It's back. Happy days. I made sure I was very tired on Friday night just to make sure I could get some decent shut-eye ahead of the season's return. Needless to say I woke up a few times out of excitement, though it didn't interrupt my great dream. Somehow I managed to dream about the first day of the season, however this time we were away at Crewe. It was raining heavily and I had no shoes on. Crewe's ground was very old and ramshackled. I lost my USB stick during a 0-0 draw. Some of our away day stories are not far off the weirdness of that one, to be fair.
Still, I was up bright and early, greeted by a lovely sunny day on the way to the station and pub at 0900, Bell at 9 if you will. I got the train tickets in then it was off for the first pint and a big fry up in the Wetherspoons to kick things off. Six of us left from New Barnet at 1000, joined by one other at Welwyn as we headed up to Lincoln via Peterborough, of course, always conducive to a good trip. The drinks were already flowing, some all over the floor due to some people's inability to hold things.
The only problem is with the warm days is that it does tend to heat your cans up, a real dilemma. Perhaps in the future it would be worth bringing a fridge. Though where you would plug it in or put it while you go to the football is something I haven't really thought through. We were into Lincoln by half one and we knew exactly where our destination was having been through the centre a number of times. Too hot for all these shoppers to be strolling about, in fact one of the group was so overcome by it that he had to go shopping as well. He returned with some shorts (well it was hot), new trainers and seven pairs of socks. As you do. He found us in our regular Lincoln haunt, The Cheltenham pub, dubbed 'The Shotz Bar'. Well it was good to see that shots were still on offer for £1 so little time was wasted with the Creme Egg flavour. Very nice.
After a number of annihilations on the pool table, handed out by myself, five of us were keen to purchase more, and someone decided on buying 25. That's every flavour on offer, for five of us, if you do the math. They were knocked back with little hesitancy as we strolled along to the ground in good time. We had to wait outside for a while whilst we waited for the advance tickets to be picked up. It was very exciting, but questionable as to whether it was really worth the £2 to wait outside for ages, when all we wanted to do was just to get in and watch the football. It was about five to three when we got in, to be greeted by a disappointing away turnout. With the optimism around the club, I'd have expected more. Must do better.
Still, it was a good atmopshere we created, especially after the warm applause for Bobby Robson. A good old noise from the top of the stand. And the game started well for us, in fact for the whole first half we looked on top. Three attacking midfielders gave the Lincoln defence something to worry about and it was only for excellent keeper Rob Burch, who made one or two fine saves, to stop us from going in ahead. In return, Lincoln offered little going forward but we always looked a little vulnerable with the defence appearing shaky.
0-0 at half time then, with much amusement had at the expense of Norwich who were 5-0 down at home to Colchester. whatever happened in the rest of the day, it could be far worse! Barrington Brown managed to get onto the pitch as well for the crossbar challenge. He was successful at his second attempt. Well done.
In the second half, Lincoln looked stronger and we seemed to lose our impetus, especially when The Imps took the lead through a mistake from Jake Cole. Once that had gone in, they were happy to sit and soak up the pressure. They did it very well with a very strong backline performance. We only had one clear cut chance through Bolasie, but it was again well saved by Burch.
Disappointment reigned at the final whistle, but in hindsight it's only early days and there were encouraging signs. It wasn't to put a dampener on the day as we embarked on the long journey home via everywhere, especially on the very warm Rickety Train to Newark where we once again visited The Newcastle Arms, discovered on our last trip to Lincoln. After a very quick pint and very quick dash to catch the train which nearly pulled away as we arrived, we had a bit of time to chill out finally after a long old day. We were into Stevenage soon and then stopped off for another drink in Welwyn, where the pub was soon to be filled with some very scantily clad females which was fine by us.
Things were well wound down by now and we were all knackered. We headed home on the train, I was off one stop earlier so what the others did is a mystery to me. The result, again, diappointing, but still, a great day out to start the season off. And we could be Norwich fans...!