FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round – Burnham FC v Chalfont St Peter FC
Saturday, 17th September 2011, 3pm
The Gore
Distance 29 miles, Attendance 93
Leaving home at nineteen its always felt emotional returning to the area that I grew up in. This game provided probably one of my only forays into Bucks for a Cup game so there was something special about it. You see, Buckinghamshire, it’s not exactly a hot bed of football. It is however a hot bed for family, so I invited my younger brother to join me. He likes football, has been known to kick a ball or two, and importantly like all members of the family supports Watford. School friends had littered the area, so I knew it well so this was an easy journey to make. On arriving at The Gore I was grateful to see a large car park. Grateful not because I was expecting a monster crowd, it’s a selfish thing. You see I’ve been getting quite accustomed to having to make no effort to move from the car radio to pitch side.

Proper turnstiles greeted me, but no ticket, again. The programme was informative though not the season best. The bar was lovely though the toilets in the stand were locked. And the weather was warm but looking to the horizon you knew it was going to last. I strolled round the pitch, a privilege I’ll never tire of, and took some photos of the facilities. Backing onto the bar, running the length of the pitch, is a mighty fine brand new well kept stand which many teams at higher levels would envy. Opposite a very small cover behind the dugouts; some comfort for bench hecklers I would imagine. Behind both goals is open. I collected a tea from the tea bar and sat down to read the programme.
My brother? He was late.
From the kick off the game was Chalfont’s to lose, despite playing at the same level, they hard by far the better of the play throughout the first period, with only Burnham stopper Jamie Jackson holding the game at 0-0 at halftime.  After the break things got even worse for Burnham as they were needlessly reduced to ten men. “Only an idiot gets a yellow card for pointless foul, then argues with ref enough to get a second yellow, and an early bath”. Remarkably Chalfont still failed to score whilst The Blues, being hemmed back, could only attack on the break. As the game was drawing to a close Burnham started piling on the pressure, and got the winning goal at close range from Lee Togwell. It wasn’t a deserved result but they took their chance (singular) and went through.

I’d like to think that my brother’s presence at the game bought bad luck on Chalfont St Peter and the game, and will happily pass on contact details if they need to speak to him. He certainly wouldn’t be invited to the replay in midweek.
(Having checked through the results that day I’m not sure he’ll be that bothered…)
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