Let’s cast ourselves back to 10 months or so, when we last visited the South West Cambridgeshire town that is St Neots. Dorchester Town FC weren’t going through the best of times and the feeling around the club was very much doom and gloom. The game, however, was one of those matches you witness very rarely. An 11 goal thriller with some shocking defending from both sides, ending in a 6-5 defeat, so with that sort of entertainment to compare to, the following season was always going to be a low scoring game of football, wasn’t it?
This season though, things are a lot different. We are fully community owned, the atmosphere is positive for the first time in years and the performances on the pitch are vastly improved than the last two seasons of utter garbage. For the pre-journey meet up, the original plan naturally would be to meet up at Kings Cross station, however, the Hampshire lot planned the less obvious route of Southampton to Clapham, to Victoria, to Finsbury Park, as it would cut half an hour off their journey. Much to the nervousness of Vossy, who has been recommended by Harringay police to avoid the area, as a released ex-con at the prison he works at wants to kidnap him. So as we were at the platform with 15 minutes to spare there was plenty of time for Vossy, Berry, Eddy, Phil and I to head outside and pick up some train beers/latte/sausage rolls.
The journey itself was pleasant enough (even though Eames overslept and was evidently too hungover to attend), where we discussed the game ahead and Vossy explained his Finsbury Park witness protection story. Berry, after the state he was in from his last away game at Chesham, spoke at how adamant he was staying on the soft drinks, showed us his new student ID and we wondered whether it was in fact Berry himself that is the kidnapper threatening to hold Vossy hostage.
Seeing as last season we ended up going straight the ground, we thought seeing as we had over 3 hours to spare we’d try and find a local pub to watch the Spurs vs Liverpool game. After we spent 10 minutes trying to figure out if there was even anything in the town that seemed literally divided between the modern and dark ages, either side of the train station. “Feels like we’ve ended up in Poundbury”, bellowed Eddy as we walked out of the station.
Good job Google maps was on hand to give us recommendations of the local drinking establishments; including the “low key hotel” that is the Nags Head. We mobbed up in the friendly Bulls Head, which did have BT Sport. Their hospitality was welcoming as the landlord was dishing out chilli and (cold) chips for £2. I declined, but the other lads took advantage of the carb heavy meal, accompanied with a gurt load of bread.
After what was a fucking dull game of Premier League football, we ventured up to the freshly built Cozy Stadium to meet the other Dorchester fans. Amongst the usual suspects, were delighted to be joined by a lovely Jack Russell, aptly sporting Dorch colours, whom was owned by Sean Tizzard’s new girlfriend.
The match kicked off, and the away side needed to play at a high quality against a good St Neots team, and we certainly did that in the first half, with some terrific passing and moving and some great chances, hitting the bar, and their keeper making a cracking double save from Ben Watson. Which was probably revenge from the stick we were giving him about his florescent orange kit, which looked like “a traffic cone with sunburnt arms”. Going into half time at 0-0 we all were positive in our performance thus far, but cautious about whether we can keep up the momentum in the second half.
We came back out and the home side got more into the game. We still played some nice football but failed to create as many clear-cut chances as we did in the first half. Shane Murphy in goal making some key saves to keep the scores level, but St Neots landed a sucker punch on 70 minutes, when a cross was headed in by the leagues leading goal scorer, Tom Meechan. It felt like one of those days where the ball just wouldn’t go in for us and in many ways the final whistle felt worse than losing 4-1 to Slough the previous week, as we knew we deserved nothing from that game, where as here, we deserved at least a point.
(Photo: Phil Stansfield)
The post match conversation meddled between the usual match analysis chit-chat with the supporters and the players, while Eddy, Vossy and Phil happily gorged on two bowls each of the leftover fish pie that was catered for the players. Worth mentioning also, that the gents’ toilets bizarrely had a Christmas scent about the place, in October, which seemed to proudly host one of those vending machines you find in wine bars which stock paracetamol and condoms. Because where else would you stand a chance of getting lucky, than your local non-league football club!?
Seeing as we were the last men (and woman) standing, they’d literally closed up the bar we headed train bound, only after we did the mandatory stop at the local Tesco en-route. Once again they didn’t disappoint, with a variety of bargain meals, to fuel us for the evening ahead. Not to mention a couple of bottles of some classy Gallo Family “plonk”, to keep the spirits alive.
Vossy was in fact, in such high spirits that he agreed to risk the mean streets of Finsbury Park, for more beers at the Twelve Pins and a round of shots. Christ knows why we went for those. The Hampshire lads caught the tube to Waterloo with their bottles of wine, leaving myself and Vossy to head to nearby Holloway, which featured some strange banter and more tales from the nick from his work colleagues who happened to be drinking in the same pub.
So, despite the result, another fine day out from TSOF. It’s the first time this season really, where we’ve come away from a game, not getting a result we deserved, with a clinical striker being the difference between the sides. Onto Tuesday night, where we once again meet our friends Poole Town, which we need to pick up a win to keep in touch with the top teams in this league. Another tough game, sure, but more of the same performance from Saturday and we stand every chance.