Away Day Robins

Ramsbottom United 2004

The latest trip for the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins was the League Challenge Cup quarter-final at Ramsbottom. Finished work on Saturday morning and just had time for a quick bite to eat before collecting the ‘crew’. Fortunately for Michelle and Dave, they have easy duties at Royal Mail and had plenty of time for a full fry-up, read of the newspapers and a short kip before I picked them up. Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ and Billy ‘The-Kid’ also came so the car was full to bursting and I may have to start hiring a van soon. Stopped off at Thomco for some quality building materials then it was off to Rammy to see our heroes progress to the semi-final.
The roads were quiet and we got there with plenty of time to spare so it was into the Dog and Duck for a pre-match pint. Now admittedly the landlady did have a lot of make up on, her hair was bleached white, and she was talking to a lad who was quite a few years her junior, but there was no need for Michelle’s opening line.
“Hey, Bet Lynch, when you’ve finished chatting up your son’s school friend, we’ll have five pints over here!” The look the old girl gave us told us that we wouldn’t be getting served at all and “YOU LOT, GET OUT NOW, YOU’RE ALL BARRED,” confirmed our suspicions
“We’re not bothered, I’ve heard that you water your beer anyway”, was Michelle’s parting shot.
The friendly local welcome extended to the turnstile operator who not only frowned upon the bugle playing of young Jimmy, he also insisted on 15 year-old Billy paying full price. Worse was to come when he insisted on Jimmy paying £4 as well until I butted in. No wonder the average age of the Rammy fans was 82.
The very good away following, possibly the best of the season, witnessed an even first half with the best chance falling to Sam Pope, who was expertly set up by the impressive Paul Mashiter. A hard low shot was half stopped by the keeper, who turned to see the ball bounce behind him towards the goal, and incredibly bounce off the soft surface and over the bar!
Just after the interval Rammy took the lead when a free kick on the edge of the box was fired wide but found the foot of a forward-looking suspiciously offside- and the grateful recipient side footed the ball into the net. Harwood pressed for the equaliser but left themselves open to break aways and sure enough last man Neil Kennedy was tempted into a rash challenge in the box and scythed down a forward for a penalty.
The Harwood veteran was very lucky not to receive a second yellow card for his indiscretion but his luck would eventually run out. A fine spot kick was superbly turned onto the post by the impressive Bobby Harris and the Robins sensed that this could be their day. Unfortunately Kennedy was guilty of another poor challenge and received his second yellow card. The free kick was curled into the top corner for number two but from that point on however, the Robins took complete control of the game and chance after chance was created and missed as Mashiter, Zarac, Fryer and subs. Pope and Walsh tore the home defence to shreds. An inspired debut from the home keeper kept his side in the game and the only reward for some splendid attacking play was a Zarac conversion of a right wing cross. For the fourth game in a row, Harwood had lost but at least we saw a battling performance and overall we’d deserved a draw. We decided to go straight home after the game as we were fed up after four miserable weekends in a row but before we reached Blackburn, Billy’s girlfriend rang. “Blah, blah, blah, yes treasure we’ll be home at 5-30”, blurted the young lad
“Ah, that’s nice”, I said, “Is treasure your pet name for your girlfriend?”
“NO!” Retorted Billy, “I call her that because I wish someone would take her to a desert island and bury her!”
And they say that romance is dead.
Once again an away trip for the Blackburn and Darwen Robins had been an event to remember.

The Rammy keeper was later found to be ineligible but instead of expelling them and letting Harwood go through, the League ordered a replay which Harwood refused thus allowing Ramsbottom progress unfairly to the semi-finals.

Please join us for the next trip, there’s never a dull moment.

Rally round the robins!

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©2009 J Fenton