Don’t make me watch on Sky again, please: Imps 0-0 Exeter

“This is a battle between two styles, the direct approach of Lincoln City against League Two’s slickest side, Exeter City.”

That’s not verbatim, I couldn’t remember the exact wording, but little over thirty seconds after turning on my TV I wanted to throw something through it. Nobody had done their home work, not one person involved in bringing you this game live. It felt like a badly produced student project, from the ‘studio’ to the knowledge. I went on the Lincoln Uni programme earlier in the season and the production was ten times better on that than on Sky’s appalling programme.

As you know, I’m forced to endure the play-offs through my TV screen and it isn’t an experience I ever want to repeat. I haven’t watched a live game on Sky TV for well over a decade I’d say, if not more. £12.99 a week pass to Now TV cost me, which is around the same I’d pay almost everyone involved with the programme. Combined.

You can’t polish a turd and the first half was, in the main, a turd. Jayden Stockley had the best chance but as Exeter fans warned me, if it isn’t near his head he’s useless. So, the slickest passing side in the division teed up a cross for the striker and he completely missed the ball. The commentator, whose name I deliberately didn’t catch, was gutted.

Up the other end City had two penalty shouts and a free kick waved away by Ben Toner, a referee praised for keeping his cards in his pockets. He was only doing so to prevent his arse getting splinters, he sat on the fence for so long. “It’s his first play-off game and he’s handling it well,” the commentor gushed, moments before he bottled a blatant shove on Elliott in the area.

What he had bottled was a kick to James Wilson’s face by Ryan Harley, and I’m keen to know what the rules on high boots are. Seb Stockbridge sent Billy Knott off for one which I didn’t think he should have done, but Harley didn’t even get a yellow as he booted Wilson in the face. Which is it? Is it a foul, a red card or nothing at all?

Then there was the shove on Elliott, a penalty all day long. I’ve seen them given, I’ve seen them waved away, but this afternoon every single comparable ‘shove’ outside the area was penalised. So, at what point does a shove stop being a foul? In the area, apparently. Toner is being fast-tracked up the divisions, one of the perks of not going up this season.

Seconds later Rhead was wrestled to the floor, no penalty. Toner got that right, Rhead played for it and went down far too easily. Mind you, a stopped clock is right twice a day so let’s not blow too much smoke up the referee’s bottom.

Anderson was then blatantly checked on the edge of the area by Dean Moxey, again nothing given. Lee Hendrie, the only pundit with an ounce of sense, claimed it was the wrong decision. Moxey watched the run and, at last minute, stepped across our player without looking at the ball. In this modern game you cannot do that. Or, apparently, you can.

We went in at 0-0, Matt Green’s twist and shot our only half chance from open play and a rare free-kick on target our best from set pieces. I’ve griped about the referee, but it wasn’t his fault we were 0-0, he was just crap. If he’d been a good ref we might have had a penalty, but we hadn’t done enough to open up an organised Exeter side.

At half time Matt Taylor was asked if he felt either side did anything different to expectation. “No, not really.” he replied, as insightful as I expected. He  followed that up with; “Lincoln are trying to play it around in the final third though, they need to keep going long to Matt Rhead.” Of course we do, we’re not living up to our billing are we? No mention of the so-called passing side of Exeter going long to the sole striker Stockley, no mention of it being two sides cancelling each other out at all.

I would tell you what Stuart McCall said, but I’ve listened to his detritus about City before so I went to the loo. With my back and our stairs, the took ten minutes, a true blessing.

In the second half we saw fifteen minutes of the proper Lincoln City. Christy Pym was having a great game, claiming crosses which have troubled most other keepers we’ve seen this season, including our own. He made two great saves from Matt Green too, one resulting in Elliott tapping over with a gaping goal. Yes, the pressure was on and the Sky fools spoke about how great the saves were, but few plaudits went on the moves, slick passing that could have made it 1-0. It was all about Pym, not Matt Green.

They made much more of Rhead’s crashing header a few minutes afterwards because it fitted their narrative. The big lump is great in the air, etc etc. I was so angry I considered putting it on mute and having Radio Lincolnshire on, but when I tried it my Now TV feed was four or five seconds behind the commentary. It was almost better than going back to Hendrie and his dribbling accomplice, but eventually I popped away a Tramadol and two Diazepam and sat back hoping they would sort the pain in my ears more than that in my back.

17 Comments

  1. Turgid affair today and In my opinion we played it tight as one goal advantage is crucial now. The referee from my position has had an excellent game today so we cannot blame him at all
    It’s a two legged tie and a double edge sword now.i would settle for going through on penalties as Cowley will keep it tight in Exeter too.

  2. You are so right Gary. I bloody hate Sky. Useless shysters. I gave up earlier than you and switched to radio. I agree with your analysis of the game, I think we are definitely in with a chance come Thursday. Up the Imps!

  3. as most of us won’t be going to Exeter can you please stream your commentary for us all to enjoy. Your comments about the journey to Exeter are priceless, thanks

  4. Anyone who says that the ref had a good game seriously needs to go to Specsavers!
    This is far from over. City will find space on Thursday and the Cowleys will have Cup football tactics up their sleeves and a different starting setup! UTI!!!

  5. You should do that more often Gary – bloody hilarious! The tragic thing is that I’m fairly sure the commentator was the vastly experienced Alan Parry. He was a contemporary of Motson, Davies and Gubba back in the day. Lack of research was terrible- not just Ear-derley but he called one of their players Janes Wilson because he had the same number on as him. Where is Max Arnold when you need him?

  6. Once again we are in agreement Gary. I hate Sky and all they stand for and due to having my hospital appointment cancelled for today at short notice I had to watch on Sky, bloody stupid ill informed comments. Luckily I was watching at the local sports club and come half time the two club football teams finished their final matches and the drinks started to flow and the volume increased, couldn’t hear a word of commentary. Hopefully they will still be partying Thursday night. Get well soon mate.

  7. I thought the ref did ok… i thought Sky’s coverage was better than the checkatrade trophy effort. Lincoln are a direct team. Ive no problem with that. I’m not sure why people get so offended by the label.

  8. I agree the commentators were poor and none of them had done their homework in fact my wife who doesn’t normally watch the footy commented how biased the reporting seemed to be, there seemed to be a pre arranged agenda to knock everything that City did and praise Exeter. As Gary said the referee wasn’t the reason we didn’t win, he was OK a pretty average six out of ten. We had three good chances to score, four if you count the one Elliot missed which, came back to him very quickly from the keeper’s foot, if just one of those had gone in we’d be happy. The first goal on Thursday will be crucial as both sides are capable of sitting on a lead, let’s hope we score it in the 89th minute!

  9. The irony appears to be lost on the author of this piece. A very amateur piece of work indeed. How come you were forced into not being able to attend?

    Also amusing is your criticism of a team who usually tries to play good football, as a follower of a true non-league lump-it-and-run side.

    • I was forced by having major back surgery less than a week ago after not missing a game all season.

      I do love people who comment without establishing facts.

    • You’ve not replied I see? An apology would be nice, I believe three rods in my spine is justification for missing one game.

      As for you normally playing football, I’m not so sure. I’ve seen you three times this season, twice you’ve played long ball. My uncle and cousin are ST holders at St James Park and they’ve not disagreed with my ‘amateur’ piece.

      Stick a link to your two-time FBA nominated blog below and I’ll have a quick look at what a proper writer does, shall I?

  10. Sky called the place Sincil Park not long ago in their coverage for an under 19 game. I have never been overly concerned with what the national media say about Lincoln as it is always patronising and poorly researched. As long as they show the game it is fine by me, and it is why God gave us the mute button, and pause function for both radio through the internet and tv so we can sync them

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