Friday, 19 January 2018

FC Elmstead 2 SC Thamesmead 0

Match 83/17/1533 - Wednesday, 17th January 2018 - SCEFL 1

FC Elmstead (1) 2 Quan 23 Babalola 80
SC Thamesmead (0) 0
Attendance: 48
Bracketed Tick

Entrance: £4
Programme: £1
Mileage: 65/5,541

Match Report

Neutral football sometimes takes some doing. A cold night, a poor game and a boot full of puddle water walking both to and from Oakley Road down an unlit track did nothing to enrich the evening. So why bother? Despite the fact that the game managed to throw up a magic moment, I have to question myself. The answer is the bracketed tick from the flimsy set of rules governing ground hopping.

When I visited the ground with Holmesdale as the home team, I failed to wander round to the main stand and since have been told many stories of daring-do of just sitting in the rickety old structure. One of the reasons I didn’t make my way round on my previous visit was that it was so dark I didn’t even realise it was there until the game had begun!

It houses just three rows of seats although it is quite a long stand but it is its steepness that is most noticeable, and a little frightening. Constructed of scaffolding and scaffold boards with metal climbing steps at each end it was a case of clambering into a seat.

FC Elmstead and Sporting Club Thamesmead started the game within a place of each other in mid-table so a tight game would have been in expected. In truth, after the visitors had hit the bar following a shot from Josh Patrick after just 27 seconds, Elmstead had the best of the attacking intentions and were fully deserving of their win.

The unexpected magic moment arrived after 23 minutes when Thamesmead’s goalkeeper Charlie Martin cleared a punt forward from the edge of his box directly to Chan Quan who returned it first time from 40 yards over the head of the stranded goalkeeper with the ball dipping under the bar.

Such was the poor nature of the game, I had long decided to invoke the groundhopper’s three goal rule which allows you to leave when one side has a lead of that number. Sadly, that was never going to happen, so when ten minutes from time, Dexter Babalola’s cross-cum-shot nestled in the far corner, I made my own two goal rule and retreated to the warmth of the car.

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