Middlesbrough v Wolves, Tuesday 22nd September 2015, 7.45pm

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I’d planned to go to a couple of Northern League games whilst we were in the UK. I’d actually planned to do a lot of things, more I suppose than was realistic, but in the end as far as the football was concerned my second visit of the trip (and season) to the Riverside was as much as I could manage.

Whilst we missed out on the lower-league action, Jen and I did get around to doing another section of the Cleveland Way, this time from Battersby Moor to Clay Bank and back again. It raised a few eyebrows amongst other hikers when after descending Clay Bank we turned straight around and went back up it again, but I like doing these trails in both directions and it would have been cheating if we’d missed a couple of hundred yards out to avoid the steep bits.

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The walk was pretty good, with grouse breaking cover as we passed by. Unfortunately for them there was a shooting party out for the day and so they’d have probably been better sitting quietly.

After some light rain early on it cleared up nicely and by the time we got back to the car at Battersby Moor just after lunch we’d managed fourteen miles, our longest walk of the year so far.

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In other news, we celebrated my Mam and Dad’s diamond wedding anniversary whilst we were in the UK. Sixty years. I’ll need to live to be 108 if Jen and I are to reach that milestone.

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And so to the match.

If I mention Boro v Wolves in the cup what do you think of? That’s right, 1981 and John Neal’s team going out in a quarter-final replay at Molineux. As we waited for the teams to come out I cast my mind back to the home tie nearly thirty-five years ago.  George Berry and Billy Ashcroft with their afros, Craig Johnston and his straight-backed running style, similar, come to think of it, to that of Diego Fabbrini.

We’d arrived three hours early on that occasion so that we could be in the centre of a packed Holgate. Ever the fashionista, I was wearing an afghan coat and by half-time I was close to needing an intravenous drip to re-hydrate.

Andy Gray headed them into an early lead, before Terry Cochrane and his rolled down socks started and finished the move that drew us level and earned the replay.

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This occasion in the Carling Cup third round was a lot less of an ordeal. A goal from Adomah close to half-time set us on our way before two more goals early in the second half made it a relaxing last thirty minutes.

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That was it, UK-wise, or at least it will be for the next few months anyway. Two days later we flew out to Australia. Next stop, the A-League.

 

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