Away from the football, there was exciting news today as scientists (or 'boffins' as they prefer to be known) have confirmed that they have been able reverse paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose. However, they have not answered the question which is everyone's lips...
How does it smell?
'Ere is them footballing results:
Game 1: Peterborough United vs Blackburn Rovers
Prediction: Away win ( ✔ )
A good start as Henning Berg claimed his first win as Blackburn manager with a comfortable 4-1 victory. And he did not have to wait long for his side to take the lead, just 3 minutes into the match and Argentinian Mauro Formica slotted the ball into the net from a Ruben Rochina lay-off. But the star of the show was to be Jordan Rhodes, who struck a hat-trick to secure the triumph. His first came when he headed home from six-yards following a Martin Olsson cross, although it could easily have been recorded as an own-goal having deflected in off the hand of Peterborough defender and poshest man in football Nathaniel Knight-Percival. Rhodes struck once more before half-time with Rochina providing another assist and the Scotsman finishing confidently. The Posh put some pressure on their opponents after the break and came close through a Saido Berahino drive but Rovers keeper and Ramsay Street villain Paul Robinson pushed the ball overt the bar. Rhodes completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute; Peterborough failed to clear a corner and the striker headed home to ensure victory and win a football. Lee Tomlin grabbed a consolation late-on with a spectacular drive but the Posh faithful were already drowning their sorrows as their team slipped to bottom of the Championship. Opening-scorer Formica took to Twitter to assure Rovers fans that this capital triumph was merely a platform from whence his colleagues can raise the team to the loftiest perch in the league. Although he put it more elegantly; "Good victory, we to continue in this way."
Game 2: Burnley vs Charlton Athletic
Prediction: Home win ( x )
And it was all going so well... Charlton continued their recent good form with a narrow victory over Burnley, who played 76 minutes with ten men. Charlie Austin came close to adding to his impressive tally for the season when he headed a Keiran Trippier cross over the bar early on. But Trippier was only to spend a few minutes longer on the pitch; a goal-mouth scramble at the other end of the pitch ended with the referee ruling that the Clarets defender had handled the ball on the line. Trippier was off for an early bath/shower/jacuzzi depending on his preferred personal hygiene methods and the Addicks were awarded a spot-kick. Johnnie Jackson stepped up but keeper Lee Grant did well to turn the shot past the post. Burnley's ten-men put up a brave fight and even had chances to take the lead, most notably through a 30-yard effort from Brian Stock (a player more famed for being the heir to untold riches as his grandfather was the inventor of the eponymous cube). The Clarets were however devastated in the 69th minute when a knock-down from Rob Hulse found Danny Haynes who fired past Grant. The game-changing sending-off was contentious but perhaps it has been summed up best by the Burnley Express: "Referee Robert Madley’s decision to dismiss Kieran Trippier in Burnley’s 1-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic should give Sepp Blatter further food for thought." It is delightful that someone out there thinks that the tipping-point in favour of video evidence for the most important man in world football has come in the form of a red card at Turf Moor.
Game 3: Queens Park Rangers vs Southampton
Prediction: Draw ( x )
I made a prediction prior to this game that at least one newspaper would go with the 'SACK RACE' headline for this game. Well, they went one step further and dubbed this game El Sackico. I think that is worse than anything that has ever been written on this website... And someone was paid for it! Of course, it is looking increasingly likely that Mark Hughes will be the first Premiership managerial casualty following this result. Nigel Adkins would have been happy with his sides performance as they rarely looked like losing control of the game. The visitors opened the scoring on the 23rd minute when Rickie Lambert threw himself at a loose ball to head past QPR keeper Julio Cesar. Jason Puncheon made it two before half-time via a 25-yard shot. Rangers were given some hope after the break when Junior Hoillet flicked an Adel Taarabt cross into the net. But any hope of a comeback was lost 7 minutes from full-time when a low cross into the Rangers' box deflected off defender Anton Ferdinand and past Cesar, who speaking after the game said "I came and I saw but I certainly did not conquer." He didn't really... Hughes, however, was full of quotes after the game about 'progress' and 'having the board's confidence' and other things that doomed managers often say. Also worth noting that at the end of last season after barely surviving relegation, Hughes stated "when I said no team of mine will be in this position again, I meant it. Now we are ready for the next level." Apparently the 'next level' is relegation...
Game 4: Forfar Athletic vs Stenhousemuir
Prediction: Draw ( x )
Stenhousemuir staged a good comeback attempt but lost to the odd goal in five in an eventful match at Station Park. The home-side took a fifth minute lead when Gavin Swankie got a touch on James Craigen's free-kick to put it into the bottom corner. Swankie then doubled the lead when he knocked Mark McCulloch's cross past Robbie Thomson in the visitors goal. The Loons would have thought that the points were wrapped up in a neat little package at this point, but the Warriors had other ideas. Fifteen minutes before the break, Ross McMillan smashed the ball into the net from close range to half the deficit. This gave Stenhousemuir some hope and they emerged after the break looking for an equaliser. They were to get it in the 59th minute when Andy Rodgers was brought down in the box to win a penalty. The striker dusted himself off to score from the spot. But our collective hopes of a draw were ruined with 15 minutes remaining as Athletic midfielder Kevin Motion found the top right-hand corner from 12 yards out to seal the points and extend the visitors winless run to four games. Interesting fact related to this game: Forfar defender Michael Bolochoweckyj's surname is also a semi-onomatopoeic word used to describe a trapped testicle when closing a cupboard door.
Game 5: Northampton Town vs Wycombe Wanderers
Prediction: Home win ( ✔ )
Wycombe wandered to the bottom of League Two following defeat at Northampton during a game in which they never really got started. Town took the lead in this one-sided game after 26 minutes when Adebayo Akinfenwa headed in Chris Hackett's cross. The score remained the same until half-time but two quick goals around the hour mark all but sealed the points for the home-side. In the 61st minute, Clive Platt was brought down under a clumsy challenge from Dave Winfield and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Akinfenwa dispatched the spot-kick with ease for his 11th league goal this season. Four minutes later, the lead was increased yet again courtesy of Hackett who grabbed a goal on the counter-attack as Wanderers searched for a way back into the game. Joel Grant did eventually grab a consolation for the visitors via a penalty at the other end of the pitch but it could not stop his team leaving the Sixfields Stadium empty-handed. Although even if they had won, they would have left empty-handed since the FA has stopped presenting league points in a physical format. Northampton have moved a step closer to the play-off places which will delight the townsfolk almost as much as the massive coup that is getting Denise Welch to turn on the Christmas lights.
I'm going to borrow some of QPR boss (for the moment) Mark Hughes' optimism and say that this week represents progress - after all, if you think back to last week we only had a 28.57142857142857% accuracy rate. So this is a vast improvement!
Next week's bet shall be as punctual as ever, and will appear on Thursday. Or Friday. Or maybe Wednesday...
"No horse can wear two saddles."
- Ancient Chinese Proverb.
Yeah, just you think about that next time you try to put two saddles on your horse.