Saturday came with Dunners absent, presumably in recovery following his astonishing behaviour at Marlow the previous week which saw him unable to access his car after the game. Unsurprising really as it transpired that, for reasons best known to himself, he had tossed his keys into Louis' kit bag. (Readers of this column may remember that he has previous form for bizarre behaviour in Buckinghamshire including leaving all our shirts in the changing room at Marlow one year and failing to turn up at all the next.)
Having just got home , reluctantly, I answered his desperate call for assistance which meant a round trip to Marlow for the day of well over 100 miles. Having emerged from their clubhouse clutching a full pint he obviously intended to make the most of the fact that he had no means of driving that evening. Said pint he nursed all the way back to Oxford so braking was not an option for fear of being covered in Rebellion IPA. On the way back he got Knoxy to order him a Chicken Jalfrezi for consumption on arrival at BRN. Astonishing.
Dunners being AWOL your correspondent was left in charge of the squad's preparation for the visit of Havant 2's - bottom of the league and on a dreadful run of 5 consecutive defeats - but Havant nonetheless and always likely to prove stern opposition. "You'd better win Pads" - were the coach's last words to me issued with a slightly menacing smirk, no doubt smarting from the constant flak he's had to take over the season so far and mindful of an earlier match when I was absent, he was in sole charge, and the side dropped its first points of the season.No pressure then.
We prepared by holding a symposium in the training room on not conceding first which has become a bit of a habit in recent games. I wanted to be sure that everyone understood it was not a good thing to do. For the benefit of Brookes students (who have had a pretty easy ride this season) it means that if you concede early goals it becomes a bit more difficult to win.
We came up with a foolproof plan - all good then.
Havant arrived in numbers and as feared looked pretty handy in the warm up - yes I think you can tell.
20 minutes into the contest and we had battered their circle without playing especially well and definitely without troubling their keeper. The score? 0-1. No one batted an eyelid so it's clear that this habit is now becoming endemic. I guess that's a good thing in one sense as everyone seemed to keep their cool even in the face of my shambolic management of 5 substitutes.
We then did what we routinely do, which is to play a lot better and despite some pretty impressive Havant goalkeeping got our noses in front with goals from Dan Andrews and a screamer from Cutter ( who is getting back to his best after a long lay off). Sadly late in the game Louis pulled his hamstring which put a bit of a damper on the victory.
So - job done.
Eastcote next week - never easy.
P.S We had more photographers than spectators on a bitter afternoon. Thanks to Clive and Evelyn as ever. The photos on the match report are Clive's.