Monday, 3 January 2011

Colwyn Bay 2 – 1 Halifax Town; 03/01/11.


Could you ever believe it? Two matches in three days! Finally, some excitement in our lives! A bank holiday trip to remember and er . . . oh.

At least our two longest journeys are out of the way. Colwyn's a 200-mile round trip to scenic Wales. Pies were forbiddingly served upside down in their polystyrene cases with no vegetarian one on offer. What is to expect of a country where boys leave school at 10 to become mercenaries for various tribes, while the girls are forbidden from even having an education? Adults were charged £7, on the cheap side for NPL games, but a whole week's wages for the average Welsh family.

Some Colwyn pressing quickly followed kick-off, but 'twas us who first threatened to get it in with a Vardy header that hit the post. They were tough oppo' to get through but the work rate between Baker and Phelan edged us. This was brought to the score sheet after 27 minutes when Phelan decided to take one of his hits and it fired in from outside the box. Phelan is always known to hit the woodwork with these efforts but a piece of justice came for him in one of the best goals of the season.

The first half carried on as it did. Tight, well played but without much of note. We were a few times saved by the fists of Hedge, who had to almost juggle the ball mid-air from a cross, punched it out a few times and managed to smother a shot that the Seagulls thought had been spilled (kickety-kick). Colwyn soon went on to show their Clown College side with a bit of acrobatics, which the referee did everything to encourage, rewarding kicks to them every time they performed a roly-poly.

It was when the second half came in that this really did grow painful. Before our substitutions (our four out-field players on the bench were strikers, which was worrying), we played at domination. So many balls swept past the goal line and into the other wing, with the Colwyn keeper catching each ball like a kitten after several hits of catnip. He became the official man of the match. Deano's legs were rightly proclaimed dud, and Marshall replaced him. Garner was surprisingly replaced by Taylor, despite having a good game. Our attacks outnumbered Colwyn's by about three-to-one . . . yet . . . two of their goalmouth scrambles went in. The first was a surprise that couldn't dent our hopes too much. The defending for the second was abject, and after about forty-six attempts at our goal from four yards, it went in. All of a sudden, there were 350 Colwyn fans in the ground, and they were cheering. Strangely they mostly had weak Scouse and Lancashire accents, while the children spoke like they were performing in period dramas. I remember barely being able to spot one in August '09, when we showed the team that went up with us how much of a threat we were with a 3–0 rout at Llanelian Road. Their inability to support a team for the majority of the time was highlighted with their second chant, "Can we play you every week?" which was a call for sadomasochism as the best team had lost. Or maybe they meant "Can we play with ewes every week?" Gerrit?

A stale taste of Prescot air came after the game's third and final goal. Their players would deliberately head away new balls that were thrown in after they skied our attacking balls out of play. The humiliation came when they refused to hand us a ball for one corner, and Tom Baker had to jump the fences to retrieve one from the field behind the East Stand. That gesture has highlighted to me the lack of professionalism that often crops up in this league, and a sad sense that our efforts are being manipulated. Three added minutes were given, of which one more was played, and the sun set on a desperate day where we lacked it clinically, slid on the pitch surface too often and failed to establish our positions. Seeing Vardy act as an auxiliary forward didn't best chuff me, as he had the most potential for scoring.

Luckily we can nip the entire problem behind today's loss in the bud by looking at how the defense deals with balls in the area. With a little more luck this is our "blip" team and we can lick the likes of Worksop and wonder why they're in the position they are. Another of the toughest draws comes this Saturday, away to Sludgeheap Victoria. I'll be hungry for more efficiency, Bower's defensive guidance, and better vantage points than at Llanelian Road.

Colwyn Bay 2 – 1 Halifax Town; att. 844
Ground: 5/10
Pitch: 5/10
Programme: N/A
Talent: 5/10

Non-partisan entertainment: 6/10 


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