The SLI away trips are always epic for many reasons. Meeting up with the lads at ungodly hours of the day, travelling to exotic locations like the Chavtastical Tranmere and the cold and breezy Oldham, stopping off in little towns like Earmont Bridge and Gravesend for pre-match drinks…oh yeah…and there’s the football matches.
The first Away Day of the 2009/10 season was down the M1 to the city of Nottingham for a trip to Forest to visit last year’s losing playoff semi-finalists. It wouldn’t be an easy day out…
…but first, the alarm clock…ah yes, the alarm clock set for 6am…6am on a Sunday morning…does that time even exist, unless you’re actually still out from the night before…
So up and about I was, the Leeds shirt pulled on and it was time to head off, making sure I picked up my pack-up for the day…but more of that later…
I drove up to the Plantation and met up with everyone. Ollie, James and Jonny were already there and a quick hello before ordering a Bacon & Tomato sarnie and a pint…it was ten to 7 in the morning…I showed Dean and Alex the new SLI Super Prediction Game I have set up (see me if you want a go…£1 a week to win BIG money) and then I was sat down with the lads.
Having not seen everyone since the last Away game of last season it was catch-up time. After passing the Prediction sheet around and having a laugh about how no-one thought we would beat Millwall next week…then I was amazed how James had been on holiday to Salou and stayed in the exact same hotel as I did out there…strange, but true!
After we were allocated buses…yeah…that’s right…allocated whether we were on Bus 1 and Bus 2, it was just a case of waiting for them to turn up. I was on Bus 1…and when we got on and I moved near the back, we were shocked to find out that the Air Con was shot to hell. But no worries as we set off and launched straight into the first game of Chase The Ace…somehow I ended up scoring and somehow someone mis-dealt halfway through the game and it all teetered towards getting a bit messy, but calmed down. I made it to the last 3 but lost out…then the big shock was we had a ROLLOVER! I didn’t last too long in game two…
It wasn’t too long until we were pulling up in Kimberley…it took me about 20 minutes, a shout across the road to some woman gardening and the checking out of a random sign in the pub to realise where we actually were.
In the pub, someone devised the craziest game of Dart Killer ever…the rules meant we would actually be playing until next week’s Millwall game in order to find a winner so they were quickly adjusted.
I put myself in charge of the jukebox…Madness and Leeds, Leeds, Leeds were found and subsequently sung along to. I even shovelled a few quids into the quiz machine, utilising Jonny’s freakish football trivia knowledge to win a massive £4.
Eventually it was back on the bus and off to Nottingham. I was amazed just how close County and Forest were…literally a stone’s throw away. We did the usual random abuse of the locals as we pulled up to the stadium. I have actually found that the women Home fans are actually a lot more abusive than their male counterparts…shocking behaviour!
We pulled up and into the ground for the start of the game.
Simon Grayson stuck with the same first team that lost to Derby on opening day…which was annoying as fuck because that meant Richard Frigging Naylor was set to start when everyone wanted Bruce Almighty to be given the nod.
Leeds started like, well, Leeds! We let Forest come at us like usual and sat back and really let them attack. Schmeichel saved well from a good chance for Forest but it wasn’t long until they were in front. A throw in and then a cross from soon-to-be-bad-boy Gunter was met with the head of Dexter Blackstock who flicked the ball into the bottom corner.
Through the first fifteen minutes we were dire. Bessone was constantly out of position and we looked likely to let more in, but an inspired change of tactics saw Lloyd Sam move up front to partner Becchio and Johnson move out to the left.
Leeds’ first actual on-target effort proved decisive though as a cross from Johnson met the head of Sam who glanced the ball into the net on 25 minutes. Madness erupted in the Leeds end, and the Forest fans were silent, especially the ones stood in the stands above us…which can’t be safe…surely.
The first half came to a close at 1-1.
The second half started quietly. During the entire half, Forest didn’t get a single shot on target which is amazing when you have Naylor in your defence. Kilkenny pulled a shot just wide, Johnson had a good chance after running half the length of the pitch and then almost putting a shot out for a throw in and Sam had a header wide.
It became frustrating for Leeds and the 4,000 of us watching on but the game ended in a draw, which on the grand scale of things was a fair result.
Back on the coach and we were home in no time and back in time for one of Janet’s Sunday Dinner’s…marvellous!
Next up…Millwall at Home on Saturday…but I will be on a stag do so my report will be a little…short next week!
Bye for now!