Thrills, spills and goals galore to report from Northolme as Gainsborough Trinity entertained Manchester's Droylsden in the Nationwide North this afternoon.
My cover was blown last night, somebody asked me in front of Mrs P where I was going today, I had failed to tell her I was to embark on a 100 mile round trip to deepest Lincs, like any other normal bloke I paid the price, tonight I have to cook her a meal.
My boss from work joins me today, I hope it's not 0-0 otherwise he'll have me mashing tea for him all next week. There's fat chance of these two teams drawing a blank, league leaders Droylsden have conceded 42 goals, whilst fifth from bottom Trinity have one less, 41.
The market town of Gainsborough stands on the banks of the River Trent, Dame Sybil Thorndyke and the actor John Alderton were both born here. The current Lincoln City manager, John Schofield, spent many years playing here, before signing for The Imps.
Droylsden is in East Manchester, and is where comedian Steve Coogan originates from. I'm sure Alan Partridge will be hoping The Bloods leading scorer, Terry Fearns, can find the "back of the net" today.
Gainsborough relies heavily on agriculture and food processing companies for its employment, this is evident when I have my weekly meeting with yet another Eastern European couple. "Can you tell me where the football ground is please?" "sorry non speak English"
The social club is a gold mine, it is rammed, Fulham are playing United on a vegetable patch of a pitch. The Droylsden fans look resplendent in their Man Utd replica shirts! There is a huge roar, Ronaldo has scored, I'm too busy perusing the team sheet the secretary has kindly handed out.
The pitch is like a glue pot, and proves to be a great leveller. Droyslden have one of the best playing surfaces in the league, their passing game will be thin on the ground today.
The Trinity fans on the club's message forum are not happy, their manager Paul Mitchell is getting lots of stick for his negative tactics, he has promised in the local paper that his team will play "sexy football" today. It's going to be difficult, the pitch looks like something from the cult football highlights show Star Soccer, with that dreadful commentator at the helm, Hugh Johns.
Droylsden have a couple of nightclub bouncers on the door in the centre of their defence, they can head, and clear a ball, but on the floor they are finding ex Blade Ryan Mallon's speed and trickery too hot to handle. Thankfully for The Bloods Mallon and strike partner Simon Bird couldn't hit a cow's backside with a banjo.
The Bloods Terry Fearns can finish, he walks one into the back of the net in the 34th minute, following a mix-up in the home defence.
Droylsden have a forward called Jody Banim who didn't quite cut the mustard at league level with Shrewsbury, he looks like he enjoys a pint of Newton and Ridley's at the Rovers Return, but on the ball he is poetry in motion, he scores the goal of the game in the 54th minute, an exquisite lob over Trinity keeper Sollitt 2-0.
They are coasting, and make a double substitution (they have a game on Monday night) Fearns is subbed, I have been disappointed with him he has done nothing.
Jamie Tandy is one of the subs, and comes out to play on the left. I'm told that on a night out, when he was an apprentice at Man City, that the love able scouse rogue, Joey Barton, famously put out a lighted cigarette butt into the youngster's face. Let's hope the new owners of Manchester City invest in some ashtrays for their bar!
I'm stood next to Droyslden's left back's Dad, we engage in conversation. The Bloods give away a needless penalty, which sub Ross Hannah, a player I saw at Belper earlier in the season, converts. The Bloods have clocked off 20 minutes too early.
Two minutes later Gainsborough's inspirational midfielder, and best player, Danny Anson, rounds the keeper to equalize. You can smell a winner, Ross Hannah obliges 5 minutes later, he has changed the game. Droyslden's midfield are not picking up the runners, the doormen continue to play the offside trap, a tactic that has failed miserably all afternoon. There is a grandstand finish. Droylsden clear off the line and there is an almighty goalmouth scramble at the other end.
Gainsborough hang on, and fully deserve their win for their never-say-die attitude. The left back's Dad is mortified, speechless, he is hurting badly for his boy. What fantastic parents they must be to follow their boy all round the country. He was exposed today, because he had no protection in front of him. Tandy the sub, lasts 25 minutes, they have conceded three goals while he has been on the pitch, but now he has a torn hamstring, which is nearly as painful as that cigarette burn from a few years ago.
This is comfortably the most entertaining game I've seen this season, why Gainsborough are in the bottom half I do not know.
The left back's Mum says Harrogate Town are worth watching I notice they are at Worksop Town on March 31st but don't tell Mrs P will you?
Gainsborough Trinity 3 Hannah 2 Anson. Droylsden 2 Fearns and Banim
Man of the Match: Danny Anson, Gainsborough Trinity.