For seasoned Town away supporters – either by coach or car – a Bank Holiday jaunt to deepest Dorset will always present a question about one’s sanity. But when has that ever been in doubt with the all too small group of serial “head-cases” such as I – the Tog ! And that is before the thought of the toughness of the task for Town visiting the Weymouth is concerned !
Now do not get carried away with any idea that my travel log will be resurrected, as has been suggested by numerous – well one, maybe two – readers. I understand that no match report will appear on this site for yesterday’s encounter due to the planned absence of our regular roving reporter; so I am merely filling a void. The STFC site has already provided its own match report for those who wish to read it.
The day started early with the return of two faithfuls – the STFC boards for the front and back of the coach and happily our “long-lost” driver Paul, who took custody of the boards since Town last used Landflights. Remarkably, we left Moodchimp Stadium bang on time (well done players !) and headed to the M5(S). All was fine until we were bought to a standstill before the M4/M5 interchange, stopping, starting and crawling to well past Gordano Services. A planned stop at Sedgemoor Services was abandoned but a quick break at Bridgwater Services (on the petrol station forecourt) gave “Tunni” a long-awaited nicotine break, as well as some players taking on board some refreshments. The onward route via Yeovil and Dorchester was relatively problem-free getting us to Wessex Stadium at 2.00pm. No time this season to drive to the seafront first.
As expected, we found the Simpsons and the Bedworth Kemps (all staying overnight) in the bar for pre-match drinks and discussions. We then positioned ourselves in the stand behind the Terras’ defence, together with our newly acquired Town banner.
The impressive stadium provided a smooth footballing surface, under sunny skies but, to my mind, had a somewhat lower attendance figure than the 600+ announced.
Town gave a very good account of themselves during the first half, with increasingly confident Charlie Evans prominent on the right flank. And when he cut inside, after half an hour, he unleashed a rasping left foot shot that went into the net off post and ‘keeper. Well-deserved for Town and a well-deserved first goal for “our Charlie”. Weymouth were knocking the ball around and across the pitch but not really bothering the Town defence and Louis had not one shot to save !
Second half saw end to end football for a while but Town were standing firm under Terras’ expected pressure. The crucial point of the game came when Evans outpaced his marker and set up Mikey *the Beast” Taylor” for an unmissable chance ……which he blasted over the bar from less than six yards ! This was to come back to “bite us in the bum” sadly, as a second goal would have undoubtedly sealed our victory. Town lived somewhat dangerously thereafter with the ball fizzing across our goalmouth several times. Weymouth were unlucky when they had a fierce shot against the crossbar so Townites were now believing we were to get our first victory at Radipole Lane. With both Edwin and Mikey having been “subbed” our attacking threat somwhat disappeared. Andy Gallinagh was at his best in marshalling the troops. Three minutes of extra time was to prove disastrous for Town as a long crossfield pass from the right flank landed at the feet of Weymouth’s saviour at the left corner of the box – some say offside – to fire into the net. “Kick in the teeth”, “Sick as a parrot” were repeatable/reportable phrases uttered by Townites, who were totally stunned, downhearted -even bereft – as the final whistle was immediately blown at the restart. What was a creditable draw was so much like a defeat.
As we disappointed supporters drowned our sorrows in the bar afterwards, we were treated to a selection of food by the generous home officials – welcome but no substitute for two lost points.
The return journey was prefaced by a stop-off at the local Morrisons store for alcoholic consolation to be brought onboard for the shattered squad. The mood was eventually lightened with singing backed by music from Ed’s “ghetto-blaster”.
Statto Rod had taken on the mantle of Mr. Predictor, with his inaugural competition being won by “The Gaffer”. No quiz was surprisingly undertaken for such a long trip. I hesitate to mention that Rod “debuted” his recently penned Town anthem. Will it catch on ? Well …….
A 12 ½ hour day (for Stratfordians), with 5 hours there but 3 ½ back saw us arrive back at Tiddington soon after 9.30pm.
A cruel lesson in not taking chances and playing for more than 90 minutes must be learned. However Carl, officials and supporters should not be too unhappy with an unbeaten 6 from 12 return, with 12th place, after some hard opening fixtures.
Up the Town !