Well you can’t really get much closer to home than today’s game as we go back on the Trophy Trail with the Mighty Bloods at home to Rushall Olympic FC from the Evo-Stik Prem. Although Droylsden are second bottom & struggling in the Blue Square North, they are still odds on with the bookies for a win today. But this is cup football and of course anything can happen so i’ll watch the game with my ‘neutral’ hat on and see what unfolds….. C’MON YOU BLOODS! LET’S ‘AV IT!!!
Normally my blogs start with the journey or travel plans for wherever we’re off to, can’t really do that today as nothing happened on the 5 minute walk from my front door to the home of the Bloods, The Butchers Arms! So i’ll start today’s adventure the night before, if that makes any sense?
We somehow managed to blag our way into the Manchester sports awards at Old Trafford cricket ground where there was lots of gold on show with a sprinkling of Olympic medal winners showing off their bling at the posh doo. Etienne Stott, who is one half of the C-2 slalom canoe winning team was first in line for a photo with me, who is one half of the infamous 1LOTC pie eating team
The Rhino had his eyes on a much sweeter pot of gold in the form of the very pretty Welsh taekwondo gold medallist, Jade Jones! The big fella looked very nervous putting his arm around the young beauty when posing for the photo but who wouldn’t!? If the big fella’s hand was to slip a couple of inches she would see it as a ‘grope’ and probably smash his face in! Lol
With all the guests of the evening now taking their seats for the awards, we move on to the real reason we were there. BBC radio Manchester are broadcasting their Friday night sports show from the cricket ground and they’re obviously struggling for guests for the non league hour between 7 & 8 because we’re on! We shamelessly plug our web address while chatting football but also make sure that BBC non league guru, Ian ‘Burkey’ Burke (also of 26nil.com fame) accompanies us to Droylsden as a guest pie reviewer and for some expert analysis on the game!
Obviously i’m first to arrive at the clock in Droylsden centre on match day but Burkey is on route and the big fella has text me to tell me he is a couple of minutes away and i should go and get the obligatory Greggs sausage rolls! I decided not to go shopping but to do one of my better ‘catalogue poses’ for a photo of me with the Sweaty Spaniard away in the distance!
With 20 minutes to spare all 3 of us are in the ground and take our seats in the main stand. After a quick glance at the team sheet it makes me realise that doing this blog has made me so far out of touch with the current Bloods line up and expecting the game to be a walk in the park for the Bloods i didn’t do any research at all on Rushall. Fortunately i have a non league expert with me today so i hand him the team sheet and give him a couple of minutes to read through it before asking, “so Burkey, what can you tell me about today’s teams?” he folded the piece of paper carefully, handed it back, took a deep breath and said “nowt really 1 Leg” lol lol BRILLIANT! Expert Analysis there!
Just before kick off The Butchers, like all football games over the weekend paid their respects by remembering those who have lost their lives for us and the 2 minutes was observed perfectly by all inside the ground before Mr. Meredith blew his whistle to get us underway.
Not sure who won the toss but the teams surprisingly changed ends before kickoff meaning the Bloods were kicking towards Droylsden centre or what shall now be known as the ‘Sweaty End’ honouring the famous Droylsden tapas bar, but more importantly this meant the setting sun was now in the face of Bloods keeper, Dale Latham. This problem has proved fatal with keepers in the past at The Butchers!
The Bloods quickly settled and started to control the game straight from the whistle. Burkey was trying to work out what formation the Bloods were playing, he was unsure if No. 2 Jimmy Derbyshire was a right back in a 4-4-2 or part of a 3-5-3 set up? It was confusing as the little fella was flying up & down the right side lol.
Rushall didn’t look too far out of it though and were winning early aerial battles mainly due to the man-mountain centre half Lucan Spittle. Up front they had the very quick No. 10 Hakeem Islam and No. 9 Dave Walker. The visitors No. 11 Andre Landell was beginning to get on my nerves with a succession of little fouls on Derbyshire & Lee Rick that seemed to be going unnoticed by the man in the middle, what happened to the totting up process? I counted 4 in the first 10 minutes!
The first real chance of the game fell to the Bloods from a Derbyshire corner; he curled the ball over everyone in the box to find Ashley Palmer unmarked at the back post and i bet he’s still wondering himself how he missed the easiest of easy tap-ins!
Not long after i thought for one horrible moment Rushall were going to take the lead! Walker & Islam linked up well on the break and Walker’s pass to Jordan Fitzpatrick had the midfielder bearing down on goal with just Latham to beat. The Bloods keeper had not been called upon up to this point but i feared the worse, Fitzpatrick’s effort had Latham beat but not the upright as the ball shaved the post on its way to safety to keep us at 0-0.
Coming up to the half hour we had one of those controversial moments when Bloods favourite, Carlos Logan found himself in the box with the ball at his feet. Without a clear sight at goal he unselfishly squared the ball for the incoming Lee Rick who’s thunderous effort smashed against the bar, bounced onto the goal line (without crossing it apparently) and away to safety
As the first half came to an end it was the visitors who seemed to be on top, Burkey was still struggling to work out what formation the bloods were playing as left back, Rob Sissons was also venturing further up field leaving the Ginger Guru totally clueless as he told me “they’ve definitely got 2 at the back, but i’m not sure after that!” lol i’m so glad he came! His imput will prove vital today! I was pleased we ended the half with a clean sheet because Latham had looked a bit dodgy in goal for the Bloods and hopefully would do better in the second without the sun in his eyes. HT. 0-0.
Rhino – A little help for me to review the pie here at the Butchers today, not that i need it as i’m quite professional at it and it’s only a Holland’s meat & potato anyway! not much you can say about them really, we’ve all had them and each one is the same as the last one you had.
It came out of the oven piping hot and i mean hot! I had to leave it a good 10 minutes in the cold air to cool enough to eat it and this didn’t help in any way my personal pet hate of Holland’s pies – the soggy bottom. No Bovril on offer here today either but i’m told this is only temporary and vending machine portions are usually on sale. A poor 5.0 from me on the day, i was expecting better from my home club.
Burkey – Thrust in at the deep end as i’m a special guest! I’m not really that happy about it as i was lead to believe that Mel B. & her BAPS would be on show today and i have been disappointingly let down. I’ve never done this before so bear with me… it cost £1.50, it was a Holland’s meat & potato, it had traces of meat, lots of potato-like filling and it was all mixed together in a hot, wall paper like substance!
How’s that!? feeling sure that pie review will be my last for 1LOTC that only leaves me to score it and give some sort of Alan Hansen quote but before i do, did you know the phrase ‘Bear with me’ comes from asking someone to help you carry a coffin at a funeral? As in ‘help me out, be a pall-bearer with me’ just thought you should know my score is 7.2 i like Holland’s pies and my pundit quote is Barry Davies on Torvill & Dean.. Oh and how we, the public love them!
I’m back in the stand for the second half and it looks like the Bloods have had one of those special pep talks from Chairman / Manager Dave Pace! Anyone not familiar with the Bloods gaffer should take 30 seconds to listen to him in this interview with him on a local radio station lol top man!
The second half gets underway and the big fella is not happy with Burkey for not taking the pie report seriously and immediately informs Mel B of his mistake. On the pitch the Bloods have started the better of the two, Logan forces a fine save from Chris Gemmell and James Ellison shot just wide from the edge of the area after some good passing in midfield. Surley the Bloods would get one in the bag soon? It just can’t be them who break our run of 41 games without a nil-nil.
On the hour my expert pundit finally comes up with a bit of useful info! Well sort of. Hakeem Islam’s number is held aloft as Rushall swap the front man for No. 12 Ahmed Obeng. “OOH! Did he say Obeng?” Burkey shouts up as he’s still picking bits of pie out of his beard from half time, “he collapsed on the pitch about a month ago, the club were really worried but i’ve not heard anything since. I’m glad he’s ok” it makes life so much easier for me to do a match report with a non league expert alongside me! Especially when the said expert is now convinced the Bloods are playing a 2-7-1 formation
Although i’m pleased the substitute is back to full fitness i could of done with him waiting another week or so before he put his boots on again as 10 minutes after he come on, the inevitable happened. Obeng played the perfect ball to find Landell who smashed the ball towards goal, Latham made a great save but the ball fell to Obeng who had carried on his run into the box and he slotted the ball into the ungraded net for the opener, the whole team then ran over to the away dugout to celebrate which on any other day i would of found great, but not today
Not long after the goal things went from bad to worse for the Bloods as Jimmy Derbyshire was shown a straight red for a 2 footed tackle on Josh Craddock! It didn’t look that bad and to be fair Craddock didn’t really milk it but the Bloods were really up against it now and Derbyshire had been one of our better players on the day.
The Bloods were now struggling with the loss of Derbyshire and of course it had the complete reverse effect on Rushall, with their tails well up Obeng came again, Droylsden really were only playing 2 at the back and the super Sub carried the ball unchallenged into the box and made no mistake from 10 yards doubling his own & Rushalls tally for the day 0-2.
The splattering of Rushall fans that were in the crowd of 211 had already started to party with 10 minutes to go and i couldn’t really blame them. I just couldn’t see how the Bloods were going to get back into this until the lifeline thrown our way in the last 5 minutes. Steve Hallis was brought down in the box by Jonathan Haynes and with everyone in the ground expecting quite a lot of extra time to be added on, there was even more pressure on Carlos Logan as he stepped up to take the kick, once Hallis had finally hobbled out of the way of course lol
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5 minutes were added on and the Bloods gave it all they had, which wasn’t much to be honest. Rushall played the ball around and kept possession well as the clock ticked away. Mr. Meredith finally put me out of my misery and sent Rushall into Monday’s draw with the £4,000 from the FA’s purse for today’s win safe & sound in their back pocket. FT. 1-2.
Ahmed Obeng was being championed off the pitch and did a pretty good Usain Bolt impression as he left which made me chuckle and on any other day i would have really been made up for the lad. But what now for the not-so-mighty Bloods? Out of both the FA Cup & Trophy at the first hurdle and in serious trouble at the bottom of the Blue Square North! I fear the worse for my little hometown team but i hope they turn it around soon and get back to winning ways.
AS it’s still early and we don’t have to travel that far to get back to the Sweaty we go into the clubhouse at the Butchers for a couple and to see if we can get a chat with Pacey about the team. Burkey and the big fella are wrestling over a mobile phone because Burkey’s phone has died and he wants to check his bets, the Rhino later told me he was just being a bit eager to get his vote in for Rylan whatever that means?
The Rushall team & their fans were in the club and as you would expect, rather happy with the day’s events and already talking about who they would like to get in the next round. I wish them good luck and hope they get a decent run in the Trophy as my thoughts turn to Loughborough and our next step on the 34 when we’re off to see Shepshed Dynamo in the Vase.
With no sign of Pacey or the team in the clubhouse, he must have kept them in the dressing room for a little chat! so we make our way to the Sweaty to drown our sorrows, hmmm been there before with the Bloods lol. No more local games now as Monday’s draw will send us somewhere new on the 24th and there’s the small matter of a quick 180+ mile round trip to Butthole Lane this Saturday
I’ll end this blog with a shout out to our good pal ‘Chilli’. The mad, crazy Bank of Scotland worker with a rather strange habit of photographing himself outside various RBS branches has decided to up his game and visit 40 different RBS branches in 80 hours for children in need. He’s created a facebook page (or more than likely his better half has, she’s the brains of the outfit) plotting his progress and it would be great if you guys would give him a ‘thumbs up’ like on his page. Good Luck Chilli we couldn’t let you visit Droylsden without getting your mug in the blog!
Travel Cost each – Nil
Admission each – £10
Mileage covered – 0.0
Total Travel Cost – £67.45
Total Admission – £73.00
Total Mileage – 749.2