Date: 31st August 2009 at 8:35pm
Written by:

In the five days prior to this fixture, I was sunning myself in 33 degree heat in the Murcia region of Spain. I flew into Gatwick airport at 8pm on Friday night and eventually got home around ten, after a night of sorting out I finally got to bed in the early hours with the alarm clock set for 6:45am ahead of the long trip north to Grimsby.

After what felt like a ten minute sleep the alarm went off and I naturally switched it off and fell back asleep. I was then awoken by a text message from FATBOY informing me that Oasis had split up (I knew this 7 hours ago) and as I prepared to send a sarcastic reply I noticed the time was 07:13 and I had 17 minutes to be up and out of the door. I was up like a shot, got dressed, grabbed some breakfast and prepared my matchday diet of Irn Bru and pies…

Photobucket

I was fully prepared now, my mate picked me up at 7:30 and we made the journey over to Aldershot to catch the coach at 8am. With engineering works making the journey via rail practically impossible, we opted for the official coach, which was incredibly good value at £15.

The bus left at 8am and we set off in high spirits. Due to various holidays this was my first league match of the season, so I had the excitement that the others were feeling three weeks ago.

Before long we stopped at Leicester services and we decided to treat ourselves to a KFC. I had a two piece colonel meal, which came with the warmest Pepsi in the history of the world. I ate the food, but binned the drink as I still had my beloved orange nectar on the coach.

The journey continued without much further incident and before long we were in the delightful town of Grimsby. The first thing that struck me was that it was a lot sunnier than the last time I visited. Despite this, there was still a chill in the air, but nowhere near as bad as last time.

As we arrived we headed for the ticket office to buy our tickets and avoid the long queue we were faced with last season. A student ticket for myself cost £12, not brilliant but in line with most clubs at this level. After this we headed across the road to the Blundell Park Hotel, where the Aldershot supporters seemed to be gathered. It was a nice pub with a good atmosphere, cheap drinks (in comparison with the south) and tellys showing the early kick off between Chelsea and Burnley. As predicted, it was a comfortable home win and we decided to make our way to the ground at around 2:45.

One of the great things about supporting a team like Aldershot is the lack of queues at the turnstiles, and this was no different. With only 163 fans making the trip we went straight in and after a trip to the little boy`s room, I made my way into the away end.

Photobucket

The teams came out, did their handshake and got ready for kick off. As the game started a chant of ‘come on the Shots’ started and ended up continuing for the first 15 minutes of the match, without interruption. One of the things that sticks in the memory of last season’s trip to Grimsby was the atmosphere in the away end. It has terrific acoustics, meaning that even with a small following you are still able to make a lot of noise – as the Shots fans were demonstrating here.

As for the game, Grimsby had the better of the opening exchanges and had the ball in the net after 10 minutes, but the linesman’s flag saved us from falling behind. The support continued from the away end and on 26 minutes a Louis Soares cross was met by the head of Scott Donnelly who gave us the lead and sent the travelling fans into raptures. We’d scored our first goal of the season away from home and the fans were loving it.

After taking the lead we were well on top and could have easilly increased the lead before half time. The half time whistle came as a relief for myself, after a summer out I was severley lacking in match fitness and was absolutley shattered by the bouncing and singing and had myself a well deserved 15 minute break. Thankfully the stitch had gone by the start of the second half, so what I didn’t really need (although it was certainly welcome) was Scott Donnelly scoring again just 4 minutes after the restart.

After his original shot was parried, Donnelly rounded the keeper and scored his 4th goal in two games to put us firmly in control. More celebrations followed as the away contingent started to believe that we might actually see a rare win on the road.

As usual with Aldershot, and as I fully expected, we conceeded with nine minutes remaining. A cross from the left was met by Barry Conlon and we found ourselves hanging on in a match that we could have put to bed by half time. However, after a few scares a scrap between the players in stoppage time lead to two Grimsby players being sent off and ended any chances of two points being lost. The full time whistle went as fans and players rejoiced, away wins don’t come very often so we made sure we enjoyed this one!

Photobucket

It was then back to the bus for the 250 mile journey south, with three points in the bag.

There was one final stop at a service station, before arriving home at around 10:30 after a very good day out.

Photobucket