Monday 25 March 2019

They Don’t Fancy It - Barton Rovers FC Vs Corby Town FC, Evo-Stik Southern League Central, Sharpenhoe Road (06/03/19)

Dreary weather and whispers on Twitter of a pitch inspection don't exactly have me leaping off my sofa when the time comes around to heading off to meet Tom. The ‘fake news’ regarding the weather affecting the playing surface at tonight's ground is soon squashed by the relevant parties, however the weather looks only to be deteriorating as I pull up alongside Tom at the end of my road. Much like the twats on the Apprentice do, he is holding his phone horizontally to his mouth, talking into the end of it, and when I eventually get his attention, he waves his hand at me with his thumb and little finger extended, making the international sign of, I’m on the telephone.

Heading north today and not to Kent, there will be no chance to eulogise about our favourite bridge, lovely sky or spectacular sunset, at this rate. It’s grey, drab and frankly a bit depressing. More stag chat and learning that according to Tom that “Bristol” has the “most strip clubs per square metre in Europe”, is interrupted by the pitter patter of rain falling on the roof.

It's inevitable arrival sends Tom into weather watch mode, spending his time either scanning the horizon, assessing if its a nimbus or a cumulus or studying the weather app on his phone. Double checking to see if the tiny water droplets have turned a darker or lighter shade of grey and what is the likelihood of more rainfall. Being with him can sometimes be like being in a shit sequel to the film Twister, without any of the effortless coolness of Bill Paxton that he brought to the first one. He was in Aliens after all.

“Kind of blue” says Tom hesitantly, not in reference to my favourite Miles Davis album, but doing his best to make the best out of a bad situation. The slimmest chink of non grey sky gets him excited, but it's fleeting, because in the next breath I have to turn my windscreen wipers to maximum and peering through the rain soaked window he all of a sudden says “oh a river” as if a torrent only Meryl Streep could traverse, is flowing down the road next to us.

If we’re not in Kent, as of late we are seemingly somewhere in the vicinity of the UK's premier hat making town, after Stockport of course, “oh we’re near Luton again” realises Tom. As changeable as an awards show presenters frock, the clouds soon part revealing what Tom calls a “Jesus sun”, breaking through the gloom with its many laser beam rays, touching everything in their reach, it’s a vision from Renaissance painting.

“Its easing”, “its stopping”, “it's nice over there”, might be the most amateurish weather forecast in the history of meteorology. “It’s blue over there” is hardly something Tomasz Schafernaker would say.

Overdue its service, I’m not sure my car is up to the challenge of the speed bumps leading to Sharpenhoe Road home of Barton Rovers FC (BR). Each one throws you first backwards, then violently forward, regardless of the speed I am going. Past the bowling club and scout hut, we can just about make out the floodlights off to our right.

“Cup of tea and a wee” announces Tom, getting his priorities in order moments before our arrival. Stepping out of the car and straight into a sizable puddle, the rain has stopped, but it’s left it’s trademark everywhere and the clouds are shifting at quite the rate. The St Georges cross atop the white flag pole on the way in, has been buffeted up by the stiff north westerly.

All he’s missing is an armoured car and he could have his very own series of Storm Chasers, Tom pointing off into the distance tells me, “they are some ominous black clouds”. Out on the pitch a man with a fork is doing what men with forks on pitches do, only stopping to answer the queries of a passerby, “its OK out there, not the best”

In dribs and drabs, and not exactly looking pleased to be here, BR’s opponents and current third in the league side Corby Town FC (CT), head straight to their changing room but it’s only transitory and they are soon filing back past me, on their way to the pub, yes a pub and not a “clubhouse” as Tom is insisting on calling it. It’s a pub and I won't hear another word contrary on the matter.

It has a name, The Ball & Jack, how many clubhouses do you know with names, and their very own swinging sign outside? End of discussion.

“It’s firm” jokes Darren, BR’s Chairman, with the man with the fork, who now has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, Darren telling me is in the best non league tradition, that the man with a fork and a fag is the “vice chairman”. As the sun slowly sinks behind a large tree topped hill in the distance, I ask Darren how many spectators they would expect tonight, the fact that local side Hitchin Town are also playing “kills us” he tells me. That in combination with the poor weather, although Darren like Tom is a keen meteorologist, reckons as far as any more “rain” is concerned, the recent deluge on the way here, is “supposed to be it for now”.

I thought I could sense a bit of apprehension in his voice as we discussed what the referee might have to say about conditions while the “vice chairman” sans fag continues to tend to the pitch, but he is rather bullish actually, “if he's starting it, he's finishing it, I don't care if they finish in a bog”.

Sounding a bit like a reporter for the Racing Post, Richard a BR committee member describes the pitch as “heavy” but playable, as he welcomes us into the clubs lounge adjacent to the pub at the back of the main stand, the sign on the door making it very clear its only for season tickets holders and board members, so I’m not sure why we have been invited in. With white linen billowing from the ceiling, leather sofas and walls chocker with club memorabilia, most notably a whole wall dedicated to the clubs YEAR visit to Wembley for the 1978 FA Vase Final, it’s like a cross between a museum and a strip club.

“Not many clubs have a view like that” says Richard pointing out through the large french windows, above which reads “home of the Rovers”, their home perfectly framed by them like a picture. A row of black leather seats and stools are neatly lined up behind them to give the ideal view of the pitch but also beyond, Richard pointing out beyond to the scenery that surrounds us.

Giving us the tour Richard highlights there is “plenty of history around here” not only are the walls covered, but various cabinets dotted about are heaving with silverware and a commemorative boater
from local Football League side Luton Town. The arrival as Richard says of one of the “shabby referees team” sees the complementary biscuits on the small bar at the opposite end of the room to the FA Vase shrine, take a battering.

As the BR manager gets into the important business of deciding his team, he’s joined by Darren whose acting as scribe at a high window side table, over his shoulder the floodlights come to life and we are joined by the BR President who regales us with a few stories, anecdotes and opinions on the state of modern football. How “money” is the root of all evil, not only do none of the mega millions of the top flight “filter down” to their level, but also the leagues competitiveness has been “ruined by three or four clubs” with money to burn and how a player who left them recently to line his pockets was as “reliable as a Woolworth's watch”.

Our tea done, Tom’s own snaffled biscuits consumed, I must point out he was far more reserved than the gorging referees assistant, we venture outside where the wind is absolutely ripping through and Tom is forced into an early costume change, “I’ll have to get my snood out”. He then asks, keen to get out the cold, “wanna go in the pub?”. I rejoice, thinking he has come round to my way of thinking, but he’s just pulling my leg and his tedious grin forms on his face. Anyway, I have a few things to sort out, before we do anything else.

In the distance I can hear the muffled sound of a busy main road and by the now open turnstiles a man is selling programmes out of a cardboard box, sat on top of what looks like a very low coffee table. Half bathed in a red light cast by the heater inside the turnstile, he is so softly spoken I have to strain to hear what he says.

He hands me a programme from the box and two blue 50/50 tickets from a bucket. “Winners?” asks
Tom, I doubt it.

The newly illuminated floodlights are so dazzlingly bright, if Tom had brought them I would probably would pinched his sunnies to shield my eyes. A combination of the far from ideal weather, and the blinding lights, we turn about face, leaving the programme seller to offer up his wares to those arriving, and head off to the pub.

“It's not a pub!” snaps Tom, “I can stick a sign on the side of my house, does that make it a pub?” he asks. I try not to show that he’s actually just made a very good point, so pretend I didn't hear him, but suitably pick up the pace a bit to create some distance between me and my tormentor.

It certainly feels like a pub, it has the faint whiff of a pub, it has a bar, which has optics like a pub, its has an amazing patterned carpet like a pub and a big screen showing the build up to the preparations of tonight's Champions League matches like a pub. It’s a pub. A busy one at that. A mixture of BR fans and their opposite numbers in very smart looking black and white striped scarves, fill the large tables.

The BR crest hangs above the bar and Tom is about to be in for a bit of a shock, “is that all the food you've got?” he asks the barman, pointing to what is essentially a Gregg's condensed into a bar top glass fronted heated cabinet, full of a selection of beige pastry morsels. I find a seat and leave Tom absolutely crestfallen, “yes” answers the bar man, that is all the food they serve.

“This is it”, says Tom. I don't think I have the adequate vocabulary to describe just how mortified he is, “this” being two pale sausage rolls placed side by side on a white polystyrene tray. “Sausage rolls and a Pepsi for dinner” he laments, and before he has even taken a bite, he leans in to tell me, “I'm not gonna lie I'm a bit heartbroken”. Much like with me and my programme and raffle requirements, Tom has his own list, a short one mind, of match day essentials, “You can't go to football and not have a burger”.

He is absolutely miserable, and tucks into his underwhelming meal very quietly, barely looking up as he makes his way through sausage roll number one and then number two. Only occasionally stopping to take a sip from his Pepsi, they didn't even have “Coke” which only adds to his melancholy, and if only to compound his bad night in the pub, the bar man couldn't “can't find pins” either. Not even the rousing Champions League music can shake him from his sorrow reverie, I could be in for a long night.

It's not quite a torrent of people coming through the turnstiles, let's call it a steady stream, but it looks like there will be a reasonable crowd tonight, despite Darren's concerns. BR’s coach from the edge of the pitch, brings the home teams warm up to an end, “starting eleven in we come”. Leaving only the substitutes to continue to shooting practise as the wind starts to howl. The corner flags are starting to lean and the St Georges cross is now whipping about from side to side.

The CT and BR managers exchange hand shakes and a few pleasantries at the mouth of the tunnel, before going their separate ways. I imagine they would have chatted for longer, if it wasn't for the fact that the very first song of the night to be played over the PA, is bloody George Ezra.

“Good evening and welcome to Sharpenhoe Road ” says the mild mannered voice over the PA, before proceeding to read the teams out. A huge gust of wind nearly blows Tom off his feet, not being weighed down by his usual half a pound of ground beef, he’s a little light on his feet. Having been reluctantly dislodged from their cosy changing rooms by the high pitched ring of the referees bell, the players wait for his signal to walk out onto the pitch.

Before the home team get things underway, there are a few last pitchside drills to complete and the generic female voiced R&B music to be faded out, and with a single kick of a ball, they unwittingly begin a series of events, that contribute to what might be the most end to end match we have ever seen. One that rewards those who braved the gale force winds and who didn't go to Hitchin ten fold.

“Come on Corby” shouts one of the small group of CT fans in the rural bus stop looking terrace next to us. “Looked like it would have been easier to score’’ says a baffled Tom, the start of the action is near enough instantaneous. BR racking up two chances and the game is barely two minutes old. I thought it was in, but according to Tom the ball “hit the backboard” and not “the back of the net”. They are awarded a corner, so one CT player must have got something on it, but they all look as confused as us.

The corner brings about the second chance, from close range the CT keeper doesn't know if he’s coming or going, flapping about, he can only watch as the BR player swipes at the bouncing ball on the edge of the six yard box, somehow sending his shot over, instead of in to the gaping net. Almost every teammate in the box clamps their hands to the top of their head, one player knocked to the ground in the initial melee, looks at the guilty player with wide eyes. All the way from his area the BR keeper is astounded that they haven't scored

“Dodgy keeper” mumbles Tom to himself, CT’s is back at it again, this time a long range shot that looked straightforward enough to save, is fumbled wide like a giant neon yellow hot potato, too painful to hold.

From the resulting corner, how many is that already?, the CT keeper makes a meal of his punch, his attempt to clear it, ends up hitting the post. “Fucking hell” gasps one of the nearby CT supporters, however he gets away with it, just, thanks to a team mate who boots it clear. In what might be the most peaceful attempt to stir a team we’ve ever seen, and by God do CT need it, they are a MESS, a young man behind the goal they are attacking, which they haven't been anywhere close to yet, lightly taps out deh, deh, deh, deh on the hoardings. With no song or chant to accompany the rhythm, he does it for a second time and for the sake of his team, he might want to up the energy level a bit, they need something to wake them up.

It takes BR a whole thirteen minutes to score the goal they have looked like scoring since about ten seconds in. It is no great surprise it comes from a mistake at the back, the CT defence has not been at the races at all. A poor header, which I think was aimed at the keeper is latched on to, and the whole back line have their arms up in the air Full Monty style, all heads turned to the linesman, while the BR forward slots it past the hapless keeper.

Although I can only see the back of the head of the CT manager and his assistant in their long Southern League blue coats, I can sense their glaring, their intense and piercing glares. As CT prepare to restart one BR defender can smell blood, “they don’t fancy it” he shouts, falling just short of maniacally rubbing his hands together, like a baddie from a Charles Dickens novel.

“Has my hearing gone or is there a strong Scottish contingent?” asks a slightly befuddled Tom and no, his mind isn't playing tricks on him, there is a definite Gaelic flavour about the place. One of the CT centre backs certainly is, someone in the crowd gives themselves away when they ask very loudly following a foul on a home player in front of the main stand, “got to be a yellow card?”.

Last, but certainly not least is the CT manager, who until now had been reasonably placid on the side lines, glaring yes, but quiet, contemplative. This all changes mind, when about a minute after going one behind, his team almost gift BR another. After a string of shonky attempts to clear the ball, a BR player bounces a header off the top of the cross bar.

“Get a fucking grip on them” he screams, “you’re taking the fucking piss” he adds, gesticulating heavily with his hands, saying he is livid is not quite enough to illustrate his mood, his voice reaching a pitch, that is going to start to attract the local K9 community. While he terrifies his players, a Scottish telling off, so much more abrasive, than your average English one, Tom is quietly chuckling to himself, “I love how Scottish people say piss”.

Considering where each team find themselves in the table, CT are pushing for promotion, BR are very much in middle of the pack, Tom asks if we are “watching the right team?”. CT are a shambles and things almost look like they are about to go from bad to worse, when a BR player is hauled to the ground on the edge of the CT box. He looked like the last man to me, but the referee does not agree with Tom, “that's got to be a straight red” and he gives nothing. The BR keeper waves his arms in protest.

CT register their first shot after about fifteen minutes, buts its off target and the BR keeper just watches it skid wide. “Come on Corby” shouts one of the group to our left, already with a hint of desperation in his voice, having already bypassed positive. The young man behind the goal lightly
beats out a rhythm again, but once again there is no song.

“Every time” says Tom astonished, BR swing in another corner and nearly score, CT’s players minds totally switch off at set pieces and their manager can't believe what he’s seeing. Where as it was all one way traffic in the first quarter, at least CT have worked out how to string a few passes together going forward and at last hit the target with their latest attempt, even if they still look like strangers at the back. Two shots in two minutes, they really are pushing the boat out, but the curling attempt from outside the box is straight at the keeper, but at least it means for a moment the ball is not anywhere near their area.

“It will settle down” says Tom somewhat disbelievingly, but it doesn't look that will be anytime soon. A CT free kick in a dangerous position and then even more threateningly CT make it into the box, getting themselves into a fine shooting position, but instead of “leathering” it as Tom puts it, the player on the ball dilly-dally's and loses it, the chances are now coming thick and fast for both teams.

The latest shout of “come on Corby” sounds a tad more upbeat.

CT’s number 11 in his very short shorts, and socks around his ankles has Tom reaching for his rule book, “isn't it illegal not to wear shin pads?” he wonders. My understanding of shin pads has changed a lot since I started going to football regularly. At school mine went up to my knee, and  were akin to something from a suit of armour, when in the real world, actual footballers play with ones that are about the same size as a cheque book.

“Go and get me a Snickers” asks Tom, the sausage rolls really were not sufficient and he is regretting not getting anything more substantial. No chance I’m going anywhere, CT are fully awake and angry, like some ancient mythical beast, they are only here with one purpose, reeking havoc. “Fuck” shouts of one their supporters, whose comments are infrequent but always to the point. Just shy of thirty minutes another CT shot hits the target, and the BR keeper is now having a bit of a wobble, unable to hold it first time he spills it, getting hold of it on the second attempt.

“Squeeze the fucking game right in” instructs the CT manager, I’m loathed to make any stereotypical Braveheart comparisons because of where the man is from, that would be a bit cheap, but everything he says in his shrieking Scottish accent, sounds all the better for it.

The one child band is still offering up his gentle taps of the hoarding, I feel compelled to go and join him to give him a hand, but he seems OK. On the far side of the pitch in the small car park, just along from my motor, is a sight that will join the long pantheon of things you will only ever see at non league football, “someones sitting in their car” and watching the match, points out Tom, headlamps on and everything.

Tom is fading, “Not sure I'll make the 90” he tells me. Maybe I should go and get him that Snickers before he takes a turn for the worse. He is clearly losing circulation to his extremities, and has started doing the slightly embarrassing exercises he does to get a bit of life into them, the sort that make me want to move away from him, however he soon stops when the Lothario in him kicks in, because he has just noticed the all female spin class taking place in the open doored portacabin next to the main stand.

The CT players are growing increasingly angry at each other as the misplaced pass tally increases. However they are still racking up the shots on goal, just after thirty minutes and they send another just wide, so it's a bit like swings and roundabouts. “Come on Corby” says one visiting fan laughing, “why are you laughing?”asks a fellow fan quizzically, “I’m trying to be positive”.

You hear players being called all sorts at football, sometimes it’s witty, sometimes it’s far from it, but when a CT supporter calls a BR one a “toffee’’ following what he thinks is a soft foul in the BR box, I don't know if its some kind of a private joke, a reference to Everton or what, but non league football can be very confusing sometimes.

“Let's relax” suggests one BR player to his teammates, and I’m all for that, I need a few moments to get a grip, this game is nuts. Just over ten to go and the chances are still coming, BR hook the ball clear after a close rage CT shot is blocked and then the home side go up the other end, and for the first time don’t look nailed onto scoring from a corner.

As the half comes to a close BR mount a late resurgence, after CT’s most promising period of the match and how they have not just doubled their lead, is anybodies guess. Great work down the far side of the pitch, sees the ball crossed in with venom, finding the intended player in the box, but the shot is lacking any composure and is lashed over. “Fuck off” sneers a CT player, who can’t comprehend the amount of chances they are conceding.

The pitch is holding up and the rain has so far held off, but the game is reaching a level of shoutyness, that might be an all time record for us. “Unlucky” bellows the BR keeper after a teammates tame long range shot. The CT supporters are also getting in on the act, their frustrations are growing as their team continues to show a complete inability to make the simplest of passes, “what are you doing, bloody rubbish”.

“That was the weirdest celebration” says Tom, and he’s not talking about the elongated “yesssss” that one CT fan has just expelled like a deflating balloon, but that of the CT scorer, the game now level, who ran off to after crashing the ball in, but when he wasn't joined by any of this teammates, awkwardly cut short his post goal routine.

With the goal coming moments before the break, Tom suggests I think rightly it’s “going to be a very different second half” but he is somewhat jumping the gun, as this half still has a bit more to offer up, before it is done. “Give me a bit of quality, you've given me nothing” demands the CT manager of one of his players.

“Ohhhhhh” go the CT fans, following their players shot from the narrowest of angles, after some good jinking feet in the box, that allows the player the space to get off a fierce driven drive, which the BR keeper can only palm away and out for a corner. A corner that completes the turnaround, from one goal down, CT now find themselves two goals up. “Two one, two one” sings the young man behind the goal.

I don't think we’ve ever seen a game quite like this, completely unrelenting. The CT fans are sure they should have been awarded a penalty but the referee in their opinion “bottled it”. BR’s keeper continues the first half tradition being observed by both men in goal, of having a bit of mare. This time another shit punch, that is limp and barely clears the area. It allows a CT player a free shot at goal, which he thunders into the arse of an unsuspecting BR defender and then CT are awarded a free kick after a handball, or as one of their fans put it, “it looks like he was playing bloody netball”. All of this in the matter of about three minutes. My head is spinning, but here is one last twist before I can compose myself.

“Stop the cross” commands the CT bench, with a BR player flying down the wing, on this occasion the ball is cut out, however considering corners have been their Kryptonite tonight, the fact the cross was stopped short of reaching the box, might end up being more of a hindrance, then a help.

“Every fucking time” says the CT keeper, BR now level, the near post header evading him completely. To say CT have a real issue from set pieces, would be an understatement. “Any chance we can start defending Corby?” asks a CT supporter, however it’s the BR players asking the referee to “blow the whistle”, never has the idea of an orange slice and a sit down seemed more appealing, but he doesn't quite yet, there’s still enough time for one more six yard box scrabble, this time in the BR area.

The whistle finally sounding as the ball is eventually lumped clear, but not before a fair few miss kicks and last ditch blocks. A welcome relief to the panic stricken home players, who for a moment looked like they were going to concede right at the death.

There is a dramatic and sudden drop in the intensity, in the seconds after the whistle. All I can hear is the voice of one player, I can't work out from which team, who is talking to the referee about one of the penalty appeals, admitting it would have been a “soft one” but it was one all the same. I bask in the much needed calm and quiet. Tom is off in search of more food and I take a seat in need of a breather.

Such is my exhaustion, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the fact my 50/50 ticket is not the “lucky” one, as the somewhat garbled voice over the PA announces the winning number. It’s actually quite nice to just hear something relatively normal, after all the fury of the first half. There is something quite comforting, almost grounding, in the familiar feeling of losing. It’s brought me somewhat back down to earth, jolting me free of my funk, with a gentle thud. I could really do with one of the soft empty executive seats behind the French doors in the main stand, now vacant as people I imagine tuck into the biscuits, but make do with my stone step.

“What's your 50/50?” asks Tom, “no one's claiming it” he tells me, after his brief stint in the pub. “Thought it might be you” he tells me, not having yet giving me the chance to reply, he finally takes a breath and I tell him it’s not me. “Ohh” he says.

CT are out early, and there is much discussion amongst the players about the half ahead. Tom has tucked into his crisps and Mars bar, which will hopefully see him through to full time. Our nearby CT posse have moved on to behind the goal their team is now attacking and the referee rings the bell to signify to the teams in the changing room that it's time to restart, however they are already waiting for him on the pitch.

“I bet that hurt” grimaces Tom, a CT sub just cracked his head on the roof of the substantial dug out. “Run it off” says a far from sympathetic coach. It’s the same substitute whose footwear has caught Toms attention. “Funny boots” he says, “Jesus boots” he dubs them, on the account of them, in his eyes looking a bit like a leather sandal. See what I have to put up with, when he can't have a quarter

CT very nearly take the lead for the first time, the ball sits up perfectly for the player in the box, however he smashes it well over. It's perhaps no great surprise it's a rather frantic, verging on headless chicken start to the new half. Clearly the words of the respective managers fell on deaf ears, unless this is how they want their teams to play. Poor communication in the BR ranks between the keeper and a defender offers CT another shot at goal, which is on target, but blocked.

“Box them in, don't let them out” shouts one CT player, his team now fully up to speed, and looking to exonerate their shocking start.

Only needing one touch to take the ball inside the defender, the BR number 7 doesn't need another, before he curls the ball past the CT keeper, putting the home side in the lead once more. You could maybe say that CT could feel a little hard done by, but as one player says again it's just “too easy” for BR at times and even the scalding shout of one CT fan towards the players, telling them to “stop arguing amongst yourselves” isn't enough to stop the squabbling.

The two words “too easy” are somewhat becoming a CT catchphrase. Every time they concede a chance its seems to be the go to for the CT players, but they seem reluctant to do anything about making it any less easy. Hemmed back into their own box, it's only because of a reckless finish from one home player, that CT don't find themselves further behind. As Tom highlights, they are a “bit sulky”.

As fine rain starts to fall, the pitch beings to make quite an unpleasant squelching noise under foot. Twenty minutes into the half and CT are making changes, Tom uses the break in play to inform me, God only knows why it's taken him nearly half an hour, although we’ve not exactly been short of things to discuss, that while in the bar, he saw a very elderly man, as drunk as a skunk, who was in the process of being ejected from the building. Imagine Paul Whitehouses mumbling character from the Fast Show, Rowley Birkin QC.

If it hadn't been for the monumental push by the CT player on the BR defender, it would have a been a good goal, but alas, shoving a man in the back to get to the ball is not allowed, and what the CT fans and players think is there second equaliser of the night is ruled off. The same supporters who despite the rain, now stand uncovered behind the goal and are still offering up the occasional “come on Corby”. The forecast as Tom tells me was “on point” the rains arrival right on queue, let's just hope it doesn't get any heavier or Darren might just get a “bog”.

Although the tempo has started to wane ever so slightly, the chances are still coming, just not quite at the break neck speed as before. CT nearly capitalise on a Steven Gerrard’esq slip at the back, but the fallen player recovers quickly and does well to block the eventual shot.

Following what looked like nothing more than a full blooded coming together between two opposing players, the referee deems it a foul and CT are awarded a free kick. Bobbling out to the edge of the box, one player takes a languid swing at it, his shot taking a deflection, winning his team a corner. Falling to the edge of the box once again, this time the strike from almost the same place as the previous one is much more assured and it's only the nick of a BR defenders head that stops it hitting the target. Another corner and another chance, a glancing header that is just wide. CT can't say they haven't had their chances, they've just not been anywhere near as clinical as the home side

For what I think is for the first time tonight, the CT manger has taken a seat in the dugout, I’m sure letting out a considerable huff as he does, resigned maybe to the fact his team won’t be leaving with any points. “Come on Corby you're better than this” says one player “we need to lift it” says another and the attempt to rally the troops has a brief effect, as the team floods forward in attack, however BR are poised and ready to capitalise on them over committing more and more men up front. In their number 9 they have a player who is bullish and hard to get off the ball, who holds it up expertly, waiting for the right time to release one of the jet healed wingers that flank him on either side.

Doing his best to keep up with them the referee who Toms says runs “like Aaron Lennon” i.e a “duck” which is fitting as the pitch gets wetter and wetter. One CT player going as far as to say the “pitch is not playable”.

“Oh he’s on” gasps Tom. The BR forward line have well and truly caught out the ragged CT defence and number 7 turns provider with a simple pass to his unmarked teammate in the six yard box. The CT keeper stranded and not sure which way to turn, leaps at the feet of the eventual scorer. For a brief second it looked like he might have done enough to put him off, but the BR player is able to poke home BR’s forth, before clattered into..

What exactly the celebrating BR player is referring to I’m not sure, however he is pretty animated, “have some of that you cheating cunts”.

Into the final ten minutes of the half and CT's heads are well and truly down, “fucking shit, sums us up” says one player, at the sight of another loose pass. With all the time and space in the world the BR front three have the freedom of the pitch and are close to running riot and amazingly the headlights of the silver Audi are still going, Tom is sure they are “fading”. I’d be worried about running my battery down, and being stuck here all night.

“Bit of a shock” says the man standing pitchside alongside Richard. “Keep working” he shouts as a CT shot from the edge of the box is blocked, “come on blues” he adds when its hacked clear. Maybe tempting fate, and just after the BR keeper fumbled a CT free kick, I congratulate him on a nice result, which he promptly shoots down with a scolding, “shhhhhhh’’. He tells me he “saw them at Welwyn” and was “sure they would beat us”.

It’s a shame the old scoreboard in the far corner isn't working, 4 - 2 would look pretty impressive across its front, although I’m not able to romanticise about that for too long, because although Richard is quite modest in stature, he makes up for with his booming voice, “clear it, don't piss about with it”.

CT are still having the odd foray forwards, BR have far from taken their foot of the gas and are on the hunt for a fifth, however there is no need to hare about too much. The latest CT attack has Richard concerned, “come on close him down”, it's not over until it's over, however long is left to play and regardless of the score. As a Spurs fan I can sympathise with that. One nearby CT supporter mind, doesn't think Richard has anything to be concerned about, “don't worry we won't do anything”.

An absolute howler from the CT keeper almost gifts BR their fifth, but he manages to save some face after his woeful kick, making it to the goal line in time to scoop the ball clear. “It’s in” says Richard excitedly as the ball rolls towards the empty net, letting out a disappointed sigh when it doesn't make it, but he won't be downhearted for long.

“Lets get six” shouts one BR fan, not satisfied with just five. “You deserve six” says a leaving CT supporter. Number 7 chalks up another assist and number 9 does what he does best, shielding the ball, but is allowed far top much time to turn and shoot, slotting it in the bottom left hand corner, well out of reach of the full stretch keeper. Richard and his fellow fan again violate my hearing, with a simultaneous “yeahhhhhh”.

“This will make the rest of the league sit up” says a bristling Richard. With the CT exodus in full
flow, they are not shy in loudly airing their grievances, “never seen Corby play so bad” says one, “sack the lot of them” suggests another. They are though gracious enough to congratulate the BR supporters on their teams fine performance.

"Referee how much longer we got?" asks a BR player. They may well have a three goal lead, but there is no way this game hasn't taken its toll on all those concerned, even the winning side want it over.

Angrily marching off the pitch, quietly talking to himself, one CT player following the final whistle is enraged. I'm sure the now jubilant voice over the PA confirming the score didn't help. "Thanks a lot Corby, coming all this way" says one CT supporter who has stuck around until the end. The BR players are not as quick to walk off, held back by their manager I should think for a considerable pat on the back, except for one, who has vaulted the railing around the pitch and is peering through the windows of the main stand to get a glimpse of the Manchester United score, who he broadcasts to everyone have against all odds beaten PSG.

Not too dissimilar from his own teams display, overcoming the bookies favourite. Just a few differences like the TV cameras, pay packets, stadium, but intrinsically the same.

For all of our photographs from the match, click HERE

Watch our video from the match ↓ HERE

'LIKE' us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Follow us on Instagram - @beautifulgame15 - @beautifulgame15_ultra_stickers #beautifulgame15

No comments:

Post a Comment