Festive football frolics

1 01 2013
Bangor City 3 Prestatyn Town 3
Welsh Premier League
28/12/12

This match was a hastily rearranged match. If I had my way there would have been another rearrangement. The conditions were so atrocious in the second half –  the combination of wind, rain and cloud made the pitch appear as though it were situated in a wind tunnel – they were was hazardous to our health. I’ll be making an approach to the relevant authorities..

This move has nothing to do with the fact Bangor City contrived to waste a three goal lead. I’m not motivated by sour grapes, I’m not a bitter person. I may think Gibson is a contemptible swine but I’m not bitter. I may detest Dave Hayes, I may not be able to stand Wilson but I can assure you that I’m not bitter. I may not be able to abide the Prestatyn approach but I’m not bitter. I am a bitterness free zone, bitterness doesn’t live here any more baby. I don’t know how else I can say it, I’m not bitter. I’M NOT BITTER, OK! …….Ahem!!!…… For the first 70 odd minutes the match went as we hoped, even with our nemesis Lee Kendall in their goal. In the first half he let in two goals and Bangor exerted a measure of control despite playing in to the wind. Early in the second half Peter Hoy’s knee caused Bangor’s third goal. It was all going to plan. We were 3-0 up!!!

With about 20 minutes left I casually asked Les a question; “If we win how many points ahead of Prestatyn will we be?” Les answered as if I’d tempted spiteful spirits; “Let’s win the game first!!”. I thought I’d qualified the question with the word “if” but never mind. I didn’t care if people thought I was quietly confident, who’d ever heard of a team losing a 3-0 lead?

The insouciance of my question seemed long, long ago when we finally made it to injury time. In fact things began to get a bit jittery just after I asked the question. During the last 20 minutes I tried to remind myself that 2-0 was the most dangerous score in the world not 3-0 (2-0 was big enough to make you relax but small enough to make you worry if the other side scores.) but I still sensed something was going to happen, and so it happened.

When Prestatyn scored what turned out to be their first goal in the 80th minute I knew my emotions couldn’t rest. I tried to reassure myself, “We were still 3-1 up, we were still 3-1 up!!” but Prestatyn’s ex football league players began to find space just when Bangor’s players started to lose confidence, I knew they would make it 3-2 from that particular attack in the last minute. By injury time the jitters had been replaced by inevitability. I knew Prestatyn were going to equalise. They did.

I travelled home in a sense of shock. It turns out that 3-0 and not 2-0 is the most dangerous lead to have.

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Tranmere Rovers 1 Scunthorpe United o
nPower League One
29/12/12

I tried not to think about the events of last night but any effort was futile. It didn’t matter what I did, the 3-0 lead haunted me like  a Jacob Marley door knocker. A voice in my head taunted me; “3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!”

“3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!” plagued me when I bought a Justice Collective single, “3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!” was there when I finished Wiggo’s book, it was there when a misleading poster sent me to the Walker art gallery to view an exhibition that had finished, it was there when I tried to find the right sort of t-shirt in shops of Bold Street, it was there when I bought lunch in Tesco, it was there when I was waited for the train to Birkenhead Central and it was there when I walked to Prenton Park, it was there when I stopped to gaze at an autumnal scene, it was there when I felt a stabbing pain in my ankle, it was there when I waited for a bus to Prenton Park, it was there when the wind whipped through Prenton Park…. Nothing took the edge of last night ‘s memory. The jeering voice was never silenced., thankfully by the second half “3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!” the voice had developed the mellifluous rhythm of a drunk in a late night train carriage.

Mind you I still had a few moments of clarity. When I saw the scoreboard I realised that Nigel Adkins was a thread that connected Tranmere, Scunthorpe, Bangor City and match of the day. A few minutes later the scoreboard made me think of the three Ms; “Motivation, Motivation, Motivation!!” (The three Ms were made famous by famous Scunny man Alan Latchley).  I was thrilled to see that Max Power was on the pitch. He actually looks like the player with the name you want to touch, but you cannnnnnot touch!

I was thrilled to see Jake Cassidy up front. Of all the players I’ve watched Jake has made the biggest jump. Taking the Welsh Premier League as equivalent of Step 6 in the English system Jake has gone from step 9 (Llandudno Junction in the Welsh Alliance) to step 3 (Tranmere), via step 1/ 2 (Wolves), in 18 months.  He’s also gained international caps in that time. I liked the way I saw Tranmere play constantly positive and cohesive  football for the first time. I liked the way Tranmere won. I liked the fact I left on the final whistle and still made the bus to town.

As I waited for my wife outside Rhyl station  the jeering voice filled my head with it’s lilting refrain…..”3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!”

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Prestatyn Town 4 Bangor City 1
Welsh Premier League
1/1/13

Things were alright for most the first half;  Bangor were on top and we even went 1-0 up. There were also quite a few disturbing little details mind you; not only did Prestatyn equalise thanks to a mistake they also engineered situations that resulted in bookings for Bangor players but then decency is probably anathema to a team built in the image of a shitbag. And it was bloody cold, and my new coat isn’t as windproof as it looks.  The lilting drunk returned to my head……”3-0, 3-0, 3-0!!!”

Then the second half happened and I’m at a loss to describe what happened. All I know is that Prestatyn scored three goals and Bangor didn’t. Lady luck, that syphilitic harridan, was on Prestatyn’s side, their third goal was created when the ball hit the bar, looped up like a weighted balloon, and landed at the feet of Prestatyn’s Jason Price. The ball could have landed anywhere but it landed at his feet. Let’s just say this wasn’t Bangor’s day and take this bad luck on the chin. A philosophical attitude certainly helped, it even transformed Lee Kendall into a lovable character.

When I think about the last two matches against Prestatyn all I can say is “Football, don’t you just love it!!!!”. Bangor were the better team for 69.4 % of the two matches (roughly 125 out of 180 minutes) yet gained 1 point instead of 4 or 6. Bangor are now a point behind the Seasiders.

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