With Yorkshire being lashed by the heaviest rains since Noah caved in to pressure from above and popped into B&Q for some 6-by-4 and a shit load of nails, me and Andy A did what any sane individual would do. We went to Guiseley on the train.
I’ve been on many trains with Andy and this wasn’t a nice one, one of those Northern Rail buses on rails which steams up with commuter condensation and stops everywhere. Nonetheless, it drove on doggedly through the monsoon conditions, with a few hairy moments, and soon we were in the all-too-familiar town of Guiseley. I worked out this was my third visit to Nethermoor in three seasons, some kind of record for a yo-yo side like Boston.
In the end, we were thankful we took the train – thanks to a self-combusting car on the A1, many away supporters didn’t arrive until half-time and many turned back in exasperation and didn’t make it at all. Frankly, they were the lucky ones as they missed fuck all in this bore draw. They were almost certainly warmer and drier too.
Having said that, this was a useful point against a side, like us, enjoying the afterburn of last season’s winning momentum. The hosts, who obviously used some of their Unibond prize money to rebuild their fire-damaged main stand (and very nice it looked too, being the only dry place in the ground), bossed the first period and weren’t afraid to test James McKeown with low shots which skidded off the saturated surface. The keeper stood firm, extending his clean sheet record to 657 days or something, but there was little cutting edge at the other end with any Boston chances lofted spectacularly into the adjacent Astroturf pitch.
I’ve been to Guiseley so many times lately that I’ve started recognising local faces and there was a certain heart-warming moment when I found myself standing next to the old bloke (think generic proud Yorkshireman with flat cap, impenetrable dialect and, probably, a fine collection of ferrets at home) who complained so vociferously when Jambo Jr started banging his drum last season. The expression of joy on his face when I told him this noisy little hoodlum was car-bound somewhere near Blyth services was priceless. I’ll be like that one day, once I take in my 20,000th match.
Having refuelled with the mandatory anaemic half-time hot dog (where were the pies? Where was the Bovril? Is this not Yorkshire?) we reluctantly returned outside for the game’s conclusion. Last time I was here, it was a quintessential Yorkshire scene as the village cricket side played in glorious sunshine next door; tonight it was suitable only for swamp creatures. We huddled together in a stand with no sides and hoped we could nick the win.
The best chance went to Ryan Semple with ten minutes left, but Guiseley keeper Steven Drench (who wins the award for the most apt surname in relation to match conditions... ever) stuck out a palm and pushed the spinning ball wide. There were some hearts-in-mouth moments as Shaun Pearson and Kieran Murphy blocked shots with all manner of body parts, but, eventually, both sides were content to play out the draw and just get inside. You couldn’t blame them.
Thanks Guiseley, ‘til next year.
Next Match: Blyth Spartans vs. Boston United on Saturday.