Saturday 18th February 2012
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North
LANCASTER CITY 1 RADCLIFFE BOROUGH 0
Tea Hut Stuff: Cheeseburger £2.10, Tea 70p
Weather: Started bright, turned dull, breezy and cold
Parking: In the large club car park
After weeks off due to the harsh winter weather it was a bit strange getting back into the swing of things. I double checked all the websites and even rang the club before I took the Match Shed up the M6 North to Lancaster. I'd been here many years ago to watch a pre season friendly against Huddersfield Town, you never forget the setting looking out across the pitch from the Main Stand, to the right is the railway station where you can watch all the trains ploughing up and down the West Coast Main Line and there in the background is the Castle (which I believe doubles up as a prison) just beside the lovely Parish Church. A great landscape to witness from a football ground. The Giant Axe is a strange name for one of the better non league stadiums you are likely to encounter, it has a great location just up from the charismatic town centre which has plenty of pubs and really decent eateries, I like Lancaster as a place, it seems to have a really good vibe about it. It is of course a famous university location and it looked like a good few students were at todays game.
I parked the Match Shed in acres of space in the club car park just behind the open end terrace. The weather was a hell of a lot better than it had been recently in the North West, an almost cloudless sky full of sharp winter sunshine made the Giant Axe look tremendous. Lancaster City are just behind the pack up towards the top of the NPL Division 1 North (also known as the Evo Stik), their famous opponents from Greater Manchester, Radcliffe Borough are finding things a bit more difficult and seem to be struggling to break free of the dreaded lower table basement grouping. Borough had brought a decent number of hopeful supporters on the trip north and I think everyone was just glad to be able to watch a football match again.
First port of call inside the stadium was Dollys Pantry, the Tea Hut. I plumped for a cheeseburger with onions and plenty of tomato sauce, I got a tea on the side to wash it down. It was good stuff. Unfortunately that was the last decent event of the day! Hate to say it but the game itself was an absolute dog! Never mind thoughts of total-football, this was total shyte! It started scrappy and went downhill fast. It was a muddle of fragmented hoofing, lots of kick and run which was all interspersed with ridiculously inaccurate levels of passing.
Lancaster had slightly more possession and territorial advantage which probably summed up the 1-0 victory, saying that.... Borough missed 2 penalties amongst their other wayward attempts on goal. It was not a good advert for what can often be a very attractive league. This one will be quickly forgotten by most of todays supporters (although it should provide a good basis for some massive bollockings once the next training sessions take place with the players).
I spent large parts of the match slipping off into a near-sleep type trance as the madness took place before me. The loyal Lancaster City singers could be heard faintly in the background trying to encourage their heroes, i think they were trying to coax the team into making 3 clean passes in succession, then I'd snap out of the trance abruptly as the 4.15 to Glasgow Central rattled past in the fast developing cold grey skies (even the weather got fed up with this game, it started snowing near the end). Yes, this was not the best of games and I was well pleased to get back in the Match Shed for a quick exit with the heater on full.