Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pilgrims' progress

Champions League? You're having a laugh. Yesterday, rather than watching Chelsea stroll to an entirely predictable win over Marseille, I tagged along with others to the County Ground to take in a League One fixture, Swindon v Plymouth. Prawn sandwiches were in pleasingly short supply.

Faced with the choice of end, I opted to spend the evening as an honorary member of the Green Army. Now that John Carver has left Home Park to give assistance to rookie ex-Toon star Gary Speed at Sheffield Utd, the only thing our two clubs really have in common is geographical extremity - which for Plymouth means that this encounter very vaguely passes for a derby and that they could pack the away end with entertainingly boisterous support from Devon. Still, it felt like the right choice, a chance to repay the Pilgrims' generosity when we secured the title (and sealed their relegation) in April (a generosity warmly acknowledged by Chris Hughton, Kevin Nolan and Steve Harper). Plus there was a pleasing aroma of pasties in the air...

The game itself was a belter: comical defending, chances aplenty, two red cards and five goals, with Swindon coming from two down only for the Pilgrims' Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring a winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

And you know what? I got quite caught up in it all, applauding almost as enthusiastically as the natives when Wright-Phillips' header hit the back of the net. It was nearly - nearly - enough to make me forget I was celebrating the victory of a team managed by Monkey's Heed...


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