Not exactly a new ground, but Saturday brought the excitement of the FA to my travels. I came to this game with Michelle and Josh, as the excitement of the FA Cup tie against West Allotment Celtic [WAC] was too much for them to miss out on.
Michelle and I had undergone stringent preparations for this game. As you will appreciate, preparation is everything in a cup tie. So on Friday night we drank around 5 1/2 bottles of wine to limber up the vocal chords and get the body finely honed for such an important match as the FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round. This was the 2nd game of the competition for Spennymoor after seeing off Scarborough Athletic in the last round two weeks ago. As you will recall, I missed that game as I was stuck in London watching Barkingside v Great Yarmouth town.
So, Saturday morning came and we excitedly woke up looking forward to the game, but realised we had both failed the early morning fitness test and collapsed back asleep in bed until mid to late morning. Fried egg sandwiched were the order of the day to help get the body to wake up. I’m glad Michelle is still able to operate the cooker after so much wine the night before, because I sure was not safe to let near such dangerous things.
Food eaten, showers undertaken and it was time to hit the road. Arriving at the Brewery Field, we then realised we hadn’t got enough cash to get in and for me to pay my sponsorship money to the club. Yes, I’m sponsoring a player’s kit this season. I know, its a slippery slope, soon I’ll be eating prawn sandwiches etc. So, a quick drive to Asda for some cash and into the ground. £15 for three of us to get into the game is remarkable value really when it can cost 3 times or more for one person to get into a premiership game.
Going through the turnstiles reminded me of what I love about the non league experience. The programme seller Chris greets the three of us with a cheery hello and knowing we are Newcastle fans tells us the Mackems game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. The friendliness of football at this level makes it a pleasure to come to the games.
Next stop was the bar for a swift hair of the dog just before kick-off.
The view from the bar, pint in hand as the game has just kicked off. No rules here preventing you seeing the pitch as you have a drink at the bar. In fact, you could spend the whole game drinking in the bar at £2 per pint (until the first goal) or £2.50 for a Bulmers No. 17 Cider. Premiership football can’t match the price of the view of the game whilst drinking!
Unusually, Spennymoor were to kick up the slope in the first half i.e. to the uncovered Durham Road End. This factor and the rain meant the usual vociferous choir behind the goal Spennymoor were attacking was surprisingly quiet today. A suggestion for the chairman, Brad Groves – how about a roof on that end?
Anyway, after last night, I was not going to spend the afternoon in the bar. So, it was time for some of the finest food after a skin full of alcohol the night before. Yes, the cheeseburger from the Sizzling Sausage burger van. Just what the doctor ordered. ( Did I tell you the doctor had a skin full last night as well?). The only problem with ordering this culinary delight was that we were still getting served when Spennymoor scored the first goal, in the 2nd minute. Now, I’m not going to suggest anything improper, but I wonder why the £2 per pint offer was on until the 1st goal!!!!!
That goal sadly effectively killed off the game. Northern League second division WAC tried valiantly, but they were simply not up to the task. They did play some neat football and will I think mount a strong challenge for promotion from division 2 this season.
Half time came with the score still 1-0. This was the cue for some more food. What could be better than chips and curry sauce. You know the curry sauce that glows a luminous colour and if seen at Windscale would cause a scare.
Despite what I said about the colour etc., they were delicious.
The second half of the game and the Moors were now playing with the slope. An inspired substitution saw Taylor come on for Spennymoor and score with his 1st touch of the ball. A third goal followed and by this time it was in doubt who were going to win. To give credit where its due, WAC carried on trying to play football and trying to score. They were unable to create any sustained possession or threat to the Spennymoor goal and the game ended 3-0.
The next round of the cup sees Spennymoor play at home to Harrogate RA or South Shields. They drew today and replay at South Shields this week. Sadly, Shildon drew in the FA Cup today as well and now must also replay this week. This means that Spennymoor’s game on Bank Holiday Monday is postponed. The start of a fixture pile up? It is when you consider the game on 8th September at Darlington is also off now because Spennymoor are in the FA Cup. Darlington, being a new club ( according to FA Rules) are not allowed to play in this season’s FA cup so are looking to rearrange/ bring forward one of their league games to this date.
The win today earned Spennymoor £1750 prize money to add to the £1000 won in the last round. This is a large sum for a club at this level.
Now, some of you will know my issue with the man on the shed roof at Shildon or the man on the plastic chair at Barkingside. It is clearly something where Spennymoor are lacking. They have no one on the shed or on a plastic chair. The best they can manage is the steward with the brolly.
I did however notice this structure on the Tees Crescent side of the ground
I am left asking could this be the beginning of a structure to enable the Moors to put a man on a shed, or even perhaps something grander?
As I said earlier in this blog post, I am sponsoring a player’s kit this season. The cost of this is £50 per player per season. I am sponsoring our diminutive striker Gavin Cogdon. When you consider the size of the centre halves or perhaps Mickey Rae and their sponsors only pay £50 as well, I think that as Gav and fellow vertically challenged team mate Anthony Peacock clearly only need youth sized kit, we should be entitled to a reduced sponsorship rate, after all the youth kit in the club shop is cheaper than the adult sized kit.
All in all, it was another enjoyable day amongst friends at the Brewery Field, even if the body was weak and the mind still fuzzy from the night before. The only slightly disappointing things were the gate of only 201 and the lack of noise from the Moors Choir. Indeed there was a lack of banter at all today – not sure why unless everyone else was feeling as we did.
Oh, and Michelle tells me I have to apologize to those standing on the Tees Crescent stand in the second half. Apparently the release of chemicals in a football ground is in appropriate. This includes methane gas.