Melbourne Stadium, Chelmsford
Why am I even here? One of the great philosophical questions. Indeed, so existential has it got for us terminal Hawks, you'd half expect to find Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus turned among us behind the goal.
Yet, dwindling enthusiasm is never likely to be turned around when your trousers are working as reservoir for enough rainwater to irrigate an arid village; when swirling winds are highlighting your ‘how many layers shall I wear today’ guesswork as being poorly thought through; and when your team aren't so much dogged and bushy-tailed, as they are bushed and lying doggo.
Not that we turn up and expect much in terms of entertainment these days, especially when the second half starts within a downpour that suggested the match had angered God in some way. If this was the case, then He would have found many a like-minded soul amongst the Hawks behind the goal in the second half, all standing, damp, cold and dispirited, watching a display so flat you could have posted it under a locked fire-door.
Why don’t we expect much? Because our tactic these days, given wintry pitch conditions and our league position, is to go caveman on it. Our manager has never quite put it like this, but his Plan B is to go one-up-front more often than not, to sling out the fancy–dans and sling in the doggers.
This leaves us watching the kind of action one might usually see on the last day of a fitness camp for obese eight year olds; lots of huffing n’ puffing n’ hoofing. Indeed, one imagines that most of our team have spent their games recently looking over to the car park, hoping their parents have arrived to collect them.
Not that I would complain about the bullish tactics, of course, if they worked. You might guess from my tone though that there has been no discernible upturn in fortunes based on this adoption of these more utilitarian/austere/downright fugly methods. Our last four league results have seen us draw against two of the more hopeless sides in the division, Thurrock and Hampton & Richmond Borough, then lose to bitter local rivals Eastleigh and now here at Tickle-Me-Chelmo, conceding three goals in each of the last two.
All three of Chelmsford’s goals seemed to require decent finishes but apparently little resembling effort leading to. Their goals were fairly evenly spread out, appearing in the 20th, 68th and 90th minutes, but it wasn’t until after that last one that we got ours. Scott Jones, more than anyone else on our side, deserved a goal and took his, a good run and finish, with great maturity. Scott is a whole hearted striker who is winning many friends amongst the faithful by always looking as keen as a puppy chasing a squeaky toy especially considering he is often required to act as a lone striker despite being pulled out of Wessex League football only six months ago.
However this was virtually the last significant kick of the game and as prizes go, it was like the last thing left on the table in the charity raffle, the box of pencils you’d insist they keep for their next draw cos, you know, “it’s a good cause innit” (code for "I'm not cluttering up my bedside drawer with that rubbish".)
Two tough away games follow this week against Welling and Dorchester. Thanks to the ineptitude of the teams below us, we remain six points ahead of the relegation spots, but how long we can keep up the brinksmanship of relying on teams to be that little bit more terrible than us, without pressing the reset button, remains to be seen.
Previously, on dubSteps
24apr10: Havant & Waterlooville 5 Chelmsford City 2
13sep08: Chelmsford City 1 Havant & Waterlooville 2