Following on from yesterday and the draw earlier today, it’s time to look at the latest strikers nominated for the Stacey West XI.
Firstly, the Group A result. The group finished as follows:
Andy Graver – Twitter 74 votes, poll 45 votes TOTAL 119
John Ward – Twitter 30 votes, poll 34 votes TOTAL 64
Jamie Taylor – Twitter 54 votes, poll 5 votes TOTAL 58
Tony Woodcock – Twitter 16 votes, poll 2 TOTAL 18
So, rather more close than many imagined, but John Ward and Andy Graver go through to the next round. If you saw the draw earlier you’ll know that Adrian Patulea, Mark Stallard, Davide Somma and John McGinley make up Group B. Here’s a brief overview of all four to get you started.
Patulea arrived at Lincoln to request a trial with Peter Jackson which the typically bullish Jackson had refused. Patulea took to running around the training pitch with his wife on his back in order to try and create an impression, and he was granted a chance. He spent six weeks training with the first team squad and finally convinced Jackson to sign him in addition to his Magnificent Seven. Unfortunately, his arrival turned them into the Hateful Eight.
He scored a second-half hat-trick against Lincoln United in a friendly to announce himself on the Sincil Bank stage and the internet was alight with his name. He instantly seemed to have won the hearts of Lincoln supporters who clamoured for him to sign. It eventually became apparent that Patulea’s former club, Petrolul Ploieşti, still held his playing registration and that had scuppered a move to non-league Burgess Hill a few weeks before.
City eventually managed to negotiate a deal for him and he signed for the club on 29 August 2008. His international clearance documents did not come through in time for him to play in the derby with Grimsby Town, but he scored his first League goal on his debut for Lincoln City, coming off the bench to score a goal in the Imps’ 2–0 win over Barnet.
He started his first game of the season away at Brentford, taking just 30 minutes to notch his second goal in a City shirt. He went on to score eleven times from just 19 starts for Lincoln.
The season ended with a manager v player argument. Adrian Patulea couldn’t get a run in the first team despite being the only player looking capable of scoring goals. He claimed he hadn’t been offered a new deal and Jackson claimed he had. As the season drew to a close there was no middle ground and the popular striker left for Leyton Orient. Jackson only last a few months more before being dismissed himself.
Wherever Mark Stallard played, fans loved him. He is revered as a hero in Bradford after just 42 games and 10 goals. He was loved at Notts County after five good years and he was loved in Wycombe for a two-year spell amongst the goals. The scene was set for him to arrive at Lincoln and fail to produce.
He didn’t, he produced the goods from his very first kick. He was a typical robust, all action centre forward, possessing neat flashes of skill and an uncompromising approach to winning and keeping the ball. He was ‘big and hard’ as the song went, but he made sure he brought goals to the party too.
Hereford (2-1), Accrington (3-1) and former club Wycombe (3-1) all felt the force of Mark Stallard as he collected a brace in each game. He bagged two more in the 7-1 destruction of Rochdale and ended that unsuccessful play-off season with 17 in all competitions in a terrifying strike force alongside Jamie Forrester.
In his next season, he struggled to find the same form after being kept out of the first team by Steve Torpey and at one point even Ollie Ryan. Once Schofield was sacked and Peter Jackson came in he found his chances decreasing even more, often seeing Louis Dodds or Lenny John-Lewis preferred up top. A red card away at Rotherham signalled the end of Stallard’s Imps career and upon completion of his contract he dropped down the Blue Square Premier with Mansfield, where it will come as no surprise to find he scored goals.
There are two types of loan players, those who don’t make a difference which equates to 85% of players brought in on loan, and then there are those that do. Davide Somma made a significant difference.
He signed on loan from Leeds and immediately earned the Imps a point against Crewe with a debut goal. After a couple of games, he really began to fire earning a draw at Dagenham (1-1) and scoring twice to earn a win away at Torquay (3-2). In effect his goals were the difference between staying up or going down.
Sutton was quick to enthuse about his new striker in his March programme notes for a clash with Northampton; “Since Davide has come in he’s not just scored goals he’s offering us so much more in terms of his link up play and awareness. He offers a genuine goal threat. The one thing he can do is finish but there’s still parts of his game, by his own admission, he can work on and I’m confident I can help him with his game.”
From the cold February through to his final day sending off against Macclesfield it really felt like ‘Somma time’ at Sincil Bank. Unsurprisingly fans were clamouring for him to be signed full time and despite Chris Sutton signalling his interest in the player it seemed like Leeds rated him highly and he didn’t return to Sincil Bank. There intuition was right as he scored 12 Championship goals for them the following season, but after that his progress was blighted by injury.
Somma was a player who should never have found himself playing in the basement division, he had an air of poise and class that simply wasn’t at home amongst the hatchet-men and has-beens. Shortly after the World Cup of 2010 he was called up to the South Africa side for three games, scoring once.
John McGinley played non-League football for Ashington and Gateshead before signing for First Division club Sunderland in early 1982. He did appear for the Mackems, but didn’t break through and spent just four months with them before moving back to Gateshead. He later played in Belgium for Charleroi before returning to England for the first of two spells with the Imps. During his first spell he played as a winger before switching to the middle of the park,
His second spell saw us relegated from the Football League, but he was one of the few who opted to remain at the club. Along with Phil Brown, they were their joint leading scorers with 20 goals apiece in all competitions. McGinley damaged his Achilles tendon in the final match against Wycombe and, rather poignantly, didn’t play for the club again. He finished his League career in the 1989–90 season with Doncaster Rovers, then played for Boston United in the Conference until 1992.