“Who was even playing? The Cincinnati Blow Jobs?”

image

Most of my Sundays off are usually spent hungover and
watching football, and this one was no exception. The only difference was that
rather than watching the Premier League, a division that as a Pompey fan I lost
interest in back in 2010, my own super Sunday would comprise of watching Hayes
and Yeading vs Dorchester in a ground just off the bloody motorway services of
the M40.

Much to my surprise, the game wasn’t moved for TV
coverage, but the fact that Hayes have to ground share as their own new ground
still isn’t ready. But one ‘football’ game that was televised was the fucking
NFL at Wembley. As Goddard, The Roth, Berry and I (Cam absent riding a llama whilst he drinks prosecco) went to board our train to the
far-too-posh-for-us surrounds of Beaconsfield, London Marylebone station was
awash with people in XXXXL sized NFL shirts, snap back caps and bloody bobble
hats. What’s with the size of those shirts? Do the fans wear padding when they
get to Wembley, or did they just run out of normal sized ones?

“I’ll have one of those shirts in medium, please.”

“Sorry mate, we’ve only got XXXXL”

“No worries, I’ll have one of those instead. No one will
notice. I’ll have a bobble hat and all.” 

image

In the event of a fire, we’re all fucked

No-one seemed to have the same team’s shirts on, and the
fact that Berry, resplendent in his DTFC shirt, was the only person who
appeared to be wearing a shirt that actually fit. Kind of. Thankfully, all
those in oversized shirts went to watch the Cincinnati Blow Jobs vs The Wisconsin
Period Pains on a different train to us.

image

Snake bite, anyone?

The standard away day fare of cans of lager and generally
being a nuisance on public transport were replaced with coffee, Lucozade, and what
was by our standards, ‘normal’ conversation. Beaconsfield is only a short
journey from London, and after the disaster of a trip here last season when we
got thumped by Slough on a cold Tuesday night where everything went wrong, from
the sat nav to the performance, we had hoped for better.

As we arrived in Beaconsfield, we were reminded how posh
it is. A search for a pub to visit proved fruitless, and although we did pop
into 1 gastro pub, we stuck out to say the least. There was a christening gathering
on going, many families enjoyed an overpriced Sunday roast, and despite there
being children there, even a real life lego man in Berry was frowned upon as he
walked around in his DTFC shirt.

image

Although we lost last weekend, we have improved from a
horrendous start to the season. Watching Dorchester is often a frustrating experience,
and for someone who suffers with anxiety, it’s about as good for your health as
drinking bleach. But not to be deterred, I had my lemonade and lime with a
domestos chaser and headed off in search of the ground. Now when we got lost
looking for it last year, we were in a car in the dark with Fred’s sat nav reading
skills being revealed as being non-existant. On foot and in broad daylight, we
thought we’d have better luck. We were wrong. Fred taking a ‘short cut’ that
took us into Blair Witch Project territory and likely very close to the M40,
with residents in the nearby housing probably thinking we were burglars doing
some reconnaissance for a night out on the Rob.

After establishing the Fred did not know better than
Google, a short walk and a walk over the M40 which quite frankly scared the
shit out of me, we were at Holloways Park, the venue for the footballing
festivities. A strange ground, we got ourselves a drink and sat outside in what
felt like a beer garden. Berry drinking coke, TG and The Roth on ale, and me
with a 2 month out of date bottle of Heineken. Although my drink was better
than the frothy snakebite that Shaun Hearn got Dave Ring. The pre match
atmosphere was cautiously optimistic, although some were more nervous than
others, with Keith Kellaway electing to stand on a picnic bench for parts of
the build up.

image

We showed 1 change from last weekend with Ollie Bassett
away on international duty being replaced by Pompey loanee Dory Yates. A quick
start was what we needed, and that was exactly what we got. A crossfield ball
by Jem was pulled back into the box first time by the impressive Ben Wood, and
after making up a lot of ground, Lewis Morgan timed his run perfectly to slot
into the bottom corner. 1-0 up after 4 minutes, with Fred left with an arm
injury after a Morgan high 5 almost took his hand off. We had a lot of ball
with no further chances created by us, although their keeper did his best to
give us a second goal with a performance that made me wonder if I could have
made it as a goalkeeper had I not become at full time prick in the prison
service.

image

As half time came, we were decent value for the lead, and
could see why Hayes were not much above us in the table. Hold firm after half
time and look to press on again would be the plan we as fans would like, but
after a spell of pressure, a high quality strike got Hayes level with just
after an hour gone. Oh dear. We dropped a little deeper and looked a little
shaky, but this is when things took a significant turn for the worse.

After a collision with Shane from a long ball into the
box, Nathan remained down injured and it quickly became apparent that it was a
serious injury. When word filtered to fans that an ambulance was being called
and it was potentially a neck injury, the football and state of the game became
of no relevance whatsoever. With a delay of over an hour and more importantly
the severity of the injury, most of us assumed the game would be postponed, but
we were wrong. Although Jem and the side were keen to call it off, Hayes and
the referee took a different perspective on matter. Why worry about someone’s
long term heath when there are 3 points in the Southern League at stake?

image

As it happened, it benefitted us much more than Hayes to
carry on playing. After a 70 minute delay with Sayers replacing Nathan and
Shane now more mobile after initially looked in a bad way after the collision,
more good work from the Wood helped Liam Sayers draw a foul on
the edge of the box. Dave Jerrard did the rest, curling the set piece over a
wall that was at best, utter shit. We played the game out pretty well, with
some fearless defending helping us get another 3 points.

The mood afterwards was understandably subdued given that
Nathan was still awaiting an xray at this point (he has since, thankfully, been
given the all clear from any serious injury), but it was lifted by the arrival
of 3 large Dominos pizzas for the players to tuck into. Sports science and all
that. A hot chocolate to set me up for the trip home, and it was back off
through bloody Beaconsfield to get the train. 3 points gained, encouraging
progress being made (anything is better than Chesham from earlier in the
season), and our away kit doesn’t look as much like a penny sweet as I first
feared. Hopefully Nathan is back fit soon enough, and hopefully no one needs
any directions of Fred anytime soon. SV

image
image

The odd goings on of the country lanes of Beaconsfield