Isleworthians clear their lines in the first few minutes.
By David Barber - Tuesday, 02 October, 2012
The superfan is up to 46 games this season
Last week’s games, with attendances in brackets, finished like this: Sporting Bengal United 0-3 Bethnal Green United in the Essex Senior League (97), Camden Lions 1-0 Cricklewood Wanderers in the Islington Midweek League (4), Old Isleworthians 0-3 Albanian in the AFA Middlesex/Essex Senior Cup (8), West London Phoenix 2-2 Swinbrook in the Chiswick Sunday League (3) and Old Actonians 1-3 Launton in The FA Women’s Cup (7).
Quite a cheap week, with the total outlay £1.50 – for the programme at Sporting Bengal.
I was on the 1.22 from Waterloo on Saturday and hundreds of people who looked like football fans got on at Clapham Junction. So perhaps I wasn’t the only one heading to Old Isleworthians. Then everyone except me alighted at Putney. Fulham were playing Manchester City. How could I have been so naïve?
It was my first AFA game of the season, a level I continue to enjoy as it reminds me of the ‘amateur’ football I used to watch in the ‘60s. For the second time in a few weeks a man came up to me in the street, claiming to know me. “Don’t you recognise me?” he said. According to him we had done some scaffolding together and, bizarrely, he knew my name was David. Perhaps I have multiple personalities, with each one unaware of the others.
Well, the one who’s into football found the Memorial Ground in Wood Lane to be a pleasingly short walk from Isleworth station. There was no sign of any players until 2.50 – I think they’d been watching the Arsenal game on the big screen in the clubhouse – and we kicked off six minutes late. Albanian, three levels higher in the Amateur Football Combination, dominated the first 20 minutes or so and went 2-0 up.
I saw one of my most freakish own goals. Three players – the home goalkeeper and centre-half, plus an Albanian forward – challenged for a bouncing ball some way out from goal on the left of the penalty area. The ‘keeper seemed to volley it against his team-mate and it looped high into the air behind him before dropping gently into the net. Three minutes from time Albanian’s No.10 cut in from the right and hit a cracker into the top corner for 3-0.
Sunday’s entertainment started at 10.35 at Ealing Central Sports Ground, West London Phoenix forcing a 2-2 draw with Swinbrook with an equaliser four minutes into stoppage time. Then I went back one stop on the Central line to Hanger Lane, walked the 600 yards to Park Royal and took the Piccadilly line to Acton Town. After a substantial lunch with the Serbian ladies who call me “Darling”, I was part of a crowd of seven for Old Actonians’ FA Women’s Cup First Round Qualifying tie with Launton in Gunnersbury Drive.
I’m not counting the little boy dressed as Spider Man, who ‘bounced’ down from the bouncy castle behind me. A soft Launton shot from the left-winger beat the OAs ‘keeper’s belated dive but the home side were quickly level. Two goals in the last 13 minutes won it for the Oxfordshireshire ladies.
Games this season = 46
Games in total = 6,341
© The Football Association 2001-2013,
All Rights Reserved