Archive for September, 2011

Albion 3 – 3 Leeds

September 24, 2011

It wasn’t a night for dicky hearts at Falmer last night. A scintillating game of football that had me out of my seat all night.

The Leeds away crowd were great, best banter at the Amex yet. Loads of big fat Yorkies with no tops on screaming abuse and singing their hearts out. They were almost as entertaining as the match itself.

Almost identical to the Liverpool game, we didn’t turn up in the first half, and Leeds punished us more than the Premier League outfit as a result. Second half started with Nooney replaced by the dagger, and Vicente was ace. We battered Leeds, a complete turnaround from the first 45. Vicente was pulling the strings and LuaLua, Barnes and CMS had a great performance each.

Mackail-Smith’s first was a beautiful turn and finish, and he rounded off his man of the match run out with a second and winning a penalty which Barnes put away easily, he does take a good penalty.

Leeds were allowed to come at us for the last 5, and Ankergren inexplicably punted the ball down to his opposite number Lonergan in the Leeds goal. Lonergan hoofed it back and it ended up in front of McCormack who tucked it away with 94 minutes up of the 95. Lumps of blubber exploded in the away end and Leeds sneaked a draw when they looked down and out.

Great game, but I felt we gave away three points when we had fought so hard to take the lead. Southampton and Middlesbrough drew today though, so we’re still very much in the mix and it’s Crystal Palace Tuesday night, with Glenn Murray fully fit. I cannot wait.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 7.5 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Mackail-Smith

Attendance: 20,646 (2,361 Leeds United)

As it stands – Championship table

Projected table based on latest scores

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Championship table
1 Southampton 8 10 19
2 Middlesbrough 8 8 18
3 Derby 8 7 18
4 West Ham 8 9 17
5 Brighton 8 6 17
6 Hull 8 -1 13
7 Cardiff 7 3 12
8 Blackpool 8 2 12
9 Leeds 8 1 11
10 Leicester 7 0 11
11 Peterborough 8 3 10
12 Crystal Palace 8 0 10
13 Ipswich 8 -5 10
14 Portsmouth 8 -1 9
15 Reading 8 -1 8
16 Birmingham 7 -2 8
17 Barnsley 8 -2 8
18 Watford 8 -3 8
19 Millwall 8 -5 7
20 Burnley 7 -4 6
21 Coventry 8 -4 6
22 Nott’m Forest 8 -6 6
23 Bristol City 8 -6 6
24 Doncaster 8 -9 4

Albion 1 – 2 Liverpool

September 22, 2011

That was a great night of football. Even though we lost it felt that this exciting new Albion side has finally arrived, with the potential we now show it can only take a catastrophic loss of nerve not to make something special of this season, the tools are there already, it’s the psychological factor that will decide if we rise or fall.

Seeing Liverpool – virtually at full strength – take to the pitch at Falmer was fantastic. The noise inside the ground was spine-tingling. The scousers are the first ever team to fill the away end (though I suspect the majority of them were probably from the South anyway) and they made some great noise themselves.

Dalglish’s side are in a different class to us, make no mistake, arch-twat Bellamy scored their first with nonchalant ease and the Reds battered us for most of the first half after that. I wasn’t arsed for two reasons – it’s only the League Cup, and I appreciate the beautiful game being played to the highest standard no matter who’s kicking the leather around. This is a team that most likely will finish top five this season in the Premier League, it just shows the quality of the top end of the big league.

Poyet made a couple of changes, Steve Cook replaced the on-form Dunk, which raised a few eyebrows. But the former Albion schoolboy had a decent game. Sparrow and Navarro both started in midfield, and they had a hard time against Rodriguez, Spearing and Lucas. CMS, up front alone without Barnes, ran and ran. I thought he might give that old fart Carragher a harder time, but the former England man is still a class act.

Our best players in the first half were once again our flying wingers – the perennially unlucky Will Buckley, and having the night of his life, life-long Liverpool fan and former tiler of Steven Gerrard’s roof – Craig Noone. Man of the Match for me again.

As someone mentioned on twitter (sorry I can’t remember who exactly) the club spent a fortune on one new winger, and chased another all summer for a loan deal, when actually we had our best winger at the club already. Nooney already has player of the season wrapped up in September, unless our latest winger can make an impact (more about him later).

It wasn’t until 5-10 minutes from half-time that Albion got a foot on the ball and started to threaten. Up until then it was flap central at the back, and our uprights played a blinder as Ankergren showed a worrying lack of nerve against the onslaught from Bellamy, Kuyt and Suarez.

No-one needs any further proof of Gus Poyet’s powers of motivation, and after his half-time talk a new team emerged (same players) from underneath the West Stand ready for the second interval. We took it to them, and it was one of the best second half performances I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. The atmosphere went stratospheric, and there were a few worried-looking faces in the away end.

Noone rattled the crossbar with Reina stranded and off we went. Sparrow went close, and Calderon and Noone started making progress into the last third. Then the crowd went hushed – poor old Buckley injured his hamstring again and the player who was taking off his trackie was none other than Vicente Rodríguez – The Dagger of Benicalap. This is Hollywood stuff folks, two times La Liga winner, UEFA Cup Winner, and 38 caps for Spain, now wearing the stripes in Brighton. The roof came off.

Vicente may not be 100% match fit, but straightaway he was flicking and dribbling into the danger area. Liverpool were reeling, and another world class player was about to come on. Say what you want about Gerrard, and he is a prime example of a modern-day shithouse millionaire footballer, but the guy can play. The Reds’ fans were happy he was back and he set about marshalling his midfield.

With ten minutes to go and Albion pressing, we got hit with the classic sucker punch, Liverpool broke, it was two on one at the back and Rodriguez put Kuyt in to finish us off. Hopes were raised when Vicente took a tumble in the area, and the substitute Ash Barnes tucked away the spot-kick with aplomb. It didn’t matter though, the game was worth it no matter how it turned out.

The train home was good fun, lots of scousers being scouse, the ‘let them mingle’ policy at the ground has worked famously – although Friday night and Leeds, then the Palace on Tuesday will almost certainly be segregated. But, there was no drama with the Liverpool lot and they remain dedicated and noisy on their travels.

I thought the recent international break broke Albion’s momentum, apparently we were bobbins at Leicester on Saturday, but this game hopefully has us back on track for a tilt at promotion. Roll on Friday.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Noone

Attendance: 21,897 (2,403 Liverpool)

A casual buy no. 41

September 19, 2011

The rain is back so I can finally wear this beauty of a raincoat picked up for a song back in July. Aquascutum as a brand suffered the same fate as that other British luxury brand – Burberry – back in the 1990s. A certain type of fan at the football was always seen in both famous house checks, and then a certain type of non-football working class youth took it further when the sussed football lads let it go. It seemed that every housing estate in Britain was awash in Burberry and Aqua, and when z-listers like Daniella Westbrook started decking their sprogs and pet dogs in the stuff then most ITK (in the know) bods gave it a HUGE swerve. It was totally naff, full stop.

That’s a shame – or not, as plenty football lads wouldn’t be seen dead in Aqua check today, making it pretty exclusive, as long as you don’t match it up with chunky gold chains and matching baseball cap.  Aquascutum is still one of the finest gentleman’s outfitters based in the UK. Their iconic raincoats are my personal favourite, and – like any quality clothing – can be worn correctly either dressed-up or down. This mac goes well with a bespoke suit, or with jeans and an open-neck shirt. The sartorial permutations far excel almost any other item I own.

TSLR 32

September 6, 2011

Thanks to everyone who bought the last copy (issue 31) of The Seagull Love Review. As expected the big crowd at the new stadium meant for bigger sales, far bigger, so give yourself a pat on the back for supporting your only current Albion fanzine.

I’m away all this week and next, so I’ll miss the Bristol City and probably the Leicester games, hopefully to be back for the Liverpool match. The latest TSLR will be on sale at Ashton Gate this Saturday, treat yourself and buy a copy – it’s still only ONE POUND, outstanding value for money. Those of you like me who will be absent Saturday, the fanzine will be on sale at other games home and away until next month, or you can buy one online at TSLR’s most excellent blog here.

Half of my contribution is above, and I’ve got a regular column there too, there’s some great writers on board this season, check it out.


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