4/1/20 Lancaster City v Morpeth Town, Northern Premier League Premier Division. Be Careful With That Giant Axe, You, Jean.

I didn’t fancy watching Blues v Blackburn in the cup, had it been a 3 o’clock kickoff, I might’ve done, but it had been changed to 12:30, to be covered by foreign television, hence a ground hop. Lancaster’s ground is situated right next to the train station, for a non League ground, it’s quite substantial, going past it on a trip up to Edinburgh, it’s been calling to me, finding out it’s called The Giant Axe, and that’s the original name, no advertising, made me want to take in a game there even more. Ground  hopping at Morecambe, a couple of years ago, I drank in Lancaster, as Morecambe is a bit of a real ale desert, and Lancaster was much more appealing. I got the train up to Lancaster, finding a socket, so I could write my blog post for the Wigan game, and listen to my playlist at the same time, apparently you can actually use your mobile phone to talk to someone, I can’t see that catching on. Getting off, I walked the short distance to Merchant’s.

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“Cave dwelling at its best”

The place exclaims to be in use in one form or another from 1688, I didn’t doubt it, had a decent range of locales, and also 3 Ebbsfleet United fans, who were having a pit stop, on their way to Barrow, with what was to transpire, I’m guessing they will have wished they’d stayed in Lancaster. (Barrow 7, Ebbsfleet 0) The Sun was next, (No, not the newspa…rag) more of an eatery than a pub, a place I’d take a first date, long way to take one mind. The Bobbin was next, and that was definitely not somewhere I’d take a first date, it was more my kind of place though. The bar looked original, but you could tell the pub had been much decorated and refurbished down the years. Next on the itinerary was the Three Mariners,

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“Picture postcard for an ale trailer”

If the Bobbin was a rock pub, this place would be somewhere you’d take your Mom on Mother’s day. It was also where I was to have my favourite beer of the day, Tonkoko, from Brew York, a chocolate stout with coconut back notes, absolutely gorgeous. After the Three Mariners, I went in search of Kanteena, a place that I’d seen on the Whatpub website, and had intrigued me, unfortunately, it was shut. The site did say opening times might vary, so I headed off to the White Cross.

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“Don’t suppose it matters now, we’re stuck with em”

The White Cross is a place just on the tow path, just off the canal bridge, and has a Wetherspoons layout, except that the toilets are on the same level.

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“Told you”

A good range, I got chatting to the barman about Camra membership perks, and different Wetherspoons around the country. There are some good ones, as well as awful ones. I walked through a picturesque city centre back past the station to the ground.

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“Not quite an electronic scoreboard, but the lad was quick”

An early bad tackle, brought a red card for the home side, and I fully expected Morpeth to take complete control of the game and steam roll the Dolly Blues, that, however, was not going to be the case, the sending off preceded to galvanise Lancaster, and instead of capitulation, they very much took the game to the North Easterners, and it wasn’t a surprise when the pressure told and Morpeth conceded, that pressure forcing a mistake that the ten men capitalised on.

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“Told you it was close”

Morpeth toiled against the 10, Lancaster defended quite comfortably against the 11, halftime, the 1:0 lead, easily intact, I moved round to behind the goal Morpeth were defending, second half and the 10 men made their advantage tell, a well thought out dummy on the edge of the area, was read by the scorer of the Dollies first goal, who doubled the lead and also his tally for the day. Morpeth pulled a goal back, I wondered if the 10 men would shut up shop, a minute later and the answer was a resounding no, Lancaster made it 3:1,

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“This is proper sky coverage”

Another mistake by the away side, brought the forth, the hat trick, and the home goalkeeper racing up from his goal, to join in with the celebrations, the North Easterners had been cut down by a Giant Axe indeed. Who needs 11 men anyway? Fulltime, 10 men 4, 11 men 1.

I went back past the station into town, and to The Borough, I was impressed the last time I went in there, this time, not so much, it’s still a beautifully preserved pub,

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“See?”

but the clientele are more of a ‘need to be seen’ crowd, the good and the great of Lancaster, kind of place. After a beer in there, I put my head round the door of the Tap House, last time, this place was a highlight, not anymore, so disappointed with the range, I didn’t stay, and headed for the Yorkshire Tap instead, another of Lancaster’s pubs with a rock feel to it.

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“If Spoons played darts….”

Yorkshire by name, Lancashire by nature, I’d left myself with just enough time for one last beer in The Robert Gillow’s, a Hyde’s outlet,

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“It’s no Grey Horse”

For a Hyde’s place, it’s on the plush side, got that lunchtime office staff kind of feel, I work in a factory, it’s not my sort of place. Getting the train home, I made sure that I didn’t fall asleep in the wrong position again. I definitely recommend a trip to Lancaster, it’s unrushed, a step back in time, but not manufactured.

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