ATTENDANCE : 239
WESTON-SUPER-MARE – 3 [Hopkins 6. 44. Smith 79]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Ah, the first weekender of the season!
Weston away has always proved to be a really quite drunken affair, with even a couple of wins thrown in for good measure. The last 2 visits in fact have produced 3 points, the most memorable being Luke Cornwall’s late winner to give us a first away win in 9 months 2 seasons ago, that sent us out into the town centre for our evening out in a more than agreeable mood.
Still the home side are looking a bit better than that this season, with a win and a couple of draws already on the board, they’ve got away to a positively lightning start compared to us.
Sadly, the Bank Holiday weekend timing of the trip makes things a little tougher than normal on the transport front. With the minibus firm dicking us about with ridiculous quotes for a minimum 5 days hire, we decide to sack them off and head on down in 2 cars instead. Also, there’s no doubt traffic is going to fuck us up somewhere along the line.
All assembled at about 8 at the club, PC’s car load of him, Mrs C, me and his brother Al are all packed and ready to go. Meanwhile Windy’s passengers, Mr & Mrs Greek and Belly are nowhere to be seen. Oh dear. So we do what all good friends should and head off to get on the road Weston-wards. Laters dudes!
The trip down is pretty uneventful although towards the arse end of the M4, ominous warnings of ‘Severe Delays’ on the M5 between junctions 15 and 23 have us worried. Mainly as we have to join a junction before all that and have to then get off bang in the middle of it. Nice.
Hitting a standstill just outside Bristol, Chalmers pays far too much attention to my moaning about the traffic and suggests we get off and try to swerve round Bristol instead. Which probably is a half reasonable shout if we had a sat nav or at least a map book. We have neither.
What we do have though is a Nokia N95. With it’s GPS wotsit on it. Although being designed for bods getting lost on foot and not a Peugeot 307 looking for a quick way through Bristol, there’s no major road labelling on it, making navigation a bit difficult. Oh well, it’ll have to do!
Somehow, after half an hour of carving through the back streets around the fringes of Bristol, we find ourselves paying 50 new pence to cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge, providing a lovely view of the surrounding country. Sadly, because of this route change, it’s now gone 11 and we’re a bit behind schedule. We do manage to find the road to Weston though and relax, expecting to arrive in a short while and hit the pub having lost as little drinking time as possible. Wrong again.
Thanks to one poxy country bumpkin junction and it’s set of lights, we sit in several miles of further traffic and annoyingly pass over a really rather nicely flowing M5 a while later. Entry to the pub is eventually made after 12.30. A disgraceful hour and a half late. Ooooh. Hello pint…..bye pint!
Already enjoying a beer with the other herberts are Sean and Mark. The local support. It seems both will be in attendance this evening and are apparently determined to show us the ‘classier’ part of Weston’s nightlife. Can’t wait!
Some swift sinkage later to make up for lost ground and cabs to the ground are sorted and we’re at the bar in time for a couple more before kick off. It’s not until we get out into the ground do we get the team news. For some reason, Nick Greene and Ross Montague are dropped with Taiwo and Henry getting starts. Now, Mr Henry, maybe. But replacing the only bloke who can pass a bloody ball with a battling midfielder doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence. Nor does the fact that the team have only rolled up only 45 minutes before kick off. Guess that traffic we tried to avoid earlier has screwed them over too.
From kick-off, things go badly. Wilson has to be off his line inside the first couple of minutes to block an effort after a quick ball has played an attacker in behind the defence and on goal down the right. A minute or so later, Scooby intervenes with a well timed tackle to intervene in a carbon copy move.
It seems we’re still sat with our feet up in traffic on the M5 and it’s absolutely no shock when after 6 minutes, the home side are in front with a painfully simple goal. A ball down the left sets their nippy wide man free into space with AJ & Tanner trailing. He simply cuts the ball back across the 18 yard box and a colleague arrives to tuck the ball away from 12 yards towards the near post.
That gents, is a shitty start. And it gets no better. AJ’s poor clearance on 13 minutes immediately sets up another attack down that side. The low angled shot being thankfully gathered by Phil Wilson.
A couple of minutes later, we finally show some signs of life. Taiwo gets involved and after some good work in the centre, feeds the ball out left for McBean. He cuts inside the full back and tries his luck, but the ‘keeper is relatively untroubled by a low effort to his near post.
From here, we show a bit more life, but find it hard going to make any real impression on proceedings. The home side meanwhile are having no trouble getting the ball forwards, doing the simple stuff and causing our defence no end of aggro. After 30 minutes a free-kick from the left is driven across to the far post, where a white shirt has been left in acres of space and a free-header. Fortunately for us, the angle is tight and he can’t quite direct the effort on target. More poor play several minutes later gifts an opportunity. Honey giving the ball away 25 yards out from his own goal and the attacker simply steps into space in front of goal and curls an effort onto the target that Wilson has to be quick along his line to gather.
Our best moment so far comes after 38 minutes. Charles plays an excellent diagonal ball into the left corner that Henry collects and lays back to Tanner. He delivers a first time cross that picks out Watkins in the centre, but his firm header isn’t well directed and the ‘keeper is able to gather safely as it bounces in front of him. Annoyingly, had it gone either side, we’d be somewhat undeservedly level.
Watkins has a chance to redeem himself a couple of minutes later when a huge challenge by Ug in the middle wins possession back. Tanner picks up the loose ball and immediately feeds it into the left channel for the run of Watkins. It looks like a certain chance, but frustratingly a poor first touch allows a defender to recover and clear the danger. Worse follows 3 minutes later.
We win a rare corner and Taiwo delivers from the right. It finds Henry with an pretty much free-header about 2 yards out at the back post. But the little striker cements his unluckiest forward in the world title and somehow hits the post with his effort. The ball comes off the woodwork, striking a surprised keeper in the chest and is hacked clear. Another chance missed and we’re made to pay right on the half time whistle.
A big ball forward and Scooby makes a mess of his header. The big no10 gets in down the right and as Wilson races off his line to narrow the angle, he prods it past him towards the goal and despite the desperate lunge of Charles trying to cover, it trickles agonisingly over the line to make it 2-0.
Anyone else agree with the following assessment?
A bit pissed off, I really can’t be arsed with the bar at the break and instead amble round dejectedly to the other end. A couple of others following suit. Most of the chat during the break being along the lines of “Why the hell isn’t Greene playing?”. Unfortunately, our hopes of a half time correction of that situation fails to materialise and Haze sends the same mob out to start the second half. Hardly inspires a great deal of enthusiasm does it?
Two goals to the good, the home side take things in a little more relaxed fashion and we’re able to get a bit more of a foothold in the game. Taiwo swings a free-kick round the inside of the wall on 52 minutes that the ‘keeper has to be quick along his line to gather at his near post. McBean is then set free on the right on 58 mins, but the so far impeccable no 4 makes a very good saving challenge before the U’s striker can set himself for a shot.
Thankfully though, the 4 then hobbles off a couple of minutes later, having seemingly done himself a mischief on that challenge. This seems to give us a bit more heart and we press on looking for a goal. On 70 minutes, a good sweeping bit of play from right to left across midfield sets McBean away on the left. But having beat the full back, no one drives into the box to attack his low centre and the danger is cleared with little fuss by the defence.
Hazel finally makes the changes we need, introducing Greene and Montague soon after, but it’s a good 10 minutes too late in many of our eyes. The changes naturally liven us up as we at last have someone in midfield looking for the ball and able to pass it.
Probably our best chance of the half comes on 73 minutes. A quick little exchange of passes between McBean and Montague sends Warren in behind the defence on the right. He squares the ball across the 6 yard box, but it’s a touch behind Tanner and he tries to rescue the situation by turning and cleverly back heeling the ball towards the goal. But a defender manages to get back and blocks the effort on the line at the expense of a corner.
Naturally, pushing up trying to find a way back into the game, we’re leaving gaps at the back, but once more, it’s our own mistakes that cost us dear. AJ plays a poor pass and concedes possession in our half on the left. The hosts take full advantage and a simple pass from across the edge of the box is slotted past the advancing Wilson to end the contest.
Marvellous. What a jolly afternoon it’s been.
Tanner shoots over shortly after following a good run down the left, but it’s our last real throw of the dice and for the last 10 minutes it’s Weston who look most likely to score again. Their wingers continue to trouble our defence, with Hudson being left for dead in injury time by yet another run. Their man pulls the ball back form the byeline and Wilson gets down to push the effort away, then recovers superbly to react and push out the follow up for a corner.
Can we go now please? We’ve had enough.
Back in the bar, no one following the visitors is in a particularly good mood, most of us having come the best part of four hours for what could only be described as 90 minutes of shite. Windy is especially disappointed and goes outside to sit with a fag and his pint, having a proper sulk. It’s not until the team quietly departs that his mood improves. Or it could have been the big snuggly wuggly hug I gave him. Not sure.
More beer is sunk to dull the memory of another less than enthralling Saturday afternoon’s action before we order transportation back to the B&B to get changed and set about getting proper ruined.
We meet our local guides in the local Wetherspoons, which differs from our own with it’s nice selection of Polish beer and lack of wanker clientele. From here it’s off to a couple of local watering holes, both really rather pleasant before we step up into the more late licence establishments. The ‘Rock Bar’ promises ‘Rock Karaoke’ apparently, so we head there for a laugh, only to find the DJ rapidly emptying the place with a quite dreadful set of drum and bass that even our local guide Sean describes as “Shit”. So, off we go again and locate a barclub place that we find somewhat familiar. Mainly as it’s charging London prices for it’s drinks! Finding the venue somewhat disagreeable, Sean then leads us to a place called the ‘Hobbit’.
The Hobbit is a rockmetal club. Which to me, is a pretty damned good choice of venue. But I’m not quite sure the likes of Greek, who has R&B leanings, is going to be as impressed. Still, he’s won over slightly by the playing of some dancier stuff just as we arrive and more importantly, the cheap as chips drinks prices at the bar.
A strange evening follows where a lot of music from my misspent youth pounds out over the speakers, occasionally interspersed with something unexpected for the likes of the fat fellow, so he can shake his stuff. Although the prize for the most “Are you having a laugh?” change in styles comes towards the end of the evening, where the gentleman spinning the discs follows up Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” with Outkast’s “Hey Ya”.
A round of applause for the man behind the decks if you please. Clearly the bloke is totally insane or has balls the size of coconuts.
Staggering out of the premises after 3, it’s munchies time and the trusty old late night Chippy by the cinema comes up trumps once more, delivering a fine bag of chips to get the task of soaking up all that booze underway. Mmmmmm. Drunk chips gooood.
God I’m glad I’m not actually driving this year. Nite nite.
MoM : Erm…..I’m a bit stuck. Can I get back to you on that?
TEAM : Wilson, Hudson, Charles, Scarborough, Bray, Taiwo, Honey, Henry, Watkins, McBean, Tanner SUBS : Montague, Greene, Gonsalves, Pestle, Williams