The story of the season - Palace (a)
2010/11 season v Palace in the league at Selhurst Park, Tuesday 14th - Wednesday 15th September 2010.
Having arrived back, eventually after a nightmare journey, in Dawlish in the afternoon of Monday 14th I would spend the afternoon and evening at Trina's before leaving for Exeter St Davids to meet Richie, Ken and his Palace mate Steve on Tuesday morning - my train left Dawlish station at 10.47 so we - Trina wanted to walk down with me to see me off - wondered down to the station, picking up something to eat in the co-op on the way.
As per usual the train was a little late, although I was still at St Davids by about 11.15am. Steve and Richie were in The Great Western having a pre-travel beer, Ken came along around 11.25ish and they soon surfaced not long after - I had said I would wait outside, so I did. Steve, who I had travelled to a game with before - Everton at Fratton when we lost 1-0 last season - again made very good company on the journey, which of course was spent travelling first class! God bless First Great Western and Richie.
We got into London Paddington around 1.30pm so instantly made our way across London Victoria where we would go into The George for a couple of beers while Steve tried a club shop up the road to get his newborn a little kit. Amazingly, given London prices and being a Spoons pub, the prices were fantastic, so at around £2 per pint so we sank a couple there - Steve could not get his kit as the club shop had closed down, he would need to go to the club shop at the stadium to sort this. After around and hour or so in The George it was back to Victoria and across to Croydon to The Cherry Trees, where Richie, Ken and I found a table and made ourselves comfortable for some time - while Steve went to get his merchandise, he would come back with a home and away shirt, complete with names on the back and a baby suit, they had no little kits, that set him back £120! - sinking several more beers!
More Pompey fans came in as the afternoon and early evening went on, including Westwood and his crew, and we all had a good old sing dong, although one Palace fan took exception and sung out on his own - Westwood, who appreciated this, offered a hand in friendship as if to say 'touché', although this was - quite rudely - turned away, 'what an a***hole', were the words that Ken and I said to each other. I am not sure what time it was, but we did move on to another pub closer to Selhurst Park to meet more of Richie and Steve's mates, a strict Palace pub I think? The White Hart, or The White Horse, something like that...The beers, and then a short to finish off, continued to flow before we eventually went into the ground, of course in time for the 8pm kick-off - I had to admit though I had sunk quite a lot of drink, but was still in control of what I was doing.
Somehow we managed to go in level at 1-1 at half time - having fallen behind Dave Kitson was gifted a goal by the Palace defence. I will take that, were the thoughts and most of us agreed at half time we had somehow got out of jail. Despite having some chances in the 2nd half and seeing one of our own players, Kanu, clearing the ball off the line for Palace and were 'perhaps' denied a Dave Nugent goal by an incorrect offside call, I have seen no replays, and 'seemed' to have a goal that was a mile offside given against us I am not convinced by anything other than 'we got what we deserved' in the end when we lost 4-1! I do not like to single out any player though, as they were all bad overall, but Jamie Ashdown's decision making needs to improve - he needs to decide when he is staying at home or coming out and be decisive, but make these calls at the right time please. I would say at least two of the goals 'could' have been avoided with better decision making...
Even in my drunken haze state I still feel now that we were poor and virtually void of any real ideas and Cotterill's 'it being an unfair reflection of the game' and/or 'we deserved more' were wide of the mark. As for his tactical moves, or lack of them, they left plenty to be desired. I, and to be fair I do not think I am alone as most fans that were also at Selhurst would agree, we were awful and deserved the beating we got.
For all the good that came from the Ipswich game a few days earlier as much bad was seen on the Tuesday night. I went to London 'fairly confident' we would get a result and felt that if we got a similar showing to what we gave against Ipswich we would come back from London with 'at least' a point - how wrong I was.
We then made our way back to Paddington to catch the 23.45 London Paddington-Plymouth sleeper, Steve and Richie went for KFC in Padd, whereas Ken and I went to our usual chippy when in the Paddington area - battered sausage and chips is what I went for, Ken his favourite chicken wings. Back to Paddington station we trundled - they had already said that they would find us seats and wait on the train, as they did. I was offered a beer on the journey home but did not fancy it, Ken and then Steve dropped off, eventually, around 1.30am I relented and was off to the land of nod too, waking up as we got into Exeter St Davids at 3.30pm. The train waits in Exeter for an hour or so and ordinarily I would stay on it and go through to Plymouth making my way back with an early train but as I wanted to go back to Trina's to see her on Wednesday, and pick up my gear, I decided to crash at Richie's so, having said good bye to Ken, we walked back to Richie's place, which was about 10-15 minutes away. It did not take me long to crash out, even though I was on the floor and without a cover - I had a pillow though and that was all I needed!
This journey officially ended the following morning, I had set my alarm for just before 9am, Exeter St Thomas was only a few minutes away so I strolled over - I had no headache but knew I felt a bit hungover and the body was aching from a night on the floor. The 9.17 Exeter St Davids-Paignton was pretty much on time so I was back in Dawlish and then at Trina's for around 9.45am. Her Dad, Dave, phoned up shortly after to see if we fancied a bike ride but I was not feeling mentally or physically up for it so I declined on this occasion, the two of us did go round and see him for a coffee later that morning before a long walk to clear the head and detox the body took place before some food and the late train was caught out of Dawlish to get me back to my home in Ivybridge for 11.30pm on the Wednesday.
It would soon be Saturday and the trip to Bramall Lane to see us take on Sheffield United.
This would be a morning to evening journey, all done by car, Rob picking me up and then us meeting Ken at Exeter, so was 'easy' really, I cannot say that I am overly confident of coming away with anything though, I certainly know that we MUST show more of the Ipswich form and less of the Palace though, yet sadly we have shown too much of the Preston and Cardiff type performances and not enough of the Ipswich type! Cotterill has to get it tactically right too; we do have enough players, and decent ones, to put round pegs in round holes, so please no more of the square in round, even if this is only in limited numbers...
PLAY UP POMPEY!