Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Goal Frenzy

Up before the lark for a 7am train to Darlo - none of my favourite caffs are open at this time of day so I head over to St Pancras for a Cafe Maya from ATM - I'm not one of those with a cup of coffee permanently in my hand but this concoction of chocolate, double expresso and whipped cream seems to be the best breakfast substitute on offer.

St Pancras is lovely at this time of the day - it's fairly quiet with hardly anyone on the upper level to spoil the view - the huge roof looks stunning with John Betjeman looking out over it all.

I wander over to King's Cross - very much the ugly sister now - and meet John Wilson on-board - we have a decent journey north other than the fact that the price of the a cop of tea has gone up again and we arrive 25 mins late - but thanks to the early start my lunchtime session is not compromised.

On the platform at Bank Top I bump into my old mates Paul Walker and Ken Toase - Paul is meeting one of his work colleagues, Carl, who is being treated to a day out at the football Darlo-style. Lucky boy!

I join them for their visit to the Three Squares cafe on Skinnergate - a traditional cafe with a bargain-priced English breakfast, £3.95. You have to time it right to get a table as it's very popular but the service is brisk and the tea is strong.

Next it's just a it's a short stroll to Taylors to get some pies for the return leg whilst Paul and co. wandered ahead to the Quaker Cafe. My opener was Pirate's Gold, a pale bitter from the Wooden Hand brewery - there was a slightly odd taste to this but not sure what.

After that I stuck to a tried and tested favourite brewery with a pint of Dark Knight from Hambleton - not as dark as I'd expected given the name - more of an amber beer with a good mixture of hops and malt.

The pub soon starts filling up with Luton fans who seem to be searching out the real ale pubs of Darlo and it's a bit more crowded than usual.

John Wilson re-joined us and then we're treated to the grand entrance of Neil Johnson who was over from Norway for the weekend. Notable absentees though are Tony and Brian who have opted for the ale-pots of York and a trip to see the Minstermen play Lewes (though it later transpires that they never actually made it to Kit Kat Crescent).

After a few points, we wander up to Number Twenty-2 - the Milestone SPA taking my fancy for a while before we settled on the porter - a stand-in for the stout of the week - unfortunately I've forgotten the name of it but it was very drinkable.

The game proved to be one of those that take you totally by surprise - 4 goals in the first 28 minutes had us all reeling from shock - and we should have had more! To be fair Luton helped to make it a good game for us - they appear to believe that attack is the best form of defence - it probably has to be if their defence plays like that every week.

The second-half was a relatively quiet affair where both teams went through the motions - they should have just declared a TKO and let us all go back to the pub.

It was good to see our token Scouse git, Greg Blundell, get the fifth goal - not the most skillful or prolific of players but he has a great attitude - like Neil Wainwright he runs at people and keeps the pressure on the opposition - to my mind this is an overlooked virtue.

For the return leg home, I'm joined by Howard and Martin - the 7am departure was too early for their delicate constitutions - and we had an incident-free journey south. Except that I'd mislaid the pies somewhere between the pub and the ground - I think the taxi-driver got a free tea out of me.

At Doncaster, the London Millers - three of them including Liz - joined the train but kept themselves to a separate carriage. Nice to see they know their place...

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