So we were heading to Bristol to play Bristol Rovers, the Pirates away. On an October Tuesday night in the LDV Vans Trophy Cup. The 9th October 2007 to be exact. It was a significant away match for me in many ways…
1. It was my first ever LDV Vans away match.
Oh, Patrick was also there, adding less than impressive jokes, odd conversations and blue jumpers. Patrick, too would become a good away day mate, even if his personality had Dan, Austin and I in stitches at time due to his oddness. A good lad, all the same! Perhaps not as odd as myself or Dan in principle. But come on, who sellotapes their mouth, drinks fabric conditioner and turns up to an important relegation battling away match in the opponents colours. Patrick may never outlive the “blue jumper incident” from a barmy trip to Carlisle later on in the season.
On the field we didn’t concede a goal. All we needed was to nick one and we’d be through.
The ball fell kindly to Jo Kuffour who turned and shot into the bottom corner in front of us at the start of the second half. It was the first away goal I had to cheer in almost a year, the first away goal shared in the company of Dan and Patrick and as Austin did his usual “clapping”, we sealed the tie! There wasn’t even a nervous “can we hang on?” We all knew we were winning that one!
We won 1-0!
That was two away wins on the bounce. A rarity for Cherries fans, even more rare given we still hadn’t won a home match or looked any good.
After the match ended and we walked past back streets, tight, compact, barely lit and typical of an English city suburbs. Directions to and from the ground, I don’t recall. I have a feeling Dan plotted our route successfully and the final task was to drive home, safely into the next round.
However a few of my mates lived in Bristol, including Alan Scott who invited us down to his local pub for a quick pint on the way home. It was called The (Alan will update this!!!), they asked me for ID (aged 27 at the time which everyone found funny) and it was quiet in there, but we clinked our glasses and enjoyed the victory.
Northern Ireland flag got its usual airing, though Dan Darch took these photos and at the time was probably wondering what the fuck that was all about. Well, he knows now, it’s just my way of trying to stay loyal to my home country whilst living in another. It’s just me being me. I’ve tried to change but that flag always comes out somehow…
And so we were through to the next round. There was no Wembley dream for us however, as MK Dons thrashed us at home in the next round live on SKY TV, which kind of suited us as the bigger problem that reared its head was : points deduction and relegation.
The positives were car was now unbeaten in 4 away matches and we had a solid gang of good lads up for many and various random away trips.
I didn’t know it then, but due to a broken foot, going AWOL and the desire to drink rather than drive, there would be only one further away match attended in that car (Hereford, which can be read here: Hereford Away (9 Parts) ). Thanks Bristol. How sweet to have stolen victory from the Pirates!
Who We Also Met – Alan Scott
THE BEE GEES – YOU WIN AGAIN:
Couldn’t find the actual match so this one will suffice, it was 10 years earlier in 1997:
Bristol Rovers 0-1 AFC Bournemouth – Kuffour strike sends Cherries through
Jo Kuffour’s third goal of the season minutes into the second half sent Cherries into the area Quarter finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Cherries: Moss, Pearce, Cooper, Telfer, Wilson, Hollands, Lallana (Pitman 70 [O’Connor 82]), Anderton, Kuffour (Newman 87), Bradbury, Vokes.
Subs not used: Stewart, McQuoid.
An excellent finish four minutes into the second half sent Cherries on their way. Adam Lallana impressed in seventy minutes on his Cherries debut.
Rob Newman, at the age of 43, became the oldest player to appear for a league side this season. He sured up the defence for the final few minutes twenty-six years after making his first professional appearance for Bristol City.