Camulodunum

It’s my own fault really. I make a bit of a deal about the fact I felt a bit minging prior to the Swindon game and of course, said dose of manflu developed into full blown MANFLU, obviously helped by attending said Swindon game and I ended up feeling like arse when the weekend wheeled around once more meaning that a trip to Rochdale and getting an all important new ground tick was not on the agenda. Fucking typical.

Now, I don’t mind missing games these days too much, mainly I’m just too old for all that shit by and large. But I do try my best to avoid missing out on the new spots where possible, mainly as you’ll never know when you’ll get the chance again! Such was the case with York’s Bootham Crescent 5 years ago (finances) or the trophy visit to Worcester a while back (brother’s wedding). But missing out because of a poxy cold? Fucks sake. Weddings, birthdays, funerals etc I can handle, it’s life and sadly a part of adulting, but a cold? And in a fucking pandemic too. My shit body didn’t even have the common courtesy to catch the proper gear doing the rounds! Naturally this all got me acres of sympathy from the rest of the gang, as expected. Wankers. Still, I was at least nursed back to health by my loving, caring other half using what I’ll refer to as the ‘Ratched method’. Mainly as it involves a bedside manner of the sort employed by said nurse in the 1975 film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. Think I’ll go BUPA next time if I’m honest…

Back on the road again….

There was also the not insignificant matter of this here blog to consider. As also covered in the probably-should-have-sacked-that-off-and-got-better-instead Swindon missive, it’s basically me on my Jack Jones this season so far, so me being ill and all the others travelling not wanting sod all to do with incriminating themselves in digital prose, meant that our long unbroken run that we’d somehow managed to maintain before now, was finally, one hundred percent, going to be scuppered. Thoughts and prayers, minutes silence, Je suis Gandermonium, the lot. And fuck our lives, by something Lemsip couldn’t beat no less! Happily though, fortune once more smiled upon us for some odd reason and Amber Aleman offered us the use of his ‘My Day out in Manchester’ CAMRA newsletter entry with some football shite chucked in for good measure to fill the gap, for which we are of course eternally grateful.

So, run maintained once more by a miracle, we turn to Tuesday and the re-arranged clash with Colchester. Ironically binned off last month due to the ‘Rona, there was no way I was missing the new date due to manflu so I doubled down on my recovery and made sure that by Tuesday morning, I’d had plenty of kip and the snot nose triggered cough that had been driving Mrs Taz up the fucking wall since early last week was largely banished. Mission accomplished, I set about trying to ponce a lift up to Essex so I didn’t have to haul my recently poorly carcass up on the train. Fortunately Mr X only had Greek on board for the trip up and as he was collecting the big fella directly from his manor, this meant persuading the man of mystery to swing by HQ on the way to the M25 via the A22 was a surprisingly uncomplicated affair.

Actually, we don’t wanna know…

With work sacked off just after 4pm (a task made easier by the fact my boss is a Colchester fan and was also going to the game!) I ensure I have lots of cough sweeties in my pocket for the trip up, down a half of Benylin and grabbing the flag bag, I head downstairs to await the arrival of my transport North this evening. Of course, my quiet little cul-de-sac turns into Picadilly Circus for the several minutes I’m waiting, with all sorts of people coming and going and no doubt wondering who the shify looking bloke with occasional cough and the large holdall definitely not full of burgled consumer electronics is. Mr X appears soon after in his shiny new Mazda jam jar and then having spent 5 minutes working out how to allow passengers access to said vehicle via the switches on his door panel, I’m finally on board, greetings are exchanged and we’re off to deepest Essex.

I admire the new motor and even compliment Mr X on it’s suitably anonymous grey colouring. He informs me that it’s actually ‘Polymetal grey’, which means precisely fuck all if I’m honest. Still, Greek rescues the situation by at least suggesting that the car could be reasonably christened ‘Polly’ for this reason. Our pilot nods his approval, if only because it’s better than being named after a Fascist dictator’s missus like his old Alfa was by Dukey. The moral of the story here? Don’t, whatever you do, allow Dukey to name anything. Feel free to ask Pete ‘the Perv’ and ‘Gangbang Gay fuck’ Burgers from these very pages if still unsure on the matter and require further points of reference. The journey is slow going early doors until we clear Dartford, at which point we find out that the Supporters Coach has only just left GGL as the firm they’d hired from had sent a wagon far too small for the purpose and they’d had to wait for a replacement to be rushed out to them. Chatter mainly covers catching up on Saturday’s adventures and commenting loudly and rudely at the two boring fuckers on Absolute 90’s attempting to tell ‘scary’ Halloween stories.

Bright lights of Essex…

About half hour from our destination, Mr X loudly declares he ‘needs a piss’ and peels off the A12 to a petrol station for the purposes of relieving himself. Greek and I shrug and before we can even muster even a vaguely serious protest, realise the gaff has an M&S attached so can get some grub on the go. Sorted! We grab a meal deal and as I go to pay for mine, realise that my beloved has not returned my cash card to my wallet after her last little groceries trip over the weekend with me on my deathbed. Fucks sake! Luckily I have 40 quid cash on me and embarrassment is avoided. However, Greek soon delights in reminding me the ground is cashless and I’ll need to be nice to him if I’m expecting a half time cuppa or pie. Sakes! As we depart, Mr X dumps his own sarnie on the floor of his motor twice before he’s even got his seatbelt on. The rest of the trundle up the A12 is uneventful apart from a van in s brief bit of traffic that states that advertises something to do with ‘Fiddle muffs’. Fuck knows what that’s all about and if you think I’m googling that, even for research purposes, you’re sadly mistaken!

Eventually though, we pull off the A12 and into the car park at the brightly lit new-ish home of Colchester United. It’s certainly a step up from Layer Road the last time we were up here in the early 90’s! As Greek & X get their smoke on, we stroll slowly towards the away end and find Frakey and KBB milling about near the players coach. A quick chat along with Mr Frake chastising me for missing Saturday (Don’t you fucking start!) before Chalmers appears, along with a now Southend based Beaney in tow, last seen quite pissed in Chelmsford as I recall! We catch up before deciding to head on into the ground and see what the situation is. Getting in is simple and the steward on the gate even offers to pass the flag bag through to stop me clogging up the turnstiles! Nice man. Here I leave the others to get a cuppa etc whilst I head into the stand for flag erection duties. All sorted, I’m back downstairs for greeting more familiar faces before kick off and to stay out of the breeze blowing across the ground as much as possible. What? LOOK, I’VE BEEN POORLY ALRIGHT! FUCK OFF!!

Bouzanis, Milsom, Rowe, Goodliffe, Kizzi, Ajiboye, Barden, Smith, Boldewijn, Bugiel, Olaofe SUBS: House, Davis, Sho-Silva, Wilson, Wyatt, Randall.

Skipper from the spot!

We start brightly and look to set our stall out from the off. But this goes wonky after a couple of minutes when we lamely lose the ball, it ends up knocked about a bit around our box and ends with former wunderkid Freddy Sears turning in the box to pop a shot inside the near post with Deano rooted. Marvellous start that lads. Just marvellous! This does seem to wake us up though and we’re soon causing problems at the other end. Dave forcing a decent stop out of the keeper after shooting a little too centrally after a good run, but we’re soon level regardless. A brief exchange of passes main stand side and skipper for the evening Milsom whips it back stick where Dave darts in ahead of a defender seemingly unsure whether to head or chest the ball and poking past the surprised stopper. 1-1! This doesn’t swing things entirely our way though and they somehow fail to regain the lead when Deano comes for a ball in, doesn’t get there and for reasons I cannot explain their big number 34 fails twice to put away the loose ball. Although given the amount of times he ends up falling over in the first 20, I begin to suspect he may be playing pissed. Issac has a shot tipped over before 34’s night gets a bit worse.

Enzio whips in a corner, the keeper drops a routine catch, Issac somehow fails to leather it in and it’s eventually smuggled off the line by what looks to be 34’s hand. The ref agrees and points to the spot before flashing the obligatory red to reduce the hosts to 10 men for the remaining hour. The skipper steps up, sends keeps the wrong way and gives us the lead, sticking his spot kick cleanly into the opposite corner. This doesn’t go down well in the home end and going behind sparks off a round of “We want x out” chants and banners being held aloft. From here, we largely control matters but without really kicking on hard to finish the contest. The best chance being Omar flashing a shot from 20 literally an inch wide of the post as we enter added time at the end of the first 45. So, up at the break, I head downstairs again having relieved Greek of his bank card and head for the tea bar. Sadly the queue is huge, the service is slow and the choice it seems is gonna be limited. As it turns out, my hope of a pie is dashed as they only have minging hot dogs left so I just order up the splosh round and call it quits. The second half doesn’t quite start with the charge we’d hoped for with the lads cracking on for a game killing third, but we’re still on top. It’s a bit sloppy though and as we hit the hour mark, Ali leaves one short in a terrible spot and Sears pounces, racing clear on goal.

Restless natives…

Thankfully Deano does enough to force him wide and Coby makes up ground to put in a super block when the shot finally comes. This is a bit of a wake up and a minute later, the Skipper’s on the money again, whipping in a free kick from wide that Ben gets up highest for and nuts on target. It looks to us at the far end that the keeper’s stopped it low to his right but then the net ripples and Ben wheels away in celebration. Oh. That’ll be 3-1 then! Best jump about a bit I guess! With the game seemingly won, we drop into contain mode and don’t really go full bore to bump the goal difference like a lot of sides would. This gives them a little window of opportunity and of course, the last 15 or so isn’t without its “oooh fucking hell!” moments, with Deano weakly pushing out a free kick for a bloke miles offside to rattle in off the rebound and a decent cross in being glanced off someone’s nut and off the foot of Bouzanis far post.

Kenny comes on for a knackered Barden at the end, much to the delight of the Yoof who kick off another round of their myriad of songs relating to Kenny’s penis size. Sho-Silva replaces a quiet Omar and Wilson appears for Issac and in the end, the result is seen out and three more points are added to the total. With the boys warmly applauded from the park, it’s pack up and fuck off time and once I’ve collected the flag, I find Greek and Mr X puffing away near the motor. Shall we depart? Back on the A12, Greek gets a bee in his bonnet about tidal islands or something and starts producing google maps to back up his claims. Being sat in the back, I’ve not the foggiest what this is all about and just nod and murmur positively until he shuts up. On the fondleslab, I see our win absurdly puts us back in 6th. Even funnier is that had we held on for the point Saturday, we’d have been third! Hilarious. Elsewhere, it’s a standard night down in La Bastarda as Grimsby go down to Wealdstone, Stockport get beat by Barnet at home and Wrexham lose at Maidenhead in front of their new Hollywood owners for the first time, much to the delight and amusement of the GMOSC mob! In the Pizza cup, the Wombles have lost to Palace’s kids, so we’ll need a result at GGL against the Litter Pickers shortly to progress it seems.

Daylight…

Of course, being a midweek awayer, there has to be motorway fuckery and we get to the M25 to find our junction closed, so end up on some diversion towards Romford or somewhere before we can get back on track and I run out of my throat sweeties, having to rob one of Mr X’s airwaves gum to take up the slack. “Worst chewing gum ever” declares Greek. I’m on the fence, mainly as it’s doing the job in place of Mrs Taz’s admittedly effective vegan friendly, no added sugar, honey and aniseed numbers. After the one detour, the rest of the run is clear and about an hour and forty after pulling out of Colchester’s car park, I’m being told to fuck off by Mr X outside HQ. Once he’s worked out how to let me out that is, fiddling with the array of switches on his door once more.

Finally released from my grey Mazda prison, I’m soon indoors and knocking up a Lemsip nightcap before hitting the hay.

Walsall Saturday. 27 required. Let’s start knocking those off.

Taz

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