My column in The Grecian Gazette following our game at Arsenal.
An increased capacity meant that we brought joy to more fans than before. It was a much needed win ahead of a trip to London.
Date: Saturday 4th November 2017
Opponent: Arsenal (8th)
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Odds: Arsenal=4/7, Draw=5/2, Exeter City=4/1
Weather: Drizzle, 7C
Referee: Mr. Keith Stroud
Bertin Matip makes his 75th league appearance for us. Arsenal kick off and within the first minute, Walcott has a strike from 12 yards. It goes narrowly wide, which is a relief because it looked as though we could concede without touching the ball. Six minutes later, Collison finds the net for Arsenal from 12 yards. Luckily for us, it’s the side netting only. Arsenal keep the pressure on and with twelve minutes on the clock a cross from the right wing is met by the head of van Persie six yards out. The crowd arise in anticipation, but are left disappointed as he heads over. The sixteenth minute sees our first chance. Well, more of a half chance really when Bradley Johnson decides to try his luck from 20 yards. It goes wide, but at least we’ve been in their half of the field.
It’s only a temporary foray into Arsenal’s half and they’re soon back on the front foot. Walcott unleashes a thunderous drive from 25 yards in the 21st minute. It beats Ben Amos, but not the bar and goes over. Two minutes later, Capoluppo takes a free kick from the right. It’s a deep one and finds an unmarked Lovren unmarked 6 yards out at the far post – 1-0 to the Arsenal.
It had been coming and Arsenal smell blood. Four minutes later, Jose Angel crosses from the left and Gervinho doubles the Arsenal lead from 6 yards out. Not a great response to conceding it must be said and we’re in danger of disappearing without a trace.
Jonny Hayes tries his luck from 18 yards in the 28th minute, but his shot is well over the crossbar and still rising, with spectators in Row Z in more danger than Szczesny and his goal. With five minutes to go until half time, Federico Cenci plays a delightful through-ball through the Arsenal defence. Szczesny is quick off his line, but Rainer Breu is chasing after it. It’s a race. Breu slides in and beats Szczesny to the ball. He pokes it past Szczesny from 6 yards and claims his 5th goal of the season and the 500th goal of my reign.
Going into half time just a goal down after having spent much of the half under the cosh – we’ll take that! On the stroke of half time, Arsenal win a corner. Capoluppo swings the corner in and Nathan Ake gets his head to it. He’s diverted it goalwards. Gennaro Riccardi is on the line and looks to clear, but only succeeds in putting the ball into the net. So much for going into half time just one goal down! But to be fair, Arsenal deserve their two-goal lead.
Four minutes into the second half, Johnson threads a ball through the Arsenal defence. Breu chases and is favourite to get to the ball. It’s a great chance to pull a goal back. Lovren slides in and pinches the ball of Breu’s toe and concedes a corner. Matip swings the resulting corner in and Cenci meets it at the near post. Goal! It’s Cenci’s 7th of the season and his 50th goal for us. We’re one behind again. Stirring words from me at half time!
Hopefully we can kick on and secure the equalising goal. However, it’s Arsenal who go closest to scoring again when Walcott shoots from 25 yards in the 57th minute. The shot gets deflected and goes narrowly wide at the expense of a corner, which we deal with far better than the one before half time.
One minute before the hour, Matthew Jenkins is introduced in place of Jagos Vukovic. With 17 minutes to go, Song enters Mr. Stroud’s book for fouling Breu. I search for an equaliser and Matip’s 75th league appearance for us is ended 15 minutes early as I bring on the more attack-minded Oliver Norwood. Ake joins Song in Mr. Stroud’s book in the 80th minute after fouling van Persie.
van Persie is not the type of player to be discouraged by being fouled. Two minutes after Ake’s booking, he shoots from 25 yards, forcing Amos into a smart save as he tips the ball over the bar. He’s also capable of looking after himself, something he proves in the 84th minute when he fouls Cenci and picks up a yellow card from Mr. Stroud. After Mr. Stroud has produced the yellow card and noted down the name, I make my final change of the afternoon with Ilica Perak making way for Michel.
We’re searching for one good chance to snatch a point. Two minutes into stoppage time, Mick Byrne crosses from the right. Cenci rises amidst a crowd of players. He’s 6 yards out. He… can’t direct it either side of Szczesny due to the attention he’s receiving from the defence and it’s a comfortable save. It feels like our last chance has gone, something that’s confirmed two minutes later when Breu commits a foul in our box. Mr. Stroud points to the spot and van Persie fires high to Amos’ right to secure victory for the home side.
Man of the Match: Federico Cenci
Ratings: Amos 6.0; Byrne 5.6; Ake 6.0, booked; Vukovic 5.5, sub 59; Riccardi 5.9; Perak 6.2, sub 84; Matip 6.9, assist, sub 75; Johnson 6.8; Hayes 6.0; Cenci 8.7, goal, assist; Breu 7.1, goal. Subs: Jenkins 6.1, on 59; Norwood 6.5, on 75; Michel on 84.
League Position: 14th
Federico Cenci’s 50 goals have come in 108 games for us, which isn’t too bad considering it took him about a dozen games to get off the mark.
Plymouth Argyle offer to loan Rune Daugaard for one month. I agree and so does he and he travels across Devon. Aaron Walker extends his loan spell at Aldershot. Rochdale would like a two-month extension on Adolfo Mannino’s loan spell; I agree, but he doesn’t and he rejoins us. We also welcome back Nathan Holland from his loan spell at Luton Town.
Regis Olivier resumes full training.
QPR announce their new manager, with Steven Gerrard sitting in the hot seat. Up in Lancashire, Wigan dispense of Gus Poyet’s services. My name is in the mix for being the potential replacement, but the media say the smart money is on Steve McLaren being appointed.
Read my thoughts about last week’s show.
The show opened with Grado asking Stu Bennett for one more chance, which Bennett agreed with if he was serious. Grado walked down the ring in a suit for the opening bout. Sha Samuels was the man he had to beat. Samuels started the stronger with much of the match outside the ring. Samuels was setting Grado up for a piledriver on the ramp, but Grado backdropped Samuels and was given a ‘Grado’ hat by a fan. Cue the suit being removed and the Grado we’re familiar with returning, culminating in a Grado cutter and the win to Bennett’s dismay.
The grudge match from week 1 was second up, with Martin Kirby facing off against Joe Hendry. Hendry started the better, to the dismay of Kirby and the delight of the crowd. Kirby took some time outside the ring to slow Hendry’s momentum and when Hendry chased, Kirby was able to gain the advantage when they re-entered the ring. Kirby walked across the middle rope for an elbow, which he missed to put Hendry back in control. The number of near falls increased and when Kirby was setting up the Kirby Bomb, Hendry reversed and applied the Hendry lock. Kirby reached the ropes and the hold was broken, but Kirby was clutching his ankle. Hendry came in, Kirby took him down and gained the pinfall with the help of the ropes.
The tag team tournament continued next as BT Gunn and Stevie Boy took on CJ Banks and Brad Slayer. Gunn got off to a good start against Banks and Stevie Boy maintained the momentum. The ring was successfully cut off by Gunn and Stevie Boy, but a huge uppercut knocked Stevie Boy out the ring and Slayer capitalised behind the referee’s back to switch the momentum. When Gunn was tagged in, he took control, taking on Banks and Slayer single-handedly. Gunn and Stevie Boy picked up the win and advance in the tournament.
Gabriel Kidd, the winner of last week’s ladder match, came down to the ring for his big opportunity. The prize for winning the ladder match? Crater! Uppercuts from Kidd had no effect and Crater soon took control with a clothes line. Crater proceeded to throw Kidd across the ring and dominate the match. Crater looked to win with a bear hug, but Kidd fought his way out, but was quickly put down onto the canvas again; he got up in the corner and was on the receiving end of a splash from the 36-stone monster, followed up by a chokeslam and a splash on Kidd to pick up the victory. Crater walked out of the ring, with Kidd leaving via stretcher.
The final match of the evening was for the WOS Title, with Justin Sysum challenging Rampage. CJ Banks and Sha Samuels accompanied Rampage to the ring. Rampage started off in control, but Sysum soon gained the advantage. Momentum switched regularly and Sysum set up Rampage for a 450 splash. Samuels jumped up to the apron and when the referee when over to move Samuels back to the floor, Banks pushed Sysum off the top rope to put Rampage in control. With a potential double count out, Banks slid under the apron. Rampage got back into the ring, but Banks held onto Sysum’s ankle to give the win to Rampage.
A good show, with Kirby’s tactics, Bennett showing his heel CEO credentials by giving a match with Crater as Kidd’s reward and Banks handing Rampage the victory being highlights.
Kirby’s win courtesy of the ropes means that a second match between him and Hendry must surely happen. Grado has earned his next opportunity, which I expect would be CJ Banks, meaning he would have beaten both of Rampage’s henchmen; it would then provide Grado with a final match to earn a title shot – Crater.
Leave a comment with your thoughts of the show and what we might see next.
Read last week’s review.
The show opened with Stu Bennett announcing that there would be a triple threat to crown the first ever WOS Women’s champion and this was followed up by Rampage’s title celebration. The title celebration was interrupted by Joe Hendry, demanding a title shot. Bennett asked for the bell to be rung and the first match of the night was Rampage V Hendry for the WOS title. CJ Banks and Sha Samuels were ringside and following a good start from Hendry, Banks distracted Hendry to get Rampage into the match and Samuels also got involved. Hendry fought back and had an ankle lock on Rampage, leading to Banks jumping up onto the apron. Hendry broke the hold and Banks jumped back down to the floor; Hendry turned around, walked into Rampage’s spiked DDT and the title remained with Rampage.
A four-man ladder match was the second match, with an unknown contract in a briefcase the target. Liam Slater, Robbie X, Gabriel Kidd and Lionheart were the four competitors. It took a couple of minutes for the ladder to be brought to the ring, with Lionheart bringing it in and Slater the first one to try and climb it. The ladder as a weapon was used sparingly, but was used for some high spots. Kidd and Lioneheart ended up battling on top of two ladders; when Lionheart was knocked off his ladder, Kidd retrieved the briefcase. The contract is for a big opportunity next week.
The tag team tournament continued in the evening’s third match. Adam Maxted and Nathan Cruz took on Doug Williams and HT Drake. Drake ended up isolated after a cheap shot from the outside by Cruz. When it looked as though Drake would make the tag, Cruz pulled Williams off the apron. The tag was finally made and Williams took on Cruz and Maxted. Cruz and Maxted were able to take control back and Drake was pinned as Maxted and Cruz advanced.
The final match of the evening was a triple threat match to crown the first ever WOS Women’s Champion. Kay Lee Ray, Bea Priestley and Viper were the competitors. Viper started off in control of the match, despite Ray and Priestley appearing to agree to work together. When Priestley and Ray finally manager to get Viper down, Priestley had the better of the match. Priestley got taken out of the match by a spinning powerbomb outside of the ring, leaving Viper and Kay Lee Ray to battle it out for the title, with Ray picking up the victory.
There were fewer dramatic camera cuts and the matches were good. Samuels and Banks getting involved in Rampage’s title defence was welcome and makes it clear that the title is likely to spend plenty of time with Rampage.
A WOS Title match as the opening match was unexpected, but a good surprise start to the show. However, with Bennett as a heel CEO, it was a surprise that he just granted the match to Hendry. He could have been made to take on Samuels, Banks or Samuels and Banks to earn his title shot, but five matches in an hour wouldn’t give enough time for the matches to develop; with Hendry being a face, he’d have had to had the two matches in the same night.
Another good show. Leave a comment with your thoughts.
The show started with WOS CEO Stu Bennett ushering in a new era of British wrestling, with no jokers, clowns or buffoons. Enter WOS Champion, Grado – a man full of dance moves, who loves to make the audience smile. Bennett made it clear that he wanted a new champion and the first match of the evening saw a five-man elimination match, with the winner going on to challenge Grado in the main event. Crater dominated the match until his disqualification. Justin Sysum appeared to win the match, with Adam Maxted and Rampage being counted out, but Sha Samuels (who had earlier been eliminated via pinfall) rolled Rampage in behind the referee’s back and Bennett announced the main event would be a triple threat match, with Sysum and Rampage challenging Grado.
The second match saw Davey Boy Smith Junior take on Will Ospreay, with Smith’s power against Ospreay’s high flying ability. Ospreay produced several moves I’ve never seen before (and would struggle to describe beyond somersaults with turns), but his risks led to a second rope powerslam to finish a good match.
Match three of the evening saw the tag team tournament begin, with Joe Hendry and Martin Kirby teaming up to take on Kip Sabian and Iestyn Rees. Hendry and Kirby started well, but Sabian and Rees were able to isolate Hendry in their corner. It looked like being a formulaic tag team match, but when Hendry made it across the ring to tag in Kirby, Kirby jumped down from the apron and walked back to the dressing room, seemingly as revenge for an accidental collision between Kirby and Hendry earlier in the match, which knocked Kirby to the floor. Sabian and Rees picked up the win and advance in the tournament, whilst a future match between Hendry and Kirby has been set up.
The final match of the evening was for the WOS title as Grado defended the belt against Sysum and Rampage. The first half of the match was almost exclusively between Grado and Sysum, with Rampage being thrown from the ring. When Rampage became involved, the pace picked up and the end soon followed, with Grado being pinned by Rampage, who was crowned champion.
A good first show, but a couple of complaints. The first is the cameras, which showed some strange angles and camera shots were jumped between. Also, in the main event, Sha Samuels and CJ Banks accompanied Rampage to the ring, but didn’t get involved in the match – a good bit of cheating to help Rampage win would not have gone amiss!
On the plus side, the booking seems pretty solid. The tag team match has seen a feud set up between Kirby and Hendry, whilst Sabian and Rees advanced. Sabian has already said they will win the tournament, so I expect them to win their next match as well and make the final. Rampage winning the title sets up the WOS title for the rest of the series, with Grado trying to win the belt back against Rampage, Barrett, Samuels and Banks. I’d expect him to win the belt back at the end of the series after having been denied a few times by some cheating.
What were your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.
When God’s Favorite Band was released, I blogged what my tracklist would have been. God’s Favorite Band covers Green Day’s career, but International Superhits covered up to and including Warning. So with International Superhits covering pre-American Idiot, what would God’s Favorite Band look like if it only selected tracks from American Idiot onwards?
1. American Idiot
2. St. Jimmy
4. 21st Century Breakdown
5. Know Your Enemy
6. East Jesus Nowhere
7. Horseshoes & Handgrenades
8. Nuclear Family
9. Let Yourself Go
10. Oh Love
11. Stray Heart
13. Wow! That’s Loud
14. Missing You
16. 99 Revolutions
17. Bang Bang
18. Bouncing Off The Walls
20. Ordinary World
Which 20 songs would make your American Idiot onwards God’s Favorite Band? Leave a comment and let me know.
The war in Europe ended in May, but it continues in the Pacific as Japan fights on. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of victory for Japan, but no surrender is forthcoming and America is gearing up to invade the Japanese mainland in what will undoubtedly be a bloody battle. The comes to a quick and sudden end with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what would the key decision makers have been thinking at the time?
That’s what #Tokyo45 looks to imagine. In the form of tweets. Decision makers on all sides are given imaginary Twitter accounts and the narrative of the end of the war is told through tweets on a daily basis. The start of each day contains a short overview of a key decision maker or location. It’s a great way of presenting all sides of the story leading up to the dropping of the bombs and the aftermath of them.
Rating (out of 5): *****