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Sunday, 2 November 2008

Cheltenham V Leeds United Nov 1st 2008

Match Track

For the 2nd week running our travel arrangements were thrown into confusion as Network Rail played "guess the timetable" at Selby station and cancelled numerous trains including our connecting leg to Leeds....................enter the present Mrs Marching onTogether to act as taxi to York station and hook up with our train bound for Cheltenham.  So after after a flurry of activity we settled into our seats to enjoy a late breakfast of Dawson's finest and ponder the long journey to Gloucestershire.  
At Leeds a fan from Beeston boarded and sat near us...........cue a heavy discussion about the team, the formation, Macca, Robbo, Bates & Wise & finally our prospects for today which the general consensus was we will win by 2 goals or more.  The Happy Chocker's account with Sky bet then came into play as he placed fruitful bet on Becchio to score whilst I wasted yet more betting money on a punt on Robbo scoring during the game!
On arrival at Cheltenham there was distinct lack of a welcoming committee from the boys in blue, something we've come to expect on our travels this year, 
so after hailing a helpful taxi driver who directed us to a welcoming pub adjacent to the ground we were able to have our pre match refreshment watching the distinctly tedious Everton v Fulham match on the big screen mingling with a few home fans.
As we left the pub to take up our seats in the ground we witnessed one of the more funnier moments of the season so far...........opposite the ground was a park pitch where a local league match was in progress, one team in yellow and one in red, a sizable chunk of the away support had decided to watch the game and before long they were boisterously singing and cheering on the yellows............songs such as "East Stand East Stand give us a wave" cue the one man and his dog waving back from across the pitch and when the yellows scored there followed wild celebrations and a pitch invasion from the whites fans, much to the bemusement and amusement of the players and police observers on the road side.
So into the "compact" ground and the match.  Leeds started the game on the front foot and it was no surprise when we took the lead with a well executed goal courtesy of Mr Becchio's head...........Kerching for the Happy Chocker.  Leeds continued to dominate the game and the by the time the HT whistle was blown the home team were grateful only to be the one goal behind.
An early bonfire behind the opposite side of the ground sent smoke drifting across the pitch throughout the match as if a giant flare had been set off in the home fans end.
Leeds started the 2nd half as they finished the first and chances came and went (seems to be a theme this year) and again Mr Beckford the chief culprit in spurning the well worked chances.  
Gradually Cheltenham fought their way back into the game as they recognised Leeds' charitable approach in front of goal.  Macca made bold substitutions in bringing on Snoddy and Robbo to try and kill Cheltenham off but even though the flow of chances for the whites continued it left the midfield more exposed and the home team enjoyed their best period as they had chances to ruin our afternoon as the match reached a nail biting climax
.  Leeds hung on though for what in the end was a hard earned victory but in reality should have been put beyond Cheltenham's reach in the first third of the game.  Dougie and Becchio were the best performers for Leeds against a very average home side.
We walked back into the town centre with two welsh Leeds fans and after hopping on a local bus found ourselves back at the station hotel where we had a celebratory drink before boarding the Leeds bound train.
On the train we were sat with the "Normy Whites" who had significantly increased the sales figures of Bulmers Cider and Jack Daniels throughout the day.  One of their crew was comatose so his friends decorated his head with brown sauce, as you do.........which he was oblivious of for most of the 3 hour journey.  They had their singing heads on as they regaled the carriage with a variety of songs, most of which were not repeatable in the interests of decency on this blog, the content of which ranged from Munich, Bradford fire to the holocaust.  The ghost of the hooligans that blighted football in the 70's and 80's lives.
The curse of network rail struck again as we changed at Leeds for the final leg into Selby with another cancellation.  After 30 minutes of confusion another train was seconded to take the vast number of passengers through to Hull.  So we made it home with the last leg sweetened with some good natured banter with the codhead tigers fans on their way back from The Theatre of dreams after their dramatic 4-3 reverse.
So we move up to 2nd in the table, one point behind the leaders, well placed to take over at the summit................if we can just finish off more chances!
Next match up is Northampton at home in the FA Cup on Friday night, by which time we will know if we are going to Derby or Brighton in the Carling Cup.

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