Win, lose or draw. Carlisle, Morecambe or Luton… maybe not Luton. Thank f*** we don’t need to play them aga…oh wait.
My point is a Tuesday night game is a gift. It’s permission for me and maybe others to give two fingers to work and say ‘see ya’ until Thursday when the work load has tripled…
This time it was Doncaster Rovers, or as the locals call it Don’tcaster T’Rovers. Like many, it’s a ground I was unable to visit last year due to Sky’s shit scheduling after Crimbo 2016. This time I can tick another ground off my 92 list.
It was my turn to drive, thank f***. No more hogging middle lanes or turning onto the slip road at the last second. My life was in my own hands.
I left Portsea Island during morning rush hour to get to Guildford for a 10:00am Wetherspoons breakfast with Chiv. What a breakfast! As always the cheap, tasty grease lined our stomachs for the long journey ahead.
We stopped for lunch past Peterborough. A cold Chicken Fajita bake from Greggs and one of Burger King’s famous ‘some horribly coloured sludge in a cup’ filled me up. I didn’t fancy any of BK’s food as half of their menu was ‘Angry’ for some reason. I didn’t fancy the confrontation.
I’m failing to understand what makes a burger so angry?
Rather than travelling back late Tuesday evening we had agreed to get a sleazy motel just outside Donny for a score each.
Me being old fashioned and as smart as I am I didn’t need a Satnav. All I needed was clear instructions as to where our hotel was. “The Blyth turnoff on the A1”. Simple instructions received from Chiv. I could do that without maps of technology, and I did.
Chiv being a father of two and a ‘busy’ man I could understand his tiredness so I allowed him his naps that he had on the long journey up. I didn’t mind that he left me without conversation or no notice that he was falling asleep, but I wouldn’t complain I would just carry on with our journey with my music, not any Sugarbabes or Atomic Kitten that he likes.
“BLYTH” the signpost read four hours up the road from Surrey. Easy peasey. Since our hotel was “just off the A1 in Blyth” I took the exit expecting to see our hotel. Alas, nothing but a village. I awoke the sleeping man to double check that our hotel was in Blyth.
When Chiv awakened he checked his phone and then advised that he got it wrong and in fact our hotel was another 20 minutes up the road at Junction 35…
No mention of Blyth.
20 minutes later as I pulled off at Junction 35 the bellend then had the nerve to tell me I’ve driven past the hotel. It was in fact Junction 34 we needed he exclaimed.
So after confronting him about his second mistake I turned around and navigated back through the A1 arseholes and the left sided drivers who were desperate to ram me off the road before we finally arrived at Junction 34 where our Travel Lodge had been all along.
I had obviously overestimated Chiv’s intelligence as he not once, but twice, he failed to give a clear instruction.
Our hotel room was one double bed and one single bed and before I could basically open my mouth to offer to sleep on the single bed Chiv had already claimed the double by laying his shit over it.
The hotel would have been okay if my sheet wasn’t made of sandpaper and they had cleared out the spider from the bathroom before we arrived.
Like a hero I triumphed over the eight legged bastard who was getting ready to pounce. Before you say killing animals is wrong it was either my life or his.
After a short stop at the hotel we left to join Yorkshires rush hour traffic to go and do something that I had wanted to see for ages. 34 Lister Avenue, Balby – does the name ring any bells? Maybe not.
Call me sad but I’m a massive fan of the sitcom ‘Open all Hours’ and being in Doncaster I was desperate to go and see the shop where it was all filmed. We couldn’t stay for long as the blokes opposite the shop were getting ready to jump us since we weren’t from round these parts.
It was a very nostalgic and surreal moment to stand outside and then peer in through the window.
Onwards to the Keepmoat! Or the Doncaster Bowl. Yet again another soulless stadium that was made even more soulless by the fact that barely any home supporters turned up.
Again another away ground where the staff were very friendly towards us. £5 entry allowed us to park and the supporters bar under the ground offered pints out at 2 for £6! You pay almost that price for one pint in Pompey.
We lingered there till an hour before kick-off before slowly making our way into the empty ground which didn’t fill up more more even nearer to KO.
Unallocated seating allowed us to stand with the boys from LC1 who had travelled up on the 808 minibus. Since Westwood didn’t join them it actually made for quite an enjoyable build up. Most of the lads would sing and to be fair given the shit that we watched no one really moaned too much either.
Unlike the the teenager (notice I said teenager and not kid) behind us who would scream and shout at everything Pompey did, regardless of if it were good. His Dad would excuse his bullshit and booing because “He’s just a kid”…
Behind him was Kyle Bennett’s arch nemesis. Everything Bennett done was greeted with an explicit, he was even louder than the home fans who were booing our number 23 all game. Bennett must have thought he was playing at Fratton.
All in all we shot ourselves in the foot yet again early on. Looking back it looks like all three goals were own goals. It was just a sloppy start and poor defending that killed us yet again.
On the plus side I’d give Donnies toilets a solid 7/10 although you’d expect it with a fairly new ground.
I slat him when he’s shit so I’ll praise him when he’s good but Conor Chaplin was immense second half when he came on and actually gave us a bit of fight. If only he were like that when he started we might be further up the league.
It’s easier if I don’t name the players who under performed as there were quite a few. Donoghue (Right spelling?!) was obviously the villain of the evening with an unnecessary kick out at a player which resulted in the red. Soft, but you can’t complain.
I wasn’t overly disappointed at the result as I never thought we deserved anything out of the game. Lowe’s header looked to be in before their keeper atoned for his earlier calamity (a mistake that Chiv happened to miss), however looking back at the highlights you can see that the ball wasn’t heading into the corner like it probably should have been.
We’ll let Lowe off since he’s been up for the past two nights with his wife who has been in labour much to some fans surprise as they were fuming once Evans was given a place back in the squad. I gently pointed that information to them.
So 2-1 at the end, but it was a good atmosphere considering we were 2-0 down in 5 minutes and there were only 600 odd brave Pompey fans in attendance. We headed back to our cardboard duvet beds and slept whilst the rest of the Pompey fans navigated the A1 closure, M25 closure and the A3 closure.
I guess we could have had it worse.
I can’t wait to do it all over again when I drive to Blackburn.
Keep the Faith.
Play up Pompey!
Photos: Chiv/BBC/Burger King/Google Maps