Thurrock Hotel, Thurrock
Thurrock have come into the New Year cast adrift at the bottom of the division, holding up the Conference South like a sunken ship supports the sea. This is in the sense that the ship lies there at the bottom motionless, only burping out the occasional air bubble, as the sea goes about its business as if the ship wasn’t there. To cut a long story short, Thurrock ain’t much good this year. Then again, neither are we, so if ever a game had 0-0 written all over it, it was this.
Fun times then. All worth it, eh? Mmmmm, weeeee-ell, the adjacency of the Lakeside shopping centre aside, and the handsome bacon baguettes served in the football club’s tiny tea bar, there is little to commend this part of the borough. The Thames at its least picturesque, the A13 and M25 bundling folks functionally hither and thither, oil refineries crushing the landscape, and a tidy yet rarely-troubled-by-attendees football ground; these are the things that constitute the view from the windows of the Thurrock Hotel. I know, I know, what did I expect, herds of Wildebeest sweeping majestically etc.
So, yeah, you gets what you gets here. Purposeful, but plain. This is a pretty good description of most of the football I’ve seen in this environment too. I’ve watched us here seven times now and this isn’t my first goal-less. The Hotel was also the scene, for the record, of the only abandoned fixture I’ve attended. However, being an afternoon kick-off, there would be no floodlight failure to rescue me today.
So, we had to make our own fun. Given our striker Ollie Palmer was making his first appearance after a less than professional family fortnight abroad in early January, potentially appropriate tunes were suggested for singing as he entered the fray from the bench. Typically Tropical’s ‘Barbados’ was one, 'Come Fly With Me' another. After workshopping a Sex Pistols idea with my terrace colleagues, I have now settled on “Ollie wants a holiday in the sun/He’s going to go…mid-season”. Sadly, sitting here tapping away at 9pm, I think the moment has passed. Whenever I have a reasonable idea, you can usually gather its usefulness expired some hours before.
To further keep our minds off of what was passing for football out amongst the winds swirling around the pitch, we also had the novelty of the Hawk Supporters’ Club (Korean Branch) in our midst. Young Adrian, absent in the Far East teaching English as a foreign language for nigh on two years now, returned to check up on just how fucking terrible we’ve been in his absence. [nb. You don’t get many heavy swears in your dubSteps, and we apologise for any offence caused, but after lengthy deliberation in the conference room, no other word was deemed of sufficient weight.]
For Adrian, as a man who favours going to countries and embedding himself in local flavours, gathering as authentic an experience as he can, it is entirely appropriate that instead of a ‘wish you were here’ idealised picture postcard, the Hawks were able to offer our man an entirely typical ‘aren’t you glad you’ve not been here’ buff-envelope of a performance, only enlivened by a wicked deflection that took a Steve Ramsay shot onto the post, and chances for Perry Ryan and Ollie Palmer that were smartly extinguished by James White and Craig Holloway respectively. At the other end, Thurrock had the best chance of the lot, but Lee Boylan blazed a sitter over the bar.
Thus, a point and a clean sheet on the road but with Thurrock being like a small boy trapped down a well, we missed the opportunity to nick the satchel he left at the top. Then again, it could have been worse, and often has been, so I am choosing to be grateful for this small mercy.
Previously, on dubSteps
05dec09: Thurrock 0 Havant & Waterlooville 0
04mar08: Thurrock 0 Havant & Waterlooville 2