We were always going to make this 90 mile trip to Leicestershire to watch Shepshed it was just a matter of when to go and with only 5 games left for us between now & Christmas we thought we would use our £30 worth of ‘Red Spotted Hanky’ vouchers we’ve saved up (and have to be used before 31/12/12) on today’s FA Vase 2nd round tie with Rocester FC. Why were we always going to make this trip? Because they play at Butthole Lane! Yes i know it’s a schoolboys dream but like i’ve said before, we’re old enough to know better but too young to care! And it’s not like anyone takes this nonsense seriously anyway
The week leading up to the game had gone well. I had joined the Shepshed forum and got a bit of feedback from a couple of members about the place especially the post telling me that Happy Hour in the clubhouse was 1 till 2 with beer at just £2 a pint! (that will please the big fella) and i had sent an email to the club informing them we were coming and got a great reply from Mick, the press officer telling me 2 tickets would be left on the gate for us plus a mention in the match day programme! Spot On
I felt the need to Facebook this info as Mick’s email ended with the quote “Looking forward to meeting you on Saturday Tony, you will love it up the Butthole!” (see it’s not just me!) Tracey O’Brien immediately commented on the FB status and a rather odd public conversation broke out, i’ll leave it to you to enlarge the photo and have a look i’ve never met Tracey but she’s the girl on the left in the ‘bus chase’ photo from Step 13 and she has tracked the Rhino down to confirm she was indeed being ‘groped’ at the time of the photo and because of this the big fella has to sign some sort of register once a week for the next 12 months! How’s about that then!
10am and we’re at the bus stop with plenty of time to get into Piccadilly for the 10.43 train to Sheffield. My girlfriend has jumped in on the act as her FB status reads “Tony has just left telling me – i’m off to take the Rhino up the Butthole, see you later” yeah thanks Hun, that had various texts & pm’s lighting our phones up! Even more concerning was the big fella give it a ‘like’ !!!
All was going well, we arrived at the station at 10.30 but when we got to platform 13 we found the Liverpool to Norwich service (calling at Sheffield) was delayed by 30 minutes and we only had a 15 minute connection window at Sheffield for the train to Loughborough! There was a local service leaving for Sheffield at 10.45 but it calls at all stations and without knowing what time it was due in at Sheffield we got on it.
As the train departed i finally got the Rail App to work on my phone only to discover we were due in at 12.04 meaning we would still miss our connection by 12 minutes! The knock-on effect of this delay means we would be walking into the clubhouse at Shepshed at about 2.20 instead of 1.20 and so miss Happy Hour (that won’t please the big fella) but all this was nothing compared to the drama that was about to unfold!
As the train stopped at New Mills all the passengers were now alerted by the sounds of someone banging on the toilet door from inside and the faint feminine cry of “help! Let me out… i’m stuck” could be heard coming from within the tiny compartment. The train guard, a young blonde girl in her 20’s seemed to be panicking somewhat coming out with the usual “keep calm, help is on its way” rubbish and when the ‘help’ did arrive it was the driver with a little screwdriver!
After 5 minutes or so of the driver picking at the broken lock and scratching his head & his arse a lot while the guard was telling everyone else on the train to stay calm for some reason i felt i had to act and do something to help this fair maiden in distress! So i jumped from my seat, slapped my hand on the Rhino’s shoulder and announced “what we need is a big lad who can smash the door down and set her free!”
This resulted in operation ‘Rhino Rescue’ as the big fella calmly walked up the train, pointed at the drivers little screwdriver telling him “that’s pathetic” then elbowed the little glass panel to release the emergency axe and set to work hacking away at the door! lol BRILLIANT! Even i didn’t expect this from him. The driver stepped back and shrugged his shoulders and the guard, thinking i was videoing the Rhino at work, started shouting at me… “put that camera away, i’m sure the young lady trapped is embarrassed enough without you filming it!” i wasn’t really sure what she meant considering the girl was still trapped so obviously out of sight, so i simply replied “behave yourself, i’ll get £250 off Jeremy Beadle for this!”
About 15 minutes later the poor girl emerged from the toilet to a hearty cheer from everyone on the train, like that wasn’t going to happen Droylsden’s newest superhero handed the axe back to the guard for some stupid reason as she was now using it as a pointer as she chastised me yet again! (bit scary) But i wouldn’t be at all surprised if Northern Rail send the big fella a bill for the mangled door lock even though we would of probably still been there if he hadn’t of done it!
We finally arrived at Sheffield at 12.25 so we were still in good time for the 12.47 to Loughborough which was one of those nice inter-city trains as opposed to the last one which was more of a cattle truck! No dramas on this service and we arrived on time-ish at 1.45 to connect with the Shepshed Sprinter bus right outside the station.
£2.30 for a single ticket on the bus, can’t buy a return because the last bus back is 5.25pm and because today is a Vase game there may be 30 minutes extra time if it’s a draw at the end of 90 meaning we would miss it and have to catch a different bus from another provider or a taxi back to the station.
The bus left on time as you would expect considering the station is its starting point, at 1.53 and arrived just after 2.15 at The Crown pub on the Bull Ring to complete our eventful peasant-powered journey! We checked with the driver for walking directions to the ground but before he could answer one of the passengers piped up.. “that’s where i’m off to, c’mon i’ll show you the way” the old boy wasn’t too nimble on his feet as we chatted to him slowly walking towards the ground, which suited us fine! But as we approached Butthole Lane he did come out with a little gem of a statement when he said “normally i would point out some places of interest here in Shepshed, but…. well there isn’t any” lol lol TOP MAN!
So after walking out of my front door at 9.45 this morning, we arrive at the ground just after 2.30! only an hour late to be fair and not too bad on the purse, £24.75 day return with the railcard less £15 worth of vouchers plus a £2.30 bus ride meant we had spent £12.05 each on travel so far.
Dynamo press office, Mick Voce met us at the gate and welcomed us as his guests for the day, “welcome to The Dovecote guys, hope you had a good trip?” fortunately he had been keeping an eye on the tweets i had been sending throughout the day so that saved me a lot of time answering his question lol
Once inside the Butthole Dovecote, we bought a programme and a couple of golden goal tickets even though i’ve never, ever won one of these things! before moving on to the club shop for a Shepshed scarf as I’ve now decided to collect the odd scarf from here & there on my travels.
From there we’re in the clubhouse for the first of the day! The steward had been told of our delayed journey and said we could have the 2 pints at Happy Hour prices which was very nice of him however this was not needed as a chap called Nick Blackburn insisted on buying them for us! Nick and a few other avid Dynamo fans collect money for the ‘Help the Heroes’ campaign by going to all of Shepshed’s games both home & away in shorts! Bit cold for that if you ask me but it’s for a great cause and if you’ve not spent all your money on children in need have a quick look at Nick’s page and maybe chuck a few bob over? Shorts for Heroes
ooh quick rant – Why do we need Children in Need to raise £30 million to pay for what should be being provided by the government (which apparently can’t afford them) when the same government can afford to throw away £100 million on PCC elections we neither needed nor wanted? – rant over
We took our place for kick off right on the half way line right in the middle of the 2 dugouts, it was just on the other side of the players tunnel which put us in with the away fans which wasn’t a problem, we just normally side with the home team on match day but we planned to get in with the ‘shorts for heroes’ crowd for the second half because they seemed like our sort of people…. MAD!
3 o’clock came around and Mr. Oldham gets step 15 off & running! Dynamo in their home colours of a toon-army style black & white kit are only playing their second Vase game of the season after safely dispatching Blidworth Welfare 2-0 in the last round which was also their entry level into the competition. Rocester or The Romans are playing in an all blue kit and have had to play in all 3 of the previous rounds but have blown away Sporting Khalsa 2-1, Castle Vale JKS 4-0 and Bewdley Town 4-0 to be here today.
A rather physical encounter from both sides in the opening 15 on a heavy, rain-soaked pitch with one or two eyebrow raising tackles flying in that had both dugouts on their feet and on the ref’s back. The game wasn’t going to form with the Romans looking the better of the 2 sides but without causing any real threat up front.
Dynamo were hitting back on the break and with pace, left back Ricky Aietan was linking up well with Kieran Bradshaw down the left feeding new signing Alex Troke who had a couple of efforts early on go just wide & over. Rob Mulonga was also having success down the right for the home side and i thought the opening goal was coming from him but he just couldn’t connect from a Aietan cross.
Aietan was involved in the action again with a rather crunching tackle on Romans No.7 Mensah Kinch. I don’t think the pitch helped as the winger was sent crashing to the ground but it did enrage the visitors’ dugout & mainly gaffer Dave Langston who voiced his anger towards his opposite number shouting.. “Do you teach them that? Really, is that what you coach?” which i have to say i thought was brilliant lol lol
The visitors bench now firmly believing the Ref was a ‘Dynamo in Disguise’ were more than a little critical of any decisions he made against them but unfortunately i try to keep this blog as clean as i can making it impossible for me to type them out! But there was nothing either the Romans bench or defence could do as we approached the half hour for the first goal of the day.
A free kick from about 30 yards out was sent in by Sam Wood that found skipper Rob McCormick on the far post, McCormick headed it back towards the penalty spot and No. 9 Liam Fitzpatrick kept his cool to pick his spot through the crowded area and slotted the ball home for 1-0. Just one minute later Dynamo nearly doubled their lead when the luckless Troke blasted his shot against the crossbar to the relief of Romans keeper Richard Froggatt who was well beaten.
A rather scrappy last 10 minutes with lots of needless, annoying tackles from both teams that had more action coming from the benches than on the pitch. A bit of ‘handbags’ right at the end of the half seen Fitzpatrick’s name taken by Mr. Oldham but as he blew to end the first 45 Langston was laying in wait for him! I only caught a little of his rant as they left the pitch but to ask a referee “Don’t you think you should be doing better?” and “you do know all the rules of the game yeah?” is pure class! I like this guy…. A LOT! HT. 1-0.
Rhino – i’ve gone for the steak & kidney option today, because it was the only option as it goes but i’ve tarnished it with chips & gravy for an extra £1.70 bringing the total to £3. I was just going to get the pie on its own but the staff at the Dynamo Diner, who i’m tempted to call Burt & Ernie but i won’t, talked me into going for the full meal.
The pie tasted a lot like a Wright’s offering but i could be wrong. A nice flaky pastry top but a somewhat weaker or thinner pastry used for the sides & bottom meaning this is NOT a pie that can be eaten by hand unless you want a sleeve full of gravy of course! Good size pieces of steak & kidney are held within and no evidence of that annoying gristle stuff that gets stuck between your teeth for hours after either, well done. Bovril made with the excellent granules is on offer for a mere 80p a cup for extra points from me as i score today’s half time treat at 8.4 out of 10.
Mel B. – well what a refreshing change to find a couple of men at the helm in the Dynamo Diner! As much as i think a woman’s touch in the kitchen is a good thing i’m pretty sure Ernie & Burt cope just fine without that feminine touch. A quick look at today’s price list doesn’t show different types of pies on offer and with the Rhino only having the one option i’m a little concerned that’s all you have? If so then there’s room for improvement there.
A nice, clean looking little set up the guys have going on there at the Diner but gentlemen please… HATS! You don’t have to go with them silly hair nets or the full-on chefs special but i think one of those butchers’ trilbies at a jaunty angle would look great! Added points for the Bovril from me also in my score of 7.3 and the Pundit quote (Jon Champion on Suarez) is.. When you only have one to choose from, then that’s the one you choose!
We’re back for the second half and although we had promised the Shepshed Ultras we would watch the rest of the game with them, we decided to stay where we were as we felt sure there was more banter to come from both benches
Both sides appeared to have had a ‘pep talk’ during the interval as chances were now being created at both ends in the first 10 of the half. Troke should of done better when he was 1-on-1 with the keeper but his tame shot was easily gathered up by Froggatt to keep the Romans just one adrift. At the other end, Edwin Asante-Ahenkorah shrugged off a couple of defenders to shoot just wide and Ryan Grocott must of thought he had levelled the scores when his perfectly hit free kick was heading for the top corner only for Scott Low to produce one of the best saves i’ve seen on tour this season!
Rocester finally got back on level terms 15 minutes in from another set play. A free kick floated into the Dynamo box wasn’t dealt with properly and the loose ball fell to the feet of No. 2 Joe Rogers who spotted a gap in the crowd to side-foot home. 1-1.
Just 2 minutes later the Langston bench were on their feet again as Carl Allen won the ball in midfield and played a quick pass to Asante-Ahenkorah. A-A ran with the ball down the left before sending a low cross into the Dynamo 6 yard box and Chris Sterling was right on the money (ooh sorry) to smash the ball home! 1-2.
It was ‘heads down’ i’m afraid to say for the home side from now on, totally deflated by the 2 quick goals from Rocester who in contrast were growing in confidence as you might expect. Mensah Kinch who had impressed all day for the visitors once again found himself upside down after a late tackle and when Mr. Oldham decided to take no action following this common assault Langston once again sprang to his feet… “Oi… GINGER! You GOTTA’ be kidding me!!!” lol lol i love this guy!
The Romans played out the rest of the second half with a packed but well organized midfield, pass & move was the order of the day and it worked well limiting Dynamo to only a few half chances for the remainder. As the clock ticked past 90 Sterling was brought down in the area by Scott Low and the keeper was lucky to be shown just a yellow by Mr. Oldham as everyone in the ground was expecting a red. I quickly glanced over to see Dave Langston’s reaction to the yellow but he just stood hands on hips, shaking his head lol i bet he would have reacted differently if there was 20 minutes left instead of 2!
Sterling took the spot kick himself and notched up his second for the day and sent Rocester into Monday’s 3rd round draw with the £1,200 cheque from the FA on its in the post. A ‘touching moment’ as i get a photo with Dave Langston as the teams leave the pitch, if ever Rocester play Droylsden it would be worth the admission price just to see this guy and Dave Pace on the touchline never mind the football lol! FT. 1-3.
In the past we’ve found that when the home side get beat the fans tend to wander off and can’t be bothered with a couple of Manc’s on a jolly up but that wasn’t the case at Shepshed. The home fans tipped their hats to the better side on the day (even though they wasn’t happy about it) and congratulated them on their win. Spirits were still high in the clubhouse even after losing and the Shorts for Heroes lads told me it’s free admission for the next home game so people will have extra money to throw into the collection buckets! What a great gesture from the club, well done Dynamo
After 20 minutes in the club it was time for us to ‘stick or twist’ should we stay for a few more beers and get a £15-ish taxi back to the station or be cheapskates & go for the last bus? The latter of course! We’re Manc’s lol lol.
After a 5 minute walk & a 5 minute wait the 5.25 turned up bang on time! “right let’s see what the journey home has in store for us” i tell the big fella as we part with another £2.30 to board the bus. During the journey our thoughts turn to our ‘man of the match’ for today’s game, we both decided on Liam Fitzpatrick for the home side but for the Romans & outright winner we went for Mensah Kinch. Played well, quite skilful, got kicked off the park more often than not but the thing that swung it was the Dynamo fan who shouted out at him during the game “Hey Mensah, No.7, is that your shirt number or your I.Q.?” yeah, bet he’s never heard that one before mate.
Easy up to now, bus arrived at 5.55 and the 6.04 to Nottingham was only a couple of minutes late and it was one of them speedy quick trains from St. Pancras with comfy seats instead of one of them cattle truck jobs. We arrive at Nottingham at 6.30 and the 6.45 to Liverpool calling at Sheffield & Manchester is on time! Wait a minute; didn’t Notts Forrest play Sheff Wednesday today?
Platform 6 at Nottingham had an army of the hi-vis brigade as well as more police than i’ve seen in one place since the Manchester riots! Wednesday had been beaten 1-0 at the City Ground less than 2 hours ago and the station was rammed with blue & white owls all wanting the same train as us! The big fella blamed me for this minor inconvenience and said something about me and the brains i was born with when it comes to travel plans but i didn’t quite catch what he said
To be fair the Wednesday fans were great! Even though the train was packed with most of the standing room taken up as well, they were in fine voice all the way to Sheffield including the classic song that all clubs have their own version of that starts… “we hate Nott-ing-ham Forr-est, we hate _ _ _ too” if nothing else it was entertaining but i think the young Wednesday fan who looked about 10 summed it up when he turned to his dad and said “this is great! Imagine what it would be like if we were good & win?” lol the things kids say eh?
Into Piccadilly for 8.35 and another 5 minute walk to the bus station for the last leg of our 180 mile round trip to Shepshed. The 216 Sweaty Spaniard Special set off with us on it just before 9pm and one of us is very happy about it
We finally walk through the door of Droylsden’s No. 1 Tapas bar The Sweaty Spaniard at about 9.20! a bit of a monster day out and the Rhino immediately sets up a bar tab and posts 3 pints in rapid succession in the time it took me to get through my first!
I spent the next hour or so trying to convince the big fella that Northern Rail had looked at their CCTV and got the web address off the back of his coat and had now sent an email asking for an address they could send the bill to for the damage to the door he had caused. The battery on the big fella’s phone had long since died so he had no way of checking it himself until his stupid Brother turned up with a charger!
So that’s it, I took the Rhino up the Butthole and we both loved it! we went to Shepshed as Dynamos for the day and came away with a real soft spot for the Romans as well. There’s some video footage of today’s game that’s free to watch on Dynamo’s website plus i would also like to apologise to all Rocester fans for spelling Rocester with an ‘H’ in all the tweets i sent on the day – my bad, it’s a Manc thing
Down to the last 32 in the Vase now with only Winsford United & Wigan Robin Park left in it from all our local teams and we’ve seen both of them already so it looks like we’ll be munching up some more miles again on Dec. 8th
Next up is the 1st round proper in the Trophy and a relatively short journey over to FC Halifax and a look at the Shaymen as they take on Altrincham for our 16th game of the season. Until then Blog Buds…….
Travel Cost each – £14.35 Bus & Train
Admission each – Nil
Mileage covered – 183.8
Total Travel Cost – £81.80
Total Admission – £73.00
Total Mileage – 933.0