Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Lime & Soda



Sharon & I took Tracey for a day out in London for her __th birthday, centred around Ipswich's game at the New Den. Millwall away - what a treat!
'Dry January' made the decision to drive to London, rather than catch a train, an easy one. We parked at Newbury Park Underground station, brought some travel cards and got a tube to London Bridge. Once there we had a wander around the nearby Borough Market where we spotted a cafe selling 'Bubble Baps' served with either sausage or bacon, lovely ol job!
Breakfast baps
After doing our 'tourist bit' we met up with Max, Ben, Arun & Josh at The Old Kings Head, which is down an alleyway off the main Borough High Street. When we arrived they were standing outside, as it was rammed inside and a nightmare to get served, so we walked around the corner to the Heeltap a little bit more upmarket, therefore a little bit quieter and a little bit more expensive, ask Max - '£5.35 for a pint of Peroni'.
I had my first pint of Lime & Soda of the day and Sharon had a coffee! Tracey had a large glass of white wine - she had stayed sober in October!












The lads were still in the bar when we left at about 2pm to catch the train to South Bermondsey.
Town got off to a brilliant start, Noel Hunt scored twice in the first fourteen minutes and Millwall, who had made eight changes to the side that had been knocked out of their midweek FA Cup replay at Bradford, looked awful, I thought that we were going to thrash them. Fair play to them, they gradually clawed themselves back into the match and got a goal back through Magaye Guyeye a minute before the half-time whistle.
The second half started with the home side on the front foot and they looked like a completely different side, an equaliser would have really put Town on the back foot. It was a quite a relief when Jonny Parr scored our third goal, which effectively killed the game off, with just thirteen minutes remaining.






Ipswich moved back up to second in the league following Derby losing to a last minute goal at home to Nottingham Forest in their lunchtime kick-off.
If it was a tight squeeze on the outward train to Millwall, then the return to London Bridge was even more claustrophobic, I just about got into the carriage as the doors closed behind me.
I had a couple more Lime & Sodas at the George Inn, which is across the courtyard from the Heeltap, before heading to Brick Lane for a curry with Sharon, Tracey Max & Ben.
The curry houses are really competitive in Brick Lane, they have people out in the street encouraging punters into their restaurants,  we got a really good deal from a guy outside Papadoms who offered us two free drinks each, free popadoms and twenty-five percent off our bill, so that's two pints of Cobra I passed up!
The meal was really good and our bill was just under sixty-eight pounds for five of us - a bargain!
We made it back to Ipswich just before midnight sealing another good away day.

What do women know about football? Sharon is up to 7th in the TWTD's prediction league!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Reality Check



27,933 - the biggest crowd of the season so far, turned out for the FA Cup third round replay versus high flying Southampton on Wednesday evening, no doubt boosted by the £10 per ticket offer.
Once again we were on the tele - it was BBC1's turn this time with a Match of the Day Live programme hosted by Gary Lineker. 









We certainly failed to sell ourselves on the big stage and to be totally honest it was all an anticlimax, with third in the Premier League, Saints having that extra bit of class. 
Stephen Hunt had the ball in the net early on but the goal was ruled out for an offside. Shane Long scored the only goal of the game after eighteen minutes for the visitors, who looked very comfortable from that moment on.
The amount of people ranting on about Ipswich's performance (who truthfully were never really in the game, apart from the first ten minutes) really narked me, they need to look at the quality of the opposition before moaning. I also really hate all of these 'Where were you when we were shit?' songs that have started up recently. We're having our best season for years so naturally more people are going to get interested - stop being so chippy!
We've had a good league run along with a few twenty thousand plus crowds and so some of these fans have already assumed that we're as good as promoted! All we've done is lay foundations.
Back to the reality of the Championship on Saturday with a trip to Millwall, who incidentally lost their FA Cup replay 4-0 away at Bradford. We need to win this one and get the train back on the tracks. 



Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Sky Full Of Stars?


Fortuna Blues brought 170 fans to Saturday's game from Germany.

Well smug Derby manager Steve McClaren will think so, after his Ram's raided all three points at Portman Road in Saturday's 12.15 kick-off, live on Sky Sports.
We had a poor ref, the worst one this season, who should have sent John Eustace off in the first half, rather than wait until injury time to show him his second yellow card. He also turned away a massive Town appeal for a penalty in the second half, after Derby captain Richard Keogh cut out Jay Tabbs cross with his hand. It wasn't going to be our day!
In the end we were masters of our own downfall, Tommy Smith made the schoolboy error of letting a high ball bounce, rather than just clearing it away when facing his own goal keeper, Bartosz Bialkowski. His subsequent header back was intercepted by ex Canary Chris Martin who scored the only goal of the game in the fifty-seventh minute.
I'm not being bitter here! Ipswich weren't at their best and all unbeaten runs come to an end eventually, but to lose such an important game to a goal scored by an ex scummer, in a match refereed by a Norwich fan (allegedly). Then to endure McClaren, 'The lettuce', in his shirt & tie lauding up the glory on the touch line, after spending most of the match in the directors box, was all too much!








On another note, It's not often that I'm pleased when Norwich win, but their victory away at Bournemouth, under new manager Alex Neil, means that we're still only a point off the top spot.


Sad news during the week, Gerald Hicks passed away. He wrote 'Come On The Town' a song that I remember as a young boy, which has been resurrected in the past few seasons.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Coming In From The Cold

Ipswich won their final game of 2014 on Tuesday evening, in front of the biggest home crowd for three and a half years. 26,157 turned out on what was a bitterly cold night for the visit of Charlton, under the Portman Road floodlights.
It was a comfortable 3-0 win for Town, who didn't play as well as in recent matches, but in all honesty they didn't have to. Is this a measure of how far they've come?
Tommy Smith opened the scoring after Thirty-one minutes and then Daryl Murphy, with his seventeenth goal of the season, doubled the lead on the hour mark. David McGoldrick, who by his own high standards,  has looked a little out of sorts recently, added a well deserved third Town goal in the ninetieth minute. Having hit both posts and the cross-bar earlier in the match, McGoldrick will have felt mightily relieved to have finally got himself on the scoresheet. He almost scored another goal in injury time, only denied by a good save from Addick's keeper Neil Etheridge. Max, who had a bet on a 4-0 home win, was very frustrated, especially when Kevin Bru's follow up shot was blocked on the line.






The Town centre was fairly vibrant, both before and after the match, Max and I had a celebratory drink in Degeros before getting a Kebeb and the Superoute 66 home, where unfortunately Sharon & Sam were still up, which meant only one thing - a late night/early morning!



Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Sam & Max - Four Pubs Per Gallon




I'd been looking forward to going to Griffin Park ever since Brentford got promoted from League One last season. I would have preferred it to have been played on a Saturday afternoon, with a 3 o'clock kick-off, but hey! As it was, the game was scheduled for Boxing Day with a 1 o'clock kick-off.



Sam was home from Hanoi for Christmas, his first Christmas in England for four years (as he reminded us on more than one occasion!) So along with Max we set of for London just before 9am, leaving Sharon at home to have a bit of peace and quiet (her choice). She was invited, but declined, thinking that it was only to be our 'designated' driver, therefore allowing us three to do the 'Four Pub Challenge'.


Brentford is the only football club in England with a pub at every corner of the ground and I'm led to believe by Max that to do the 'Four Pub Challenge' correctly you have to have a pint at every pub, starting an hour before the match and be in the ground ready for the kick-off, that's no mean feat.
We arrived in Brentford and were parked before 11am. Sam & Max's challenge (I was excused as driver) started at The Royal Oak, before moving on to The New Inn, The Princess Royal and finally The Griffin (nearest to the away end). We had decided not to have any time constraints on the challenge, instead just enjoy the experience!

Pub number one - The Royal Oak



'I'll have a' half'

Pub number two - The New Inn


Pub number three - The Princess Royal


Pub number four The Griffin 

As driver I had two half's, a Lime & Soda and a Coke!
On reflection It certainly would be a challenge to get to get to all four pubs, get served, down the pint and visit the loo, all within an hour. Any Ipswich fans taking part may well have missed Daryl Murphy's first goal - as he only took eighteen seconds to score it!










What a great start and better was to come, Murphy doubled the lead after twenty-one minutes and Paul Anderson added a third with just half an hour played, not bad when you consider that Brentford were third in the league.
The score stayed that way until the eighty-first minute, Bee's Sam Saunders got a goal back for  the hosts with a deflected shot, which left Town's keeper (and winner of Beard Of the Year) Bartosz Bialkowski stranded.
On the attack again

'We all dream of a team of Tommy Smith's'
Any fears of a Brentford comeback were over before they even got started, Tommy Smith added a fourth Ipswich goal within two minutes of the re-start, to allay any fears. That wasn't the end of the scoring however, Saunders added his second goal of the afternoon in the ninetieth minute, to make the final score 4-2 to the temporarily top of the league Ipswich! (Bournemouth's match at home to Fulham was a 3 o'clock kick-off.)

'Top of the league and avin' a laugh'


Four pubs, eight pints