Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nottingham Forest 3 Cheltenham Town 0

"Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius". Another gem from Cloughie talking about Martin O'Neil's success at The Foxes. I have a love-hate relationship with Nottingham Forest.

A friend and I once visited 100 professional football club grounds in six days to raise money for The British Heart Foundation. We drove over 3500 miles didn't sleep for two nights. Some of the donations from family, friends and football clubs were astonishing. Alex Ferguson sent me a signed pennant and we got loads of signed footballs from teams such as Spurs, Wigan, Hull City and a host more.

Forest didn't stump up diddlysquat. Their manager at the time, Joe Kinnear, had a heart condition. A mate in the sports marketing world got us a photo with him but even that was hard work.

Forest was the last ground we visited but they wouldn't even give us some complimentaries for the Coventry game. They let in 4 goals that day, Tim Sherwood was awesome. That miserable marketing man has since left the club, I hope he pays his way on his return visits.

I didn't see much of the first side Clough and Taylor built, I was too busy following Graham Taylor's Lincoln City with my father. I was jealous of all Forest's European glory and was teased endlessly at school for supporting The Imps.

I adored the second side he built - Pearce, Webb, Walker, Hodge, Nigel and my favourite Johnny Metgod. "Ooh Ooh the Dutchman's here". "He treats the ball like a long-lost brother". Clough used to say. I went to watch that team one night in a cup game at The Osdal Stadium against a very useful Bradford City; the football NFFC played that night took my breath away.

I lost my father a few years ago, it was too painful for me to travel to Sincil Bank alone. Paul Hart was the new Forest manager. I bought a season ticket. He got the best out of David P****'s signings.

What a sight to see Louis-Jean and Brennan bombing down the wing, the colossus Dawson at the back, Prutton ankle-tapping in the middle of the park, the blistering pace and development of Marlon and David Johnson's movement and goals. I loved it.

That grand finale at Bramall Lane in the play-off 2nd leg was a classic. "2-0 to the super scabs". Marlon was concussed, Steve Kabba came on for them and battered The Reds' defence.

Paul Hart was in my opinion unfairly sacked but it has to be said he wasn't great in the transfer market. Big Fat Joe kept them up with a couple of shrewd loan signings.

The public relations soundbite machine was in full flow: "We're serious about promotion are you?". The players weren't. JK departed after Barry Roche kicked a coffee cup rather than the ball at a windy Sheep Dip.

The uninspiring Gary Megson and his dour tactics couldn't keep them up. "1-0 to The Albion" zzzzzz. Told the kids if they were ever naughty at home or backchatted Mrs P I would take them to watch Megson's Forest. They were as good as gold throughout his reign. We didn't visit. There was mutiny in the ranks, season 2005/2006 was a disaster.

Colin Calderwood has steadied the ship, he is clearing out the Megson dead wood. The clubs' saviour is the Academy and the conveyor belt of endless talent it produces. Teenager, Lewis McGugan is the latest to cement a place in the side. Watch out for young Irishman Brendan Maloney, he is the real deal.

Cheltenham are fighting for survival. Manager, John Ward, is an experienced sort who knows his onions but he works on a shoestring budget. A proud moment for Cheltenham skipper John Finnigan as he leads his side out at The City Ground: he spent four years here as a youngster. before moving to Lincoln City.

Forest start the game at a furious pace, Kris Commons puts in some wicked crosses. McGugan blasts over from close range and Commons hits the post.

The Cheltenham defence are living a charmed life. The first goal comes from an unlikely source. Scottish midfielder, Gary Holt is having a steady game, he makes a surging run, plays a one-two with Lester and finishes from eight yards.

I'm in the Main Stand Block B, the notorious A block taunt the 1000 or so travelling fans: "You've lost that lovin feeling". Cheltenham go close when Wolves loanee, Hungarian Denes Rosa, is given too much time and space and fires over.

Cheltenham are abysmal, their goalkeeper, Shane Higgs is rooted to the spot. No.15 Michael Townsend looks more like an Aussie Rules player or a Gaelic Footballer. Even Grant Holt manages to turn him. McGugan is running the show, enjoy him while you can!

The music and half-time entertainment hasn't improved. Girls Aloud's Love Machine is the best they can muster. You'd never hear that on the non-league circuit.

Fair play to Nottingham boxer Carl Froch, he poses for a photo with my two boys and Godson. I flick through the programme, NFFC have a squad of 39 - twelve of them are homegrown. How many clubs can say that?

Kris Commons has been given Carte Blanche by Calderwood. His crossing and first touch are quality. Forest make it 2-0 on the hour, Grant Holt's cross is headed home at the far post by James Perch.

Veteran left back, Alan Wright, has arrived on loan from Sheffield Utd and what a game he is having; he rarely wastes a ball. Forest are hunting in packs, McGugan and Breckin both go close. McGugan has ran himself into the ground and is substituted, the crowd rise for him, he has been magnificent. He looks to have got the lot.

Cheltenham enjoy the final quarter, Melligan and Gillespie are impressive. In injury time Tyson seals their fate from the penalty spot. They are lucky to only concede three.

Twelve kids have come with us today and the smiles on their faces at the end of this entertaining game are priceless. This is a team and manager on the way up.

Nottingham Forest 3 Cheltenham Town 0

Gary Holt

Attendance 22,640

Man Of The Match: Kris Commons.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Belper Town 1 Cammell Laird 2

I'm in buoyant mood today, my U9's team played a beautiful game of football on the carpet this morning. I am so proud of these boys and try to teach them good habits.

It's a 30 mile trip to Christchurch Meadow, the home of Belper Town. The Nottingham ring road is in turmoil this afternoon; it's a lengthy journey. On my arrival I'm greeted by the flag of St George with Cammell Laird of Birkenhead printed on it. I've looked forward to watching them all week; at this level they are superior to anything I have seen. They have won their last nine games.

I first came to Belper back in October and witnessed my only goalless draw of the season, in a FA Trophy game against Skelmersdale. Ernie Moss was Belper's manager at the time, he has since resigned. There are eight new faces for me to look at today; sadly their style of play hasn't changed one bit.

Belper lies eight miles north of Derby, by the River Derwent. It's an old mill town, which is famous for the ancient art of nail making. They were formed in 1883. The actor and ex James Bond, Timothy Dalton, was brought up here, as was Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw. Not only did she have to battle with anorexia and drink-related problems but also had the misfortune to date Darren Day and support D***y County.

Headline news in Belper Today, the local rag, reveals that ten chicks have hatched their eggs at a junior school - they certainly live life to the full in the Derwent Valley. Bigger news, in my eyes, is that The Nailers somehow managed a midweek away victory at league leaders Buxton Town. Before that game The Nailers had lost their previous five matches.

The classic punk track, No More Heroes, by The Stranglers, blasts out the public address system. Two boys walk a Jack Russell dog round the ground - this reminds me will my hero, Cammell Laird winger, Eddie Jebb, be playing today? Cammell Laird won The Cheshire County Cup earlier in the week, pasting Conference side, Northwich Victoria 3-1. I hope there isn't a Freddie Flintoff type hangover.

There is a strong breeze but it's a gorgeous day. The setting at this lovely ground is stunning. It looks out into the Derbyshire hills. Off the pitch everything is well for Belper Town, they play behind the church and old mill, established in 1912.

The Nailers kick with the wind behind them and I'm horrified with their ugly style of football. This can only be compared with the reign of John Beck at any of his clubs - at least Beck's teams used to play it into the corners.

Belper aimlessly launch ball after ball into their opponents' penalty area. Laird keeper, Craig Bryan, is having a field day.

Cammell Laird keep the ball moving, they are pleasing on the eye. They have balance; Collins and Clampitt control the midfield; wingers Jebb and Adamson are always in space. The main man is forward Ronnie "The Rocket" Morgan. The guy is a cut above. He works the channels, shields the ball and has an end product - he is quality. Ian Doran, Laird's eccentric manager, may not agree, he gives Ronnie a bollocking for being "lazy".

I lean on the The Laird dugout, mesmerised. McGuire and Sheehan go close for the Birkenhead outfit. Morgan teases and torments the home defence. Someone has a radio on, the guy next to me shouts: "Forget the Premiership Mickey Mouse, how are Tranmere doing?". Good lad.

The inevitable goal arrives on 17 minutes, Lee Atherton lashing the ball home when Belper can only half-clear a corner. The Laird are rampant, surely an avalanche will follow. The game changes shortly after, Belper send another ball with snow on it, into the visitors' penalty box, Bryan drops it and appears to hold back Belper forward Tevendale. It's a red card for the keeper and a penalty to the home team. Goalscorer Atherton, saves Tevendales's weak effort.

I slip into the bar at the break for a pint and very nice it is too. The function room looks to have had a recent refurbishment. The toilets are five star. They have splashed out on Armitage Shanks, always a good sign in my book.

I glance at the Ceefax on the television, Boston United are 2-1 up. I despise that club and their weasel of a manager, Steve Evans. Tamworth are also winning, with the excellent Daryl Taylor the scorer.

Pakistan are 67-5 in the Cricket World Cup. I wonder if there have been any irregular betting patterns? Home Nations Rugby is on another television, personally I'd rather wash the pots than watch that game.

Cammell Laird are even stronger with ten men. Jebb is pushed up front alonside "The Rocket". Belper offer nothing, their number four Krystof Kotwylo (great name) is annoying The Laird bench, with some niggling challenges.

How the hell did Belper beat Buxton? Al Murray lookalike, Laird manager, Ian Doran, can talk the hind legs off a donkey. He banters with the crowd. He spots three old men and compares them to the Last of the Summer Wine.

Substitute Joey Gibilru appears to put the game beyond doubt with a close-range finish, after clever play from Morgan down the left flank. They are coasting, Doran revels in it, talking to the crowd more than watching the game.

Belper's Roden gives his side hope, finishing from a corner on 82 minutes. Laird survive a few late scares, the win is well deserved. They have outplayed The Nailers with ten men for over an hour.

Belper Town 1 Roden

Cammell Laird 2 Atherton and Gibilru.

Attendance: 128

Man of the Match: Ronnie Morgan.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ilkeston Town 1 Guiseley AFC 2

I take a friend tonight, he's a little down in the dumps, he supports Nottingham Forest! He's looking for entertainment value, where better than Ilkeston Town's New Manor Ground? It's a trip down memory lane for him; he's waxes lyrical of childhood memories, as we drive through Wollaton, where he was brought up. He is a lovely bloke.

I have an affinity with Ilkeston Town; they are my favourite non-league club. Tonight the pitch is like a bowling green. A pint of Kimberley Mild and Kimberley Bitter is less than £4 and is served by a feisty barmaid.

The Cricket World Cup's opening game is on the TV - West Indies v Pakistan. Over 100 people mill around the bar. Bernard Manning is on at the Social Club in May, that is if he can get his fat racist head through the door!

Ilkeston Town are on an unbeaten 11 match run, they fear no-one. Nigel Jemson, their manager is a cocky so and so but has done an admirable job since Christmas. They were calling for his head the last time I frequented these parts. He has played for 15 different clubs, including Nottingham Forest and Notts County. He once scored the winning goal in a League Cup Final, against a plucky Oldham Athletic, back in 1990. He has assembled an honest team here.

His assistant is Mark Smith, who was a brick outhouse of a centre half in his day. His Chief Scout, Bryan Chambers, is responsible for a lot of the shrewd signings Jemmo has made.

Ilkeston has a population of nearly 40,000. It’s old coal mining country but they have long gone.

The actor Robert Lindsay was born here, he is proud of his roots. On a lesser scale, William Roache, (aka Ken Barlow) was born up the road in Cossall. He has performed a minor miracle by retaining employment in the acting trade and boring the pants off us all for 40 years in Coronation Street. No wonder old turkey neck Deirdre keeps nipping out to Dev’s shop for dessert!

Ilkeston sometimes receives, in my opinion, an unfair press. There is a spirit here, the people are charming.

Guiseley is in West Yorkshire. Harry Ramsden started serving fish and chips in a shed in Guiseley, back in 1930. His daughter married the creator of Sooty and Sweep, Harry Corbett. Sooty and Sweep's Grandad is Harry Ramsden!! Yorkshire's most famous male model, Dean Windass, lives in Guiseley.

Both teams are pushing for a play-off spot. Smoke drifts in the air from a bonfire close by. Ex Forest star, Phil Starbuck, and John Ramshaw, the Hednesford Town management team, walk by and take their seats in the stand. They are here on a scouting mission.

Jemson starts with a 3-5-2 formation; there is no place in the side for enigmatic winger, Chris Adam. It’s disappointing; he has a sweet left foot and puts in dangerous crosses.

The first sign of movement for the Guiseley team is on 2 minutes when the public address announcer asks the Guiseley coach driver to move the team bus as he’s blocking someone in.

Ilson settle the quicker, their football is fluent. Adam Muller, the ex Wakefield and Emley forward, is a clever player, he has good movement, often dropping deep. He reminds me of Peter Beardsley, although not as ugly. When Peter Beardsley used to appear on television, Doctor Who’s daleks used to hide behind the settee.

Muller’s partner is Jamie Smith, who is on loan from Gainsborough Trinity. He looks cumbersome but is a powerhouse. He opens the scoring on 16 minutes charging down an attempted clearance and walks the ball into the back of the net.

An ambulance comes flying into the car park, lights flashing, a wag in the crowd shouts to Dickinson, the Guiseley goalkeeper: “keeper it’s for you, coz you’re an accident waiting to happen”.

Guiseley slowly make their mark and equalise on 25 minutes when recent signing and ex Mansfield Town player Scott McNiven smashes in a 25 yarder following a clearance from a corner. I’m pleased for the boy, he beat testicular cancer whilst at The Stags and it’s good to see him enjoying his football again. I saw his brother David play for Stafford Rangers last Saturday, ironically tonight he scores a hat trick against Gravesend.

Guiseley are having their best period of play before the break. Their No.9 Marc Smith, although not the most mobile, brings others into play. He is as strong as an ox.

Both teams play neat football in the second half, there is little to choose between them but Guiseley are dangerous on the counter-attack. Marc Smith misses a sitter, heading over following a great cross by Guiseley’s Mark Bett.

Ilkeston defend with a high line and are fortunate that a couple of offside decisions go their way. A neat passage of interplay finally springs the Ilson offside trap and Guiseley snatch a winner with a smart finish from ex Leeds United academy player Craig Hall.

Ilson are worth a point but they miss the promising Smith who limps off on the hour. Muller misses a glorious chance to restore parity, with the white-booted Dickinson quick off his line to save.

I wonder if the Guiseley coach driver nipped into Harry Ramsden’s at Derby on the way home for a fish and chip supper?

Ilkeston Town 1 Smith

Guiseley 2 McNiven and Hall

Attendance: 280

Man of the Match: Gareth Holmes, Ilkeston Town

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stafford Rangers 0 Tamworth 4

Revenge is a dish best served cold. I have just told Mrs P I'm off to Stafford, she is not best pleased. I'm expecting ice cream for pudding tonight! I took the Citroen into Big City Tyres this morning for an exhaust change; the kids call the car Sally Gunnell (not much to look at but a bloody good runner) She'll be coming to Stafford for a run-out this afternoon.

Stafford lies between Stoke On-Trent and Wolverhampton and has a population of over 60,000. The comedian Dave Gorman, of Googlewhack fame, was born here as was Travis lead singer Fran Healy.

The town holds a long tradition of shoe making. Sadly 12 months ago RAF Stafford closed down. I pass the base on my way to Marston Road. Enfant terrible and flawed genius Stanley Victor Collymore had a spell at Stafford Rangers before signing for Crystal Palace. He is still the finest centre forward ever to grace The City Ground.

Both today's managers have had illustrious playing careers. Stafford born Phil Robinson was a tigerish midfielder for Notts County during Neil Warnock's reign. He didn't quite reach the dizzy heights of Tamworth manager Gary Mills. He made his Nottingham Forest debut at the age of 16 and had a European Cup Winners medal in his pocket at 18 years old. He also played for Leicester City and Notts County.

Mills had a Annus Horribilis whilst managing The Pies. The club was in administration at the time, he was forced to sell his best players and cut his cloth accordingly.

He dipped into the bargain bucket, buying good players like David Pipe and Mike Edwards. The Notts County board are weak and spineless, they bowed to fan pressure and sacked Mills. The fans felt he talked the talk too much particularly in the local paper. I rate him, he knows the game at this level inside out and has a proven track record in the non-league and boy is he turning this team round.

I will be honest, Marston Road is not a great ground, it looks a little tired. It's £12 to get in, a tad overpriced considering the dross they serve up.The pitch is on a sideways slope, but looks in fairly good nick.

Sometimes you can tell from the body language in a warm-up who is going to win. Stafford look tense during their rigorous routine, The Lambs are calm and relaxed.

There is a heavy police presence outside the ground for this Staffordshire Derby, a massive waste of money. There is no sign of trouble.

The bloke on the public address system sounds like he's talking out of a loud haler. Tamworth have brought a good following, their fans were good value when their team committed daylight robbery at The Pirelli a few months ago.

I spot a memorial plaque on the wall commemorating an old manager, Roy Chapman. You may remember his son, Lee Chapman, ironically he was born on Scorer Street in Lincoln.

This is a relegation battle but their is a gulf in class from the first whistle. Stafford are dire. They begin the game with five at the back, a tactic they deployed so successfully in midweek at league leaders Dagenham and Redbridge, where they grabbed a precious point.

Lambs forward, Taiwo Aiteno, is proving a handful. He has a deft touch for a big strong lad and only starts the game because Matty Williams feels a twinge in the warm-up. He takes advantage in the 13th minute, pouncing on a loose ball, 1-0. Ten minutes later it's 2-0 as Atieno sweeps one home after hesitation in the home defence. Only a smart save from keeper Duggan prevents a first half hat trick.

The Rangers defence is about as organised as a Chinese fire drill. Daniel and McAughtrie, the giant Stafford defenders are grand masters at the alehouse ball. McNiven and Madjo live off crumbs.

David McNiven, the Stafford forward, is on loan from Morecambe. He once scored 23 goals in the Conference for Leigh RMI (Railway and Mechanics Institute) Since then he has hibernated up at Queen of the South, where by the looks of it he has spent many an hour queueing at the pie stall. He has Stafford's only real chance of the half. Jake Edwards heads home a wicked McGrath corner on 43 minutes.

The home faithful are rattled but to be fair to them they never get on Robinson's back. I try to strike up a conversation or two with them but they are not interested (fair play I am a boring old sod)

The bloke next to me has spent the entire first half eating a Marks and Spencer Wild Salmon and Cucumber sandwich complete with Sea Salt and Black Pepper crisps. If you want a picnic surely Cannock Chase is the place to go? Who knows a visit to the car park at night and you might see Stan Collymore. Babyshambles blasts out the loud haler at half-time, shambles being the appropriate word. The Lambs supporters are in party mood, let's all have a disco.

Edwards completes the rout on 65 minutes following more shambolic defending. Irishman John McGrath, Tamworth's diminutive midfielder has ran the show, he is their creme de la creme. His left foot is like a magic wand. He has a 45 minute showboat session in the second period. The football league surely beckons for him.

Stafford Rangers 0
Tamworth 4 Atieno (2) Edwards (2)

Attendance: 1303

Man of the Match: John McGrath

Footnote: The MFI headboard saga came to an abrupt end last Sunday. The father in-law was seconded to Sticky Towers to engineer proceedings in the construction of the bed. The headboard was fully took out the packaging one side was suede the other leather: It was in fact the correct headboard!!! To the MFI stalker from Lambeth who surfs these pages a thousand apologies. To the customer services manager from Sunderland who received a Roy Keane stylee anger management call from myself I'm sorry!! MFI are the best furniture store in Great Britain and whoever bought them for a quid you got yourself a bargain.

Further Footnote : You may remember that excuse for a team called Altincham and how awful they were at Burton. There is no doubt they were stung and hurt by my match report, maybe manager Graham Heathcote pinned it up on the dressing room wall. It has had the desired effect. They beat Cambridge Utd 5-0 on Tuesday and followed it up with a 2-1 away win at Weymouth. The first on their travels this season. Well done Alty.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Burton Albion 2 Altrincham 1

The bombshell was dropped last Saturday night whilst devouring the finest home-cooked curry our kitchen has ever seen: "Don't think you're going to football next Saturday we're off to some friends for tea" said Mrs P. I can't complain, I've had a good run, been to six matches on the spin! "Sticky it's Dafty, Burton Albion are playing on Friday night; fancy it?"

We used to go and watch the Brewers at their old ground, Eton Park, they've since moved to a new £7 million stadium across the road. Burton Albion were formed in 1950, they have a good pedigree in managers (get it ... Marston's) Ian Storey-Moore, Peter Taylor and Neil Warnock have all been in the hot-seat. Trivia question: Which East Midlands town, geographically is the furthest away from the sea?

The main employers in this area are Pirelli Tyres, Toyota and the Coors and Marston's Brewery. Singer/Songwriter Joe Jackson ("Is she really going out with him?") was born here.

Altrincham is 8 miles South-West of Manchester, and has a population of 40,000. On their official site there is a mailing address for manager Graham Heathcote, I drop him an e-mail suggesting he sends his scouts to go and watch Cammell Laird winger Eddie Jebb, because if he is not better than Alty 7 jacket Robbie Lawton then I will bare my backside on the Altrincham Town Hall steps. Sadly, there has been no reply.

Nigel Clough is of course The Brewers manager, and what a player he was. That ugly dinner lady, Steve Bruce, had no answer to young Nigel's silky skills when United used to visit The City Ground, it was before the tackle from behind was outlawed, Bruce was a butcher, in the modern game he wouldn't get into Gillingham Reserves.

His assistant manager is Gary "Bing" Crosby. It is often said that he only got a game out on the wing for NFFC because he used to do Cloughie's plumbing and gardening.

I've been to thee Pirelli Stadium twice already. Burton Albion play a beautiful game of football on the carpet; they play 4-2-4. They have an elegant Irish winger called Keith Gilroy, who began his career at Middlesbrough. He didn't make it and went off to sulk at Scarborough. Clough rescued him. His skills are sublime and he has a swagger, he hugs the touchline like John Robertson used to for the Tricky Trees. The ball sticks to his feet, but the end product is not always there. He is worth the gate admission alone (£12 by the way)

The attendance tonight is the lowest of the season (1400) this is due to a game being played across the cattle grid at The Sheep Dip. I can not bring myself to type the words of this team; they are despised in my adopted county. Tonight's referee, Mr A S Watts, is a Pierluigi Collina lookalike, sadly that's where the similarity ends, he is dreadful.

The stadium is fantastic and would put many Football League clubs to shame. Despite the inclement weather the pitch is immaculate, reminiscent of my father's lawn in the 1970s. The numerous bars at The Pirelli are awful; they are soulless. The old social club at Eton Park was a gem; I once saw 500 Hereford fans drink the bar dry of Bulmers cider. There is no Bass on tap in the bar, I am disappointed.

Alty have not won on their travels this season and are in the relegation zone. The Brewers are on the shoulders of the play-off pack. Burton Albion have a nasty habit of not finishing teams off, I recently saw them play Tamworth off the park, and then let The Lambs score two late goals to dump The Albion out The FA Cup.

Burton are off to a flier, Gilroy glides with the ball on the counter-attack and feeds leading scorer, fox in the box, Daryl Clare, he is lethal, 1-0. Jersey born Irishman Clare is 28 years old and has already had eight clubs and more signing on fees than Phil Stant, but he is Albion's big cheese, grand fromage, big fish in a little pond.

Altrincham, first half are awful, devoid of any ideas. Ex Railwayman, Colin Little is their only player worthy of note, but even he wastes their best opportunity. They are miles off the pace and second to the ball, Gilroy has the freedom of Staffordshire.

Darren Tinson, Burton's centre half is brilliant, and heads for fun. He played nearly 300 games for Macclesfield and had two good seasons at Shrewsbury. He is awesome, mind you he needs to be.

Tonight Burton have a right back called Andy "Ronnie" Corbett, and it really should have been "a goodnight from him" at half-time. He has one of those nights, a Sunday People stinker, they used to call it in my day. He can't pass, clear, head, intercept, tackle or stay on his feet.

The crowd don't help, and boy can they moan. Corbett and Ducros feel the wrath of their tongues. They don't appreciate what a great manager and team they've got. Burton dominate the first period and should be two or three to the good, ex Owl Shaw, who has been a good foil for Clare, misses when it looks easier to score.

Heathcote has roasted Alty at half-time, they play with no heart or spirit. It's all too crowded, they have no width. They finally suss that Corbett is having "a mare" Chalmers, Owen and the impressive Little combine well, and the chances begin to come.

Chalmers equalises after another slip from "Ronnie" The game ebbs and flows, it's a fantastic advert for Conference Football. The rain is lashing down, the pitch can handle it. Clare, Gilroy and Shaw all hit the woodwork. Burton are playing champagne football.

They have stole a boy from Crewe called Lee Bell, they will do well to keep hold of him, he is dynamic. Clare grabs the winner, with the goal of the game. On-loan Walsall winger, Alex Nicholls, rampages through the paper-thin Alty midfield and threads a ball through to the 'grand fromage' His finish is clinical. There's still time for Alty's O'Neil to clip the crossbar at the death, but 'The Albion' have footballed them off the park.

How The Brewers have only scored 35 goals in 32 games before this game God only knows. I will watch Altrincham again, next season, in the Nationwide North!

Burton Albion 2 Clare 2 Altrincham 1 Chalmers

Man of the Match: Lee Bell

Attendance 1,441

Footnote: The headboard for the bed arrived on Tuesday, IT WAS THE WRONG ONE. I installed a site meter on this blog on Tuesday and noticed that someone from MFI in Lambeth is logging onto my site every day!!! Message for you young man, "stop tossing it off and sort my bed out" Apparently MFI was recently sold for a quid, to whoever has bought it you've been ripped off!!