Step 1: Chadderton v Cheadle Town
Friday night, the eve of our epic journey and I’m on the wireless! I get invited to BBC Radio Manchester’s Friday night sports show so I can punt the Facebook & blog address! Yeah iI know what your saying, “I’ve got the perfect face for radio!”
I was going to get a blonde wig and a big cigar and go in there uttering, “Now then, now then guys & gals can you fix it for me…”
Saturday 20th August
We’re off to Chadderton for their home game with Cheadle Town in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup and we’ve decided to get behind Chaddy for this one for a couple of reasons, firstly one of the Rhino’s Facebook friend’s Granddad used to play for them and it turns out James Curley, Chaddy’s star player, is a friend of mine that I had lost touch with. But what made our minds up was a post I spotted on their website informing players and staff that they must turn up on match day in a shirt and club tie! Nice touch.
The last FA Cup game me and the big fella went to was a Second Round replay last year when we went to Leyton Orient with Droylsden and we got beat 8-2! I can’t see that happening again so let’s see what the Chaddy Reds are made of…
First impressions of the ground – SHITE! No really, it is that bad. Even the toilets are in poor shape as I get caught short just before kick off.
3 o’clock ticks round, the ref blows and we’re off! “C’mon youuu redddsssss”
Straight from the whistle the ball is flicked out to Matt Chadwick on the right and he bombs through the Cheadle defence smashing his shot into the post with just 20 seconds gone! The slap of the ball was almost as loud as the barmaid telling me, “NO! I’m not that sort of girl!” for the last time on a Friday night in the pub!
The next 15 minutes or so was awful, no thanks to the pitch that looked a lot like my old Dad’s allotment in places and Cheadle were definitely playing uphill in the first half! Then, from nothing, Andy Lindon thumped home Cheadle’s opener from well outside the box that had Chaddy keeper Nat Pennington flying through the air to no avail. 0-1.
Only 5 mins later, Pennington fumbles a save and the ball falls to the thankful toe of Ben Brookes to poke in for 0-2. I’m still smoking the same fag when Cheadle make it 3 with a diving header from Paul Whalley, Pennington was again nowhere to be seen although he seemed to be getting words of encouragement from a young fella behind the net.
Chaddy finally get going and a free kick is sent into the box and, after a bit of pin-ball stuff, Keith Melvin knocks one in for 1-3. Game on?
Well, no, not really, with about 5 mins left in the half Cheadle come again, Pennington, now shaking like a shitting dog between the Chaddy posts, is sent the wrong way again as Whalley’s shot is steered home by unmarked James McDonagh in the 6 yard box. Pennington is insistent on blaming his defence for the current score line until the Rhino shouts over, “Oi keeper, your gaffer’s just painted a big number 1 on this wheelie bin & told it to warm up for the second half!”
The guy giving advice seems to think Johnny’s statement was a bit harsh! The ref blows for halftime and it’s 1-4.
Upstairs in the club house the bar is packed with various pumps offering different beers but for some reason none of them work, so it’s cans of Fosters for the big fella, and I know he’s not going to be happy with that!
Surprisingly when I return from the bar he’s sat with a big cheesy grin on his dial and pointing at the bloke sat in front of us he says, “That’s the guy giving the keeper advice. I bet he won’t use today’s game on his CV if he ever gets on Dragons Den.”
Now we all love a trier but you just have to take your hat off to this entrepreneur! talk about flogging a dead horse! The Rhino explains to this bloke that the Chaddy keeper is flapping about like the bunting on a second hand car lot & it’s now raining outside so he can put his coat back on covering up that stupid shirt!
Back outside we head for the main stand to get out of the rain and it’s not too long before Cheadle get a 5th when McDonagh got on the end of a Brookes cross to make the Chaddy nets bulge again. Just past the hour mark seen the goal of the day when Andy Lindon picked up a fluffed clearance on the edge of the area and unleashed a rocket of a shot passing the flapping bunting and clipping the under side of the crossbar on it’s way home 1-6. Burkey was with us on the day and he related this goal to a goal scored by Tony Yeboah for Leeds years ago.
Cheadle go through on goal again but this time the bunting sends the forward clattering to the floor before deflecting the ball over the bar, the ref blows and points to the spot and the bunting is screaming at the ref “I SAVED IT! I SAVED IT!”
The ref waves away the Chaddy players and, keeping his cards in his pocket, invites Lindon to try for his hat-trick from the spot. Lindon slots the ball to the left, the bunting flutters to the right, the wheelie bin falls on the floor laughing knowing it’s going to be in goal for Chaddy’s next game and the entrepreneur disappears through the exit! 1-7.
With time running out Chaddy grab a goal when Chadwick, who had started so brightly, slotted the ball past Steve McDonagh in the Cheadle goal who had spent most of the day textin’ on his phone or amusing himself in some other way, to make it 2-7. But in time added on Ben Fletcher ran full steam to save a ball from going out for a throw in, sliding in he hooked a leg round the ball to send it back to the bunting but the ball stopped in some sort of root vegetable patch growing in the middle of the pitch and Ben Brookes strolled over to collect the stationary ball. As he jogged in on the Chaddy goal he saw that the bunting has simply given up after all the geers and snipes from the wheelie bin and Brookes put the ball home. 2-8.
Moments later the ref blows to bring this train wreck of a game to an end and the Chaddy players get a very “hot” warm down! But more amazingly that’s back-to-back 8-2 FA Cup defeats for me and the rhino! Really, how mad is that!?
Knowing that the club house bar is bobbins we head for the nearest pub to have a chat with some of the fans after the game and watch a bit of the Chelsea v WBA game on the telly.
There’s no sign of the Chaddy massive inside the place so the Rhino heads for the beer garden to see if they’re outside.
“Any luck?” I ask my beer monster chum on his return. “No, there’s just a weird looking bloke with a purple drink who’s forgot the name of his own dog out there,” came the very descriptive answer.
“So what’s he drinking then?” I asked. “Well I’m pretty sure it’s not Ribena Toothkind coz he won’t let people smoke near it, so it must be good!”
We both scan the bar to try and work out what this purple drink could be and eventually decide it must be JD & Fruit Shoot and to be fair they’re not too bad! Well, I don’t remember to be honest!
Next Game: Saturday 3rd September @ 3pm – Trafford v Cheadle Town – see you there!