Two Long Journeys and a Defeat

22 09 2007
Aberystwyth Town 2 Bangor City 1
Welsh Premier League
22/9/07
The X32 Ultras gathered at 9:00 their destination was Aberystwyth. Our journey was a marathon one but at least it was accompanied by Mash’s varied and extremely vivid recollections. Roughly three and a half hours later we were greeted by a rather large traffic queue at Aber’s outskirts. Bloody students, why did they all choose to arrive today? Walking became the best option.Despite rumours that circulated earlier in the week there were no familiar faces in town. We thought about going to the ground but my hunger was almost overpowering. After feasting in Wetherspoons we found more friendly faces at the ground. Apparently it was European Fair-Play Day today. As a result both teams lined up behind a big Yellow flag. Would the players abide by the spirit of the day? Rhyl weren’t in the vacinity so the answer would be yes, probably.

The depleted blue masses made their way to the hilly end to roar the boys on. Whether this had any effect is debatable but Bangor did look good. Sion was able to go past people at will, passes found their intended target, chances were created. By halfway through the half none of the chance had been taken. Then Les met a bouncing through ball with his head and nudged it delicately over the advancing keeper. He shepherded the ball home. We were all set for another memorable day in Aber.

The weather began to change. Grey cloud led to inconsistent drips then eventually giving way to to a mini downpour. The weather correlated perfectly with the progress of the game; Bangor were now drawing. A pass from Sion to our defence was too short and Sherbon took advantage of the confusion to score with his second attempt.

It stopped raining just before half time but we still had a sopping time in the club house. I decided that the wind held in the stand would help dry us. Now we were going to be attacking this end we‘d prevail; we usually played well attacking this end. Well in the last two games anyway. Us blues weren’t alone in this stand; due to the precipitation the majority of the first half occupiers remained. This felt a little restrictive; we couldn’t have as good a time with them in place. Luckily some left, rather more unluckily a loud mouthed family remained at the back of the stand, more about them later.

Both Sion and Aber went close at the start of the second period but they were just the preliminaries. The real action started after about ten minutes. Some Aber pressure resulted in a corner. One of Aber’s players connected well with the ball and it was speeding in. Then Peter Hoy sacrificed himself by palming the ball over the bar. The obligatory red card and penalty followed. Luke Sherborn scored. The ten men were behind.

Bangor went for a three man defence. Aber’s inability to fashion any noteworthy goal attempts indicated that they were well organised and hard-working. As the half progressed this became more and more obvious. It was quite amazing how few chances Aber made. It looked like they hadn’t worked out they were playing against ten men, Bangor looked more like the team that had a full compliment. Instead of engineering situations where they had an overlap Aber were content to rely on the long ball.

Bangor looked like the only team that was going to score in the last ten minutes. Unfortunately there was a general lack of subtlety and accuracy in these attempts although a few corners were forced. There were a group of vocal Aber fans at the back of the stand, every time we started to sing they joined in but subverting the songs with an Aber slant. Every foul was cheered as if a great move just occurred. Every Bangor miss was given the arms outstretched and “aaahhhh” stance. Every comment from us was answered by the tit of a father. The worst thing was the whole family involved themselves in this behaviour. People like this start trouble. Not only were we losing but the irrtation was multiplyed by the tosser with the loudmouth. Today represented another three dropped points in mid Wales.

A couple of hours, and a few drinks, later we left the clubhouse. The sun was shining and this dulled my negativity. We’d secured passage home on the team coach. Was the adage about never meeting your heroes about to be proved correct? I boarded the coach and felt the gaze of the players. Their faces spoke volumes; “Who is this character?” The coach was a cut above the supporters’ coaches, it was plush; It had foot rests, aeroplane style luggage compartment and even triangular heda rest covers.

I had expected the juvenile banter beloved by groups of males together but refreshingly the players were very well behaved. A drinking game commenced and Mash was in the middle of it. His voice could be heard frequently on this trip back. There’s a fine system in place with the players, to pay for the their big Christmas night out. I chose to take this to mean that at least they care about their image in Bangor shirts. En route we passed by all the mid Wales grounds, Aber, Caersws, Newtown, Welshpool and XXX XXX XXXXXX. We dropped some of the players off in Chester. Peter Hoy and Stotty thanked us for coming. We dropped some more players by St. David’s Hotel. Then it was just the Bangor lads and Mash moidering them, Ben Ogilvy was renamed “Ogilivily” in a song. Ah the effects of drink turn everyone into Bacharach. I left the coach in Junction to the sound of goodbye ringing in my ears and my faith slightly restored.

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