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New Year Resolution: Attend more Notts County away games in 2018

2017 has been a very busy year for me. Unfortunately I have only managed to attend two away games and despite having Luton Town eyed up as my third, it just wasn’t possible for me to make the trip which I am actually very gutted about not attending. It would have been nice to be there, as by all accounts it sounded like a very decent performance by the Magpies, and of course the travelling Black & White army that followed in support. However, I have started plans to attend several games in the New Year and I will be ensuring I save up well in advance so I can afford these away days. I’ve always enjoyed away games ever since my first one, which was away to Hartlepool. The fan that drove us there did warn me that I might end up ‘being bitten by the bug’, but there has always been a bigger sense of togetherness, so I miss the long trips in the company of friends and fans. I don’t know, it isn’t the same but I’m eagerly looking forward to getting back on the road. Luton sounded impressive for all the right reasons, and the pictures taken by Dan Westwell remind me why I really enjoy away days. Plus it would be nice to see Notts get a result away during 2017, the fact that in the two games I have seen Notts got beaten, well I would only hope to see the squad correct this. I enjoyed both Coventry City and Mansfield Town (obviously aside from the school lines, and the issues at Mansfield). And this year it’s not about having free time, it’s more a collection of expensive games being the ones I would prefer – so I guess I will have to check out for some cheaper occasions and commit to them? At least home games this season have been quite enjoyable, even when the performances haven’t quite matched the results gain – it does seem like the Kop has found its singing voice again after the past few seasons of neglect. I have also managed to be somewhat sociable before games, which for me has been a big thing. Match days as I have written before are very busy for me, but I wouldn’t have them any other way – it’s just nice to find time to have a laugh and a drink before the match. So hopefully folks will see me at certain away games in 2018, they’re more sociable due to the nature I don’t have so much that I do – whilst I do tend to sneak in the odd couple of drinks. After the games listed above I could have perhaps gone for a couple more! Ha…

Chris

Chris

 

Little changes make a big difference

This blog is personal, as a result it’s not your typical read on Notts County and I thought that I should warn potential readers before – if you prefer the regular variety of opinions be sure to have a read of our home page otherwise I would suggest clicking away from this blog. Towards the end of last season I decided to make changes, I wasn’t all that happy with things and as most fans (who know me) will have seen I started using my real name. It was more of a positive change than I had thought, but I was worried about trolls. Despite this I was actually pleased, as I made the change for the right reasons – some fans didn’t know if they should call me Joe or Chris and the confusion really started to impact how I felt inside. I’m not going to dwell on the mental side of my feelings, despite people claiming to understand depression – I find most don’t have the foggiest and take to judging rather than offering support which does help to heal. So, I cast my mind back to the remaining league home games – a point where I started to realise that the regular fans that I grew to enjoy speaking with, well, the numbers had dwindled despite the new ownership. I wanted things to be different, I wanted to feel happier and I realised at this point avoiding things only impacted how I felt. Those people who warned me about others, the idiots who would send me stupid messages and the likes of a certain fan who has received a lot of media attention for being the tool that he is – really take no bearing on me. I ended the 2016-2017 season promising myself that I would try harder to be more sociable, I mean I don’t avoid it but I tend to be busy. I’m not the biggest user of social media, I write my thoughts and feelings – rather than reforming to the standard form, popularity really doesn’t concern me. Yet I did want to try and break some of the anxiety that I felt inside. There’s people who only see the confident, fairly outgoing Chris – who don’t understand remotely why at times I find it hard to even speak. And again this comes back to the ‘judgemental’ side of things, though it is something I have been trying to tackle head on. In my private life, I try to occupy myself as the close season I have fewer things to do and this is the time I fall into traps about what I think about, and how I feel. My wife’s has been a great support, as we have made a lot of home improvements – and things feel homely. The house had been left in a very bad state by the former owners, plus teens and thieves who had vandalised the property and stole all the lead or mental in the house. It’s funny how little things, such as blinds or just having the kitchen in a more finished state changes how you see things – again this is something I felt I would take notice of with match days which is a good release for me. Though I wished my son would attend more games, there’s many who ask about him and it’s not the same but I do respect his decision. This season I feel I’ve been doing the right things, as I use Fridays to focus on my health and the weekend as a way to just to enjoy without the pressure of having to do things. That said, match days are extremely busy for me but if I wanted – I could make it easier. I’m hoping to get back on the road once things settle, I can’t justify spending money away from my family and I really do need to choose which away games I make carefully – fingers crossed I can get to Mansfield as I haven’t yet been to the One-Call Stadium.

Chris

Chris

 

It's Never Dull...

Well the dust has just about settled on another season of highs and lows, joys and sorrows for the world's oldest league club. It's been a rather strange season. It sounds very cliche but it really has been a season of two halves - one spent watching our promotion hopes go down the drain, and the other half spent fighting the unthinkable in relegation out of the very league we helped establish. But we've come out the other side,  and now seems like a good time to look back on a real rollercoaster of a ride. So this is my season review. Nothing special, no real plan. Just me waffling in the hope that somebody somewhere has enough time on their hands to read said waffles, and hopefully - raise a smile! Despite an awful end to the 2015/16 season, the appointment of the experienced John Sheridan seemed a real statement of intent from Notts, and with players such as Jonathan Forte, Michael O'Connor, Richard Duffy, Matt Tootle, Adam Colin etc all signing from higher league clubs, there was reason for quiet optimism going into the new season. Not that that hope lasted very long. All of 16 minutes in fact before Adam Collin introduced himself to us with a howler to gift Yeovil the lead at Huish Park. A second followed soon after, and in the end the 2-0 scoreline probably flattered Notts, who were second best all over the park in the West Country sunshine. Still, at least we got a nice sun tan! And from a purely selfish point of view, I was home and tucking into my takeaway whilst the Notts fans were still trying to find their way back to the M5! Failiure to win either of our first two home games of the season did little to raise enthusiasm, and it wasn't until the second half of our fourth game of the season at Hartlepool that Notts' season finally kicked into life. Trailing 1-0 until the 65th minute, loanee Louis Laing would change the game - netting the equaliser himself before setting up veteren striker Jon Stead for the winner ten minutes later, to the delight of the hardy souls who made the long trip to Scotland, and to me and some other Notts fans enjoying Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston! Back-to-back away wins were recorded thanks to another terrific second half display that saw us win 3-1 at Crawley, and set us up nicely for what promised to be a tasty home game with Grimsby Town. The Marriners brought a large and boysterous following, and when Omar Bogle (Omaaar, Omaaaarrr) latched onto a pathetic back pass from Aborah to double their lead early in the second half, they appeared to be cruising. But Johnny Forte halved the defecit with eleven minutes to go, and barely a minute later the travelling army of "Fish" were stunned when Notts won a penalty. Maybe it was the adrenelin, or maybe it was just a c*ap effort, but O'Connor smashed it wide to the disbelief of the Notts crowd.  But to their credit, the players didn't let the setback get to them, and after launching the kitchen sink at Grimsby for the final ten minutes, Aaron Collins lifted the roof off of the Kop end when he equalised a minute from time. Vadane Oliver almost stole all 3 points moments leter when his looping header was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper. If that had gone in I think there would have been a few broken bones in the Kop! We couldn't repeat the trick a week later as we slumped to a dreadful 2-0 reverse at home to Accrington Stanley, but our away form came to our aid again, with back-to-back away day successes again, this time at Cheltenham Town and Exeter City, either side of a first home win of the season over Leyton Orient.  Those 3 straight wins had us briefly up to the dizzying heights of 5th, but we came crashing back down to earth with a bang, with a gut wrenching defeat to Mansfield Town at Field Mill, conceeding two stoppage time goals.  Another home defeat followed, this time to Morecambe, before, once again - our away form kept us in the mix, and saw us achieve arguably our best result of the season - winning 2-1 at eventual champions Portsmouth, thanks to two Adam Campbell goals. An incredible result, and a brilliant day for the travelling fans. Little did we know, it would end up being 14 long, excruciating weeks before we had that winning feeling in the league again.

A frustrating goalless draw at home to Luton followed, before we just about avoided FA Cup embarrassment to non-league opposition again, coming from 2 down to rescue a draw at Boreham Wood. There's a first time for everything, and that was the first time I've found myself watching a game from the toilet block door to stay out of the rain! An utterly calamitous 4-0 trouncing at Bloomfield Road put a slight dampener on what was an otherwise cracking weekend in Blackpool, before bottom side Newport came to the Lane and tore us a new one. Shaun Derry was then on hand to rub salt into the wounds 4 days later, before another masterclass in defensive ineptitude handed Barnet 3 points at The Hive, in a game where Notts should have been 3 to the good by the time Barnet got on the scoresheet. Some degree of pride was briefly restored in the FA Cup second round, as we fought back from 2 down to earn a deserved replay with league one Peterborough, but the losing run in the league was stretched to 6 games as we threw away the lead at Colchester.  By this stage, the atmosphere was starting to turn toxic, not only against the manager and the players, but the owner. The clear chants from the crowd for Trew to leave at Colchester proved to be much closer to the mark than any of us imagined, as the following Monday Trew announced that he had agreed a deal with Alan Hardy to sell the club.  This meant that the army of Notts fans who travelled to Peterborough the next evening for the FA Cup replay were in good spirits, and with the prize at stake being a trip to Chelsea, there was a cracking atmosphere in the away end. It wasn't to be as we were comfortably beaten on the night, but it was a fantastic evening in that away end.  The optimism was short lived as two more home defeats over the Christmas and New Year period left us just one place above the relegation zone, and 4-0 humbling at Cambridge in the first game of 2017 signalled the end of the road for yet another manager. John Sheridan was relieved of his duties, but we were still yet to hit rock bottom.  That would come with an embarrassing surrender to ten man Morecambe, making it an unwanted club record of 10 consecutive league defeats, during which we shipped just the 27 goals! But thankfully, things were about to change for the better. Alan Hardy officially completed his takeover of the club, and wasted no time in appointing Kevin Nolan as manager. Some wondered if we were in a position to be able to afford to gamble on another rookie manager, but it was obvious that he and Hardy had already struck up a strong relationship, and quite frankly, many of us thought "sod it he can't do any worse".  A bumper crowd of over 11,300 descened onto the Lane for the pairs first game at the club, and Notts finally stopped the rot with a hard fought goalless draw against local rivals Mansfield Town, who's fans seemed more interested in setting off flares than watching the game. We never did find out if any lifeboats actually responded... The next home game finally brought us our first win in what felt like an eternity, and in typical Notts fashion, it came in the most dramatic way possible.  For the most part we had been all over Crawley, but try as we might we just couldn't find that all important goal, and when Curtis Thomspon saw red midway through the second half, after all of the chances we'd missed, you couldn't help but feel that a sucker punch was inevitable.  But if anything, the red seemed to galvanise Notts further, and the home fans roared them forwards. Sure enough, with just 15 minutes remaining Thierry Audel headed Notts into the lead. Just ffteen minutes to hold on for that long awaited victory. Crawley had created nothing all game, surely this was it?  Well this being Notts there had to be a sting in the tail, and when James Collins let fy from some 30 yards and his effort flew in off the underside of the bar, everyone's heart sank. Just typical, we had been the better side and had been hit with the sucker punch. "Watch them nick it now" I remember thinking to myself.  But once again, the setback only seemed to strengthen our resolve, and when Crawley's keeper spilled a shot, Forte was on hand to smash the rebound home, sparking scenes of utter delerium around Meadow Lane.  Those five minutes of injury time were five of the longest minutes of my life, but the sheer release of emotion at that final whistle will live long in the memory. There were grown men in tears. Unless you suffered through those 14 weeks of hell since the last win, you can't even begin to understand just how much that win meant to us, and the way in which we won it made it even more special. Moments like that are why we stick with our clubs through thick and thin.  The joy was short lived, as a frustrating defeat at Accrington Stanley (I'll let you say it...) followed, and set up a relegation 6 pointer at home to Cheltenham. It was a game of huge importance for both sides, but by now Nolan was really starting to stamp his mark on the side, and wth the embargo being lifted at the 11th hour, he was able to bring in some useful signings for the run-in, and in particular Jorge Grant and Shola Ameobi would prove invaluable.  Notts beat Cheltenham 2-1, and the never say die attitude Noaln had instilled was emphasised days later when Richard Duffy and Jorge Grant struck in injury time to rescue a dramatic draw at home to Exeter. This set up yet another relegation 6 pointer in East London against Leyton Orient. It proved not to be one for the faint hearted! Normally games like that are tight and nervy, but this was anything but. Both sides seemed to decide that the best form of defence was attack. Jorge Grant gave Notts a 35th minute lead which they would just about hold onto into half time. It looked like Jon Stead had settled the nerves when he doubled the lead early in the second half, but in typical Notts fashion, we allowed Orient straight back into it a minute later, to set up 40 of the most nail biting minutes those of us in attendance would experience all season.  Orient threw everything at us, and the defending at times was desperate. We were beginning to edge towards a massive victory, but then ten minutes from time Notts failed to clear their lines, and Mezague struck an absolute rocket into the roof of the net to lift the roof off of Brisbane Road.  Other scores were against us at the time, and now we were just hoping to hang on for the point. But some great skill from Bola carved open the Orient defence, and he pulled it back for the unmarked Jon Stead on the edge of the box, and the veteren frontman cooly rifled the ball into the bottom corner to spark utter chaos in the away end.  We just about held out for the 6 minutes of injury time, and secured one of our most important wins of the season, and what a game it was too! A slightly less exciting goalless draw with Yeovil followed, before another memorable away win, this time in deepest Devon at promotion chasing Plymouth, on a Tuesday night. Ultimately it was a goalkeeping howler that let Grant in for the decisive goal midway through the first half, though any of the 163 hardy souls in the away end that night would tell you Notts were genuinely the better side on the night, and Plymouth wouldn't have had much ground for complaint if we'd won 3-0.  The young Forest star (as the local chip paper loves to point out) was having quite an impact, and he slammed home one of the goals of the season to seal a 2-1 win over Hartlepool in another six pointer at Meadow Lane. Quite a contrast in the home form since the arrival of Nolan.  A batting 3-1 loss at league leaders Doncaste followed, but so good was the run we had been on that we now had an 8 point cushion over the bottom 2, neither of whom were showing any signs of dragging themselves out of it.  Safety was all but confirmed over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March. Results went our way on the Saturday, but when Mark Yeates saw red for a rash challenge early on at home to Barnet, it looked like we might be thankful for those results going our way. But under Noaln we're a different animal, and this team doesn't know when it's beaten. We limited Barnet to very few openings, and Matt Tootle's goal early in the second half gave us something to defend. A combination of Notts runing themelves into the ground, and Barnet being a bit toilet meant we held on for a massive 3 points that took us 11 clear of the drop zone.  The pressure of the dogfight was now off to some extent and we were able to enjoy the run in.  Shola Ameobi's goal was enough to earn 3 points in a rather uneventful game at Wycombe, before we put in arguably our best performance under Nolan when comfortably seeing off play-off chasing Colchester at Meadow Lane.  Four straight wins were notched up with Jon Stead and Matt Tootle scoring in the last 5 minutes to seal a dramatic comeback win at Carlisle, before an entertaining, if somewhat frustrating draw at Crewe.  But by now we were already starting to look to next season, and not even the unbeaten home run under Nolan coming to an end against Portsmouth on Easter Monday could wash away the feel good factor.  The final home game of the season saw us sign off with a hard fought and scrappy win over Blackpool, and it just brought home how much things have changed in the last year.  12 months ago we lost 5-0 to Carlisle on the final day, and the club was in complete turmoil. Now we're revitalised, and everybody is looking forwards. The feel good factor is back in the club. Watching Notts has gone back to being fun again.  It was actually nice to go into that final game at Newport and be in a position to just enjoy the day. It was a shame we lost but credit to Newport, what a way to survive. I'm just glad it didn't hold any relevance for us, as it was only a few months ago that we were starting to look at that game as a potential do or die game! It's been another topsy turvy season at Meadow Lane, but we've come through it. I know we've had more false dawns than we care to remember at Notts, so I say it with extreme caution, but there is genuine cause for quiet optimism.  I really do think that Nolan could build something special here if given the right backing. It's obvious him and Hardy have a special bond, and that's crucial. Look what it did for Derek Pavis and Neil Warnock.  We need to be patient though and give him time. And I mean proper time. Don't panic and go and get rid of him at the first sign of things not going according to plan. We've been through a frankly embarrassing number of managers over the last few years and look where it's got us. Now more than ever we need some stability, and I trust Nolan to take us forwards next season.  I really don't think we're that far off challenging at the right end of this league. The gap between the top and the bottom isn't that great. We beat 5 of this season's top 7 this season,  so we know we can compete with the big teams.  We'll see what happens come August. But as with any Notts season, it sure as hell won't be dull!        

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

All's well that ends well

The 2016-17 season has been a funny one for me, personal circumstances meant I missed a portion of the Notts County games which took place over late October to mid-January – despite all the on-goings at Meadow Lane and the dire performances I really missed this period. Yet the break was exactly what I needed at the time, but the lengthy spell did leave me feeling drained and worried about my mother. I had been saying throughout the majority of the 2015-16 season that I would get back on the road, whilst I seem to always remember Barnsley as being my last away day – in fact, it wasn’t. My last game prior to Newport was the opening game against Stevenage last term. As the season quickly unwounded, I find myself thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make an away trip this season. For that reason I really wanted to go to Newport despite being told by many opposition fans that it wasn’t ‘a very friendly place to visit’ I decided I would go. After asking JJ to pick me up the ticket, I was quite excited about the prospect of an away day. Sadly, I read some upsetting news on my Facebook feed late Tuesday night which totally flipped my mood but I still decided to go. It was only upon arriving at Monmouth where I actually felt a buzz, it’s a very peaceful location and I took to taking some pictures of the scenery – I will attach some below. Arriving at Newport I quickly got the match day buzz which I missed! After emptying my bag but luckily managing to sneak through security with a thermal bottle with water in (at the time I had forgotten about it), I took to taking some fan pictures. The match started very poorly, I could tell then that the game wouldn’t be one I’d remember for the right reasons. Between snapping further pictures and watching the other stand filled with travelling Notts fans sing amusing songs – I thankfully didn’t fall asleep but I found the first half very boring. Half time was more eventful than I thought it would be, after being asked to take a photo. A Notts fan slipped and his pint was flung straight onto me. After helping the fan up onto his feet, I was quickly asked by another group if I would take their picture but I found the whole event to be funny even if it was at my own expense. I expected the second half to be more lively but I couldn’t be more wrong, it was very similar to the first half in terms of performance. A Notts goal saw us play well for what 10-15 minutes? About the same time Jimmy had on screen in the last episode of ‘Better Call Saul’. I do have to admit, I felt when the chances came that we might actually be able to go ahead. Yet the banter between both sets of fans was funny, it added some much needed entertainment – as I really didn’t see much fight being shown on the pitch. I should also add that I wanted Hartlepool to survive, I enjoyed my two visits to see us play them despite the final results. Neither Newport nor us deserved to win; yet their final goal was class. The away day was enjoyable, yet mostly for the fact we Notts fans know how to have a good time and will make any occasion into something exciting. I’m already looking forward to the new season, I do believe it will be much better than the last three – yet stability will be the key. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for their amazing friendship and support, since dropping my Notts-Joe username things have been much more positive and I enjoy discussing things with people on both Facebook and Twitter. You Pies!

Chris

Chris

 

Pompey defeat left me looking forward to next season

Approaching Easter Monday, I was quite excited about the game against Portsmouth. In the back of my mind, I did question the attitude of Notts as we approached the match. The thought of added fire to fuel the game certain may help, yet for me I felt it wasn’t required. Of course I’m referring to the comments made about spoiling/delaying their promotion party, it didn’t work did it? I just didn't feel that the message was the right focus, yet I've mentioned this on social media and across the Pride of Nottingham site so I shouldn't really repeat myself. That’s alright, I found the game to be quite flat for the most part. Early on I hoped to encourage the quietness of the stands, so I put a message up on FB and twitter – I don’t know why, it just seemed like Notts was quite ready for the kick off. I thought Portsmouth’s travelling support made a great amount of noise and the banter between the Kop and the Sirrel Stand (them) was amusing. It seemed like we were nervous as a club, but I’m sure this could explain what we watched play out on the pitch. The early penalty was just silly, I actually seemed to see it in slow motion and even now I believe we could have gotten away with the decision had Duffy not lifted his bloody foot. I don’t know, I kind of feel we see the same happen when we play a big team. I felt the exact same way when we last played Sheffield United and Coventry City back when we was a League One club. And it wasn’t that Notts overly played badly, I do believe Portsmouth just played in a way that limited us – they always seemed to manage to get the ball back. It was only after Jorge Grant scored that things in the stands seemed to wake up, ironically I laughed as I joined in ‘You only sing when you’re winning’ to the Pompey fans. The goal seemed to come out of nowhere, yet it sparked a brief spell where it seem like Notts could get another. I can’t fault any of the performances mind, Jon Stead was always isolated and we missed Shola Ameobi. The midfield was setup well enough to cope with Pompey’s style of play, and the defence just made the same minor errors we have seen all season and have repeatedly been punished by – yet really it was a deserved win for them. After the game I had that sinking feeling, like what will I do from here? It wasn’t remotely about Portsmouth fans celebrating. Just a case of the realisation that our own season had pretty much just ended. Bring on the 2017/2018 campaign! #COYP -- As always before the game I took to recording 'Meet the Fans', which I have also attached just in case you haven't seen it yet. Don't forget to subscribe!

Chris

Chris

 

Goodbye 'Notts-Joe'

There was a time when I was encouraged to write personal blogs, yet new faces on the website never seemed to appreciate them – however with the minor change to my username I aim to mix things up. It’s a common recurrence that I get the urge to drop my ‘Notts-Joe’ persona, yet for one reason or another I just never did until now. I thought that it might confuse some members who don’t know me in person, yet it’s an never ending escape unless you apply the change and really, why would I want to continue calling myself by it? The little things seemed to mostly discourage me - I wasn’t keen on saying good bye to my old Twitter account, since some dearly lost friends are on it. Yet I have grown very tired of the username, along with the questions I frequently get about why I call myself it. It’s no mystery, it’s a nickname and it’s one which had been given to me at school (mostly due to a wrestler I liked). With the change having been made elsewhere for a number of months now, I felt it was time. Funnily enough my parents, who are a great support to the site(s) I run and the things I aim to do – have never been bothered by the fact I never used my birth name. So from here on, I am simply Chris.

Chris

Chris

 

Same Old Notts

Well just when we thought we couldn’t possibly play any worse than what we did last Saturday at Bloomfied Road, bottom of the league Newport come to the San Sirrel and teach us a footballing lesson. I wasn’t at the Lane on Saturday thanks to some inadequate public transport down this neck of the woods, but I was at Blackpool last weekend, and it was right up there with the worst performances we witnessed time and again last season. 
In John Sheridan we have a no nonsense, old school manager, and I really had hoped that we had at least seen the last of these spineless surrenders. We can all take losing. In fact as Notts fans we’re almost immune to it, but its the manner in which you lose that matters, and these last two games have been nothing short of a disgrace and an embarrassment to this proud club, that would have had the two legends immortalised on Meadow Lane turning in their graves. Frankly, there should be a tear in the eye of both men as they look on at what their club has become. 
This is why you can never get too excited as a Notts fan. No matter how well things seem to be going, disaster is always lurking just around the corner. Tell me, is it really just a mere coincidence that things have begun going **** up on the field just as speculation about the sale of the club rears its ugly head yet again?
I’ll be honest, I spent quite a few years defending Ray Trew, but to be honest the whole Jamie Fullarton saga was the final straw. The way he’s treating the supporters with utter contempt and refusing to give us any real information at all is sickening. It’s our club, and we have a right to know what’s going on. I really think a fans forum is needed. Ray Trew needs to look the paying punters in the eye and tell us honestly what the position of the club is; i.e. are we still for sale or not. If he tells us he’s had enough and wants out as soon as possible – fine. Quite frankly the feeling will be mutual among the majority of supporters. If he’s staying, then he needs to outline his plan for the future. Right now, we’re on a slippery slope out of the very league we helped establish, and as much as it really doesn’t bear thinking about, it’s a genuine concern. If we went out, I really doubt we’d ever come back. 
I think most fans can agree that a change of ownership and direction is badly needed. Call me boring, but personally I don’t want another overseas consortium of millionaires coming in promising us the world and making totally unrealistic promises. We’ve been there, and we’ve seen countless other clubs go there, and it never ends happily ever after. All’s I want is someone who understands the club, who values the supporters, and who can give us that badly needed new lease of life. We don’t expect the world, we just want a competitive team on the pitch that we can be proud of, that will put bums on seats, and most of all – make supporting Notts fun again. 
Right now we have a fan base which seems to dwindle further by the week, and those that remain grow more and more disillusioned by the week. The attendances at Meadow Lane have dropped even lower than what they were in the Trust years pre Munto when we were struggling just to survive in league 2. We all know how this place can be absolutely bouncing when we have something to get behind. You don’t even have to be winning titles for that. Just think back to the Great escape of 2014. The whole club was galvanised, and the supporters virtually pulled the team over the line themselves. 
Right now, going to Meadow Lane is a depressing experience. The stands are sparsely populated, and there’s a feeling of doom and gloom even before kick off. This isn’t helped by our frankly unacceptable home form, which has seen us win just 15 out of our last 53 home league games. That’s downright pathetic, and totally unacceptable at any level.
Where we go from here, I really don’t know. On the pitch this season, I still think that if we can find some consistency we can do well this season. The players have proved that they are capable of digging in and grinding out results this season, which makes the last two games all the more difficult to stomach, and harder to understand. 
But whatever happens, this club is suffering a very slow and painful death. We’re crying out for a new lease of life, which doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. So I guess we’ll just carry on struggling to compete in this league, merely going through the motions. It’s a sad and difficult time to be a Notts fan, and many lifelong fans have lost patience.
Me? Well I’m stupid, so despite calling the team every name under the sun on Saturday evening, come 3pm next Saturday I’ll still be at Barnet trying to convince myself that today is the day everything finally comes good. 
Few of us have chosen our teams, we have merely been presented with them. And so as they slip from second division to the third, and from third division to fourth; as they sell their best players and replace them with journeymen looking for one last pay cheque before retirement; as they lump the ball for the seven hundredth time towards a 6 foot centre forward who somehow never wins a header; we simply curse, go home, worry for a week, then come back and do it all again. But that’s the life of a football fan isn’t it? You can change jobs, homes, partners, cars, virtually anything. But you’re football team – you’re stuck with them.   

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

where foreign players have not been a success

No, not a career reprise on the Banjoman, but on a look back for Millwall's Red invasion   http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/yuran-admits-hes-top-of-the-flops-6318309.html Always remember Danny Baker complete with Russian Red Army Fur hat, on television full of enthusiasm of a new dawn for Millwall...but such new dawn was relegation

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Peruvian tales

Taxi tales...Lima Peru... exit area of Lima airport can be best described as a cage. Taxi drivers touting for business and I couldnt find the car booked for me by the hotel. So I went back inside and paid a bit extra for an airport car. Conversing with the guy in Spanish, he said dont worry when we go through red lights. If we stop at red lights, likelihood of being robbed at gunpoint. So an interesting 20 minute drive through the dark streets of Lima to a hotel surrounded by barbed wire walls. Had an early flight next day so arranged for same guy to bring me back to airport. I get to airport to check in for flight to Cuzco, to find airline ticket not valid. Dont worry sir, its happened many times before, we give you preprinted letter for you to take back to your travel agent saying we only accept tickets issued by American Airlines only. so had to pay about 100 dollars for the flight. I could have gone to the Aero Continente desk, but that airline had a not so good reputation ( must have been true, as I believe, allegedly american insurance companies subsequently withdrew their insurance so they couldnt fly). So just paid 100 bucks and an american girl turns up on spec...same flight USD 70? I asked why her flight was cheaper? Well sir, you had a reservation already? Yes maybe reservation with an invalid ticket! Such is life in Latin america   Vielen danke  @DangerousSausage

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Players disappointed to see leave Notts

Ian Bolton, left for Watford.. Needham and Masson more famously, Martyn Busby returning to QPR undervalued... Paul Barnes, Rob Matthews, Anders Jacobsen, probably our best centre half this millenium. Craig Short Dean Yates (again seriously undervalued), Draper and Tommy J,  

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Favourite films

Following on from @AmericanPie commenting on favourite actors / actresses, thought I would share my eclectic favourite films...and if you are expecting a list of Hollywood blockbusters, then best not read further Cinema Paradiso Breaking the waves A very long engagement Big Fish The Lives of others The secret in their eyes Hidden City Three Colours Trilogy,  Brassed Off Little Voice Fever Pitch Notting Hill Mute Witness Starter for 10 The Reader Grand Budapest Hotel The Hunger Marathon Man Dr Zhivago The Life of Brian This is England Dead Man Shoes Brass Target Charade North by Northwest Arabesque The girl in the cafe Before Sunrise

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Young Fans - On Match Days

On match days, I like meeting people who speak to me and who are my friends. I like the MLSB, especially with the table top football that was introduced. Before that, I didn’t really enjoy going in but I have made friends from it.

I think Notts need to get younger fans involved because the ones I have met and gotten to know are passionate but there is not a lot for us to do.

Notts is known for being a family club, which I know my father is proud of because he attended games as a child himself with family but I do think if there was more for fans of my age to do, more families would go matches.

Meeting the players, helping and getting involved is fun but I do not think this is for every one of my age.

It gets a little boring, especially when Notts are not doing well and it’s not about winning but school on the following Monday can be hard for a young fan. We are not an attractive club to follow, which I get but what we are is local and that is special.

None of my friends admits to supporting Notts, well one does but he doesn’t attend many games.

People you meet can make a difference, but what I would like to see is activities during half time, which would engage with fans of my age. I do not think Notts will attract new supporters unless they are not from a family which supports or follows the club.

Which I think is a bigger shame because I do enjoy match days, yet if I am honest I do think much more could be done.

-

I am a 9 year old fan and the son of @notts-joe. Views are my own, I would like to know your thoughts.

super_pie

super_pie

 

Heaven and Hell

A more serious look at our club So,so you think you can tell heaven from hell. There is no living proof available to testify whether or not the 2 parameters actually exist, but almost everyone has a pre-conceived notion of both. Welcome to the emotional roller-coaster world of a football fan. As reality dawns on the fans of teams that have suffered the inigmony of relegation, we have an opportunity to analyse how things descended to these depths. Very often when things go wrong the first thing people do is look for a scapegoat. Let's be right someone, somewhere must have screwed up right? Not necessarily but the chairman usually ends up being a human target. Not spending enough money, lacking ambition and all other misguided cynical ramblings. The main point is that every club has its own income and expenditure forecasts etc and a budget is calculated. However it is easy to spend someone else's money. That said Notts' budget was only 18th highest out of 24. Surely the chairman must have anticipated another struggle at the wrong end of the league table. However if reports are true the the chairman has invested £19 million in Notts County then he has to draw the line somewhere. The club has to be self sufficient at some point. It is that point where a club discovers it's true level. let's be honest here Chelsea would not have conquered Europe and the Premier League without Roman Abramovich and his obscene wealth bankrolling them. So that brings us to the manager. Well the manager that started the season at least! Trivia question for Notts County fans, who was the last manager to start and finish the same season in charge of the club? Shaun Derry masterminded the great escape at the back end of the 2013/14 season and optimism was high. Throw into the mix that Notts is Derry's club, a former player and Nottingham man to boot and everything seemed rosy in the garden. The fans related to him and he has a genuine affinity with the club. He even signed an international goalkeeper in Roy Carroll. Despite this though there was a whole host of loan players coming and going which in turn led to a lack of continuity or cohesion.It seemed that the manager did not really know what 11 players made up his best team. Before Shaun Derry was relieved of his duties he had used a total of 43 different players. Whether or not that was bad planning or rank bad luck is immaterial now. My only concern with Derry was that he seemed 1 dimensional. Hard work and commitment will only get you so far. There comes a point where a bit of flair, guile and ability needs to shine through. That,sadly did not happen often enough at Notts. If it wasn't allowed to by a conservative manager then that should be frowned upon. If the players henuinely weren't good enough then we have to accept that fact, hard as that may be. Ricardo Moniz has since been handed the poisoned chalice that is the title of Notts County manager. It is far too early to assess his impact on the club and is absolved of any immediate blame. I am not even sure if he has had enough time to decide which players he wants to keep and who will be shown the door. Certainly he has had a baptism of fire and will have to move quickly. What does the future hold? That brings us back to the chairman. If Ray Trew genuinely wants to re-build Notts County Football club and stand any chance of getting a return from his investment then patience will need to be a virtue. His previous track record in this department though is far from encouraging. Any long term project needs a solid plan and a rock solid foundation to build from. The more you try to cobble something together the greater the risk of it all falling apart at the seams. Whilst it is true to say Rome wasn't built in a day that doesn't mean there should be a lack of ambition, imagination or progress. However the cynic within me believes that the Colloseum as it stands is in better shape than Notts County. Knowing Notts as a fan of 40 years and counting though, we'd skimp on the foundations to save a few quid and end up with the leaning tower of Pisa! The crying shame is that with time patience and steady sustained investment we could have the Sistine chapel. The potential has always been there. We have graced the top flight before and there is no reason why it couldn't happen again. In 2009 Bournemouth finished 2 places above the line to avoid falling out of the League altogether. Next season they will be playing in the Premier League without throwing stupid money at the club. If Ray Trew persists with the I want it all and I want it now mantra then he will be in for years of disappointment. Good things come to those who wait. Any Notts fan who is over 21 years old has never seen his team play top flight football. I have only seen 4 seasons or so in nearly half a century. If it takes another decade to get anywhere near that level again so be it. It has to be better than a decade of climbing one division and looking to avoid the trap door back down the next 2 which has been the case for too long now.

Blathers67

Blathers67

 

Magpies musical melancholy

50 songs have been included in the following summary of Notts Countys' woeful plight. How many can you find? Keep yourself alive could have been the battle hymn of the republic of County supporters as the last day of the season arrived. The fans would have been feeling good after victory over Doncaster left Notts knowing a win would have been enough to keep the Magpies afloat but that didn't happen. Unlike last season and the great escape II, just as us 'pies fans were holding out for a hero, Notts managed to crash and burn in spectacular fashion. Of course us Notts fans have been there before but we still feel the hurt, moreso this season after the early season promise. The slide has been long, slow and painful. At the start of the season we were high on emotion. A play-off berth was briefly occupied due in no small part to their defence being as solid as a rock, but the arrival of the cold November rain saw Notts embark on the long road to ruin. An unbelievable run of rank bad form saw Notts manage to win 2 games out of 20, a win ratio of one in ten. This sent Notts sailing inexurably towards the danger zone causing the board to panic and in turn fire Shaun Derry. Opinion was divided as some felt that he had become a wayward son and others felt he had been mistreated. Like most football fans through good times,bad times I'm a believer but not a dreamer. Reality seemingly bites harder at Notts than any other clubs. It is hard to keep the faith when a succession of managers are here today, gone tomorrow and seemingly ushered in through the out door. Personally I would like the board to show a little more patience. Of course no one knows what happens out of the view of us common people but you need a good solid foundation to build a club. The only way to do that is to have some continuity. Having a Russian roulette policy of management appointments does not help. Having money does but how much goes on settling severance terms with departing personnel? Ricardo Moniz has since been hired but his arrival has not had the immediate desired effect. However early indications are that he is capable of delivering the goods.Time will tell if the current incumbent will follow the blind by being Ray Trews latest master of puppets or if he can provide a wind of change. He has a summer of 69 days or so to prepare for the future. Notts cannot afford to keep free-falling. They are, yet again, 1 desperate season from non league football. I suppose the obvious analogy to throw in is that it is the same old song but if Notts were to slide out of the league it would be the bitterest pill I ever had to swallow but as an eternal optimist I believe that it can't happen here. Just before i finish my relections I am off to seek sanctuary in the purple haze of a tequila sunrise as the holiday season gets into full swing I should congratulate Notts County Ladies FC for making it to Wembley for their cup final. Play with pride and do yourselves proud. The club needs a lift and you have the opportunity to provide it. I will leave it for a couple of weeks and then post a full and chronological list.

Blathers67

Blathers67

 

Adjusting to German football

I'm going to use this blog to share some random thoughts with you all ... in and outside the world of football! In doing so I will add to my array of half-hearted and long-forgotten blog attempts already littering the WWW. As most of you know I'm an exiled 'pie living in Germany, who can only get to two or three games a season. Funnily, I don't often watch football on the telly – I'd much rather stand in a dilapidated stadium watching a lower-league defender scuff a clearance than watch Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammates on the box. That probably makes me odd. This particular immigrant, having recently escaped the horrors of watching Gary Silk and Gavin Gordon in League Two, decided to become a groundhopper. Instead of football making me grumpy and stressed, it would be a cultural voyage of discovery. I would discover the glamour of the Bundesliga, the charm of lower league grounds, the fascination of fallen giants in cavernous, crumbling old grounds. And if the weather was awful, I would simply stay at home and watch Sportschau without feeling the need to check the score every five minutes. Football would be entertainment, football would be fun. Except that's not how it works. I find it hard to watch any match without rooting for a team – if I don't care who wins, I usually don't bother watching it. So when I watched SV Waldhof Mannheim (now my most local club) I found exciting football, a city and fans practically begging for success and an atmopshere that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, I got in the habit of watching regular home games again. The prices didn't hurt either. They don't have the same ability to ruin my weekend as Notts do, but they're getting there. I've been to other grounds too – Kaiserslautern, Cologne, VfR Mannheim, Sandhausen, Karlsruhe – but that's my home from home. The derbies are the real highlights. Sadly, Waldhof have a high proportion of troublemakers, meaning that large away followings are often frogmarched by the police the couple of miles from the railway station, accompanied by police horses, riot police and helicopters. Once in the ground, the experience is a more relaxed one. You can buy a beer and take it into the stands with you, and large swathes of the ground are terraced. It's a lot preferable to having a steward tell me to down my drink before taking my too-small seat and trying to keep warm despite not being able to move ... I do miss the UK and Notts though. I miss Meadow Lane and being able to actually eat pies at a match, yes even the funny white snot they use to fill chicken and mushroom pies (a sausage on a bun or a currywurst just isn't the same). I miss the spontaneity of the crowd too – the ultras can create a banging atmopshere and are LOUD, but many weeks they just go through their repertoire regardless of what's going on on the pitch. It changes the way I see Notts matches too, as I'm often so happy just to be there I don't get as frustrated when the performance is a poor one. For some weird reason I don't feel as angry at them for wasting my time (even though my short time in England is precious) as I used to do when I had a season ticket. So, that's a few thoughts to start with. I could write more about living in Germany in general, but that's a very, very big topic and definitely a subject for future blogs! Love Sausage x

DangerousSausage

DangerousSausage

 

Last seasons squad - The right move?

To take a look back to last season, a lot of the players we had have moved on (or been moved on - depending how you look at it). Was it the right move for them, and more importantly, was it the move right for Notts County? Bartosz Bialkowski - Our No.1 joined Ipswich on a free, with rumoured sell on clauses. After first struggling to displace Ipswich keeper Gerken, Bart has gone on to establish himself as No.1 in an Ipswich side doing very well in the Championship, with a string of impressive performances. An excellent shot stopper at his time with Notts, he would not always give you too much confidence with his command of the area and coming for crosses. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Undecided - Carroll is a great keeper, and if we end up getting a fee, it might have been worth it. Alan Sheehan - Captain, and for the dark days of last season, he was one of the only ones that looked like he gave a monkeys. His ability to play well in CB also helped us a lot. However, Sheehan seems to have a big ego, and every season he wants more money. Sheehan decided that after narrowly avoiding relegation, he deserved a massive wage increase. Notts thought otherwise. Sheehan decided to try and engineer a big wage at Sheffield United, but that failed to materialise. A move to Bradford followed, reportedly on only 100£p/w over what Notts' had offered him. He now warms their bench and is a bit-part player. Right move for him? No. For us? Yes - We don't need his ongoing saga of constant wage demands and throwing his toys out when he doesn't get it. Gary Liddle - Spent a lot of last season injured, and we sorely missed him. When he was back in the side we were a much better force. Departed for pastures new, supposedly to be closer to his family, and is a prominent member of Braford's starting line-up. Right move for him? Yes. For us? No - We could do with him in the centre of the park. Manny Smith - A bit of a strange one. Could have absolute stormers of games, where he would dominate opposing players. However, also spent a lot of time 'star-gazing' or 'day-dreaming', and a lack of concentration and/or positional awareness was always his downfall. Now plays for conference side Wrexham. Right move for him? Yes - Wouldn't get a game. For us? Yes - Same reason. Dean Leacock - Another flop. There was nothing to suggest that Leacock couldn't, or wasn't, a good L1 defender. His attitude was that of a minimum wage, overworked, toilet cleaner at McDonalds. Head constantly down, no fight, no passion. Who thought this bloke was good material for a captain?! Joined Crawley, who have one of the worst defences in L1 this season. Right move for him? Yes - Not wanted. For us? Yes - Same reason. Gareth Roberts - Bit/part player drafted in to plug a gap temporarily. Moved to Chester in the conference. Right move for him? Yes. Us? Yes. Jack Grealish - What a fantastic player this boy is. Seems to glide past opponents with ease, keeps the ball well and draws a lot of fouls. Destined for a big future. Rejoined Aston Villa after his loan spell, and comes off the bench in the Premier League. Right move for him/us? Jack, come back. (Titanic?!) Callum McGregor - Another great loanee from last season. His goals in the first half of the season almost certainly kept us in the league. Without them, we would be playing Accrington Stanley in L2 (No disrespect intended). Rejoined Celtic and similarly to Jack, comes off the bench in the SPL or starts lesser games. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Wouldn't it be great to get him back on loan, again, please?! Jamal Campbell-Ryce - A frustrating, yet at times, brilliant player. Could beat a man with ease, however always had an annoying attribute on wanting to repeatedly skin a man when there was no need. This was especially annoying during the first half of last season. However, was instrumental in our turn of form and played some absolute peach games, where he was almost unstoppable. Joined Sheffield United, sometimes plays, sometimes warms the bench. Right move for him? Undecided. For us? Undecided - We could do with his creativity on the wing. Mark Fotheringham - Where to start? An excellent trial period meant that Mark landed a contract (and a lot of fans agreed with this). That is where it ended for Mark. A string of rubbish performances, and well..... yeah... I don't know what else to say. Moved to Fulham in the Championship (Best agent ever?!). Played one game, not seen since. Right move for him? Yes - thank your agent, Mark. For us? Yes - We just needed rid. Andre Boucaud - Inconsistent, is the exact word to describe Andre. At best, a good eye for a pass and an excellent player. Normally? You didn't know he was on the pitch. Moved to Dagenham and Redbridge in L2. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Yes. Enoch Showunmi - Started off last season brightly with a couple of decent goals. However, as the season went on, it was hard to imagine we once considered paying 100k (!!!) for him. Lucky escape. Went to Wealdstone FC - 'You want 'shum?!', who loaned him out to Canvey Island. Who are they you ask? I don't know either. Right move him? I guess. For us? Yes. I've missed out a couple of loan signings as they didn't really play a big part in the season as a whole.

Super_Danny_Allsopp

Super_Danny_Allsopp

 

My 2013-14 season

Well after 69 games, my season finally ended on Saturday. Well, if we're being pedantic it was actually 67 games and 50 minutes - with one game being abandoned after 40 minutes, and me only catching the final 10 minutes of Weymouth's FA Cup tie with Bognor Regis. Although that was enough to see the Terras fight back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw and a replay, which they would go on to win 4-1. It really dosen't seem so long ago the Weymouth pies travelled up to Sheffield back in August for that first league game of the season. At the time, it didn't seem a bad result. We all naturally assumed the Blades would be challenging for promotion, although as it turned out they spent much of the season, like us - fighting relegation, until their remarkable recovery late on. I have listed all the games I attended, and after that I've done my own little awards section. I'll start off now though by saying that the most amazing experience was travelling to Turin for Juventus v Genoa. I did a blog for the Italian Magpies website on that weekend if you wish to read it: http://www.italianmagpies.com/2013/11/my-birthday-surprise-juventus.html That game would probably win all of the awards to be honest, so those awards are for the other games. So, here are the 69 matches I attended over the course of the season: 1. Portland United 0-4 Weymouth - Pre Season Friendly (20.7.13) 2. Portland United 0-5 Dorchester Town - Pre season Friendly (27.7.13) 3. Sheffield United 2-1 Notts County - League One (2.8.13) 4. Dorchester Town 1-1 Weymouth - Pre Season Friendly (3.8.13) 5. Weymouth Reserves 3-3 Poole Borough - Dorset Premier League (10.8.13) 6. Weymouth Reserves 5-1 Swanage Town & Herston - Dorset Premier League (14.8.13) 7. Weymouth Reserves 2-2 Merley Cobham Sports - Dorset Premier League (17.8.13) 8. Weymouth 2-0 Frome Town - Southern Premier League (20.8.13) 9. Weymouth 3-0 Redditch United - Southern Premier League (24.8.13) 10. Poole Town 2-2 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (26.8.13) 11. Weymouth 1-1 Cambridge City - Southern Premier League (31.8.13) 12. Weymouth Reserves 3-1 Holt United - Dorset Premier League (7.9.13) 13. Fareham Town 0-1 Weymouth - FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round (14.8.13) 14. Weymouth 2-1 AFC Totton - Southern Premier League (17.8.13) 15. Weymouth 0-3 Hemel Hempstead Town - Southern Premier League (21.9.13) 16. Weymouth 2-2 Bognor Regis Town - FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round (28.9.13) - I was having an induction day for a job at Sainsbury's, so only got out in time to see the final 10 minutes or. We scored twice in those ten minutes to earn a replay! 17. Bristol Rovers 1-3 Fleetwood Town - League Two (5.10.13) 18. Cirencester Town 1-2 Weymouth - FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round (12.10.13) 19. Swindon Town 2-0 Notts County - League One (18.10.13) 20. Weymouth 1-0 Bridgwater Town - FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round (19.10.13) 21. Bashley 0-5 Weymouth - Red Insure Cup 1st Round 22. Juventus 2-0 Genoa - Serie A (27.10.13) As you do... 23. Weymouth 3-0 Shaftesbury Town - Dorset Senior Cup 2nd Round (29.10.13) 24. Weymouth Reserves 3-1 Sherborne Town Reserves - Dorset Premier League (2.11.13) 25. AFC Totton 0-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (5.11.13) 26. Weymouth 1-3 Hungerford Town - Southern Premier League (9.11.13) 27. Weymouth Reserves 5-1 Hamworthy United Reserves - Dorset Premier League (16.11.13) 28. Weymouth 4-0 Poole Town - Red Insure Cup 2nd Round (20.11.13) 29. Weymouth 2-1 Arlesey Town - Southern Premier League (23.11.13) 30. Weymouth 4-1 Chippenham Town - Southern Premier League (26.11.13) 31. Dorchester Town 0-0 Eastbourne Borough - Skrill South (30.11.13) 32. Weymouth 4-0 Bridport Town - Dorset Senior Cup Quarter Final (3.12.13) 33. Weymouth 0-3 St Albans City - Southern Premier League (7.12.13) 34. Banbury United 0-0 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (14.12.13) 35. Weymouth 4-1 Bedford Town - Southern Premier League (21.12.13) 36. Weymouth 0-3 Poole Town - Southern Premier League (26.12.13) 37. Frome Town 1-2 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (28.12.13) 38. Notts County 2-1 Sheffield United - League One (11.1.14) 39. Weymouth 1-2 Tiverton Town - Red Insure Cup 3rd Round (14.1.14) 40. Weymouth Reserves 2-0 Shaftesbury Town - Dorset Premier League (18.1.14) 41. Chippenham Town 2-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (25.1.14) 42. Bashley 1-2 Weymouth Abandoned after 40 minutes due to power cut - Southern Premier League (28.1.14) 43. Weymouth 0-5 Stourbridge - Southern Premier League (1.2.14) 44. Weymouth 3-2 Bideford AFC - Southern Premier League (4.2.14) 45. St Albans City 3-0 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (8.2.14) 46. Dorchester Town 3-2 Bromley - Skrill South (15.2.14) 47. Weymouth Reserves 0-1 Hamworthy Recreation - Dorset Premier League (22.2.14) 48. Weymouth 2-4 Hamworthy United - Dorset Senior Cup Semi Final (25.2.14) 49. Weymouth 2-2 Biggleswade Town - Southern Premier League (1.3.14) 50. Weymouth 2-4 Chesham United - Southern Premier League (4.3.14) 51. Hemel Hempstead Town 4-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (8.3.14) 52. Weymouth 2-0 Bashley - Southern Premier League (15.3.14) 53. Bashley 0-3 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (18.3.14) 54. Burnham 1-3 Weymouth - Southern Premier League - (22.3.14) 55. Weymouth 2-1 Burnham - Southern Premier League (25.3.14) 56. Weymouth Reserves 1-1 Wareham Rangers - Dorset Premier League (26.3.14) 57. Weymouth 1-1 Hitchin Town - Southern Premier League (29.3.14) 58. Brentford 3-1 Notts County - League One (5.4.14) 59. Weymouth 1-2 St Neots Town - Southern Premier League (12.4.14) 60. Weymouth 0-1 Banbury United - Southern Premier League (15.4.14) 61. Bristol City 2-1 Notts County - League One (18.4.14) 62. Weymouth Reserves 5-0 Blandford United - Southern Premier League (19.4.14) 63. Weymouth 2-5 Truro City - Southern Premier League (21.4.14) 64. Weymouth Reserves 3-2 Bridport Town - Dorset Premier League (28.4.14) 65. Sainsburys 2-2 Morrisons (Morrisons won 4-2 on pens) - Local supermarket charity match (27.4.14) 66. Hamworthy Recreation 0-0 Portland United AET (Hamworthy won 6-5 on pens) - Dorset Premier League Cup Final (30.4.14) 67. Oldham Athletic 1-1 Notts County - League One (3.5.14) 68. Portland United 4-1 Merley Cobham Sports - Dorset Premier League (10.5.14) 69. Portland United Reserves 2-0 Blandford United Reserves - Dorset Senior League (17.5.14) Awards Best 3 games in no particular order: Weymouth 3-2 Bideford It was an awful night for football. Gail force winds and heavy, driving wind battered the south coast, and made playing a passing game impossible. So this game became a real war of attrition, and in the end Weymouth pulled off one of their best results of the season. The game turned out to be possibly the most entertaining the 363 in attendance saw at the Bob Lucas Stadium all season. At the time. Weymouth had suffered 5-0 loss at home to Stourbridge 3 days earlier, while the visitors were having a remarkable season, and went into the game occupying the final play-off spot in 5th place. Weymouth started with the wind in their backs, and took the lead 15 minutes in when George Rigg fired into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. The wind and rain doing nothing to help the Bideford keeper, who moments earlier had ended up saving one of his own goal kicks which had been blown straight back at him! Typically though, Weymouth immediatly pressed the self destruct button. From the restart they gave away a free kick halfway inside their own half. The ball was sent into the penalty area and headed against the crossbar, before falling to Sean Downing who poked it home to pull Biddy level. In the second half, the weather was not quite as bad but still on and off. Weymouth re-took the lead seven minutes into the second half with a deadly counter attack. The ball was cleared and it broke to Niall Thompson on the left wing, who used his incredible pace to run half the length of the pitch, before sending in a cross which ended up being assisted by the wind. It fell to George Rigg, who had time and space to bring the ball down before calmly slotting home. Then just after the hour, it was 3-1. Weymouth breaking up play in the middle of the pitch, and a hopefull punt forwards ended up sending top scorer Stewart Yetton through one on one with the keeper. He slotted it under the on rushing keeper into the net, sending the home crowd mad. The action wasn't over yet. With just a few minutes left on the clock, Jake Green went in hard on a Bideford player. The Bideford team reacted, and before long there was a full on 22 man brawl. When the dust had settled, Jake Green was sent off. And from the resulting free kick, former Terra Ben Gerring scored from close range to give Bideford hope. But within a couple of seconds they shot themselves in the foot. As Bideford's Rab Farkins attempted to retrieve the ball, he stamped on keeper Jason Matthews, and he was given his marching order. Bideford threw the kitchen sink at us for what seemed like 10 minutes of added time, but the Terras dug deep, and held on to secure one of their best 3 point hauls of the season. Match Highlights - Weymouth 2-4 Chesham United It looked like it should be a fairly easy win for Chesham, and the scoreline suggests it was. Weymouth were in poor form, while Chesham were in the middle of what became a 15 match winning run which very nearly won them the title. And in the first half, it looked like it would be straightforward, as three tap ins from one of the league's top marksman Chirstopher Dillon gave the Generals a 3-0 half time lead. Weymouth's defence not really turning up for the first 45 minutes. And but for a couple of good saves from player-manager Jason Matthews, it could have been even more. The second half however, was very different. Just three minutes into the second half, from the Terras first shot on target - George Rigg scored one of the goals of the season. He was given the ball in space, and he let fly from 30 yards, finding the top corner of the net. A fantastic strike, which really lifted the home fans and gave us a small glimour of hope. That hope, turned to real belief just before the hour mark, when Ben Joyce latched onto a hopefull punt forwards in behind the Chesham defence. He played it square to Stewart Yetton, who passed it into the net. The title chasing visitors were rattled. The intensity which had been there in the first half had gone, as they spent much of the second half camped in their own final third of the pitch. Stewart Yetton went close to levelling the scores when the ball was crossed in, but his header was straight at the Chesham keeper. He also put one just wide while Ben Joyce forced the keeper into a diving save. But as the Terras pushed for an equaliser, naturally - they were leaving themselves severely exposed at the back. On 70 minutes, they were made to pay when a long ball forwards sent Drew Roberts through on the left wing. He crossed for Potton who slotted home. In the end Weymouth ended the night with nothing, but in the second half, for long periods they played the promotion chasers off the park, and with the number of chances they had, were perhaps unlucky not to have nicked something in the end. Highlights - Notts County 2-1 Sheffield United I was actually the lucky voter in Notts' goal of the month compeition for October, and the prize was two tickets to a home game of my choice. We chose this game. A bit of a grudge match, and at the time, a massive relegation six pointer. It was the biggest crowd of the season at Meadow Lane, and tensions were running high. Notts players seemed to be just as nervous as we all were, as we started in the worst possible way - falling behind with barely two minutes on the clock. Connor Coady played a quick one two with Chris Porter on the edge of our penalty area which opened up the defence, and allowed Coady to finish cooly into the bottom corner, sending the big United following wild. The pre-match atmosphere had been electric from both sides, but if anything, the Notts fans just got louder, as they tried to get the team going. But Notts just couldn't get going, and Coady nearly doubled the Blades lead when he was fed into space, but he put the ball wide. Jamal Campbell-Ryce then went close - cutting inside two players before curling narrowly wide. It was end-to-end, and United again went close when a corner was only half cleared, and Doyle fired over the bar. Notts though gradually got into their stride, and a Campbell-Ryce cross just evaded the head of big Enoch Showumni. But a few minutes later, the two combined to pull the Magpies level. Mark Fotheringham played an inch perfect pass to Campbell-Ryce on the right wing. He beat his man, and crossed for Showumni, who managed to chest the ball home to haul the Magpies level. United almost re-took the lead when Coady's shot from a corner appeared to be deflected away by Showumni's hand, but the ref waved play on despite big appeals from United. There was another desperate cry for handball from the United players and fans a few minutes later, but nothing was given, and the home fans took to mocking the visitors with cries of "handball!" every time a United player touched the ball. Even when Matt Hill picked the ball up to take a throw in, the Kop sarcastically screamed for handball. One of those moments when you have to have been there to really see the funny side of it. Great laugh. Half time provided a much needed breather. The second half was to be a big 45 minutes. It was a much tighter affair, but Notts simply wanted it more - and their desire to fight for every single loose ball and never let United settle proved to be the difference. Twenty Minutes from time, Notts landed a telling blow. Alan Sheehan delivered a dangerous cross to the back post, where Mark Fotheringham was in space. It looked like he just had to direct the ball goalwards to give the Magpies the lead. He did, but the keeper pulled off an outstanding save, but the danger wasen't cleared. Meadow Lane held it's breath, and at the second attempt, Fotheringham smashed the ball into the roof of the net, to send Meadow Lane into raptures, the Notts team jumping into the crowd to celebrate. Straight down the other end, United appealed desperatly for a penalty, but Tony McMahon was booked for a pretty blatent dive. Fifteen minutes from time the visitors should have equalised, when McGinn tricked his way into the penalty area, but with only Bart Bialkowski to beat, he curled his effort miles wide. Notts held on to secure one of their best results of the season, and a first victory over the Blades for 20odd years. Extra special for me with it being a rare trip to Meadow Lane. A brilliant day, and a proper ding-dong relegation battle. Obviously in the end Sheffield United staged a remarkable recovery in March and April to finish 7th, but back in January, they were right in the thick of it just like us. The celebrations at the end told you all you needed to know. Worst 3 games: Dorchester Town 0-0 Eastbourne Borough Dorchester are Weymouth's main rivals these days, and normally I wouldn't lower myself to going to watch them. But to be honest I'll watch any football, and as it was the only local game on that day, I went along. Obviously, I supported Eastbourne, and in truth I expected them to win. They were sitting just outside the play-offs, while Dorchester had been down the bottom all season, and eventually finished bottom of the table. What I ended up seeing, was a game in which next to nothing happened apart from a couple of dissalowed goals, and my then boss coming on for 5 minutes and managing to get booked right in front of me. A miserable day compounded by Notts losing, and by hearing the laughs from Dorchester fans as news filtered through of Weymouth's 7-0 capitulation up at Stourbridge. A very cold, dull, miserable day! "Highlights" - Hamworthy Recreation 0-0 Portland United Dorset league football is usually a good laugh, and despite the standard, is normally pretty entertaining and end-to-end. The Dorset premier league cup final wasn't. League champions Portland faced 4th placed Hamworthy Recreation, and played out 120 of the dullest minutes the 202 of us in attendance will probably ever witness. The best chance of the game came in just the 5th minute, when a Portland header was brilliantly tipped wide by the Hamworthy keeper. It was he who went on to be the hero in the penalty shoot-out, saving 2 Portland penalties before scoring the winning penalty himself. Weymouth Reserves 0-1 Hamworthy Recreation Maybe it's just something about Hamworthy Rec? At the time, this was 1st v 2nd in the Dorset Premier League, but on a very windy, cold day - it was Hamworthy's more physical prescence which proved the difference. The only goal of the game came near the end of a largly uneventfull first half, when a cross was spilt by the Weymouth keeper Ryan Park, and a Hamworthy player was on hand to pick up the pieces. Ryan Park did make up for his error making a couple of fine saves towards the end of the game, but Weymouth never really looked like getting back into it, nor did the visitors really look like adding to their lead, as the game petered out into a stop start midfield battle. Top 10 goals: 10. Stefan Brown - HUNGERFORD @ Weymouth I'll start with an opposition goal, from a game against Hungerford Town back at the beggining of November, when both sides were just a few points off the play-offs. For the first half hour, Weymouth played some of their best football of the season. Scott Walker's 9th minute goal had them in front, but they could have had 3 or 4 by the time Stefan Brown changed the game on 32 minutes. He latched onto a long hopefull punt forwards, cut inside, and unleashed a thunderbolt from 20 yards which flew into top corner of the net, just clipping the underside of the crossbar on it's way in. The goal took the wind out of Weymouth's sails, and they went to lose the game 3-1. 9. Luke Burbridge - WEYMOUTH @ Poole The August bank holiday visit to Poole Town was already a big game, despite it being only the 4th of the season. Both sides had won their opening 3 games of the season, and both were among the favourites to be challenging for promotion. There was added spice, with winger Luke Burbridge and defender Michael Walker lining up for Weymouth, having both been part of Poole's South & West division title winning team the previous season, the latter captaining the side. 1053 were there on a glorious sunny day, and around 600 were Weymouth fans. They saw Stewart Yetton open the scoring right on the stroke of half time from a corner. But it was in the second half where the game really came to life. First, Poole had Steve Devlin sent off for a high boot just four minutes into the second half. But it seemed to spark Poole into life, and Richard Gillespie fired the hosts level just before the hour mark. Weymouth were stunned, and just four minutes later, the ten men took the lead; and again, it was Richard Gillespie providing a cool finish bringing delight to the home fans. Weymouth looked out of ideas, but then Poole shot themselves in the foot again. Poole's goalkeeper found himself being yellow carded for time wasting on 65 minutes, and when the ref showed him the card, he gave the ref a sarcastic slap on the cheek. There was only going to be one outcome to that, a second yellow card. The expected Weymouth onslaught never really materialised, with Poole keeping everyone back but always looking a threat on the counter. It took a moment of individual brilliance from the former Poole man Luke Burbridge to earn the Terras a point. He found himself with the ball on the right. He went down the line, and cut inside the defender before lashing a 20 yard shot past the substitute keeper with around 10 minutes to go. Despite it being against his former club, he jumped into the crowd to celebrate. Ironically, that was probably Burbridge's best performance in a Weymouth shirt. He became unhappy at the club and completed a switch back to Poole towards the end of the season. 8. George Rigg - WEYMOUTH v Chesham This game and goal has already been mentioned as one of my three favourite games, but I think the goal that sparked what was very nearly a remarkable comeback deserves another look. He's given the ball in space, flicks it up, and smashes it into the top corner from all of 30 yards, to get the Terras back into the game. 7. Steve Davis - BEDFORD @ Weymouth Another opposition goal this time. Bedford travelled to Weymouth just before Christmas having not won a game since September (they wouldn't actually win another game until early April). They were struggling with severe financial problems, and on a horrible wet day at the Bob Lucas Stadium, they looked desperate to see the game called off. Sadly for them the game went ahead, and first half goals from Luke Burbridge and Stewart Yetton had Weymouth in command at the break. But the rain was unrelenting, and at half time it took a mamoth effort from the ground staff, directors, substitutes, and fans to fork the pitch so that the match could be completed. Another goal each for Yetton and Burbridge had Weymouth 4-0 up, but from the restart at 4-0, came the goal of the game. The ball was played to Bedford's number 7 Steve Davis on the right wing. He weaved his way past 4 players in field and into the box before firing hard into the top of the net, earning applause from even the home fans. A stunning solo goal, which is especially rare at this level. 6. Isaac Vassell - WEYMOUTH v Bashley (away) Bashley spent the whole season near the bottom of the table, thanks to serious financial issues which at one point threatened to stop the club even completing the season. Weymouth were therefore expected to beat them comfortably. The two sides had met in the league at the Bob Lucas Stadium just 3 days earlier, and Weymouth won 2-0 against a spirited Bashley side who would have felt hard done by. This 3-0 win however was far more convincing from Weymouth. Stewart Yetton had given them the lead near half time from the penalty spot, and he then nodded home from a corner early in the second half. But it was young Isaac Vassell who stole the show, with his first goal for the club. He had been signed on loan from Plymouth Argyle, and as the nephew of former England international Darius, he has a lot to live up to. He showed what he's capable of here though, showing great persistence to win the ball on the left halfway inside the Bashley half, before cutting inside, and firing an unstoppable shot beyond the keeper from 30 yards. The shot was so powerfull,it actually hit the wall behind the goal and bounced back out, and it happened so quickly it took a few people a few seconds to realise it had gone in. A superb goal to seal all 3 points on the road for the Terras. 5. Stewart Yetton - WEYMOUTH @ Frome Town (second goal) The final game of 2013 took Weymouth to struggling Frome Town. Frome had not won a home game since March, while Weymouth had recently sacked manager Brendon king along with his assistant - veteran striker Matt Groves, who had now joined Frome Town. For the most part, it was a fairly dull game on a poor pitch which meant both sides had to resort to long ball tactics. Typically, Matt Groves gave Frome a deserved lead just shy of the hour mark. Ben Wood had also started the season at Weymouth, so we knew he had a dangerously long throw on him. How ironic then that a Ben Wood long throw caused chaos in the Weymouth defence, and it all ended with Matt Groves smashing the ball home from no more than a couple of yards out. With twenty minutes to go, Weymouth had still created next to nothing, so they threw on big Nathan Walker up front as a target man. It soon paid dividends. Walker's flick on fell to Yetton, who calmly fired beyond the keeper from the edge of the box to level things up. Weymouth now sensed all three points, and it was Yetton's second goal which really lit the game up. Luke Winsper played a perfect through ball into Yetton, who curled a shot over the onrushing keepers, and just under the crossbar - causing absolute carnage among the travelling supporters - as the players and fans celebrated together. An amazing turnaround. Weymouth ended up picking up 3 points from a game where, with 15 minutes left, even a point looked like being a long shot. Sadly there is no footage of this goal, but those of us who were there won't forget this goal, or the celebrations that followed in a hurry. 4. Isaac Vassell - WEYMOUTH v Hitchin Town Despite there being seven games to go, with the way the Southern League had worked out - neither of these sides had really had anything to play for for quite a while by the time they met at the end of March. Both well out of the race for the play-offs, but well clear of any relegation worries. And for the majority of this game it felt like an end of season friendly, with very little action for the crowd to get their teeth into. Hitchin had taken the lead on 64 minutes when Matt Lench latched onto a through ball, and managed to just get it over the on rushing Jason Matthews. Weymouth rarely threatened, and it looked like being another home defeat for the Terras until once again, young Isaac Vassell showed he showed he is more than capable of emulating Darius, with a moment of brilliance on 72 minutes. A long ball forward into the box was only half cleared by the Hitchin defence into space. Isaac Vassell slipped, but managed to regain his balance quickly. He picked the ball up on the edge of the D, took it wide, before curling a wonderfull shot into the top corner from 25 yards, to pull the Terras back on level terms. 3. Stewart Yetton - WEYMOUTH @ Cirencester (second goal) The 3rd qualifying round draw wasen't too kind to Weymouth - taking them to South & west division (one league below) high flyers Cirencester. Cirencester had only lost one game all season going into this one, and were scoring goals for fun - smashing Didcot Town 7-1 four days earlier. We knew it would probably take something special to win this tie, and that's exacly what happened. Around 200-250 Weymouth fans were there to cheer the team on, and they started well - forcing a string of corners and hitting the crossbar in the first 10 minutes. On 20 minutes, the Terras made a deserved breakthrough, when Luke Burbridge raced to the by-line, and pulled it back for Yetton in the centre of the area. He fired home under the keeper to put Weymouth 1-0 up. But this was not the goal I'm awarding my 3rd best of the season too. Cirencester equalised early in the second half when a corner was met by Hollands, whose towering header gave Jason Matthews no chance, and hauled the hosts level. Now we had a real cup tie on our hands, and Weymouth needed to dig deep. And on the hour mark, came a moment of magic. Defender Sam Poole played a 25 yard ball into Stewart Yetton, who found himself on the left channel. The ball was almost spot on, and Yetton was able to chest the ball down, and unleash a first-time volley that flew into the top corner from all of 30 yards, sending the travelling fans mad. It proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Weymouth progressed to the final qualifying round, where they were eventualy beaten at home by Conference club Braintree Town. Sadly, the Cirencester game was not filmed, so only those of us who were there will know just how special a goal it was. It was a goal worthy of winning any football match at any level. Simply stunning. 2. Enoch Showumni - NOTTS @ Sheffield United The season didn't get off to the best of starts for Notts, who had to play the vast majority of the opening game at Brammal Lane with 10 men after the dismissal of Gary Liddle. But for around ten minutes in the second half, we had hope of achieving a result, thanks to Enoch Showumni. Showumni came on 10 minutes into the second half as a big target man, and within a minute, with his first touch of the ball, he made his mark. A long goal kick from Bialkowski was chested down by Enoch. He held off his marker Harry Maguire - managing to out muscle him and create space for a shot. He turned, and smashed it hard and low into the bottom corner out of reach of the dispearing Long, to haul the Magpies level, and kick off wild celebrations in the away end. A fantastic moment, which was worth the long drive up from Dorset on it's own. 1. Alan Sheenan - NOTTS v Oldham To Notts fans, this needs no explanation at all. I don't think I've ever celebrated a goal so much, or found any penalty so hard to watch. 15 minutes to go at Oldham, 1-0 down and at that point heading down to league 2. Jamal Campbell-Ryce picks the ball up in space and drives towards the penalty area. He crosses it, and it deflects off of Johnathan Grounds' hand. Over 3500 Notts fans appeal in unison for handball, and it what seems like slow motion, the ref points to the spot. The fella stood next to me instantly grabs hold of me, and I turn away in disbelief. This is it, Alan Sheehan has the weight of an entire "community" resting on his shoulders. If he's nervous nervous, he certaintly dosen't show it. He blasts it into the top right corner. The keeper goes the right way, but it's too powerfull, and over 3500 County fans are sent wild. That goal takes us out of the bottom 4 on goal difference. Within a couple of minutes we're celebrating again as news of a Bradford equaliser at Tranmere filters through, and then we start to smell survival as Adam Lockwood is sent off for hauling Campbell-Ryce to the ground. Then, news comes through that Bradford are winning at 10 man Tranmere, and we know we've pulled off the greatest of great escapes. Part of me still can't believe we did it. Six weeks before the end of the season - ironically after defeat at Tranmere, even Shaun Derry admitted that the fat lady was starting to hum, but he still refused to give up, as did some fans. And we did it. One of the most amazing days ever. Other Highlights Yetton takes the gloves In Weymouth's first pre-season friendly away to Dorset Premier League club Portland United, Jason Matthews played the first half in goal, while second choice keeper Simon Evans came out for the second half. Unfortunatly, Simon landed awkwardly on his knee after claiming a cross within a minute of the second half kicking off, and he ended up missing the whole season. I was stood right next to the dugout, and while everyone wondered who would go in goal, Stewart Yetton wandered over. He had been signed as a striker, and ended up being our top scorer netting more than 30 goals over the course of the season. He simply said "Throw me the gloves, I'll go in". Everyone just looked at him, and he was asked if he'd been in goal before, to which he replied "yeah I've done it once before". Everyone laughed, and he played the second half in goal. And he kept a clean sheet! In truth he didn't have anything to do apart from catch a couple of crosses and take a few goal kicks, but he still got ironic chants of "Stewart Yetton Weymouth's number one!". You don't know what your doing! There's usually a reason why officials in the Dorset Premier League are officiating at that level, and they're usually pretty good at showing it. But it's not an exageration to say that the officials of Weymouth Reserves v Swanage Town & Herston put on one of the worst performances I've ever seen. For one, one of the linesman seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of the offside rule. He constantly flagged players who were not offside offside, and kept his flag down when everyone stopped assuming that a player actually was offside! Also, when the Swanage manager went to make a substitution - it took him about 3 minutes to actually attract the attention of the officials so he could make that change. But it was towards the end of the game where they really showed their incompetence. A Swanage player slid in hard near the touchline, got none of the ball, but got all of the man. The referee seemed to see nothing wrong with this, and actually gave Swanage a throw in! Naturally, the whole Weymouth team, and the crowd went mad. So thinking he'd got the throw in the wrong way round, the ref changed his mind and gave it the other way. Still the home side kept shouting at him, and he ended up having to speak to his other linesman to find out what the problem was. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that trying to break someones leg is only a yellow card offence! Poole's keeper has a nightmare The Red Insure Cup is basically the Johnstone's Paint Trophy of the Southern League, only the final isn't played at Wembley - meaning even less people are interested in it. Poole fielded what was pretty much a reserve side, while Weymouth had quite a strong side out. The Terras won 4-0 - Mark Ford scoring all four, but it was the performance of Poole's second choice keeper which was the main talking point. Almost all of his goal kicks were wayward - ending up in one stand or another, and his communications with his defence left a lot to be desired, and ended up contributing to one of the goals. Also, he managed to let a fairly weak effort between his legs at one point, but managed to recover in time to get the ball away. The banter he was getting from us fans behind the goal probably didn't help his confidence, but we couldn't help but laugh ourselves. The longer the game went on, the worse it got for him, until his own manager ended up humiliating him a bit more by bringing him off to be replaced by a lad who looked like he was still in school 10 minutes from time. Old man, what's the score? When Weymouth scored two late goals to claim an admittedly undeserved victory at Frome Town back in December, it was all too much for one chap. As the Weymouth fans celebrated an unlikely win, one oldish looking chap came over and, probably a bit drunk - began pushing a few people about. He declared himself "Frome Town's biggest fan" (not that big a deal when you only have 4 fans), and went on into a massive rant about how scummy our club was, how scummy our fans were, and how we had cheated our way to winning that game. Ofcourse the Weymouth fans didn't really pay too much attention to what the fella had to say. Instead, all he got in reply were chants of "old man old man what's the score?", "one nil up and you f****d it up", etc. Another moment where you really had to be there to see just how funny it was. Fantastic. Monsoon conditions Gail force winds, heavy rain, and hail storms turned the game between Chippenham Town and Weymouth into a farce back in January. It got to the point where the players could barely keep their eyes open, while the fans behind the goal hid under a big flag to keep dry. Incredibly, the ref didn't take the players off. Jason Matthews struggled to get the ball to stay still so he could take his goal kicks, and he ended up having to catch one of his own kicks which flew straight back at him in the wind. The referee actually blew for an indirect free-kick at this point, but after some persuasion, decided to just let Matthews re-take the goal kick. Weymouth were kicking into the wind during the first half, and try as they might, they found it impossible to get out of their own half. Despite going in at the break 1-0 down, most of us were confident we could turn it around in the second half as we would have the wind behind us. But, as is our luck - we came out for the second half in bright sunshine with no wind at all! See for yourself just how bad conditions got during that first half: Dorchester's result of the season A severe overnight strom had damaged parts of Weymouth's ground and forced the postponment of their home game against Banbury. But Dorchester's game was on, so for the second time this season I went "over the hill". I ended up stood with a couple of Banbury fans who were staying in Weymouth for the weekend, and had had the same idea as me. Ofcourse, I cheered on Bromley, and I have to admit I expected them to win the game fairly comfortably. At the time, Dorchester were still rock bottom, but not a million miles off of safety, while Bromley had a fairly healthy cushion over second placed Eastleigh at the top of the table. But what I saw, was one of the biggest shocks of the season. Bromley struggled to get used to an awful pitch, while Dorchester are used to playing on that surface, so actually held their own throughout the first half. They took the lead right on the stroke of half time when Nathan Craig fired a free kick into the bottom right hand corner. We expected to see an onslaight from Bromley at the start of the second half but it never happened. The league leaders simply could not get going. Credit must go to Dorchester, who chased every ball and didn't let Bromley settle at all. They got stuck in. On 51 minutes, we all began to sense that a real shock on the cards when Ashley Yeoman finished from close range to double the hosts lead. Dorchester were beggining to look comfortable, but eight minutes from time, having created next to nothing, Bromley got back into it. A free kick was sent deep into the Dorchester penalty area. It bounced around a bit, before Jay May eventually fired home to give the league leaders hope. Suddenly, it was all Bromley, and they began to throw more and more players forwards, while Dorchester sat deeper and deeper. Sure enough, five minutes later, Louis Dennis curled an effort into the top corner after a driving run into the box, sparking jubilant scenes among the travelling support and on the Bromley bench. It looked as though they'd pulled it out of the fire. But the game still wasn't over, and Bromley now began to sense what had appeared to be an unlikely 3 points. They continued to throw players forward, and had a penalty appeal turned down. But from that penalty claim, in the 90th minute of the game, Dorchester counter attacked. The ball was sent forwards and it was eventually given to Jamie Gleeson, who was unmarked in the box, to fire home and seal a fantastic 3 points for the bottom club. As much as I hate to say it, full credit to Dorchester that day. They deserved the win, and it was an unbeleavable finale to a game that appeared to be petering out a bit. Just glad it didn't spark a great escape! Highlights - The supermarket derby I ended up watching a game at Dorchester yet again in April. This time it was a charity game between the staff of two Weymouth supermarkets - Morrisons and Sainsburys. A couple of my mates were playing so I went along. Ofcourse, it was a family affair. All the players families were there, but I was pleasently surprised to see a really entertaining, end-to-end game. The Morrisons supporters even had a few songs. I think it's fair to say that the Morrisons players had a higher BMI than the Sainsbury's boys, but for big lads they were pretty quick, and were the better side. They took the lead early on from a corner, but Sainsbury's equalised in spectacular fashion - when one of their lads decided to have a go from just inside his own half. Sure enough, the wind took the ball beyond the keeper and into the net, sparking scenes of wild celebration on the Sainsbury's bench. But within a couple of minutes, Morrisons re-took the lead, and that was the way it stayed at half time. As the second half progressed, both sets of players became tired, so the game became more and more stretched. Sainsbury's keeper pulled off 3 or 4 fantastic saves, and in the end Sainsbury's equalised on the counter attack midway through the half. It went to penalties. Morrisons scored all 4 of theirs, while one Sainsbury's lad put his effort into the Tesco carpark, and the other was saved by the Morrisons keeper - making up for his first half error of judgement. It was a really entertaining afternoon, a good laugh, and it raised over £600 to be split between two local charities. There have been many other good times this season. Every Notts match is a great laugh whatever the result, our fans are pretty good at finding something to laugh at even when things are going badly. Just look at the video of our fans at Rotherham for proof of that. I can't lie, I expected a bit more from Weymouth this season, but after years of fighting relegation, another midtable finish is far from a disaster. A word for the reserves too - who had a superb season, finishing 2nd in the Dorset Premier League with the divisions best home record. They're always really good to watch, and it's always a good laugh. I've enjoyed every game really, even in defeat we've had many great laughs. There's nothing else I'd rather do on a Saturday, All's I can say is bring on pre-season!

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

The Final Furlong - relegation dogfight

Well for most of the league there are only 3 games left, 4 for a couple. At the top, the two automatic promotion places are confirmed, and Wolves look set to win the title. Three of the four play-off spots are sorted, but 6th is still up for grabs. But it's down at the bottom where it's really interesting. Today's loss at Bristol City was a bitter pill to swallow for Notts. There's no two ways about it, we deserved all 3 points, let alone 1. But yet again, we shot ourselves in the foot. We've done that too often this season, and I'm concerned it will all come back to haunt us. How many times have we taken nothing from a game we deserved at least a draw from? It's happened all season. Wolves at home, Peterborough away, Gillingham away, Tranmere away, Carlisle away. They all spring to mind. All games in which we played well and deserved a draw at the very minimum, but games in which we ultimately came away empty handed. Even if we could have managed 3 more draws we'd be sitting pretty in 17th place. But as it happens, we find ourselves 22nd, 3 points off safety with 3 games to go. This is the bottom six as it stands going into Easter Monday: Something that really stands out is the fact we've won the most games out of all apart from Coventry, who of course started the season in title winning form. To me, it just nails home how much good a few more draws would have done. What I'm going to do here is look at everyone's remaining fixtures. But let's not waste much time with Stevenage. They're a poor side, and when they come up against anyone who can play football, their tactics are to kick them all over the park, after which they lose anyway. To stand any real chance of staying up they need to win all of their remaning 3 games at home to Bristol City and Walsall, and away to Brentford, whilst hoping everybody above them slips up. I'll take it on the chin if a miracle occures and they manage to do it, but realistically I can't see Stevenage taking more than 2 points at the very most from these 3 games, and that's if they're lucky. Two points would give them 41 points, which even now would have them finishing bottom. Now let's look at 16th placed Oldham. They've been hovering above safety winning the big 6 pointers all season. They already have the magic 50 points but a lot can happen in 3 games. In their case, 4. They play Coventry, Sheffield United and ourselves on the final day at home, and go to Carlisle for a big game. I think they'll beat Coventry, draw with us and Carlisle, and lose to the Blades. 5 points would give them 55 points, which is easily safety. 17th placed Coventry have been sliding further down the table since the turn of the year. They were scoring goals for fun in the first half of th season, but the loss of their two main strikers left a huge hole in the side, and they haven't really recovered. Now they find themselves just 5 points above the drop zone, and face a nervy climax to the season. Aside from their trip to Oldham which I'm claiming they'll lose, they also host champions elect Wolves, before ending their season at Brammal Lane. I've thought about this for a while, and I honestly don't see them getting anything from those games. They haven't proved themselves to be a side capable of grinding out a scrappy victory, and the goals really have dried up lately. They're playing against at least two sides in brilliant form, and another in Oldham who are well used to this situation, and have shown all season that they are capable of winning these relegation six pointers. So 0 points would see Coventry finish on 49 points. Below them at the moment, in 18th place we find Colchester United. Like Oldham, United have struggled hovering just above the dotted line for much of the season, and recent defeats to three of their relegation rivals in ourselves, Tranmere, and today - Oldham, have pulled them right into the mire. This monday they travel to Crewe Alexandra for a huge six pointer. Colchester did win at Stevenage last weekend, but their away form has been poor all season. Mind you, so has Crewe's home form. Crewe have a young side of players who have probably never been in a situation like this before, whereas Colchester have a few more seasoned players among their ranks. However they've chosen the worst possible time to go on such a poor run, and I see them falling short yet again at Gresty Road. They also host title chasing Brentford before ending their season at Walsall. They'd do well to get much against Brentford but Walsall's season is peatering out somewhat, so they might just be able to nick a point on the final day. If they do they'll have 47, which dosen't sound like a surviving total. Crewe themselves are 20th, and are always a good bet for a goal. Their problem has been keeping them out at the other end. They possess the league's worst defensive record. I think they'll beat Colchester on Monday, and after that they go to Bristol City before hosting Preston on the final day. Bristol City were less than impressive despite beating us today but have been in great form. They're a big physical side and I think Crewe's young guns will struggle to take anything from Ashton Gate. The Preston game on the final day is a tricky one. Preston now know they will compete in the play-offs so they may rest key players ahead of them. Crewe also won at Deepdale convincingly earlier in the season. I think they could take a point from that game. 4 points would leave them on the magic 50 point mark. Between Crewe and Colchester, in 19th place, we find Tranmere Rovers. They recently sacked manager Ronnie Moore for breaching FA betting rules but the caretaker manager has steadied the ship in recent weeks with crucial victories against Colchester and Shrewsbury Town. They host Sheffield United on Monday, go to Leyton Orient on Saturday, and end their season at home to Bradford City. Sheffield United's faint play-off hopes have been extinguished and they are out of the FA Cup, as is the case with Bradford City. Two teams with nothing to play for, and an Orient side going into the play-offs in pretty indifferent form. I think Rovers are capable of beating City on the final day, and somehow I reckon they might nick a draw at Orient. Orient are in poor form of late, and Tranmere always do seem to do quite well down there. Orient know they're in the play-offs, Tranmere are desperate for points. So 4 points, again, gives them 50 points. Then in 21st place currently are Carlisle United. They're another side in poor form, losing 6-1 at Preston last weekend having conceeded 4 to us a few weeks earlier. Perhaps crucially, they have a game in hand away to Crawley in just over a weeks time. Crawley, a midtable side in poor form with nothing to play for. Carlisle are fighting for their lives and have bolstered their side with a couple of loan signings, I think they could go there and earn a point. They are not a side who pick up many points on the road, also there is a lot of unrest and discontent between the fans and club at the minute, so you wonder if they have the spirit and togetherness to pull through. They also face Peterborough away, Oldham at home and Wolves away. I think they'll draw with Oldham, and well, they'll do well to get anything at Posh or Wolves. So 2 points would leave them on 46 points. In 22nd, ofcourse we find the mighty Notts County! Or not so mighty as it's turned out this season. A few weeks ago we were dead and buried. But now, of all the sides down the bottom we probably have the biggest head of steam, the most momentum, and possibly the most belief of anyone. We're always good for a goal or two - the FL's 9th top scorers in 2014, but the defence has been an issue all season. We've been very strong at home, and I think we should beat Crawley. As I said, midtable side, nothing to play for. Yeah they beat us at their place but it was only 1-0, and we didn't show up that day. I also think we're capable of beating Swindon Town. For some reason Town just can't get it together away from The County Ground, and that's held them out of the play-offs this season. They still have a small chance, but I think our players will ultimatly want it more on the day, and with it being our final home game, there should be a buoyant home crowd behind the lads. As for Oldham on the last day; our away form is quite poor, but then their home form is also poor this season. I expect they'll be safe by the final day, and I reckon we'll scrape a draw there. 7 points, would give us the magic 50 points. But our goal difference is so superior to the other strugglers it's like having another point. And this leaves Shrewsbury Town. Shrewsbury don't conceede many goals. But they score even less - possessing league one's bluntest attack with just 39 goals all season. They also have the least wins in the league - 9. Typically, 2 of which came against us! Defeats in the last week to both Tranmere and Crewe have all-but sealed their fate. They travel to Preston on Monday before hosting Peterborough, and ending their season at Gillingham. I could actualy see them picking up a point from one of the first two games. Preston will now be looking at the play-offs, and truth be told they haven't really been prolific at home this season. Posh meanwhile have been in poor form since Chrismas, and it's a bit of a miracle they still occupy a play-off spot. Gillingham will finish midtable, and will have nothing to play for on the final day, so I could see Shrewsbury going and winning there. 4 points would give them 45. So, going by my prejections, this would be the final table: 16th. Oldham Athletic - 55 points 17th. Notts County - 50 points 18th. Tranmere Rovers - 50 points 19th. Crewe Alexandra - 50 points 20th. Coventry City - 49 points --------------------------------------------- 21st. Colchester United - 47 points 22nd. Carlisle United - 46 points 23rd. Shrewsbury Town - 45 points 24th. Stevenage - 41 points Obviously some will look at that and think I'm mad to think of us finishing 17th, but it would be on goal difference, and ours is much better than all the other sides apart from Coventry. Some sense has gone into this, I have actually thought about it. I accept that if we go down, I'll look rather stupid. But it's been a while since I've written anything on here so I had to do something! If we play like we have been lately we should be capable of getting enough points on the board to stay up. To a man they were brilliant at Bristol City, and I just hope they don't let the way in which we shot ourselves in the foot bring them down too much. We can't afford to do that anymore this season. Let's start on Monday. We simply must beat Crawley. We have momentum, we're in good form, we have belief. We can do this. COME ON YOU PIES!

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

A Day At Notts & Top Of The Kop

Last saturday I went to see notts play with my dad, I woke up before him and mum got me my breakfast. I like having cereals before I go out, but my sister Ava wanted to come. She kept passing me her shoes all excited, I thought it was funny but I told her I didnt think she was coming. We walked down to the bottom of the road, dad was messing about and he kept telling me we was going to win. He asked me how I thought we would do, I dont like guessing so I tell him we will either win, lose or draw. One of our friends was celebrating her birthday, dad said we needed to get a balloon but we couldn't find one. On the way walking to the ground, this man with a funny accent started talking to dad. It turned out he was a walsall fan, he walked with us until dad directed him and his partner to a pub. Dad sent them in the wrong direction by mistake, I hope he found somewhere to drink before the game. Dad wrote on a card, it was now I realised I had lost the card I had made. I was a little upset but dad said I could write on the card and that it's the thought which counts, I just like making cards for people I like. Once near the ground dad went in to speak with some people, I went quite shy. We then went into the bar but dad did not get a drink. He started talking to our friends, I was happy to see them standing near the doors. Drew (a friend) came in and dad was already speaking to someone else he had met. Drew spoke to me, he's funny and very friendly. The person my dad was speaking to had a pretty nice camera and we went out but it started raining. We took shelter and they spoke a bit more before deciding it was best to get into the ground. We ran and then walked, it was funny for me because I was not bothered about it raining. Notts started the game quite badly and it wasnt long before the other team scored, dad did not seem very happy but he kept singing and trying to encourage me. I was more excited about being sat towards the back of the stand. At half time dad asked me if I wanted to play the drum, my sister Ellie as always wanted to play it herself and I was excited about trying but nervous. I did not think I would be allowed but dad insisted, he spoke to one of our fans who was sitting near the drum and I had a go but I was not very good. Someone else dad knew came and shown me, I played it a little better but it was good fun to try. After the other team scored three goals, I asked dad who controlled the scoreboard. He laughed and asked why, I then told him I wanted to go and have try of that. He asked me why laughing still. I told him I wanted to change the score to favour us. The fans where we sat was pretty vocal in support, although one fan kept swearing and I think hes naughty! He kept saying Notts was useless, I think it was just a bad day and I think fans some fans are quite unhappy people. At the end of the game it was 5!! goals to the other team and the player dad likes (Callum McGregor) was the only player to score for us. He scored a very nice free kick, I think we will do better next time, it was just a bad game. When we got back home, dad was getting ready to go to a party. He asked me to check on my blog, I was surprised to see all the comments but I was hungry and ended up forgetting to thank everyone. Im really happy that people read my blog, plus dad tweeted a few people and shared it on Facebook. There was comments elsewhere which was very kind, im hoping to write about an away day next time and hopefully one of my friends will answer some questions. I like when people reply to my blogs, its even better when they write really nice comments and like it on facebook. Its nice that Alan Judge and Bart saw it and that Aileen Trew reposted it to her friends. I like how Romeo read it too as he is my friend, i wish i got to see him more. Thank you for your kind comments and reading.

super_pie

super_pie

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