finest non-alcoholic Pils (only £1-10 a bottle - actively encouraging non-drinking drivers - I like that !) and down the stairs to the pitchside.

Bracken Moor - in "widescreen"

The first half I'd put down as being fairly even - early long range Belper efforts from Piliero and Hudson were either dealt with/wide. Stocksbridge's Stuart Copnell (now there's a story - but possible libel prevents !) set off on a mazy run in the 10th minute, only to shoot wide. On 18 minutes Belper 'keeper Ogden came for a high ball, grabbed it - and then contrived to throw it out of his hands as he landed - the ball flew just wide of the far post ! Ogden was called into action again after 34 minutes, making a good save from Copnell, before staying down, requiring "fitters attention" - apparently it was "grass in his eye" !!

Ogden gets "blade" removed from eye ...

Seconds before half time - the "Sucker punch" - ball arrives from the left with the Belper defence appealing for offside and two Stocksbridge players "hit on Ogden" near the edge of the box . - ball runs loose for Copnell to put it into the empty net - and Stocksbridge go in at half-time with a rather undeserved 1-0 lead.

One Belper substitute itching to get on against his old team ...

The second half began with the Stocksbridge players appealing this time - however Pickess put the ball wide. Then we had the obligatory "touchline handbags", which led to Stocksbridge's McLean being booked and Belper's "demi-Manager" Andy Carney being asked to vacate his touchline position for somewhere "behind the barrier" (one for all you wannabee refs - and any real ones - Carney was a named substitute - could he have brought himself on - I saw no red card brandished by the ref).

On 55 minutes Stocksbridge's Cockerill put a shot wide when it looked easier to score, but two minutes later Belper's Middleton cushioned a header back to 'keeper Ogden - that didn't quite make it - Curtis Bernard nipped in to make it 2-0 to the Steels. Belper tried to get back into the game - Rushbury was getting some rather harsh treatment from the Steels' defence, but the free kicks came to nothing. Ogden too got a clattering from Calcutt which required treatment as the game ebbed and flowed.

A late Danny Hudson free-kick for Belper.

With five minutes left a Belper free-kick (was it Rushbury ?) was acrobatically tipped over the Stocksbridge bar by Hodgson - 60 seconds later Ogden was doing similar at the other end. With time virtually up, a late shot from Belper's other "demi-Manager" Danny Hudson was saved by Hodgson.

And that, I'm afraid, was that - one "semi-controversial" goal seconds before half-time and one defensive howler was all that separated 14th and 3rd in the table - so Belper should not feel too downhearted after this display - talks of a "play-off" place may well be a little premature however. And for those in the know, it was a lousy birthday present for "Pistol", the Belper kitman. Apologies to both Mr Oldrini and Mr Harrison for the quality of both words and pictures tonight - but there you go - at least Mr Darlington was kept updated whilst on his "death bed" !!!

The late start meant late finish - left the ground at 2200 on the dot to be back in Mossley for 2245, leaving time to dump the car at home and slip out for a couple at the "Britannia" - only "Old Speckled Hen" - but there you go.

E&OE tonight !!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mossley v North Ferriby United

Mossley 20th - North Ferriby 16th. Yep I suppose it has to go down as a "must win" game (but aren't they all when you're in 20th place ??).

The day started brightly - the pictures that I'd sent to that magical website had been uploaded onto the site - an incredible site it is as well (plug plug - see the Hofdingi cheese at Sunnmork Shopping Centre in Hveragerdi - see the Hvitur Kastali cheese at Keflavik Airport !!) Me and Mrs Smiffy then went to Asda to load up the house with food after being away all week - we even found time to get a new CD player for the kitchen. Lunch was ham and mustard sarnies, and then a trip to the Royal Bank of Scotland "hole in the wall" found the jocks wanting - and me still wanting money - thank heavens for those ethically-minded peeps at the Co-op where football money was duly obtained.

As I arrived at Seel Park I realised that literally 24 hours earlier I'd been in an outdoor swimming pool in Iceland - the "Blue Lagoon" near Grindavik - geothermally heated so dead hot whatever the weather - the heat was certainly on Mossley this afternoon.

The Blue Lagoon - steam and all - air temperature about zero.....

The first 20 minutes or so were fairly even - a couple of free kicks for David Eyres to "have a go" but nothing really clear-cut. On the down side, Mossley lost two defenders - both Steve Shiel and Jonathon Smith went off with injuries, and the loss of Smith was especially hard, as he's been one of the few real success stories in the last few months.

Jon Smith before his premature departure today.

Just before the half-hour, new loan signing (yes another loan signing) Clive Moyo-Modise (a spit for Will Smith !!) cut in well from the left and fizzed in a shot that hit the bar - had that gone in, the rest of this report would/could have been so different (that line borrowed from the "Department of the Bleedin' Obvious"). It was then time for the "Curse of the Golden Goal" to kick in - I had 39 - so it was in the 40th minute that a shot from Ferriby's Chris Boulder "hit something" and contrived to loop over the head of the stranded Steve Wilson to give NFU a rather undeserved lead - at that moment I felt no-one deserved to be in the bloody lead !

Half-time saw the inevitable scanning of the Sky videprinter to check out the "scores around us" - Radcliffe drawing, Ashton drawing, Leek drawing, Kendal losing - there's time we thought - there's time. Whilsl we're in the half-time break, here's something else to take your mind off football - the mighty "Strokkur" at Geysir which erupts every five minutes or so.

Strokkur erupts - again - come back in five minutes for another ....

Second half - and seven minutes in, it all erupted at the wrong bloody end when Neil Allison found himself free at the back to convert a corner to give North Ferriby a 2-0 lead - the lack of a Smith and a Shiel was obvious. This was the cue for the already shaky Mossley team performance to literally come apart at the seams. David Eyres was doing his damndest to keep some sort of coherence going, and Moyo-Modise was literally ploughing a lone furrow up front - but apart from those two, there was no teamwork, no precision, no nothing. It was starting to become painful to watch - so just to cheer you up, here's a picture of the mighty Gulfoss waterfall....

Then, true to form, Mossley started to battle a bit, putting a bit of pressure on - call it "last chance saloon", call it desperation - but why oh why oh why do they always leave it so bloody late ?? Let's give a team a couple of goals start, bring everyone down to the point of complete despair/indifference - and then "turn it on" for a bit at the end. "Turn it on" is probably pushing it a bit however - there was still no pattern, no guile - it was just putting a bit of pressure on an admittedly not very brilliant opposition !!

With seven minutes left, Clive Moyo-Modise managed to find himself some space in the box to plant one past Pecora in the Ferrby goal to make it 2-1.

Modise (out of picture left) makes it 2-1 (ball out of picture right) and catches cameraman between rock and hard place !

I've got a few pictures of the last ten minutes which show the Ferriby keeper on the floor a lot - but maybe the phrase "aimless pressure" sums it up a lot better - much "huffing and puffing", but we never really looked like blowing the North Ferriby house down.

Turls and Modise put some late presssure on Pecora.
After the game - yeah the complete bloody indifference came back - at least for some they had the "enjoyment" of watching United scrape a draw against Reading - even when Secretary Bob came round with the full Unibond Prem results, it seemed that few were that bothered - was it an air of resignation, or more an air of inevitability - a really sad state of affairs isn't it ??
Next Saturday it's Fleetwood away (yes they who stuffed leaders AFC Telford 3-0 last Tuesday) - there WILL be a minibus going - there WILL be people in it as well - but I've just looked at the calendar to see evening dinner date with friends, so the jury is out on Smiffy's attendance.
Just had a thought - today's captain was Jonathon Smith - and Captain Smith went down with the "Titanic" did he not ??
Anyways, to cheer you ALL up (!!) I leave you with a picture of part of the Solheimajokull glacier - now that WAS amazing - yes that black stuff is solid ice - as is the blue stuff.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Smiffy's been to Iceland - Part One

Got back a couple of hours ago - but this is the pic you all wanted to see - the frozen food cabinet in the "Bonus" supermarket in Hveragerdi. No frozen peas unfortunately - but plenty of Icelandic Lobster (the "Humar").
More to come I'm sure - but there's rumours of the Mossley game tomorrow being off - has it been that bad round here ?? Leaving it for now - and enjoying some cheap beer for the first time this week !!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Today it was Football - sort of ....

Mossley off - Stalybridge off - Woodley on (but I'm sorry, I just couldn't summon up enough enthusiasm - don't know why - but I had I had spent the morning racing round Ashton preparing for next week's journeys...).

So I hoofed it to a pub - no names no pack drill - to watch Moneybags United take on Charlton Athletic, courtesy of the "aljazeera Channel" as it's know in the trade !!

Upcoming fixtures - in Arabic natch !!

And a very below-par performance by United it was as well, considering Charlton's league position and the number of debutants they had today (I was particularly impressed by Alexander Song, and Zheng Zhi showed up well when he came on as well) Still United won 2-0 - the usual crowd of "pretend fans" went home happy - from the pub that is - don't ask me about those at Old Trafford - I'm sure the trains to Plymouth were full this evening !! I then caught the end of the Scotland v Wales Rugby game and the first half of the Portsmouth v City game (known as "Sitting with the Suicidals") before deciding "This is NOT what Saturday football is meant to be like" and going home to the great British Pizza and beer....
Aaah, next weeks journeys - yes Smiffy is off to...
for a few days to get away from the sh*tty cold weather here in dear old Blighty - look foward to pix of bags of frozen peas next weekend etc etc.....

Yesterday it was Music - Wolfmother

Pix not up to my "DragonForce" standard - but a storming gig anyway........

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tonight - it's Music..Tomorrow ....?

Going to Manchester Apollo (with daughter and camera !) to see ......

As regards football tomorrow it's a question of "wait and see" - although it's raining in Cheadle Hulme at the moment, so we should get something in somewhere.....

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mossley v Prescot Cables - Take One

Bit late for this - so here's a few pix and a few words to be going on with - Prescot win first half - we win second half ergo draw.

My book has phrases like "a litany of misplaced passes" - "sluggish" - "long range shots from David Eyres" - including one with keeper scurrying back to watch it just clear the far post - OK that's the first half

Alex shows his a*se to the Cables defender - Joe's not impressed !!

Prescot's McMahon saves from Joe Shaw at the end of the first half

Second half - much improved - several chances - one disallowed (see pix - make your own mind up) - talked to ref after and he said "foul by number 9 on keeper" (see pix - make your own mind up)

Melford about to score - until ref chalks it off !!

Does the "close up" reveal any foul ???

Melford's diving header goes agonisingly wide...

Brown trouser time - 89th minute Prescot free kick goes "just wide"...

Both teams had enough chances to win it - or lose it - a point's a point - until you learn that Leek Town have come from one behind against Hednesford - and beat 'em 2-1. Not much change at the bottom - although we gain a point on Ashton and Kendal - "six-pointer" last week at Leek - let's call next week's game at home to Radcliffe Borough a "nine-pointer"....