In at the deep end
The superfan was back in business with a game of three thirds.
The first game of my 53rd football season was a friendly between two Combined Counties League clubs, Wembley and Feltham, at 3pm on Saturday. It was played at Vale Farm, not at the main ground but in a field behind the stand. A gathering of about 20 spectators saw a game which had three periods of 30 minutes and finished in a 1-1 draw.
I was two minutes into my first tube journey of the season, from Paddington to Earl’s Court, when somebody at the rear of the train thought it would be hilarious to pull the communication chord. The driver told us he was obliged to investigate and we saw him making his grim-faced way through the carriages. There was no emergency and no one would own up to having pulled the chord.
I didn’t have to wait long for my first goal of 2012-13. Feltham, in blue and white stripes, were quickly into their stride and their left-winger hit a couple of rasping shots across the face of the goal. They forced a right-wing corner after five minutes and a simple header from close in made it 1-0 to the visitors.
Rain looked likely on several occasions during the game with dark clouds directly above but thankfully it stayed dry. There was no cover except for a tree behind one goal and my umbrella was propped up in the office at the Stadium. Wembley, in all red, equalised with a penalty from ‘JJ’ in the second period and there was goalmouth action at both ends right up to the final whistle at 4.55.
It was certainly the most entertaining game of the season so far…
The news has been all about the rain, with serious flooding in various parts of the country. The wettest conditions I’ve experienced during a game were at a Dagenham & Redbridge v Halifax Town Conference fixture in December 2006.
In the last 15 minutes the combination of the most torrential rain you can imagine, and winds so strong that goal-kicks weren’t even clearing the box, made it impossible to play football.
Fortunately I was standing at the back on the covered side and it had subsided a little by the end. The most drenched I’ve ever been was at the end of a 12-minute walk from AFC Wimbledon’s ground to Norbiton station after a game against East Thurrock. It was like I’d jumped into a swimming pool.
Season’s Total: 1
Grand Total: 6,296