Monday, 23 August 2010
Not(ts) the best day
Saturday 21st August - Notts County - Away
I was lucky to wake up in time, somehow our alarm clocks time had been set to PM and the alarm was set to AM! So I was thankful that MrsMetalDagger always wakes up so early! I dragged myself up and made the Missus a cup of tea. I would have had one myself but the past 2 weeks (as I had mentioned before) have been a wee bit alcohol fuelled, so my stomach couldn't face anything at that hour!
After the morning ablutions I slipped into my freshly washed green away shirt and we set off for St Pancras. As anyone who took the train to the game that day can testify; the tube was for want of a better word "buggered!" and travel out of East London was a little restricted. But even a buggered London transport system is negotiable.
The journey went thus; Walked to Upney station, District to Barking, C2C to Limehouse, DLR to Bank and finally Northern line to Kings Cross / St Pancras. All in all not to bad and we arrived with an hour till the 11:15 train to Nottingham. So what does any red blooded male named Ben do when faced with an hour at a major rail terminal? That's right "TO THE PASTY SHOP!" Loaded with pasties and tea we headed for our train. I was looking forward to this trip because I could have a beer (or two)!
After a pleasant journey on a relatively empty train we pulled in at about 1pm and the first thing I noticed was it was starting to piss down with rain and neither of us had a coat or brolly so first thing on our agenda was head into town and pick up an umbrella. Thanks to Poundstretcher we didn't get completely soaked through! So damp (but still warm) we headed to The Vat and Fiddle where I continued to be a disappointment to my mother by ordering a lager in a pub with about ten very fine local ales! (from the brewery attached to the pub). After topping up my beer buzz we headed out into the rain for Meadow Lane. The ground is pretty easy to find (especially as I had printed a map ^_^).
One thing to note for any people planning to go to County, the roads around Meadow Lane are in desperate need of a pedestrian crossing! Be prepared to run! Up until this point I had not seen another Dagger and I felt pretty conspicuous in my green shirt, but as soon as we got to the away end I was relieved to be greeted by a little group of red, yellow and green shirts. I picked up a programme and headed into the Stadium, where I bought and downed a plastic bottle of Carlsberg (why doesn't it taste as good in plastic?).
Stepping out into the stands I was quite impressed with the ground, it looked modern enough but still had some character to it and while it wasn't full Notts bring a decent home crowd and the Kop end is a source of a decent amount of noise.
The teams came out and the match started. Straight away the Daggers went on the attack and we managed to keep them in their own half for the majority of the first half and we had some really good chances. Josh Scott twice made me jump out of my seat once when he went one on one with the keeper for it to be saved with legs and again when he hit the post. We looked a lot stronger than we had against Wednesday and County did not look like the same squad that took 6 points off of us last season. As the half time whistle blew I was quietly confident and in a phone call to a friend I even said "if County win this they haven't deserved it!"
Sometimes I should just shut my big mouth!
As the second half started County looked more up for it but far from dominant so you can imagine me and my fellows travelling fans dismay when Craig Westcarr broke free to slot one past Robbo and into the net. Now my mood matched the pouring rain and being told to sit down didn't help! As time wore on I found myself praying for a draw and the point that would come from it. Danny Green nearly provided with a driven free kick that was just saved by Stuart Nelson. Despite more constant attacking from the "never say die" Daggers the final whistle blew with Notts County sneaking away with a very flattering 1-0 win. The Boys came over and clapped us and we clapped them back, despite the result they played very well and more than deserved a win. If we play this way away all season I think we can expect more points on the road than last season. With a yell of "CHIN UP BOYS!!" I departed the stadium.
Getting back across the roads was easier this time due to the torrent of county fans I was surrounded by and we headed back to the Vat to meet my Mum (who moved to nearby Alfreton a few years back) had a drink with a couple of fellow Daggers. After catching up with my Mum and her commenting that my green shirt didn't "flatter the larger gentleman" we said our goodbyes and headed to the station for the last train back to London, stopping at Subway on the way (thanks to the dude serving us who sorted us out a gargantuan handful of jalapeños on our nacho's, top bloke!). A little chat with a Forest fan on the platform about our mutual dislike of county lifted my spirits (and when I saw the equaliser against Reading he told us about I didn't feel so bad about our loss, at least we didn't concede to THAT goal!).
The journey home was uneventful and despite the tube works managed to get home about 1am, watched the Football League Show and crashed out quicker than us in a league cup. Overall, though I was disappointed to not come back with the points after the strong performance I can still hold my chin high and so should the team because I still have this quote ringing in my ears
"Just a small club in Essex, well they're just a small club in league 1 now!" *goosebumps*
Chin up boys! COME ON YOU DAGGERS!!!
Next Week - Tranmere, we're finally at home!!