Game 27, 2016-17
"November seems odd," Tom Waits once sang, and the gravel-voiced troubadour would have had his suspicion confirmed if he'd shown up to watch this gravel-pitch game on a still, grey, dying day in the year's eleventh month.
|Failed sobriety test|
(pic: Referee Tales)
The first thing I notice is how crooked the freshly painted touchlines are. I'm about to ask the groundsman if he can quickly re-do the goal-line, at least, when I smell his breath. It's 1pm on a Sunday afternoon and he's already shit-faced - very slow to move and barely present in thought. I stick with what we have (see pictures) for fear of getting something worse.
The two teams are second and third bottom, but both are near the top of the Fair Play table. Only one red card between them all season. Should be a quiet game, I think. Stupidly.
The two defences are just as wobbly as the touchlines, and both teams hare out of the traps with four goals in the first 13 minutes. 2-2. There's another burst of scoring just before half-time, and we go in with the away team leading 4-3. They've only won a single game all season, and seem touchingly surprised and delighted every time they score a goal.
In the second half the goals dry up, and the spectators (two young boys - the sons of one of the home team's players) are now subject to watching something more akin to 22