The City Report
We're all used to reading the usual match reports following a City game. You know the sort of thing, ‘City didn't get going till the second half', ‘Smith's rash challenge resulted in a red/yellow card', ‘Tommy Doherty looked knackered after six minutes'. But for us fans, the truth of a matchday experience is usually very different from the cold facts that are reported in the media.
In this article, Tony Roberts gives his view of the Stockport game and an insight into the sort of feelings we all have during a game. Thanks to Tony for sending in such a great piece.
Having rather stupidly decided a job was more important than being unemployed, I found my shift pattern meant I was unable to attend many games at Ashton Gate this season. After mentally executing myself over and over, I painstakingly searched for when I was able to attend my first home game of the new season. Would it be a visit from one of the more exciting teams? Swindon perhaps? Always a good atmosphere there…. Nope. Ah…. Stockport . Memories of outplaying a poor team and then seeing Luke Beckett heading a goal. Umm…. Well hopes spring eternal that City's defence can cope for a change, and ditch the Dracula mentality on crosses and run screaming for cover.
Its on a week where my eldest son has his birthday so he's popping over, a year to the week his last birthday included being ball-boy against Port Vale and a glorious day, excellent weather, brilliant hospitality and a 0-1 defeat……. Trust City to ruin things. However maybe this time they'll respect the boy and treat him to a birthday pressie. My sister is popping over too, just before she heads for a student life in Oxford , so we all head to Ashton full of hope and suppressing the memory of that 0-1 defeat last year….
Its the first time I'll have seen the new look City and their new manager; Tins the player is well known to us but what about his managerial abilities? Would be rake a 40-yard pass to a player, then watch as he mucks it up and lets it go out of play? Would be berate the unfortunate (usually a defender called Butler ) and order him for ball control lessons on Sunday? Who knows…and what about the new boys? Smith at full back, replacing the once familiar Carey; would Smith slot into Carey's role of launching exocet passes 30 yards ahead of the nearest colleague? And what of Orr, a midfield dynamo, trying hard to match Tommy D's psycho tackling style? He was on the bench, so watch out Lee Miller, wear your shinguards.
Heffernan had arrived in the summer too, a much-vaunted 20-goal a season striker from mighty Notts County , and he was on the bench too. The one big difference it seemed to me from what I'd heard was Leroy Lita; last season he was a bench warmer, this season Tins had put faith in him and played the lad from the start. Lita was leading scorer with 5. Would it be a flash in the pan or would he show me he was on fire? I was used to seeing large lumbering City forwards playing well in midfield but being unable to score in a brothel. However after Sheffield Wednesday had relieved us of that problem it was up to Lita to show us all what could have been last season.
City were resting uneasily just above the relegation zone and there were predictable calls for Tinnion to get the sack from those who play Premiership Manager on Playstation 56 or whatever it's called. Let the muppets beat Milton Keynes Donkeys 23-0 in their bedrooms, this is reality. The game starts and thankfully Tinnion has got the players passing the ball around, I certainly didn't want him to go down the Graham Taylor-John Beck road and introduce Louis Carey-style football to the rest of the side. The Wedlock Stand would have collapsed under the barrage. Mind you, that might have kick-started Colin Sexstone's intention of redeveloping the ground a year early.
Stockport look as terrible as Peterborough normally do; I really do hope City get up out of this division and away from these teams, its rather depressing watching Downs football and paying for it. City are knocking it around confidently; Hill is even managing to accurately find Wilkshire, back from his Olympics. Wilkshire is probably hoping he'll avoid the fate of that marathon runner if he finds himself on a 1-to-1 with the keeper; I mean it wouldn't be good if he's rugby tackled by some insane Irish Catholic priest wearing a kilt when about to shoot into an open net. The nearest we've got to that is Tommy D. Well he's no priest and he's wearing shorts, but perhaps the other descriptions might apply…..
Smithy looks a great purchase, he's actually passing accurately. Louis who? Word comes of Carey's dismissal whilst playing for Coventry ; I smile. Tinnion then sends us mad by drilling a gentle drive into the bottom corner to put City 1-0 up. As we celebrate I wonder how the keeper allowed it to beat him…. no matter it's a goal. Now will City sit back, a-la Wilson , and play for a 1-1 draw?? Not Tinnion's City, they carry on attacking and pummel the Stockport side. Our Welsh wizard Roberts skips past a defender and skims a shot into the corner for 2-0. A section of the crows behind and to our right start singing “there's only one decent Welshman”. Well, two fingers to those who criticise Roberts for any reason.
Hill passes to Butler , Butler passes to Coles, Coles to Tinnion, Tinnion to the touchline. Hey, that's Burnell's style. Tinnion to report tomorrow for passing lessons AT THE DOUBLE!! A few moments later Tinnion drills another shot goalwards and Lita sticks out his chest like Kelly Holmes crossing the 800m finishing line, and its 3-0. Great stuff and we even survive a Dracula moment when a Stockport cross is met unchallenged (no change there then) and the crossbar saves City.
The half time break is enlivened by the arrival of my son and sister with inedible hot dogs and mud water called tea. If they use floor scrapings from Tesco why not call it that? Still, the second half is under way and I forget my likely indigestion and watch fascinated as City waste a few chances. It's just like watching Wednesday. Eventually Tinnion decides he's having a break and comes off for Orr, and Roberts is pulled off for Heffernan. That's saved the Roberts haters from laryngitis, obviously. Heffernan's first contribution is to score the fourth from Lita's flick-on, and Orr's is to get booked for a tackle right out of the Psycho manual. Tommy D you've got a rival.
Lita saves the best for last, turning a defender inside out before unleashing a 25-yard missile – or a Louis Carey pass if you like – that screamed past the flapping Stockport keeper into the bottom corner. 5-0 and it's delirium. A perfect ending to the day and my kid is well pleased as we make our happy way home. I reflect on the fact my next scheduled visit to this hallowed stadium is the LDV match with…. Peterborough . Ugh its enough to give anyone indigestion. Or is it the hot-dog?