Category Archives: Writers – Andrew Abbott

Who’d Have Thought That?

Andrew Abbott’s post Wrexham V Lincoln City comment

 

Wrexham FC.png vLincoln City F.C. badge.png

 

Wrexham 2–4 Lincoln City  

 

Last Friday I wrote of the Wrexham game : “It’s difficult to be too optimistic although stranger things have happened.” Well a very strange thing did happen, City broke their duck away in spectacular fashion, winning in Wales. Not only that but there have been one or two signs lately that the much maligned manager might be starting to turn round another disappointing season. Firstly the Luton game which really ought to have been a home win but for a most uncharacteristic error by Paul Farman and an all too familiar defensive clanger to gift Hatters a two goal advantage. The general display was good though. The manager does not need telling however, he needs to address these lapses of concentration.

 

The home reverse was followed by a good point against Mansfield, although they are having their problems at the moment. A win at home to Forest Green put the Imps effort into context though and now our heroes go to second placed Wrexham and put four goals away to burst their bubble. Two goals conceded, essentially when the game was won admittedly serves to underline the fragility that is still an unwanted part of City’s persona.

 

So October is so far not proving to be quite the mountain we all thought it may be and with Jamie Taylor hitting the net regularly and indeed goals coming from all over the place including a deserved reward for young Connor Robinson, things are certainly starting to look up.

 

Of course, Taylors goalscoring exploits are bound to have eyes turning to Sincil Bank and the problem with such a well publicised tale of financial doom and gloom coming out of the club, as used to be the case during John Reames’ tenure, is that other clubs start to get the impression that the waving of a relatively small amount of cash in City’s direction usually does the trick when it comes to the spiriting away of prized assets at knockdown prices. City really don’t help themselves sometimes.

 

However, let’s not get too critical but instead allow ourselves to enjoy this surprising development. It’s fair to say that David Holdsworth has not so far won over the fans but there can’t be any who actually want him to fail surely?

 

Next weekend a change from the league programme with the arrival of the FA Cup. Not a respite from the need for wins though as progress is vital if City’s economic hoodoo is to be overcome.

 

 

 

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

 

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International Duty

Andrew Abbott looks at a trip to Wrexham and the principality of Wales

Wrexham FC.png vLincoln City F.C. badge.png

That’s right, City are in Wales this weekend to face the daunting prospect of trying to extract something from their trip to the principality with a visit to Wrexham. The Imps will be buoyed by the point gained at MansfieldTown. Every little helps but it’s worth pointing out that all is not that well at Mansfield these days and Wrexham will present a considerably tougher prospect. Talking to not exactly a Stags fan but certainly a football follower, Forest fan actually, with his ear to the tracks in Notts it’s hard to fathom who is the least popular with his fans, David Holdsworth or Mansfield’s Paul Cox at the moment.

 

Not to get too bogged down with football politics it’s been another strange old week in Impdom with the team, for my money, playing Luton off the park, at least for spells only to get struck down by that all too familiar current problem or problems rather; inability to score and individual mistakes. Both traits are acknowledged by the manager but the fans are looking to the gaffer to put these things right. So far he has not displayed an ability to do so but we live in hope.

 

There are some bright points starting with keeper Paul Farman which may seem a bit strange in the week when said keeper got Luton off to a flyer palming the ball in the net but such indiscretions are very few and far between with Farman and he more than redeemed himself with his display at Mansfield. It’s worth remembering that the much vaunted Rob Burch had a red face on more than one occasion and the sainted Alan Marriott was not invulnerable. He wouldn’t be playing at the level he is if that were the case.

 

Other plus points, for me, are Andrew Boyce, again maybe not his most sparkling performance against the Hatters but I really like watching this player, and Tom Miller. We’ve also got Peter Gilbert for a few games and I like the cut of his jib too. All defenders you’ll note, we’re having to wait to make any judgements on the strike force but it would be remiss not to mention Jamie Taylor, a player who quite literally gets us out of our seats.

 

Right, that’s cheered ourselves up, back to earth with a bump as we consider the prospects for points to lift us out of the bottom four and it’s difficult to be too optimistic although stranger things have happened. A look at the league table tells us everything we need to know. Wrexham second, City fourth from the wrong end. Now if that isn’t tempting providence I don’t know what is.

 

 

 

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

 

Oh dear what can the matter be?

Post Lincoln V Luton a Monday comment by Andrew Abbott.

 Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Luton Town F.C. badge

Lincoln City FC 1-2 Luton Town

 

The manager loses no opportunity to explain that the budget is one of the lowest in the league. The board are working hard but hamstrung because few fans are attending home games. The fans, to read some websites, suspect that there is investment available but there are few new faces appearing on the board. Au contraire, say the board, watch this space. Everyone is fed up of watching the team lose.

The visit of Luton Town at least raised the prospect of a decent home gate although at a touch short of 3000 even that much improved attendance is still adrift of the break even figure but something like 2100 home fans represents a significant increase in the previous interest and an impressive 800 odd from Luton made for a good atmosphere in the stadium.

The stage was therefore set for City to raise their game and have a right good go at the opposition to let the stay away fans see what they have been missing; City’s last two home fixtures have produced wins. To be fair the team did have a good go at the Hatters although the manager’s choice of formation with just Jamie Taylor up front caused a few groans. Undaunted, City set about Luton with a vengeance before the game took a depressingly familiar look. Chances created and spurned before goalkeeper Paul Farman of all people gifted the opposition the lead with an uncharacteristic flap that saw the ball end up in City’s net.

Home fans were expecting some changes at half time but it was the Hatters who, no doubt stung by their complete inability to make headway against the Imps, that goal apart, Shaw and Rowe-Turner coming on to beef up Luton’s resolve. No sooner were the formalities completed and the second half underway when Luton doubled their lead again with with more than a little assistance from the home side. The defence like rabbits caught in the headlights leaving Jon Shaw the simple task of slotting the ball past an unmoving Farman.

City did finally get on the score sheet in spectacular fashion as Farman repulsed a Luton attack and the ball went all the way to the other end where Taylor lashed a thunderbolt past Tyler in the Hatters goal to bring the home fans to their feet

David Holdsworth did at last send reinforcements to the attack with the introduction of Colin Larkin and, a little later took off Peter Bore which baffled me a little as Bore was having a positive influence and surely experience was needed, and replaced him with the boy Robinson. Didn’t understand that, didn’t understand one up front. The changes proved too little too late and the game fizzled out as did City as an attacking force.

The game ended with the now familiar boos but it had been an upbeat performance from the home team but who, once again unhinged themselves with sloppiness in defence not to mention that howler from Farman. City really should have won this game on the evidence of their performance and now enter the twilight world of the bottom four of the division.

Do you remember the theme tune to that old sitcom “Auf Weidersehen Pet”? Some of the words went “no one said it was going to be easy” and I don’t think any one with Lincoln City connections were so presumptuous. By the same token I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be quite as difficult as it is proving either.

Read a version of this together with many other articles on Lincoln City and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

Roll back the years.

Andrew Abbott gives us his take on the upcoming Luton Town encounter.

Comment By Andrew Abbott

 Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Luton Town F.C. badge

Saturday  6th October K.O 3 pm

There was a time when the visit of LutonTown to Sincil Bank would have barely caused a ripple in the Lincoln pond although they have always seemed a much bigger club than City thanks to Eric Morecambe and that run in the top division that seems many moons ago now. It must seem like it never happened to Hatters fans  just as Forest supporters must wonder if their heyday was a dream.

 

Did we have a heyday? Yes, of course but it was never along the lines of our illustrious opponents and you would be getting on a bit now if you remember the days when City regularly battled it out with the biggest names in football. There I go again, getting all morose. Tomorrow is a chance to relive those heady days when we were a football league club at least and occasionally a successful one.

 

The big time was far from the mind of manager David Holdsworth this week as he discussed in his regular column in the Lincolnshire Echo the relative virtues of a regional league. In yesterdays Echo, an article on the fact that City cannot afford, as a matter of routine, to send players for a scan to assess the extent of injuries. Any fan will be aware that our football club must cut its cloth according to its means and we should applaud them for trying, at least, to run a tight ship. The problem is, for this fan, that I feel we are being prepared for continued life at this level or below.

 

Football is about dreams and escape. City fans dream of an escape from the drudgery of our current existence. Do they really want to hear about the present straightened circumstances? David Holdsworth will want us to hear the message to justify the Imps present lowly position but does that sell tickets? I don’t think it does. In my view, whilst acknowledging that no one will be inspired to watch a side struggling at the bottom of the league, we are after all down to the real hardy few, a bit of inspiration might not go amiss. Surely there is something uplifting we could hear about? Paul Farman’s selection for England C perhaps? That has hardly been shouted from the rooftops.

 

A look at the Dunstable Today website reveals an article all about the forthcoming game, just football, no sob stories at all as well there might not be with a club sitting fourth in the table, two above you know who. Our own website features an admittedly tongue in cheek offering entitled “Your club needs you” as indeed they do but is that what we’ve come to? You can download a flyer and what? Put it in your window, hand it around at work? Anyway, I’ll be there and I hope you will be too. Your club needs you.

 

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

Life in the old dog yet?

Andrew Abbott’s take on the Lincoln City V Nuneaton Town match.

 Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Badge of Nuneaton Town 

Lincoln  2-1 Nuneaton

There was a certain inevitability at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night as City took a sucker punch early on to provoke some half hearted cries of Holdsworth out! The Imps laboured on to little effect and no doubt many were wondering what they might had done with £18 other than be at the match.

 

My mate Stewart offered the opinion that watching the Imps these days is akin to looking at your poor old pooch mournfully seeing out the remainder of his days, a sad reflection of his former self. It only seemed yesterday that he was chasing rabbits and frightening the postman?

 

City fielded a new look strike force, little good it did them and the crowd were certainly in no mood to make Conner Robinson’s full debut something he would look back on with regret but to say there was any punch up front would take much rosier tinted glasses than I possess. The manager responded with a triple substitution.

 

Then a funny thing happened. Well it’s not funny if your name is Simon Forsdick. Vadaine Oliver was on a charging run towards goal and Forsdick brought him down. There was little doubt of the foul but would the referee deem the Nuneaton man the last defender? He did and that meant only one thing and Forsdick made a very slow trudge to the dressing room.

 

Now this sort of scenario hasn’t produced rich rewards for City in recent years so there was some light hearted conjecture as to where the ball might end up from the resulting free kick. Few expected what happened as Nutter rolled the ball to Nicky Nicolau and he absolutely buried it to put City level.

 

The Imps were like a dog with two tails now but would they go on to sink their teeth into Nuneaton’s nether regions or go back to whimpering and farting by the fire?

 

Tom Miller provided the answer although not that many could see how the ball ended up in the net to put City on their way to three points. Just to dispel any thoughts that City might be out of the woods the referee, previously not disposed to right the wrongs perpetrated on the Imps, awarded a penalty. Plenty would not have done. More inevitably, Taylor rattled the bar with his effort. The fact that a centimetre lower and City would have been 3.1 up more an indication of the Imps lack of luck at the moment than judgement on Taylor’s ability as a penalty taker. Still, the journey home was a lot pleasanter than it had seemed it would be an hour earlier.

 

 

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

Adding Insult To Injury

Andrew Abbott’s take on the Lincoln City V Alfreton game

 

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Alfreton Town FC.svg   

Lincoln 1- 2 Alfreton  

Scorers

Nicolau 27 Wilson 64 Kempson 80

Att 1566

*****

It’s tempting to say same old story, fragile City once again throw away a lead and end up getting booed off having capitulated to a side that they ought to have wiped the floor with. Whatever the new players think they’ve let themselves in for goodness only knows.

I got talking to a scout before the game and no I didn’t ask who he was looking at, he was from Shrewsbury. After he’d finished going on about how long it took to get to Lincoln, Shrewsbury? He’s a one to talk, not exactly the centre of the universe is it? He asked me how things were here. Well it’s difficult to sell the club isn’t it? All you can say is it’s a very unhappy ship at the moment. The scout commented on how big the stadium is, seemingly oblivious to our recent history, play offs etc, some scout but I had to recall that a few short seasons ago a goodly proportion of those seats were regularly taken every game. Not last night, as expected another desperate gate as the fans voted with their feet again but for some time it looked as if the ones there were the ones in the know as City tore into a robust Alfreton Town.

It’s easy to dismiss the manager’s talk of injury as excuses but there are more than a few at the moment. Alan Power was first off, well, not being unkind but if anything that did us a favour, certainly no harm but there was worse, much worse to follow as Andrew Boyce, again a rock in defence was well and truly felled making a last ditch tackle. The stretcher was called but declined but he might as well have got on it as he could barely manage a limp as he went off, arm round a girl on each side, scant consolation.

Scant consolation for City too as the shape went as did much of the purpose, an equaliser then a winner for Town. An outraged David Holdsworth stormed up to the referee at the end, little good that was going to do. Alfreton were, lets put it like this, uncompromising but City are going to have to deal with much more of this if they are to survive in this league let alone prosper.

Whether City survive at all may have nothing to do with football. I’ll rephrase that, whatever the activities of the management and team, although that is woefully inadequate at the momentCity’s immediate future depends on how long the club can continue making the thumping losses they are. Sorry to say this because I have every sympathy with the board of directors for the situation they find themselves in. None of the board can have anticipated the horrors they were going to have to deal with when they agreed to take on the role but these problems came from somewhere and it’s not from the fans. Not this time.

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

Is that the sound of a tumbril? – Or an open top bus.

Pre Lincoln City V Alfreton Comment by By Andrew Abbott.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Alfreton Town FC.svg   

Tuesday  4th September K.O at 7.45 pm

It’s all getting a bit repetitive but surely LincolnCity can register a second home win to get their season off to some kind of a start? We said that of course last Saturday and thinking about it dispassionately they almost did but for a missed chance and a poor decision from a player who will remain nameless but we all know who he is, shooting (after a fashion) when a gilt edged pass was there for the taking. Surely a second goal would have finished off Ebbsfleet? As it was the Fleet went on to score and in all honesty few could deny them a share of the spoils. We’re not here however to be fair to the opposition, winning is the name of the game, an outcome we fans have not been too familiar with lately.

 

Alfreton scraped home to remain in the division last season and are continuing in similar vein, as are our heroes but surely tonight’s the night? Injury woes continue to beset the Imps though and Miller, Duffy and Smith are doubtful, I can’t find anything on redimps.co.uk at the moment to settle that question one way or another. Just looking around the net it’s fair to say that a win should dissipate smouldering thoughts of revolution but a loss, a draw even will herald the sound of blades being honed in readiness for another round of blood letting, figuratively speaking.

 

There are an awful lot of question marks in this article; I’ve just noticed, which certainly reflects LincolnCity’s season so far.

 

 

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A glimpse of a better future – and a big reality check.

Monday comment on the Lincoln City versus Ebbsfleet fixture by Andrew Abbott.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Gravesend and Northfleet F.C. logo

Lincoln City 1-1 Ebbsfleet (H/T 1-0)

Scorers – Nicolau 3 Bellamy 62  Att  1682 Ref Mr Whitely 

*****

Here are some words that ought to strike fear in the heart of every Imps fan. One thousand six hundred and eighty two. That’s the number of fans present at Saturdays game with Ebbsfleet United. I’d previously thought around about two thousand two hundred was just about the absolute rock bottom for a Saturday fixture and even that is well below the budgeted gate figure even for this cut price season. It’s a measure of the disenchantment the fans have with their team and a reflection on the negative publicity coming out of the club in my view with pronouncements from the chairman, now mercifully few, putting people off and the manager, who cannot seem to give any kind of quote at all without slotting in a reference to the fact that his budget is insufficient, admittedly with the caveat that he doesn’t mind. Well the fans mind, in fact they’re appalled.

 

One of the best bits of radio, for me, when you get back to the car and tune to BBC Radio Lincolnshire is the period when Michael Hortin is waiting for the players or manager to become available for interview and prevails upon the Echo’s reporter, Leigh Curtis to have a chat on air. The topic was, of course that terrible gate and what that means for the attendance on Tuesday when there is another home game. One shudders to think. There was disagreement on whether a resurgent City would be able to pull the crowds back but agreement on the fact that the nature of football as essentially a working class spectator sport has changed. Of course it changed some time ago with the advent of the prawn sandwich brigade and these wealthier  supporters are now evident at all games, Lincoln included but what is missing is the tribal almost, group of fans, usually coming from mass employment situations, factories etc who will support the club come what may. Of course the nature of employment has changed, certainly in Lincoln where even the largest of employers are a fraction of the size they were at one time.

 

I’m starting to ramble a bit here but the point I’m trying to make is that the club can no longer expect the fans to roll in come what may as a result of some allegiance to their team although sometimes I think the club thinks they should and they will simply out of loyalty. Well now they know differently. Times are very hard and Lincolnshire is far from a wealthy area. The club has to offer something that will lift the ordinary fan out of his or her hum drum life and give them a couple of hours of escape from it and they are not doing so. Every pronouncement drags them back into the reality of their own situation. LincolnCity’s problem is that, unlike their heyday in, say the fifties or sixties, no we’ll leave it at the fifties, there are lots of other things to do of a Saturday. For example for the price of a season ticket a fan could buy  a decent lightweight bike and spend their afternoons tootling about Lincolnshire’s attractive (and flat) leafy lanes pleasing both their doctor and their wife, once the beer gut starts to disappear. For the price of one season’s football that investment could provide twenty years of healthy recreation and yet footballers wages and therefore admission prices continue up and up as opposed to the very people who provide those wages.

 

This game did though, provide a glimpse of what might be as an early goal, never a bad thing, settled City’s nerves and they produced some terrific stuff, moving the ball around well and quickly but as is, dare I say, usually the case, the failure to capitalise on their advantage when a couple of gilt edged chances were spurned, they lapsed back into trying to sit on a one goal lead only for the inevitable to happen and Ebbsfleet deservedly equalised.

 

At the risk of perpetuating the gloom, this situation cannot continue and certainly Lincoln City cannot survive as a full time club having alienated their supporters to the extent they have, already it’s starting to look too late for any success to accrue this season, quite the opposite. I do hope I’m entirely wrong about this.

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/

Imps look to pull the plug on the Fleet.

Andrew Abbott gives us his take on the forthcoming Ebbsfleet fixture

 

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Gravesend and Northfleet F.C. logo

Saturday  1st September K.O at 3 pm

*****

Liam Daish, Ebbsfleet United’s manager has just established himself as the Fleets longest serving manager, being at the helm since 2005 during which period LincolnCity have got through eight managers and presided over a remorseless slide to non league obscurity and financial uncertainty. It’s easy to say things would have been better with stability but you have to have the right man at the helm and even when a majority of fans perceived we had the right man in the hotseat there were those who disagreed and he moved on. That’s football for you.

I wrote last week that City really needed to register a win to banish the early season jitters and, as many of us half expected, they did not do so against Macclesfield to quickly resurrect their habit of losing at home although a late equaliser gave the team a share of the points at Gateshead. Lets give thanks for small mercies. City, for as long as I can remember have rarely made the most of a bank holiday double header and this August has been no different so, at the risk of sounding like Groundhog Day, City really need to register a win to banish the early season jitters.

Since the weekend the squad has been revitalised by the addition of Frenchman Mamadou Fofana, the manager having a little chuckle to himself by making comparison with Claude Makelele and Michael Essien but his tongue was firmly in his cheek. Luke Daley and Mark McCammon moving on. Daley perhaps provoking a bit of regret in fans eyes as they had enjoyed his performances for the Imps. Again, such is life for those of a red and white persuasion these days, perhaps things will look up a bit once Josh Gowling moves on. Fans are thinking this may be sooner rather than later and this will free up a sizeable chunk of the wage bill. Manager Holdsworth was on BBC Radio Lincolnshire however to say there will be no more additions, we shall see.

Ebbsfleet have a similar record to LincolnCity, they won on the opening day of the season and have not done so since. That looks like a recipe for stalemate but supporters will be hoping for better and indeed they do need to register a win to banish the early season jitters. Now where did I hear that before?

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Imps have their work cut out to prevent Macc wielding the knife.

By Andrew Abbott.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png V Macclesfield Town FC.svg

Saturday  25 th August K.O at 3 pm

After the unaccustomed home win in the first game of the season we’ve all been brought back to reality with back to back defeats, admittedly narrow ones and against sides who are expecting to be, to quote a very overused phrase at the moment, there or thereabouts. Most Imps would, one suspects, be quite pleased to see their side win at home on a regular basis and do their losing out of eyesight so to speak on some foreign field if that’s not to mangle an oft used saying too much.

 

Unfortunately, the way the opening fixtures are for City, after that initial very pleasant surprise, two losing games later the Imps find themselves, well not exactly looking down the barrel of a gun, it is only August after all, but certainly in need of another home win. This being Lincoln City the fates appear to be conspiring against us if the stories we are drip fed through the Lincolnshire Echo and, we must believe, emanating from the club or the manager at least, stories of virtually half the team being potentially unavailable. There or thereabouts was of course a favourite saying of the sainted Keith Alexander and the title of Rob Bradley’s book on said manager and these stories of doom and gloom have a familiar ring and are a reminder of those wonderful times when Keith would be all over the paper and the radio all week bemoaning the fact that his over parsimonious chairman was expecting him to conjure up a team from nothing and that they were all injured and he and the kitman were likely to be on the bench, only to find that come Saturday everyone was in the rudest of health. Whether there is an element of gamesmanship in any of these pronouncements we shall see come Saturday.

 

Whatever the situation with available players Macclesfield will take some beating and the side are unrecognisable from last season with new players added only this week in the form of Scott Brown, from Everton no less, Rob Evans and Carl Martin. Macc suffered an away defeat on the first day of the season but recovered to record subsequent home wins to Wrexham and Dartford. Imps have fielded the same starting side for their previous three games, itself a novelty for fans given the hitherto revolving door policy at the 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium but that will surely change tomorrow, given what we have been told.

 

Read a version of this together with many other articles on LincolnCity and life in Lincolnshire by logging on to http://hykehamwriter.blogspot.com/