Posts Tagged ‘Relegation’

Leeds 1 – 1 Albion

February 21, 2010

Our last view of Elland Road for years to come?

Gutted. No other word for it. Leeds probably deserved a draw overall, but I was sure we were finally going to ride our luck and leave Elland road – probably for the last time for many years – with all three points. As I said, gutted.

The day started inauspiciously when the PA system on the East Coast train out of King’s Cross announced we were on a dry train “Due to football issues”. Onboard there were Leeds, Watford, Ipswich, and even a Geordie fan running late for St James’s Park. He was probably just a lost beer monster, if he was he was on the wrong train. We managed a couple of swift pints and a warming shot in the railway station bar before jumping into a taxi for Elland Road.  Leeds’ tap lager in the away supporters’ bar was horrible, so I knocked back cider before grabbing a seat in the tiny yellow away section in the south east corner of the old stadium.

Just a note on Leeds stewards, and I’m not one who usually rags on the fluorescent jacket brigade, but these were some of the worst jobsworths I’ve seen. Granted the four or so Albion lads who got ejected for repeatedly refusing to sit down were pissed-up and annoying, but the introduction of purple shirted “quick response” teams or whatever they were called, plain clothes (undercover?) uber-stewards, and of course West Yorkshire’s finest was all a bit OTT to say the least. The fact that one of them was a ringer for Mark McGhee didn’t help either. I tried to get a photo of McGhoo’s visog but he was too fast for me, and for a moment I thought he was going to try and sling me out for the heinous crime of using a camera in a public place. Muppets.

The match now. Well, we weren’t exactly robbed, but when Virgo was sent off for a reckless lunge on Leeds’ Gradel after Brezovan threw the ball to him (fucking Albion goalkeeping again!), it looked ominous. Letting in a goal on 95 minutes was completely soul destroying though. Before the equaliser the team battled, frustrated and harried, Beckford never got so much as a sniff all game. When Murray went down and converted his own penalty we were sitting pretty, the home crowd were quiet, and I really believed we were for winning this one.

My man of the match was a hard one, this really was a team display, if you’ll pardon the cliche. Virgo was brilliant until he went, but he’s out of the team now for Charlton and James Tunnicliffe is out on loan, who’s going in at centre back – probably Painter with El-Abd coming back to cover left back. Our midfield was brilliant all game, again with Navarro starring alongside Crofts. I saw LuaLua for the first time too, and he looks great. But big Glenn Murray played the lone striker role superbly up front, and for that he earns my man of the match.

After the game we met up at the Grove Inn on Stone Row with a few Albion fans for some excellent real ale before heading home, again on a dry train. Some of the boys had a carry out so I blagged a couple of cans, and one of my party got a little bit too rowdy (sorry Lads!), but all in all we had forgotten about the game and had a bit of a laugh.

So, we’ve slipped a place to 22nd in the league after dropping two points yesterday, things aren’t looking good in the table, but we are playing well. Charlton away on Tuesday night is not as daunting a fixture as it might have been earlier in the season, we can match anyone on our day, we just have to have more “days” – time is running out.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 8 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, Virgo, Painter; Bennett (Hart 56), Dicker, Crofts, Navarro, LuaLua (El-Abd 82); Murray

(Subs) Kuipers, El-Abd, Forster, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 24120

League One table

Sunday, 21 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 32 32 66
2 Leeds United 31 28 63
3 Colchester 32 18 62
4 Charlton 32 21 60
5 Swindon 30 12 56
6 Huddersfield 31 23 54
7 Millwall 31 12 52
8 MK Dons 31 3 49
9 Walsall 31 3 43
10 Bristol Rovers 31 -9 42
11 Brentford 30 0 38
12 Southampton 29 17 37
13 Carlisle 31 -2 37
14 Leyton Orient 31 -6 36
15 Yeovil 32 -5 35
16 Gillingham 32 -11 33
17 Tranmere 31 -21 33
18 Southend 31 -11 32
19 Oldham 29 -11 32
20 Hartlepool 31 -12 32
21 Exeter 32 -13 31
22 Brighton 31 -14 31
23 Wycombe 32 -24 27
24 Stockport 30 -30 20


February 15, 2010

No seriously, WTF? The only sense I can make of this is that Nicky Forster must be on his way back.

On his way to The Posh - Bananaman AKA Liam Dickinson

Albion 0 – 0 Huddersfield

February 10, 2010

One-time gritty northern film actor, now "Shitty Manc Soap" star and Huddersfield FC celebrity bellend fan Reece Dinsdale

The Withdean jinx/hoodoo carries on. How else can you explain us not taking all three points last night? Well, the draw did lift us out of the drop zone for now, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I decided to walk up to Withers from Furze Hill to get a bit of warm blood circulating around the old bones on a frigid night. It took me 40 minutes, and I was frozen again within ten minutes of parking my arse in the South Stand. Only 4710 other souls joined me at the Theatre of Trees.

Two things were confirmed emphatically for me during the match – Liam Dickinson can’t (or won’t) jump, and Michel Kuipers has two left feet. Poyet promised to change things after the defeat against Millwall, but he changed the wrong people in my humble opinion – Carole for Dicker and Dicko for Murray.

I’ll briefly mention each player’s performance, as nil-nillers aren’t the most interesting games to wax lyrical about. Kuipers – poor game by his standards, had very little to do but still managed to almost commit suicide by a dreadful clearance early doors. He was saved by the solid, confident defensive unit in front of him. Painter and Calderon were excellent, especially the Spaniard – so assured on the ball. Same for Elphick and Virgo, who thankfully kept the ball away from the eejit in goal by commanding the air and superbly timed tackling, the hoofing upfield was kept to a minimum too.

Seb Carole was hard-working but his shooting terrible, he faded badly in the second half and made way for Dicker, who was his normal brilliant self. Bennett fared far better on the other wing. Crofts was steady and bossed the middle, allowing little Alan Navarro to shine; he’s really finding form under Poyet and was my Man of the Match, just shading it over Calderon.

Chris Holroyd won his first full debut, with Nicky Forster commiting professional hara-kiri over his contract, and he was ok, but didn’t deserve man of the match. I was baffled on hearing that over the PA system as we huddled out of the ground after the game. Dickinson was poor last night, never jumped successfully once, for all his height he’s a goon in the air. Good balls that Glenn Murray would have used well were wasted on him. When Murray inevitably replaced him the change in fortune up front was immediate, but even he couldn’t finish Town off.

So, Huddersfield were there for the taking, but we just couldn’t deliver the killer punch. Good news and bad news on the transfer front, the Seagulls have signed Kazenga Lua Lua from Newcastle on a month’s loan, which could spell the end of Nicky Forster wearing the stripes. I really hope not

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 7 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Alan Navarro

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Carole (Dicker 71); Holroyd, Dickinson (Murray 65)

(Subs): Brezovan, Cox, Tunnicliffe, Dicker, Hoyte, Murray, Hart

Attendance : 4711 (163 Huddersfield)

League One table

Wednesday, 10 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 30 33 63
2 Leeds United 28 29 61
3 Charlton 30 20 57
4 Colchester 29 16 55
5 Swindon 28 10 52
6 Millwall 29 12 49
7 Huddersfield 28 20 47
8 MK Dons 29 6 46
9 Bristol Rovers 29 -9 39
10 Walsall 28 2 37
11 Brentford 28 1 37
12 Leyton Orient 29 -5 35
13 Southampton 28 15 34
14 Yeovil 29 -2 34
15 Carlisle 28 -4 34
16 Hartlepool 30 -10 32
17 Southend 29 -9 31
18 Exeter 30 -11 31
19 Brighton 29 -13 30
20 Oldham 27 -11 29
21 Gillingham 30 -12 29
22 Tranmere 29 -22 29
23 Wycombe 30 -25 23
24 Stockport 28 -31 16

Albion 0 – 1 Millwall

January 31, 2010

The ultimate celebrity bellend fan, Millwall's Danny "I ate the" Baker

“Fortress Withdean”. Remember that? The days of players like Bobby Zamora and the back to back League title winning teams? Well, those days are back, Withers is a fortress again…..the only difference now it is a redoubt for visiting teams. It’s been a while (November) since I’d wrapped up and went for a pint then on to Withdean. I’d almost got my mojo back for the place. Buoyed up with our recent great form and the fantasy football experience up at Villa Park last weekend, added to our impressive record against the perennially over-achieving Sarf Londoners, I thought we’d get a nice win today. Mug.

We have lost NINE games at home now, NINE. That’s relegation regulation, no getting around it. Something is badly awry at the run-down bombsite in BN1. The match itself was pretty average. I was just saying to anyone who would listen in Block H (even they were quiet in the frigid wind) how well Adam Virgo was playing yet again when he might as well have turned round and shot into his own goal, instead he did the next best thing – five minutes into the second half  he gave it to Steve Morison, who duly slotted it past a faultless Michel Kuipers.

That was all Millwall needed, and their noisily impressive away following knew it as much as us. Their defence was solid all game. Forster and Murray each had pretty anonymous games up front, Forster giving way later to the equally anonymous, yet much heralded, Chris Holroyd, although the new boy did have a good chance which, on par with the rest of the game, squeaked past the ‘wall upright. Our best players were – Elphick, who nearly scored with a bullet header from a corner; Painter, who made way for Holroyd as Poyet went with the all-out attack option again; Calderon, most people’s man of the match, but not mine, the guy is flair, and 100% commited, but there is a little self-destruct tendency in him, he will miss games this season for picking up cards, trust me. But I love a hard-tackling full back who likes to take it to the oppo the way he does for us, he just needs to cool it a bit.

My man of the match is going to Michel Kuipers. When we were inevitably caught on the break while pressuring Millwall late on, their striker Shaun Batt, who is as fast as any fucker I’ve seen in this league, was through one-on-one with the big Dutchman twice and he pulled off two world class saves to keep the score respectable. But overall, we lost a game which we shouldn’t have yet again, blame it on some voodoo curse over Fortress Withdean, it’s our comedy bouncy castle this year.

Orient away next Saturday, our away form might save us this year, but we are deep in a relegation battle, no question.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Michel Kuipers

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter (Holroyd 64); Bennett, Crofts, Navarro (Cox 46), Dicker; Murray, Forster (Dickinson 64).

(Subs): Brezovan, Hoyte, Tunnicliffe, Carole, Holroyd, Cox

Gus tries to rally the troops for one last attack as we head out of Withdean deep into injury time

League One table

Sunday, 31 January 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 29 34 63
2 Leeds United 27 29 60
3 Charlton 28 20 55
4 Colchester 27 13 49
5 Swindon 26 8 48
6 Millwall 28 11 46
7 Huddersfield 26 20 45
8 MK Dons 28 4 43
9 Bristol Rovers 26 -3 38
10 Brentford 27 -3 34
11 Southampton 27 15 33
12 Carlisle 26 -3 33
13 Walsall 25 1 32
14 Yeovil 28 -5 31
15 Southend 28 -7 31
16 Hartlepool 29 -10 31
17 Leyton Orient 27 -10 31
18 Exeter 29 -11 30
19 Gillingham 28 -7 29
20 Brighton 27 -13 28
21 Oldham 25 -10 26
22 Tranmere 27 -22 26
23 Wycombe 29 -22 23
24 Stockport 27 -29 16

Stockport 1 – 1 Albion

January 26, 2010

Former Stockport County vice president, naff 70s "comedian", and very tentative celebrity bellend fan Mike Yarwood

I was meant to be going to Edgeley Park tonight. I booked a BA flight from Gatwick to Manchester for £76, and a room at the insalubrious Britannia Hotel in Stocky itself for £35. But alas, I have a job interview in Hove this afternoon – around the same time my flight was due to take off. I retreived £24 back off BA (twats!) and £28 off Superbreak Holidays (nice one!). I better get that job now, but here I am arsing about on the interweb when I should be doing my homework. Expecting a win tonight, don’t care if it’s 1-0 and a shitty game. FIVE ex-County players in our squad tonight.

Three good County efforts on goal early doors, very difficult playing surface at Edgeley making hard work for Albion’s passing game. Painter booked on 28mins for a fairly innocuous challenge. Half-time – we’ve had more possession but County have easily had the better chances, Kuipers is keeping us in this.

Frenetic start to the second period, Stockport should have scored, another great save from Michel Kuipers. Had to come, cracking strike from Danny Pilkington, 1-0 to the home side. Dickinson on for Dicker on 65mins, Poyet going for 4-3-3. Forster has a shot at last, 18 minutes left. Seb Carole on for Calderon, all out attack now, we’ve been shit going forward thus far, so why not?

Ten minutes left, Kuipers makes another good save. Crofts has a header pushed off the line with 5 minutes to go – it’s isn’t happening tonight. Crofts scores a soft goal on 90 minutes off the poor surface and past Williams, the Stocky keeper. Murray nearly scores another in extra-time. What a finish to this game, end to end now. It’s all over, we got a jammy draw tonight, Stockport will feel hard done by, but that’s this crazy game of football for you. Millwall up next at Withers on Saturday.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Michel Kuipers

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon (Carole 75), Elphick, Virgo, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Dicker (Dickinson 65); Murray, Forster

(Subs) Brezovan, Tunnicliffe, McNulty, Carole, Cox, Dickinson, Hoyte

League One table

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 21:47 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 28 33 60
2 Leeds United 26 27 57
3 Charlton 27 20 54
4 Colchester 26 15 49
5 Swindon 25 8 47
6 Millwall 27 10 43
7 Huddersfield 25 19 42
8 MK Dons 27 4 42
9 Bristol Rovers 25 -2 38
10 Brentford 27 -3 34
11 Carlisle 25 -3 32
12 Walsall 24 1 31
13 Yeovil 27 -4 31
14 Hartlepool 28 -9 31
15 Southampton 26 13 30
16 Southend 27 -7 30
17 Leyton Orient 26 -10 30
18 Exeter 28 -11 29
19 Gillingham 27 -7 28
20 Brighton 26 -12 28
21 Oldham 25 -10 26
22 Tranmere 26 -22 25
23 Wycombe 28 -23 20
24 Stockport 26 -27 16

Where will the Albion end up in May?

January 5, 2010

Third poll of the season folks. With the halfway point reached, and a nice little cup run to cheer us all up, it’s easy to take the eye off the ball – the Football League One ball.

So, roll up and poll up – will Gus sneak us into the play-offs? Will we climb to mid-table mediocrity? Perhaps we will scrabble for survival and stay up by the skin of our teeth like last season? Or are we free-falling into the fourth tier of English soccer? You decide.

Albion 0 – 0 Leyton Orient

December 26, 2009

Christmas is over, back to the serious job of football it is then, and Albion could do with six more points before 2009 dies. Relegation is a distinct, if stark,  possibility this season, so we need to get cracking against a very beatable Orient side this afternoon, no arsing about.

Boring first twenty minutes, Orient more than shading it. Crofts booked on 30 minutes for late tackle. Dickinson is working his socks off, best of the bunch so far. McNulty and Forster combine, Fozzy heads just over – we’re starting to boss this game. Half-time, bit of a drudge this one, I’ll take 1-0.

Seagulls Player goes off on 50 minutes, it comes on 4 minutes later, cosmic. I haven’t missed much though, not a classic game by any means, mince pie induced ennui? Cox on for El-Abd, Murray on for Navarro – Poyet goes three up front for the three points. Orient hit the post, three minutes later and Crofts picks up his second yellow – and he’s off. Hanging on for a draw with 20 minutes to go.

Forster makes way for Gary Hart. Again, we seem to do better with ten men, fucking frustrating this team, to say the least. So, that’s it – eight reds for Albion and it’s not even January yet! Dickinson gets booked near the end, that’s five for him, so he and Crofts will miss Monday’s game at Wycombe. Dicko brings a save out of the O’s keeper, it’s on the blow here. Tunnicliffe goes close. Game over, gloomy, very gloomy.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance :  5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Liam Dickinson

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Brezovan; Hoyte, Elphick, Tunnicliffe, El-Abd (Cox 60); Bennett, Crofts, Navarro (Murray 60), McNulty; Forster (Hart 69), Dickinson

Subs: Kuipers, Murray, Davieees, Hart, Whing, Virgo, Cox

Swindon 2 – 1 Albion

December 19, 2009

I’m not even going to talk about this one, I was at work for the whole game and missed the lot. Forster scored for us again, and we lost again, yadda, yadda.

Here’s the latest table, we are going down; better start getting ready for it now – it will soften the blow when it comes in May. Believe it.

League One table

Saturday, 19 December 2009 17:11 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Leeds United 21 28 50
2 Charlton 22 19 46
3 Norwich 22 21 42
4 Colchester 21 16 39
5 Huddersfield 22 17 35
6 Swindon 20 0 34
7 Bristol Rovers 22 -2 34
8 Millwall 22 7 33
9 MK Dons 22 -2 33
10 Walsall 22 3 31
11 Hartlepool 22 0 27
12 Carlisle 21 -2 27
13 Southend 22 -4 26
14 Brentford 22 -5 26
15 Southampton 22 12 25
16 Gillingham 22 -4 25
17 Yeovil 22 -4 25
18 Exeter 22 -7 25
19 Oldham 22 -8 25
20 Leyton Orient 22 -12 23
21 Brighton 22 -16 20
22 Tranmere 22 -22 20
23 Wycombe 22 -14 18
24 Stockport 21 -21 14

Albion 1 – 2 Colchester

December 11, 2009

The giant new keeper Peter Brezovan keeps his place tonight as Gus sticks with the same team that nicked a late win at Exeter last week. Eight minutes, long ball…1-0 to Colchester. Thirteen minutes….2-0, what the fuck is going on? We’ve hardly touched the ball. Poyet has seen enough, McNulty comes on for El-Abd on 15 mins. Another dither at Withers – Colchester hit the crossbar with an overhead kick, they’re taking the piss here. El-Abd seems to have picked up a head injury. Bennett puts one over the bar, we have a  team out tonight then? That’s good. Murray scores…offside, great ball in from McNulty. It’s pony this match. A lifeline on 43 mins – a goal from Gary Dicker, game on again.

Albion start well second half, Forster goes close. Dickinson on for Hoyte, Bennett slips to right back, Poyet’s going for it with three strikers again, I love it when he does that, hopefully it will work this time. We’re pressuring them, Murray then Fozzy miss great chances. A draw will do.

Murray hits the post from 5 yards!!!! We are not getting anything here, our luck is out folks. Cox on for Navarro on 78 mins. If we lose this game it will be hard to take after the chances we’ve wasted this second period. Forster again!! Five minutes to go. Forster skys one on 90 mins, 4 mins of extra-time to be played. Corner, last chance, a scramble and goal kick. Game over, yet another home defeat, but this should have been a draw at least. Shite.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance :  5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Gary Dicker

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Brezovan; Hoyte (Dickinson 62) , Tunnicliffe, Elphick, El-Abd (McNulty); Bennett, Dicker, Crofts, Navarro (Cox 78); Forster, Murray

Subs: Pelling, Whing, McNulty, Cox, Dickinson, Virgo, Hart

League One table

Friday, 11 December 2009 21:44 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Leeds United 19 27 46
2 Charlton 20 18 42
3 Colchester 21 16 39
4 Norwich 20 18 38
5 Huddersfield 20 19 32
6 Swindon 18 2 31
7 Bristol Rovers 20 -3 31
8 Walsall 20 4 30
9 MK Dons 20 -2 30
10 Millwall 20 6 29
11 Hartlepool 20 1 26
12 Carlisle 20 -3 24
13 Yeovil 20 -4 23
14 Southend 20 -4 23
15 Southampton 20 10 22
16 Gillingham 20 -5 22
17 Exeter 20 -6 22
18 Brentford 20 -6 22
19 Leyton Orient 20 -11 22
20 Oldham 20 -10 21
21 Brighton 21 -15 20
22 Wycombe 20 -13 17
23 Tranmere 20 -21 17
24 Stockport 19 -18 14

Exeter 0 – 1 Albion

December 5, 2009

Three points today, make it so.

A late,  late winner (90+2) from Captain Crofts gave us a very welcome and unexpected win yesterday. I missed the whole game through work and picked up the scoreline on the BBC’s World Service with James Alexander Gordon (De-dum-de-dum-de-deedle-de-dum-de-deedle-dum-dee-dee…etc). This was after the BBC matchday reporter had called it 0-0 after commentating on Manure v Wet Sham. The World Service always cuts away straight after the featured Premiershit match to the news and various other shite, so I had settled for the draw. Deep joy when JAG announced the final result later on!

So, we finally keep a clean sheet, and away at Exeter where it’s hard to get anything. Peter Brezovan seems to have made a great debut between the sticks for us. Three precious points away help our relegation woes more than a little, but that “…Exeter 0” on the radio means a lot more than it should this season, and is a lot more significant than us sneaking a late goal at the other end. More next week please Señor Poyet.

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Brezovan; Hoyte, Tunnicliffe, Elphick, El-Abd; Bennett, Dicker (McNulty 87), Crofts, Navarro; Forster (Cox 90+4), Murray (Dickinson 63)

Subs: Pelling, Whing, McNulty, Cox, Dickinson, Virgo, J Smith

League One table

Sunday, 6 December 2009 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Leeds United 19 27 46
2 Charlton 20 18 42
3 Norwich 20 18 38
4 Colchester 20 15 36
5 Huddersfield 20 19 32
6 Swindon 18 2 31
7 Bristol Rovers 20 -3 31
8 Walsall 20 4 30
9 MK Dons 20 -2 30
10 Millwall 20 6 29
11 Hartlepool 20 1 26
12 Carlisle 20 -3 24
13 Yeovil 20 -4 23
14 Southend 20 -4 23
15 Southampton 20 10 22
16 Gillingham 20 -5 22
17 Exeter 20 -6 22
18 Brentford 20 -6 22
19 Leyton Orient 20 -11 22
20 Oldham 20 -10 21
21 Brighton 20 -14 20
22 Wycombe 20 -13 17
23 Tranmere 20 -21 17
24 Stockport 19 -18 14