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Starting with a, erm, bang

OK, it’s a bit late in me putting the Carlshiton report up , but like you’re bothered….

Writing this report has been really hard, which surprised me as I mean it shouldn’t be, should it?

Start of a new season. New kits. Half a new team. A new ground to visit for a competitive game, and a local derby to boot. All that expectation, excitement about what was to come?

Yet it didn’t happen for me.

Sure I was happy as I walked away from Shit on Cars 1 Womble on, AFC 2 but it hadn’t felt like a ‘proper’ game. Whether it was the change in weather (predicted driving rain was replaced by glorious sunshine); the fact I had seen no pre-seasons so I had no idea who half the team were (apart from the usual suspects); or the surreal nature of only doing a 20 min walk to the ground, I don’t know. The whole crowd also seemed muted, apart from a couple of welcoming chants to the teams and the final whistle. In fact a couple of the younger members in our group didn’t realise it was a ‘real’ match until midway through the second half when the Carshalton players started throwing their toys out of the pram. It still felt pre-season.

We’d had discussions of boycotts earlier in the week on the various guest books but what surprised me was the lack of debate on Friday about the squad. Only a few team selections and sporadic stabs at possible results offered. Perhaps others, like me, had not seen enough of the team to form opinions yet.

So let’s get at least my first impressions out on the screen:

Plus Points: a win. Two goals. The spine of the team from last year – Little, Howard/ButlerS, Daly and ButlerR – being our best players on the day. The rest, still need a little time to gell, but the potential is there.

Minus Points: Letting in a goal. Butler’s goal being a punt and shot. Oh the purists will weep. Injury to Daly? Fracas at the end between the two benches – been there, seen that, boring as fuck. DA get a grip – if you can’t show how to hold your temper, how do you expect the players too? Injuries and suspensions cost us last year. The former you cannot control; the latter you can to a degree. It’s in your job description DA. Do it.

The referee’s a …. I thought it was a fatter Steve Cook – for the record, Andrew Parker. Did ok though could have protected our players a bit more. Let’s put it this way – having seen a couple of foul-ups by the refs on Match of the Day later that evening, he didn’t do any worse than his ‘professional’ colleagues.

Them: Confirmed my pre-conceived (gleaned from local match reports) ideas about them. Serial underachievers with a lack of ambition and ability to moan like Nikki on Big Brother (thanks Ray). When tackled, seemed to down more times than Paris Hilton. In the second half thought they’d changed the sport to diving and wrestling (the battle between ButlerS and Dundas). Though pretty at the back (yes, one or two dodgy hairdo too) and in midfield, they were toothless upfront except for the awkwardness of Dundas, who scored with an excellent turn and shot. Pure opportunism.

Truth is stranger than fiction… Though I live but a 20 min walk from Colston Avenue I had never been there for a game ever. Missed out previous visits. Strange how you can live so close to something but never go: for years it was me and Wimbledon tennis.

In fact the night before I had to acquaint myself with how to get in to the ground. Didn’t want to look a dodo as we were entertaining the all-knowing Armfields beforehand…

Talking of whom…walking into the ground and turning to join the massed AFCW fans spied, above a line of six seats, the sign ‘Ray’s place.’ We thought about sitting down there but didn’t want to give a jobsworth apoplexy

Franchise watch…. Another win, now 3 out of 4 means those of us wishing the worst on them need to sip a large whiskey and chill for another season. They are now only 7 wins away probably from staying up! A rumour persists that MacLeod, their star striker, may go (to Palace), so you never know…

Competitor watch… Seven other teams gained 3pts too. Top of the bunch were Margate, 0-5 up at Worthing at half-time and eventual 2-5 winners. Ray Armfield had ‘run into’ half the team at Clackett Lane Services on the M25 and had described them as ‘big buggers.’ Déjà vu anyone? H&R won 0-2 at ETU , with Ashford Town (Mx), Harrow, Leyton, and Tonbridge Angels all winning by the odd goal. Ramsgate did Heybridge 2-0 so that’ll make Tuesday night a bit more interesting now.

So was it worth it? Well, it’s got the wife use to me and my daughter going out to football again. And we had the pleasure of the Armfields’ company. Roll on Tuesday night football too 😉