I have received a complaint ! I can handle regular abuse, derision, mockery or anything else thrown at me – within reason. But a complaint ? So what was this complaint ? Lord Simpson, and his Ladyship – a.k.a. shop-keeper and gate-keeper at DCS – felt that their maiden voyage on “LandFlight Stratford Town” should have been afforded a mention in my Merthyr blog. I am more than happy to give my unqualified – yet needless – apologies herewith. Chris and Anita are a couple within a very small band of loyal followers, seen at virtually every SLP league and cup match.
However, should any other Town supporter want a mention in my travel report in the future, I suggest they use the more acceptable “vehicle” of meeting me at any game and proffer the appropriate bribe !
Whilst referring back to Saturday, I did forget to mention that Paul drove us back into town via the Alcester Road (rather than the back route of Evesham/Shipston Roads) for perhaps his own edification – and that of the playing staff – as we were all treated to the magnificent sights of the Stratford Christmas Lights. Not fireworks for our returning heroes but certainly spectacular coloured decorations !
So on to the second of the trilogy of “away toughies”. How will I fill the column inches this time without the aid of a coach trip ?
No coach, quiz or Joe’s Predictor
So I can’t report a worthy victor
No weather, no route or interesting views
I’ll just stick to telling the match-side news
Taking a solo trip in the “Toggiemobile”, I had planned to arrive early to utilise the stadium carpark and then make my first visit, for many a season, to the upstairs’ bar. I successfully passed the refreshment kiosk – without succumbing (for the time being) – and met up with the regular, and not so regular, travelling “Townites” for the normal chat to put the world to rights.
As reported from the League Cup match, early in October, the stadium has taken on a smarter appearance than in previous seasons’ league or BSC visits. The difference this time was freezing frost giving a very wintery picture. Several areas were taped off at the terraced end, thus preventing access to the far side – unless you wanted a long hike back to the other end. It seemed that most Redditch fans had taken the long walk option to face the visiting “masses” across the pitch.
The reasonable refreshment prices, plus the need to fight the cold and frustration at the half-time scoreline, persuaded me that B & B was necessary. All who know me, will tell you that means Bovril and burger. These – and the sterling second half show – did help to distract me from the – 5 deg. C prevailing in the Valley.
I do not usually dwell on the match itself but feel justified this time. The players “put in a shift and a half” – apart from the pre-Christmas gift of a goal “early doors” – and thoroughly deserved the late equaliser. The backing that the travelling barmy blue army gave the lads went some way to willing the ball into the “Reds” net but it was “Town’s” domination of the last 80 minutes of the game, and playing all-out football, that won a point, which seemed like three at the final whistle ! The joviality, comradeship, chanting, cheering and verbal sparring with the opposition by the great bunch of Townites ensured that the freezing temperatures did not mar their joy during and after the match. Our superior linguistics were a sure “banker” to nullify and surpass the “Reds” one-word vocabulary. Generally the home fans were very quiet and I noticed that virtually none of them remained and cheered their team from the pitch. In contrast Town and the supporters had much mutual applause for the parts they had both played in a first class local derby.
I, like the majority of away supporters, took to their cars straightaway after the game to warm up with the glow of winning a point. I cannot therefore report on any celebratory post-match reactions and news
So on to the coach-less finale of the trilogy at Banbury on Saturday.
UP THE TOWN !