IF any Portsmouth or Everton fan tries to convince you that their team was last on Match of the Day this weekend, you can tell them that the dreary goalless draw at Fratton Park would indeed have been on last but for the 17 games that were on after it.
Had Pompey’s game been last on, it might have given me a jumping off point to make some remarks about Harry Redknapp’s week. As it is, all I’ll say is that, after all that’s happened to him, he’s still not talking to the BBC.
With it being an FA Cup weekend, the goals round-up from Saturday’s second-round ties appeared on MOTD after the latest round of Premier League action.
From it, we learned that Sir Alex Ferguson spent Saturday afternoon watching his son Darren’s Peterborough side win 5-0 at non-league Staines. And we learned that Craig Mackail-Smith – who scored four of those five goals – is dreaming of a third-round tie against Watford, the club he supports. That boy knows glamour when he sees it.
We also discovered the longest name of any football stadium in Britain. Is Dagenham and Redbridge’s ground really called ‘The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council Stadium’? Knocks ‘The City of Manchester Stadium’ into a cocked hat, if you ask me.
And we learned that the reporters on these goals round-ups do come up with some bizarre statements. Tony Gubba summed up Cambridge’s 1-0 win over fellow Conference side Weymouth with the observation: “Cambridge reviving memories of 1990, when they reached the quarter-finals.” Or, perhaps more accurately, reviving memories of 2003, when they last reached the third round.
Then there was the reporter, whose name I failed to catch, who began his report on Burton Albion’s 1-1 draw with Barnet by saying: “Brian Clough never managed it, but his son Nigel can still dream of winning the FA Cup.” Burton to win the FA Cup, eh? Perhaps I should put a bet on.
The good news was that every one of Saturday’s 16 second-round ties (plus Friday night’s 1-1 draw between Horsham and Swansea) made it on to the show. But someone’s got to be on last.
Last night’s final match: Huddersfield 3 Grimsby 0
Poor old Grimsby. After knocking out Carlisle – who are a division above them – in round one, their reward was a trip to Huddersfield – also a division above them.
To make matters worse, they fell to two goals from Phil Jevons, who scored arguably the most famous goal in Grimsby’s cup history; the winner at Liverpool in a League Cup tie in 2001.
But at least now they can concentrate on the… on the… (no, hang on, they’re 20th in League Two, so not the league) on the… on the… got it! On the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. They face Stockport at Edgeley Park in the New Year, and the winners of that will be one two-legged tie away from Wembley.
So all is not lost for Grimsby. They’ve certainly got more chance of getting to Wembley this season than Nigel Clough has of winning the FA Cup, anyway.
1. Derby: 5
2=. Wigan: 4 (Gubba difference: +1)
2=. Fulham: 4 (GD: +1)
4. Aston Villa: 3
5. Gubba: 2
6=. Bolton: 2 (GD: +1)
6=. Reading: 2 (GD: +1)
8. West Ham: 2 (GD: 0)
9=. Birmingham: 1
9=. Chelsea: 1
9=. Everton: 1
9=. Middlesbrough: 1
9=. Newcastle: 1
9=. Sunderland: 1
9=. Bury: 1
9=. Workington: 1
9=. Huddersfield: 1
9=. Grimsby: 1
(NB. Where teams are level, positions are decided by Gubba Difference; the number of times a team is on Match of the Day last with Tony Gubba commentating.)