Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30/09/15 Review: Kidsgrove Athletic vs Tividale

Kidsgrove Athletic 4-0 Tividale (Evo-Stik First Division South)
The Novus Stadium

I would like to start this, my 10th Blog entry, by thanking anybody and everybody who has read any Pint of Football entry, anybody who has followed my new Twitter page and of course the few who have accompanied me to games and supported the Blog so far (Will Clark, Sophie Dibbens and Partizan Bristle's Tom Meadowcroft surely must be fed up of me by now!). I am pleased with the amount of views that my entries have been receiving and hope to carry on spreading my fun-filled hours of Football up and down the country.

This evening was another mid-week solo effort which saw me jumping in to my car and heading to yet another local team, hoping to experience the thrill of yet another non-league team. Just outside of Stoke-on-Trent, I found myself in the small town of Kidsgrove ready for a resurgent Athletic taking on bottom of the League Tividale. In the 5 years I have lived in Stoke I have only had two encounters with Kidsgrove; the first was after a Stag party in Crewe where the bus, originally heading for Stoke, ended up stopping at Kidsgrove instead and leaving me stranded. The second was directly related to the football team, as me and my mate Will pushed the Kidsgrove Athletic Football Club minibus down a snowy A500 after they broke down. On this particular evening, we were stood outside my old uni accommodation waiting to see if a Chinese takeaway we had ordered would be able to make it in the heavy snow. Whilst waiting, we looked on to the dual carriageway to see a minibus skidding to a halt. The players hopped out of the bus and started to push, to which we decided to jump on to the empty road and give them a shove. Apparently they were the only non-league match in the whole country not to be postponed that day, because the opposition in the Birmingham area played on a plastic pitch. Ahh memories- anyway, that was off-topic, back to the present day.

It's Wednesday night and I'm at the Grove, don't believe me just read
As far as turning things around go, Kidsgrove Athletic are certainly a team in good form at the minute. After picking up just 3 points and failing to win in their first 6 League matches, the Grove had managed to get back on their feet with 3 wins and 13 goals in an attempt to climb back up to where they are expecting to be come the end of the season. With a home game against the side propping up the table at the moment, I had to predict a win for Kidsgrove- 3-1 was what I'd gone with based on the goal spree of the past few matches. In the 'Southern' equivalent of the game I attended last week, which saw a poor 0-0 between Scarborough Athletic and Glossop North End, I felt a much friendlier atmosphere as I entered the ground today.

Blues vs Reds
The stadium was very well presented; with a vast amount of seating, a nice distribution of fans around the main stand and of course the delightful smell of chips and burgers on the grill in the food hut. Alongside this was a very smart clubhouse and even a VIP area above the seating area which I can only describe as an "upstairs patio area".

Very posh- deck chairs and all
The squads were mainly filled with unknowns to my limited non-league knowledge, with only two Kidsgrove players registering in my mind. Up top for the Grove was Nick Wellecomme, a player who is known in the Midlands having played for Stafford, Hednesford and Newcastle Town in his career. The other was Will Bailey, a young lad who Kidsgrove have loaned from my beloved Macclesfield Town, starting on the bench tonight. After the sides came out and the players shook hands, the game was under way and the crowd seemed very subdued. As I had a glance over I realised that this was because everybody was preoccupied by the bargain of the day- a tray of chips for a quid! I myself only had £1 on me following the purchase of the ticket and programme, which would surely be saved for a half-time beverage of some description. On the pitch there was some good, flowing football and both sides actually looked to be competent on the ball, a skill which is often unavailable to the lower leagues. However, the sides began to duel and it soon became clear that there would be goals to come. Just 5 minutes in both sides had already mustered up a half-chance and I was already impressed by Ant Malbon upfront for the Grove. 

At the games I attend on my own, I always do my best to listen in to the crowds' conversations and where possible, get involved. The couple who were sitting to my right-hand side were talking to another chap about one of the Tividale players, before the first man told the other that they used to play together at Redditch for a while. He then carried on to tell anybody who could hear about how he had also played for Kidderminster and Stafford in the past- impressive. After this exchange I turned my ears back to the pitch to hear a local fan shout to the linesman, "Oi! Shift up lino, you're blocking my view". If there was one thing which made being a linesman on a cold Staffordshire evening worse, it was receiving constant feedback from the home support. As the game continued, a different lad shouted "that's a disgrace, lino" about a clearly correct offside call. With over half an hour on the clock Kidsgrove started to dominate and get closer to goal. A couple of 20-30 yard strikes went close and then a third long-ranger led to the opener. A centre-mid struck a sweet hit from about 25 yards, which the keeper saved, but padded back out to an onrushing Wellecomme. Grove 1-0 Tividale. Not much else came from the first-half, apart from at least 10 people re-entering and asking around if they had missed anything. (Note to self, do not go to the toilet just before half-time, you are bound to miss a goal!) One man asked me the terribly awkward question which no ground hopper wants to hear, "Who scored, mate?". I just looked at him and said that it was a rebound- and luckily the tannoy announced the goal and saved any embarrassment of me not knowing every Kidsgrove player. That brought me to half-time following a good first-half!

I found a blue tractor at half-time, 'Pint of Football Moment' for sure!
After going past the blue tractor I headed to the clubhouse, knowing full well that my £1 coin would not get me even half a pint. After absorbing a bit more atmosphere and local conversation I headed back to the food hut and picked up a can of Tango Orange before taking my seat again ready for hopefully more action. Just before the restart I left my seat for a matter of seconds to put my empty can in the bin, only to be greeted with two old legends sat where I was. I didn't mind, I was just amazed about how quickly they had appeared. Little did I know at the time, but these two guys would prove to be great commentary throughout the second-half.

Cliff and Bry- a true comedy duo
I made light of them taking my seat, by commenting on how good a view it was from here. They agreed- and when Bry went to grab a coffee he even asked his mate to save his seat for him, before smiling at me. I knew that these golden oldies would provide some top banter to compliment the attacking football on display. A couple of bookings were dished out to Tividale players, with the striker for Tivi being deemed lucky to remain on the pitch after a scrap with a Kidsgrove player. Fans claim the forward spat in the face of his opponent, from my view it looked like he tried to bite his nose. Either way, the crowd wanted a red- and luckily it wasn't long after that when a second goal was added. Again, it was Wellecomme applying the finish to a truly slick move from the Athletic. Grove 2-0 Tividale. 

The Midlands assassin- Nick Wellecomme
It was obvious from here that the game was sealed in terms of a result, but to their credit both teams carried on as though it was 0-0. Both sides created chances, the subs came on to freshen things up and before I knew it we were into the last 20 minutes. At this point, Cliff decided it was bed time and left the ground- which led Bry to focus his commentary towards me. He started by telling me that Cliff was a Nantwich Town striker back in the day. He recalled a match in which Nantwich won 6-0, with Cliff scoring all 6. He then suggested that they were all "tap ins" and chuckled. As the conversation carried on between me and the gent, he told me of how he used to play for Kidsgrove many years ago, as well as being a club secretary and fulfilling other roles after retirement- what a guy! He asked if I played at all, but I didn't think he would be too impressed to hear about my days of playing for Flamborough 1st's, so I just replied with, "only for local sides". Back to the pitch and the game was sealed with an absolute corker of a strike from substitute Dan Skelton. A cracking 25-yarder nestled into the away goal. Grove 3-0 Tividale. Even Bry had to admit that one was a "good" goal. Shortly after, yet another was added as the Captain stamped his seal on the match with a nice finish from the left-wing. Grove 4-0 Tividale. This fourth goal signalled the departure of my new mate, who said he was going to beat the crowds by leaving early. I did admire the man, who attends Port Vale and Nantwich when they play at home, and as he left, most of the ground shared a good night wish to him. The game offered just a couple more chances, but no more goals- and the fans got a bit cocky towards the end as they chanted "We're playing like Brazil".
A very enjoyable match and ground, this won't be my only trip to the Novus Stadium
From the friendly fans, to the entertainment on the field, I thoroughly enjoyed this outing. Certainly a different one to the match from last week, but that is what makes the beautiful game just that. For £10 I have had a night of footy, plenty of goals, a can of Tango and a good chat with some local legends- what more could you ask for?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

22/09/15 Review: Scarborough Athletic vs Glossop North End

Scarborough Athletic 0-0 Glossop North End (Evo-Stik First Division North)
Queensgate Park

Following on from Saturday's classic at the Moss Rose, I was now back in my home-town of Bridlington in search of some more non-league action. Tonight's encounter brought me to a stadium that I had played on many a time as a lad and was home to two semi-professional teams, Bridlington Town and Scarborough Athletic. Despite the ground primarily belonging to Bridlington Town, it has also housed Athletic for the past 8 years, since they formed in 2007 following the liquidation of Scarborough's original team. Those days were hopefully well behind them now as they hoped to fight for another promotion, which continued against the unbeaten Glossop North End. Currently Second-placed in the league, GNE had made the 106 mile trip across from Glossop and they didn't travel lightly. For a non-league, midweek football match, the fans had made a top effort.
The away fans piled in to Queensgate Park
Arriving at the game in good time, the clubhouse was the first stop. Described as "a shed with a bar in it" by Pint of Football's number two, Sir William Clark, we enjoyed a round of drinks after purchasing a programme. Queensgate really was the epitome of a lower league ground- the smell of fried onions, the intermingling of fans, the half a dozen voluntary stewards and the ability to take your pint to the side of the pitch, the footballing quality would almost certainly be a secondary feature to this very cold night. Scarborough had suffered a 1-0 defeat at the weekend against Warrington Town, whilst Glossop had been held by Lancaster City, so it was bound to be a close one and as both teams boasted an excellent defensive record I predicted a low-scoring draw which would preserve both teams rank in the higher end of the table. Will bought himself a lucky dip ticket which predicted the minute of the first goal (he got 25th minute) and with that the game kicked off.
I had to check with Google that the clubs's nickname wasn't "Team Sambuca"
As expected, the standard of football was not brilliant. Glossop seemed a bit more content on the ball in the opening minutes, but without much in the way of a threat. The first highlight was the group of fans who emerged from the opposite side of the ground blasting out various chants whilst walking around the ground, drummer and all. Starting off with the simple, but effective "Can you hear the Scarborough sing? I can't hear a fucking thing!" and continuing with some more creative Scarborough-specific tunes such as "Have you paid your rent this week? Oh! Oh! Have you paid your rent this week? No! No!" and "They are getting a new ground, the council said yes." The chants continued and got louder as they approached the section of the ground where we were stood. During this part of the Glossop massive's chanting spree, a long delay of "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" was held for a good 10 seconds, before an unsuspecting fan's head was decorated by a beermat. To the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands" a large section of the away support began to shout "He's got a beermat, on his head!" which I am guessing is a regular occurrence when you are a Hillman.

The original Mr. Jack
To avoid being the centre of such a tradition, I absconded to a seated area of the ground so that I could see how the Scarborough fans differed. If truth be told, they were solely here for the football and had no intention of being so animalistic as to shout anything at all. The standard of football continued to become poor, so much so that even the stewards were popping off to the bar to get a tray of chips. One thing which did grab my attention from afar was yet another Glossop chant, which this time targeted Rob Zand in the Athletic goal. "Your keeper's in pink, your keeper's in pink, oh your keeper, he's wearing pink!" which was followed by a call out of "Puff!".

Good job the word "Puff" could never be considered as offensive
Half-time, needless to say, meant a pint and a natter in the clubhouse. Usually at this point we would be discussing the football, but as there had been barely any highlights on the pitch we had a look at the merchandise stand instead and debated on whether or not to buy a £5 woolly hat. In the end, I didn't, deciding instead to have a look at a programme. An interesting fact for my "Pint of Football" moment tonight was drawn, as usual, from the programme. "It's a classic quiz question - which is the smallest town in England to have been the home of a top division football club? - Glossop." I am assuming that by top division, it doesn't mean Premier League.

Duh, duh, duh, duh, get the pints in
As we headed out for the second-half we were shocked to see that a large chunk of the home crowd had moved to the section where the Glossop travelling fans were stood. This seemed to instantly smell like danger, as the chants became more personal. By around the 60th minute the crowd had practically stopped watching the game and were instead insistent on winding each other up. In the beginning it was fairly light-hearted, as one of Scarborough's 80-year old fans was being lined up to have a fight against a fellow senior from Glossop. I retreated to use the loo at this juncture, which is where I met a more pleasant fan. I got chatting to a man from Liverpool who was explaining to me how he loves non-league football and their grounds. After many years of following the Anfield club, he told me of how he was losing his love for the game- which is why he started following Glossop North End. It got a bit out of hand though after this moment of nicety, when the dreaded beermat made a reappearance. A Scarborough fan took great offence to the mat being placed on his head and reacted by slamming it to the ground. A chorus of boos led to a bit more "intermingling" until the inevitable petty squabble kicked-off.

Crowd-trouble? Let's hope that the stewards have finished their chips
One fan was evacuated from the ground and with 5 minutes to go the crowd continued to be rowdy. Any goal from any team would have surely caused a low-scale non-league riot and both teams, but for a lack of quality on the night, could've nicked it. The thrown out fan waltzed back in during injury-time and at this stage the stewards were called back in. After a few minutes of argument, the lad left again and seconds later the full-time whistle blew. Scarborough 0-0 GNE.

Turns out that no body could do it on a cold Tuesday night in Bridlington
After many years of not attending Queensgate Park, I was certainly not blown away by this match. The atmosphere was surprisingly explosive considering the friendly nature of past matches I've attended. Alas, I will have no shame in ending my post by answering the question that you've all been asking. Yes, I did go back to my local pub afterwards and place a beermat on an unsuspecting patrons head!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

19/09/15 Review: Macclesfield Town vs Forest Green Rovers

Macclesfield Town 4-1 Forest Green Rovers (National League)
Moss Rose

Another trip to Moss Rose on this sunny September afternoon was a very welcome pit-stop on my journey to Sheffield. I had arranged to drive through to see an old school friend, which was  timed very well to fit alongside another bout of National League football. The drive through to Macclesfield from Stoke is always one that I enjoy, with a real feeling of being out in the countryside often adding to the occasion- providing it gets me there on time after sitting behind the odd tractor. Today's opponents were record-breaking Forest Green Rovers, who were not only top of the league but also on a run which has seen them win 9 out of their first 10 games, building a 6 point lead in the table already. On my drive to the game I was entertaining myself with some fun facts about the Rovers. For example, did you know that Forest Green Rovers points total is higher than that of Chelsea and Manchester City combined? 

Forest Green Rovers- the first team ever to win their opening 9 National League matches 
Following this, I then started to realise that it was my beloved Silkmen side who may well give FGR a tenth win of the season already. The main hope for Macc would be that they could repeat the feat of Woking who had managed to hand Rovers their first defeat in the midweek fixture. Macc had also lost on Tuesday night, 2-0 to 2nd placed Cheltenham, meaning that another loss would leave us ingrained into the bottom half. Following my last outing at Macc I was confident that if we gave a good display we may be able to cause a few problems, but even then I couldn't have predicted what would happen. Arriving just in time for the kick-off, I took my seat in the usual place and awaited a hopefully entertaining game. My prediction today was that the Silkmen would eventually fall to a defeat as the league leaders looked to bounce back from their defeat. 3-1 to FGR, or 3-2 if we played well, was what I was expecting.

A nice day for some footyball
The team sheet looked quite different to the last time I attended a game, with new signing David Fitzpatrick coming in to the left-back slot and big man Jack Sampson being given a role up top with leading goalscorer Kristian Dennis in a classic 4-4-2 formation. For FGR there were two former Silkmen in the starting 11, with Jon Parkin and Sam Wedgbury both lining up and looking to get one over their previous employers. And less than 2 minutes in to the game it was, of course, Parkin who bundled in a goal from a couple of yards out to give the Greens the lead. Macc 0-1 FGR. From this point I was feeling that we could be in for a long afternoon, having watched Macc lose 4-0 in the past against Stevenage Borough and Sheffield United. With Kristian Dennis upfront there is always a chance of a goal if the midfield can supply him- and when things are going your way the goals tend to keep on coming. With six goals already it seemed that his luck was in yet again as a back pass to Rovers goalie Jonny Maxted was sliced straight into the striker's path. With great delight and surprise, Dennis aptly rolled the ball into the empty net. Macc 1-1 FGR. This really seemed to wake up the ground, who had already turned to their phones to see if the other teams around the bottom of the table were losing yet. A fan behind me had spent the opening 15 minutes refreshing the score of Torquay against Bromley and updating the surrounding fans that Torquay were already 2-0 down by the time Macc had equalised. The majority of the midsection of the first-half was then spent with some tough tackles, bad fouls and the odd silly decision from the officials. One moment in-particular which stood out was a feud between FGR right-back Dale Bennett and Macc's Jack Sampson, who had a bit of a scuff on the touchline. This led to the downfall of Bennett in the match, who was constantly wound up by the fans following this. He took at least half a dozen throw-ins and he received a chorus of boos each time, before he threw the ball and lost possession for his side each time. By the third time of taking a throw-in he had obviously had enough, as he turned to the home crowd and shouted "Oh, shat ap!" in his frustrated Southern accent. The controversy continued as he pushed the limits by constantly edging forward for his throws, which ended up taking place about 8 yards higher up the pitch than should've been. The half drew to a close and as the injury time board went up I nipped off to loo to beat the minor rush which would shortly follow. When I returned to pitch-side I was just in time to see the turning point. A header from Pilkington was expertly cleared off the line by Rob Sinclair, which looked to have brought another corner. The whistle blew and the players crowded the ref. Seconds later the ref pointed  to the spot and then went to his pocket, which before I knew it produced the red card for Sinclair. In a mixture of confusion and joy, the crowd got to their feet and as soon as Dennis put the ball down the chants started. A calm run up led to his second of the game. Macc 2-1 FGR. The half-time whistle blew and at such a good time for Macc after one of the most entertaining games I'd seen in a long while.

I retreated to the bar for a pint and my usual look at the programme, where I picked up another "Pint of Football Moment". Today from the "10 things you didn't know about..." section I learnt that "The club were the first British football team to use a robot lawn mower, called a 'mow bot', using GPS technology. It runs off the solar panels located at the ground." Very fancy down at Forest Green, apparently! Still enthralled from the first half, I got back to my seat in very good time and sat awaiting another 45 in which we could seal a crucial win.

It's a great time to be a Macc fan
The second half allowed the Silkmen to really take their eleventh man advantage, which is what they did. The first quarter of an hour contained some great play for Macc, who seemed destined to score again. The chances finally came to a goal, as Paul Lewis powered home a header to give a very solid lead. Macc 3-1 FGR. This would surely mean game, set and match for the blues, who had outplayed the opposition since conceding an early opener. A great image for me was seeing the former Macc Town player, Sam Wedgbury, looking dejected as his old club did a number on his team. The theme continued and FGR offered very little in the way of a comeback, as I got to witness my first ever live moment of the crowd chanting "whay" at every completed pass. As the game came towards its close the subs were made and the usual announcements came through the tannoy. Today's Attendance, Man of the Match etc. But then a moment of comedy gold with an announcement in the last ten minutes, just shortly after the substitution of big Jon Parkin. [Paraphrase] "Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be half price pies available in the McIllroy Suite after today's match. Just make sure you get there before Jon Parkin." This hilarious bit of banter was well received by the 1,300 fans in the ground and met my smiles from some of the players- a true moment of non-league magic.

Unlucky Sammy
Shortly after this the game was well and truly rounded off by the impressive Chris Holroyd who drilled a cross into the area, which was converted by Danny Whitaker to put the icing on a very nice Macclesfield showing. Macc 4-1 FGR. The temptation to shout "Top of the league, they're avin a laugh!" was too much, but the lack of alcohol to fuel my confidence only allowed for a "Come on you Silkmen" shout instead. A young fan raised a few chuckles though as he went with the classic "You're getting sacked in the morning" chant, well played lad. Another chance went wide for Macc in the closing stages and Forest Green's Sam-Yorke sent a rocket well on it's way to the car park, but that was all they could muster and the game ended briefly afterwards. As I was en-route to Sheffield I didn't partake in my usual viewing of the Man of the Match award and a post-match pint in the clubhouse, but I did go away feeling much better than usual. Not only did Macc win today, but they dominated, they played good football and more than that, they beat the top of the league team, albeit with 10-men, by an emphatic scoreline. The best I've seen Macclesfield Town play since they beat Championship Hull City 2-0 at the KC Stadium in the 2011 League Cup. I'll be in attendance for Scarborough Athletic vs Glossop North End midweek as Pint of Football continues to provide light-hearted reviews and stories from around the grounds.

The pick of The Non-League Paper! 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

05/09/15 Review: Macclesfield Town vs Woking FC

Macclesfield Town 2-1 Woking (National League)
Moss Rose

For Pint of Football it's been a while. Almost a month without watching a live game finally came to an end as I returned to action at the Moss Rose, whilst all of the big boys were on international duty. In the past few weeks I have been close to attending various matches on my travels, but it's never quite worked out. On my way from Southend to Stoke I aimed to drop in on Watford vs Southampton a couple of weeks ago, but traffic prevented it. I tried to get a last minute ticket for Stoke vs West Brom last weekend, but it was sold out. It seems that I'm almost destined to stick to the good stuff, non-league football. So, with Surrey-based Woking coming to town me and my fellow Macc Town friend, Will (who travelled through from Flamborough the night before, no less!), jumped on the train to watch our beloved Silkmen.

It was like we'd never been away
The Cardinals, as their locals call them, showed up in good form having won 5 and drew 1 out of their last 6. The only defeat they had suffered so far was a tough opening day loss to recently-relegated Tranmere Rovers. On the other hand, Macc were looking below average and had lost 3 on the bounce before picking up a big win at Blundell Park against Grimsby Town. So with that in mind it seemed as though 3rd placed Woking would be favourites to pick up 3 points, despite the fact that last season the Silkmen won 2-1 thanks to an 89th minute winner from captain Paul Turnbull. As a hopeful fan, I was positive of a club and country double today- predicting a 1-0 win for Macc and a 6-0 victory for the Three Lions later on against San Marino.

I quickly took my seat just in time for the kick-off- and here we go again. The opening showed much promise from both sides, with the attacking from Woking being matched by counters from Macclesfield. Former Silkmen player Keiran Murtagh was renowned for his tough tackles at his time with the club, but the passing from Whittaker and Lewis in the middle meant that he couldn't get near enough for the crunch in the early stages. I was surprised to see Murtagh playing today for Woking, as I would have assumed that he would be on international duty with Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean side managed to beat Guatemala without him, though. Since leaving Macc to go to Woking he must've been faded out of the national set-up for one reason or another. Back to the game here and Macclesfield started to progress with good moves down the left and right alike. The one thing which I had noticed early on was the sculpted figure of muscle-man left-back Chris Arthur for Woking, who not only powered through Chris Holroyd but also outpaced him numerous times- a true tank of a player! He couldn't prevent the opener, however, just after 10 minutes. A cross from the right was fumbled by the keeper, which allowed the on-form Kristian Dennis to pounce for his 6th of the season. Macc 1-0 Woking. Despite the cheers from the home fans, I couldn't help but notice a singular, loud moan and groan from the man sitting next to me- I sensed it may be an away fan who had come into the wrong end. Memories flooded back for me of the time that I accidentally sat in the home stand when the Silkmen bowed out of League Two away at Southend United back in 2012.

The fans enjoyed another goal from Dennis the Menace
This goal was truly what the Silkmen needed early on against a top National League side, as it gave us the confidence to push forward for the rest of the first-half and look for a second goal. My friend Will reminded me of the last game he went to, we took an early 2-0 lead at Lincoln before eventually crumbling to a 5-3 defeat. Hopefully this wasn't on the cards again, with some great play from the Macc midfield leading to a fantastic solo effort from Paul Lewis. He popped the ball over the defenders head before volleying the ball fiercely just over the bar. We were looking good and I didn't want half-time to come before we could get a second goal. Corner after corner came in the final 5 of the first-half, alas we went into the break with a comfortable (for now) lead against an out of sorts performance from the Cardinals.

At half-time it became apparent that the chap who was quite clearly not a Macc fan turned out to be the father of Giuseppe Sole, who was on the Woking bench today. Following a quick chat with the man about the joys of non-league away days, we couldn't help but go away for our beverage with an appreciation for the parents of a non-league substitute who made the trip all the way up to Macclesfield from Surrey. Following this we stood in the long queue for a much needed beer, which when it came had a bigger head than Jose Mourinho! I proceeded to drink it anyway, before heading back to my seat before the second half started. Today's "Pint of Football Moment" in the programme was more from the "10 things you didn't know about..." section. Fact 10 revealed that, "The Spice Girls began their career at a studio near to Woking." Talk about spicing up my half-time!

Who needs Mourinho, when we've got Beerio
Luckily for the Silkmen we started the half in the way we ended the last. Even the half-time substitution of Murtagh for Woking couldn't prevent Macc's dominance, as we continued to press the second goal. Roughly 15 minutes into the second-half we were coming closer and closer, with some top saves from the Away keeper, Jake Cole, being the only thing stopping us. Eventually though, we got a free-kick which was initially whipped in and cleared, but then a good cross from the left allowed Dennis this time to provide a volleyed pass across the box to allow Neil Byrne to collect his first Silkmen goal. The centre-back was thrilled, as were the fans. Macc 2-0 Woking. This goal meant that the Silkmen only needed to hold on for the final 30- and a section of the fans took this opportunity to relax and shout out at Chris Arthur the chant "Show us your six-pack", to which he did. With nothing to play for except perhaps a point, Woking threw Sole on and started to throw bodies forward to try and get back into it. The parents of Sole were no longer sitting next to me, presumably they had headed back to the away stands as he started leading a lot of the attacks. Towards the end they were rewarded as Joey Jones curled in a stunning consolation goal into the top corner. Macc 2-1 Woking. I think that Askey's decision to not make any substitutions in the match was to attempt to lower the amount of stoppage time in the match, baring in mind that England were due to kick-off straight after this. However, to everyone's shock there were still 3 minutes to play. No real threat came through and the Silkmen sealed an impressive victory and secured 3 more points after the win on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Woking lads weren't up to the standard I expected, thankfully
With the match over we headed straight to the bar to get a pint in, in time for England kicking-off. A win was always on the cards against San Marino, but with a 6-0 bet on the table I was looking forward to hopefully a perfect end to a great afternoon of football. When we headed back to the train England were 3-0 up, so I was delighted to get home and find out that I'd won my bet! A great day all round.

Totally called it