Now before I start my latest Match Report I hope that you dont mind if I take some time out for us all to remember a LEGENDARY man in Neil Armstrong who sadly passed away some time after our game against Crapdiff. For those of us of a “certain age” then those hazy black and white pictures of Armstrong being the first human to set foot on the moon will live with us forever. The word LEGEND is often and frequently used but Neil Armstrong was and always will be a TRUE LEGEND for all of mankind. Armstrong stood for everything that is great and admired for someone from the United States of America. RIP Neil.
In true football terms “if” anyone deserves a minutes applause it would be this man. So i ask that you take a few seconds out just to remember what Neil and his crew did and how their achievements will last FOREVER in the history of mankind.
So after all of Tuesday nights excitement whereby we actually managed to give our opponents a good seing to PLUS unveiling a new top class striker at half time today see’s us entertain our old mates from across the Severn, those sheep loving chaps from Crapdiff in what is fondly known as the “Severnside derby.”. Now personally I have a link with Crapdiff with them being the first ever away game that I watched with BCFC at the old Ninian Park on the 2nd March, 1968. My memory is not good but the one thing that I do remember is the cinder running track that Crapdiff had around their pitch and the dust and shale blowing right into this 10 year old’s eyes as my seat just happened to be at pitch level. If I also remember correctly the LEGEND who is Mike Gibson was in goal for us and sustained a nasty injury possibly from our ex striker Brian Clark RIP. But we won 1-0 so both my home league debut and my away league debut following BCFC finished up with wins.
Now one comforting fact is that my research tells me that we have “crossed swords” 84 times with Crapdiff and presently are leading 35 – 29 in the win stakes.
There is always an “extra edge” to our games against our celtic cousins and presumably the Crapdiff followers will be “herded” in and out of Ashton in their time earned manner. Crapdiff in recent years have become perennial bottlers ie They manage to get into the play offs / League Cup Final last season but then “bottle it” ending up coming back west bound on the M4 with sweet FA apart from having to put up with the banners quickly hung across the bridges from just this side of Swindon all the way to the bridge proclaiming “Crapdiff fans – ANOTHER WASTED JOURNEY” Cant really see why they don’t like us really???
Since our last meeting with Crapdiff they have “prostituted” themselves to their wealthy Malaysian owner by agreeing to change their traditional blue home shirts to red, thus meaning they will play in blue against us – Confused, yes and me? Obviously the fans were not happy bunnies but I find it strange that they are still called “The Bluebirds.” When was the last time you seen a red bluebird???
On Friday the “saga” who was known as Yannick Bolasie was finally brought to a completion with Yannick getting his (Or more accurately HIS agents) wish and joining Palarse. Well despite loads of vitriol on various BCFC forums I can only speak as I find and I always thought that he was a bit like a little boy in a mans world. Me thinks that he could have been more than “influenced” by a greedy agent blowing smoke up his rear. Whichever way you look at it, its got to be a good bit of business for us. We brought him for £20K and have sold him for no less than £200K plus he had less than twelve months left on his contract and was really only ever going to be a “bit part” player at BS3. Good luck in the future Yannick, I just hope you get a chance to play more first team minutes than you did at Ashton, but, it will be interesting to just “where” he is in a couple of seasons time? Nick Carle anyone…………………………………
As expected outside the ground there were plenty of “visitors” from across the bridge but it must be reported that those that I saw appeared to be of a more than normal friendly nature and personally I did not detect any of the “hate” that had been a feature of this fixture in the past.
Another plus point that I discovered was that the BCFC fanzine The Bountyhunter was once again on sale. A welcome return for a very humorous read and well recommended shelling out two pounds on.
On gettining into the ground and taking my new seat in the Atyeo I really wished that I had brought my Factor 40 as the sun was particularly hot and it was more holiday weather than football weather. Crapdiff’s manager Malky Mackay was soon out on the pitch with his coaching staff looking very confident. It has to be reported he looked nothing like this some two hours later in fact me thinks that the Crapfiff players may well have faced Malky’s version of Fergie’s “Hairdryer.”
The first surprise came when our keepers came out to warm up with “Big Nige.” There was no Dean Gherken and the “other” Lewis Carey came out as the sub keeper. Gherks was there but booted and suited as evidently he had picked up a thigh injury earlier in the week.
Now for those of my “regular” readers you will remember that last season I tried to pick out “humorous” incidents for my Glen Schmidt Golden Moment Award. Well this season I have decided to keep the “memory” of one of BCFC’s most cheeriest ex employees going in a different way and as his successor “Lurch” (Cant even get trousers to fit him – MUST try harder) is a miserable bugger the GSGM will only be reserved for very special moments. Well yesterday we had such a moment so before I get on to my version of the game let me give you a nomination for the GSGM for this SEASON award:-
As is now normal the teams were “welcomed” on to the pitch by a “Guard of Honour” consisting of youngsters from a local team all waving (Well thats if there is enough flags to go round!!!!) flags, but, yesterday our groundsman decided to put the pitches sprinkler system on at the same time as the “Guard of honour” were waiting for the players arrival? RESULT – The kids on the end got TOTALLY DRENCHED but credit where credit is due they manfully (Or Boyfully) kept on waving!!!!
A TRULY CLASSIC MOMENT and one that Glen will most certainly see the funny side.
as for City Del Boy resisted the temptation to give Sam Baldock his league debut and he had to settle for a starting place on the bench with Pitman having to settle for a place sat in the Williams!!!! The only change from Tuesday nights trouncing of Palarse was at right back where ex Celt Wilso replaced Foster. For Crapdiff there was no sign of our old mate Craig “Loads of Money” Bellamy – Oh well, never mind!
City started the first half attacking the Wedlock as is normal.
Now it must be said for the first ten minutes Crapdiff knocked the ball around nicely and looked comfortable. Citys (That Bristol) first scare came on 6 minutes when Gunnarsson launched a massive long throw into the middle of our area which we just about scambled away. This looked like it could be a dangerous weapon for Crapdiff throughout the afternoon but this was the only time that they used it and Gunnarsson was in fact subbed at half time. A few minutes later Whittingham for Crapdiff sent in a shot that certainly moved in the air and Heaton pushed away rather than trying to catch. BCFC then put a nice move together with hairband out on the left finally setting up Albert but he seemed to panic at his attempt and it went well wide when well placed. At this point both teams appeared to be probing each other and it was clear that Crapdiff were much better than the poor Palarse lot that we had thrashed on Tuesday.
Credit to our boys they were at least living with our visitors and possession and chances were pretty level as the half wore on with Crapdiff always looking potent from set pieces with their new signing from QPR Tommy Smith looking particularly effective. But on 32 minutes Crapdiff did their best to give us the first goal. Crapdiff keeper Marshall threw the ball out to Gunnarsson but he gave it away to Steady. Steady fed Albert who squared to Pearson who took the chance very well to put us one up and silence the sheep lovers behind that very goal. This just egged Crapdiff on to further effort and four minutes later another Whittingham corner was not dealt with by our defence and Crapdiffs skipper Hudson headed down but luckily for us the ball struck the bar and we cleared. With the fourth official just indicating two minutes additional time at the end of the first half we went two up. Hairband ran on to a through ball and calmly slid the ball past Marshall into the corner of the net. Perfect time to score and the Crapdiff players looked totally dejected as our boys left the pitch to a standing ovation.
We had played well but whether a two goal lead was a fair assessment of the first half is debatable but as it was US leading two zip and it WAS Crapdiff – Who gives?
The two teams came out for the second half with BCFC keeping the same 11 and it is extremely pleasing to report that Citys summer acquisition from Crapdiff in goal, Tom Heaton received a similar ovation from the Crapdiff contingent as he did from our boys in the East end. Good to see an ex player respected in such a way – Much the same as a certain N.Maynard was respected by ourselves when he came back to Ashton with West Ham last season – NOT!!!! Cardiff made an obvious change at half time replacing long throw expert Gunnarsson with their young striker Joe Mason.
Crapdiff had clearly been given a rollicking at half time and as is often the case with a team defending a two goal lead BCFC looked very “nervy” and did not appear to be able to hang on to the ball. Crapdiff were gaining in confidence and it was not the greatest surprise that 12 minutes in Crapdiff pulled a goal back though Mason. Again City looked all over the place at the back from another Whittingham corner and Mason headed in as the ball bounced around. This was just what Crapdiff were looking for and “concern” was on all our minds as how often have we seen BCFC throw away a dominant lead? Crapdiff were now searching for the equaliser and with Whittingham pulling the strings in midfield looked the more likely to score. But with an hour gone Del Boy decided that it was “Baldock” time and Sam the Man was brought on to (slightly surprisingly) replace the tiring John Stead.
As soon as Baldock came on he looked shrp and extremely lively and all of a sudden the Crapdiff defenders had a totally different set of problems facing them. Baldock straight away took up a position pulling off the large Crapdiff central defenders and they were obviously uncertain whether to follow him or stay in position plus its clear he has pace – LOTS of pace. With his first touch of the ball he managed to shoot just wide into the side netting but five mi
nutes later his next real contribution brought us another goal. Hairband set him up on the edge of the area but his shot struck the bottom of the post with Marshall well beaten but hairband was bright and alert enough to send the ball back into the net to put us three one up.
Crapdiff were still not out of it and Heaton had to be alert to deal with efforts from both Helgusson and Whittingham. With us back in a two goal advantage Del Boy decided to bolster the midfield so Mav replaced Taylor after 72 minutes. Crapdiff still pressed forward and with eight minutes to go our defensive frailties were once again shown up as Helgusson pulled another goal back setting up an EXTREMELY nervy last ten minutes, but, with Crapdiff pressing forward Baldock got a clear chance three minutes from the end and in a “one on one” with the impressive David Marsahall NEVER EVER looked like missing as he scored his first City goal with a true goal scoers instict straight in front of us.
Crapdiff were NOW finally out of it and City with some intelligent “ball holding” in the corners saw out the four minutes added time with no more scares to record our first back to back four goal scoring wins since November 2004. At the final whistle the roar was immense and thoroughly deserved for another very good performance. Going forward we always looked dangerous and in midfield Skusy is breaking up a lot of attacks with Pearson doing a lot of “unsung” work. The one area of possible concern is in defence especially from set pieces (Whittingham was a threat all afternoon) and it just might be that by the time of my next report Gary Monk from Swansea may have joined us to plug that gap.
The Glen Shmidt Man Of The Match Award (Marks out of 10)
Heaton – 6 – Certainly appearing to “bond” with the fans. Good shot stopper who can kick with either foot.
Wilson – 6 – Seemed confident enough. Looks to do things simple but appears to know that his first job is defending whilst going forward when he can.
Cunningham – 8 – Absolute steal from Man City. Confident on the ball looks difficult to go past when defending but is fast and pacy going forward with a good cross as well.
Fontaine – 6 – Didnt do a lot wrong and dominated in the air against one of the smaller attacks in the championship.
Carey – 7 – Clearly enjoying his new “lease of life.” Always looking for the ball and unlike Nyatanga does not always “hoof” it.
Skusy – 7 – Got through masses of work and destroys a lot of opponents attacks. Fans favourite.
Pearson – 7 – Think he just “might be” one of those players who gets through lots of work but does not do anything special??? Took goal well.
Adomah – 5 – Not one of his best games and his shooting boots were certainly left in the dressing room and as “Big Tim” remarked more than once “His final ball is non existent”
Hairband – 7.5 – Looks like a bridesmaid and for the second game in a row JUST missing out on the MOM award becoming “Always the bridesmaid” It sticks in my throat BUT “Much improved”
Taylor – 7 – Another extremely hard working game and never shirked the physical against two big, Crapdiff central defenders
Stead – 6 – Looked a tad tired after his efforts on Tuesday night but still gave his all and played his part
Baldock (For Stead) – 7.5 – Looks confident and sharp. As soon as he came on he was organising others around him and could just prove to be one of our best ever signings?
Davies (For Adomah) – 6.5 – Went out on the right and certainly looked to keep the ball as time wore down. Good in the air.
Mav (For Taylor) – 6 – Mav is still getting back to some sort of match fitness but still a welcome addition.
The James Linnington Referee Watch Award
Michael Jones – 8 – Premiership referee and IT showed. Cool calm and just managed the players and the game in a no nonsense sensible style. Produced only one yellow in the second minute of “added time” for a Crapdiff player (Was it REALLY worth it). Only slight criticism was that he did keep on penalising Fonts and Carey whenever they challenged a Crapdiff attacker in the air, but, its a minor moan and generally I thought he was VERY good. Linnington could certainly learn a lot.
So this morning on a sunny Bank Holiday in Sunday in Bristol BCFC stand proudly in fourth place in the Championship. Lets not get carried away too soon as we must all remember that it is early days and there is another forty three games to go, but, the signs are certainly encouraging and like when Neil Armstrong took that “One small step” all those years ago, you just never know…………………………………….
Very Best Regards