Diary of a Ground Hop­per

TUESDAY, NOVEM­BER 20TH

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS -

Dere­ham Town 6 Acle United 1

TODAY, there is the op­por­tu­nity to visit my beloved Nor­folk for a day’s bird­watch­ing capped with a foot­ball match this evening. I rarely take no­tice of weather fore­casts th­ese days, hav­ing been on the wrong end of so many wildly in­ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tions over the years. Today is one of those days I re­ally should have paid at­ten­tion. From the mo­ment I ar­rive, rain is al­most con­stant and the wind must be ap­proach­ing False Teeth Re­mov­ing speed. “Well it was fore­cast”, is all my trav­el­ling com­pan­ion Tot­ten­ham Tim can say. Af­ter a dis­mal day, I seek sanc­tu­ary at Ald­iss Park, home of Dere­ham Town. I have been here be­fore but many years ago, so a re­visit is no great loss. Tonight’s match is a Nor­folk Se­nior Cup tie be­tween Dere­ham (who play in the Bostik League, North) and Acle United (from the Anglian Com­bi­na­tion Premier Divi­sion), so I am not an­tic­i­pat­ing a bumper crowd. There’s a guy at the en­trance to the club­house who points out all the fa­cil­i­ties on of­fer. It is a very pleas­ant wel­come. The main bar is nicely ap­pointed, with an­other large room par­ti­tioned off act­ing as the board­room. When com­bined, this would make a su­perb venue for wed­ding re­cep­tions, etc. Food and hot drinks are avail­able from a hatch in the cor­ner of the bar. Teas­ing, tempt­ing cook­ing smells are fil­ter­ing around the club­house. The place is fill­ing up with Acle fans. I had com­pletely for­got­ten that Nor­folk teams and sup­port­ers take its Cup games very se­ri­ously in­deed and it seems there will be a bit of at­mos­phere for the game af­ter all. I take the op­por­tu­nity to grab a pro­gramme so I can read it in the com­fort of the club­house. It is a full £2 edi­tion, which shows that Dere­ham are treat­ing their vis­i­tors with re­spect. A man cir­cu­lates through the bar col­lect­ing en­trance money (£6), so fans don’t have to walk all the way to the turn­stiles: we can go through a door at the rear of the club­house to ac­cess the sta­dium. An­other of­fi­cial brings round a teamsheet. They’ve thought of ev­ery­thing! It has just about stopped rain­ing out­side. This tempts me into a cir­cuit of the ground. As I reach the un­cov­ered end be­hind the goal, the heav­ens open once more. A main stand, hous­ing seats and ter­rac­ing, runs along the touch­line op­po­site the club­house and chang­ing rooms. The only other cover is a small ter­race be­hind one goal and a bit of over­hang from the bar. From the first whis­tle, it is ob­vi­ous Dere­ham are go­ing to win this cup tie. They treat Acle with the ut­most re­spect and go about their busi­ness in a pro­fes­sional man­ner. How­ever, Town are only one goal ahead at half-time, so there’s still hope for United. The vis­i­tors emerge for the sec­ond half and re­ally go at Dere­ham. This is highly com­mend­able but the ploy leaves huge gaps at the back. The Mag­pies rat­tle in an­other five but at least Acle get their con­so­la­tion goal. Highly en­joy­able!

PRE-MATCH INFO: 8, WEL­COME: 9, FA­CIL­I­TIES: 8, FOOD: 6, CHARM: 2, PRO­GRAMME: 8, HOME TEAM RE­SPECT: 8, HOME FANS: 6, MATCH: 7.5, OVERALL TRIP: 7 OF­FI­CIALS: 9.5, ATT: 125

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.