Sunday, February 4, 2007

Notts County 3 Lincoln City 1

No non-league today, the kids have been naughty all week, the punishment is Meadow Lane. You can only support ONE team, I have lived in Nottingham for 40 years, I like County and Forest, but I was born in the City of Lincoln, and Lincoln City are my team. My heart beats twice as fast when I watch them and Keyworth United U9s and U11s.

I used to work at the Notts County Centre of Excellence, this is the club that paraded a group of 9 year old boys in front of a bumper crowd versus Bury with the words "this is our future" a week later and the whole operation is closed down, severing links with the community and wondering why they only just broke 3000 versus Barnet on Tuesday night.

Their board consists of a property developer, a solicitor and an estate agent; Meadow Lane is ripe for development but not in youth! Lincoln City have just made £1 Million from their youth academy, Jack Hobbs has gone to Liverpool and keeper Scott Loach to Watford. Thommo you need a youth team you can not survive with journeymen for ever!

Pie manager Steve Thompson is a Lincoln legend, and has performed a miracle at this cash-strapped club. There was a lot of hate when he first came, he was Colin Murphy's assistant after the Warnock era in the 90s.

The Murph is not popular down the lane. Do their fans understand football? His signings were shrewd: Steve Finnan, Darren Ward and Ian Richardson, to name a few.

Thompson has won the fans over, he seems an engaging chap, and has struck up a fantastic repartee with Radio Nottingham stalwart Colin Slater.

Thompson used his time wisely as a summariser for Radio Lincolnshire last season and in the transfer market has raided Boston United in particular, resurrecting the career of old pineapple head and ex Imp Jason Lee.

Moans and groans and much ridicule on the arrival of the Adonis Lee, 13 goals later and as many bookings but 100% committment, he now has cult status.

I don't go to Sincil Bank these days, since I lost my father, it's too painful. I prefer to travel. A glance at the programme sends a shiver down my spine.

Moses and Brown are centre defenders today, we have lost McCombe to Bristol City and McAuley to Leicester, captain Paul Morgan is also missing. I am concerned, the clean sheets of the Keith Alexander era have disappeared of late.

I go with a mate, who's wife is from Lincoln, she wants Notts to win as she cuts Thommo's hair. Yes he still sports his scary glam rock perm last seen in Les Gray's Mud.

Just lately I have a habit of seeing early goals, today is no different, Jay Smith a recent signing from Southend rifle's one in after a poor clearance on 2 mins. My stomach is already churning.

Notts are on fire, the tempo is high, wake up Lincoln!! Notts pinpoint and target left back Paul Mayo, who Watford once foolishly laid-out a six figure sum for. The game is quality. Notts keep creating. Lincoln find their feet, Stallard and in particular Forrester are full of running.

Ex Pie Stallard misses a host of chances. Lincoln youngster, and Sheffield Utd bound 19 year old Lee Frecklington (another from the academy) is dancing through the Notts defence, he is fleet footed. Northern Ireland international Jeff Hughes contrives to somehow hit the upright after another mazy run and cross from Frecklington. Yes I am biased but we are all over them.

Disaster strikes on 44 minutes, Forrester kicks ex Pilgrim McCann off the ball 10 yards from my seat, my mate shouts "you're off son" referee Uriah Rennie (who was excellent by the way) agrees and produces red.

Game over, well it is when Lee who has been causing havoc all game, makes it 2-0 on half-time, Alan Miott the goalie is unlucky and so are Lincoln, Notts don't deserve to be "two to the good" as Colin Slater would say, but they have took their chances and we haven't.

I'm still mystified at how well Notts left back McCann is playing, a previous visit a few months ago saw him put in an all-time worst display against Wycombe winger Kevin Betsy, he seems to have a fitness level now and has shed a few pounds. Then again will he mark a less effective player than Lincoln's right midfielder Ryan Amoo, he is awful.

The second half is like the Alamo, Lincoln go three at the back and Notts exploit this. Silk ( I like him) and Pipe are rampant down the Notts right. Pipe's crossing is excellent, in the past it has often been his Achilles heel, but not today. Dudfield makes it 3-0 the floodgates are open but we block and rely on luck. Weir-Daley a youngster on loan from across the Trent scores a consolation goal. We even manage to miss a penalty in injury-time, Pilkington makes a tremendous double save. It's just not our day we are well beaten, we make Notts look good. When Kevin Pilkington comes off his line you know something is wrong.

Pipe, Lee, Silk and Dudfield are outstanding for Notts, Frecklington is subbed with 20 minutes to go, we'll save him for a rainy day. Special mention for Lincoln 2 jacket and Welsh u21 international Lee Beevers, he is immense.

At the end of the game we hang around, the players warm down, they chat and sign autographs for the kids, Junior Mendes is very kind to the boys. Thompson has done well with this set of players, you can tell they respect him, and more importantly, they are polite and charming off the field. Now what about a youth policy Thommo?

Notts County 3 Smith, Lee and Dudfield Lincoln City 1 Weir-Daley

Man of the Match David Pipe.


Alex said...

Excellent report groundhopper, feel like I was there myself. Clean sheet yesterday and 4-0 victors over Sandhurst. Heppers was down with his cameras taking some shots. Told him about your website so will forward on, I am sure he will have something to add. Where next week ?.

Sticky said...

Nice one Bally lad, bad news next Saturday Mrs P has ordered a new bed from MFI praying to god its an am delivery. Just in case its not gonna get a cheeky one in at Ilkeston Town on Tuesday night. Nigel Jemson always good value!!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you were at the game "Uriah Rennie excellent"'re having a larf

Matt said...

Thomo's boys were superb yesterday although it could have been different if it wasn't for the sending off.

A liitle bit concerned about the comments you made about Thomos hair style as my wife is his hairdresser!

Credit to both the Notts players and Lincoln players for the amount of time they gave to the kids for autographs and chit chat, its a pity some of the bigger clubs players don't follow suit.

Chris Jordan said...

Hi Groundhopper!

I saw a link to your Notts vs. Lincoln report on

I enjoyed your report and others on here so much that I have linked to your blog from my site on Squidoo, under the 'Not The Mainstream' football writings section (created after discovering your blog by the way!).

It's at

I hope you don't mind, but if you do for some reason, please let me know and I'll take the link off.

Hope you're chuffed - I was chuffed to read your stuff!


P.S. You should do a Lincoln City Squidoo Lens too!

Anonymous said...

Rennie 'EXCELLENT' You ARE Joking aren't you??????

Mike Smith said...

Rennie - don't mention him to "old" Mossley fans - he did Chorley v Mossley back in the early 90's - played several minutes of injury time in the first half, allowing Chorley to go one up - we lost 4-0 - and we'd walked to the game from Mossley (sponsored like). Twas only the fact that we knew he wa a black belt in several things martial arts (true) that we didn't "sort him out" afterwards - and now he's a Prem ref !!!

Anonymous said...

I know the game was some time ago, but these things hurt! 'Rennie - excellent'. The 2nd goal came when Brown suffered a head injury in the build-up, and was lying flat out, instead of marking Lee, who went on to score, and then wasn't booked for the gestures he made to the Lincoln fans. Not that I am bitter!