Saturday, 27 February 2010

Strictly come dogging.


It's been a pretty good week. For me on a personal level, anyway. But then I decided to carry on being a Shayman and get emasculated as Radcliffe Borough came back from two goals behind, and over the course of 20 minutes, changed the tables to make the final score 3–2.

You couldn't really blame them for their utter ecstasy as one of their coaches ran towards the kick-off spot once the third went in as it seemed the last result you would guess. Things felt tentative for Halifax as soon as Radcliffe's first breakthrough attack of the second half found its way scrappily past John Hedge, and two—just two—further breaks put them in front for the first time in the game.

But again, the Shaymen's end wasn't the one with the most divots in as we put in a typical 35-attack display, close on many occasions but clear-cut and in on just two. The first game halfway through the first half and in good time, as the Stockport-loaned goalkeeper Lloyd Rigby went out to clear a ball which found its way to Phelan, who made it fly well over the defenders' heads and to the other side of the nets. The man had yet another top, dedicated game whereas Baker made balls fly, partly down to carrying a bit of hip pain. The second was a close-range header into an open net as the keeper was on the other side near the start of the second half, and several others their keeper managed to save without making errors in his placing. In all though, he was possibly the best I've seen in this league, and won't remain here long. Didn't stand there hopelessly putting on weight like the others, but couldn't kick a ball.

Neil Aspin seemed to make this match a test for a slightly different formation. Marshall came on as a substitute (along with Peers, who deserves 90 minutes at least half the time, adds incredible pace) but those two came all at late time. Andy Lee played left wing and carried the ball very well but didn't get stuck in. Codman wasn't present, and in defense Riley was performing at a low standard.

Anyway, another case of us needing to be more clinical I guess. Even before we start to focus on bringing together our excellent defenders as a tight unit, I suggest attacking like it'll only happen two or three times in a game. Many of our opposition do it, and succeed leaving us bewildered. My second team, Bury, are also great practitioners of it, and training on Radcliffe's pitch maybe Boro' took in this form of play to use today. A game of two halves and the second eventually went their way.

Not without entertainment, though. The order of the five goals could've been a thrill and the work was end-to-end, with very little time to tune off, if ever. Off-pitch entertainment included a very reactionary adolescent member of the steward team. When he bleated "COME ON, BURY!" he received a load of taunts, so he resorted to angrily flapping around his arms inside his oversized bright orange jacket, making chimp-like faces at the Town fans. As the ferocious few stewards walked past the seating again they got chanted at, and the lad seemed visibly distressed, whining "Shut up!" at one person he managed to pick out. Quality stuff, and if anything he should have been more susceptible to banter.

The atmosphere could've been a lot better, but even as fans we lacked a bit of confidence today. Lots of growling really, and an irritating amount sneaking out with a few minutes to go. What was worse though, was the one or two that made their opinions known to our players in a foul way. Many a simian creature takes joy of hitting Halifax when we're down, but with those apes around posing as "fans" and giving our team abuse, the fire is fuelled. I suggest they take a long holiday to Norfolk Island.

The ground filled requirements basically, having enough area behind each goals to suit my yelling needs with a very decent seater stand behind one nets, several concrete steps behind the centre of the other and rickety steel along one side, with a few crush barriers along the other. Utilitarian but with a cabin fever feel. Programme was the weakest all season. It looked like a double glazing leaflet with two articles that could be read in just as many minutes, and wasn't glossy, jto tip Wakefield's in being the fartiest affair of the season.

Ground: 6/10
Pitch: 4/10 (couldn't blame the mud in this weather, but the slope is quite something)
Food: 0/10 (no fecking chips or pies or peas in sight, pathetic)
Programme: 1/10
Entertainment: 9/10 (fantastic for the non-partisan)


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