Monday 24 February 2014

Watching Chester after lunch at the Ritz

Watching Chester from the comfort of my living room, glass of wine in hand, just doesn't feel right.

So, after the television drama involving Halifax with the great twist at the end, it was re-assuring to be back on the road, to Lincoln. It was a first visit to both the city and Sincil Bank, so an early start was in order to leave time for a quick spot of sighsteeing.

A clamber up the steep cobbled street to the Cathedral ticked off that particular box and a fellow Exile popped into the cracking cheese shop on the way down.

There could only be one destination for lunch. I can go to my grave content now that I'm able to claim, absolutely truthfully, that I've had lunch at the Ritz and watched Chester on the same day.

So what that this Ritz is a converted cinema in Lincoln that is now a Wetherspoons, complete with trademark garish swirly carpet? Anyway, I bet you can't get two steak and kidney puddings with chips for £7 at the Picaddilly version.

We were given the Stacey West stand, behind the goal, which made for a great atmosphere despite going behind early to a typical defensive mix-up. The away support this season has been consistently good - the 250 who made the trip on Saturday appreciated the effort being put in on the pitch and really got behind the team at Lincoln.

My heart is in my mouth when we go one down, as a second inevitably means game over such is our lack of firepower this season.  I must admit I feared another Braintree but the second half performance from the Blues was inspiring. Taylor swept in a 53rd minute equaliser in front of the jubilant away fans and it was great to see the team continue to push forward in search of a winner, get the ball on the deck and put the home team under so much pressure. In the words of the Lincoln manager after the game their defence was "at sixes and sevens" at times.

It was only fitting that our on-loan keeper made a superb penalty save - it would have been harsh to leave empty-handed after such a gutsy performance. Agonisingly Rooney's shot was tipped on to the post and back into their keeper's hands to deny us another dramatic late winner. Hopefully it's sign of the progress being made that I left the ground feeling a little cheated by a point away from home against a side which had been on a decent run of form.

There are some big games ahead. There are 18 points up for grabs against teams in the bottom 6, which will define the season. At least we are still in there fighting and it's in our own hands.

Adrian Lee