Away Day Robins
The latest report from the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins comes from the midweek trip to deepest Staffordshire when we travelled to Alsager Town. As with most of our games at the moment, they’re evening kick-offs so we aren’t able to stop off at THOMCO for our quality building services, advice and supplies. We were planning to take two car loads but Michelle couldn’t make it as she was having to clean hers out after Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ had thrown up in the back on the return journey from Newcastle-too many sweeties and fizzy pop!
Picked up Andy ‘The Spannerman’, Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ (put that coke down!), Billy ‘The Kid’ and Auntie Sheila and set off in plenty of time at 6 o’clock. Are you listening Dave Sharples? For anyone who’s been there before, you’ll know that as you approach the ground, it looks as though you’re driving into a cul-de-sac, and to get to the entrance it appears that you have to go up someone’s drive. Well we took the wrong one and did in fact end up on someone’s drive, with the front end of the car wedged into the garage doors! Reversed out quickly and zoomed off down the road as the irate householder dashed through the front door waving a rolling pin. We parked up a couple of hundred yards away and when we walked past the row of houses where the altercation took place, the guy was looking at his garage door, ranting and raving.
“Bloody ‘ooligans!” I shouted, “They ought to bring back the birch.”
Had a pie and a pint in the clubhouse before making our way down the hill towards the ground – very strange. We were then told that ‘Barry Chuckle’ and Dennis hadn’t arrived so the kick-off was going to be delayed until 8 o’clock. The deadline came and went with the Alsager players warming up and not a Harwood player to be seen. They eventually, slowly wandered onto the pitch at about five past eight, well ten of them did, and it reminded me of the time we went to Nantwich for a night game on a coach which arrived late. That night we were two down within a few minutes and this game took a similar twist as Alsager swarmed all over us but the breakthrough came from a surprising source. The Whites were having plenty of joy down the Harwood right and a cross from there was on its way into Bobby’s grasp before the previously excellent Ryan Dervish deflected it into the net, despite a loud shout of ‘keeper’s ball’ from the Harwood custodian.
At this point the Harwood players were chasing shadows as Alsager knocked the ball about with great confidence, and indeed, looked to be as good a side that we’ve played all season. They also had in their ranks, at least half a dozen six-footers and the they put over a stream of crosses into the box, which the Harwood defenders had very little chance of winning.
The second goal wasn’t long in coming but as the cross came in from our left, the defence went AWOL leaving an attacker with time and space to pick his spot. Still no let up, and despite the superb vocal backing from the travelling faithful, we found it difficult to get out of our own half. Number 3 duly came and thankfully no one was to blame. As the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, it bounced up fully five feet off the ground and was acrobatically despatched into the net thanks to a great scissors kick by one of the six-foot brigade. There was nothing for it but to forget the result and give the Alsager ground the best atmosphere it’s ever had. Non-stop shouting, singing and encouragement from the Blackburn & Darwen Robins was matched by the Alsager Suicide Squad on the far side. Flags were waved, scarves were twirled, the steel stand was bashed and the trumpet sounded.
Half time came with us very thankful that we were only three down and we were all trying to guess how many we’d lose by, four, five, six, seven? Would the players actually return for another 45 minutes of shadow chasing? They did, so we continued with our vocal support and at last we started to make some headway. Not surprisingly, the home side couldn’t perform as well as they’d done in the first period, and the Blues of Harwood gradually took control. Finally we managed to put more than two passes together and although we didn’t cause the home keeper too many problems, he was called into action as a great free-kick from wide on the right by Dennis Hill was heading for the bottom corner until he made a terrific save.
Several corners were won before a great strike from just inside the box by Liam McManus brought us a well-deserved goal. With only ten minutes left, it was surely too late but the lads continued to give it all they had, and came close to adding a second as shots rained in from all angles. The keeper made a couple of saves and we forced more corners but couldn’t add to the scoreline.
Just before the end, one of the suicide squad came round and it looked like there was going to be some fisticuffs, but instead of fighting, he shook our hands, started praising us and said that we were the best supporters in the league! How right he was, and as he went back to his chums, we burst into a chorus of ‘You’ll never walk alone’.
On the way back to the car, we saw the garage owner, belting the dints out of the door with a hammer.
Although we’d lost, we weren’t too downhearted and decided to stop for a pint at the quaintly named George and the Dragon. With Michelle missing, I knew that we’d have no problems getting served.
“I’ll do the honours,” chirped up Auntie Sheila. As she approached the bar, a rather ‘homely’ looking landlady of about 23 stones greeted her. “WHERE’S GEORGE?” Shouted Sheila.
“What are you insinuating Mush?” Replied the indignant publican.
“Sorry, I thought the painting on the pub sign outside was of you and your husband!”
“GET OUT! YOU’RE ALL BARRED!”
Doh, I spoke too soon.
We made good time on the return journey and we reached Darwen at 11 o’clock. Just then Billy’s phone rang, it was it adoring girlfriend.
“Yes lover, I’ve missed you too, yes sweetie, I’ll be home in 5 minutes, bye bye my little Lambsy Wamsy.”
“Ah, that’s nice Billy, is Lambsy Wamsy your ‘pet name’ for her because she’s soft and cuddly?”
“NO WAY!” Shouted Billy.
“I call her that because she smells as though she’s come from a farmyard!”
And they say that romance is dead.
Join us for the next trip, there’s never a dull moment on our away days, and don’t forget,
Rally Round the Robins!