After a series of recent long distance away fixtures it was really nice to only have to make the short hop into London yesterday. It meant that fans had the opportunity to get things done in the morning, yours truly a haircut and as our own Gilly explained, “it means we can have a night out!” By 12.15 three packed Clarkes of London coaches were on their way up the M23 and around the M25 cutting north into Brentford. Ken, Paul and Matt, making his coach stewarding debut, looked after us on the day. Chris Covey, who was, “absolutely delighted” won the £20 football gamble on coach one while Marilyn won on coach 3. She said, “I would rather have 3 points than to have won this!” (a bad omen perhaps?).
There was no hint of bad things to come as lots of us congregated in the Griffin Pub just outside the ground. The sun was shining and everyone seemed to be having a great time. In keeping with the short distance there was no surprise that many had made the effort, and it was lovely to see so many families in the ranks. East Stand season ticket holders Lloyd and Lauren Booker (Southgate) were with mum and dad. The youngsters were taking in their first ever away match. Lauren said, “it’s all very exciting!”
Griffin Park is a traditional old ground that has seen improvement over the past few years. Older readers might recall that the away “pen” used to be an open terrace- which was pretty horrible to be honest. These days we have the luxury of choice either in the cosy (if you have very short legs) upstairs covered seating area (Brook Road Stand) or the covered terrace downstairs behind the goal. With around 350 downstairs Reds fans certainly made their presence felt.
My story pretty much goes down hill from 3pm onwards as our beloved team were taken apart by a strong and spirited home performance. They seem to get out the blocks very quickly and only keeper Paul Jones could take much credit out of the 1st half. On 60 mins we received a much needed shot in the arm when their defender bundled home an own goal. Unfortunately we couldn’t take advantage and Donaldson broke through to notch his 2nd and winning goal. In the final moments there was a flicker of a chance but the game and points were lost.
After some amazing away highs of late the result came hard to a lot of us travelling home. Coach 3 seemed very quiet indeed. Mind you, 3 young lads on the back seat were taking it all in their stride. Birthday boy Harry Rothwell (11) a West Stand season ticket holder, of Broadfield was sharing the day with dad Darren and mates Harrison and Owen. He explained, “we have all had a great day so far, the result was awful, but we are having a lot of fun and my friends are staying over this evening sharing a pizza!” Dad was equally upbeat saying, “If you have offered me 6th place after 11 games I would have snapped your arm off.” Whether he was quite so upbeat after an evening waiting on those three remained to be seen!
He is dead right of course. Time to forget what happened yesterday and look forward to a trip back to Griffin Park on Tuesday before another exciting home fixture on Saturday against bottom of the league Bury. RB’s old club. That’ll be interesting!
Words and pictures from Colin “Special Brew” Bowman, CTSA Matchday Press