Saturday, 18 April 2009

The big match... live

Nah, not the FA Cup, the Champions League, the English Premier League, the Old Firm, or some such nonsense... I'm talking Dumbarton versus Cowdenbeath, which kicked off a few minutes ago. Can Sons go top? My nerves are killing me, and I'm 367 miles away! Right now, I'm perched in front of the computer watching the BBC text update, gin to hand for nerve-steadying, kettle poised to boil for further comfort, waiting from any additional news via the mobile from Denise Currie - who very sweetly keeps me in the picture when I'm not around. It's an away fixture. I gather my friends Tim and Margot Rhead are there, too... I gather it's a really good DFC turnout. I'd be there myself if it wasn't for that £155 rail fare. What we all want to see (or hear about) now is a goal celebration like this one, snapped by the ever-watchful lense eye of Donald Fullarton (for all your photographic needs, etc etc.) Meanwhile, 'mon Sons!

Updates: 15.19 and Annan and Elgin have scored already, I see. No goals at Central Park yet. (Incidentally, fellow writer Jack Deighton conveys the many agonies and occasional ecstasies - we hope - of being a Dumbarton fan very well on his blog. Like me, he's not able to be present regularly. As for Campbell Yule, he was in apocalyptic mood last he scribed.)

15:27 Near competitors Shire have grabbed a goal against Montrose. Meanwhile, in League One, with leaders St Johnstone not playing today, Partick have taken the initiative against Morton... which will please Kenny Macaulay, and Sons fans because of the long-standing local rivalry with 'Ton. Cowden's Sheilds booked on 19 mins, I see. (Big swig of, er, tea.... If I smoked, I'd have a cigarette break. Instead I'll just gnaw the carpet, like a normal person.)

Stenny are a goal up now, too. The Sons game is the only one in the Third Division without a goal at the moment. (If I go to the loo, will something crucial happen, and will it be my fault if it's not good?) Just remembered Exeter away at Lincoln - which is why I am not at any kind of match today, though I shall cheer on Arsenal in the pub at 5.15. Nil-nil for the Grecians. They need all three points for the automatic promotion chase, too.

15.45 (Have just returned from my comfort break. Nothing too exciting or worrying seems to have happened. But the sun is streaming through the window, and I am crouched before a computer screen. Strange, strange existence, Barrow.) No change in Scottish League Division Three. Exeter need a goal, because Brentford, Wycombe and Bury are all ahead. Do your magic, Pete Martin.

15:49 The Bees are two up against Accrington. They are odds on to win the English League Two championship, I reckon. My late grandfather's side, and the first professional team I ever saw, in 1967. So good on 'em. Nearly half-time, and late lunch time for me...

15:54 Cowdenbeath 0 -v- Dumbarton 0 at the break. Denise texts me with the sad news that Stevie Murray, of all people, missed a penalty for the Sons. Agghh! Still, it's a game of two halves... and hopefully second chances. For us. Give 'em a good (positive) talking to, Chappie. Exeter gridlocked, too. ("All to play for," he says... in full fitba cliche mode. Unavoidable, really. More tea and a Marmite sandwich.)

We're off again. Janet Lynn Kroeker kindly writes to me on Facebook at 3:49pm April 18: "Raising a glass just for you. (oh wait, it's only 7:40AMPST - hmmmmm)." The wi-fi has gone a bit wonky. More tea. This is a sad thing I am doing, but at least it proves I don't work all the time, right? 0-0 everywhere that matters...

16.17 I am contemplating the beam in my own eye. Specifically, I have often mocked Sky Sports News for broadcasting live pictures of blokes looking at pictures you can't see on screens and telling you what's happening. Now I'm doing it myself - minus the pictures. Forgive, me Jeff Stelling. (And while you're about it, please, stop making near-pervy comments to the delightful Rachel Riley at the end of Countdown. It's creepy, and you really should know better.) Nothing happening goal-wise, so I'm digressing.... as you can see.

16.24 When you note that nothing's happening, isn't that a cue for something to happen? Not this afternoon, it seems. Also, nothing happening is less fun when you're not there. But I see that Brentford have added a third goal and Bury a second. Plus Stenny are two up. Time for the Sons and Grecians to show what theyre made of. Provided it's reinforced steel.

16.27 This is a bit like American Football, in the sense that I am immersed in data and have no interesting sporting action to look at. It's always puzzled me, has American football. A game which involves throwing a ball is named after another body part. People in armour assault each other and call it a game. Plus there are more stoppages than would be needed by an incontinent at a dinner party. Not that I can ever really have claimed to get to grips with the whole thing, as you can tell. I can't get past the nicking of our monicker for what gets called soccer. (Must buy that WSC book on real American football - Football in a Soccer World. Great title.)

16.39 'Final Score' on BBC1 adds to the stat blur. "Stoke have scored. It may help them to stay up, but not mathematically." Eh?!? I love the way football scrambles the brains of commentators and pundits alike. I think they mean "until the game's over".

16.45 Not such good news for Kevin Scully, as Leyton Orient are 2-1 down at home. But they should avoid relegation. Tougher overall for my colleague Jonathan Bartley's side, Nottingham Forest. They are one up, but still in trouble at the bottom of the Championship. Bury have three now. Exeter really need a last-minute goal. So do Dumbarton.

16.48 Yey! Troy
Archibald-Henville, the stylish Spurs youth loan player, has scored for Exeter City against Lincoln. That's vital for the Grecians, given the other results around them.

16.51 Time running out and no sign of a winner from Dumbarton. 'Mon Sons! Meanwhile, commiserations to Charlton Athletic (and my friend Stephen Lyon). They have been relagated to the third tier of English football for the first time in 28 years, and only two seasons after being in the Premiership. How are the not-so-mighty fallen.

16.54 Lennon (60 mins) and Gordon (89 mins) have been booked for Dumbarton. Three Cowdenbeath players in the book. No goals. Time added on.... frustrating. My Midlands locals Wolves are up to the Premier League, though I think ex-Sons captain Neill Collins is out of the picture at Molinieux these days. Result at Lincoln. Well done again, Grecians!

16.58 Nil-nil for Dumbarton at Cowdenbeath. That Murray miss cost us dearly, evidently. Ordinarily a draw at Central Park wouldn't be bad, but this keeps the Blue Brazil top, and East Stirling have come within three points of Sons, Montrose having failed to pull level there. If my calculations are correct, Dumbarton are almost guaranteed a play-off place, unless they lose by silly amounts in each of the next three games. But it isn't certain, and we really want that Champions place and auto-promotion in this, the 25th anniversary of gaining our one and only season in the SPL. The play-offs are a lottery.

17.02 My namesakes Barrow grabbed a precious point today, 3-3 after being 0-2 down. They are three points clear of the Conference relegation zone. Really hope they can do it. Go, Bluebirds (and up, not down). Stoke have survived in the PL. Well done, them.

17.12 Denise Currie has the right attititude: "They're [Cowdenbeath] more likely to drop points than us though, so no worries." Me? Worry about my beloved team? Perish the thought. Also, Pauline Goodlad says of Exeter, "The title is still on." Correct again - just. OK, I'm off to the pub to watch Arsenal thump Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, I hope. After writing about football all afternoon, I actually need to see some. Albeit on a small screen. Have a good rest of the weekend, y'all...

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