Sunday, 30 March 2014
Truro Capitulate To Economical Lilywhites
Cambridge City 4 Truro City 1
Truro played very poorly for the vast majority of this game, on a surface which left much to be desired, rarely extending Cambridge ‘keeper Zac Barrett even to practise his yawning, although more possession for the White Tigers in the second period at least nullified some of the previous indolence. Wide open in centre-defence, Truro were pierced by the occasional runs of Adam Marriott in particular during a very boring first-half, in which young Truro loanees Mickey Parcell and Monty Berrows appeared somewhat out of their depths. Parcell, constantly advised by his skipper Paul Kendall, experienced a rough time and Berrows barely had a touch of the ball, before being replaced at the break. Truro’s offense was awry, totally. Cody Cooke battled hard enough but like Berrows, Les Afful was anonymous on the right flank until he moved in-field for the latter stages. Dan Green netted a surprise, but for him deserved consolation goal for the Tinmen late on but Cambridge, without really impressing at all, simply did what they had to and that was to expose Truro’s weaknesses, which on the day were many, score four goals and send their fans home happy.
|My first visit...|
A rising drive by Andrew Phillips for the hosts was very wayward, but at least that lifted not only the ball but also the tedium of the opening exchanges in the spring sunshine at Histon’s Glassworld Stadium. When the opening goal arrived after 13 minutes, there had been nothing else of note to mention on my Dictaphone but certainly home striker Marriott looked clever, quick and dangerous, when he turned inside Parcell, moved across the edge of the penalty-box, exchanged passes with Beech and drove a low shot at the advancing Grant Fisher, who saved with his boots but with little anticipation by Truro’s defenders, something which plagued the team for much of the afternoon, Marriott latched onto the rebound and lashed the ball into the right side of the net. Kendall was demonstrative on the goal-line; take a look on the video clip…
|1-0 to the Lilywhites, as the Tinmen do some marching drills...|
Marriott broke through the centre again, with Kendall and Shane White helpless to stop him but the forward’s attempted flick over Fisher was caught by the goalie, like he was gathering in a leaping salmon. Joe Broad, after receiving a pass from Cody Cooke, gave the ball away and Kendall was forced to concede a free-kick, as the hosts attacked but the free-kick came to nought and Broad was replaced by Arran Pugh, which released White into a midfield role. Pugh won a good number of headers for Truro and became one of their more useful performers. Pugh defended successfully twice in succession, before, finally, Cooke passed to Afful but the forward’s rather ambitious shot was easily blocked by a defender, only for Parcell to rattle a right-side centre across the goalmouth, with no red shirt visible in support. Quite suddenly, Phillips was clear through the middle for Cambridge but he was denied well by Fisher, who narrowed the angle and blocked the awkward striker’s low shot. When Cooke and home defender Tom Pepper clashed heads, the remaining players ignored them and went to the dugouts to take in liquid. It had be Pepper and Cooke who clashed, especially with Broad been and gone, and a Fisher in goals…
|Cooke and Pepper disagree...|
|...but nobody seemed particularly bothered...|
Parcell was continuing to struggle at right-back for the guests but he stuck at his task, with encouragement from manager Steve Tully, so experienced in that position, but soon he misjudged a long ball, Kendall and Phillips collided and although the Cambridge man appeared to shrug off the Truro skipper with a flailing knee perhaps, Kendall was warned by the referee… Odd that. Afful then got back to defend for Truro but fouled Pepper unnecessarily and Jordan Copp deflected Jack Dawkin’s free-kick towards the far post, where Lawton’s looped, angled header caused real trouble for Fisher on his goal-line, but somehow, like he was hauling in a mackerel, ready for blow-torching (I ate one on Friday at the Ebrington Arms), he managed to cling onto the ball and prevent a goal.
|Arran Pugh grew into the game...|
Truro’s Warren Daw then made a run, used a heavy touch and collided with home midfielder Adam Martin, who came off worse after a clash which was heard at Cambridge United’s encounter with Barnet some miles away. Parcell smacked a left-footer way over the home crossbar on a rare Truro sortie forward but just when it seemed that Truro had reached the interval only one goal adrift, they didn’t. Again, Truro leaked in a channel, and it all happened so quickly; Phillips broke onto the ball at inside-left and shovelled the ball into the penalty-box, right into the path of the supporting and combative Josh Beech, who side-footed home easily for 2-0. Truro slumped, Cambridge probably sniggered but Truro’s Berrows would not appear for the second period, after Jake Ash was called off the field during the break to take the youngster’s place.
|2-0: time for a break and to check how heavily Villa lost at Old Trafford...|
Ash also took up a midfield role and at least Green attempted to set things in motion, with Afful more of a presence and Cooke beginning to win some aerial challenges, yet it was a loss of possession by Ash to Phillips which set the hosts on their first and crucial attack of the half; Ash’s lunge at the escaping Phillips missed and although Pugh’s half-tackle sent the ball left to Dawkin, there seemed no danger. Truro dithered however and although Dawkin’s pass to Marriott was well defended by Green at 18 yards, the ball broke back again to Dawkin, who beat Parcell on the outside and crossed; there really was little danger but Ash, facing his own goal, glanced a header gently into the far corner of his own goal and the toothless White Tigers were beaten. From Ash’s error to Ash’s error; dust to dust…
|Nobody dares to congratulate Jake Ash.|
Phillips soon made way for Kelvin Bossman for the hosts, no doubt signed under the Bosman ruling… The fourth goal was imminent however and it stemmed from Dawkin’s right-wing corner; a far post header by Beech, who outmuscled Kendall was palmed out and left by the leaping Fisher on his goal-line but straight to Lawton, who completely missed the ball, having to resort to passing it wide again to Dawkin. He outsmarted Green on the byeline but with Truro’s defenders watching the proceedings, the ball rolled across the goalmouth, evading three lurking Cambridge players, like students from Jesus College, but it rolled off the back of a boot and back again to Lawton, in so much space 8 yards out and he drove a low left-footer just inside the right upright and his colleagues jumped upon him. As you do. Six Truro defenders had twisted and turned in chaos but with a name like Jackson Ramm, shouldn’t the Lilywhites’ right-back have rammed that one in?
|4-0... Big celebrations this time...|
Kendall was cautioned for a ‘hauling down foul’, before the hosts withdrew Ieuan Lewis and introduced Danny Kelly, then Copp was replaced by Neil Slateford for the guests. A volley by Marriott, well wide, signalled his departure and Robbie Burns replaced him, author of such famous poems as ‘To A Louse’ and ‘Scots Wha Hae’… And Truro passed the ball a little more, usually lost possession but did indeed score a smart goal. Ash fed Afful, who passed to Slateford on the right and he centred low and left-booted for the deserving Green to turn high past the shocked Barrett from a near-post position, 6 yards out. No celebration, just ‘getting on with it’…
|Dan Green blows his nose with a hanky he was bought for Christmas...|
The strong home skipper, defender Lee Chaffey then took Afful out with a wild challenge but the referee allowed White to carry on and pass the ball, which flew completely off course, to nullify any immediate advantage, yet no free-kick was then sensibly awarded and Chaffey escaped a booking! Poor officiating. Green then slid into a challenge for Truro, won the ball and found himself cautioned. It’s what refs do. A moment of threat by Bossman was controlled by the now imperious Pugh, a weak Afful shot trickled for a few metres and the game ebbed away for Truro, as Cambridge coasted to the end. Liam Eddy, on the bench for the visitors must have wondered whether his busy running might have been useful for the start and he warmed down with an interesting expression upon his healthy visage.
|Cooke and Green in action...|
This was an easy victory for the hosts. It really was. They didn’t actually have to achieve very much to clinch their success either, for their guests, described as ‘lethargic’ by an ex-member of their staff, were too easily brushed aside. Fisher did fine in goals, Green and Pugh worked with some success but Cooke, wearing 11, one of his many numbers, looked wasted as a target-man and the team lacked positivity in wide areas all through the game. Cambridge certainly possessed a match winner in Marriott and exuded too much strength for the Tinmen in midfield, which Truro only really checked after the interval, when the game was virtually beyond them anyway.
|Cody Cooke does his imitation of Andy Lochhead...|
(Villa, League Cup Final, 1971...)
As Lilywhites’ substitute Robbie Burns would surely have recited at the end of the game: “We beat you for Auld Lang Syne…” How kind.
Cambridge City: Zac Barrett, Jackson Ramm, Tom Pepper; Will Lawton, Lee Chaffey (Capt), Josh Beech; Ieuan Lewis, Adam Martin, Andrew Phillips, Adam Marriott, Josh Dawkin.
Subs: Kelvin Bossman, Danny Kelly, Adam Kelly, Robbie Burns, Louis Lee.
Truro: Grant Fisher, Mickey Parcell, Warren Daw; Paul Kendall (Capt), Shane White, Joe Broad; Dan Green, Jordan Copp, Les Afful, Monty Berrows, Cody Cooke.
Subs: Jake Ash, Arran Pugh, Neil Slateford, Liam Eddy.
|Ah! The Bodging has made it to Histon...|
|...and takes his seat...|
|Truro's fans felt at home here during the second-half...|
|Good Cambridgeshire farmland...|
|Peeking through the nets...|
|Hmm, the pitch looks er, well, puddingy..?|
|A nicer view...|
|Warren Daw's dance moves are found amusing by the laughing, knee-high Cody Cooke, who goes by the numbers 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 11...|
|Paul Kendall tells the ref that he would prefer not to be cautioned today.|
|Cody Cooke really likes the 6, 4, 8 and 2 numbers on the Cambridge shirts, which he hasn't added to his collection as yet...|
|Truro have parity.|
For 13 minutes.
|Flag and noise...|
Sounds SOOOOOOO kool...
|The lodgers make a claim...|
|The outside toilet...|
|The Flag and Net...|
A fine inn...
|More spying through the net curtains...|
|Proper picture of the grandstand(s)...|
|I guess if you lose at home you burn down the gate and bugger off home...|
Thursday, 27 March 2014
It was a Sunday morning, March 27th, 1994 and my parents’ 51st wedding anniversary, by chance. My daughter and I were to drive down to Wembley for Aston Villa’s League Cup Final match against Manchester United, a game which really, United ought to have won. They didn’t. Lucy had managed to purchase a mini Villa kit, which she felt would fit my childhood teddy bear well, so that it could travel to London with us as a mascot, on the rear shelf of my red, used Austin Montego. The bear had never been anywhere, ever. We set out for the game, waving to my younger daughter Wendy and young son Jamie on the street corner, both uniformed in Villa shirts, Wendy’s having ‘ATKINSON’ (after Damien) emblazoned on the back of hers. Lucy was a Dean Saunders fan and so my daughters were Villa’s strike-force, effectively. And Villa’s strikers were to win the cup for their team.
|Wendy and Jamie wave us off...|
|20 years ago... Wow...|
We were due to collect my dad then drive to a friend’s house on the outskirts of London, eat a sandwich there and Mike would then drive us to the ‘twin towers’, thus avoiding parking problems and other fuss.
This ran smoothly, Villa beat the Reds by 3-1, with Atkinson and Saunders scoring the goals, although United would always point to the fact that keeping goal for them that day was Mr Angry himself, the late Les Sealey, who would feature for Villa later in his career. Atkinson deftly beat Sealey from Saunders’ flick over the grumbling Steve Bruce, to afford Villa a 1-0 lead at the interval, which was added to by Saunders, who deflected a low Kevin Richardson free-kick past the uncertain ‘keeper with 15 minutes remaining. Mark Hughes poked Roy Keane’s delivery past Mark Bosnich to set up a nervy final 6 minutes for the Midlanders but then, to ease Villa’s fears, Andrei Kanchelskis handled Atkinson’s 90th minute goal-bound effort, the Russian was dismissed and Saunders buried the resulting added-time penalty. Villa had stifled a below par United and had scored from three of four attempts on target and Manager Ron Atkinson’s surprise choice of Graham Fenton in midfield had worked a treat. The view from our ‘seats’ was horrific however, for we were low down and everybody was standing up in front of us anyway, leaving dad, Lucy and me struggling to see; we stood on our seats, but so did others, so we climbed onto the backs of our seats, holding each other for balance and it was tough. We saw OK though, but when I glanced across at dad, he was resting both hands on the balding head of the bloke in front of him… Dad did things like that and he had obviously joked with the poor chap, who simply allowed dad to do it! I shook my head. Following the conclusion of the pitch celebrations, Lucy, my dad and I made our way to the appointed meeting place with Mike and he was there, obviously pleased for us and he drove us back to his house, where we relaxed for a while before I drove back to Birmingham. Lucy was happy but exhausted, I dropped dad home and packed her off to bed when we reached our house, before eating a large bowl of Weetabix, dozing on the sofa then trudging to bed.
I walked to the front door in the morning, ready to drive to the local newsagency to buy the newspapers and read the match reports, in those ancient days before the internet, plus to see and enjoy the images emblazoned across the back pages and basically bask in the memories. However, when I opened the door, there was no Montego on my drive. It was gone. Vanished. Stolen. Horrified, I realised that my 44 year old teddy bear and the accompanying 44 year old soft toy duck had been left on the rear shelf of the car overnight, so they had gone too. I was in shock. The police were informed, I suffered several days of anxiety and then, on Thursday 31st March, I received a phonecall from the Tamworth police; my car had been found in Arden Road, Wilnecote, not far from where I had lived from 1976 to 1978. A neighbour kindly drove me there and my dark red vehicle was splattered with mud, as if it had been competing in a race around the trenches at the Somme. My trainers and goalkeeping gloves had been taken, an audio-cassette tape was jammed in the player, but the thieves had ignored the Observers’ Book of Birds, inside which was an emergency £10 note. A Villa sticker had been ripped from the rear windscreen however and sadly, my bear and duck had gone too, no doubt slung from the vehicle. The thieves, I guessed, were Birmingham City fans, which was confirmed when I looked at the hood of the car, which was horribly and deeply scratched by four large letters: ‘BCFC’. Too stupid to find the £10 note, the fools had instead thrown a child’s bear and an infant’s duck away, as well as making it clear that their likely jealousy was too much for their mindlessness, resulting in their scrawl.
The ignition was destroyed, the door-lock had been holed, 120 miles had been driven, my son’s booster seat had been taken and so had the hub caps. I tried to start the car with a screwdriver and it turned over but wouldn’t quite go. We pushed it but I had to call out the A.A. eventually. It rained. The patrolman realised that a ‘high tension lead’ was missing but was able to replace it, I started the car and he then found the missing lead, tucked beneath the hood, as if the thieves had intended returning to the car at some point. At least I was spared more harassment. I drove home.
The car was written off, not because of the damage to the ignition and the driver’s door-lock but because of the scratches on the bonnet, which would apparently have cost too much to repair, compared with the value of my Montego. So, Villa won the Coca-Cola League Cup twenty years ago, I never found my teddy bear, nor the little, dog-eared duck and people wonder why I have never favoured Birmingham City. Perhaps they would have been averse to the Small Heathens too, had they suffered at the hands of such braggards…
|Saunders scores past Bruce and Sealey...|
I wouldn’t mind, but I was following Plymouth Argyle in those days...