It was the end of the world. I had only just returned home after Saturday’s game against Eastleigh and the phone was beeping. It was the enigmatic Denzil. Just a short message to tell us that he wouldn’t now be joining us for our trip to Woking. He had left the weekend game at 3-0, missed the entertaining finish and was now deserting us, the team, the town, and the county, he was staying at home. Luckily, we’d experienced one or two announcements like this in the past, we knew he was coming really. Tesco Pete was certain he was coming, and the Warley Shaymen was absolutely delighted that he was coming. By lunchtime we were off on our 248-mile journey south.
With traffic unpredictable, we travelled non-stop all the way to one of our favourite posh restaurants. Whilst some legged it directly to the loo, I went to sort out our table. “Sorry Sir, we’re fully booked, low on staff, there’s no way we can accommodate you”. Now this really was the end of the world and time to think carefully. “Sorry”, I started, “but I kid you not, we’ve driven around 250 miles to specifically come to your restaurant, we’re Harvester spotters and have never eaten here before.” He looked suspiciously at the Warley Shayman and I without saying a word. “My mate’s got an App, photos and everything” I continued’ in desperation. Suddenly Tesco Pete and Denzil appeared from the loos, the mood changed, and the manager had a change of heart for some reason, looking in their direction. “We’ll fit you in the bar area, just in the corner, let your mates take as many photos as they like too.” The treacle sponge and custard went down a treat.
The main stand at the far end of Woking’s Kingfield ground stood proud against clear skies, the occasional vapour trail, and the setting sun as we arrived. Entrance was £20 in advance or £23 on the day if you’re ever indecisive about going. The stewards were friendly, and there were few people about. Tea from the kiosk was £2.50, a small bar of chocolate was £2.50, if fact, everything started at £2.50. The Chesham Shayman wasn’t amused, even in his posh southern village you could buy a similar bar for 99p. Before long, darkness fell, the floodlights came on, and the entertaining Jim and his merry men arrived, the flags came out and the party started.
In the first half the Shaymen attacked the home terrace behind the far goal. Most of the 50 travelling Shaymen wandered down the empty terrace alongside the pitch to cheer on every attack. Woking looked dangerous as they attacked the steep all seater main stand, populated mostly with home fans. They hit the bar, whacked one wide with the goal gaping and generally looked threatening. Just on half time they took the lead, Johnson seemed to have it covered but it escaped his grasp and hit the back of the net.
In the second half, the best vantage point was a seat in the main stand, there was a great view down the pitch. The Shaymen looked comfortable, not under too much pressure but also not troubling Woking. With around 20 minutes remaining we had a corner, just beneath us. A quick burst into the box and a foul, and the referee awarded a penalty to Town, much to our delight. Capello scored, but it seemed to beat he keeper in instalments. The Woking fans cheered for a second, thinking it was saved, then it crossed the line. Eight minutes of injury time seemed excessive, Woking almost scored at the far end, thwarted by a bonkers top draw save from Johnson. Then, with time running out, it was Golden goal time, his shot from the edge of the box whistled past the keeper, he never moved. It hit the top corner of the net, Tesco Pete and Denzil were off down the steps celebrating with the players and fans. What a winner!
Driving back and we were buzzing. We’d completed three wins in a row at Woking, came from behind and sent their fans home bemused. They must be fed up with us, perhaps even thinking it’s the end of the World, football is like that at times though.
Next up and we’re off back down South to Ebbsfleet, can’t wait, c’mon Shaymen!
Miles on the road 1700, Goals on the road 7.
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