Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The whole loaf - Peterborough Utd vs the Mighty



Whilst managers and pundits go on about fatigue and sharpness in terms of players, no one, but no one thinks of the poor bloggers. If you lose a star player, you can bring someone else in to take their place but in the cut throat world of cutting edge football blogging, there's no reserve team, no bench, no squad rotation. So, after a gruelling schedule, starting with the migraine inducing Southport match on YouTube that seems forever ago, I'm very glad of last weeks rest and fighting fit, raring to go, chomping/champing (which is it?) at the bit and so on and so forth. Going to Aldi last week was grand but it's no match for the Mighty. 

Last time we played Peterborough was a stone cold classic. A brilliant game that we won 4-3 and in sadly, in retrospect proved to be a false dawn. It looked as if we could play purposeful attacking football under Larry, that we could throw caution to the wind and score one more than them, but in fact, within a very short space of time, that game seemed like a distant memory as we reverted to losing games by trying not to lose games. 

When I see the team sheet I'm slightly concerned that we might lose this game by trying not to lose it. I never claim to be that up on the opposition, I simply don't watch enough football to make that claim, but everyone knows that Peterborough are good at the attacking stuff and a bit shaky at the back and the Darren Ferguson is a bit like Steve McMahon on speed. I'm not sure why we've dropped Gabriel who is a tremendous counter attacking full back though to be fair, he did get turned inside out a bit against Ipswich. It worries me that we might get pinned back and Turton isn't really the man to counter punch. 

Time will tell. There's been a big upturn in our fortunes but that's been with the caveat that we've literally played some kids, some non league teams and some teams that aren't very good in our division. Today will be test if the last few weeks is a mirage or we've got better for real. 

The main tension before kick off concerns the commentary. Will it be the Chisnall and Ormerod dream  team (Ormernall/Chisnerod?), replete with snacks and sayings? Or will we have 'Generic local radio Commentary Drone 34' alongside Mick Payne, a man who no one knows who he is, but seems to be wheeled out to say things like 'in fairness, the keeper had no chance' because... well, because... I actually don't know. Who is Mick Payne? Why is he on the radio? Does he even know? 

It is Chissy but with the ex clampet Glen Little instead of wor Brett - Little's voice has the feel of a fella who has moved to Marbella and opened a bar (one in which he employs other people to do the work for him, and he just chats to people and drinks a few Stellas) so laid back does his southern drawl come across.

The minutes applause for Warren Green is a moving moment and puts a lot into perspective.  

The camera pans to the bench and there's no sign of Mike Garrity. Where has he gone? Is he inside a suitcase in Colin's boot? Is he having a haircut? Did he fall asleep on the coach and Critch decide not to wake him cos he looked so peaceful?

Pool have tangerine shorts on, I never feel too good about that. 

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We're off and the two sides trade moves, pressing and probing, looking pretty evenly matched for both skill and ethos. - Kaikai breaks, Yates fiddles with it in the box and fires it just wide. Dougall plays a beautiful diagonal ball, Hamilton cuts inside and absolutely belts it at the near post where the keeper can only beat it back from whence it came. Madine has a go from distance with a low effort that sneaks past the post. CJ gets similarly close with a curling effort from the edge of the D that could have found the bottom corner had it been a tiny bit straighter

At the other end, Pool keep Peterborough at arms length, a mix up between Maxwell and Turton and a looping cross that Maxwell watches over the bar the only moments of worry until they hit the side netting on about 15 minutes, which is immediately followed by some pointless and nervy square passing at the back which inevitably concedes possession.

By this time I've switched commentary to the other side in search of audio that is synced with the pictures, and I'm greeted by a man who sounds like he's unemotionally voicing over a really boring VHS safety video for a small national chain in the early 2000s. 

I hear the goal before I see it, but it's the vision of it hitting the net that brings me to my feet. A short corner from Ward and Sullay delivers one of those dreamy balls he can play with his snake charmer's ability. It hovers like a military remote drone flight looking for a target and then falls to Yates. Shirtless Jerry goes on a big mad run, turning what feels like a full 360 degrees and just when I'm ready to curse him for over complicating it, he comes full circle and slots it home beautifully. 

The boring safety video man refers to us as 'orange' (though to be fair, his chirpier mate, describes us as 'tangerine' and 'playing champagne football') and I'm going back to Chissy who might not always get it right, but at least sounds awake even if describing a different game. Immediately he rewards me by pointing out that Grant Ward has 'kept it legal' for Gary Madine. We have a move of maybe 30 passes that comes to nothing but is good craic none the less

They grow into it a bit, swinging a tricky ball that Husband has to put away for a corner, running down the middle and shooting a good five yards over, winning a dangerous free kick when Husband tries to disguise a really cynical challenge as falling over and convincing no one, least of all the ref who books him. Grettarson dives to block the ball from the resulting set piece and Chissy goes on a digression about why can't the ambulance man kick the ball back if he won't pick it up, where he seems genuinely cross at having to wait ten seconds for the ball to be retrieved. A few moments later Jimmy Husband concedes another free kick and I'm feeling a bit more concerned than I was 10 minutes earlier when we were playing total(ish) football. They're just running at us and whilst it's not worked yet, it feels like it might sooner or later. 

Chissy brings out the classic 'two falls and a submission' to describe Yates tussling and losing out on the edge of the box as we assert ourselves a bit more, with a couple of nice moves, the best of which starts with Madine caressing the ball to the to the floor with a gentle sensitivity that defies his frame and reputation and ends with their keeper being tackled by his own player and getting tangled up with an advertising mat. 

We have a nearly moment as Madine and Yates share a couple of passes but the third is cut out. Dougall is booked. They win a corner, we deal with it. Chissy does some political analysis and accuses the government of 'making it up as they go along' and the half time whistle blows. Get him on Question Time next week.  

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We've done really well this half, playing with structure and shape. We dominated the early part of the match and the increased confidence in having a go at goal is apparent. Peterborough havn't really clicked or caused a massive scare but I'm on edge slightly as the way they run at the defence, it seems a matter of time before they draw a foul and both Dougall and Husband are now going to have to watch themselves. 

Some very stirring music plays, reminiscent of the sort you'd get in a seafaring drama and I look up to be warned about piracy. I see what they did there. It's nice they've included tangerine in the colours that the cycle through as the background changes though.  

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The teams run out, or as Chissy has it 'are out, looking for work' as if the pitch is outside the dock gates in Liverpool in 1930. He soon drops in 'quick but not that quick' for good measure as CJ chases an aimless ball. Fans of Chissy bingo rejoice. 

Pool are pressuring high and causing problems. Posh present it on a plate for Yates under such pressure, he lays it off for Sullay who drifts from deep as is his wont, but sadly, this time, he leans back a touch and the curling shot is over the top and nestling in a seat behind, not in the corner of the coal 

Sullay again is let down by his finishing after bright work from Ward, spotting both a loose ball and Pool with players on the overlap. His dinked ball finds Madine who knows Sullay is behind him and his touch off is perfect, Sullay goes for that little side foot finsh that's served him well in the last few games, but like a golfer who miss hits a put from a few yards, the ball comes off his ankle, more than the instep and it's much too easy for the relieved keeper to fall onto it. 

Posh by now have made three changes and are coming forward with increasing intent. Ifollow is going black and experiencing technical difficulties but works for long enough to show me Madine heading back accross goal from a Kaikai free kick but no one can force it home. 

It feels like we need to break well and as I think that, we do, as if the team are responding with telepathy to my whims. Kaikai is lifting it long from the edge of our box, CJ getting into his stride, going past one and then being cleaned out by the left back in a nasty tackle. It's a yellow but it could be more. A minute later, Sullay is walloped by another challenge of a similar nature and it's another yellow for them. 

Pool are lucky/play the offside trap really well and the flag defies Posh when they looked to have a great chance to put three players through. 

Critch has gone mad. He makes not, one, not two, but three subs and all before 82 minutes! Woodburn, Keshi and Robson, replace Sullay, Yates and Ward. Keshi is the first to have an impact, albeit with a low shot from the edge of the box that's too weak to really trouble the keeper.

London Road is looking a picture under the light, it's hardly the San Siro, but it's a characterful place, terracing and an old fashioned corrugated iron roofed stand down one side, mixing with the more lego style new build at the other end, the big pitch mown into neat squares, a pattern that is only visible when the lights come on and increase the contrast of the image. 

Posh are chucking players at it and passing their way through, Dembele wriggles and runs and Marvin stricks out a leg. It's a penalty. But it isn't, it's a dive and we breath again. I'm nervous now, I've been comfortable to this point, but now its getting closer to full time. 

I was right to be worried and when the goal comes, it's so simple. A corner swung in between the penalty spot and the six yard box and a big centre half coming from deep, cleaning out anyone in his way and planting it home. 

It's all Peterborough, coming forward again and again, Dembele, who up till now has been having one of those games Sullay sometimes has where he looks brilliant off the ball but shit on it, shifts his feet and does some sort of weird toe poke just over the bar... 

We're hanging on. Chissy doesn't mention the proportions of bread but we're all thinking it. In fact, I'm really worried there's going to be no loaf at all and an evening of hungry regret. 

But wait! It's CJ, racing away again, going right to the corner and pulling it back, Woodburn airkicks, it falls to Madine who is at his most ponderous as he turns, controlling the ball like it's made of china and he's scared he'll break it if he kicks it, before he rolls it home past the keeper who is rooted to his spot. It's the strangest of goals, but who cares? Not me. I throw an non-plussed 9 year old around for a bit and even run up to the telly and shout at it as if the players can hear me. 

Them I remember we've still got a bit to play and I'm at home. Still, the whole fucking loaf could be ours and this is no cheap white bread win if we can get it... 

Posh hit the bar, a dangerous ball, someone leaps in crowd and its cannoning away, my head is in my hands and when I look up Maxwell is down having leapt like a playful cat trying to catch a fly or a falling leaf, but crashed into the post on his way down. In the end he's ok but I'm worrying about how I'll deal with if an outfield player has to go in goal. It's the best thing ever, but in these circumstances, I'd rather pass on even that rare joy for a win. 

We play a lot of the added time in the corner and it's on the left had side where Madine, shows unbelievable skill, dancing round three hacking Posh defenders, then going back round them again. He's like a truck winning an F1 Grand Prix, he just shouldn't be able to do this, but with deft touches and shimmies, he is. You'd expect this from Sullay but from a man who ten minutes ago took what seemed like thirty seconds to turn round in front of goal, it's a shock and a delight. 

One last attack, where it seems as if they might put together whatever has got them to the top of the league, a horrible moment when it looks like they've slipped the offside trap but the relief of the flag is then topped by the joy of the final whistle. 

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What a performance! We've come to the league leaders and a side who seem to permanently be 'a good side' in this division and deserved a win. Not only have we won, we've done after looking like we've thrown it away and shown real spirit in doing so. We've scrapped, fought and played football and no one has had anything other than a decent game. I'm starting to think we've got something going on here. 

Dougall was fucking magnificent, not only did he rat and scrap, time his interceptions and nick the ball off their toes time and time again, but he also passed the ball with purpose and vision and didn't look out of place when he took it forward himself. What a signing he has been. I think we can finally put 'We miss Jay Spearing' to rest. 

The Viking had his best game today, possibly because we were against a footballing side but they don't lack presence. Yates was more than a handful and CJ whilst not at his devastating top form notable for his decent work on the wing, putting in a couple of decent balls and playing the wide role with discipline. Madine, similarly wasn't as pivotal today as he can be but his work rate was great and I think it's a sign of how crucial he's become that he, not Yates stayed on, even though Yates had caused more problems. Critch perhaps recognising that the Goal Machine is the catalyst for so much of what has come good about us. Other players are an effect, but Madine is a cause. So, for that matter is Kenny Dougall who has been that good recently, I think he merits another mention. 

All hail the goal machine! (Again)

I could pick out just about any of them for praise to be honest. We deserved it. 

Two away wins in the league, back to back and a good side dealt with, a bench full of quality and players like Kemp, Virtue and the born again Bez still to come... The only problem with all this is that I'm starting to believe again. 

It's the hope that kills you. 

Bring on Donny! 

utmp



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1 comment:

  1. Great read. Dougall has the makings of a David Vaughan with those nip and tuck tackles

    ReplyDelete

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