The story of the season - QPR (h)
2010/11 season v QPR in the league at Fratton, Tuesday 9th - Wednesday 10th November 2010.
Having missed the Derby game it was back to business and back to my travels.
The curse of not having the money - and now needing to somewhat 'prioritise' slightly with a holiday next year needing to be paid for not to mention thoughts turning to financial matters of 'living with someone' and then starting to think about 'settling down' in the not too distant future - meant I needed to opt out of going to Pride Park, although it was also my Mum's birthday so I wanted to spend time with her too, cooking her a nice meal and pampering my old Mum, who deserves it.
At least I was able to watch it on the box, not that this EVER compares to being at a game and whenever humanly possible I would prefer to shell out the money and go rather than watch it on the idiot box...
But, hey ho onwards we had to go and the first of a couple of quick fire visits to Pompey kicked-off with the 09:59 - London Paddington being caught from Ivybridge on the Tuesday morning.
I guess I do not really need to say that it was 'late' because due to my incessant rants about First Great Western you 'probably' knew it would be! So, true to form, the bugger was late, some 10 minutes. Fortunately, as long as not too much time was lost on the way I would make my connecting train at Bristol Temple Meads with ease... And fortune was with me as we actually made up time over this journey only arriving about 5 minutes late, at 12.05pm as opposed to 11:59am as we should have. With my connecting train to Portsmouth Harbour not departing until 12:23 I had plenty of time to stroll over to platform no.9 and then eat a pre-made cheese role.
With Paul (paultsmouth) unable to do so for this game the preview was something that I sorted on my first train, it was done quite early but waiting for a decent t'internet connection was the problem. It was also on this train, and during the publishing of the preview, that 'concerns' the game would even go ahead started to be raised as I noticed an article on newsnow, from The News, that a pitch inspection was needed! I did not know if it was The News, in somewhat typical fashion, scare mongering or if there really was a doubt, either way my heart sank and I was told of pretty persistent torrential rain since late on Monday, d'oh! As my train progressed through, to and beyond the likes of Westbury, Salisbury and Scumhampton things seemed 'pretty calm' weather wise and there was not too much rain around, and as I had not yet heard anything with it around 2pm I remained 'hopefully' it would not prove to be only a flying visit to say hello to some of my family in Cosham, but I would also get the game in too. It was during this journey that I was also told that Chixy could not pick me up as he would be leaving late home, he would drop me home though. The offer of a lift from Phil (Lemmi) did come though, although my lack of money meant I could not really afford the pub, so I declined this for that reason but as the journey went on I thought more and more about this and was starting to think I would...
I arrived into Cosham at 14:35, so on time - I moan about the trains but my main moan is that they almost ALWAYS seem to be late further down the line, at my end, in the South West of Devon but more often than not in the South they run pretty smoothly. This was very slightly delayed due to a 'signalling error' at Romsey though. No doubt I have now 'tempted fate' for my return journey on Wednesday morning by saying this! Arriving at my Aunties for around 3pm, I of course said hello and had a bit of a chat before making a nice hot chocolate and going off to do a bit of work I had to do for Vital for an hour or so before spending some time with my Aunty and Uncle, having something to eat, a lovely Spag Bol, before shooting off - so, it was game on, and I was up for it, I just hoped the players would be? I also decided that I would go for a pre-match drink so took up Phil's offer of a lift and he and Michelle came to collect me from Medina school a little after 5.30pm. We drove into Pompey and parked at Michelle's mums, walked over to their regular burger van and they had their dinner - it was then decide we would go for a quick pint, so nipped into an old pub, not used for sometime, The Brewers Arms.
Having had a chat, and it goes without saying a laugh, we decided to make a move about 7.15pm and made our way over to The Fortress. After a quick toilet break, and a hot drink purchased by Phil and Michelle we moved into the area of our seats, they too sit North Lower. Eventually Tony and Gill arrived, although Gill was not Gill this time it was in fact Tim (NinjaTim) who joined Tony as Gill was working and could not make it.
After chatting among ourselves when the players came out we took our seats to enjoy the action - and enjoy I would say was the right word as I really did enjoy the game, it was just a bit frustrating at the end the way things ended up...Most notably the sending off of Liam Lawrence. I too shared that frustration that he showed, as I am not convinced it was a penalty - not seeing any replays yet - but I am not 'quite' as forgiving as Steve Cotterill was, who said he could 'let that one go'. It was a needless sending off and one, given our limited numbers as it is, that was and should have been avoided and 'might' now cost us as he will miss Doncaster at the weekend - and he WILL be a miss. Obviously before this we had seen a fairly even game, although I must say we looked better than QPR for periods of the game, but it was one that saw few chances with John Utaka looking a real threat for us and causing real problems for the QPR defence, especially Kyle Walker who was given a roasting - that said the Spurs loanee made some decisive defensive covering tackles, the best of which when it was a straight one-on-one chase for a ball over the top that I felt Johnny would get for a while. The moment that 'almost' won us the game was the twice taken penalty, firstly saved by Paddy Kenny, and then converted by Lawrence. We dug in, although against 10-men could, and maybe should, have gone for it a little more. That said we did not exactly drop off but could not withstand the pressure in the end and Tommy Smith made no mistake from his penalty either, as we know Lawrence went for his protests too to even it up at 10 v 10 for injury time.
Before the game I, and lets face it ALL of us, would have taken a draw and whilst it is frustrating, there is that word again, to concede so late, and it almost feels like a defeat as a result, I think that this is a very good point won and we have again proven that we are a force to be reckoned with in this league and the survival in this league - which is a must - is very much on. Doncaster will not relish coming to The Fortress and they will be a tough nut to crack, but with all due respect to them, they are a side we 'should' be taking 3pts from at The Fortress, so if we do that to come out of the QPR and Doncaster games with 4pts would be a fine return.
Chix and Rob were met, as always, at KFC - of course the game was talked about, and all in all we were in agreement about a range of issues spoken about, arranging the meet up time for Saturday took place before I went off. By the time I had walked back down to the house it was 10.30ish, everyone had gone to bed but Matt came back down having heard the door and had a quick chat and a cigarette before he went back up. Having inputted a few results on the Vital network I turned in ready for the journey home the next day.
The 10:39 - Cardiff Central was the first train, and that was on time and ran smoothly, arriving into Westbury at 12:07 as scheduled. I feared I had tempted fate with my comments on the Tuesday about trains running pretty well further down the line, that said Westbury is nearer my end, as the 12:23 was late! Ranging between 20-25 minutes late. Eventually it turned up around 12.50pm, I had been able to do a bit of work as I got a good t'internet connection, but the good thing about the delay was the fact that a connecting train at Newton Abbot involved about an hour wait so there was no real problem about missing that one due to this delay although I would have rather waited at Newton than Westbury, as Westbury station is always cold, as it was on Wednesday! The final train, the 14:50 - Plymouth was on time so I arrived back home a little before 3.30pm and could rest up until Friday but bring on the Donny, another trip to Pompey, and the journey that begins again on Friday night - I cannot wait...
PLAY UP POMPEY!