Crows on the Road: Jez’s Report
No Lift off for the Crows at Leighton Town.
Match v Leighton Town FC
Tuesday 9th October 2012 19:45 kick off
Result: Leighton Town FC 1-1 Crows (Standen, 94th Minute) Attendance 91
We (yes, I’ve got a posse now!) left Royston at 17.30. Upon extensive research, I decided not to follow the route I had posted in my previous article. My new route, thanks to those kind people at Google maps, was to take us through Baldock, up towards Henlow, Flitwick and beyond! I was very proud of myself. Just to be doubly sure, my sat nav was at the ready. After picking up my passengers and back seat driver I turned the Sat nav on and nothing, blank screen of death meant that Richard had been promoted to Chief Navigator!
Things were going OK, until we reached the A5102 Round-a-bout at Flitwick, after this though our journey deteriorated to the point that Richard was about to throw the lovingly prepared directions out of the window (only problem with that, is my passenger window does not go up or down!), after cruising around the Bedfordshire countryside taking in the likes of Wickingham, Ghastly (yes there is a village called that!) and Houghton Regis, we realised that we must have been going in the wrong direction. Fascinating fact for you Crows fans, the people of Leighton Buzzard must be trying to keep their town a secret from us all, we only counted 2 signs for the entire journey, one of them was for the Town Centre!
To rub salt into the wound, in an act of desperation I reached for the Sat Nav again, guess what? It worked! Cue cries of frustration from my passengers who questioned my intelligence in switching the damn thing on.
With no more dramas in store and a working Sat Nav, we reached Church Lane, the home of the Reds at 19.00.
After fighting for a place in the car park against an aggressive Ford Focus driver (just for the records, my little old Skoda won!) we had arrived.
I must admit as we were walking towards the turnstiles, I did have a sense of unease as all we saw were Tennis courts and cricket nets, but we realised we were in the right place when a huge sign “Welcome to Leighton” guided us in the right direction.
After passing through the turnstile, the main clubhouse greeted us. The ground itself consists of a huge bank of terracing, opposite was a covered terrace, with the Leighton Town legend fading with time. To the right was a concrete stand with approximately 200 seats bolted in. To the left was a pathway with a small amount of exposed terracing which suddenly stopped at the halfway line.
The pitch looked a little dry and on closer inspection had a huge amount of divots in it. God knows what it must have been like to try and play football on this!
Our intrepid party entered the club house, which was old fashioned but warm. The staff behind the bar were pleasant if not a little eccentric! For a football club, they seemed to have their priorities slightly wrong, everywhere I looked there were posters for Leighton Town Hockey club.
Food and Drink
I was absolutely starving by the time we had arrived and I was making my way towards the food bar, I bumped into Nick a fellow Crow of some repute. He was walking with Burger in hand. I questioned him on the quality to which he replied “not bad for £2.20”. Just as I was about to reach said snack bar, Nick ran towards me and cried “don’t eat the food, its mouldy” upon closer inspection of burger, and I discovered that it was covered in mould. With appetite gone (I daren’t even risk the tea) I decided to choose life over munchies. (A fair choice as I saw Nick scream past me quicker than Ussain Bolt later in the match, clutching his stomach.
£1.50 for 10 pages of adverts and nothing else. This was a poor showing and will definitely not win the Non-League programme of the year. Just goes to prove what a remarkable job Kelly and Alan do putting together our mag for just a £1!
State of Toilets
Men’s toilets first… You could smell them a mile off in the supporters club and once in you struggled to get out. Either that or you were plunged into the urinal by the door most inconveniently placed behind you.
As we had a lady with us (or so she kept telling us!) we had a pretty good idea of what the female block was like. In fact I was offered in to “Come and Check”, like a good gentleman, I politely declined with grace. I was informed that there was a distinct lack of lighting, leading to grappling in the dark….interesting, but plenty of paper, you know… The Sun, The Sport, The Times,etc.
No tannoy or music at all. I was quite fancying some Dexies Midnight Runners to go with the ambiance of the ground.
With Luton at home, quite understandably a fairly poor showing. They only got going towards the end of the match, when after taking the lead, they questioned the ref’s every decision (They had a real point too!)
I counted 32 Crows fans, so an excellent turn out for a midweek game. Loud and supportive in the first half, willing the team to play it on the floor. As the game unfurled, mainly exasperation at every long ball played. Went a little crazy when Will’s attempted bicycle kick totally confused the home team, allowing Lil Matt Standen to smash home..
A first half of limited chances for both sides, it really became a contest in the 30th minute when the Leighton Town Number 4 basically assaulted Russell Ball and the ref only produced a yellow. Check out Kevin’s photos and you will see what I mean. The Crows huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half to no avail, although Ross Collins drilled a shot in that produced a fantastic save from their keeper. Right at the end, “The Reds” number 9 pulled off a dive that would have deserved a Gold Medal in the Olympics. Tom Daley would have been very proud.
The second half was not much different, with the Crows trying to launch it up field at every opportunity, Disaster struck 20 minutes from time when a lack of concentration allowed Leighton Town to take the lead. After this the home side took every opportunity to waste time. You could understand this as they had not won at home all season.
It was all becoming evident that the Crows were going home disappointed until Caroline (in our party) decided to have a lucky wee. With Will Norris causing panic in the area with his not so spectacular overhead kick, sub Matt Standen found himself unmarked to smash home, cue wild celebrations from the away players, bench and fans.
Man of the Match
The MOM committee in the car on the way home decided that this award should go to Jack Bradshaw for a fully committed performance against a physical Leighton team, especially with their 18ft number 9. Honourable mentions go to Taylor Parr, who had his best game in a Royston shirt and also to Will Norris, who kept us in the game with a commanding display.
Mileage for me so far (Round trips)
Jez Izod (with additional reporting from Richard and Caroline Scott)