What I am about to do is unfair, unjust and perhaps a little bit self important as well. A post on an Ipswich forum was brought to my attention yesterday with a bit of a challenge to pull it apart. I’ve got a couple of hours to kill so using my deformed claw of a right hand and a little bit of cynical wit I thought I’d blog about it today.
I’m not going to pick up on grammar and spelling errors though, as we all make those and I used to have a bit of a reputation as a fully fledged member of the grammar police, or as most people know them ‘annoying bastards’.
I’m going to launch straight in.
“teams are often infused with loanees of premiership, championship and league one calibre. It is not uncommon to see a mid thirties journeyman of folklore status lining up alongside a 16 year old Chelsea prodigy. The Lincoln Team does feature players across this spectrum.”
Who? What mid-thirties journeymen do we have lining up for us? I’ll give you a clue, its none. I appreciate a fan of Ipswich might not be aware of our squad, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but if you’re going to write something appertaining to a scout report, it might be nice to get some of your opening facts right. The closest we have to a Chelsea prodigy, and indeed our only loan player is Harry Anderson whom you fail to mention at all. Essentially we feature one player that falls into the spectrum our Tranmere following Ipswich fan alludes to. One.
“Notable names in the Lincoln team are :-Captain and crowd rousing centre half Luke Waterfall, capable of a dirty tackle, good header and not too slow in the panicked clearance category.”
Disagree. If that is the impression Luke Waterfall gave during the game then I may have been watching with my eyes closed. I don’t often see Luke make a dirty challenge, and just two bookings all season suggest I’m right. I’m not sure what ‘not too slow in the panicked clearance category’ means, but if he’s referring to Waterfall getting the ball clear at all costs when the chips are down, then maybe he’s right.
“Then a non league journeyman striker-cum-elephant (as the SWA* kept calling him) Matt Rhead, a nuisance of a big powerful forward, long body, short legs, running out of energy and hair but clearly a fan of laying down feigning injury for long periods.”
Again I’m not sure journeyman really applies to Rheady, he hasn’t done the rounds across a hundred clubs. He came through late, but that doesn’t make him a journeyman. The description of nuisance is about right, powerful as well but even Matt’s Mum will probably say that ‘long body, short legs’ is the most inaccurate and bizarre description of the big man ever. He does like a lay down during a game though, usually because some other big lump like McNulty has given him a sly dig in the ribs.
“A certain Mr Lee Beevers is also in Sincil Banks ranks.”
Factually correct, but if the writer thinks telling Ipswich fans about a player of ours (and formerly theirs) who won’t feature again this season is useful, he’s wrong.
“no team would be complete without the style icon, and in this case Lincolns winger, and first goal-scorer Nathan “Pink Boots” Arnold, small, quick typical non league haircut, irritating to Tranmere’s Liam Ridehalgh (Left Back) and Richie Sutton (Left side Centre Back) for the entire affair, although went very quiet for a while after Big Liam showed him some brute level intelligence”
Firstly I think James Constable had equally as garish boots on, so singling out our goal scorer and (for my money) our man of the match seems a bit harsh. I imagine Nathan would be more rattled at the description of his ‘non-league’ haircut. He owns a hair salon pal, he’s much better at judging haircuts than you are at judging players. I suspect he’ll be happy with style icon, although I hear Alex Woodyard has some nice clobber and rocks the ‘indie chic’ as well as anybody.
I do agree that Arnold is quick and irritates full backs, but I’m not sure what ‘brute level intelligence’ is. Is he saying the (note the tone) slick and fair tackling Tranmere showed him a few rough tackles to slow him down? It didn’t seem to affect him as he helped lay on our winner with just nine minutes to go did it?
“Waterfall often looking panicked with the direct running of Jay Harris and Lois Maynard, eventually conceding a penalty with a tackle reminiscent of pressing both A and B together on Fifa 96 on the Mega Drive, Sending a tricky Andy Mangan flying and allowing Jeff Hughes to convert from the spot.”
Firstly you’ve got the buttons wrong, in was FIFA 99 and you pressed L2 and R1 to dive, not this weird combination you’ve come up with. He didn’t send Mangan flying, in fact Luke Waterfall didn’t send anyone flying. Callum Howe was close to ‘tricky’ Andy Mangan, but it was Mangan’s own predisposition to cheating that sent him to the floor, and a referee with the same visual observation skills as Stevie Wonder that awarded it.
I’m actually really wound up in the aftermath of the game, because all I’ve read on Tranmere forums and on this post is that City were a dirty side, cheating and time wasting at every opportunity. Not one of these informed and balanced observers has mentioned the appalling act of simulation by Mangan, nor the thuggish challenge that could have chopped Alex Woodyard in half. I try and pride myself on being objective and I’ve mentioned elsewhere Hawkridge was lucky to stay on the field, and I’ve got no respect for completely one sided blogging and comments.
“Lincoln brought pace to the latter stages of the game with substitute Adam Marriott, a break allowing a fast and small (another elf sized player) player to burst through and beat Scott Davies from around 15 yards (wrong end of pitch, forgive the distance). They then tried to sit on the lead, which nearly backfired, Tranmeres Heroic and gargantuan centre Half Steve “Truck” McNulty, a professional more famous for his weight than his skills being pushed up as an extra threat, indeed McNulty is a skilled player, and flicked several chances both aerial and ground based through but the frantic attacks all failed to beat the keeper.”
Adam Marriott is probably better known for his trickery and on the ball ability than his raw pace, but I’ll forgive the writer for that. He also has a couple of digs about us being a small side, as if that is some sort of slur. I’m not sure he saw Callum Howe at all, and perhaps he misjudged the height of Luke Waterfall? Theo Robinson is six foot tall, Matt Rhead is a big lump too… how are we an ‘elf’ sized side? Too many Christmas themed films for this fella I think.
If Steve McNulty is heroic maybe he would have been on hand to block Marriott’s shot, like he blocked the view of at least a thousand supporters wherever he went on the pitch? As a neutral observer I don’t think there is much difference between McNulty and Rhead apart from the position they play. I do rate McNulty, he reads the game well and does have a bit about him, but if you properly watch Matt Rhead he’s exactly the same. He uses his frame to his advantage, but he can play a bit as well. He wouldn’t get a start every week otherwise!
“A lot of Lincolns play came from counter attacking football, and they were keen to utilise the fast players such as Arnold, but somewhat bizarrely as soon as they scored they began time wasting, the first goal was after 3 minutes, which lead to some really frustrating viewing.”
I think we’ve got mixed up here between time wasting and slowing the game down. Even a simple fan such as myself knows that if you get an early lead it is important to slow the game down and not let your opponents get straight back into the game. After our first goal I actually thought we were poor, and Tranmere were able to get back into the game. It wasn’t time wasting though, only a team of absolute morons would start time wasting with 87 minutes still to play. Also although we do look to utilise the pace out wide I think we have enough other facets to our play to be unpredictable and offer several different threats. We play high balls from different angles, there is the full back overlap and well as a direct approach through the centre usually involving Woodyard at some point. We’re not predictable and a real scout watching the game would surely report that we have a threat all over the pitch.
“I could see a potential upset on the cards if we aren’t able to panic their plan A, if they do get an early goal consider it siege mentality from that point forward.”
In fairness towards the end he talks about a potential upset if they don’t ‘panic our plan a’, I’m not sure what that means but if he’s referring to stopping us playing our game then they might have an issue. Danny and Nicky change the game plan slightly for whoever we are up against, and therefore our plan is based on their expected set-up as much as it is playing to our strengths. If Ipswich continue the stinking run of form, and McCarthy disrespects the cup as he has done in previous years then I can’t help but feel there could be another upset on the cards.
“Sears and Lawrence could rip holes in the Lincoln defence with little effort, but if ever there was a game for our fringe players to either cement starting XI places or garner attention from admiring suitors this would fit that bill perfectly, the banana skin is firmly placed however.”
Despite his inaccurate post I’ve really warmed to this guy by the end. He arrived at the conclusion we were a threat via a clumsy and often factually incorrect route, but he did arrive there nonetheless. I think the banana skin will be placed by Ipswich bringing in fringe players who perhaps under estimate the threat that our squad offers.
To suggest that Freddie Sears could rip holes in the Lincoln defence is optimistic. So far this season in 22 outings he’s ripped holes in just Burton’s defence (once) and Rotherham’s defence (once) giving him a grand total of two goals. Similarly Tom Lawrence, the on-loan Leicester striker has the same goals return from 17 matches. Four goals between them in 39 matches doesn’t suggest they will be ripping too many holes in anything. These two tricky and apparently devastating players have less goals between them as the ‘dirty tackler’ Luke Waterfall.
That’s the last I’ll be blogging about the cup game until 2017. We have two massive matches with Guiseley home and away at Christmas, the sort of bankers that you have to go and triumph in if you’re serious about winning the National League. Before that we (finally) have our FA Trophy match with Nantwich as well. I’ll be blogging about that later today.
In the meantime, thank you Baltacha Fan Club for taking the time to come and watch our team, thank you for being wildly inaccurate and giving me something to write about, and thank you for not highlighting even a quarter of the threats we’re going to pose at Portman Road.
SWA stands for either ‘Super White Army’, or ‘Sad White Army’ depending on which minute of the game you’re referring to.