Monday, 30 March 2009

I Predict A Riot

Despite a London fixture, it was still a relatively early start to the day as John Wilson and I popped to Maries by Waterloo station for breakfast - not up to the high exacting standards that we're used from here to but still better than most.

As we got to the tube, the place was swarming with people clutching various banners and placards - all going to a demo in the centre of London, possibly against the G20 thingy - they all looked quite reasonable folk and not the hard-core protesters that are predicted for later in the week.

It reminded us both of that fateful day back in March 1990 when we beat Barnet 2-0 in the Conference after which we were given a Northern Line express tube journey back into central London to find out that anarchy (or as close as this country gets) had broken out in the form of the Poll Tax riots.

Perhaps this was a good omen for the day?

On arrival at Barnet, we met Steve Duffy and Trevor Rutter and we headed to our first point of call, a Fullers outlet, the White Lion. We were very disappointed to find it only had one beer on - Pride - but it was in very good nick.

After a couple of pints, we moved onto another new place - the Lord Nelson - which is a Youngs pub. Already ensconced were Colin, Argyle fan Geoff plus John Bell and a couple of his buddies, including Rod who had already savoured one Darlo victory this season - at Dagenham - so hopefully he'd be another lucky omen for us.

Our final pre-match pub was the Olde Mitre - the quality and variety of beers here have been very disappointing in recent years though comments on had suggested the place was improving. Nevertheless, we decided to just have the one in here.

There seem to be three regular beers - Black Sheep, Adnams Broadside and GK Abbot - plus a guest beer which on this occasion was Mr Tod from the Fox Beer Company so we opted for that. It was a 4.2% beer - produced by a former head brewer at Tetleys apparently - quite a light beer, not much taste and of a rather dull condition - which was not really surprising as it went off just after we'd bought our pints.

We managed to get to Underhill just in time for kick-off and we made sure that we were stood with Colin. The reason was that the referee for the game was Premiership official, Alan Wiley, and since Colin is well known for his loud ranting at officials, it would be interesting to see how he coped with one of the top refs.

During the first-half there was ample scope for him - Danny Carlton was taken out at one point whilst poor Ricky Ravenhill was on the receiving end of some nasty tackles on several occasions (though unkind commentators might say that is karma in action). Wiley was lenient in the extreme and Barnet were lucky to keep eleven players on their famous slope.

Barnet had gone closest in the first half, hitting the woodwork (which is off-target in my book) whilst Calyton Fortune skied a good opportunity at the other end.

In the second half, Colin found that Matt Lockwood, formerly of Orient, was down our side and he proceeded to give him a load of gip. Surprisingly, Lockwood took it well and even shouted something witty and polite back which rather non-plussed our Eastwood Dynamo.

We were also privy to some excellent play from Abbot - including the odd nutmeg - and he was on the end of some good work on the left-wing from Danny Carlton to put us in the lead.

Thereafter we were under the cosh somewhat and the defence stood up to most of it with Alan White playing a blinder - what they missed was either saved by Oakes or blasted over by the Barnet forward line.

Oakes was taken off with an ankle injury with towards the end of the game after what looked to be an innocuous clash with Paul Furlong - cue reserve keeper Kazimierczak and a severe bout of jitters for the Darlo fans - would our young Pole rise to the occasion?

Oh me of litte faith! He did us proud with at least two wonderful saves which along with a goal-line clearance from Rob Purdie saw us run down the clock for our first win here for 13 years. Very sweet.

Post-match celebrations were held at the Wenlock Arms, just off the City Road, which is a very well-known pub for we beardy-weirdies. Suffice to say it had the usual array of interesting beers and we were able to watch England trounce Slovakia. Various DAFTS drifted off to catch trains home leaving just John, Geoff and myself - when the jazz band started we called it a day...

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