Date: 2nd November 2010 at 6:00pm
Written by:

2010/11 season v Forest in the league at Fortress Fratton, Friday 29th October – Sunday 31st October 2010.

Finally with the dramas off-the-pitch sorting themselves out we could, hopefully, finally focus fully on the football, at least that was my longing anyway, which is something – being able to talk about how ‘crap’ or ‘good’ we were as a club, on it and not off it – all of us wanted, and that is not really too much to ask, or hope for, is it, right?

With my train, the 18:40 – Exeter, not going until early evening (obviously given that time) and Trina having the day off I decided, having booked my ticket from Dawlish anyway, I would spend the majority of the day with her. Having done some early morning work I left mine at around 9.45am for the 09:59 – London Paddington, knowing I would have to change at Newton Abbot. Of course in typical – AS ALWAYS! – First Great Western fashion my train was ‘delayed’, fortunately the connection I needed would also be delayed as a result. It was a nice day, eating a tuna lasagne that I had made; we managed to finish off the Gavin and Stacey series with the Christmas special. Until recently I, well neither of us, had seen the series but soon knocked off both series and this special. Oh why had we not watched it before!

A brief visit to her Nan’s, and then I was back to Trina’s to feed Amber (the cat), and I was off, just about making my train in the end. This was via my brother Lee’s place, where I managed to blag a slice of pizza and some biscuits whilst dropping his keys back having been left them to put out his rubbish during their family holiday with the kids over the half term break.

I did not have long to wait at Exeter St Davids for my 19:27 – London Waterloo. Usually I tend to pick out a specific seat on the second carriage in, I know I have to be in the front couple as the train separates at Salisbury anyway. This time, and what a mistake, I opted for the first carriage and soon wished I had not! On came a screaming kid, thankfully her and mother were off by Honiton, but it was these two girls that REALLY pissed me, and I would say most others, off with their loudness, rudeness, content of conversation, language – that I would beat my kids, a little smack never did me any harm if I deserved it, for if I heard them at such an age – and basic lack of respect shown. Think of the ‘stereotypical chav’ like kids that you see around, got it? You know the type that most cannot stick, the ones that give youngsters a bad name, and that was them! Salisbury, as I overheard them saying – well, strike that overheard would be wrong as it was impossible NOT to hear them – was were they would get off, and this could not come soon enough! Those that know me know that I am, on the whole, mild mannered and reserved and it can take quite a lot to push my buttons but they were doing it and much more of it and would have said something…

I had plenty of work to do, and started writing this, so the journey through to Basingstoke seemed to fly by, before I knew it it was a little after 10pm. I was at Basingstoke waiting for my 22:21 – Portsmouth Harbour when the announcement came that it had switched platforms, no worries I just had to nip under the tunnel to the other side, simples. My cousin had rang me asking if I wanted to meet him for a drink in Cosham upon arrival, I said that I would let him know although in all honesty I did not particularly fancy it. That said the urge for a quick one, but just the one, grew as the journey went on but I resisted the temptation and let him know I was just going to shot off home.

Saturday, game day, came around and the final arrangement with Chixy for the time of collection from Southampton Road were made – 12.30pm is what I thought it would be, and so it proved although he would be going to the club shop to collect some stuff for Pompeyyong (John) that he wanted. Chix had to do this as he was now living in Thailand and with no online facility he was stuffed. I also got a call from Ken, no surprises First Great Western had held up their journey, so they would be late. He had to met a couple of Forest fans, Becky and her friend, so he asked if I could look out for them, of course I said I would but knew, or at least felt, they would have no problems in The Rutland.

The time came, so off I went to catch my lift. Having picked up Rob, and given him the ‘Away Goals fanzines’ – from our time in Europe – that I had been promising for weeks, we moved onwards. Unsurprisingly Chix decided that he would go to the club shop after the game. On the way I got a phone call from a number that I did not know, but guessed it must have been Becky, and it was. They had arrived at The Rutland and wanted to make sure that they would be ok, I said they would but also said we would not be long. Upon arriving – at an already heaving pub at 1.15pm – I soon spotted her, I recognised her from some England games, so made myself known, offering her and Laura the chance to join us if she wanted but I guess they were happy enough where they were as they stayed in place, fair enough I guess. Having spied Barry and Mike I went and said hello to them then Russ (Russellm) arrived, of course his offer of a pint was gratefully accepted!

With the pub becoming more and more rammed we decided that we had to move outside as it was too packed and also too hot. As time went by more arrived, including Phil and Michelle so I passed back their season tickets – of course borrowed for Watford so Trina could go. Eventually Ken and Lord Trivet arrived, I did not know were Richie and the rest of the posse were? Soon enough he, Betsy and a couple of Richie’s mates turned up, I think that they had been on quite a session on the train journey, and this continued at the pub! I did get a telling off from him for NOT mentioning the fact that he was on 606 on the way back from Hull the week before. So, Richie was on 606 on the way back from Hull, and what a fine job he did!

At around 2.35pm I decided to move on, arrangements were made with Chix to meet at the usual place – KFC. Goodbyes were said to Ken and co and me and hop-along, Russ, who was still troubled by his foot made our way over to our church. Having left some 10 minutes or so before I soon saw Phil and Michelle so queued with them. Whilst in this we saw Matt (storagematt), so it was good to know that he was still around and not strung up from some rafter somewhere!

A quick toilet stop later, once inside of course, and it was into my seat with Tony and Gill, as always in their seats already.

A crowd of almost 20,000, our largest of the season, clearly sat expectantly, with a kind of ‘mixed atmosphere’ testimony to that but we were soon sent delirious when Ibrahima Sonko opened the scoring with a bullet header from a Liam Lawrence corner. Forest were soon level though and 1-1 is how we went into half time. I do think that defensively we could have done better but the real fault, for me, on that goal would be put at the feet of the one that rushed a freekick that we had. In our own half, with no rush needed, the result of this needlessly given away possession, I think from Hayden Mullins, was ultimately the goal. Clearly Forest were putting pressure on so I do not know why we did not slow things down? Why rush the freekick? Had we slowed things down I do not think that they would have scored, but hey ho!

At half time I went and had a chat with Liam O’Brien’s old man. This, that and the other were discussed. I cannot say that I am not concerned still by the direction that the academy is taking, and as such ‘worry’ about our future – we MUST produce our own, but will we even continue bothering?

Anyway, with the 2nd half about to begin I said my goodbyes and returned to my seat.

I felt we were too conservative in the 2nd half and worried we would conceded again. But for poor finishing we would have – that said we missed plenty of opportunities ourselves too, which left me all the more worried that we would pay the price but eventually the breakthrough came. Carl Dickinson’s delivery was flicked on by Dave Nugent, finding its way to Lawrence who made no mistake! To be honest I did not think that we would hold on, but was of course delighted that we did to secure the 2-1 win that we did. This made it 6 wins from 7 and 7 unbeaten as we sealed our best runs since 2002/03, as it happens the year that we went up!

At the end of the game, having made my way to KFC, I started thinking ‘why had we not just agreed to meet at the club shop’ so when Chix called me to suggest as much it was no surprise to me at all. What was wanted was not in stock anyway, but at least some extra exercise was had! By the time I got back to Cosham, and into my Aunties house, it was almost 6pm. Having said hello to Paul (my cousin) and Lynne (his girlfriend), who were round for a curry, I had to go off quickly and do some work that was needed doing on Vital. Soon enough though I was sitting down to have a curry and a beer, lovely! They stayed until around 8pm, then it was X-Factor time. I will not lie to you I am quite partial to it as it is, at the end of the day, entertaining. As discussed with Chix on the way home earlier entertainment is what you want from the box, right? Whilst watching I also did some working, having decided that I wanted a night in, after telling Matt I did not fancy a night our on the town. I knew I had a journey home in the morning, plus I was skint!

Sunday arrived, the extra hour after the clocks went back was much welcomed. A little work was done then I went to Lou’s (another cousin) to see her, Steve (her husband) and the kids, including the new arrival Jamie – then it was off for my train, the 11:23 – Severn Tunnel Junction. I would change at Westbury, arriving in around 12.55pm for the 13:05 – Penzance. This was already waiting on the platform so I jumped on for the final leg of the journey through to Dawlish, where I would get back in for just before 2.30pm.

All in all another fine weekend, but aren’t they all following your club?

I felt that I had got an early birthday present, with this coming up on the Wednesday, of 3pts, which was nice. It was just a shame, I had started thinking now even more, that a lack of finances combined with it being Mum’s birthday also, that Derby was a no go for me! At least it was on the box, but that is NO substitute for bring in the crowd is it? Whatever though, bring on The Rams…


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