Great Heathen Army pt 7 – We’ve got a semi on (the cards)

G­­óðan dag and Velkomin back. Last time out we’d hit a bit of a slump in form and dropped into 2nd place in the league and got knocked out of the League Cup by Stokeport. Sigurd Ragnarsson decided that the grass was greener up North and used his sneaky big club release clause to secure a move to Rangers. We brought in Miklos Molnar as his replacement and I’m expecting big things from him….

First up this week we entertain Hamwich at the Crescent. Brandal opens the scoring only for our Scandi brother Stig Johansen to equalise for Southampton shortly after (i’m certain he’s one of them players who always scores against me, along with Martin Dahlin, Paul Scholes and bloody Steve Claridge). Brandal gets his second just after half time, Caceres receives his marching orders and we hold out for a win.

We sail right round the country and land on the Wirral for our trip to Trani-melr. Ivar puts us in front in the 6th minute but Jones hits straight back 2 mins later. We have a goal disallowed before Lormor puts the home side in front. Bjorn levels it up and its 2-2 after an entertaining 1st half. Half Dan goes off injured and with no centre mid on the bench I go attacking by giving Gudjohnsen a go there. It’s to no avail and the game finishes in a draw. Molnar needs to pull his finger out, that’s two very average 6’s for him there.

Boxing Day and next up is the first of our double header against Burgh. Last year we were stuffed bigger than our Christmas turkey so I’m hoping the boys laid off the pigs in blankets this time around and we get a better result. Ivar gets us going in the 2nd minute, then scores again only for it to be disallowed for the 2nd game in a row. It seems he’s still got some mead floating round his system as he’s straight over to the officials to let them know what he thinks of them and receives an early bath for his troubles! Molnar finally decides to join the party and finds the back of the net to give us some breathing space before grabbing his second 15 mins later. He then completes his hat-trick in the 84th and takes home the match ball for the first time with us.

Bury again but this time in the FA Cup 3rd round. We bring Half Dan back in following his injury and field a strong side showing the famous competition the respect it deserves. Burgh take the lead in the 13th and absolutely batter us for the first half hour. Ivar then scores 2 in two mins to give us the lead at half time. It’s a bit stale in the 2nd half so I ring a couple of changes and bring on Gudjohsen and Wonderboy. They immediately combine to put us 3-1 up and that’s how it stayed. We’re in the hat for the 4th round where we’ll meet either Watforda or Altrincham.

Ivar’s suspended for our league visit to Stokeport. Nash handballs in the box and Wonderboy dispatches the resulting penalty. Jeffers equalises only for Molnar and Wonderboy to score and take us to the break 3-1 to the good. Halle and Brandal get themselves on the scoresheet and we get our revenge for the league cup defeat by thumping them 5-1.

I mistakenly leave Ivar out for the visit of Swinedun. I regret it almost immediatley as we have 3 gilt-edged chances to score, miss them all and then end up 1-0 down after their first attack. We do equalise only to concede again with their second shot on target and we trail at half time. Wonderboy gets us level and then has the perfect opportunity to put us in front 2 mins later but blazes his penalty over the bar. He does manage to finish with a brace and give us a deserved win after our dominant display of 31 shots/14 on target to their 8 shots/2 on target. Our keeper situation is a real worry as they are literally average or crap game after game.

FA Cup time and it’s Altrincham that we face in the fourth round (I never changed the name of the non-league teams and I’ve a feeling it’s going to really annoy me now that they start entering league competition)! Ivar comes back into the starting 11 and gives us the lead in the tenth minute. Funnell see’s red and Ivar doubles our lead shortly after. We have yet another goal disallowed in the 88th min before Middleton gets his marching orders and Altrincham finish with 9 men.

We draw Eofor (Everton) in the 5th round.

Back in the league and we’re on our travels to East Anglia again, this time to take on Gippeswic. The home team are all over us from the start but we manage to score against the run of play in the 28th min. The last 15 mins of the half is a frantic end to end battle but no more goals are forthcoming. Ipswich again put the pressure on at the start of the 2nd half so I decide to shore us up a bit by bringing on Bjorn for Half Dan, change Frandsen for Wonderboy and move Molnar in behind. We start to find our feet and centre-half Anderson scores a headed brace from two corners. The 3-0 scoreline definitely flatters us as we were outplayed for large parts of it but I’ll take it, maybe our luck is changing?

Wulfuneheatun are next up at home and we blast into a 3-0 lead in the first 10 mins. Half Dan opened the scoring and Ivar bagging two. Westwood does Wolves no favours by going for an early bath after a deliberate handball. That turns out to be the only action of note in the second half and it’s two 3-0 wins on the bounce.

FA Cup 5th Round, Eofor away. We start bright but find Richard Wright in fine form as he saves everything that we throw at him. Slade gives Everton the lead against the run of play and they grow into the game. The second half seems to be passing away with little action so I decide to make a change in formation and bring on Molnar to partner Ivar up front and revert back to our 2-3-1-2-2 formation. He scores with his first touch sending the away fans into a frenzy. The boys aren’t phased by the occasion and hold on for a draw and force a replay back at Bootham Crescent. The romance of the FA cup highlighted on the most romantic of days.

Back in league action and we face Bromwich at home. Frandsen gives us the lead in the 4th min and Ivar doubles it in the 7th. West Brom hit back in the 27th min through Hunt but Molnar gives us back our goal cushion before half time. Bjorn gets injured early in the second half forcing us into a change of formation. We stay strong and the game finishes 3-1.

Aldehulme do us a massive favour by beating Brycg Stowe Rovers 1-0 and we’re back on top on goal difference. They have literally been matching our results up until now and have been unrelenting. They’re also in the league cup final where they’ll meet Chelsea.

FA Cup 5th Round Replay – Bootham Crescent. I decide to keep our league formation and be aggressive instead of swapping a striker for a centre half. It pays off as Frandsen gives us the lead in the 26th min. Molnar grabs our second just before half time and we’re on course for a cup upset. Now I’ve a conundrum at half time…. do I stay as we are and hope to stay on the front foot but be more susceptible to attack or do I try and shore up for the win? It’s the latter as I decide to take off Gudjohnsen, playing just the 1 behind Ivar and Molnar and bring on Hagelund to go into a back three. The fans appreciate this and chants of “Shield Wall” ring around the stands. It’s end to end in the second half with both sides having plenty of chances. Big Dunc does find the back of the net late on in the 87th min but it’s ruled out for offside (only another 2 to go to even out this weeks’ save). Our shield wall stands firm and we seal a famous win.

I let the boys have a few beers and give them Thursday off, it’s the least I could do. However, they’re to report back first thing Friday for light training as we’ve a big game again on Saturday.

We make the shortish trip to Berneslai and half the team are still shattered following their cup heroics. I let Ivar lead the team talk before the game and he gees them up telling them they can rest when they’re dead! He leads by example putting us in front in the 13th min. Wonderboy, Brandal and Ivar’s second give us a commanding 4-0 lead which I’d never had imagined. The enduring Jamie Cureton gives Barnsley a glimmer of hope by scoring at the end of the half. Cureton grabs his second in the 2nd half but it’s not enough and there’s no cup hangover for the army.

The games are coming thick and fast now as we’re in the midlands away at Bacardeslim. Molnar gives us the lead but Port Vale peg us back straight from kickoff. A really entertaining game sees chance after chance go begging for both teams. We hit the post in the 70th minute and I can feel it’s going to be our day. We get the away fans on side as we push for the winner. It comes in the 86th min as Frandsen follows up Molnar’s parried shot and it’s another win. The boys are doing fantastic and hopefully they believe we can go all the way this year.

FA Cup Quarter Final away at Aldehulme. What a wasteful afternoon in front of goal. We literally have chance after chance but the boys decide they fancy another game in our burgeoning schedule. 0-0 and a replay back at fortress Bootham it is?

Back in the league and we’re away again, this time at Oderesfeld. Ivar handballs in the box and Petkovic obliges by scoring the resulting penalty. Huddersfield then have another penalty shout when Gronvold tries his arm at goal keeping and handles the ball in the area. The ref waves play-on but the linesman calls him over. The ref tells him not to be daft, he can’t give 2 penalties against us heathens or he’ll never be seen again….alive! We create plenty of chances but just can’t seem to find the finishing touch. Molnar does manage to equalise late on and we have to settle for a hard earned point.

FA Cup Quarter Final Replay – Fortress Bootham Crescent. Ivar finally breaks the deadlock between us in the 20th minute. We have 11 chances with 6 on target in the first half but Gary Kelly is having himself another blinder. We double our lead early in the 2nd half thanks to Molnar following up Ivars’ shot. He then grabs his second in the 64th minute to put the game to bed. Our keeper Hollund gives them a late glimmer of hope as he smashes the ball into his own net. 3-1 winners and we’ve got ourselves a semi.

The draw is made and its Monkceaster (Newcastle) whom we’ll face.

I think that’ll be next weeks’ problem. It feels like a good place to leave it for now. We’ve regained top spot in the league following an amazing run of form where I think we only dropped 4 points (?) and have an FA Cup semi final to look forward to.

Join us next week as we play out our final 10 league games, hopefully gaining promotion and testing out our premiership credentials in the cup semi.

Until then, Morna!

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