Sunday 17 November 2013

The Longest Day

The AA route planner tells me that it's 247.2 miles from my doorstep in Sussex to Bumpers Lane, so I make no excuse for cherry-picking my 'home' games.
The Luton match has been on my wish-list since the fixtures were published and a chance to squeeze in my first visit to the new Swansway incarnation before the bad weather starts closing in.

So it's an 8am start, linking up with fellow fans Steve and Chris en-route, to share the journey. It's a well-oiled machine - one hour to Hillingdon tube station to pick up Steve, then another 45 minutes to junction 10 on the M40 to rendezvous with Chris who drives the rest of the way.

We're naturally pessimistic (well, my last match was Braintree) but the chat is not all about the match. On the M6 there's plenty of time to put the world to rights - this time it's the pointlessness of constantly being invited to review every purchase made online ("what can you say about a SCART lead?"), Robbie Savage (unprintable), the merits of real ale versus lager and Steve's hatred of "witty banter". We must sound like an audition for Room 101 but it passes the time.

A pit stop for lunch at the Sandstones pub near Beeston (great pies by the way) and just time for a pre-match pint at Telfords.

It proves to be a cracking game. In the first 15 minutes I fear we could be on the wrong end of a cricket score. Worst case scenario when you've driven almost 250 miles is game over before half time and a deflated stadium.When the most blatant penalty I've ever witnessed is turned down it seems certain that it's not going to be our day.

However, it seems to spur on the team and the crowd. The Harry Mac has heeded the manager's appeal for louder home support and it helps that the opposite end of the ground is packed.

After a shaky start Ash Williams starts scrapping in midfield and suddenly Luton don't look so poised. I'm derided in the car for being in the Gareth Seddon fan club but I'm able to rest my case when he picks out the corner of the Luton net. We'd all have taken a point before the game and it ranks with the Wrexham game as our best performance. Nonetheless we drop into the bottom four again.

The late kick off, a stop for coffee on the M6 where we bump into some happy Hereford fans, and a mysterious traffic jam due to "pedestrians on the road" mean it's 10.30pm by the time I get back.

Roll on Nuneaton away. In my topsy-turvy world it's actually a home game, a mere 160 miles away.

Adrian Lee