Saturday, August 29, 1981
I had a horrible night for some reason, and hardly slept; I felt queasy with stomach pains and a headache. I woke up feeling depressed, a depression which continued all morning. I read A House for Mr Biswas.
Robert arrived for the match at quarter-to-two with the news that his cat George was knocked over by a car last night and is acting weirdly. Robert seemed subdued, but was back to his normal self after the match. Before going out we I heard that Boycott got his 21st Test century.
At Cardigan Park there was a smallish crowd and we both noticed how good natured everyone seemed and the unusual number of middle-aged/elderly blokes and families in the ground. There was a feeling of real optimism. The game started well, Athletic mounting a few good attacks and the spectators really behind the team, but typically we allowed Holmeshaw a cushy goal, Hudson dropping a cross. All seemed lost until Newlands lunged the ball into the net to equalise but Holmeshaw went back in front with a good goal. 1-2! Athletic struck back instantly, and Newlands made it 2-2 at half-time. Really exciting but I didn’t like the uncertainty and tension involved.
A roar greeted the lads as they came out for the second half, which was played at the same hectic pace. The referee was absolutely crap, awarding ridiculous decisions and whistling shrilly at the slightest excuse. Holmeshaw played physically, but Athletic’s winner was one of the best goals I’ve ever seen; really well worked diagonally from the left, on to Pattison’s foot and whammed into the top corner of the net from at least 30 yards out. All Athletic from then on, Holmeshaw on the defensive, and we deserved victory.