Booking railway tickets can be a little haphazard but the general rule of the thumb is you get the best deals if you book early. With that in mind i managed to secure return tickets from Retford to London at the price of £22. Leaving Retford at 8.50am which got us into London for just gone 10.30am. The return journey entailed leaving London at 8.05pm. arriving in Retford at 9.30pm.
Today was the last day of the paralympic games, so with that in mind its hardly surprising that the train was quite busy. Upon arrival in London you couldn't help but notice the difference from a year ago when i was last down this way. Kings Cross Station is now fully finished and isn't the dump that is was before, the police were out in force (although they didn't seem unduly concerned by our group of fearsome Lady Imps supporters) And you couldn't help but notice the amount of "Team GB" t-shirts on display.
None of us had eaten yet today so we headed for the McDonald's next to Kings Cross station. We had just missed the cut off time for breakfast, so it was Big Mac meals all round for breakfast. On this point i have to admit that it was my second one in just over 12 hours. I know its not big or clever but we needed to get some food in us before we started drinking. If anybody does know of a cafe type place near Kings Cross that we could visit on future away games in London could you please let me know.
Throughout the last week i had tweeted Arsenal and written on their Facebook page to try and find out whether or not there was a bar at the ground we could drink in. Although no information was forth coming we decided to take our chances instead of going to the Wetherspoons near the McDonald's. Upon arrival we found that there was a youth tournament going on on the practice pitches outside the ground with a brass band playing merrily away. Not your average pre match entertainment and it made a nice change. Much to our relief we discovered that Gallery Suite bar was open for business.
|Best pint of the season.|
On the field Arsenal have been as dominant as ever this season. Although the scorelines may be getting closer they are still winning games, well clear at the top of the league, and are unbeaten this season in the WSL. They have only dropped points at Lincoln (3-3) Everton (2-2) and more recently a 1-1 draw at home to Bristol. All this added to the fact that the other teams keep tripping over themselves means that before kickoff the Gunners only needed six more points to take the title. In Europe they have been drawn to face FC Barcelona and on the domestic front they will face Birmigham in the Continental Cup final. Essentially, if you are going to get anything against Arsenal then you have to play very very well.
|Rather them than me!|
Lincoln had a half chance in the first minute when Hamilton chipped a ball into the box but Jess couldn't quite control her shot and it looped over the bar. Arsenal soon got to grips with the game though and started to take control. Lincoln kept their shape well though, but struggled to keep hold of the ball for any length of time. In heat like this you need to keep hold of the ball and make the other side chase after it which is what Arsenal looked to do by stretching the game and using Rachel Yankee and Gemma Davison on the wings. Meanwhile off the pitch some of our pro Lincoln chants and comments were getting a few strange looks form the Gunners fans around us. Arsenal were looking dangerous but Nic Hobbs in the Lincoln goal was more than up to the task and pulled off some great saves to keep Lincoln in the match. After the way that Lincoln had been disciplined for the first 20 minutes it was a real kick in the teeth to concede a sloppy goal on 25 minutes. Yankee got the ball wide and whipped in a cross which Nic did well to get a fist on. However not for the first time this season, the Imps defence didnt react quick enough and allowed Jennifer Beattie not one but two chances to slam the ball home to put the hosts one up. Although the goal had been coming its always annoying to concede like this especially after some sterling defensive work earlier on.
We took a stroll around the ground at halftime while feeling a tad sorry for ourselves. We slipped up here as it wasn't until we got to the entrance that we discovered that we could have nipped out for another pint in the clubhouse. Soon enough after some PA announcements that we couldn't understand, Lincoln were out and raring to go for the second half. One change for the Imps here with Sophie Barker replacing Meaghan Sargeant in the midfield.
For our part we decided to try and up the chants for the team with a few verses of "Precious Hamilton- goal machine" ringing out much to the bemusement of the Arsenal fans near us.
With 11 minutes to go Jess tore down the left, skipped past the full back, and burst into the box where she was tripped by Arsenal skipper Katie Chapman, which gave the ref no choice but to point to the spot.
In Remi Allen Lincoln have one of the best penalty takers in the WSL, and there was little doubt in my mind that she would score. Up she stepped, sent Emma Byrne the wrong way, and all of a sudden Lincoln were back in the game. A game that in they looked well out of at half time.
Cue plenty of celebrating from us and gnashing of teeth from the Arsenal fans near us.
Our post game plan consisted of more drinking. I had booked us on the 8.05pm train back so we had plenty of time to indulge. First port of call was the pub opposite the train station in Borehamwood. On the door it said it had a smart dress code but we got served with no problems and sat out in the beer garden before our train back to Kings Cross. Once back in the big smoke we headed for Kings Kebabs over the road from the station, where the food was, as ever, first class. From here we took a short walk up the road to an O'Neills pub and just drank and relived the day. Although we lost, this was a decent day out. The weather was great, the girls had given it their all and we had had a good drink. What more can you ask for? We will definitely be back at Borehamwood for more next year.
|High praise indeed for the Imps fan base.|