Monday, October 9, 2012
Naturally some football days are far easier to write about than others. Saturday was one of those that proved thoroughly enjoyable from the early start to the late finish.
We often take an indication from the weather as we leave our abodes on matchday so during a period of particularly damp, dull and drab days the glorious sunshine that accompanied our group's early morning departure suggested a fine day could lay ahead.
And so it proved...
A top 'full English' in a cafe near West Ham station helped fix any hunger issues before we headed to our recommended pre-match hostelry to enjoy the matchday build-up. I use that description as the establishment I have used for the last 20 years or so has recently become the latest to succumb to the current big supermarket chain takeover that seems to be leading to the closure of so many long running and historical public houses in our country.
Far from being disappointed, we were made extremely welcome in our 'new' away day pub and consequently it was very much a major part of our highly enjoyable day. A big thanks to landlady Mary and her staff, we'll be back I'm sure :-)
Our East London neighbours have always made Upton Park a tough place to get a result down the years and Saturday was no different. The atmosphere both inside and out was exactly as you expect from a London derby, the three thousand or so Gooners present providing a large chunk of the noise.
When it comes to desire, sharpness and sheer footballing ability we could not have started the game any better. Half an hour of total dominance, however, lacked that all-important goal or two. As a consequence, the fact our hosts' opener was such a great strike didn't make it any easier to take.
As half-time approached I remember thinking the break might be just what we need to re-group and start again. What preceded it of course, was even better. Olivier's perfect run and finish was awesome in its simplicity if nothing else. The first fine jostle ensued and our scorer's name simply echoed into the evening sky to the tune of 'Hey Jude'.
Theo's entry into the proceedings could not have been better timed. Both sides had looked to try and take all three points but his pace added that extra dimension often required when a game is on a knife-edge.
With another hefty contribution from Olivier in the build-up Theo's finish was quite superb and produced the kind of pandemonium you would expect in the away end when taking the lead in a London derby. Get in!
Yet again Santi was quite superb, one of many fine performances on the day. His quite stunning goal and our third put the icing on the cake.
All in all it was one of 'those' football days for me. A great few hours containing every little thing that makes them so special.
It seems a shame that we have to wait two weeks now to do it all again and it comes in the shape of another away day, this time at Norwich.
Despite the wait it might be a good idea to enjoy the enforced 'break' - the trip to Carrow Road kicks off a period where we play seven games in three weeks!
Given the Canaries' colours we will very much be behind the red and white that day... after Saturday, however, for now I can't help but admit I do like us in yellow.
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