It was a bit of a disappointing Boxing Day. Weatherwise, it started grey and went downhill from there. I think it was making up for the beautiful Christmas Day. However, the biggest disappointment of the day was Bob’s lack of singing.
We’d planned, long ago, for us all to go to watch the Mighty Shots play Barnet at the Rec. The Hassells decided they wanted to drive over to Bodiam first to see the castle and, obviously, Mirinda was never coming with us. And so, it was left to me and Bob to join the ranks in the East Bank.
The biggest surprise was the attendance at the ground. Almost 2,000 hardy fans were there to sing and chant and watch a great game of football. While there was a lot of singing and chanting, the great football was quite often missing.
Bob and I had stopped off at the Crimea for a quick pint, not knowing that a new bar has opened in the ground, and made our way across the road about ten minutes before kick off. We had the obligatory pitch inspection, followed by a disgusting hotdog, before claiming a great spot behind the goal. Actually, Bob didn’t think the hotdog was as bad as I’d claimed it would be. This proves yet again that if you paint something bad enough, people will then wind up convinced it’s actually quite good.
Almost from the kick-off, Aldershot took it to them. It was all pretty one-sided in the first half. The bulk of the possession had been with us and we looked dangerous. Then, out of nowhere and just before the whistle blew for halftime, a mistake by us in their goal mouth saw three passes from Barnet eventually land at the feet of their very big striker and he slotted it into the net. Big cheers from the 200 away fans, groans from the East Bank.
Halftime was a quiet 15 minutes. We decided it wise to keep our place so we stood and discussed the awful score so far. We occasionally glanced around the ground, looking for the Hassells, without much hope of actually spotting them amid the 2,000.
The second half started and, would you believe it, Aldershot scored, right in front of us. A moment of great jubilation. I immediately texted Nicktor to let him know we had equalised. Because of my preoccupation, I missed the ridiculously quick goal scored by Barnet, almost from the re-start. So quick that the emotional high had yet to subside.
And so the score remained until the final minutes of added time when our goalie did something incredibly stupid. He reached out a hand, taking out a Barnet player as he steamed across the box. It was an obvious penalty and a straight red card for Phil Smith. There was a quick substitution and the spare goalie came off the bench, stood tall and wide and was beaten completely by the Barnet striker. And that was how it ended. 1-3 and a convincing win for Barnet. So disappointing.
But we did manage to spot the Hassells. They made the last half hour. Bob spotted a figure in the South Stand that he thought could be Andrew. Eventually we also found Fi and the kids and, unbelievably, I waved and they saw me. Sadly they witnessed the awful penalty and final result. I bought Lauren a scarf as a memorial to the game. Stupid Shots.
When questioned about his lack of singing, Bob claimed it was because he didn’t know the words. Given most of the songs consist of the words ‘Aldershot’, ‘Town’, ‘Football’ and ‘Club’, I think this was a cop out. Still, at least he was in the middle of a lot of noise and, hopefully, he enjoyed the atmosphere.
The day improved a bit when the Hassells took us all out to dinner at Zizzi’s.