Scunthorpe United v West Brom

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Football League Championship

Scunthorpe United2 (1)West Brom3 (0)

Crosby 16(p), Paterson 90

Barnett 49, Brunt 60, Teixeira 78

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, Byrne, Crosby (Iriekpen 46), Butler, Youga, Sparrow, Goodwin, Baraclough (Taylor 66), Hurst, Paterson, Hayes (Forte 65)
Subs not used:
Lillis, Cork

West Brom :
Kiely, Hoefkens, Barnett, Albrechtsen, Robinson (Pele 89), Teixeira, Greening, Koren, Gera, Brunt (Morrison 84), Miller (Beattie 84)
Subs not used:
Steele, Phillips


by Steve Sumner at Glanford Park

PLANNING… the key to success. But if plans are thwarted, flexibility is required!

Having been late for the arranged meeting with Mr. Skeels for the drive to Glanford Park on the previous Tuesday, I dutifully planned to get to King’s Cross early for our 8:10 train to Donny, even if this did mean getting up at 5:30 in the morning. At 7:00 am, a whole eight hours before the game and six before Mr. Kerr was writing his Preston match report, as my train was pulling out of Brixton, a text arrives stating that Mel (Mr. Skeels’ partner) is not well so Andy “not under the thumb” Skeels will not be coming today. Fine, I’ll travel on my own then. I texted back to confirm receipt of message.

Two minutes later, the ‘phone rings. It’s Andy. He’d arranged to pick up the Colchester tickets from the office today and as he wasn’t going, could I pick them up. No problem. I’d asked Andy a couple of days before if a mutual friend (Vera to those who know him!) wanted my ticket for the Watford game. As Andy had had no reply from Vera, I/ we decided that I would give the ticket to Darren ‘Dev’ Robertshaw as he was in the process of arranging the home tickets for SULSESC for the game. Andy also mentioned that he’d had a call from Mark ‘Smiggs’ Smithson the day before, looking to swap a Donny Road end ticket for a seating ticket. Smiggs has not been well recently so this is not such an unreasonable request. Andy thought this ironic as now that he was not going, his seat was going spare. Only problem there was that the ticket was in Leatherhead! I said I’d contact Smiggs and offer to swap with him. Oh, and could I get Andy a programme from the match? What could I say? Oh, and could I do the match report from today’s game. Three bags full!

No further interruptions on the journey to King’s Cross arriving there half an hour before train due to depart. Plenty of time to queue in WH Smiths to buy a newspaper that comes with a free bottle of water, then pick up a baguette for a second breakfast, watch the Sky news on the concourse and amble down to the train.

Chatted to a Lincoln fan (actuary working for Hiscox, lives in Shepherd’s Bush in a basement flat, flat still drying out from the recent (!) floods) on the journey north. He was only going to the Lincoln-Grimsby game because it was an early kick-off and he could get back to London in time to go to a party with his girlfriend.

Just before Donny I remembered I was supposed to be contacting Smiggs. Andy had sent me his numbers hours before. I sent a text. Smiggs replies, saying he’ll meet me in the Lawyer to trade.

Arriving at Scunny before 11:00 am gives one a little time to kill before a game. I popped round to my Mum’s for a cup of tea and bacon butty feast.

Suitably refreshed I make my way to the Lawyer to start carrying out all today’s flexible plans.

The NW contingent were all in including Dev who had had to pay one- third of a taxi fare from Sheffield to Donny because of a fire on the line and he wasn’t prepared to risk a British Rail bus trip.

I mention to Vic Duke that Andy isn’t coming today and that I am picking up the Colchester tickets. As Vic is not going to Colchester, he wasn’t too interested in that, but he was interested in the Norwich ticket he had notified Andy that he wanted earlier last week. He had assumed Andy would have been collecting that today as well as the Colchester tickets. Me, I’m just the messenger.

I called Andy who advised that he hadn’t sorted the Norwich tickets yet, but would be doing so on Monday and either they would be sent to him or Andy Kerr would collect them.

I popped over for a chat with Dev and gave him the Watford match ticket.

Whilst on the ‘phone to Sue (my partner) the phone beeps which means an incoming call. I let it go. After the call with Sue, I check my voicemail to hear that Smiggs is not feeling well enough so won’t be going at all today. Okay, so I’m back to watching from the Telegraph Stand which is fine by me.

I leave the Lawyer at 2:00 pm giving me plenty of time to get to the ground, collect the Colchester tickets from Karen in the ticket office, enter the ground, buy a programme for Andy and then make my way to Andy’s seat. I chose to sit there as Andy sits just in front of Andy Kerr, who, as well as being a long-standing friend, also happens to be my insurance broker and for whom I had some completed forms in my jacket pocket (actually planned from last night!).

Wow, I’m exhausted. What happens next? Oh yes. Some footballers, some in claret and blue, some in blue and white stripes, come onto the pitch, kick a ball about for a bit and then depart. After a short break this process is repeated, once. And that’s about it. Only joking you, as a little girl I know has just started saying (she’s two years old!).

Scunny started the match attacking the away end as they tend to prefer. I must admit it was a much fuller away end than when Preston visited on Tuesday. After a couple of early forays upfield, United were pegged back for the next ten minutes or so and it looked like we would be under the cosh for most of the game. Then from a break on our right Scunny got a corner which Kevan Hurst swung in to the middle, the ball was only partly cleared before going out for a corner on the left. Hurst took a short corner to Matt Sparrow who gave Hurst a better angle. Just as Hurst put in the cross there was a bit of rough and tumble at the far post which resulted in a penalty for Scunthorpe, Andy Butler having been manhandled to the ground. Andy Crosby, who had opened the scoring in both the previous home games (left foot volley against Sheff Utd and header against Preston) completed a ‘proper’ hat-trick of sorts by despatching a right footed spot kick past Dean Kiely despite the ‘keeper’s dive…1-0 United.

That seemed to deflate West Brom and they spent the rest of the half recovering although they did have a few chances, notably hitting Murphy’s right hand post and a shot over the top following an intended headed back-pass from Jim Goodwin.

Martin Paterson also had a couple of chances to extend United’s lead, once firing over and once putting the ball too far right. Andy Crosby had been seen stretching towards the end of the half, but didn’t seem too hampered. So many happy faces at half-time at Fortress Glanford Park.

Crosby must have hurt himself in the first-half as he was replaced at the start of the second by Izzy Iriekpen who was completing his return from injury.

It was not too long into the second-half that West Brom equalised. A corner from their right was not cleared and Leon Barnett had an easy blast in from a yard out at the far post: 1-1.

West Brom were in the ascendancy. Scunny found it difficult to get out of their own half. Ten minutes into the half, Joe Murphy was badly injured in a collision. For a while it did not look good and Josh Lillis was stripped and ready to come on, but after a few minutes of treatment Murphy recovered sufficiently to continue.

Five minutes later and Scunny concede again. The ball was played down the West Brom right, to what looked like an offside player to me, and then played on to Ishmael Miller running through the left channel (again looking suspiciously offside, but Cliff Byrne may have been caught out) who ran into the United penalty area and whose shot was parried by Murphy, the ball falling into the path of ex-Owl Chris Brunt who tapped in: 2-1 WBA.

With 25 minutes remaining, Nigel Adkins made a couple of changes. Jonathan Forte came on for Paul Hayes and Cleveland Taylor replaced Ian Barraclough. Hayes had worked hard throughout the game and looked good whereas Barra wasn’t having one of his better games, but is probably finding the pace in the Championship a little telling especially with this being his third start in eight days.

The substitutions had a positive effect. Suddenly Scunny were attacking with pace and had several chances. Kevan Hurst hit wide with a side-footed shot that he should have at least got on target. Matt Sparrow curled one just over the angle of upright and bar from inside the penalty area and an offside decision denied Hurst another chance after a back-heel from Paterson (reminiscent of the one that Hayes scored from against Preston).

On 78 minutes Sparrow held the ball for too long inside our half and was dispossessed by Andrade Filipe Teixeira who charged in on goal and duly scored: 3-1 WBA.

Scunny refused to buckle and continued to attack with pace and endeavour. Taylor had a good chance that was blocked by Kiely and the rebound (off Taylor) went over the bar. With the clock running down, West Brom failed to clear in their area and Paterson’s right-footed shot went between several players and past an unsighted Kiely: 3-2 WBA. There were four minutes added on which was probably a little short considering the injury to Murphy, but Scunny wasted it by giving away several fouls and even kicking the ball away at one point (Mr. Hurst) as West Brom seeked to retain possession by the corner flags.

Ah well, the undefeated home record has gone. So let’s hope we follow it up with our first away win. I don’t think United have much to worry about in respect of staying in this division as long as they are creating chances, scoring goals and working hard.

Most of the games I’ve seen suggest that whilst we don’t have as much quality as other teams, we do have a good team spirit and these so- called ‘quality’ teams are not as good at finishing chances as creating them. Scunny certainly seem to have a game plan for the season, but also some flexibility to change things around if necessary.

A quick word about the fickleness of fans. Whilst down injured, Murphy was serenaded by the West Brom fans with: “Ireland’s No. 1, Ireland’s, Ireland’s No. 1.” Understandable as he’s an ex-Baggie. Ten minutes later, Murphy handles outside the area, carries the ball back towards the goal before letting it go (just to waste a little time, you understand) and all the WBA fans have changed their tune to: “Off, off, off...” It’s a funny world.

I’ll let you off the exciting trip back to Kent which involved some drinking, lots of waiting, altercations with wedding guests, worrying whether Marky P would get home to the depths of Sussex before he had to depart for a 5:20 flight on Sunday morning from Gatwick…