Drayton Green's night at QPR
Tuesday 3rd March 2009, 7.45pm
It has finally happened. I have seen an away win for the first time since Grimsby on 1st October 1996.
I am sure most of you have followed the game on radio and Sky Sports News so I will concentrate on the day as a whole.
I had worked up to 2am and from 6am to midday to make up for lost work time and caught a bus to the City at 12.30pm. I met up with the other two chaps at Norwich Station at 1.15 and we caught the 1.30 train which got into Liverpool Street on time at just before 3.30pm.
We had agreed not to drink on the train to save ourselves for the planned pub crawl in Holborn. The rain was already beginning to fall as we got into the Mitre at about 3.45, a brilliant pub about four minutes walk from Chancery Lane if anybody wants to try it.
The Sir Garney Wolsey and Old Cheshire Cheese followed before we had food and beer in the Penderels Oak (Wetherspoons have a burger/ chips and pint of Pedigree for £5.50 deal). A swift pint in The Ship before catching central line to White City. A fruitless search for a pub in the now pouring rain before we gave up and had a couple of ciders in the 'stadium'.
We were in the upper tier which means going right around the ground to the entrance so now soaking wet. I am not sure about the number of away supporters as I could not see lower tier but there seemed to be a reasonably good turn out and constant singing throughout.
The rest of the ground appeared empty and home support was virtually silent. I cannot recall fans even bothering to get on their player's backs. Crowd was a pitiful 13533.
Gunny picked the right team and formation and the defence were under pressure from the start and dealt with it reasonably comfortably. Donk looked a bit clumsy a couple of times but Shacks was magnificent.
We had a few attacks but the first real effort looked like we had a penalty. When the ref consulted the linesman we were waiting to see if it was going to be a red or yellow card. The result was yet another let down by a linesman as he advised the ref to change his mind. It was down the other end so I cannot say if it was a poor decision.
We defended well for the rest of the first half.
In the second half the conditions got worse and as the boys attacked our end. The effort and energy was there but there did not really look to be a cutting edge.
It was therefore a surprise when Russell scored a goal right in front of us and it looked like the keeper made a bit of an error as the ball crept into the net.
I must admit to going absolutely crazy. The people around us looked to be neutrals watching from other clubs and the chap sitting next to my mate was Gow's agent who told us that he had tried to go back to Rangers earlier in the day as he was not getting any time on the pitch.
The last 15 minutes plus 4 minuted added time seemed to go on for ages and the rain seemed to get heavier. I was beginning to get paranoid and think that the game was going to be abandoned with a waterlogged pitch.
I cannot recall Marshall having to make any major saves although the ball was permanently in our half and there was not really any outlets for us to break although the midfield were kicking the ball out wisely into touch just near the corner flag and closing down the throws.
At full time I completely lost control and the away fans continued to sing 'we are staying up'.
I was a bit disappointed as 2 or 3 players sloped off without coming over to the fans but the Doc made sure the rest of the team did.
I had asked ND why the club had not asked for the kick off to be 7.45 instead of 8.00 but he was not interested. As a result we were missed the 10.30 train by 2 minutes so it was into Dirty Dicks for a quick 3 pints of Youngs Special.
My offer of buying wine was rejected so just a pasty and a bit of a kip in first class until train got into Norwich just before
am this morning.
One chap had pre booked a taxi so the 2 of us walked down a deserted Prince of Wales Road in search of a cab. None available and no offers in the 2 offices we went into. My mate hailed down a black cab and went off in opposite direction leaving me soaking wet on my own.
I stupidly decided to walk home in the rain. It took nearly 2 hours including a 5 minute stop by the Police who made me get into their car to record and check my name and left me in the rain whilst driving off towards Drayton.
Not the offer of a lift. Wish I had not told them the score.
Back to my house at 3.50 totally drenched but happy and had walked off hangover brought on by 10 pints.
Next thing I know the alarm going off at 6.15 and am walking the dog in the rain.
Knackered but still elated and hoping I do not have to wait another 12 years to see next away win!
Hope this inspires some Vital chaps to go to Blackpool.