It’s getting to that part of the season where we know we’re probably not going to be treated to a feast of football, but when every match is that important that you really don’t want to miss a game. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, these are the games we’ll be talking about for years to come, not the sunny carefree days of earlier in the season. All of that, plus the fact that it’s a new ground for us both, our attendance was a no-brainer, so Mrs B and I jumped in the car about 10:30 on Saturday morning to make our way up to wherever the hell Hull is.
Having said that, we very nearly didn’t make it, as it was only when I had a quick look to see whether there were any discounts for buying early that I discovered that you couldn’t buy on the day. I’m remarkably badly organised, so often tend to leave everything to the last-minute, so it would probably be a good idea if the club went out of their way to make sure that fans knew that a match was all-ticket. I’m not sure what Hull would have done if they’d have been presented with a couple of confused and angry Dons fans who’d managed to make the trip but hadn’t realised they couldn’t buy on the day. I presume they’d find a way to let us in, but I wouldn’t want to test it.
Any way, nice enough journey, mainly as we came cross-country rather than the motorways, so Mrs B had to slow down, and I didn’t spend the entire journey with my eyes clenched tightly shut. We went over the Humber bridge for the first time, and reminisced over previous trips to that part of the world – multiple trips to Lincoln and Scunthorpe, a couple of trips to Grimsby, including one four days before we beat them at Wembley in the JPT, and one to Doncaster. Giggled quite a bit when paying to park (a fiver, which isn’t bad for parking just a short walk from the stadium) as I honestly could not understand a word the guy on the gate was saying. He was really nice and friendly, and I felt more than a little guilty, as I had to keep asking him to repeat himself.
Anyway, five minutes walk to the ground, and a quick walk round to the away end. A nice bar to grab a drink and watch the Man City v Norwich game, a quick circuit of the outside of the stadium to get a picture for the album, picked up a programme and then in. Steak and Ale pie was good, and reasonable value at £3.30 – major points dropped with Mrs B for having run out of Cheese and Onion pies, but that serves her right for being fussy.
Big shout out to the team that put their program together by the way – it’s the most interesting and well put together programme that I’ve seen, and by a considerable margin. There’s enough in there for home and away fans to make it well worth the three quid – well done people. I usually buy a program at away matches, but they tend to go straight in the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers. This one was read from cover to cover. And then put on the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers, but that’s as it should be.
There weren’t that many of us that made the journey (no surprise there really 😉 ) – just under three hundred, but I think we did ourselves relatively proud, singing for most of the match and generally having a good time. I was surprised that the home fans didn’t get behind their team more – they seemed to only spring to life to complain about time-wasting, some of which was totally justified, but a lot of which wasn’t. We stifled them well in the first half, frustrated them, battled them and pretty much kept that up for 98 minutes. We took the lead from a set-piece with a great header from Antony Kay (leading to a certain Mr Hovis having to pop to B&Q for some blue paint to paint his backside blue, but that’s a story for another day) – he had a great game and has continued to impress since his return. We conceded within a few minutes, with a free-kick leaving Dave flat-footed. The wall looked poor to me, but what do I know? There were protestations from the bench (just for a change 😉 ) as they felt that there had been a handball in the run up to the free kick, but it was a bit disappointing to concede so quickly.
There fans were on Dave’s back from the first couple of minutes, and cheered loudly when he went down injured. That was a little disappointing, but I was appalled by their player who chose to take a long shot at goal, with the keeper on the floor injured. Thankfully Dave was able to catch it, even from his prone position on the floor, but it was a pretty scummy thing to do. Shameful really.
Anyway, we clung on to the point, and I think we deserved it – any suggestion that we only know one way to play has been truly blown out of the water in recent weeks – we’re battling and fighting and stifling and time-wasting and digging-in in a way that we really haven’t managed to do before, and it’s great to watch. Not the prettiest thing to watch, and I can understand why it frustrates the opposition, but you have to play to your strengths, and right now, that battling determination is our strength.
Hopefully Dave won’t be out for long, though I heard tell it was his hamstring – no other injuries on the day as far as I know. I can’t see Hull getting promoted unless they fluke it in the playoffs – they’re just not good enough. I also hope we end up playing them again next season, as they get really cross and whine like little bitches all through the game – that’s always entertaining.
A hard-fought point that was vital with results around us – bring on Brighton.