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Were you there?

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:52 pm
by Waggy
Brackley away - Tuesday 28 February 2017

I tried without success to find something or someone of interest from Brackley and failed on both counts. It was something of a black night travelling on the coach with its tinted windows which gave the impression of passing through a very long tunnel, meaning it became something of a mystery tour, though not of the “magical” kind. We arrived with time enough to go ‘round again. Not knowing what to expect inside the portals of the ground (which as it happened was excellent) a straggle of us headed towards the promised lair of a decent pub. Through hammering rain we trudged. At one stage I thought it might be prudent to be roped together. We did eventually arrive at what can only be described as a proper local glorifying in the name of “Loco”, more to do with ‘motion than state of mind. To say it was snug was to put it mildly, as you had to go outside to turn around. The ground floodlights acting as a beacon guided us back through the ever-pouring rain. As some of the dwellings suggested, Brackley has now become something of a dormitory town which I’d surmised during a brief yomp into its centre.

As far as the ground, fans ,stewards and catering were concerned, it couldn’t be faulted, with a ready smile on faces especially at the final whistle. One thing we couldn’t blame was the immaculate playing surface ideally suited to our style of play. Pre-match I spotted the ever-cheerful Steve Burr, attracted perhaps by the Stalybridge-style deluge. I wasn’t best pleased to see Austin not included in the starting line-up plus Truslove, who has a real nuisance value, playing as if he has a chip on his shoulder which doesn’t appear to affect his balance. Also I’d have liked to have seen Hornby back in harness. For me it was something of a negative selection at the outset.

Still warmed by the knowledge of our recent win (and a hot pie) and in spite of Eustace’s dire warning as to how good Brackley could be, the opening minutes soon waylaid those fears. Although that invisible force field appeared about the 18-yard line of the opposition, preventing any strike from a distance. we still created at least three take-able chances to score. In fact, we made Brackley look like a side very ordinaire.

With slightly dampened spirits at the turnaround with Brown struggling and Waite, for all his physicality, not causing too much concern, that should have been the cue for a positive reaction via attacking subs. Not so. In fact it was the Brackley part-timers that clicked into attacking mode. We gifted them their first after we lost possession under no pressure, the second by collectively-dropped heads throwing away precious points. You couldn’t fault the players for effort, or the travelling faithful, but it was such a soul-destroying defeat. Again a switch of tactics changed their whole demeanour and we just stubbornly stuck to ours, which were patently in need of revision. For a brief moment I thought about cancelling my ticket for the United game which is quite unlike me, but events happened that we’ve witnessed far too often. One slightly perverse crumb of comfort earlier in the evening: I lamented the possibility that I wouldn’t get the chance to visit this ground again, hopefully in the daylight. At present it looks odds on that I will.

I was there - were you?

Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 2:28 pm
by Waggy
This was a totally different era. My abiding memory of the ground then was the near state of collapse of the empty grandstand, bearing in mind much the same could be said for the club in its position at that time. Fair play to Hereford - after the disaster of administration, thanks in no short measure to the true fans they were able to rebuild. (P.S. We won.)

Hereford Away - 2007
In light of last Saturday’s execution, the only explanation for today’s sojourn must have been mass amnesia. We wended our not-so-merry way across the winding byways, through the exotically named Marton on Lugg and it may be of interest to know Kenchester now has a golf driving range. In spite of travelling in what can best be described as the “braced crash position” due to the Lilliputian seating, the totally illogical thought of a fantasy victory reared its unlikely head. I had been listening to a CD of “The Man in Black”(J.C.) and the lines that went “Just around the corner there’s heartache; down the street that losers use” and “Come along with me, misery loves company” which I guess was why we had such a good turnout. As we rounded a proverbial corner, we were greeted with the sight of a veritable herd of Hereford constables corralling a real tough bunch of mischievous miscreants, to be fair theirs and ours, who no doubt had been at the wine gums again.

Inside, at least there was little to distract the eye. The Victory/Spinning Dog Brewery advert was a gem, with the Welsh connection trumpeted by the Pontrilas Development Company. Pontrilas, as I remember, was noted for its male voice choir, something we don’t have but strive to make up for by sheer volume. The opening stanzas were much the same – the reference to sheep fornication and size of garden sheds well to the fore. A bit of bravado never harms, the same applying to the hard-won bragging rights that ensued.

There was more than mild amazement at the inclusion of Danby in goal, perhaps the theory being he could never play that badly again. Either that or Lewis had run over the manager’s dog or something. Thanks to a more solid-looking back four, Danby was never really tested. With Rea slotting in well and the oh-so-slim Newby likewise up front, we looked more than a match for a full-strength opposition. The sending off could have changed things; however, my mind wandered back to when we lost to ten men – bottom of the table Aldershot. With players such as even Sheldon showing that their memory of how to play football was returning, we looked the side most likely to score that important first goal. Viewing positions were challenging. In fact, when the ball was played down the touch line, we all developed a list, much like when a train is standing at a station and everyone is leaning out trying to gain a view. What we did see was pleasing. It may be a bit premature perhaps, but Reynolds, Rea and Newby would be a welcome addition for next season. Players like Sedgemore, Lewis and Hurren waiting in the wings have to be a bonus.

Well done to our fans, and what a pleasure it was to see the playing squad give them the acknowledgement they deserved.