Midweek games are the saviour of the working man/woman. A way of breaking up the working grind and giving an opportunity to moan about different things. Although moaning is something that has been oddly absent in recent weeks. Vastly improved performances and results with largely the same squad that looked so poor under Laird, have seen a more positive air around the club and the short trip to the commuter town of Kings Langley gave us a good opportunity to build on what has been an encouraging start under Thommo.
It is a short 25 minute or so journey from Euston to Kings Langley, so having left work a little early, I hoped to get to the ground for a pre match beer. If getting shit on by a bird is allegedly good luck, then getting someone else’s blood on me during an incident at the jail in the afternoon was definitely bad. Despite leaving early, I missed the 1841 train. The 1905 was then delayed by 15 minutes meaning that Louise Edney, Charlie the dog and I would miss kick off. As we stood on the platform with multiple other grumpy commuters, we realised that a dog is as good as a battering ram in these situations and were able to get a seat when the train did arrive, and then through Lou’s boyfriend, were able to get a lift to the ground missing only 5 minutes.
Kings Langley is a proper non-league ground complete with ramshackle scaffold based terraces and retro tiny stand behind the goal. But it has had some work done on it as they now ground share with Watford ladies, so the pitch was in excellent condition and the place was in much better shape than our last visit. Sadly, tea was no longer served in actual mugs and there was a resident DJ… Despite this, as I got myself a brew and wandered around to behind the goal, we were up against it.
We could have been 3 down in the first 5 minutes I saw. Playing impossibly high up the pitch, we were thrice caught out with only a last ditch block and two Weale saves keeping it at 0-0. We did have a couple of moments with new signing Rory Fallon, the only Dorchester player to have ever represented his country in a World Cup finals (we think) winning everything up top, Jerrard seeing a shot pushed out for a corner and Fallon’s header narrowing going over the bar from the resulting set piece. That was the exception to the rule though, and we were soon 1-0 down. Kieran Turner cut in from the right and curled an excellent effort into the far corner. 1-0 down and it was a fair reflection.
If conceding a goal wasn’t annoying enough, the dozen or so 9/10 year old Langley fans that stood right next to us were. Swearing and singing the type of songs that organisations like ‘Kick It Out’ strive to get banned from society at large let alone football grounds, it became apparent that the gene pool in Kings Langley must be very shallow. There are some seriously weak sperms in this part of Hertfordshire if these fuckers managed to fertilise the egg.
Thankfully, the goal did give us a kick up the arse and we did start to attack with more regularity. Aaron Rodriguez, a man Berry was very keen to tell us he was able to outpace at the age of 13, saw a deflected shot hit the post. Thankfully for all concerned, a lot of time and portions of chips have passed and I’d back Aaron in a foot race over Berry any day. With Fallon causing all manner of problems for the home defence with his airel and hold up play, we looked more of a threat with him heading wide and a Jerrard free kick also narrowly missing the upright. This spell of pressure led to inevitable; going 2-0 down on half time.
Photo credit Phil Standfield
A clearance from our own defence ricocheted off one of our own players and broke to the opposition. A through ball and a one on one later and it was 2-0 via the unfortunate legs of Weale who couldn’t quite get enough on the ball. As half time arrived and the players made their way off the pitch to the odd sounds of ‘Dueling Banjos’, a track I last heard in about 1995 with my Dad on a cassette, Shaun, Ollie and I debated what we though was likely to happen next. Under Laird, a four goal loss would have been inevitable, but given we had taken a point when behind and down to ten men last week, there was a very cautious optimism that if we nicked a goal during the first 15 minutes, we could well get something.
So as the players returned to the pitch the even more curious soundtrack of PJ and Duncan, soon after we got the early goal we had hoped for. A good attack down the right and some edge of the area pinball saw the ball break to Billy Lowes who hit an unstoppable shot from 20 yards into the roof of the net. 2-1 and game on. More pressure followed and when DPD went on a run from the left hand side, his shot to the far lost was far less impressive than the initial run. Fortunately, Billy Lowes flung a toe at the ball and deflected it back towards the near post, and the ball trickled over the line via the post. 2-2 and it was a mertited equaliser.
Photo credit Phil Standfield
The remaining 25 or so minutes were largely uneventful with the main incident of note being that Louise had to leave early as Charlie had rolled in a nearby pile of shit that left him requiring a bath. Weale made two excellent stops, one brave at the feet of an on rushing attacker and the other from close range, and we got into good positions only for the end product to be lacking. But a point on the road, especially having been two down is definitely one gained rather than two dropped and as the players left the field to some oddly timed Phil Collins, it was a fair result.
Two draws back to back in which we have come from behind shows character and the quality in the side is also there. The additions of Fallon and Rodriguez provide a focal point and an outlet (whatever did happen to Ollie Taylor, is he alive?) and the rest of the team seem to be a lot better organised with a central defensive partenership that would head a bus if required and some quality as well as determination in the middle. Weale is looking more like the professional keeper that he is and the signs going forward as a club overall are bright. Here’s hoping we can continue that today against Banbury at home and if it brings us luck, hopefully Charlie the dog finds another pile of shit to make himself at home in. SV
This man once was quicker than Aaron Rodriguez…