South Park threatened with an early free-kick.
By David Barber - Monday, 08 October, 2012
The superfan saw a Cup thriller in Surrey
For most of my years of watching football in Surrey, I haven’t been aware of a team called ‘South Park’ but they reached the Fourth Round stage of The FA Vase last season and have now made their mark in The FA Cup. I paid my first visit to their Whitehall Lane ground on Saturday for their Third Round Qualifying tie with Brentwood Town.
It involved a train ride to Reigate and a 30-minute walk. It felt like it was uphill in both directions, though obviously it couldn’t have been. It was six quid to get in, an excellent glossy programme cost an extra pound, and I decided to stand behind the far goal.
South Park are having a great season, with just one defeat in 17 matches, but they were the underdogs against Isthmian Division One North opposition. A former ‘Brentwood Town’ knocked Reading out of The Cup in 1969 and eventually went out to Northampton in the Third Round Proper. The current club was founded as ‘Manor Athletic’ and later became ‘Brentwood Athletic’ and then simply ‘Brentwood’.
There were two kinds of drama in the first couple of minutes on a sunny Saturday afternoon. South Park enjoyed a fabulous start as their No.9 cleverly worked himself a yard of space inside the box to drill a low shot into the far corner. Then there was a commotion amongst a cluster of fans standing to my right and I caught sight of a lady lying on the ground.
My initial thought was that she had fainted with excitement – after all, this was The FA Cup and the locals had just taken the lead – but it was probably more serious than that. I believe she may have slipped on the concrete path and banged her head. Paramedics were swiftly on the scene and she was taken away in an ambulance. She was on her feet by then, which was a good sign.
I was surprised how well South Park played. They were definitely up for it. In the last moments of the first half their No.11 lashed a shot past the huge ‘keeper and they deserved their two-goal advantage at the break. Brentwood reduced the arrears (as we say in the business) with a simple header from a very long throw three minutes into the second half but Park took that setback in their stride and quickly made it 3-1.
There were joyful scenes at the end…and Park have now been handed another home draw!
It was so warm in Regent’s Park on Sunday morning that I had to take my anorak off. I kept my woolly hat on, though. I was the only spectator for Borussia Dawlish v Politics in the West End Sunday AM League, which finished 1-0 to Politics. Dawlish play in Borussia Dortmund’s coloursof yellow and black. It was my 50th match of the season.
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