Home Is A Feeling

Washed by the warm tide, dried by the sunrise
It’s time to open your eyes to a feeling, feeling
To a feeling

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Oi Oi

If you are in London and ever at a loose end on a Saturday, I truly hope that Fisher are at home. If they are, then get yourself down to SE16 and the St Paul’s Sports Ground.

A day that started out with myself and Mr Wilks on the wrong train to London, I will swear the board at the start of Platform 6 gave our train, finished 11 hours later back in Manchester after a wonderful day.

Thanks to Virgin Trains and another sale we were in First Class, along with BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty for the two and a quarter hours trip down south, the time of which picked our game out of a list of 10. Following a scan of the internet we were off on the Underground heading to London Bridge and as we made good time, including the additional 20 minutes from the train mishap, once we alighted near the Shard we decided to walk to Fisher’s home, a little over 2 miles away.

After  pit stop at Eat, a delicious meal of pie. mash and gravy later, we continued following a path pretty parallel to the south bank of the Thames we arrived at St Paul’s, also the home of the Millwall Lionesses, in good time. A warm welcome and chat to a fellow Mancunian later we made our way to the clubhouse.

The ground itself is fairly basic, on the side you enter there is a covered seating structure along with the clubhouse building that also houses the dressing rooms and toilets etc., opposite, is a narrow path of open standing that stops at bothe ends just before it meets the dugouts. The East End is open standing, the West has a covered standing area where the ‘Fishtras’ gather and make a noise for 90 minutes.

On a very chilly afternoon we got underway with the hosts kicking towards Canary Wharf. An early free-kick for the hosts whistled just wide, but other than that, the opening 30 minutes didn’t really have much to write home about. The hosts dominated possession without really creating anything clear cut and right winger Ramsamy looked like he’d left his best boots at home, his accuracy especially crossing was off. Maybe, just maybe he was getting his aim in.

As we got to the half hour The Dere had their best moment of the game as a ball from the left found McGinty, his shot on the turn smashing against the bar, though this was a rare goor chance in the first half for the visitors.

Half-time was welcome. If to get in from the cold more than any other reason.

Attacking their shoal of fans Fisher really took the game to their opponents after the break, a shot by Brown was saved by Taylor in the Dere’s goal, Ramsamy sending the rebound wide, he was getting closer. Ten minutes into the half he was put in the clear, a great tackle stopped him this time, minutes later it was a Taylor save that stopped the winger, he was dangerous and the visitors had no answer for his pace and timing of runs. On the hour he had the keeper at full stretch again, forcing Taylor into a great save.

After a brief respite at the other end, Fisher took the lead, it was no surprise that Ramsamy got the goal, another good run, shot (which took a slight deflection) over Taylor and in off the underside of the bar, it was no more than Fisher and Ramsamy deserved. The wingers reward was to be pretty much immediately subbed.

The hosts continued to control the game and doubled their lead with just left than 15 minutes to go Small leaving his marker bamboozled with a flick, going past another defender as though he wasn’t there before finishing past Taylor. The remainder of the game was spent with the teams swapping breakaways and half-chances before the referee blew up and we made our way off into the South London evening.

ADDED ON

Two games over the New Year period, firstly to east Manchester for a derby, Maine Road the visitors on a wet and bitterly cold afternoon where we bumped into Rob McKay for the first time in far too long. Road dominated from the off and should have probably won by more than the 4-0 margin they finished with. The highlight of the afternoon though has to go to the taxi driver who turned up in a minibus and got stuck in the mud at the far end. Really was priceless.

Two days later and in a downpour at Moss Lane Altrincham and Witton Albion shared 7 goals, the visitors taking the lions share, just. Hulme gave Alty an early lead, back came Witton with goals from the brilliant Owens and Foley  before half-time. The rain continued to pour down as the Robins came back with 2 goals to take the lead Poole and White the scorers. In the last 10 minutes Albion shocked everyone as Owens got the equaliser and with a minute or so to go Jones got the winner. What a cracking game.

GAMES

Sat (30/12): Abbey Hey 0 Maine Road 4

Mon: Altrincham 3 Witton Albion 4

Sat: Fisher 2 Erith & Belvedere 0

FACTS

Games: 455

Goals:  1560

Grounds: 215

Games since a 0-0: 68

Milestone: 100th Away Goal of the Season – Thomas Owens (Witton Albion)

Performance of the Week: Mathieu Ramsamy – Fisher. For 20 minutes he was unplayable.

Random Fact: The Fisher game was my 79th at Step 6, during which I have seen 306 goals

SOUNDTRACK

Weather Diaries – Ride

 

Mysterious Ways

If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)

GAME OF THE WEEK

Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

The Evo-Stik South

Attendance: 184

Gate: £7

Programme: £1.50

This visit has been a long time coming, far too long. I ran into Cleethorpes Town on the NCEL Easter Groundhop over 2 years ago at Barton Town Old Boys (now Barton Town). On a fresh Good Friday morning, in the vicinity of the Humber Bridge, the Owls visited in numbers, entertained us on and off the pitch, stealing the show for the weekend. Later that same day we visited Grimsby Borough at Bradley Road. Same nest that the Owls call home.

Finally, I realised plans I made that day and was heading east on a sunny Saturday towards Cleethorpes, or actually, Grimsby. Kind of weird that, use Grimsby station for Cleethorpes Town and Cleethorpes station for Grimsby Town. Off into the seaside air, a short bus ride later I arrived at Bradley Road.

This is a council owned football centre, where Clee Town and Grimsby Borough play at home along with a number of other projects using the facility. Sorry to say but the ground does lack character, the main building on your left after entering houses a bar, toilets and changing rooms does what it needs to, but is very much what you would expect. Food’s decent though.

Unfortunately, there is very little to tel you about, at the far end is a small covered standing area and opposite the main building a larger covered seating area. If only the ground matched the people you meet, it would be a cracker.

Whilst both teams are through to the next round of the cup, their starts in the league have been quite different. Town have won both of their games, whilst Athletic have managed only 1 point from the possible 6. Given that information, any stranger would have thought the teams were in the wrong kits in the opening 45 minutes. An even start gave way to Grove looking the brighter and starting to create more. Town were limited to balls over the top and the odd run from Taylor.

Aside from a moment of madness from keeper Parton, Grove looked fairly comfortable at the back. France and Cocks looked dangerous, though the latter became public enemy number one for going down under a hefty first half challenge. Cropper and Malbon were starting to pull Bloomer and Donald around. It was therefore no surprise when the visitors took the lead. A move down their right side saw Malbon free in the channel, drawing the keeper he fed Cropper who’s outstretched foot poked the ball just inside the post, 1-0 to Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove looked comfortable for the rest of the half and quarter of an hour into the second period, then the Owls management team had seen enough and three quick substitutes just after the hour mark changed things around, going 3 at the back and giving a bit more oomph up front started to make a difference.

Substitutes Oglesby and Dickens added purpose and a bit of zest, Davis looked a different player. Though Town still could not find a way through, when they did Parton was there for Grove. Until, the 75th minute that is, when an umpteenth corner for the hosts was swung in. Donald rose highest and his header was on target, it looked stoppable, however Parton could only get a hand on it and the ball bobbled over the line at the near post, if only somebody had been stood there. 1-1, game on.

The atmosphere around Bradley Road changed with the equaliser, and it was no surprise when Clee went ahead 3 minutes later. Cooper had had a chance moments before but took to long and the chance passed, he did the same thing here, but it worked out brilliantly for the Owls. His first attempt was blocked, but the ball sat very nicely for him, this time the substitute thumped the ball home from 12 yards giving the keeper no chance. In less than 20 minutes we had seen a complete transformation of the game. Credit to the Town management team.

Game over and I was back off home, another pleasant train journey and a nap so I would be ok for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.

ADDED ON

On Monday I was back at Brantingham Road, again with George Cheetham, he of Manchopper fame and Mark Riding, later on we were joined by the legend that is iBreezeblock. As much as I like these 3 gents, that was pretty much as good as the evening got.

The match was not good, both keepers pulled off a good save, Abbey Hey took the lead with a penalty, Road equalised with a belter from Poxon, though unfortunately this only brought us extra-time. Unfortunately, an injury to Hampshire shortly into the additional 30 minutes led to the game being abandoned.

The following night I was in Tameside to watch Stalybridge Celtic entertain Marine. Relegated last season, Celtic need to steady the ship, judging by this performance it could be a struggle. Second best pretty much all over the pitch and from start to finish, I think the only surprise was that Marine only won 2-0.

Confidence appeared to be draining away as the game went on, things do not look too good at Bower Fold and it looks like another Tameside team will make the drop from the National Leagues to the Evo-Stik North.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road A Abbey Hey A

Tues: Stalybridge Celtic 0 Marine 2

Sat: Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

FACTS

Games: 408

Goals:  1385

Grounds: 197

Games since a 0-0: 21

SOUNDTRACK

Achtung Baby – U2