Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nottingham Forest 0 Sunderland 1

Joey Barton speaks out: "The first day's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in, hand you your uniform and force you to pose for the photographer while loads of fat, tattooed, skinheads shout at you. That's when you know it's for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it. That's when it hits home. That's when you realise you've signed for Newcastle United."

Sally Gunnell (not much to look at but a bloody good runner) has her MOT tomorrow. I drop her off at the garage and walk up the road to Sainsbury’s to meet White Van Man. He’s in the shop rummaging around the reduced section in hope of a cheap pork pie or slight seconds sausage roll.

We drive down Tollerton Lane, past both the Chinese and Indian restaurants. Nottingham Airport is to our right hand side. There are signs for Cotgrave. There is a huge Geordie/Mackem population in the village. They came down here in the 1960s to work at Cotgrave Colliery.

White Van Man is bobbing and weaving his way through the rush-hour traffic down the A52. I exit his car outside the main ticket office. He works match days at Nottingham Forest. I too, will be soon, as a scout for the Academy.

The girl in the office is efficient and friendly. She manages to squeeze me in Main Stand Block E. I pay £36 for three tickets.

I take a stroll around the back of the Main Stand and take a few photos. I walk back out onto Pavilion Road, past the recently refurbished Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Club. I cross over the Radcliffe Road, jaywalking between the traffic. Sunderland fans swarm outside the ghastly “world renowned” Trent Bridge Inn. They bask in the evening sunshine, downing cold pints of lagers.

I turn left down Bridgford Road and head away from the ground. A guy stands at a bus stop; he’s wearing a Stranglers t-shirt with a rat on it. I’m next to the cricket ground, it’s nearing close of play. We are playing Durham. They have made 266. I peer through the wrought iron gates, England exile Stephen Harmison is steaming in. Notts are one for none.

I carry on walking, past the overpriced and overrated Fire n Ice bar and all its pretences. My heart beats faster as I near my favourite pub: the Stratford Haven. A miserable lemon-sucking barman pulls me a fine pint of Slater’s Queen Bee Bitter. It’s £2.60 and is brewed in Staffordshire.

It’s a sultry summer’s evening and I‘m standing in the yard at the back. Three guys next to me are talking about God.(not Keano) The place is mobbed with Mackems.

I’m feeling thirsty and return to the bar to order another. Barthez saunters through the door and kindly shouts them up. We are joined by The Repairs Manager. We briefly talk shop and I get another round in.

We arrive at the ground as the teams are running out. I manage to snaffle up the last available programme for £2.

Sunderland is in north-east England and has a population of 180,000. The River Wear runs through the centre of the city. It’s well known for its history of ship building and coal mining. The car manufacturer Nissan is a major employer in the area.

Famous people from Sunderland include: BBC news reporter Kate Adie, actor and one of me and Mrs P’s favourites from the excellent light comedy series New Tricks, which we watch together on the settee on Monday nights, with a pot of tea for two and the biscuit tin: James Bolam,, the composer Edward Gregson, former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley, ex England cricketer Bob Willis and indie band The Futureheads.

I visited 106 football grounds in five days, a few years ago, to raise money for charity. I wrote to every club for gifts. Sunderland FC were fantastic, which is more than can be said for that black and white lot just down the road.

I’m thinking of a friend now who took his own life a few years ago. He and his family took me up to Tanfield Lea back in 1978. We caught the bus to Roker Park twice. I saw Sunderland beat Notts County on the Good Friday and lose to Blackburn on the Easter Monday. I remember Jim Holton, Shaun Elliott and Gary Rowell. I’d never experienced an atmosphere like it before. The Roker Roar was magical and left a lasting impression on me.

The prodigal son has returned and is lording it in the Directors’ Box. He signs autographs. He seems relaxed.

Roy Keane is a bigger legend in the city of Nottingham than Robin Hood. He was wild in his youth and disrespectful, particularly on nights out. It’s all water under the Trent Bridge now. His autobiography is excellently penned by Eamon Dunphy.

My father was a news reporter for the Daily Mirror. He was once sent out to Jersey after news broke that Clough had sent Keane packing following a remark he had made to a waitress in a hotel the players were staying in.

His assistant is his best friend Tony Loughlan, they were together at Forest. He rescued him from the relative obscurity as coach of Leicester City Academy U14s.

Forest begin the game in the ascendancy. Guy Moussi, 23, has recently signed from French League 2 side Angers. He looks the real deal. Barthez comments that he is a black Johnny Metgod.

Forest enjoy a good spell of pressure. England U18 international James Reid slams a shot over the bar. New signing Robert Earnshaw darts in front of Nyron Nosworthy and heads over, he also fires a 25 yard free-kick above the upright.

Barthez has noted that former Manchester United midfielder Kieron Richardson is in the Black Cats’ starting line-up. He certainly doesn’t snap and snarl like his cousin Charley did on Big Brother 8.

Senegal bad boy El-Hadj Diouf is Sunderland’s star man. We’re sat in the relative safety of Row M, knowing that even he can’t spit that far. He is worth the gate admission alone. Either foot will do. He twists and turns Forest inside out. They can not get near him. What a class act.

Ex-Waterford striker Daryl Murphy leaves Kelvin Wilson for dead but can only fire wide. Forest ‘keeper Paul Smith turns a Danny Higginbottom header away following a wicked free-kick from former crowd favourite Andy Reid.

I nip to the loo at the break as that Queen Bee Bitter has a wicked sting to its tail. I bump into Homebird’s missus; she works for the BBC and is with a cameraman covering the game. We exchange pleasantries.

The Forest DJ plays Justin Timberlake and the excellent Kasabian at the break. Glad to see he can still spin a tune. He’s one of the best DJs on the football circuit.

Moussi fires agonisingly wide from 25 yards, the shot appears to take a slight deflection.

Annoying substitutions disrupt the flow of the game in the second period. Andy Reid is running the show for the visitors. His passing is precise and swift. Forest get caught short at the back. Former Arsenal trainee Anthony Stokes finds acres of space on the left and pulls a ball back for Richardson to thump home.

It could have been more as Sunderland finish strongly and with only ten men. Keane explains later he wanted to see how his side perfomed one light as it seems to happen quite a bit in the Premier League games. No surprise there then.

The final whistle has blown; there are positives on both sides. Worryingly for Forest Tyson’s guitar strings have snapped again. They miss the quality and final ball of Kris Commons. Where will all the goals come from this season?

Nottingham Forest 0 Sunderland 1

Attendance: 12,573 (2,273 marvellous Mackems)

Man of the Match: El-Hadj Diouf

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chasetown 0 Port Vale 1

I took a days holiday on Friday to look after the kids. Dirty, dirty, cheating Yorkshire Cricket Club were visiting Trent Bridge. We set up passport control on the gate to check out their nationalities. The laws of the game clearly state that you are only allowed to play one overseas player. This is something they overlooked in a recent Twenty20 fixture with the Outlaws. Luckily they didn’t field on Friday, otherwise we’d have been checking they didn’t sneak twelve players onto the field of play.

Revie's "Dirty Dirty Leeds." Bremner, Giles and Hunter. It's just history repeating itself.

We spanked their backsides. Our veteran bowler Mark Ealham rolled back the years. A mediocre Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club top the LDV County Championship. “We are top of the league; I say we’re top of the league.” It’s proper cricket, not the carnival Mickey Mouse Twenty20 version.

Mrs P is livid, she has invited round The Architect, his wife and sons for a barbeque. It had completely slipped my mind to tell her that I’m off to Chasetown for the afternoon. The barbeque is rescheduled for a 6.30pm evening kick-off. I’ve cleaned the car, mowed the lawns and generally kept my head down for most of the morning.

I watch the first few overs of the Twenty20 game between Essex and Kent. Robert Key is clubbing the ball to all parts of the ground. Sticky junior and ”The Skipper” are booing every shot. Key refused to sign them an autograph last season. They’ve never forgotten it!

White Van Man makes his seasonal bow this afternoon. He picks me up at 1.20pm. It’s a 100 mile round trip to Staffordshire, so I’ve said I’ll pay him in.

We roar through the streets of our village. He’s tooting his horn and waving at all and sundry. It’s like working a shift with Postman Pat. His piloting is legendary. He overtakes a little old lady driving a Subaru Mpresso on Bunny Lane; he’s roaring with laughter.

He’s looking tired and drawn after his long weekend in Poland. There’s tales of lap dancing clubs and full body massages; no extras involved.

It’s down the A50 and along the A38. White Van Man drives his car as if he’s on a gaming machine in some seaside arcade. We hit Chasetown in fifty minutes. We are held up en-route to the ground by a wedding. Car Parking is free.

The ground is in a delightful setting. It’s £6 admission and £2 for the League Programme of the Year 2007/2008. It’s a gem with no stone unturned. There are match reports, player profiles and it’s packed with statistics.

Chasetown has a population of 9000 and is an old coal mining area. Former Forest legend and serial “dog walker” Stanley Victor Collymore is well known in the area. Northern Irish comedian Frank Carson is on the board of directors.

Chasetown were formed in 1954. They play in the eighth tier of English football and are the lowest ranked club ever to have reached the third round of the FA Cup. Their magnificent run was finally ended by eventual finalists Cardiff City. It cost the Staffordshire club promotion.

Their manager Charlie Blakemore has been here for years. Today he is on holiday. Last Friday Mick McCarthy’s Wolves came to Church Street and won 4-1. Player-coach Andy Turner was once the youngest player to have scored in the Premiership, when netting for Spurs in 1992 at the age of 17.

Today’s visitors Port Vale are from Burslem in Stoke. Famous people from the area include: heavy rock hard man Lemmy from Motorhead, darts player Phil “The Power” Taylor and local pub singer and Stoke’s Karaoke King, Robbie Williams


Former Farsley Celtic manager Lee Sinnott is now the Vale manager, and he has sent a full first team squad. It includes former Chasetown pair Kyle Perry and Chris Slater, who were snapped up from the Scholars following the successful cup run.

The heat at the Church Street ground is stifling. We dive into the modern clubhouse and order two pints of blackcurrant and soda. I know I will get some stick for this, as I’m meant to be a connoisseur of fine ales and strong lagers, but it’s way too hot for alcohol. The bar is busy but the service is swift and friendly. Chasetown is a wonderful club.

We hunt for shade from the scorching sun and stand beneath the huge trees and woodland that tower above the ground. White Van Man is sweating up like a racehorse in the starting stalls. He eyes up the talent as he wanders past the burger bar.

The Chasetown PA man plays some random tunes: Nine Till Five by Dolly Parton and Change by the Lightning Seeds are the pick of the bunch.

The players struggle with the heat and there are endless water breaks. Chasetown look a useful outfit and try to play it out from the back. But they rarely work the highly-rated Port Vale ‘keeper Joe Anyon.

The purse strings have been pulled tight at Vale Park. They have a young and hungry squad, mostly between the ages of 21-26. Perry goes close with a header and flashes a shot across the face of the goal.

I notice that former Shrewsbury and Crewe forward Luke Rodgers is in the visitors’ squad, although it’s a no show today. He has often courted controversy in the past. Five years ago he had to serve 100 hours community service, and was forced to pay £5000 in compensation, after being found guilty of disfiguring a 16 year old girl with a firework.

Louis Dodds plays on the wing for Port Vale. He has recently arrived from Leicester City, but spent the whole of last season on loan at Lincoln City. I saw him score a peach of a goal at Field Mill last September. He has a change of pace and an eye for goal. Vale fans, enjoy him.

Neither team can break the deadlock in the first period. Message for Frank Carson: You’re not missing a cracker Frank.

It’s back in the bar for another blackcurrant and soda. WVM has clocked an attractive, slim, young blonde sitting on the next table to us. I remark that she is a WAG. She is drinking WKD, a revolting alcopop that WVM drinks in large amounts on nights out in West Bridgford. He is drooling over her and is convincing himself that they have something in common. A guy in his fifties joins her at the table. It must be the player’s dad.

The players trot out to Dance the Night Away by The Mavericks. We pick a spot level to the eighteen yard area where Port Vale will attack.

It’s a good choice, as Port Vale finally take the lead, just before the hour. Their impressive captain Sam Stockley hurls a ball into the box from the right, sought after striker Marc Richards leaps between two defenders to head home. Richards is up for it today, and loses little in the air. He’s as strong as an ox. He could have made it two but for the outstretched leg of Scholars' ‘keeper Evans.

Like most friendlies, the game turns into a procession of farcical substitutions. We leave with a couple of minutes to go. WVM is in top gear. He turns on Heart FM, his favourite radio station. The Bee Gees track Stayin Alive is on the airwaves. It will be a miracle if I can survive the next 50 minutes.

Chasetown 0 Port Vale 1 Richards

Attendance: 622 (loads from Burslem)

Man of the Match: Marc Richards and White Van Man

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leamington FC 1 Newport County 1

Mrs P, like D***y County defender Claude Davis, has been out of sorts this week. I have generously shared my throat infection with the good lady and she has done nothing but cough and splutter. I’m a firm believer in equality though: she has spent six nights on the bounce sleeping on the downstairs settee

The Nuclear Scientist picks me up at 1pm. We have spent a large amount of the summer getting pished and playing table tennis. He plies me with real ale and tries to take advantage, but I hold the upper hand.

It’s down the A46, M1, M69 and back onto the A46. The Nuclear Scientist talks fondly of the Little Chef Olympic Breakfasts he has troughed his way through on this road. He sheds a tear as we pass yet another boarded-up Little Chef.

We’re in Shakespeare’s County: Warwickshire. We pass signs for historic Coventry. We drive through Warwick and past the castle. NS loves driving his Jag; he thinks he’s Inspector Morse.

Royal Leamington Spa has a population of 45,000 and lies on the River Leam. The New Windmill Ground is out of town. Famous people born in Leamington include: the boxer Randolph Turpin, actor Nicholas Ball, racehorse trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam and footballers Ben Foster and Riccardo Scimeca. They film the cringe worthy BBC “comedy” (?) Keeping up Appearances in the town. For two points what is the name of Hyacinth’s son?

Today’s visitors are former Football League club Newport County. Animal Magic’s Johnny Morris, Stoke City manager Tony Pulis and indie rappers Goldie Lookin Chain are all from the area: youse knows it.

Football in Leamington goes as far back as 1891. They are nicknamed the Brakes and play in Step 4 of the Pyramid. They were cruelly knocked out the play-offs by Stourbridge in front of over 1000 people. A record crowd. British Gas Premier League team Brackley Town have raided the Brakes for three of their best players. There will be a few strangers on show this afternoon.

Newport County play in the Blue Square Premier at Step 2. Their manager is none other than Cockney wide-boy and former Crazy Gang member Dean Holdsworth. Ex-Wolves winger Kevin Cooper and Reggae Boy Paul Hall are in today’s line-up. They are nicknamed the Exiles.

It’s £6 entry and a further 1.50 for a stunning programme. It’s got the lot. We saunter around the ground, the pitch is immaculate. Leamington FC are a very organised and friendly club. There’s an army of officials and stewards at your beckon call.

The PA man has his Best of the 80's CD on. Howard Jones, Bananarama and the Human League can just be heard above the howling wind.

We enter the Ed Mullard Bar and have a Murphy's and a Stella. It costs £5.50. Kids run around the bar with their replica Man Utd and Milan shirts on. Nickelback are on the giant white screen positioned in the corner of the club.

The last time I saw Newport play was at Sincil Bank over 25 years ago. They were 4-0 up at the break courtesy of goals from John Aldridge and Tommy Tynan. I was back home in Nottingham before the game had ended.

The DJ has now moved into the modern era and is playing Dutch Euro dance band 2Unlimited’s Get Ready For This (1991) as the players enter the field of play

We stand on the opposite side to the dugouts. NS is only a little lad and I’m concerned he won’t be able to see over the barrier.

The Brakes kick up the slope with the wind behind them. They seem content to lump the ball forward very quickly, and appear to be devoid of having any game plan. Brakes’ forwards Bellingham and Corbett don’t stand a prayer, although the former misses a golden chance, with Thompson saving bravely.

The Exiles slowly make their way into the game. Adie Harris is orchestrating the midfield and cleverly spreads the play. Both full backs bomb down the wing. They are an organised and well-oiled machine. They begin to show their class.

Walsh and Hughes both go close, before they finally take the lead, shortly before the break. NS has nipped to the loo and I’m in the queue at the tea bar when a Collins free-kick is deflected into the net to put the visitors in front.

The tea is a tad disappointing. A teabag is tossed into a polystyrene cup, with hot water poured onto it from an urn. I’m left to press the bag against the cup and help myself to milk, I’d rate it a 6 out of 10.

I wander off to take a photo of Deano Holdsworth. He throws me a big smile for the camera. One of his entourage suggests I buy Holdo a coffee. I point him in the general direction of the tea bar.

I walk past the terrace behind the goal that Leamington are about to attack. There’s a Scottish flag hanging up from the Kilmarnock Branch of the Leamington Supporters’ Club. A man stands alone further along the terrace, with a Croatian scarf draped around his neck.

The Brakes are now kicking down the slope and enjoy longer spells of possession. Deano has pulled off some of his stronger players.

Large black clouds loom. We retire to the relative safety of the main stand as the heavens open.

The Newport keeper appears to be struggling with the elements. He’s waved at a couple of crosses and looks uncertain. There’s only a few minutes to go and we are making our way towards the exit. Leamington have been awarded a free-kick on the right hand side. It’s hoisted in to the far post, Newport keeper Thompson elects not to come. There’s a series of head tennis between the Leamington players before Guy Sanders heads home. They’ve deserved a goal.

The DJ can’t resist another track from his 80’s collection. We walk out to the Blow Monkeys, Digging Your Scene.

We’re driving back home. NS has put Radio 4’s Test Match Special on. England are been spanked all over Headingley. Aggers has just announced that Scooby Doo has been arrested in the notorious Western Terrace. Don’t worry he says he’ll be back as Batman next year and the police won’t recognise him. We’re doubled–up with laughter.

Leamington 1 Newport County 1

Attendance: 415

Man of the Match: Paul Hall


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Corby Town 3 Grimsby Town 1

It’s nearly three months since I watched the beautiful game. I’ve supped and slurped endless amounts of gin, wine and beer. I’ve read the gritty novels of David Peace. And I’ve parked my backside for most of the summer in the Larwood and Voce Stand at Trent Bridge. But my craving for football has never been far away. First port of call for 2008/2009 season is the Rockingham Triangle Sports Stadium in Corby.

White Van Man has cried off. He’s saving up for his trip to Poland, where for the first time in his life he will drink kosher vodka.

The Taxman’s a good lad though, despite having a little moan and groan, as we drive through his old tax inspecting stomping ground. It’s a gorgeous evening as we navigate the Rolls Royce (Mrs P’s new Mondeo) through the rolling Leicestershire countryside, slipping in and out of picture postcard villages.

The Taxman is in his element, he’s telling me tales of businesses visited in this neck of the woods whilst working for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Taxes. Shopkeepers and farmers must have been quaking in their boots.

We pull in at an ivy-cladded olde worldy pub in Rockingham Village, called the Sondes Arms. I’m ravenous, but have no time to eat. We settle for Black Sheep bitter.

Four Grimsby Town fans are huddled in a corner excitingly discussing the pre-season new signings that their manager Alan Buckley has made. One wears a number eleven retro shirt with Ivano Bonetti on the back. That’s the guy that Brian Laws allegedly threw a plate of chicken bones at one stormy evening at Kenilworth Road. I mention I support Lincoln City; they can’t exit the pub quick enough.

I notice a tea rooms up the road as we stroll out the pub; bless him, WVM would have loved that had he made the trip. He’s missed out on a cream tea. We pass a police van, its blue lights are flashing. It’s stationary and on the lookout for speeding motorists or travelling Mariners.

The Taxman has the AA directions but mucks it up. Ground one out of fifty and we are already lost. I immediately pull into the side of the road and do a u-turn outside the Glasgow Rangers Supporters’ Club.

There’s a shaven headed guy, with an earring through his nose, walking his two Pit-bull Terriers. I wind the window down but the two canine creatures are not too chuffed to see The Taxman back in town and lunge for his throat. I reassure a shaken Taxman that we’ll have a brandy on arrival at the ground. Thankfully they haven’t scratched “our” new car.

The Rockingham Triangle Sports Stadium is not dissimilar to Grantham Town’s ground. It has a large, fine main stand, but no other covered or standing areas. An athletics track runs around the perimeter of the pitch. The stadium was opened in 1985 by Neil Kinnock.

Corby is in Northamptonshire and has a population of 55,000. It drew a large amount of steelworkers from the depressed area of the west of Scotland in the early 1930s. In 1950 it was designated a new town. By the mid-eighties it was a ghost town, courtesy of Mrs Thatcher and her butcher American friend Sir Ian MacGregor. The steelworks were closed. At least a regeneration package enabled the council to build marvellous amenities like this.

Bristol Rovers captain Stuart Campbell was born in the town and played for Corby Town junior teams. Republic of Ireland internationals Eddie McGoldrick and Mark Lawrenson have both played for the club.

Grimsby is in north-east Lincolnshire and has a population of 87,000. Famous people from Grimsby include: actress Michelle Dotrice and maverick footballer and one of Cloughie’s favourites, the Mini-jumping, golf ball throwing Duncan McKenzie.

The Steelmen are currently enjoying their 60th anniversary. It’s £8 entry and £1.50 for a cracker of a programme. It’s full of up to date player profiles for both teams. Graham Drury is their manager and he has brought one or two from his previous club Stamford. His assistant Paul Holden has a M.B.E. for services to football.

Frank Sinatra belts out a bit of swing on a placid summer evening. Normality is resumed when the DJ slips on an R “n” B track.

We choose to watch the game opposite the main stand and perch ourselves on an elevated piece of ground. There’s a sign saying it’s illegal to do so, but I can’t see some old, stuffy cantankerous FA official having the energy to walk all this way around the ground to object.

The two teams have agreed to select different starting elevens for each half to save on the disruptive substitutions you often see in friendlies.

The Steelmen open the scoring inside two minutes. A corner is pinged in from the Corby right hand side, where former Notts County defender Mark Warren plants a looping header into the top corner of the goal.

There’s the persistent droning noise of a motorbike from the nearby racetrack. The Mariners are also in second gear. They look in need of a game and struggle to get Nottingham born Alan Buckley’s trusty passing game going. He was once manager of the Imps and performed a miracle to save us from relegation one season. But we got fed up with the triangular passing pattern.

Former Leicester City player Jon Stevenson is keeping the Grimsby defence on their toes. He reminds me of Nottingham Forest’s David Johnson with his pace, movement and touch.

Grimsby striker Danny North misses a sitter for the visitors and the ginger haired Paul Bolland flashes a header wide from a corner. “We never score from a corner” roars out from the travelling contingent. There’s no inflatable Harry Haddocks or “Sing When We’re Fishing.” The Corby supporters respond with renditions of theme tunes from “The A-Team” and Steptoe and Son.

The Steelmen move the ball around nicely and are dangerous in the final third. They are good value for their lead. Grimsby, like a lot of Buckley’s teams, lack a cutting edge.

The Taxman is clearly still traumatized by earlier events in the evening, and is now buying me a cup of tea and sausage roll. He turns down my offer of a hot dog. We have a short wait as the ball boys are given complimentary hot chocolates. We collect our thoughts and give the tea 7.5 out of 10.

Tony Battersby, the Corby substitute, hasn’t time to join me for a Pukka Pie, as he’s on duty in the second period. I’m still baffled how this guy has made a living from the game and fetched over £500,000 in transfer fees. He’s already on his fifteenth club. And only 32 years old.

We are perched up in the main stand now, where the view is more panoramic. Both sets of supporters are in fine voice. There’s plenty of banter.

A text comes through on 56 minutes Sticky junior has took 2-7 off three overs for Plumtree CC. Both he and “The Skipper” have played cricket every night this week.

Grimsby look sharper in the second period. Only Newey and Tilley have shone previously. But Hegarty gives them balance and width. They miss chances galore.

Corby are exciting on the counterattack and the home faithful sense a second: “Irn Brew Irn Brew come on Corby give us two.” Last season’s leading scorer Steve Diggin obliges, latching on to a though ball after good work by ex-Nottingham Forest trainee Robert Hughes. His low drive goes in off the post. He scored 30 goals in the British Gas Premier League last season and The Steelmen have done well to retain his services.

The visitors respond almost immediately when James Hunt's cross is side-footed home by Bore.

By now the Black Sheep Bitter and half-time cuppa is beginning to take its toll: we’ve a 40 mile journey home. There’s two minutes to go in a game going nowhere. Plenty of pretty passing but hardly a decent tackle all night. We retire to a very smart Gentleman’s’ Room. There’s a huge cheer from above; The Steelmen have scored again. Worse than that, lower league journeyman Tony Battersby has scored a rare goal.

We’re gutted we’ve missed a goal, but have watched an enjoyable and incident free game.

The night is finished off with a pint of Wainwright at The Plough Inn at Normanton-On-The-Wolds.

Corby Town 3 Warren, Diggin and Battersby Grimsby Town 1 Bore

Attendance: over 200

Man of the Match: Jon Stevenson.