More matches!!!

14 02 2013
Llanelli 2 Bangor City 2
Welsh Premier League
5/1/13

Just after Tuesday’s final whistle I decided that I wasn’t going to Llanelli. No way, there was no point, we weren’t going to win. There was no way that I was going to get up at the crack of dawn for that!!

It’s easy to make rash decisions when you’re despondent.

Mind you I wasn’t totally sure about going before Tuesday for several reasons; I wanted to be at home by 10:30ish, I would have to make a mad rush from Stebonheath to Llanelli’s station, there weren’t any cheap train tickets, there were rail replacement coaches between Llandudno Junction and Chester.

Last week I was a bit more hopeful as Les was going by car. By half time on Tuesday this avenue of hope had been closed off; Les said that he was getting a lift with the two Brians. In the despondency of defeat I forgot to ask either of the Brians if there was room.

When you’re faced by a situation that’s already less than promising, despondency can often settle the matter. I reasoned that I wasn’t going to Llanelli and accustomed myself to the decision. On the up side I had scope for a bit of travel.

I had a look at a few websites and saw that a ticket for Wigan v Bournemouth was £10. The train wouldn’t be a problem and I’d be back by 7:30!! I was going to Wigan!!! I looked forward to commemorating the 35th anniversary of Bangor’s last match with Wigan and the 21st anniversary of Bangor’s last FA Cup match, and I could get a Wigan fridge magnet!! Fantastic!!!

I was all set for Wigan, I was looking forward to it, I was looking forward getting a copy of the Mudhutter. Then Gareth phoned with news, Jim was going to oblige us with a lift from Abergavenny to Llanelli. I wasn’t sure at first. Did I want further despondency? Could I be bothered to witness another defeat? I was looking forward to Wigan. After 5 minutes consideration I’d talked myself in to going.

It’s easy to go to matches when things are going well, there’s a spring in your step and you look forward to watching the action, but you don’t show backbone when you’re winning. You need backbone when things look bleak, when you know things aren’t going your way. This was precisely the time I should be going to away games. The players needed me, the fans needed me, Llanelli needed my money. My mental state when I knew I wasn’t going highlights the insidiousness of banter-led fandom; Bangor were only on a minor blip. The banter virus effects you before you know it.

My journey down to Llanelli had everything; coaches, trains, cars, walking. It’s was all great, and a lot easier than I’d expected. There was even time for a pint in Abergavenny before Jim met us. Thanks to Jim’s lift we were in Llanelli an hour before kick off.

The match wasn’t particularly enjoyable. “The Opening Exchanges” didn’t lead anywhere. Peter Hoy went off injured, Llanelli scored, then nearly scored again, then nearly scored again, then Lloyd Grist missed an open goal for Llanelli.

While we’re talking about Grist, he deserved a yellow card for ungentlemanly conduct; he deceptively wore number 3 but was more often than not in Bangor’s half, it was disconcerting. He needed a yellow card and I don’t care if karma punished him by causing him to miss an open goal.

Incidentally Ianto told me that Bangor were signing a couple of Llanelli players but I thought that discretion was the best part of valour so I decided to keep it to myself until it was announced officially.

It’s funny how eating plain crisps on an open terrace at half time makes you feel the cold. I couldn’t shake the cold in the second half, it dug into to my flesh. It remained even when Simmo had scored two, when Idzi produced the best save I’ve seen in seasons and when Bangor exerted tons of pressure. The cold remained because deep down I knew something was going to happen.

The thing happened when Simmo was clearly felled in the area but the referee failed to award a penalty. Two minutes later a Llanelli player fell in the area thanks to a less physical challenge, not only did Llanelli gain a penalty but Sion Edwards was sent off. Needless to say Llanelli scored. In the light of the match a point was good, in the light of Bangor’s penalty denial it was irritating.

The ride home included a pint in Abergavenny and a stopover in Shrewsbury. I’d been to see Bangor at their lowest ebb of 2012-13 and that had to mean something didn’t it? I hope that it meant more than the fug of downbeat thoughts.

jan12 006

Bala Town 2 Bangor City 1
Welsh Premier League
10/9/13

This was a match that was determined to make me queasy. Firstly, it took place in a place that’s connected to the rest of civilisation by windy roads. Secondly, for the second match in a row Bala were rather physical, although to be fair to Bala, no Bangor players were maimed this time. Thirdly, the fucking referee looked like he was trying his best to infuriate Bangor fans. Here is some evidence; a Bangor player leant on a Bala player and Bala were awarded a free kick, a Bala player leant on a Bangor player in the same way and Bala were awarded a throw in. A Bangor player tackled a Bala player to retrieve the ball and earned a yellow card, a Bala player launches himself through the air while pointing his studs towards the general direction of a Bangor Player and it’s play on. Then the fucker didn’t award Bangor a blatant  penalty after the ball had clearly hit a Bala player’s hand, it was a veritable “stonewall” penalty. Fourthly, Bala won. Lastly, after witnessing the lengthening of Bangor’s winless run there was another windy ride home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Glan Conwy 3 Denbigh Town 2
FAW Trophy
11/9/13

Thanks to the local media I turned up late for this match. One paper said it kicked off at 1:30pm, another said it kicked off at 2:00pm. Eric told me he getting there for 2:00 pm. I went with Eric’s decision.

Part of me thinks that cold weather and football go together. Cold weather seems to add something interesting to matches and it gives them a certain look. On the other hand cold weather makes you want to leave early. For the second week running the gnawing cold obscured got in the way. The match that was quite exciting but this meant nothing. The good goals and the fact I saw Craig Garside, the scorer of the decisive goal in Bangor’s last championship season, score a “pearler” couldn’t warm me up. A nice piece of homemade cake didn’t help either. When all is said and done, this was a shame.

jan12 023

19/1/13 Plan A
Bangor City P Port Talbot Town P
Welsh Premier League

This match was postponed due to south Walean travel difficulties. I was unhappy over this as I was looking forward to catching up with Nigel and the Ultras.

19/1/13 Plan B
South Africa 0 Cape Verde Islands 0
African Cup of Nations

At least I could watch the African Cup of Nations. I was so excited I made a bingo card of the phrases I was bound to hear.

When I heard Tyldesley was commentating I knew I’d have blast doing cliché bingo. By the end of the match I’d crossed out two of the words.

jan 26 001

Mali 1 Niger 0
African Cup of Nations
20/1/13

When I found out Drury would be commentating I hastily wrote a new “CLICHÉ BINGO” card. By the end of the match I had crossed out nothing

Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0
African Cup of Nations
21/1/13

The “CLICHÉ BINGO” card remained unmarked.

Tunisia 1 Algeria 0
African Cup of Nations
21/1/13

Another unmarked “CLICHÉ BINGO” card

Don’t you hate when people don’t live up to your stereotypes. I blame ITV4’s advert for my misguided presumption. It had plenty of clichés and irritating Druryisms. Mind you the matches had hardly been scintillating experiences so the commentators hadn’t had much scope to paint colourfully irritating vistas with the power of their chat.

Gap Gonnah’s Quay Nomads 0 Bangor City 2
Welsh Cup
26/1/13

The snow was still causing problems this week. Not only was last week’s snow still here but there was new snow. Consequently most of the Welsh Cup matches were under threat.  All week they had been saying it would be off but they are always pessimistic. They’re always there with the negative waves..”We’ll lose”, “We’ll concede here” “He doesn’t know what he’s doing!!”. Bloody pessimists.

Although that’s not to say they weren’t nearly proved correct, there were doubts until about 11 am this morning. Yesterday morning we heard there was going to be snow, yesterday afternoon we heard there was snow and yesterday evening we heard there was going to be a pitch inspection at 8:30 am. We also heard that Connah’s Quay would like volunteers to help clear the pitch this morning.

This morning I woke up at 8 am in anticipation and anxiety. I hoped for positive news on twitter. By 8:30 twitter had no news, only the comments of annoyed Bangor City players. Then there was talk of a 9:30am announcement, then we heard the match was on, then we heard there was an announcement at 11am, or was it 11;30am? At 10:50am I spoke loudly; “Fuck it I’m getting the bus!!!!”. The volume of my exclamation annoyed my wife.

When I was halfway to Connah’s Quay I saw why the match may have been off; the bus was surrounded by snow-covered fields. Thankfully there was little snow by the time we reached the coast again. When we saw the pitch (Martin had joined the bus at Holywell) from the bus we could see that the volunteers had done a really good job. I had a quick pint of proper cider before the game and I felt alive, a match and healthy cider! This was living.

As for the match……..It was cold, the pitch was a thinly disguised bog, the young singers from Connah’s Quay were irritating /  better than the usual crowds at away matches (delete as appropriate) and Gary O’Toole scored with his second touch in a Bangor shirt. By the end everybody was just grateful that Bangor had gone through.

jan 26 013

Bangor City 2 Port Talbot Town 2
Welsh Premier League
2/2/13

Before the match someone told me that we hadn’t won a league match for over months. “Jesus” was the appropriate response. I hoped that we’d get back to the early season form today but who didn’t? To cut a long story short Bangor City didn’t get back to winning ways. We were ahead by half time but PTT were level by halfway through the second half. Incidentally the PTT Ultras put on a good show but unfortunately I wasn’t able to share a drink with Nigel as he couldn’t come.

Feb10 008

Bangor City 3 Prestatyn Town 3
Welsh Premier League
9/2/13

Before the match I watched John Hartson on Football Focus. There’s nothing particularly interesting about this revelation. The interesting part of the anecdote is the fact that I watched John Hartson on Football Focus whilst I was sitting next to John Hartson. I looked at the TV and John was there, I looked at a nearby chair and John was there. It was a weird experience, and probably very postmodern. I tell you about this because I’d rather tell you about this than the match.

From a positive view the match had everything a neutral fan would want; goals, a sending off, shots, the side with 11 applying slow developing pressure, the side with 10 attacking on the break with a skillful and  dangerous attacker.

From a neagtive view the match had everything that would piss a fan off; a winless run stretching on a little bit further, another lead lost, another lead lost in injury time, an opposisiton with 5 or 6 players motivated by snide, an equalising goalscorer that celebrates an equalising goal as if he’s just won the league, a yet to be equalising goalscorer looking to the crowd and pointing at his shirt as if this gesture means something. I’m not sure I like football much any more.

Feb10 030

Wales U17 1 Finland U17
Under 17s International Friendly (Held at Nantporth)
12/2/13

It was very heartening to see a Welsh international side play with such composure, especially considering their age. How typical that they lost.

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