This was my first ever visit to Larkhall. After securing a parking space 200 metres short of ‘Mount Lark’ summit, I trudged up the remainder of the hill past chickens receiving their feed and allotments on a hillside, Bath’s own version of the Balinese Paddy Fields.
At the ‘ticket office’ which looked remarkably like a raffle ticket station at a garden fete, I encountered two friendly, poorly equipped staff members who delivered their service with a smile. This warming welcome was also reflected at the ‘hole in the wall’ refreshment booth, sensible prices and decent offerings.
The club house was small and cosy, fit for purpose is all that needs to be said.
This is where the pleasant experience ended for me and moved swiftly towards what is unfortunately becoming a common occurrence.
The official in the middle was simply not a suitable appointment and the occasion was too big for him. The linesman over the far side tried his best but the disgusting barrage of foul mouthed abuse he took from some Larkhall players was absolutely unacceptable. The linesman remarked that he had been looking forward to the match but was now not enjoying it.
The Larkhall number 7 (totally unfit to warrant wearing a captain’s armband), the number 9, who was simply worthy of a slap and the number 11 who was the whiniest, moaning little child I have ever come across in my football experiences, were all disgraceful examples of what is wrong with football. As for the Larkhall keeper – embarrassing!
We lost points because our tactics are to try to play football. We are now facing teams that see a point against us as a measure of their progress. The negative aspect of this achievement is that it is a point at all costs. That requires astute, effective refereeing to see what is going on. Unfortunately we are not being provided with this.
We scored a good opener, our football on a bog of a pitch, deserved a 0-3 lead. Their equaliser was justified albeit against the run of play. The penalty was a stone-waller. We continued to press but were thwarted by thuggery and inept refereeing. Larkhall equalised through a miscommunication and a well executed finish. Deserving of a draw? Never!
As I stood by the exit for ten minutes prior to the end, a foul mouthed cockney sounding clown, was bleating about how if he’d have been playing he’d have ‘snapped Joel in two’ at that sickening tackle. My response disappointed me as I advised him that his pathetic and childish attitude reflected that of the players and there was more danger in him tripping Joel up with his overactive tongue!
Possibly the first time I have lost my temper at a match for a while but there is something about the region that is seeing us dropping points to sides who are getting away with kicking us up in the air!
It may not be a ‘tinpot league’ but it’s certainly got teams with plenty of ‘tinpot players’ in them!
There – that’s more reflective of what I saw!
Andrew ‘Dodsy’ Graham
Image Courtesy of Bulls News