Posted by sean on September 19, 2009 at 11:20 pm in Bath City with No Comments

I’m now home, after making the longest Bath City away trip of the season (barring any cup games) to Dover.

While we had to travel the complete breadth of the country, a 400 mile round trip, the journey didn’t seem as bad as some others I have been on. I guess this is because the weather was good; once we had got past London, there were some new motorway sights; and there were no traffic jams – all very important factors to football fans making regular away trips.

My only previous visits to Dover have been en route to France by ferry. Indeed, upon driving into the town, we were greeted by the sea, with many boats and ferries moored in the various docks and marinas around the coastline.

On the late summer’s afternoon, it was a picturesque sight. Unfortunately, the rest of the town was not so nice, and as the coach drove away from the shores of The English Channel, towards the football ground, we were reminded that Dover is just like many other towns in the south east of the country – lots of rubbish shops and ugly houses.

Moving on from Bath snobbery; Dover Athletic’s football ground, The Crabble, was very nice – and along with Bromley, St. Albans (and Bath City’s), one of my favourite stadiums in the league.

I didn’t like the club house very much. While very large and modern, with massive televisions and spotlessly clean toilets, it was more like a ‘yuppie pub’ than your standard footie watering hole – their fans would be forgiven for saying “my clubhouse is now a trendy wine bar”. Like most south east pubs, it also sold crap drinks – Fosters and John Smiths, with the only cider on offer being Magners, which doesn’t count as cider if you live in the West Country.

As for the football, Dover were top of the league, with an excellent home record. Bath City have not shared the success of their rivals, sitting midtable. With almost half the squad missing with or playing through injury, I wasn’t holding out much hope of anything.

Dover started well, but City weathered the storm and managed to get to half time 0-0. The good work continued into the second half, with City containing Dover, although creating little chances themselves. The inevitable happened on the hour, and the home side scored. With no honourable substitutes to bring on and most of the players on the pitch hobbling around like soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, it was damage limitation time.

With just minutes ago, out of absolutely nothing, Bath City managed to somehow score and equalise. Like the other 1,068 fans in the ground, I couldn’t believe it – surely this was too good to be true! It probably was, as in sickening fashion, with literally seconds left, Dover ran down the other end of the pitch and scored a second goal, winning the game. So, so cruel. It’s like giving a baby a lick of an ice cream, before snatching it away.

I left the ground, feeling very depressed. Had City not equalised and simply lost the game 1-0, I wouldn’t have felt so gutted. We then began the long journey back to Somerset. I was somewhat comforted with the news Leeds had gone top of League One. I also treated myself to a stupidly overpriced Burger King meal at Reading Services. I was forced to buy it as I would not have got home to Stupid O’Clock, when it would have been far too late to eat, yet alone cook.

After such a long day, I’m totally exhausted. Think it’s time for bed now.

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