Sheff Utd v Scunthorpe United

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Football League Championship

Sheff Utd0 (0)Scunthorpe United0 (0)

Sheff Utd :
Kenny, Geary, Morgan, Ehiogu (Kilgallon 30), Naysmith, Cotterill, Speed, Tonge, Martin (Shelton 82), Beattie (Sharp 60), Hulse
Subs not used:
Armstrong, Quinn

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, Byrne (Sparrow 46), Crosby, Hobbs, Williams, Cork, Goodwin, McCann (sent off 10), Morris, Hayes, Forte (May 76)
Subs not used:
Lillis, Baraclough, Hurst


by Andrew Metcalfe at Bramall Lane

FIRSTLY, I would like to dedicate this report to my Dad, who passed away on January 11.

He took me to my first Scunthorpe game at home to Sheffield United on February 25, 1961, when I was just a young fart. We were playing the then League Two leaders and managed a 1-1 draw.

I do not remember too many more specific games with him but I do recall winning at Rotherham on a Friday night, possibly the following season, and then the magnificent 2-1 win at Hillsborough against Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round in 1970.

Then, many years later, we were at home to Sunderland in the Cup and won 2-1. They had Eric Gates playing and I think it was in the 1980s. I had taken some friends with me and met my Dad at the Riveters Arms pre-match. My friends had been warned that my Dad was a good beer drinker but they were shocked to find that he seemed to be struggling with his first two pints. When I quizzed him, he advised that the art of beer drinking is to start slowly, otherwise you are bloated by the gas, but once you have done that, the rest flow down. As a consequence, my friends were annihilated over the next six or seven pints.

I learnt many things from my Dad, but two of the most important were supporting Scunny and drinking beer.

The most recent Sheffield United game started very well, with a trip to the Devonshire Cat, which looked more like a trendy wine bar than an establishment selling 12 different real ales.

At Vic Duke’s suggestion, I tried two or three different beers before we settled on a deceptively strong ale called Absolution, of which we had many. So many that I am not sure whether it is actually called Ablution or Atonement.

However many we drank, we still seemed to be eclipsed by Karen Holland drinking powerful Belgian lager.

Doctor Vic made reference to “lager girl is back” which he insisted I report.

The beer, and an excellent ‘naked burger’, made for a good lunch.

The match itself did not offer too much of the beautiful game. Scunthorpe were harshly treated when Grant McCann was sent off after 12 minutes. The challenge appeared to be quite harmless. The Sunday Times referred to it as “a manly challenge – but no more” and I agree.

Taking into account the fact we played with 10 men for nearly 80 minutes, we deserved a draw at the very least but, based on the control we had over much of the game, we should have won. With 11 men for a full game, I’m convinced we would have won.

I will not name any particular players because they were all heroes. My father would have been proud of them.

The outlook for avoiding relegation looks a little brighter now but I am writing this report before the Bristol City game.

It was good to see Billy Sharp get a generous reception from Scunthorpe’s excellent following when he came on in the 60th minute. It was also good to see him get no nearer to the goal than hitting the post late in the game.

A few sips of Metaxa Lucozade during the game, and a couple more Absolutions afterwards, made for a great day.

I somehow managed the return journey by bus, train and a two-and-a- half mile walk. It seemed to pass very quickly, probably because I slept most of the way. I remember very little of it, but a 48-hour hangover kept reminding me of a good trip.

POSTSCRIPT: It has come to the reporter's attention that a certain incident took place outside Sheffield railway station after the match.

From a distance, it may have looked like a street entertainer engaging in some form of break-dancing, but on closer inspection it was Vic Duke attempting to join the pavement from the road and misjudging the height of the kerb.

As a result of a bad fall, there was blood everywhere and he suffered a broken nose, gashed face and head, grazed knee and elbow, plus bruised hip and kidneys. It prevented him attending the Southampton game.

I trust no-one finds this funny and I hope younger readers have learnt a lesson about the evils of drink, especially powerful real ales like Absolution.

Vic went on holiday to Spain the next day, and there have been reports of children frightened by the sight of this hideously disfigured monster.

His next Scunthorpe match is Hull on March 8, so if you are planning to take children to the game, please warn them that they may be sitting near the Elephant Man or the Gimp.