Sunday, 9 January 2011

Gloucester City 0 Boston United 1

I’ve waited to catch my breath, take on food and water, get a few hours kip and walked off the early symptoms of DVT before writing this post. Gloucester-Cheltenham away was a long old poke and eight hours on the road certainly took it out of me. So for all the thousands manically pressing F5 yesterday I can only apologise.

The person at Conference HQ who decided to put Gloucester City in the Northern division clearly wasn’t paying attention in geography lessons at school. When you start seeing signs translated into Cymru, rolling hills without coal mine scars on them and people using the definitive article when speaking you know you’re just not in the north; it’s a simple FACT.

Such a trek did permit a good, old-fashioned road trip, however, and a chance to assess the many features on Andy’s new Rover (quickly and unnervingly re-christened the Love Wagon by JB). One charming difference to the now-retired Honda Logo (testimonial coming soon) is that the dashboard vents continually spew out hot air and we haven’t quite worked out how to turn it off. On this frosty, early January morning it was a godsend – whether we’ll feel the same on pre-season runs in the 30 degree July heat when sweating out half our body mass onto the upholstery is another matter.

Since flood waters ruined their old ground, Gloucester have been bunking with Cheltenham Town and it was a pleasant surprise to be back at a handsome Football League ground. For the first time this season, the tenants saw fit to segregate and, with 97 making the long trip from South Lincolnshire, the crowd of 385 was higher than average.

Entering the Bowling Green End turnstiles (obviously the elderly users of the next-door Bowling Club dug their heels in when Whaddon Road was built) there was a brief moment of exasperation at the sign displaying admission prices of £20. Gloucester should see a financial advisor if their rent on the place is so high they have to charge double the usual Conference North fare. Thankfully, it was for Cheltenham games and for the £6 concessions fare I was given a complimentary pack of honey-flavoured Olbas lozenges, which wins hands-down as the most bizarre thing I’ve ever received at a football ground.

In a division where the top sides rarely seem to slip up, it was imperative United built on the momentum gained from Mikel Suarez’s late heroics at Eastwood and pick up a win to stay in touch with the leaders. They did, courtesy of another tap-in from Spencer Weir-Daley on 23 minutes, but it was a workmanlike, rather than a spectacular, performance.

Both sides had good openings – notably, when Gloucester’s Hector Mackie smashed a 20-yarder against the crossbar in the first-half and Anthony Church did something very similar in the second – but Boston’s defence, bolstered by Sheffield Wednesday loanee Cecil Nyoni (whom I’m going to wager is the first Zimbabwean to play for us), showed signs of the resolve which delivered nearly a thousand minutes without conceding earlier in the campaign and held out.

One disappointment from the day was the failure to set a new ‘One Bounce’ record. ‘One Bounce’ is a very straightforward game invented for the awayday fan who likes to break up their journey by kicking a ball around in the lorry parks of service stations. Volley, half-volley, head and chest the ball around your group without it bouncing more than once. It’s harder than it sounds, especially on the ice sheet we played on. A paltry 68 was the day’s best, well short of the glorious record of 135 set last year. Suddenly, i was grateful for Andy’s broken heater.

NEXT MATCH: Boston United vs. Hinckley United on Tuesday night, followed by a FA Trophy second round tie with Gloucester next Saturday.   


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