Sunday, May 14, 2023

Nottingham Forest 4-3 Southampton

I give 'Soup' a big hug as I exit Meadow Lane. I hope he enjoys his day out at Wembley as much as I did in 2018, when 'The Lincoln' roughed up Shrewsbury Town in the Checkatrade Trophy final - a team that included Dean Henderson in the nets. At the time it was the Imps first-ever appearance at Wembley in their 133 year old history.

I walk back south of the river on a beautiful Spring day. I park my backside in the old Parr Stand, at Trent Bridge cricket ground. I watch a riveting final two hours of play on Day 4 of Notts v Lancs. Let me set the scene. Notts are hanging on for dear life, after another batting collapse. They can only draw the game. We're pinning all our hopes on Stuart Broad, as he walks out to the crease, with Notts 7 wickets down. 'Broady' doesn't usually hang around and likes to swish the willow. But pride is at stake. His bestie, Jimmy Anderson, is bowling at him from the pavilion end. 'The Burnley Express' bowls a ten over spell. Broad, uncharacteristically, blocks every ball or evades a barrage of bouncers. There are handshakes at the close of play, but little love was lost on the battlefield.

It's Bank Holiday Monday. I've now had a whole 12 months off work. It's gone in the blink of an eye. I sometimes forget what day of the week it is. It's got tougher with the inclement weather of late. I perhaps need to stimulate my mind a wee bit more. I drop a message to a well known Nottingham businessman to see if there is the opportunity to work for him. A meeting is set up for 5 pm on Thursday, at The Dragon, on Long Row, in Nottingham.

Ms Moon is due back from down south today. Sticky Palms Cleaning Services are in full flow. I put on my Mrs Doubtfire pinny and give the house a good tidy up. Tonight Nottingham Forest entertain Southampton in a do or die Premier League fixture. Tickets have been as rare as rocking horse manure. I have a good buying history from last season, but didn't bother signing up for a membership. Luckily I have some fantastic mates, who look after fellow football supporters. There's two of them, in particular.

A ticket becomes available at midday. I snap it up immediately. I jump on the bus at five bells and head down to a bustling and vibrant city centre. I wander down ghost town (Lister Gate) and through the eyesore that is Broad Marsh Centre. It's eerily quiet in this part of town.

I walk into one of Castle Rock's flagship watering holes, Barley Twist, on Carrington Street. In there I meet a couple of old colleagues from my British Coal days - Gary Langley and Steve Tagg. I wish them well and NFFC good luck as I head up towards the Meadows area of Nottingham, after a swift craft ale.

I have to swing by Poets Corner pub to collect my ticket. I have a 7 pm rendezvous with a guy I've never clapped my eyes on before. There's pandemonium in the pub, and the roof nearly comes off, as Jeff Beck's 1968 hit 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' blasts out of the pub speakers. The whole pub, as one, sings the line "And it's Hi Ho we hate D***y" I lip sync it, to fit in.

A few rum 'uns are staggering out of the pub in a right old two an eight. I collect my ticket and head over the water as the crowds and traffic begin to build up ahead of the 8 pm kick off. It's the same old DJ set. They play 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting' by Elton John, when it's a Monday. Notts County did the same on Sunday, when they included 'Friday I'm in Love' by The Cure during their set. No wonder I don't know what day of the week it is. 

The game is a must-win for both opponents. It has the touch and feel of a cup tie. Forest hare into a 2-0 lead thanks to a brace from Nigerian bargain buy Taiwo Awoniyi. The first goal is the exact replica of the one he notched down at St Mary's back in January. Ironically he got injured that night and has only just returned to the starting line-up.

The Saints are lightning quick on the break. They catch Forest out and peg a goal back through Alcaraz. Morgan Gibbs-White keeps his cool from the penalty spot, blasting his kick straight down the middle. I'm mobbed by two ecstatic Forest fans.      

It's pelting it down with rain as the teams emerge from the tunnel for the second half. There's another spine-tingling rendition of 'Mull of Kintyre.' Southampton exploit Forest's vulnerability from crosses. Lyanco nods home a ball put on a sixpence by Ward-Prowse. The tension is unbearable.

The Brazilian, Danilo, looks to have put the game to bed after another rapid counterattack, but back come a plucky Saints. Substitute Sam Surridge makes a rash challenge. Ward-Prowse is clinical from the spot. An unpopular Michael Oliver plays nearly ten minutes of added time. The crowd are baying for his blood. Players fall to the floor in exhaustion at the final whistle. They have given their all.

It's Tuesday morning and I've a spring in my step as I walk through the doors of the worst supermarket on this planet. Nothing can dampen my spirits this morning. I've just seen back to back incredible games of football, with a goal tally of 12. Radio Tesco are playing a mighty fine track from Newcastle band the Kane Gang called 'The Closest Thing to Heaven' - what can possibly go wrong?

I'm whistling as I walk down the fruit and veg aisle. I'm knocking up salmon with a herb crust for tea. I just need a lemon, so I can add some zest to the recipe. I don't take bad news particularly well. For the fifth day in a row there are no lemons in the store #BloodyBREXIT.

Tuesday afternoon is spent at the cinema. I watch a brilliant film starring Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton. It's called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It's based on a novel by Rachel Joyce and is, in a nutshell, about a guy who walks from Devon to Berwick-on-Tweed to visit an old colleague who is in a hospice. It's a feel good factor film that warms the cockles of my heart.

We do rubbish in the Foxy Quiz on Wednesday evening. It was like after the Lord Mayor's show after our second place a few weeks ago. We had to name 5 of Paul McCartney's or Wings highest-placed chart hits. To be honest I'd not heard of quite a few of them. Obvs Mull of Kintyre was one of them. Let's face it, he wasn't much kop after The Beatles was he? That Frog Chorus, eh?

I meet Carlton Town chairman Mick Garton for a drink at teatime on Thursday. We spend a lovely couple of hours together chewing over the cud. I'm going to work part-time in one of the many newsagents he owns. I'm to report into the Arnold branch at midday on Tuesday. I can't wait to get stuck in.

There's a change of scenery for this week's Friday Club outing. I alight the bus on King Street and drop onto the canal opposite the train station. I walk along the water all the way into Beeston town centre. I order up a pint of Glamour Muscles from Shiny Brewery, who are located at Little Eaton, just outside D***y, I settle into a corner and rate the beer on my Untappd app, as I wait for the legend that is Tony Mac.

We have a cracking evening sampling cask beers and keg craft ales. There's a Three Blind Mice and Two By Two takeover outside in the beer garden (thanks for the heads up Mr Limon). We visit the new Totally Tapped micropub as well as The Star and A Pottle of Blues.We jump on the tram back into town. Keans Head and Jam Cafe are also visited. We finish up in Bunkers Hill, a home to ice hockey fans. I treat Mac to a 14% nightcap called 'The Mackenzie Poltergeist' from Tartarus brewery, in 'Dirty Leeds.' It's a pearler and a good way to see the night out.

I'm as fresh as a daisy on Saturday morning. I rustle up scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast. Ms Moon stopped out later than me, with her bestie Jill, at Portobello on Carlton Hill. Then again the good lady didn't start drinking at 3,30pm.

Oh what to do today. 'The NSL Man City' are playing, but I won't offer my support due to a Twitter block after I called them 'Radford Reserves' following a flurry of signings from Big Glenn's substitutes' bench. It was a harmless gag that most people laughed at.

I don't really fancy the play off final game. I'd rather be there, but it's such a faff to get to London when Big Mick Lynch's train lads and lasses are on strike. We enjoy some time with Bonnie, Ms Moon's granddaughter, at Colwick Park before a spot of food shopping at Victoria Park, in Netherfield.

Ironically, I follow the Notts County game down at the Partizan Tavern, a pub owned by Pies' diehard supporter, Tony Perkins. The penalties are exciting to view on the County Twitter feed. It pays off that they replace their 'keeper on 120 minutes, as young Archie Mair wins the game for them with a couple of great saves.

I can't half pick 'em.

Attendance: 29,154

Man of the Match: Felipe 

Thanks for the reading the blogs folks. Hope you enjoy them. See you again in August.

Up the Nottingham,

Sticky xx

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the summer. I hope the job doesn’t interfere with the the cricket too much.