The car wheels were spinning wildly, the snow was charging down making visibility almost impossible, under the glare of the streetlights. It was a little before 4am and the only movement the car was making was sideways. I’d not moved an inch in the right direction for a good 10 minutes. It wasn’t until Mrs B arrived on scene and pointed out the green garden waste bin was wedged between the rear bumper and the garden gate that there was any hope of getting off the driveway. It’s fair to say she gave me a few words of advice but moving the garden bin was certainly the most useful. Soon after I was moving, just 301 miles to go on what was, for once a solo journey.
The M62 was strewn with abandoned lorries, weaving in and out of the snow-covered lanes was a lottery. To be honest it did seem a little foolish setting off for a football match in these conditions, but it soon became apparent that turning back would be equally daft. The northbound side of the M1 was gridlocked and there was no way home, the only course of action was to follow the single file tracks in the snow to see where they may lead….
Around Sheffield things began to ease; a second lane on the motorway started to appear as drivers gave you a free covering of a grey, brown coloured Mr Frosty ice bucket as they overtook. Apparently my steady 40 miles an hour wasn’t quick enough for some people, I wonder where they were all going in such a rush? The rest of the journey was far less exciting, more snow in Birmingham, but once dawn broke and the sun appeared the temperature rose to a barmy six degrees. From Gloucester to Torquay it was clear skies and bright sunshine, a different world altogether.
I counted nine wandering Shaymen as I sat in a chippy on a very windy promenade. Some fans had booked for a posh mini-break coach tour. Friday until Tuesday for just £130 with the option to upgrade your room for just £5. It was only Saturday and there were already stories of monumental hangovers and people struggling to get up before kick-off. You’ve got to feel sorry for Doris and George who booked their annual winter break, completely oblivious to the football fixtures, I bet the evening’s bingo extravaganza in the dining room was more exciting than usual though.
Torquay’s ground looked good from our seats at the top of the main stand, it was really cold, but we had a decent view of all covered terraces and posh seats behind the far goal. The travelling Shaymen were allotted bright yellow seats in the block with the letter T, whilst the home fans were scattered amongst letters RQUAY, letter O was no man’s land.
At half time the Shaymen were a goal up but it could have been many more. A combination of luck, good defending, and a few good chances put inches over the bar and kept Torquay in the game. They had started well forcing Johnson into a good save but once the first 10 minutes had elapsed, it was one way traffic. It was windy but the real difference in the teams was the quality of football.
The second half started with a bang, Slew’s goal was perhaps one of the best of the season, past the home goalkeeper in a flash from the edge of the box. It was soon three and then almost four as the post came to Torquay’s defence. The home fans headed for the exits long before it got dark.
There was real consternation in the away end in injury time. It wasn’t the flurry of late goals by the home team, more the announcement of just 73 away fans. Quiz master Dave Crocker was beside himself, he’d already counted 129 and was soon desperately recounting. If he’s that bad at counting there’s hope for all of us at this Wednesday’s Supporter’s Club Quiz Night at the Flying Dutchman (7pm start). Dave says there be a round on the Torquay game so, here’s a few answers for anyone who’s going, 73, Jordan Slew, Kit Walton, Mark Shaw, Billy Waters and probably Doris!
Next up and we’re off to Kidderminster for an FA Cup game and the chance to get though to the 3rd round of the FA Cup. what a great season to support the Shaymen.
Goals on the road 12, miles 4242, c’mon Shaymen!
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