Date: 18th November 2010 at 4:02pm
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2010/11 season v Doncaster in the league at Fratton, Friday 12th – Sunday 14th November 2010.

My second visit to Pompey in less than half a week soon arrived. Having returned home on the Wednesday afternoon from the Tuesday game against QPR, not staying on as I needed to work on the Thursday, Friday nights journey soon arrived.

Plenty of work for Vital, both Vital Pompey, Vital England and my work in general for Vital was carried out during the morning and afternoon, with a lot more planned on my journey too. The 18:01 – Exeter St Davids was on time, and not too bust really. This ran smoothly, arriving on time as well so I just had to wait for my connecting train, so I took a seat and waited. If ever you needed a reminder that ‘looks can be deceiving’ or ‘do not judge a book by its cover’ I was given a reminder whilst waiting! A woman, lets say ‘well spoken’ and I assumed ‘well to do’ arrived with her soon, who also had a typically ‘upper class’ name and that only added to my thinking. Yet, get her on the phone and she was effin’ and jeffin’ like a trooper!

As usual the 19:27 – London Victoria came in a little ahead of time, so I took my seat, having learned from my last journey – for the Forest game – that moving from my ‘preferred area’ on the train was not a good idea, I reverted and found my area. I was happy. This couple then came along and I immediately thought ‘please no’, they looked the ‘loud and annoying’ type, which they were this time, my judgement proved right! She moaned about a lack of room and said the train made her ‘claustrophobic’. FFS, what was she expecting, VIP treatment in a luxury penthouse or something?! Anyway, and thankfully, they moved into another carriage before too long.

Shortly before my planned arrival in Basingstoke, not long after 10pm I would say it was, my cousin Matt phoned to ask me to let him know when I got into Cosham as he would walk up with me as it was ‘dead’ that evening so he wanted to get back home. I said I would, although in all honesty I was quite tempted to go for a quick drink with him if he wanted. Arriving on time I just then had to wait for my 22:21 to come in and then I could go – this too was on time and ran smoothly, it was pretty packed though and ‘almost’ saw me trapped next to a right old pi**head! You could tell he had drank a fair amount, and smelled of it too. I made sure not to make eye contact but noticed that he was fairly interested in sitting next to me, thankfully my bag was on the seat so he had second thoughts and sat on the table seat in front of me – some other guy, who I did not think particularly wanted to talk, was lumbered with him and he soon pulled out a bottle of Scotch, sorry pal…

Shortly before my train arrived in Cosham Matt phoned again to say that he had been invited to a wedding reception so I just strolled home, put the netbook on to charge and went to sleep.

When my alarm went off at 8am it was time to get up, this might not sound like much of a weekend lay-in to some but to me it is, more than a lay-in! A cuppa, a bit of chill time and saying my hellos to all was followed by a little bit or work, breakfast and a shower in preparation for the game. My curry, left over from the night before was quaffed down – although I have since been told that it is being said you SHOULD NOT EVER reheat rice as it could cause serious food poising. I know that this is common knowledge that rice can be dodgy but it was always thought that as long as you reheat really well it is ok, apparently not – and I then left to meet Chix as pre-arranged for 12.30pm. Upon arrival in the usual place I got a text from him saying that he would be about half an hours late. Rather than go back I just waited in the bus shelter, and soon enough 1pm came and he arrived. There was no Rob this week as he was working on the boat all weekend.

We arrived at the pub for around 1.30pm and the beer flowed, with good conversation had with Barry, who we often meet and car share with at away games, and his crew and then Tony Foot, or ‘Swiss Tony’ as Richie calls him, who was part of the initial trust group. I know the guy but had never really spoken to him at any great length before, I can see that I had missed out as he was a top man. We stayed at the pub until around 2.40pm, and I could have stayed there all day to be honest as it was one of them afternoons that you really enjoyed. Still, even with a toilet stop, I was easily in my seat by the time the minutes silence, which was meant to be 2, in remembrance to the heroes that have fought for us was undertaken.

From 2-0 down, coming back to 2-2 you would ‘expect’ to get something from a home game, but no we threw it away to lose 3-2 to Doncaster. I have not seen any replays of any goals, or any incidents in the game, although I think we were somewhat ‘hard done by’ in some ways we also ‘got what we deserved’ in others… Yep, we started ok and could have been ahead before Doncaster were gifted a lead, and they WERE gifted a lead, in fact they were gifted both goals before half time really

I would not quite say that we were ‘terrific’ in the 2nd half we were a hell of a lot better – that 1st half must rank among the worst I have seen for a long time, I was seriously bored big time, and not just because we were losing, there was almost quite literally nothing to be positive about. As already said we gifted them their goals, being caught out of position again cost us for one goal and the inability to clear the ball, first from the keeper who I felt ‘should’ have put his foot on the ball before launching it away and then a defender, who often launches it when you sometimes do not want it, who failed to do this at a time you wanted, cost us!

Yep Doncaster almost literally only had the chances that they scored from but that is all they needed – give them, or any other team in the nopower championship, as much of a helping hand as we did and they will gleefully accept this invitation…

What a difference Rocha John Rocha made in the 2nd half though, whilst – to be fair – Ibrahima Sonko has improved, he will NEVER be a patch on the former Portuguese international who is calm and calculated more often than not. He will bring the ball down and assess the situation before picking out a pass. It is not often that he will just wildly hoof it or rush into anything like the man he replaced at the break.

As for Dickinson’s sending off, again I am not sure, I thought he dived in a bit but was expecting nothing more than a yellow card but the ref was very quickly producing the red, so he must have been sure and my cousin thought it was the right call – I am perplexed as to how no one else was cautioned following the mass brawl that broke out though!

A word of praise must again go to John Utaka, who was again fantastic for most of the game – but for him, in the main, we would not even have got back into the game, let alone looked like winning it for a brief while.

Hey ho, our first defeat at The Fortress in some time is a setback, but now we must dust ourselves down after a difficult week that has rocked us a little and show just how ‘strong’ and ‘up for it’ we are against Barnsley and Swansea, both on the road, before the month is out!

As usual I met Chixy at KFC, we talked about the game and things in general, what was seemingly – some would say worryingly – becoming a commonly reoccurring topic of debate was the X-Factor, at least this would ‘cheer’ us up. I got back in just before 6pm, put in the results from that day as one of my Vital duties, then had my tea, a three course one at that – a prawn cocktail starter and steak main, having a phone call about the game with my cousin Paul sandwiched between courses. To finish it was carrot cake and ice cream, what a banquet! The rest of the evening was spent chilling, watching the box with my cousin Matt, of course the X-Factor, among other things, tucking into the rum that was brought for us! I eventually turned in around midnight as it was an early start on the Sunday to get back home, well one of my other homes – Trina’s in Dawlish…

The 7am wake-up alarm on Sunday was nowhere near as welcomed as the 8am from Saturday, although it had to be done as I needed to get up. I showered and then did a little bit of work for Vital’s Pompey and England before having a cuppa and some toast before packing up the rest of my things ready for my 09:35 – London Victoria train. I left for this at around 9.10am, making it in plenty of time. This was a smooth journey through to Basingstoke, although the train was bloody hot! Whilst waiting for the next train, having arrived at 10.42am, I participated in a 2-minute silence at 11am. The 11:07 – Exeter St Davids arrived, and departed, on time so the final furlong of this journey was approaching. This train too was hot but it did not stop me getting plenty more work done, most of which ‘should’ be published in the coming weeks, some I would have thought added by the time this is? There was also an X-Factor discussion with Mum, who asked my thoughts on Saturdays show – Matt and Rebecca are the ones to beat for me and ‘probably’ the best recording artists, in my ‘expert’ opinion. Most definitely the ones that I would most like to listen to in the future anyway. This train was also on time, so I just had to wait, and hope, my final connecting train to Dawlish, scheduled to leave at 14:05, would be as well?

Well this train was, despite the slightly chaotic nature of things, on time – well near enough. A string of alterations to trains seemed to be causing problems, platforms of departure seemed to change, and at one point two trains that could have been used sat on the same platform with no one seeming to know which one would be used? Being a regular train user, and knowing how things can change, I kept my head and this prevented any dramas and in the end my 14:05 – Paignton left at about 2.13pm. Still, I was homeward bound and also knew that Trina was making stew and dumplings for tea, so that was a treat! But would she meet me? That would be found out shortly, but other things to mull over on this final part of my journey were ‘would we respond positively against Barnsley next week following the recent indifferent form?’ Also on the mind were the thoughts that I would miss this trip to Oakwell, bugger!

In answer to the ‘would she met me?’ Indeed she did…


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