Day: August 25, 2008

Match Of The (Mid) Week – AFC Wimbledon 3-1 Bromley

One of the more cunning ideas to have come about in recent years within non-league football has been the introduction of matches on the August Bank Holiday Monday. With the Premier League and Football Leagues not playing, it’s a day for bumper crowds right at the start of the season, although the effect of going to a non-league match when there is no other football on can be a little unsettling. Upon arrival at Kingsmeadow tis afternoon, we are treated to twenty minutes of Rugby League, with Bradford Bulls playing against Hull Kingston Rovers. It’s a strange fifteen minutes, sipping on a pint whilst trying to make sense of a game that I just don’t understand. “Fifth tackle? What does that mean? Why don’t they tackle, like normal rugbists do?”. In some respects, Rugby League, with its shoulder pads, summer season and teams with daft, marketing-fed nicknames, is like a warning for us. This is what our game could become if we’re not very, very careful. If I’d grown up in Yorkshire watching it, I don’t know what I’d have done. AFC Wimbledon’s start to life in the Blue Square south has been charmed, to say the least. They completely over-ran Newport County on the opening day of the season, but have ridden their luck somewhat since then. Against Thurrock, they needed two goals in the last five minutes...

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Match Of The Week – St Albans City 1-2 Chelmsford City

Throughout my youth, going to watch St Albans City play wasn’t something that ordinarily provoked the senses very much. The Saints were experts at finishing somewhere between sixth and seventeenth in the league never unduly troubling the top or bottom of the table. I don’t really know how I would have coped with going week in, week out over the last few years. The excitement of the last few seasons (promotion, relegation, another close shave with relegation), one suspects, has been a little too much for the locals. Their surprise promotion into the Conference in 2006 was not so much a surprise as an utter, utter shock, and they demonstrated this in the cack-handed way with which they dealt with life in a higher division, filling the team with loanees and defending like a school football team against sides that made them look more like an overgrown youth team than a side capable of competing at that level. The overwhelming feeling that I have taken from recent visits to Clarence Park has been a yearning for a return to normality, a desire to be able to turn around and spend the afternoon talking with one’s friends, without having to take too much notice of what is going on on the pitch. Chelmsford City arrive at Clarence Park in fine fettle. They won the Ryman League at a canter last...

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