Monday, 17 November 2008

Jonah No More?

For the first time in quite a while, Howard travelled up with us - he's aiming for one game per month this season as he doesn't watch to overextend himself.

He's not always a welcome sight to some DAFTS, especially those of us who remember Darlington's equaliser against Watford earlier in the season - scored as soon as Howard disappeared from sight after he'd assumed we were beyond hope. And now that we don't get Brummie Tony and Lance going to games, Howard is the prime candidate for a scapegoat when things go wrong.

This time his jinx factor was being pitched against that of the Manager of the Month award - the opposition being form-team Lincoln City and their manager PeterJackson.

Today Howard has beaten me to Da Vinci's - or Orlandos as we still like to call our breakfasterie of choice at King's Cross. I won't bore you with a photo of their artery clogger - I'll save that for another day but be assured it was similar to that from last week - I'm sure you've got the idea by now. Howard was rather more restrained - tea and toast - these cycling spandex wearers need to watch their figure!

The southern section of Kings Cross Crew - my rather crap moniker for our merry band which includes Chris Stockdale, now back in the bosom of his family back north - was complete when Martin arrived and we caught our usual service (8:30am) to Bank Top.

Arriving about ten minutes late, we made our way into town with the utmost haste - the Quaker Bar was open. Grocery store magnate Tony Waters was already ensconced when we arrived - he wasn't sure if he was going to the game but we knew he'd go in the end.

In due course, Gloryhunter Spencer Austin joined us - he'd been quite busy since we last met - not least undergoing a six-hour interview with former chairman George Reynolds - sounded like fun.

And he's finally allowed into the Arena but is not allowed to use his monopod to hold his camera as it could be used as a weapon (presumably not against the lame brains of our stadium management).

Whilst Spencer went to join the younger set at the stadium and help blow up balloons and Howard went for pies, Tony and I followed our usual routine and went to Number Twenty-2 - more beer, including the excellent Goose Eye Over and Stout, and then taxi to the ground.

I think we were all wondering just how good we'd find Lincoln to be given they'd been given the nod over us for the last month's performances - however any chance of an evenly matched contest looked to be out of the window after Foster received his marching orders.

Apparently it was for foul and abusive language rather than an actual foul- and presumably it was worse than the tackle made on him that went unpunished. As did the numerous fouls and elbows on Liam Hatch. It's not the first time we've had cause for complaint against Mr Matheson - I'm sure it'll not be the last.

A word in your ear, Fossie - leave the foul and abusive language to the professionals in block 11.

(right) Alternative MotM: Liam Hatch

At this stage I suggested to Howard that he do the honourable thing and leave - he declined to do so - he can be stubborn like that.

Dave Penney pulled off wee Franz to be replaced by Tim Ryan - this caused moans from a small minority but to many it was clear that Franz is only an international left-back as he appears to be the only Liechtensteiner that can play in that position.

Darlo managed to hold their own without much trouble for the remainder of the half - determined defending and some decent work from Brown in goal plus a general ineptitude from the Imps.

The second half saw Liam Hatch put us in the lead after being put clear by on-loan Foran- no more than we deserved. Hatch continued to plough the lone-man role up front and had almost collapsed in the ground by the time he was subbed.

The Quakers continued to look good value for their lead and we looked strong enough to hold on to our slender lead but it was all academic after Richie Foran slotted away the second right at the death.

A really great atmosphere - the best for quite a while, certainly in the relatively serene environs of Block 11 - long may it continue.

There were a few moaning Lincoln fans at the station - convinced Foran should have walked for stamping on one of their players. Quite frankly I don't care.

After arriving back at King's Cross, I had a few pints with my Wycombe chum Paul - both of our teams top so certainly worth a celebratory pint. But there's still a long, long way to go and both teams have been here before only to drop away. Time will tell...

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