Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Wigan: The Right Staffs and The Rolling Stones

The Streets of San Fran er... Stoke

Defeat in the FA Vase means that The Robins will be travelling to Staffordshire on successive weekends. This Saturday it's Stone away but just gone was Norton away. A very pleasant Norton, as well...

Not been able to say that before as last season we had to contend with the fog and the cold but this time well... It was sunny, hot and in a certain light the hilly streets of Stoke could be mistaken for the hilly Streets of San Francisco. Almost.

Add into this no traffic jams on the M6 and a simple journey you know it's going to be okay. Pitch was good, if a tad long on the grass side and the lads were soon out on the pitching warming up/or cooling down. Bill Williams - dad of the Williams 3 - and myself settled for a cold lager watching fat middle-aged men playing cricket on the adjoning pitch. Good entertaining stuff as the runs and wickets fell in equal numbers. The home team seemed to be knocking a few runs but taking tea at twenty past two suggests they didn't get that many.

As for the footy... Game of two halves. They scored first thanks to "Skip to the Paul" Macari - son of - and could (and probably should) have gone two up when Jay Foulds was fouled after what seemed an innocuous challenge resulting in the "goal" not standing.

On the stroke of half-time The Robins were awarded a penalty and a great chance to equalise. Unfortunately Steve Williams blasted (well not even blasted but more scooped) the ball high and wide and half the way to Burslem.

We adjourned for cheese and ham butties and a lovely mug of tea whilst - I assume - a bollocking was dished out in the dressing room.

It worked as we got control of the game and played some lovely football. Well-taken doubles from Ry Small and Chris McNally pretty much settled it. Corcy got a kick on the head - that made less press inches than Robin van Persie's. Maybe we should have had one of those blood capsules for more effect. Chipper hit the bar with another rasping shot whilst Adi Whittle also went close with a cracker. Steve Williams had a great game holding the ball and line but had one of those games where he wouldn't have scored if he'd played until midnight on Sunday. These things happen.

So in a nutshell...

Pie and peas - but make sure you have your raffle ticket. No ticket no pie
Piemaids - very pleasant
Lager - cold and very nice. Wasps a bit of a pain, mind
Ref and linesmen - better than of recent. But that doesn't mean that much...
MOM - Dean Callaway (as voted by them). Not quite sure that's right but as the game went on he terrorised their defence but in the second half everybody played well
Programme - just okay nothing more...

This Saturday sees The Robins travel to Motiva Parkv - the home of Stone Dominoes. Massive game and a real tough un. The lads are buzzing, the weather forecast is good, the pitch down there is fantastic and it all adds up to being a cracker

And with all this Beatles stuff about at the moment here are TEN STONES FOR THE STONES. Crank up the stereo it's only rock and roll but I like it, like it

19th Nervous Breakdown
Paint It Black
Let's Spend The Night Together
Honky Tonk Women
Sympathy For The Devil
Brown Sugar
Under My Thumb
Jumpin' Jack Flash
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Street Fighting Man

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

River of tears as Wigan drop off the Wembley trail

Lomax in FC United mode. You can see the swagger. Photo nicked from the web... Well from www.fcunitedphotos.co.uk - some really excellent pics there

Ramsbottom 4 Wigan Robin Park 1 (After extra time 1-1 after 97 1/2 minutes)

Rammy in the rain - and a really odd sort of rain as well. That type that doesn't get you wet. It appeared to be hammering down but it wasn't getting you wet. Also at times it seemed to be raining on one side of the pitch and not the other.

Very bizarre but all that said what a decent set-up the Riverside Ground is. Grass lawns, park benches, idiosyncratic stands, cover behind one goal, separate tea bars with padded seats. Pie and peas, tea and coffee in mugs, a decent programme and an alright team on the pitch.

Well better than alright - in that they were quick, big, strong but most of all a set of whinging dirty buggers. But more of that in a moment...

In depth:

After a shaky start The Robins gained their composure, started playing their trademark attacking football and deservedly took the lead on 29 minutes through Steve Williams.

By this stage it was apparent that we were going to get absolutely fuck-all from the referee as the Rammy number 5 - who otherwise had an excellent game - metaphorically got away with murder as he fouled Steve Williams every time he went near to him. Add in the elbowed assault on Ryan Small by another Rammy player, the refusal to give a blatant penalty on Williams in the second half, the continual use of the elbow by Massey upfront etc etc. The referee was a complete tosser. Arrogant beyond belief, calling the Rammy players by their first name while the fat liner could spot that there was more than one person stood up in the technical area but couldn't see that a player was offisde by five yards two-foot in front of him.

Football-wise the otherwise outstanding Dean Callaway - who ruined their right back all game - had a glorious chance to seal the game for Wigan but shot wide with just the keeper to beat before Ramsbottom substitute Carl Lomax headed home deep into stoppage time. Absolutely gutting. Especially as this Lomax swaggered back from FC United and onto the pitch in that Salford way, diamond earrings glistening in the Lancashire floodlights while calling The Robins fans "scousers". Thick fuck. He was a bloody good player mind. In all honesty they had a few good uns and we can take heart that we matched them - and more - for a large part of the game.

In extra time - despite good efforts from Mike Wood and Paul McVeigh - the hosts used their higher league experience to score three goals to seal a flattering 4-1 victory and break the hearts of The Robins players, management and large contingent of travelling supporters.

Jay Foulds

Jay Foulds - in goal - probably edged the man of the match ahead of Woody at right back and Steve Williams who put a magnificent shift in leading the line. But all-in-all everybody played well.

In a nutshell:

Ground: Great little set-up
Pie chart: Excellent. Peas always a bonus and at £1.50 not bad
Piemaid: Two middle-aged blokes. We want MILFS
Referee and linesemen - Appalling - the fact that neither of the liners would give a decision and bowed down to the arrogant twat in the centre beggers belief. Then again the one on the far side did flag for a penalty for us at 3-1 in extra time but the ref simply ignored him.
Lessons learned: Showed we are a cracking young team. Rammy's experience and bit of devilment did us and maybe we need that bit of nastiness in there. But we showed we can play a bit.
Crowd: Good vociferous following from Wigan in a crowd of 123. Yeah right, we head-counted more than that on opposite side and behind one goal
Doctor Baker asking some Ramsbottom fans why the ground was called the Riverside after they'd just told him where the river was...
Question: Why extra time in first game? Surely the away team should have advantage of trying to bring the home team back to their gaff.
Holding on: Yes they put us under pressure but again away team's prerogative.
Injury time: Seven and a half minutes!
Ramsbottom United: Good side and all the best to them for remainder of season and their cup run.
We can concentrate: On the league, two Vodkat cups and Lancashire Shield. Wembley will have to wait...

ps There should have been some photos with this but by the time I remembered I'd got my camera we were into Mr Pinder's added-on time