You know it’s non league when you arrive to see a kids’ party winding down in the clubhouse and leave a couple of hours later to the accompaniment of furious players and fans swearing at the officials, in between having watched a match of brutal commitment in difficult conditions. Bexhill were the livid hosts as, in the dying seconds of added on time, they let a win become a draw, but only the most myopic of Pirates fans would be able to say with a straight face that Oakwood did not deserve a share of the spoils. It was a good day.
We kicked off at 2pm because there’s something not quite right about the floodlights at the Polegrove. I stand firm in my belief that all non league football should start at two to save clubs down the pyramid a few quid on electricity bills. But, I digress. The wind seemed to be blowing from every direction and it was bloody cold. Thankfully, the rain that threatened around the start of the match did not, aside from a pathetic attempt just before half time, return. There was a female assistant referee. I wouldn’t normally mention this and I do now only to observe that many players and coaches present also noticed we had a female assistant referee. If you’ve ever seen Pepe le Pew in action you’ll have some understanding of the dialogue that, at times, followed.
Bexhill took the lead in the first half. A solid finish from a decent break. And, at the time, they were on top. A couple more chances came their way but Oakwood firmed up at the back and then began to control the midfield. By the equivalent point in the second half it was, counter attacks aside, one way traffic. The boys in blue were the ones with the ball and, as the challenges become harder, they were the ones proving slightly better at keeping their heads. Bexhill went down to ten men following a dismissal but still they managed to keep out the waves of Oakwood attacks. It was five minutes into added time when they cracked and the swearing could begin in earnest. A point each was fair but both sides will know that on another day they could easily have taken all three for themselves. Which is how it should be.
Today was the first run out for my new camera. It can do things that cameras have been able to do for a few years but my D90 can’t and so with things now falling off that one a purchase of a D7200 has been made. I’m a little in love. Some photos from the day are here. The one thing they don’t show is how little I could feel my fingers by the end.