Thursday, November 21, 2013

Plymouth Away : A defeat that was 12 years in the making, Bodyform for You and free tickets

Hello all

I trust all is well?

First of all, videos for the recent trips to Worcester ( and Kidderminster.

Now, you may have noticed during the Worcester video (if you watched it) that I mention the I wanted to draw Plymouth away in the FA Cup First Round. Well, I sort of got my wish as we drew the Pilgrims at home and I would need the sides to draw at Sincil Bank to finally get my trip to Plymouth. Plymouth for me was like a holy grail of away days, not being it's a brilliant ground (although it is quite bad), not because it's the scene of a vital game, but no, it was because it is so f***ing far away that it is too much travelling for a random game.

I love going to random games when I get the chance and that is how I have gotten close to completely the 92. Infact, it's not only the 92 that has seen me visit randomly, infact, one of my favourite ever experiences for a non-Lincoln game was Witton Albion vs Sheffield FC in 2009. City had played Northwich is the FA Cup and as it was on TV, it was an early kick off, meaning that I could go to the nearby Witton Albion, a team literally a few hundred feet from Northwich. It was an amazing 3 hours at Witton Albion and the hosts won 3-0, which helped. I'll go into the day on another blog entry at some point.

The point being that random games are awesome, but they are ruined if they are too far away, and that's why I had to wait 12 years for the Imps to draw Plymouth in the cups. I had gone to the game the last time we played them in 2001 and that was before they redeveloped the ground, so in effect it was a new ground....whilst not being at the same time. I think I was the only person in Sincil Bank that was smiling when the initial game ended 0-0 and we were forced into a replay.

So anyway, it's 10:30 on Wednesday morning and I get picked up on the outskirts of Newark, meaning I got to effectively choose my seat on the coach, which was a good thing as it was a 29 seater and the one thing you ideally want if you are going to spent 14 of the next 18 hours on a coach is leg space.....I can assure you, when a 29 seater is full, there is precisely fuck all leg space.

Now, as you can imagine, a near 300 mile round trip ideally needs some entertainment. Some had DVDs, some chatted, and others slept....I on the other hand used my phone quite a bit and encountered a very strange post on Twitter. David Preece, Lincoln back up goalkeeper and coach, is one of the most unique people to follow on Twitter. He is often amusing, is extremely intelligent and could talk anyone around his way of thinking without majorly arguing.....then he posted this.....

Throughout the night I shouted this randomly at Sam Wray, who was sat directly in front of me. It fille a few hours. 7 hours and two stops at services later, we finally arrive at a very wet Home Park and all of a sudden Duncan Bayes is walking down the coach handing out free tickets for the match. Certainly can't complain about that happening. Whilst everyone else went to the pub, the club shop or whatever they wanted to do, I went straight into the ground and finally, a 12 year mission was complete.

Looking out at the ground was quite strange, but in a good way. It's the near perfect mix of new and old, with three quarters of the ground being your now common "bowl" style, so in many ways that part didn't feel like a new ground, however, the main feature of the ground is the old grandstand. This is a deceptively big stand that must have the highest view in League Two, although they have stopped using the terrace that was at the bottom of the stand, effectively making this an all-seated ground.

99 fans make the trip into the away end and only Nick Proctor, a person I have known for a few years, managed to avoid the free tickets and ended up paying to get into the ground, so in short, he is the only person I know of that actually paid to watch what was soon to happen.

So, the teams come out for the match, it kicks off and within five minutes the  Imps at 2-0 down. Excellent start. The first was a result of Paul Farman kicking it straight to Reuben Reid. Now, Farman is a good shot stopper, but sometimes he has a right nightmare in the Imps net, this was going to be one of those nights. The second came within seconds as Alessandro easily got around the back of the Imps defence and lifted it over Farman.

Miller came close to pulling one back for the Imps before Reuben Reid completed scored his second and third before half time, and it could have been far, far better. The second half is slightly better for the Imps as we only concede an own goal and almost see Nat Brown score from 30 yards, but the Imps are definitely never going to score.

Just before they announce added on time a few Plymouth fans come onto the pitch and stand right in front of the Imps fans, and despite staring at him, not a single steward do anything towards either of them. When asked by Lincoln fans, the response from the stewards was "We're not allowed to go onto the pitch to get them!" ..... what's the point of having stewards them.

Anyway, the match ends 5-0.


Fans getting into lengthy discussions on the coach as the performance and a big argument breaks out about whether Simpson is the right man for the job, with the majority siding on NO. Eventually everyone, other than myself, drifts off to sleep. I think I was the only person on the coach, other than the drivers of course, who didn't go to sleep at all before getting back to Lincoln at just after 3:30am.

I was glad that the day was over and even happier that I hadn't paid for that match......unlike Nick.

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