Saturday 22nd February 2014
—Bury Town 1 Margate FC 1—
Although the title of this blog may leave a lot of people scratching their heads, I promise that all will become clearer as the article continues.
After our 2-1 success over Thamesmead, I stayed in the bar for a while to catch up with everyone, before getting the train back to Broadstairs. Unfortunately, I’d left at just the wrong time. Although I don’t drink myself, I was gleefully informed that new owner Bob Laslett, ecstatic at our second victory on the bounce, had taken it upon himself to purchase a £280 bottle of brandy, & share it out with the hardcore fans that stayed after hours. Cue many hilarious photos on Facebook, with Messrs Boyle, Ives & Furlong all getting involved!
I was feeling positive ahead of our trek to Suffolk – Rick Simmons & MISA had very kindly organised a minibus to the Bury Town game, and their efforts were greatly appreciated by the travelling Gate faithful.
With 14 people on the coach, space was a little short, but the journey was fantastic – sitting next to Dan & Terry was a pleasure, and the radiant beam that illuminated Dan’s face when he discovered that I’d bought a copy of FHM (nothing dodgy, I promise!) made the day all worthwhile.
As the journey progressed, Terry decided to point out various animals in the fields that we passed. The obligatory sheep & cows were on display, before she gave a delighted cackle & informed me that there was a field of llamas, & then proceeded to burst into a chorus of the llama song. To the general bemusement of the other passengers, I had my head in my hands. I’m hoping this YouTube clip will explain why – and can only apologise if it gets stuck in your heads for the rest of the day!
So as you can imagine, I was fairly traumatised, not to mention humming the above song at various intervals as we made our way to Suffolk. After a brief stop at some services near Stansted, we were on our way again, and the most noticeable feature of the journey involved a glint in Steve’s eye as he looked at Dan, followed by a mischievous grin.
Plans were afoot, but no-one knew what was involved – especially Dan, who, with a pained look on his face, nervously said “What?” and “Martin, what’s he done?” for the remainder of our foray into East Anglia.
Apologies in advance to anyone who finds the following image offensive / disturbing (or possibly both) – but Dan’s fears were confirmed when this was seen to be the fruits of Steve’s labours.
Moving swiftly on, we arrived at Ram Meadow just after 1PM – a testament to Rick’s driving, which was superb both there & back. The ground was an interesting one, with a sugar factory behind one of the goals, and a cathedral behind one of the stands. We settled into Bury’s clubhouse to watch the rest of the Chelsea / Everton game – a bearded Bury fan, spotting my Margate coat, mockingly sang ‘There’s only one team in Kent’ to me – I’d have to agree, it’s us!
The rest of the time before kickoff was spent with me & Terry trying to identify who was who in the Margate squad – it really has been a swift transformation! After much deliberating, we finally managed to decide who our new signing from Hendon (striker Jefferson Louis) was – after confusing him with Anthony Riviere.
Before long, the crackles of the PA system were audible and Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ blared out as the teams walked out onto the decidedly bumpy looking pitch. As the game kicked off, the travelling contingent from Margate (including Wendy, Chris & Finney the dog) cheered the lads on.
In what was a very scrappy game, Bury seemed content to lump the ball forward aimlessly and crowd our players out in an attempt to stifle our passing play – Pridders later said that Bury set their stall out for a draw, and I’d be inclined to agree with him – although they did look dangerous on the break, their number 7 & 10 being pacey customers.
Reading the programme beforehand, it was easy to see why Bury had picked up suspensions in the past – their players taking great pleasure in kicking lumps out of ours, in front of what can only be described as an inept, incompetent referee – by far the worst I’ve seen this season. After one particular scything tackle on Jack Sammoutis went unpunished, the man in black even gestured impatiently for Jack to get up – which Jack eventually complied with, after checking that his leg was still in one piece.
The game was an even one, with our class showing on the rare occasions we could demonstrate our fluent passing game – however Bury had a few corners, and their team’s height proved decisive – their unchallenged striker heading home from one such set piece, giving Nikki Bull no chance.
Credit to Margate though, they weren’t behind for long – a mere 5 minutes in fact, as Charlie Wassmer bundled the ball home after a bobble fest in the area. His second goal in two games – not bad for a centre half! It must be said that Wassmer & Beales both had assured games in central defence – Wassmer in particular impressing me with his defensive play & aerial ability, easily my Man Of The Match.
As the half time whistle sounded, I confess to feeling a bit nervous – after our record of starting slowly & gifting teams goals early on in the second half, I hoped this wouldn’t be the case this time round. Luckily it wasn’t, as Margate tried their utmost to break down a resolute Bury defence, well marshalled by their number 6, who won a lot of his aerial battles.
In truth, the lads looked quite tired in the second half, a combination of the heavy pitch & their high tempo in the first half, perhaps. The game was fairly end to end, and while we had chances to nick the game, unfortunately we didn’t test their rather rotund goalie enough, and an outstanding save from Nikki Bull, tipping a fierce effort onto the bar, kept the scores level.
There was a slight break in the monotony of the game, when Warren Whitely (mistaken for Wayne Wilson by the PA announcer) and Matt Bodkin came on, Bods in particular showing his worth in taking defenders on, but a draw was probably a fair result. Shaking hands with their keeper and wishing him the best for the rest of the season was no hardship – the Bury custodian was a good sport throughout, although I think it’s safe to say that I hope we never see the referee again!
Nevertheless, the journey back was made in decent spirits, although the general feeling was that this was two points dropped, rather than one gained. Personally, in a game that really could’ve gone either way, I admit to feeling quite happy with a point, that puts us on equal points with Billericay – but with a far inferior goal difference.
As the night grew dark (thankfully this meant that Terry couldn’t point out anymore llamas, although she did come up with a Minion-inspired song for Charles Ademeno – noticeable mention to Andy Payne for possibly doing the best Minion impression I’ve ever heard! – the journey continued, with us stopping at Thurrock services for a slight leg stretch, and in Andy’s case, a burger from Burger King.
Sadly, his glee soon turned to disappointment as he unwrapped the bun & discovered quite possibly the smallest burger I’ve ever seen. In outraged tones, he explained to us – who by now were sympathetically gathering around the poor excuse for a burger – that he had paid £4.50 for that. Daylight (or twilight) robbery!
Before long, we were back in beautiful Margate, via detours through Birchington and Westgate for Rick to drop off Mark, Christian & Steve. As we arrived at Hartsdown Park, the weather had taken a turn for the chillier – however Harvey, being the gentleman that he is, kindly offered to drop me & Dan off in Broadstairs.
A good day out, & although it was a shame we couldn’t get the win, a draw away from home was fairly satisfying.
I’d like to extend my thanks again to Rick & the other members of MISA – who had gone to the trouble of arranging the minibus for our away games, and who were great company throughout the day – their efforts really are appreciated.
I’d also like to say thanks to Terry Scott for helping with both the burger & backside reviews – pure dedication on her part.
To the hardy souls making their way to Suffolk again on Tuesday for the game against Leiston – I salute you all. Here’s hoping we can pick up three points this time round!
Terry’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter –
“Chunky – but points added for being a good sport – 7 out of 10”
Terry’s Away Day Burger Review –
“Bun was a bit dry – if it was toasted, it would’ve been better – 6 out of 10“