Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Shot By Both Sides

FA Cup 1st round - the magic of the cup and an opportunity for ITV and Setanta to patronise the lower leagues - and plucky non-leaguers Drolsyden come to the Arena in their quest for glory.

Well not for me they don't. The problem with the cup draw being made just two weeks before the game itself is that there are no cheap rail tickets left. I'm daft but not that daft.

Thus I have the opportunity to relive my trip to Aldershot from earlier in the season and join the London Millers on their road to Wembley - or not.

A pre-emptive strike is made by a few of us at Waterloo - Liz and I bump into Toddy who has just flown in from Moldova (via Geneva). Once his luggage is left at the station, I drag them both to one of my favourite breakfasteries, Maries.

No need to check the menu - no 7 and chips for yours truly. Toddy is like a man possessed - the continent is not the place to live if you like the full monty. By God, he's missed this pleasure.

(left) No 7 and chips

As we get stuck in, Chris and Tim join us and soon the only sound you hear is that of arteries furring up.

Once fuelled, Chris and I take the early train to Aldershot whilst the Liz and co. wait for Jenny and some of the other LMs. We're keen to get to the White Lion as soon after opening time as possible and we drag along young Kirkland Minor who we bump into at the station.

The White Lion is probably the best pub in Aldershot but is about a 15 min walk from the station - and as it's pissing down, we're pretty sodden when we get there. Chris K and I stick to the Moondance, Chris T goes for the Pressed Rat and Warthog - going off we suspect - but the Moondance is as drinkable as ever.

We're joined by the others after a little while, full of the news that the Millers and the Quakers are to meet again soon, this time in the Johnstone Paint Pot Trophy Semi-Finals (North) - no doubt another night of fun awaits us at the DVS. I think I'll be washing my hair that night...

On arrival at the Recreation Ground, we face the long walk up the hill and through the trees to the away end - all very scenic but a ski-lift really would be handy for this.

I love this ground - especially the fact they have a nice terrace at the side under the trees - a shame it was raining but Chris T and I braved the wet for the first half at least.

The first half was similar to my last visit - the home side applying most of the pressure and some last gasp defending by the visitors.

Early in the second half, Darlo reject Micky Cummins put the Millers ahead.

And it looked as if it Rotherham might just hold out to win the tie but a late penalty - from a poorly executed tackle that didn't really need to be made - saw the Shots level right at the death. Deja Wycombe.

Sorrows were briefly drowned in the Crimea Inn, opposite the ground - a decent pint of Hobgoblin with Wadworths 6X also on tap - before the London contingent headed back to Waterloo.

One of the nearest pubs to Waterloo with relatively decent beer is the famous Hole In The Wall just outside the station. It has a fairly average choice of beers - Youngs Ordinary, Purity Gold and Hog's Back TEA were on the handpumps though the Purity wasn't actually on. Well, turn the f**king pump clip round then!!

On arrival the place is full of plastic Premiershite types watching the Liverpool -v- WBA game but these all piss off as soon as the game finishes. We grab a table before the place is overrun by England rugby (union) fans, and their obnoxious off-spring, singing their tedious drinking songs and generally being gits.

Thankfully Toddy's Cossack impersonation diverts our attention - and his entreaties of "Time for a last one, comrades?" means we chill out nicely before disappearing into the night...

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