Away Day Robins

St Helens

The latest report comes from the trip to St.Helens. With my car suffering yet another ‘injury’, this time to the water system, it was left to Michelle to get the troops to our away game. I picked up Billy ‘The Kid’ and Jimmy ‘Mad-dog’ Hughes and Auntie Sheila before dropping my poorly vehicle off in Feniscowles for a diagnosis. Michelle then collected us at 2 o’clock and within 35 minutes we were at the ground.
We made particularly good time, as Michelle had to travel part of the way at 90 mph to lose an irate motorist. He wasn’t best pleased when Jimmy threw his left over McDonalds milkshake out of the car window and it splattered all over the windscreen of the BMW travelling behind us. Got into the ground in plenty of time to put up the flag and give the locals a rendition of Eddie Calvert’s greatest hits on the trumpet. Being a ‘proper’ ground, they had stewards and everything, but they did seem to lack supporters. We were joined by a smaller than usual Harwood following of about eight. It seems that some of the regulars are getting a little fed up of seeing us get beaten every game. We went for food and drinks but the girl in the snack bar said that we ought to leave it for a while as the stuff wasn’t hot enough yet. We went into the huge stand and practised our singing before returning for the grub just before kick-off. Sadly, the food was still cold and as such it tasted horrible. I turned round to look for some sauce to take the taste away and when I turned back, someone had nicked my pie!
We made our intentions clear from the start and booed all the home players as their names were read out, before cheering all the Harwood players. The locals hadn’t seen or heard anything like it since they reached the final of the FA Vase twenty odd years ago. The official attendance was later given out as 67 so there must have been some fans out of view, as there can’t have been more than 30 sat down.
To our great surprise, Fat Phil, after his guest appearance for Fleetwood three days earlier, had been transferred and turned out in goal for the Saints. The Harwood boys would really have their work cut out if they were going to find a way past his huge carcass. He obviously hadn’t played for a while because when he took the first goalkick, he put his weight behind it and it sailed over the half way line, over the Harwood goal, over the stand and down the street towards Wigan!
The pitch is used for rugby league and couldn’t you tell. There were loads of divots and large muddy patches which was obviously going to suit the Saints as it would restrict our slick passing game.
The first half was quite a scrappy affair with the best chance falling to the home side. A forward cut in from the right and with only Bobby to beat from the edge of the 6-yard box, he thumped the ball against the post-Phew! Our best chance came when three players all had shots during the same incident. Rogers, Kennedy and Sharples all saw their shots blocked just inside the area. Half time arrived with neither keeper having made a save of note. Jimmy and I went for the drinks at the interval, intending to give the food a wide berth, but when we arrived at the snack bar, someone had brought my pre-match pie back with a couple of bites missing!
The second period began as the first had ended and as the volume rose from the Harwood fans in the stand, the St. Helens manager seemed to get angrier and angrier. Never ones to miss an opportunity, we really gave him some stick, so much so that at one stage, after we’d cheered yet another mis-placed Saints pass that went into touch, he whacked the dug-out so hard that a big piece of plastic flew out and knocked over one of the stewards!
As the ¾ point of the game was reached with the Harwood goal still in tact, it became apparent that the boys were tiring, and with just 17 minutes remaining the defence cracked, allowing the unmarked Saints sub. time and space to put us one down. The legs looked even heavier now but a run down the left by Dennis Hill ended with a shot from 25 yards which was destined for the top corner, before the keeper acrobatically pushed it aside. The excitement was all too much Auntie Sheila who, after one particularly poor refereeing decision, swiped at the coffee cups which were balanced on the front of the stand. Unfortunately, the only two people on the terraces were stood right in front of us. AAAHHH! Came a voice from below us, and a bloke with a coffee-soaked head snarled up at us. While we were rolling about in the aisles, Auntie Sheila lied through her back teeth and said it was an accident and asked for the cups back. The funny thing is that they believed her!
At last we saw both teams attacking and it was end to end for the final 10 minutes. Our best chance came after a great cross-field ball by Dennis, found the ever-willing Steely flying down the left wing. Despite being shattered from his afternoon's exertions, he advanced towards the edge of the box before unleashing a terrific shot which was arrowing into the same top corner as Dennis’ earlier effort, but the result was the same as the keeper once again made a fine save. That was to be our last hope of equalising and once again we went away empty handed. The loyal Robins fans who made the game seem like a home fixture applauded the players off the field.
After the game we made it to the car just in time to stop two ‘scallies’ who were in the process of jacking it up with the obvious intentions of having it away with the wheels.
On the way home, we stopped off at the Thievin’ Gypsy pub just off the East Lancs Road but it was closed till 6 o’clock. This of course meant that it was the first pub this season that we've not been banned from. On the way back Billy’s girlfriend rang, “Yes my little Rembrant, we’ll be home soon, bye, love you.” “Ah, that’s nice Billy, do you call her that because she’s a priceless work of art?” I asked. “NO WAY! I call her that because she’s a worthless old tart!”
And they say that romance is dead! Join us for the next trip, there’s never a dull moment with the Blackburn and Darwen Robins

Rally round the robins!

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©2009 J Fenton