Topic: Shaymen v Woking
If a wet, Wednesday night in Stoke is a true test of footballer's mettle then a f***ing cold Saturday afternoon in Halifax might just be the one for 8-year old girls. If it is, she's passed. I say she passed because this was one of those games that frustrate the hell out of you if you follow a team. And could certainly test the new fan.
It was cold. Very cold. And there wasn't much on the pitch to heat things up.
There was to be a minute's silence before the game. No problem with that. She knows what Remembrance Sunday is all about and is off to the local service tomorrow with Cubs. We didn't get a minute's silence though. After an awkward 'has it started yet' period we then got the stadium announcement 'beeps' followed by a recording of someone reciting 'For the Fallen' and the last post. A recording that sounded like it was being played on a tape deck from the 70s. Whatever the merits of that, it was impeccably observed though.
We were later than usual getting in and some buggers were in our seats (they're not our seats, it's unreserved but we always sit in row M, 105 and 106). We ended up in 105 and 104 but when I went to get something to eat they moved down one as the row was filling up. I explained why I was moving next to him ('Dad, just move over, Dad, our seats, go on') and normal service was resumed. Turns out the bloke and his son are season ticket holders at the Dog Botherers. He'd been going for 20-years plus. When I said I thought they'd stay up he answered that it wouldn't bother him if they didn't. He was enjoying the experience and promotion had been great but he reckoned there wasn't much to enjoy watching them go away and put ten men behind the ball. They have a scheme for away tickets that mean they don't get to half the games they did (priority goes to those who are 'Tier 1', season ticket holder for 10 years plus, his lad hasn't had that so can't get tickets).
No drums in the crowd was a good start. Woking brought about 100 or so. They've nicked WBA's 'Boing, Boing' chant. Needs a bit more conviction boys. One thing that has struck me this season so far is how much the away fans seem to enjoy the day out. I suppose not being herded around by the coppers and being charged a fortune for the privilege helps. You've got to admire those that make the trip. The Dover Athletic lot still top that chart for me so far this year. Tuesday night game too.
On the pitch, Town had three loan signings making their home debuts (Batty had played against Tranmere, she very proudly told the bloke next to me that we'd gone and had seen his actual debut).
Early doors and the signs weren't good. Woking had the vast majority of possession in the first 20 minutes and it looked like a long, long day was on the cards.
The ball being needlessly given away. Again and again. A pass that's hit too long. An extra touch taken that isn't needed. Crosses that find the keeper. This had them all.
Denton (now officially 'Big Dents') had the best chance of the game. Came to him quickly but he should have buried it. The new signings seemed good. A bit more shape in defence. They've dropped to 15th so a point wasn't actually a bad result. Town were without Kosylo through injury and they really missed him. McDonald troubled them on a few occasions when he got the ball out of wide but he lives on the wing too much and needs to come looking infield a bit more. I don't know if Heath's told him to stay out there but he should have a go.
We've made good progress getting through the rules of the game, league structures etc. Today's topic was the 'fourth official' ('They should give him a go Dad, he can't be worse than this one'). She enjoys watching the managers giving them an ear-bashing.
I get the impression that, in his head, Woking's manager, Anthony Limbrick, is pitchside at the Camp Nou. He's very 'continental' in his touchline stalking and exaggerated gestures. Snappy dresser. Not for him the sky blue 'Jako' coats that all managers have (they have the sponsorship deal for all warm up kit, managers coats etc). He looked every inch the middle manager doing smart casual, pea coat and skinny chinos. She was more interested in his shoes ('he's going to slip over in them Dad'). Some of the backroom staff in this league are amazing. Woking had Dog The Bounty Hunter in their cohort today.
The final whistle was a bit of relief. Town had another good chance to score late on but you knew it wasn't going to happen.
Fast walk to the car and the heaters were on sharpish. No final score on the radio as she wanted to play Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars....again... and again....I blame her Mum!
As we were driving home she was checking the upcoming fixtures and reminded me I'd promised Macclesfield away on Boxing Day.
Bring on the wet Wednesdays.....