There was just a hint of deep turquoise behind the black clouds on the Eastern horizon to indicate that dawn was approaching. It was quiet on the streets, dry for a change but cool, and we had 275 miles ahead of us. We were hoping for a good result as we usually do on a Saturday away day.
We were slightly nervous heading down the M6, the Satnav suggested that we’d arrive at 1.30pm and we’d not yet stopped for breakfast. Traffic was queuing northbound around Stoke, and we couldn’t really afford to get caught up in it. We’re usually good at planning for delays but today we were cutting it fine. Talk of going without breakfast had Tesco Pete looking up from his mobile phone for a moment with panic in his eyes. “You do know I couldn’t work out how to change your car clock the other week, don’t you?’ muttered Pete. Suddenly relief, Pete’s incompetence with technology and British Summer Time changes had given us another hour, he only had one job…
Christmas had arrived at our breakfast stop, ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ was blasting around the room, the fairy lights were flashing away, and you had to fight your way though tinsel just to pull your chair out to sit down. It seemed like they’d put their clocks forward a month rather than just an hour… The food was great, and we even got a ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ out of a badly disguised Father Christmas when we paid the bill. A little too much for a dull Saturday morning in November I think.
Traffic was clear for the rest of the journey, the returning Ripponden Shayman provided some welcome conversation from the back seat, and we rolled up to the ground around 1.00pm. Everyone working there was incredibly friendly, the guy guarding the car park said hello, even though we’d just parked on the main road for free, the ticket office staff wished us an enjoyable day, even though we had already bought our tickets, and the stewards were top class. Well before the turnstiles opened, they invited us into the ground to put Tesco Pete’s flag up behind the goal. Not one steward walked past us throughout the day without saying hello.
Yeovil’s Huish Park has a capacity of almost 10,000. There good size terraces behind each goal, the home end is covered and the away end, when required for large away followings, is uncovered. Down each side of the pitch are covered stands full of sun faded green seats, each has a capacity of 2,500. The pitch is well maintained, and there are four modern floodlight towers illuminating the ground. The 54 travelling Shaymen were allocated the last few blocks of seating alongside the penalty area. The full price admission was just £15.00 in advance.
The first half started well for the Shaymen, with most of the action being at the far end as they played into a strong wind towards the home fans. Yeovil looked to be a shadow of the teams they have had over the years. They offered little going forward and seemed second best. Just before half time the referee pointed to the spot for some pushing at a corner, it was off the ball and perhaps happens at every corner of every game. The trouble was, he’d held up play to speak to the players just before the corner was taken so he obviously was on the lookout for an opportunity to shine. Sam Johnson got close to keeping the spot kick out, but Yeovil had the lead at half time.
The second half was more of the same for the Shaymen, lots of possession as the rain started and darkness fell. The home keeper had to make a few saves in front of us, with one decent one too. If there was going to be a second goal, only the Shaymen looked likely. The referee endeared himself to the home fans late in the game with a second yellow card for a Yeovil player. That resulted in the home team shutting up shop and defending their lead. A last minute opportunity to equalise for the Shaymen was blazed into the car park behind the goal, and that was that.
Leaving the ground and we were wished a safe journey home by the locals. The wind and rain continued until we reached the Midlands. It was a disappointing result but that’s football, what else would we be possibly doing on a Saturday?
Next up and it’s a festive treat from the league fixtures computer, a midweek visit to Southend, oh joy!
Miles on the road 4849, Goals on the road 12.
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