Colwyn Bay, League Cup,Hope Street.
Let’s be honest, no one cares much about the League Cup at any level of football.It’s now seen as something of an annoyance, a chance to blood youngsters or bring back previously injured players. Both Cables and Colwyn have made changes for this game, for Cables it’s about trying to gain a bit of confidence after Saturday’s dismal home defeat by Bamber Gascoigne. After twenty minutes Cables are three up- I’ll repeat that, after 20 minutes Cables are three up!! Two long range howitzers from Lundon and Morgan and a Rob Mac bullet header all but burst the Colwyn net. Even more promising is the chances Cables carve out, finishing from close range is still a problem but who’s complaining when you’ve already bagged three? Colwyn gather themselves and hit the woodwork twice before pulling back a late goal. Job Done though, we’ve grown, look the part….the league cup is fantastic, we love it.
Leigh Genesis away, league game.
Here we go here we go here we go….
Only three days after the Colwyn game Cables travel to the Land of the Orcs to take on the forces of darkness. Leigh, not quite Wigan, not quite Bolton, not quite earth come to that. Home of an under achieving Rugby League Team and a football team plummeting down the leagues so fast they are in danger of getting friction burns on their behinds. The team in question is Leigh (cough) Genesis, formerly Leigh RMI, and before that Horwich RMI. Like all teams who are very vocal in their ambition the next few dozen steps are usually backwards. Shouldn’t be too harsh, all fans would fall in line behind such an ambitious plan while the going is good, if a mad Scotsman came to Cables promising Scottish Premier League Football at Hope Street by 2015 I’d be out buying my kilt tomorrow.
There’s no denying the Leigh Sports Village Stadium is an impressive sight.All gleaming concrete and steel, nice, clean, surgical…..all that’s missing is the team of surgeons to wheel you into the dressing room for your triple by-pass operation. You pays your money and you takes your choice, I’m not a fan of these sort of grounds. I like the history of a place to be held in its crumbling terraces and creaking stands.As with all new stadiums the stewards are numerous and over officious , all part of the paid job I suppose. The price of the food is extortionate by non league standards, a coffee at £1.70, a pie at £2.70 and a packet of crisps at 90p. It’s an expensive day out for your non league aficionado in Leigh.
The fans are hoarded into one small section of a stand, leaving the rest of the huge ground as quiet as the Grand Canyon at 3am on a Sunday morning.Nice pitch though, if you can’t play football on this you can’t play football.Three Cables fans used that exact quote before a ball had even been kicked. Barely a minute into the game Cables concede a penalty. Young Paul Cliff makes the mistake of challenging for a loose ball in the area and a Leigh player duly obliges with the dying swan routine.In time Cliffy will learn that any contact in the area now merits a penalty kick. 1 down. I forget the time line but Cables are two down fairly quickly as a free kick is boomeranged up and around the wall and just inside Cables near post.
Cables fluff a glorious chance to pull a goal back and as is the norm they quickly concede another.I forget if the third goal was the 25 yard free kick or the clean run on goal so I’ll get both out-of-the-way now.4-0 down before half time. Cables’ dilemma is summed up as Tobin beats three Leigh players in the centre circle and holds out his arms in exasperation at not finding a single other Cables player wanting the ball. Half time. As always in times of depressing anxiety the need for comfort food is huge, even at these prices I indulge in a pie and a coffee.
Not surprisingly the warm glow of nostalgia is over taking a couple of Cables fans as they start to talk warmly about some of last season’s squad.A few of us dampen such ideas immediately.The current squad may not be good enough but at least they have time to improve, last year the performances got worse as the season progressed.There’s even a favourable comparison with the infamous Boston away game and today’s performance. The key difference is we could and should have been 15-0 down in Boston after 30 minutes- today Leigh have scored from every chance they’ve been given. It just confirms the old maxim- the past just keeps on getting better.
There’s no real change in the game’s flow during the second half. Cables are laboured, Leigh comfortable. Leigh are awarded a comical penalty as Lundon slides in for a perfect tackle to poke the ball behind for a corner, only tofind the referee has awarded Leigh a spot kick. There is no Robbie Fowleresque sportsmanship from Leigh as they take the gift without complaint to score the fifth.They even have the audacity to celebrate.
Cables fans entertain themselves with a discussion on the best way to commit suicide, Leigh fans accuse Cables’ Andy Paxton of eating all the pies. Given the cost of pies at Leigh is doubtful anyone but a Premiership player could acquire more than two. Leigh score a routine sixth, Cables don’t create much.The final whistle is something of a relief.Afterwards I get the customary “I didn’t think it was a 6-0 game” from a couple of Leigh fans. I wish I didn’t think it was a 6-0 game either, but the huge scoreboard and the enthusiastic tannoy announcer keep reminding me that’s exactly what it was…..