Saturday 14th November 2009
FA Vase Second Round
Congleton Town 0 Shildon 2
Tea hut purchases: Tea 60p, Steak & kidney pie £1.50p
Weather: Late sun and the odd second half shower
Parking: Roadside, five minutes walk, easy getaway I'm driving through Cheshire an hour and a half before kick-off.
Rain, torrential really heavy rain and a deep grey sky.
Car headlights and half flooded roads.
Not good, another terrible Saturday.
I reach Congleton and decide to stay put in the car.
At 2.30 the rain eases and a chink of light splits the lead-dead sky.
I hand over my 5 quid at the turnstile.
"Its 6 pounds to get in here" says the flat cap.
I'm certainly not paying extra for the facilities.
The ground is the grimmest yet.
I'd seen the 2 north east mini buses on the entrance to the gate.
The Shildon-trippers are drinking up the stock of the clubhouse bar.
This grounds only toilet is packed full of punters, all bursting on pints.Two traps and no locks and the queues out the door.
Glad to return to the fresh air near the pitch.
Sodden sparse turf is swamping with mud.
A squish-squash warm up but the pitch holds firm.
Its time for the tea hut to cheer up my frown.
Programme perusal in my place in the line,
I'd never seen one with a look like this!
A nice glossy cover but the thing has a hole.
You can't put a hole in a programme cover!
It looks more like a birthday card than a match publication.
I order my tea and I ask for a pie but the pies are all burned. Its one of those cardboard hot ones with nothing inside.
20 minutes later it can just about be eaten but I leave all the crust.
My brolly has already slipped over knocking all the tea spilling.
My walk around the ground is blocked by a big mound of rubble.
A young lad climbs, slips and gets over the pile.
Builders waste and remnants cut the path behind the far touchline.
Perhaps the extra quid gate money is for this adventure playground?Locals grumble about the Congleton form.
Still second in the NWC league but they've not won in five.
Shildon are Northern League mid-table.
Rumour has it Shildons best players are out of contention.
Out come the hordes from the booze buster bar.
All cocky and loud and full of warm ale.
It takes ten minutes to tell the difference in class. Shildon push forward and their passes find feet.
2 first half goals are presented for effort.
The visitors look home-free for keeps.
Half time resentment and Teds had enough.
Ted won't pay for losers, no matter where.
The Shildon expedition force arrive back from their beer-break
3 quick pints and a pack of cheesy crisps.
Second halfs a done-deal as the visitors rest up.
A Congleton shot threatens a nearby greenhouse.
The wind blows it back.
Teds gone before the last quarter as the home flock mumble.
The wolf will go home with the lamb to the slaughter.
The mini bus driver for County Durham is warming the engine.
Thats when they get them out of that bar?