Monday, 28 March 2011

The promotion push goes on...

So, last time I did a proper blog I was talking before the game at Lancaster where we hoped we'd continue our impressive away form - well it didn't turn out that way, and we lost our unbeaten record on the road, and our first defeat in 16 games, which was a great shame, but it was always a tall ask to see us going unbeaten away from the Exacta all season.

What wasn't expected was two really pointless threads about Neil Young & Martin Gritton - now whilst we all accept criticism, some of it unwelcome, but some of it genuine, and to learn from, I do feel that some over-stepped the mark - I mean, you'd have thought Martin Gritton had become the anti-Christ after featuring in just 5 games for the club - despite being man of the match against Clitheroe, it didn't quite happen in the next few games, but that can happen - I just feel that certain people went too far with it, and you have to think outside the box here, it makes it harder for the boss to attract more players from the likes of the Football League.

Any player who is contacted about coming down to Chester will see the expectation, and some will deal with it, and become successful, whereas some will see the fans reaction to previous attempts by players to adjust and think "I'm not going there just to get that kind of stick" - some really do believe I think, that we're still a League 2 club, when in all honesty we're a growing club stuck right now (and not for long hopefully) in the 8th tier of football, and we need everyone to help push us forward, and that means attracting better players from leagues above if we are to become successful.

Clueless? Really?
The reaction to Neil Young was laughable in my eyes, hearing someone shout "Young is f***ing clueless" is an absolute joke, look at the table ffs! - we're top of the league, having built a side from scratch last summer, just lost 3 games on the way, and having scored nearly 100 goals - Neil is under enough pressure anyway to get the club out of this league, he doesn't need people going over the top questioning his ability when the league position is there for all to see - that person may think that he's helping...he's not.

Anyway, back to matters on the pitch, and the question would always be how the side bounced back, and as usual when we've had a poor result we do tend to bounce back pretty well, and the last 7 days has seen us put another two wins on the board, with the wins over Woodley Sports on Wednesday & Harrogate on Saturday.

The build up to the Woodley game was good, right after the Lancaster defeat thoughts turned to the next 3 homes games, and a chance to grab another 9 points and really turn the screw on the challengers, who to be fair are like Hereford all those years ago, they just won't give up will they?

Although Tuesday night was quite good as Chorley lost at home, I was sitting watching that unfold on the live text commentary on the magpiesinspace website, and for those who have asked, we did hope to have that live and kicking on the website this season, but the upgrade to the existing site by Pitchero simply has been good or quick enough, and that is why we'll be hopefully be moving to a better website platform in the summer, which will allow us to have the live text commentary, podcasts, and also TV footage of the boys in action.

Basher donates his jacket
So, Skem won, Chorley lost, but Wednesday night back to Exacta and instead of having a Legend of the Week, we actually had a party of them, with four blasts from the past, as John 'Basher' Evans was handing over his Chester FC jacket that was created for the Man Utd game in 1964/65, and with John were former players Bobby Hunt, Mal Starkey, and Dennis Reeves, and Club Vice President Gary Talbot joined them on the pitch at half time - they all received the star treatment in the Legends Lounge though, just like our usual Legend of the Week - I think they were all impressed.

The presentation saw John take to the mike, and we just couldn't get him off it ha ha, he loves to talk does John!

The game saw us rack another 3 goals up at home, and Robbie Booth was in the perfect place at the right time as he took advantage of an error by their goalie, and slotted the ball home after just 7 minutes, just what we needed that!

The Yobs behind the goal
I went in to the Harry Mac Terrace for the second half, I do try when I am able to, and just fancied a good shout which isn't always possible in my usual spec in the Main Stand, so off to the HMT and time to join in with the songs - and then talk about being in the right place, when Boothy delivered a pin point cross for Michael Wilde to produce a fantastic diving header into the back of the net, and signalled Wildey's return to form, and boy did he enjoy it, the celebration just let out so much relief for him it was felt all around the ground.

We didn't have to wait long for his next one either as a ball in from Iain Howard - how good is it to see him back - was met at the far post by big George, who then nodded it back to Wildey who headed in the third goal of the evening - game set and match.

Talk meanwhile was around the lights, and whether they'd stay on after what happened in Stockport that night a few weeks ago, well thankfully they did and we got the perfect response we wanted after the Lancaster defeat.

Jenks & Lee Dixon?
So, onto Saturday, and time to concentrate on the visit of the biggest name in football...Harrogate Railway Athletic. Iain Jenkins was our Legend of the Week, and I was in touch with Jenks a few weeks ago, when looking to set this one up, and fair play he drove down from Scotland on Friday, which was a 5 and a half hour drive, and we were delighted to see him join our match sponsors in the Lounge for the pre match meal, wearing Blue and White stripes too!

One late call was taken on Friday when I was told that John Thomas would be attending the match too, so without wanting to miss a trick, we got him on the pitch at half time too - buy one get one free!

I took my usual standing place by the door at the back of the stand, and saw us struggle in the first half, and concede yet another classic goal at the Exacta this season as their centre half just smacked a ball in from outside the area in off the bar to give the visitors the lead - and I must admit that was the last thing I was expecting on Saturday, and Fred Flintstone & the Roman in the West Stand were delighted I think it's fair to say, in fact I'm sure I heard a "Yabba Dabba Doooo" when that goal went in.

We bounced back though thanks to more calamitous goalkeeping as George Horan claimed what seemed to be an own goal by the keeper himself, but considering the way George has played this season, we'll let him have this one!

So now you think about going and getting the win, and in the second half we were pegged back again, with this time a looping header being too high for Mikey Taylor to nod away, and into the net it went - cue more celebrations from the travelling Harrogate fans, of which there were about 20, which included their Directors who had sat over with their fans, rather than in the comfy seats at the back of the Exacta Stand, fair play.

The time then for us to stand up and be counted, and Chris Simm did exactly that, as he was in the right place at the right time - hmmm I keep on saying that don't I? - anyway, there he was ghosting in for a header to level it up at 2-2, before then the place went wild when he slotted home his second of the game, that's the loudest I've heard the crowd react to a goal this season, as the place went nuts with us going 3-2 up.

We did have chances to finish it off before the referee then brought the Chester fans immense relief with the final whistle to what was a classic lunchtime encounter, and we'd maintained our 7 point lead at the top (with Skem winning again!).

Time to move on to the Wales - England game, and a quick peek into the Blues Bar as I heard a massive cheer, and that was a penalty that had been give, and Frank Lampard made no mistake from the spot to give the Three Lions the lead, and then back outside dealing with a few queries from both sets of supporters, I then heard a second roar from the BB, and it turned out that was Darren Bent's tap in for 2-0 - that'll do nicely.

So, back home for 5.30pm, and time to relax with a few drinks - yeah just a few, to see the day out.

It's Monday morning now then, and thoughts turning to the Curzon Ashton game, and waking up to see a text from Graham Abel confirming he'll be there on Wednesday night as the preparations now turn to the match night schedule for that game.

Bring it on!

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