Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Defender Wood not like to be upfront-but anywhere else is ok.

Yesterday I highlighted one of our new players. Bradley Wood in the blog. In reality Wood highlighted himself with an unaccustomed appearance in midfield but he’s been a revelation too in his usual defence berth and fans will have surely have noticed his solid displays, I certainly have.
Unfortunately Wood and everyone else for that matter is presently living in the shadow of Matt Rhead who has been a sensation but that’s good for us fans as we savour the new players gelling and putting in exciting performances which now seem to be producing points and wins so long may that continue.

Of course it doesn’t take long for our fearless sports newshounds, the Lincolnshire Echo to get in on the action and in todays webpage an article which I wouldn’t mind betting will find its way into Thursdays paper edition. Wood emphasised what I was saying yesterday about Torquays resilience, although he was slightly less polite:

"They came with a game plan to stop any football , anything going to Matt Rhead and to be ugly," said Wood.
"In the first 20 minutes they did it. So we became a bit cuter going down the sides and started hitting it to Rhead at chest height and putting some good balls in to him.
"As soon as we got the first we got a quick second and they crumbled."
"The second half was about game management. We could have gone on and scored a few more, but we were happy to get the clean sheet and win 2-0," said Wood.
"It's credit to the lads how they stuck at it and dug in. We didn't go a goal behind, which a month ago might have happened. If that had happened we'd have had a tough fight on our hands to get hold of a result.
"The back four and the goalkeeper deserve credit for keeping it clean at the back and that gives us the platform to score the goal and we never turned back."

Wood told the Echo he's happy to play in midfield, having done it at Alfreton, just don't ask him to try his hand at striker. At the moment though there isn't a vacancy in that department.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Lincolnshire’s Great Exhibition.

This exhibition has been on all summer and I got to see it on the very last day. I’m glad I did.

Undoubtedly the stars of the show, apart from Magna Carta which I saw many years ago but haven’t got round to seeing again, are the Luttrell Psalter, loaned by the British Library and the Heneage Jewel, given by Elizabeth I to Sir Thomas Heneage, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Those two give an insight into the quality of the exhibits and there’s a list as long as your arm of contributors including HM The Queen, The House of Commons, Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

Paintings, ceramics, maps, documents, Australia memorabilia, this exhibition is testament to the ambition of the organisers who have put together a collection as good if not better than those offered in the capital.

My own favourite was the original painting of the Jolly Fisherman which formed the poster for the railway companies that helped put Skegness on the map. This was loaned by Skegness Town Council and just goes to show that there was something for everyone.

Strikers put paid to spirited Gulls.

Eagle eyed readers will have noticed that there’s never any reference to lottery wins, successful raids on the bookies or profit on the roulette wheel in this blog. Anyone reading my last post will have some insight into why that may be given my foresight in the situation in which Liam Hearn finds himself. Far from the doom and gloom I predicted Hearn not only started the match but played a good seventy minutes, got a goal and generally confounded his critics who do not include me in their number by the way.

For a team upon whose heads every kind of misfortune has been heaped I thought Torquay gave a pretty good account of themselves last Saturday, not in terms of winning the match, Gulls ambitions didn’t stretch that far but the in the sense that they were determined not to be beaten it was a good effort by them, after all they’ve been through. Maybe at one time their limited ambition might have been successful but this year we have a striker, we must say strikers after Saturday who are bang on form and Hearn and Matt Rhead duly dispatched the low flying Gulls with two very cute finishes to claim maximum points in this very entertaining and encouraging win.

Encouraging I hear you ask? Well yes because this is exactly the sort of game City would have stumbled at previously. An opponent holed beneath the water line, gone through managers with, for all we know, a managerial hopeful or even confirmed appointment sitting in the stand by way of geeing up the deflated troops who see the prospect of unemployment looming if they don’t buck their ideas up. You can just see it now, City labour in vain for ninety minutes only for a sympathetic referee to spot something in the box that nobody else did, Imps are booed off and giggles from the relieved opponents.

That it didn’t pan out like that is largely due to our strikers who are walking on water at the moment but it’s not just them. This was an all-round performance epitomised by man of the match Bradley Wood, playing out of position, he put on an outstanding display as did several players and I must mention once again Paul Farman, his demons are well and truly dispatched.

So a bit of a warm glow this Monday morning. It’s Lincoln City we’re talking about though so, like you I’m waiting for someone or something to prick the bubble.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Lots of efforts don’t always pay dividends.

Interesting stuff in the Echo bearing out what I think many of us have concluded, City are doing more attacking at home this season. Unfortunately, whilst desirable that alone is not propelling the Imps into the play off zone, but of course every little helps.

Some good news and some not so good. As mentioned before, Matt Rhead is working wonders up front, both in terms of goals but also assists as anyone who was at Sincil Bank last Tuesday will testify. Also a big plus, for me is a resurgent Alan Power who I thought put in a really good shift on Tuesday. Consistency is needed from Power and I think the manager shows his frustration and the player now knows, if he didn’t before, that lack lustre displays will result in a spell on the bench. We do have players of this type, Nolan’s another who can look great but can also be a liability although Nolan obviously thinks he knows best and wants to try his luck elsewhere. Personally it wouldn’t surprise me to see that player go out on loan rather than a permanent transfer straight away but we will have to wait and see.

I haven’t forgotten the not so good. Liam Hearn not only didn’t start on Tuesday but came on very late, certainly too late to affect the game and I don’t think that points to a rosy prospect. Readers need only to consult this blog to realise I’m no expert but one has to conclude that the player is, sadly and once again, falling victim to his fitness worries whether that be injury or illness and I’ve got this horrible feeling it’s not going to work out for him at Lincoln but I do know that he is a wonderfully talented player and I desperately hope I’m wrong and we see Hearn return to health and fitness and we see what his partnership with the sparkling Matt Rhead can produce. The fitness experts at the club seemed very confident they could help Hearn play many more matches than has hitherto been able to and I pray they’re right.

So City failed to exact maximum reward from whipping boys Altrincham so step forward another desperate case, Torquay. If ever there were three points for the taking that opportunity presents itself on Saturday. If only it were that easy. City can only keep on the way that they have been going recently and rain the shots in but there’s got to be a bit more venom in the attack as Chris Moyses told the Echo:-

"Some of our efforts were a bit tame against Altrincham, however, we had a lot of chances on goal.
"It shows we are going the right way and that people who are coming to Sincil Bank are going to be put under pressure. They are going to come here for a battle and will have to defend.
"People know we are direct, but we can also play football as well. We create a lot of pressure on teams and it can be very hard to defend against that for 70 to 80 minutes.
"If we keep asking questions of the defence then we will score goals."

I’m not sure about that direct tag, for this level I think we play a bit but he’s right about one thing, we’ve got to be ruthless in attack if we’re going to succeed.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Imps draw leaves fans talking about anything but the football.

All the comment last night after City’s draw against Altrincham was about the referee. The manager, perhaps unwisely, and on the radio amongst the fans, the talk was about the inadequacy of referee Ollie Yates performance. I’ve said before in this blog though, referees don’t win or lose games and City should have had this one put to bed in the first twenty minutes, such was their dominance at the start.

Having said all that I’m now about to dismantle my argument and say that the overwhelming incident, the injury to Matt Sparrow and the way it was dealt with, did have a bearing on the game insofar as it completely took the wind out of City’s sails, Altrincham equalised whilst they were trying to regroup and try as they might, the Imps never reimposed themselves on the match as they were doing at the start.
I didn’t actually see the incident myself, some correspondent I am, but the din from the crowd confirmed that a major transgression had taken place but you can tell when a referee embarks upon a protracted conversation with a player that a red card is not going to be issued and Altrinchams man stayed on but what the referee was unwilling to do Jake Moults manager did for him a little later and he was duly and ignominiously substituted for his own good just before half time although of course the match remained 11 versus 11.

Sorry to harp on about it but man in the middle continued to antagonise the crowd by breaking up the game every time it threatened to get going pulling up for every minor misdemeanour and missing the glaring fouls. The second half was just as bad for a different reason, virtually nothing was penalised.

Shall we talk about football? There is much to admire about our new look side and I like what I see of the players Chris Moyses has brought in. However, if City are going to do any good this season they will have to learn to overcome setbacks like they suffered last night and prevail over sides such as Altrincham who were robust but visibly tired towards the end of the game. They should have been run ragged in the final third of the game.

A word about City’s goal, it was exquisite. I really like Matt Rhead and it was his knockdown that laid it on a plate for Alan Power. They all need putting in though and Power duly obliged with a confident finish. When he’s good he’s very good. I didn’t really agree with Rheads nomination as man of the match. I thought Chris Bush was outstanding as was Farman and the sponsors ought to think a bit more about sharing out the plaudits

Talking of ragged it's Torquay next at Sincil Bank this Saturday and the fans will not be best pleased to see City fail to win against them. Last night can be regarded as a bit of a slip up in difficult circumstances. Saturday will be a different matter.

Friday, 4 September 2015

New team. Same old problems.

It’s back to Sincil Bank for the Imps this Saturday and we fans will be hoping to get back to winning ways after the less than productive bank holiday weekend.

That roller coaster win against Macclesfield now seems some distance back in the memory. Whilst we would normally be happy to get a point to the Mariners at home the manner of it, in the lead and playing ten men only to let it slip, is not the stuff of promotion. There, I’ve used the P word but I won’t be doing so again any time soon at this rate.

Worse still, City, despite an almost complete rebuild of the team from last season, seem to be making the same mistakes. Perhaps we expect too much at this level. The manager agrees though:-

"Other teams are stopping us playing, they will grab our shirts and stop our movement," said Chris Moyses.
"In reply, we've been too nice. We need to be more determined and make sure their man doesn't score a goal.
"We will drill it into them by working on it and also make them more accountable, because it is far too easy.
"The lads are sick with the situation and they recognise it is a common problem and we have got to do better.

I thought the whole point of the new beefed up look was to eliminate the nice football, soft centre approach. Lee Beevers agreed:-

"It was very disappointing to lose like we did," the defender told the Echo.
"I felt we had a good amount of possession and at times dominated."In the last couple of weeks it has been the same thing. We haven't conceded much from open play, but we are suffering at set-plays and after restarts.
"We need to go and do a lot of work. You look at these goals and you don't expect us to concede them.
"Whether we are switching off at those key moments, or as a group, we are not doing well enough.
"It was two set-pieces against Gateshead, a throw-in against Grimsby, and set-pieces against Macclesfield. It is the same old story and we just need to put it right.
"You can shout and scream on the pitch to tell people to pick up their men . At the end of the day, you need to be switched on and do your job. We can work on the training ground to knuckle down and go with our man”

It’s Wrexham at the Bank tomorrow and they will present yet another tough test sitting just outside the play off places although you can’t really call them that yet but you know what I mean.

Magna Carta explained. Slight controversy.

Dr David Starkey appeared at the Drill Hall last Friday and gave his slant on the story we’re all getting used to hearing and a mighty interesting evening it turned out to be.

Maybe it’s because he’s on the telly a lot but by the time the Evening with David Starkey started there was a virtually full Drill Hall to hear him. The controversial historian started off by reminding us that the venue was the scene of his combative appearance on BBC’s Question Time, as if we needed telling. He also raised our hackles by asserting that Salisbury’s copy of the tome was better than ours, the cad. Surely that was tongue in cheek?

Either way he can hold an audience’s attention alright as he rattled in to his own version of how the famous or was it infamous barons held the detested King John to account and just when he was at his most vulnerable, forced his seal on the Great Charter. Needless to say he repudiated it shortly thereafter. Lincoln was one of only four places in the country that remained loyal to the King and it was to Lincoln that the Monarch, stricken by illness, was attempting to return when he died at Newark Castle losing the Crown Jewels somewhere in the mud of the Wash on the way, according to legend.

Legend is something to which Dr Starkey pays little heed, you may not be surprised to learn and when a questioner asked about a Bury St Edmunds connection to Magna Carta he was given short shrift by sparky Dr Starkey. Next question please!

All in all a very enjoyable evening and really no surprise the venerable history boffin is all the rage on TV. We resolved to keep an eye out for any similar offerings at this or the other venues in our rapidly emerging university city. Were it not for our reasonably new status I doubt whether we would have attracted so famous a speaker.