East Midlands Counties Football League Premier Division
Plains Social Club
Cold. Quite cold. That will be my abiding memory of this trip to Nottingham's outskirts. I know it's hardly akin to Scott's visit to the Antarctic, and as anecdotes it's probably best I don't dust it off for any appearance on Parkinson. But still, it was cold.
Avid readers of this blog (how long left on the isolation order?) will know that this isn't the place for wide-eyed analysis of the game, with formations and tactics being deconstructed at every turn. There are folks who know stuff who can write about that. Nor is this the place for cutting critique of the ground or the catering. All of which really calls in to question the actually reason for this blog. And if I'm honest, I don't know. Which isn't great, given that it's only been in existence, albeit in various guises, for a few months.
It pisses all over some seated stands, to be fair
It took about 10 minutes of last night's game for me to question my sanity. It wasn't a bad game, don't get me wrong. I've seen worse, at much higher levels. One particularly inept showing between Tranmere and Birmingham springs instantly to mind. And I've been colder. Grimsby v Barnet in the middle of March for example. But there was something futile about proceedings at The Plains.
Gedling are going great guns at the top of the league, and despite being plenty of points behind the leaders, have plenty of games in hand. The ground is set fair for improvements, should they be needed. All in all a good set-up. St Prims in contrast are struggling near the bog end. So something of a forgone conclusion.
And so it proved. For the first 20 minutes or so the visitors matched their hosts, and both teams were intent on playing football. But it was painfully obvious that Saints were short on confidence. For all the pretty stuff, as soon as they got anywhere near the business end of the pitch, they floundered. Ineffective running and errant passing lead to the home defence having a relatively stress-free night.
At the other end, the Prims keeper looked, well, shit. Scared to come off his line. Terrible when he did. Unable to catch or kick anything, and apparently traumatised by a football at a young age. Had Gedling been blessed with a physical presence up front, rather than two strikers who would be dwarfed in a pantomime, the tally could have been much higher. Despite their limitations, Gedling got the ball wide repeatedly, and attempted to cross whenever they could. An odd choice, but as I said, I am no master tactician.
Once the hosts took the lead, the game was over as a contest. Had Prims managed to keep it 1-0 til half time, they may have stood a chance, but the last kick of the half was a free kick that put the game out of reach of a side who had offered very little.
The second half consisted of St Prims manfully repelling Gedling's attacks, but sheer persistence paid off three more times. The keeper continually failed to cover himself in glory, and had Gegling been more ruthless, the scoreline may well have ended up even more lopsided.