It feels like only yesterday that we watched City win at Ferriby. Oh wait, it was yesterday! Sunday brings another game and it's another regular pre-season jaunt, across the Humber Bridge to Winterton. It's a lovely little ground. It's got everything you need, somewhere to buy a burger, somewhere to buy a pint and somewhere to stand and watch the match. It's normally also got a setting evening sun and a nice view of the Bridge but not today. Today it's grey again and it's pi, er, chucking down again. Then it's gloriously sunny. Then it's raining heavily. Then it's sunny again. Then it's ... you get the point. We take cover, that's a wise choice.
Pre-match, the ref runs past on his warm-up. I know the ref, it's Carl Boyeson. "You're crap, ref, bloody rubbish!" I jest. I wait for him to look over and give us a smile but he's a pro so he keeps on running. Now I look like a moron who barracks refs at friendly matches ... great. At half time, I hear someone say "I think the ref's done well and do you know? I heard some idiot shouting abuse at him before the game." I keep my head down.
On to the game. Actually, there isn't all that much to tell. Winterton play well, really well. They pass neatly and work hard and City aren't really good enough to break them down. If you live around Winterton, they are a team worth watching, especially at that level. A Scunthorpe fan who's popped along to the game tells me they've totally rebuilt the squad. They've done a good job. Rob Northern, the builder who scored a hat-trick against City two seasons ago, is Captain these days, coming off a horrendous injury. He's still a fine player, surely too good for that level?
City line-up in the first half with Tony Warner in goal, another forgotten man. Kilbane is left back and captain and has a fine half. He looks the best option at left back at this point, but it's nice to know we've got one position where there is real competition. Doyle is right back, Mouokolo and Cooper in the centre. Cooper is confident and looks a real leader on the pitch, even at his young age. Cairney and Featherstone play centre mid, with the latter running the game, Halmosi is left, Devitt right and Folan up front with Geovanni. Folan and Halmosi disappoint, big time, even in a warm up game against lowly opposition.
Halmosi is a willing worker but his touch is poor and he fails to deliver time and again. Winterton's goalie denies him with a fine save but he should have buried the chance. Folan's passes and lay off's find an oppo every time, his touch desserts him and he's too slow to make a decision. He barely gets a sniff of goal. City get a few sightings but are denied by a terrific display by the Winterton 'keeper. Geo bends a free-kick onto the post, he didn't sniff that, but he makes a terrific low stop from Mouyokolo's header, gets down again to tip a fizzing drive from Devitt around the post and then tips a shot from the same player onto the bar. Devitt is never scared to have a go. He's quick and he has a Stuart Elliott like confidence around the box. He's very lightweight though. The goalie is finally beaten as half time approaches. He makes another fine save from another Mouyokolo header but Cairney reacts quickest to tap home the rebound. The 'keeper deserved better luck and to make it a double kick in the knackers, he's injured himself making the save.
City send out a stronger side for the second half. It's the same as the first half against Ferriby but with Oxley replacing Myhill. It's the first time I've seen the young goalie. He's physically impressive but looks nervous in the warm up. In the half, he doesn't have a save to make but takes a catch confidently and kicks OK off the floor. Thomas is again the pick of the City players, giving the right back a torrid time. He's seriously quick, like Speedy Gonzalez with a rocket up his arse. He speeds past him twice and forces good saves form the young replacement in the Winterton goal, the second falling to Marney to tap in for 3-0. He speeds away a third time but slides the ball wide. He puts his shirt over his head in shame. In the midst of all that, Boateng had lashed in a second from 20 yards just after Winterton had a lucky escape. A slide rule ball looked like the 'keepers all the way but he misjudged it and allowed Fagan to run around him and slide the ball goal wards, only for a defender to make a miraculous recovery and spoon the ball off the line.
City dominated possession but lacked any urgency and were happy to stroll it 3-0. The opposition player very well and lasted the pace too but their limitations were made obvious by the fact that Marney looked like a playmaker against them. He strolled the game. If only he'd do that against real opposition.