Very seldom do I feel a little cheeky in attending a football match, but this was one of those occasions. As regular readers might have noticed, I don’t bother heading back for home matches during term time, mainly for financial reasons, but when Andy A said the Rover sauna was sitting idle on Tuesday evening, he didn’t need much persuading in making an under-the-radar trip home.
Buoyed by the terrific comeback at Workington at the weekend, we rattled along the roads of Lincolnshire feeling confident the momentum could be maintained and another win earned to cement our play-off place. In recent months, we’ve sat in every position from first to fifth, only to be quickly moved elsewhere (like an inhabitant of Gainsborough) whenever results have gone against us.
Solihull, meanwhile, despite being relative plankton in this division and despite the tragic loss of their manager Bob Faulkner earlier in the month, have been upwardly mobile for some time and entered the game close enough to the play-off positions to ensure it would be an uncomfortable evening.
We surprised a few regulars walking in to the Town End. They have become accustomed to going months without seeing us, our attendance seemingly in fits and starts. I liked the new ‘This is Boston’ banner draped over the barrier near the front, though I doubt the small party from the West Midlands would have felt too intimidated, although at least they knew they were in the right place.
It quickly became apparent that the miracle of Saturday wasn’t going to translate into a decisive victory here. The managers fielded five players who were either making their full or home debuts and this resulted in a noticeable lack of cohesion, a baffling phobia to deliver the ball from wide areas and a whole lot of uncertainty. Kevin Austin, who has been re-christened Keith thanks to a clumsy Workington teamsheet writer, looked solid, but the two recent acquisitions from Gainsborough, Mark Robinson and Darren Williams, I’m afraid to say, look out of their depth.
Individually, the new wingers from Rotherham United, Grant Darley and Jamie Green (when we had figured out who the hell they were...) looked decent but unfailingly they would bomb forward and then stop, creakingly turn round and seek an option behind them. Ever by the third minute of stoppage time, when we really, really needed them to, the-one-on-the-left refused to cross without first checking for a backwards pass. It was infuriating, and many in our section were in favour of me and Andy dropping them off in Rotherham on our way back.
The Brummies sensed their opportunity and duly scored on the hour mark. Dan Haystead, who was excellent throughout, did well to thwart Matt Smith, only to see the ball return to the striker, who converted the rebound. Haystead was distraught at conceding, but it was actually the defence’s fault.
A demoralising defeat loomed, but Danny Davidson, who probably should have been suspended following his elbow at Stalybridge, saved the day from close range after Green finally decided to put a cross in. The atmosphere suddenly came alive in the Town End and I even spied a few in the Spayne Road terrace singing and clapping. Noise from two sides of the ground – amazing!
The journey home was completed in record time, Andy shaving a good 20 minutes off his personal best. We were just congratulating ourselves on guaranteeing an extra half-an-hour’s sleep when the speed camera flashed. Bugger.
Next Match: Stafford Rangers vs. Boston United on Saturday