The story of the season - Sheffield United (a)
2010/11 season v Sheffield United in the league at Bramall Lane, Saturday 18th September 2010.
For once, although it would be a long journey and long day, I woke to one game that would be done in one day and all done by car, so I could leave my house Saturday morning and return to my house the same evening - I rose at around 6am so I could get ready, Trina woke briefly but soon went back to sleep.
Having woke, bizarrely, on the hour every hour I was fairly tired but the thought of going to football woke me up somewhat and I was looking forward to it, although rushing around trying to do a bit of work before going was far from ideal, even more so with my t'internet connection not working so well but it got done before Dom - a guy I had seen around work a few times for some time wearing a Pompey shirt, so eventually I exchanged numbers with him and invited him to join 'The Devon Blues - arrived at mine at around 7.15ish. I made him a quick cuppa and then went to say bye to Trina, I got a phone call from Rob, who was a few minutes early, so off we went to meet him. Of course they both exchanged welcomes and we made our way to our usual spot in Exeter where we would meet Ken - as seemed to be happening more and more we were early, some 20 minutes or so and would be waiting slightly longer as Ken would phone me just after 8.30am to tell me 'dickhead', Richie, had not arrived at Digby station yet, I can only assume - surprise, surprise - First Great Western were late!
It must have been around 8.40am when Ken and Richie arrived, so we jumped out of our car, Dom was introduced to the pair, and we jumped into Ken's and off we went.
It did not take Richie long to drop off, I think we all know by now that Richie is a serial sleeper on journeys, although to be fair he did come off a night shift. It was a decent journey, so with good time being made the guys went to a roadside café they like using near Derby to get themselves a bacon roll - having taken my own food, because I was trying to cut my own costs as I need to start doing so, I opted merely for a coffee. When we hit the road again we got caught in a slight delay, which the café owner had pre-warned us about, but this was due purely to an accident on the other side of the motorway, as often happens the 'rubbernecking' that people were doing caused the delay but we still made it to Sheffield in good time and had parked up by a little after 1pm I would guess, even allowing for trouble finding a place to park, that we could park in for more than 2-hours.
Parking sorted, and paid for; off to the pub it was - home from home for me as it was 'The Rutland Arms'. As always the drink flowed as did the chat with various people we came across, including Dave (Palmer), Malc (Ward) and Westwood, with us setting off for Bramall Lane at around 2.40 I would say, in the ground it was soon decided that another beer would be purchased so before I knew it I had a beer in my hand, which of course I drank as it would have been rude not to!
We started brightly, as we had in most of our games really, although all in all I really do not think that we, or Sheffield United for that matter even though they got it, did enough to say we deserved to win - even though Steve Cotterill again disagreed...
The winning goal was shocking as it was never a freekick that saw them score the winning goal. Quite how Carl Dickinson, who was turning his back on the player and then the ball came up off his backside onto his hand could be penalised is beyond me - the referee was poor, then again he was poor both ways I guess, it just seemed with some of the bigger calls being the ones we noticed more as they 'seemed' more against us.
I know that we are limited in numbers but I retain my thoughts that these numbers, if used in the right ways, are still good enough to at least keep us up - for me it is time for Cotterill to start tinkering a little bit more, as he did to be fair at the weekend. Personnel changed slightly at the weekend but I would still like to see us give a change of formation a chance, and cannot say that I think an orthodox 4-4-2 would do any worse than we are, in fact I think with the proper people supplying from the wide midfield areas - and I think we do have a decent enough left midfielder and a right midfielder to do this - to two strikers that would play off each other would benefit us, then again what do I know...
The journey home was again 'fairly good' so I, well we, could not complain too much. Having got wind of a few accidents on the motorway we went across country a little, which added a bit of time to the journey, around 30 minutes or so. Worcester could have been an option for the chippy, although it would have taken us more out of the way so we opted for Clevedon - the chippy that was used in that area in the past had nothing in so rather than wait for it to be cooked we went to one up the road, one I am sure we had also used over the years. That was tasty enough; we had certainly had worse in the past, even this season!
We must have arrived back into Exeter for around 10.15pm, so that meant Rob driving us - obviously me and him, along with Dom - back to Ivybridge to drop us off and then him off back through to Plymouth. As always, another good day out although the football again put a slight dampener on it, but would it stop me doing Leicester on the Tuesday night in the league cup?
Of course not - this would be another done by car, although I would stay in Pompey after in preparation for the games that followed...
PLAY UP POMPEY!