Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Southend Utd v Leeds Utd 28th Oct 2008
Having successfully negotiated the morning's expensive shopping trip for settees and dining tables I picked the Happy Chocker up for the long trip to the Essex coast. Storm clouds were gathering and as we travelled south we sampled bursts of sleet, rain and wind that were instrumental in the abandonment of matches elsewhere......................we mused on the possibility of eventually getting to Roots Hall and the match being called off.........joy! When we finally arrived at Southend the weather had brightened into a fresh still evening. We joined the throng of Leeds fans already sampling Essex hospitality in the packed Golden Lion adjacent to the compact Roots Hall ground. Darlo Liam was already waiting with 3 well deserved pints for us as we caught up on his latest news and expectations for the nights game. Darlo had moved since we last saw him at the Swindon match and is now living in Brixton, apparently the only white man there? As ever on away matches in the south you hear a veritable cosmopolitan mixture of regional accents all proudly wearing the yellow white and blue of Leeds but above the London, Bristolian and Midlands accents around us drifted the undeniably broad West Yorks brogue of a belt man from the Big K pit who had recognised the Happy Chocker. Not sure who was supposed to be cutting coal as everyone seemed to have put a rest day in to follow the mighty whites down to the shrimp capital of Essex!
So onto the match as we took our places directly behind the goal, not before an amusing incident as we had our tickets checked by stewards on the way in. 3 well oiled fans were doing a very good impression of Paul Whitehouse's "Cheeky Cockney" character as they were vetted by a steward with a broad Essex accent................much to the steward's colleagues amusement. Now if you've read this blog before you will understand that there is a correlation between the amount of content focusing on before the game and how well Leeds play during the game......so I will carry on with my pre match observations......................Our friend "Barry White" from home matches was sat in front of us banging his favourite drum.
OK so how did we play? It was one of those frustrating games where we dominated possession, but looked vulnerable at the back. Again we created a good flow of chances, but didn't really look as if we were going to convert any of them. Their Goalie made a couple of good saves, as did Casper, but was never put under consistent pressure as all too often promising approach work floundered on a poor final ball or finish. Fabian Delph was substituted as Macca changed the formation, bringing on Robbo and Snoddy and although this added some spark to the last 10 minutes there weren't many whites fans surprised when the final whistle signalled a victory for the hard working blues. Delph had a mixed game in giving up possesion far too easily too many times offset by some stunning moves and another 30 yard drive straight out of the top draw bringing a superb save from the Southend keeper. All in all the match was a good advert for Div 3 football providing end to end action all evening which given the frailty of both defences surprisingly finished with just the one goal.
So we trudged away from the ground back to the car and the 4 hour journey home slightly comforted by other results going our way on the evening meaning that we remain firmly in the promotion places mix. But we are starting to gain a depressing habit of returning from away matches with a black cloud of despondency hanging over us after another defeat. We fought our way through the atrocious weather on the M25 & M11 onto the A1 in good time only to find it closed near Grantham, ensuring a 45 minute detour...........not what you want at 1am ! As Basil Fawlty would say "Thank you God"
Remarkably the Present Mrs Marching on Together was still up when I finally arrived home at 2.30am eager to download the issues of the day.................."We'll talk at breakfast" I delicately said as I sank into bed.
Saturday brings a trip to Cheltenham, who spiked our promotion chances last season by relieving us of 6 points, hopefully we can lay the away day bogey and the Cheltenham bogey all in one day!
PS: highlights will appear later