Festive Cheer

Southern League Division 1 Central – Chertsey Town FC v Biggleswade Town FC
Saturday, 17th December 2011, 3pm
Alwyns Lane Football Ground
Distance 10 miles, Attendance 112
It never seems to snow at Christmas and we never seem to see orange balls at football then either. These incidents, despite the inference of Christmas cards, only really happen at other times of the year. I remember once, somewhere in the depths, a score-draw at Vicarage Road versus Bury where an orange ball was used. Of course, like most fans, over time, these memories fail us all, but I’m sure it was at Watford, and that there was an orange ball, and that it certainly wasn’t at Christmas. Football during the festive period football is just different. It’s crisp, and cold, and sunny, and you can see the players’ breath, and more than anything it’s wonderful just to be watching your team. Today’s game had all this.

Leaving the warmth of my car I was plunged into contradictory sensations of bitter cold and blinding sunshine for the short walk to the Alwyns Lane Football Ground. On entering through the Ted Mills Memorial Gate I found, tucked away between residential gardens and a cricket pitch, a tidy little ground, with cover on three sides, a bar by the main stand, a tea bar, and toilets without lights… everything one could want for an afternoon’s entertainment.

From what I could see through the sinking sun, once the game kicked off, neither team seemed to take control. In fact, so evenly matched were they, that it was hard to tell which of the two had the nine point advantage in the league. The Waders had had a couple of chances early on but once the game levelled out I wondered if I would even see a goal to cheer. Then with half time approaching Jack Mazzone fired The Curfews ahead from distance. With it came confidence and suddenly the game sprang into life. The next to score, deep into injury time, was Biggleswade’s Craig Daniel (no, not James Bond) sending the teams in for the break all square.
The half time oranges obviously worked some magic as the second period was much better than the first, with both teams showing greater purpose. More openings and more chances culminated in both keepers being tested. Then with about 75 minutes gone, on the break, John Pomroy received the ball in The Waders’ box, slipping as he turned to shield it from the onrushing keeper, he fed the ball back to Mazzone who slotted home, sending the home fans into raptures. Sam Leggert, the Biggleswade keeper, was also injured in collision with “Pommers” and soon had to be subbed off. With no spare keeper, centre half Liam Folds donned the gloves and orange jersey. If ever a moment should swing the game in favour of a team surely this is it. Unbelievably Chertsey didn’t seem to get the opportunity to test Folds and instead Alex O’Brien gave Biggleswade a rather undeserved equaliser. This in turn signalled a truly amazing finale which culminated in Mazzone feeding the ball to Pomroy for the winner moments before the final whistle. As the home fans rose as one to cheer off their heroes it struck me how passion & loyalty seemed more intense at this level.
For the second 45 I’d sat with (and probably put off) Andy Ollerenshaw in the Main Stand as he took notes for his Non League Paper match report (a labour of love of approximately 130 words due in soon after the final whistle). Sat around us were his friends; loyal Curfew fans and fellow Chertsey locals in all shapes and sizes. It was clear Chertsey Town is a close community club. These folk have endured a tough time since their manager, Spencer Day (nee Trethewy) upped sticks for Farnborough FC, taking with him the team’s financial backing and half the first team. In the meantime the team performances have naturally suffered but the hope of the fans clearly remains. Some people pay thousands for “happy therapy”, yet 45 minutes in the stand was all I needed. It was a truly pleasure sitting amongst them.

The win yesterday has given Chertsey some festive cheer, a new platform to build on, and some optimism for the months ahead. They really aren’t a bad side*, they have fans favourite John Pomroy back up front, and the locals were very friendly. Despite “lucky charm” claims about me, being more realistic I would put the praise firmly at the community door. As a result it’s hard not to want to see them overcome the recent adversity.
(*If I had a job on the MOTD sofa I’d use a ridiculous phrase like “They’re too good to go down!”)
This entry was posted in 2011-2012, Southern League and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Festive Cheer

  1. Bones says:

    That No. 3’s a bit on the lardy side!

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