Monday, 5 October 2009

Giving It All Away

For the first time in many a month, there were the old quartetback together and travelling to a game - Martin, Howard, Chris and myself - and overall we were quite positive. Martin still predicting a win, especially so as he thought we played really well against Rochdale.

Quite a pleasant journey until we hit a red light and ended up being held in Northallerton station - apparently the high cross winds meant speed restrictions were in place (though that didn't stop trains in the other direction).

It later turns out that a couple of northbound trains had a little bump in Darlington station and so all trains were sharing the southbound platform. Very annoying as this was eating into our valued drinking time!

The Quaker House was ringing to the sound of little bells when we got there - a side (the collective term apparently) of Morris dancers had more or less taken over all the tables with themselves and their baggage with no thought to other pub users - thankfully they all departed after one beer leaving the place to the usual Saturday regulars.

A good choice of beers as usual - Titanic's Last Porter Call, Hoskin's White Dolphin, Consett Brewery Blast, Black Dog Whitby Abbey, Salopian Maori, Everard's Equinox and York Decade.

Having had the Maori at the recent Darlo festival, I went for the White Dolphin - very nice and refreshing. After a couple of those I tried the Titanic Porter - a wonderful pint, full bodied and packed with flavour.

I was joined by John and Brian - and then Trevor making one of his rare visits to a home game. Perhaps he'd bring some luck?

As is traditional we moved on up to Number Twenty-2 for a change of scenery - some decent beers as ever, the best of which was probably the Bradfield Stout which certainly seems to have improved from earlier tastings.

I wandered into reception on arrival at the Arena - there's very few familiar faces here now but I have a quick chat with Eric Laycock and Andrew Wilkinson of the Evening Gazette.

(right) The 'new' Tinshed - not very busy

Not surprisingly the main topic of conversation is the identity of the new manager - according to rumour Mark Proctor seems to be the name doing the rounds. No doubt we'll see if this is true...

And so to the game. After Martin had given such a positive report from the Rochdale game, it was if another team had come out in their stead.

Our play was hesitant from the outset and it was Macc made most effort to take a hold on the game - and after 15 mins, Jeff Smith did just that for them.

A Macc attack down the left flank saw the ball come across the box to Smith - whilst attempting to guide it away for a corner he put it past Hoult and into the net. Oh calamity!

There's a part of you that seems to be numb to such things and it's just as well as things didn't get any better for the remainder of the half as Macc had chances to double or treble the score but didn't have the gumption to do even that.

It was a different story in the second half - OK, still a bit of defensive frailty but we were creating chances in front of goal but were as abject as the Silkmen were in the first-half.

Devitt had mercurial periods, Curtis Main hit the woodwork and then spurned another good chance - Gall too - and I dare say we could have played all night and still not scored.

The frustration of our performance was exacerbated by the presence of some young fans in the boxes behind us.

They were waving their Darlo flags with gusto and screeching their little heads off. OK, full marks for enthusiasm but it was like fingernails on a blackboard.

(left) The fans of tomorrow - can't wait for their voices to break

And with the final whistle we trudged back to the station - on arrival the two Johns, Bell and Wilson, jump on the first train south leaving me to wait for Martin and Howard. The train is about 15 mins late which is not brilliant but could certainly be worse.

The journey passes without incident - a couple of Stevenage fans leave behind a programme from their draw at Kit Kat Crescent so Martin and I have a read. Not brilliant - £3 and loads of adverts. Interesting though to see that Lance's old favourite, McGurk, is still plying his trade there.

We all miss going to York for a game - one of our favourite cities for a day out - but the way we're playing these days we could well be going there next season.

At Kings X, Liz and Jenny were patiently waiting - flush after their late winner at Gresty Road - and we took a short walk to a new pub, King Charles I.

(left) Kings Charles I - well worth a visit

The main reason I wanted to call in here was that I'd heard it served Brodies beers - this is a new-ish brewery in Leyton, East London - and they've been getting rave reviews but I'd yet to try them.

There were about four hand-pumps - Deuchars IPA plus three from Brodies. All the Brodies were off as there was some problem in the cellar. However they had a barrel of Brodies Mild on the bar and though it was a tad warm it was very tasty - very tasty.

And the first pint was free after the barman noticed my Mastodon t-shirt - he's clearly a fellow of great taste as well. The pub itself has a heavy rock jukebox - none of this R'n'B rubbish - and a young vibe without being annoying to we older folk.

I finished the night with a bottle of the Brodies Porter which is sublime - we're definitely coming back here soon if this is what they have on offer - the next time probably after the Barnet game at the end of the month...

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