Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brighton and Hove Albion 4 Barnet 0
Carling Cup Round 1

When you support a small lower division club like Barnet there are certain things that you have to accept. One of those is that there will be nights like this where, mid week, away at a small crappy stadium your team, made of nominally competent professional footballers, will turn in a performance of such woeful ineptitude as to leave you questioning whether they have perfected the art of walking and breathing at the same time. Make no mistake, it was awful.

So where to begin? Well first of all I would like to give you a blow by blow account of this debacle telling you where it all went wrong, but given that this farce took place at the Withdean this is not really possible. For the unitiated Brighton currently occupy a temporary home with a series of temporary stands surrounding an athletics track with a pitch in the middle. So given the shear distance of yours truly from the action I can’t give much detail on any individual.

The signs were not good from the start, a fairly harmless situation as Brighton attacked down the right lead to a cock up, then a shocking tackle which I think the Barnet player was lucky not to be sent off for, a free kick to the far post, no defending, no marking, no fucking effort what so ever and bang, 1-0, 90 seconds gone.

Still, plenty of time to come back eh? And so Barnet made some forays forward, most of which ended with the ball being given away. It was all quite turgid with the monotony broken only by a series of songs about a giant cuddly black and amber fish that some of the more enterprising members of the Barnet support had won on Brighton pier. One of those forays in the mean time became quite promising and saw a cross flash across the box and which no less than 3 unmarked Barnet players failed to connect with. It was the nearest we would come all night.

At least Barnet were trying to entertain but more in the Laurel and Hardy style of things as yet a other wayward pass let Brighton in for their second. To be honest I’m not quite sure what happened, I recall groaning in despair as the right back gave it away and next thing I knew the ball was in the net. At this point I realised just how long a football season could be and at this rate this could be the longest on record.

The comedy continued, Brighton made it 3 with an almost carbon copy of the 1st and at this point came the most entertaining point of the evening. One well known Barnet fan stood up and shouted moaning at the team, someone else told him to shut up, words were exchanged, the two individuals squared up and the two individuals were politely asked to vacate the premises by the stewards. As Brighton made it 4 without so much as whimper from the Bees they were called on again as someone collapsed drunk and incapable at the back. The awfulness of the performance driving someone to drink. The rest of us had taken to throwing around the cuddly fish, being far more fun that the drivel we were being invited to watch on the pitch.

The second half brought no further goals but it did manage 2 red cards. First for Barnet’s Kenny Gillet, and thoroughly deserved it was. A bit of off the ball pushing and shoving that needed no more than a talking to saw Gillet decided to nut the Brighton player. The red card was shown, Gillet walked, what a prat.

By this time the Barnet fans had decided to entertain themselves by singing The Final Count Down, Wonderwall, Lady in Red, Baggy Trousers and other songs so random that I was left speechless.

The next red card saw a bit more off the ball, this time a Brighton player pretended he had been nutted and was sent off for the trouble, again, what a prat.

The game dragged its sorry arse to an end and me and Mrs Akela returned to our hotel, very bored and very cold. The trouble is that despite this I know that it wont be long before I’m back on the terraces.

Don’t you just love football?

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