Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time away

I didn't make it to a game again last weekend.

I'll be going to Ukraine for a couple of weeks this Saturday, so here's hoping for a football bonanza. There are a couple of Kyiv derbies and a possible few other games starting with Arsenal v Metalurh Zapporizhia on Sunday. I've contacted Ewig so hopefully everything will go smoothly and hopefully the game will be round the corner at Bannikova, although I fear that it's going to be in Boryspil.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ely win again

Dennis Lightning was moaning in the local paper last week about the number of games Ely had left, so I was expecting a fixture bonanza at Ely at the end of the season, and I thought Dennis was on to something with the amount of weeks in Winter where I was left fixtureless. However, it turns out that of the 9 games Ely have left; 4 are at home and I'm away for 3 of them and working on the other one.

Therefore, last night was probably my last trip of the season to the Unwin, not even the reserves have a game left I'll be able to go to.

At one time it looked like Ely might have a relegation battle on their hands, but apart from the demise of Kings Lynn Reserves (it looks like the first team will be playing in the Eastern Counties next season) and Harwich & Parkestone Ely have put together a fine run of wins of late, so I was expecting that run to end last night.

The game itself was a pretty rough encounter, which culminated in Brady Stone limping off injured near the end, although there was no malice intended in that challlenge at least. For long periods Debenham LC, the opponents, looked a bit clueless, although they had a chance to go ahead early on when they were awarded a penalty, but they shot wide. Similarly, Ely looked a bit hopeless in front of goal and were missing forwards Robbie Mason and Scott Fielding, so that was hardly surprising. Ely, however went ahead mid way through the first half with Ben Lawrence heading in from a corner kick.

In the second half Ely started well, but after about 10 minutes Debenham got back in the game and had 20 minutes of dominance. Lee Pacey in goals was on fine form, however and despite one miss kicked clearance he remained solid. Ben Lawrence also missed kicking rather than miss kicked a clearance during this period, but Pacey managed to foil the forward.

Late on Jamie Allsop came on and scored a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out that curled nicely in to the top corner with what was his first kick of the game. Despite there being 10 minutes left on the clock and the referee adding on a lot of extra time again (about 9 minutes) Ely were unflappable and it was good to see them comfortably win and keep a clean sheet. It looks like I might have to wait until pre-season for my next fix of the Robins.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Neglected Robins

It's good to see that Ely have been on a pretty decent run of late. I have to admit I've been neglecting them a little of late with work and other stuff. Hopefully, I'll be at the Unwin on Tuesday night for the visit of Debenham LC.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1 - 0 to the football team

For a long time yesterday at Ipswich's game against Scunthorpe United it looked like I might be in for a second goaless draw in a row. However, 16 year old Connor Wickham popped up in stoppage time when he got on the end of a long goal kick to win the game for Ipswich.

It was no less than Ipswich deserved and the 3 points helps them ease away from the elegtion zone, whilst at the same time putting Scunny in the bottom 3 for the first time this season. On yesterday's performance if they go down they won't be soarley missed.

Ipswich tried to play the ball around and John Walters nearly put Town in front in the first couple of minutes. Throughout the game Walters, Daryl Murphy and Pablo Counago peppered the Scunthorpe defence that remained resilient with their only real chance being a 23rd minute shot from Matt Sparrow. Scunthorpe were negative throughout the game as any team playing 5-4-1 using the off side trap and time wasting from 30 minutes into the game can be descibed as and although it looked like they were going to get a draw from the game justice was finally done.

The game also saw two quite soft sending offs with Cliff Byrne being sent off for the Iron on 69 minutes and Damien Delaney of Ipswich followng him 10 minutes later. Delaney's foul probably warranted a yellow at most and Byrne was similarly unlucky, although at the time it looked like he had used his elbow and that the sending off was warranted.

With the last throw of the dice justice was done and Wickham sent the home fans away happy and a good if unseasonaly cold day was had by all.

Match action Ipswich v Scunthorpe

I managed to take one picture during the game, so here it is.

The Stands at Portman Road

We were in the South Stand, so here are the viewsof some of the other parts of the ground.
Top: Cobbold Stand
Middle: Britannia Stand
Botom: North Stand

Views outside at Portman Road

Top: View of the stadium on the way from the train station
Bottom: The Bobby Robson Stand

Statues at Portman Road

Top: Alf Ramsey who won the league as managerof Ipswich and the World Cup with England
Bottom: Bobby Robson, who as manager won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Ipswich and who took England to the World Cup Semi Finals

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ipswich Town badge

It doesn't seem as if there was a badge for Ipswich until John Grimmage designed the badge at the top in 1972. The badge shows the Suffolk punch, which he described as ' a noble beast'. The castle parts are the turrets of Wolsley Gate and I think that the squiggly lines represent the river that leads an estuary in Ipswich (I'll rectify that later.

Below is the latest version of the badge, which is pretty much the same, although on the shirts it also appears with 3 stars to celebrate the League win in 1962, the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1982

Club focus -- Ipswich Town

Strangely for a team that have been in the top 2 divisions since I started watcing football I can't recall ever seeing Ipswich live. That will change on Saturday when I go to Ipswich v Scunthorpe.

When I was a small lad and Villa were the champions of England and Europe Ipswich were themselves a force to be reckoned with losing out on the last day of the season to Villa in the race for the title in 1981 and going on to win the UEFA Cup the following year. Most of the players were household names, although being very young at the time I perhaps remember them for the wrong reasons: Paul Mariner in the Golden Wonder cards, Alan Brazil in Topps bubble gum cards, John Wark as the ugly guy on 'Escape to victory' and player of the year in 1981, Franz Thijssen and his unpoppable balls. They were the balls that actually didn't pop, quikly turned a dirty brown and if you played out with them in the wet turned to concrete. I actually have fonder memories of them when another Dutch international Johnny Metgod was their ambassador, but I think Franz was the original.

Anyway, back to Ipswich Town: The club was formed in 1878, but they didn't turn professional until 1936 snd they are still the only professional club to ever have come from Suffolk. When they were formed they started life out as Ipswich AFC, but changed to Ipswich Town when they merged with the local rugby club in 1888.

After playing in various leagues, Ipswich became founder members of the Eastern Counties League in the 1934-5 season. In 1938 they joined the league and played in division 3 South until 1953.

In 1960 Ipswich reached the top flight for the first time and in 1962 they won the league under Alf Ramsay. However, Ramsay was soon on is way to manage England and to win the World Cup. Another football legend took over at Portman Road in the shape of Jackie Milburn. Wor Jackie was a nightmare as a manager though, and Ipswich got relegated in 1964.

In 1968 Bill McGarty got Ipswich back up into the top division, but one year later he was off to Wolves to be replaced by another manager who would later leave the club to take over the national side, Bobby Robson.

In 1978 they won their first major silverware under Robson when they won the FA Cup. They also came second in the league in 1981 and beat Man United 6-0 on the way and 1982 they won the UEFA cup. However, Robson was on his way and Ipswich didn't recover and in 1986 they were relegated.

Since those halcyon days Ipswich have been a bit of a yo-yo club, although there yo has gone a bit over the last few seasons. Highlights have been a 5th finish in the top tier in 2000, which led to a UEFA cup place and George Burley being named manager of the year. The lowlight was in 2006 when they finished 15th in the 2nd tier.

This season with Roy Keane in charge and being backed by the cash of Marcus Evans Ipswich were predicted to challenge for promotion. However, a large number of draws and a poor start to the season sees the just outside of the relegation places and perhaps they will finish worse off than 15th

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Match action at Histon

Top: The teams line up
Middle: Gateshead corner in the first half
Bottom: Histon take a corner

Mistake in below post

The second picture shows Histon taking a corner, here's the picture from the warm up.

Pre match at Histon

Histon has a decent bar with a good view of the pitch and we managed to see Pomey beat Blues in the cup on the TV there. The staff were friendly, but the prices were a bit on the steep side. One strange thing is you have to go into the ground near the dignataries seats to get there and then go out again and through the turnstile.
Top: The badge on the wall to the bar
Middle: Players check the pitch out, which despite the recent bad weather looked better than Wembley
Bottom: The seats we paid to sit in, although Sean insisted going on the terrace

Getting to Histon

I've been put off visiting Histon in the past, as it seems odd to go into Cambridge to come back out towards Ely, but it was relatively straighforward getting the Citi 7 to MacFarlane Close in Impington, although we did make the mistake of walking the wrong way down the road and ending up in a leisure centre before getting back on the main road and to the ground.
top: Sean gurning
middle: The approach to the ground
bottom: The Cambridgesgire FA Headquarters situated next to the ground

Stute shenanigans

We finally made it to a Histon home game yesterday and it was a lot easier to get to than I had predicted and as the bus wasn't as crowded as getting back into town as from a Cambride United game after.

The sun was shining for the first time this year, but it seems like the storm clouds might be starting to descend over Histon. Out have gone the money bags chairman, out has gone Steve Fallon, who guided the team to 5 promotions a third place finish in the Conference and a decent FA Cup run, which included a win over Leeds (for ayone who might have forgotten). In place is now Andrew Lewer, who obviously has some financial constraints, but banning 5 of the senior players from the game yesterday while they sort out contracts seems a little odd.

Histon therefore fielded a fairly young team against Gateshead and where as this time last year Histon were top of the Conference with Burton and Gateshead were in the division below both teams seemed fairly well matched. Histon are now placed in mid table and Gateshead just above the relegation and both teams are perhaps safe due to the propensity of other clubs to financially implode this year, but I think both might be facing a tough time next season.

Anyway about the game; it ended 0-0, although both sides had chances. Andy Pugh had some good chancesin the first half for the Stutes and Histon looked good on the break but seemed to lack a bit of oomph at front. Heed also had some chances and Phil Turnbull came closest hitting the crossbr on 77 minutes. However, neither side could break the deadlock and 0-0 was probably a fair result.

A better weekend

This weekendhas been much better with a good trp to Histon yesterday and Villa's win in the quarter final of the FA Cup coming from 2-0 down to win 4-2 with a John Carew hat-trick.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shite weekend

sorry about the silence, but last weekend was shite on the football front. First of all the Cambridge v Tamworth game was off because of the rain. Luckily, I checked the website just as I was leaving the house. Then on Sunday Villa lost to ManUre in the league cup final. Hopefully thngs ill go better this weekend with a choice between Histon v Gateshead or Peterborough v Coventry on the cards. I know which one I'd prefer but with a trip to Ipswich v Scunthorpe next week on the cards and having just forked out on tickets for Ukraine flights it loks like it will be the Stutes, if I am lucky.