Fellow Yellows – Lingfield FC

Sussex County League, Division 1
Lingfield FC v Chichester City FC
Saturday, 12th October 2013, 3pm
The Pavilion, Godstone Road
Entrance (inc. Programme) £5
Distance 59 miles, Attendance 51
Nine games into this season’s adventure, causing me a real issue, only one red-shorted team had risen to the fore. Whilst fashion and history clearly influence such factors, all the research – especially in England – is unmistakably pointing towards yellow teams favouring black shorts. With this in mind, the build up to the weekend was spent furiously trying to even out the situation.
Being unaware of my plight, and taking choice completely out of my hands, my lovely wife was instead favouring a morning of domestic responsibilities. Drawing up a shortlist of time-related matches the night before, I patiently waited for my release papers to come through…
By the time my train pulled out the next day, plan A was long since crossed off though as it turned out, a perfect replacement was on hand in deepest Sussex, and there was even a hint of red in the air.
131012 SCLD1 Lingfield v Chichester City (7)wA short hop from Clapham Junction, the village of Lingfield is more famous for horse racing, cricket and Biggles however the football club are not without their fair share of league and cup successes. Founded in 1893, most of their life has been spent in local leagues before joining the Combined Counties League in 1979. Within five years they’d transferred to the Sussex League and started the climb through the divisions whilst maintaining teams at all levels in a beautiful rural location.
From the station, a well maintained footpath leads through the picturesque fields, to the stunning old village centre, with its tutor buildings, Grade 1 listed parish church and, the poacher’s cage (a bigger story than I have room to tell). From there, a gentle stroll takes one past Vicarage Road and the Gun Pond, and out of the village towards Godstone.
After about five minutes affluent housing gives way to a secluded new clubhouse – shared with the cricket club – and the warm welcome of the chairman Bill Blenkin manning the turnstile.

131012 SCLD1 Lingfield v Chichester City (19)w

With introductions established, I took the long route to the bar as the teams warmed up in the late summer sun. Finding their youth teams still wear red shorts, whereas the senior side have reverted to black, I endeavoured to rise above this indiscretion and instead soaked up the wonderful sporting history adorning the clubhouse walls.

131012 SCLD1 Lingfield v Chichester City (47)w

Though the “big names” were injured or substituted for this match, those picked were clearly determined to impress the support afford them. Putting the home side fortunately ahead early on, from a crowded box Joel O’Hara tapped in a rather timid shot past the prone keeper.
With the home support enjoying the moment, the away team began to bicker amongst themselves. Numerous shots over bars would follow, along with wasted crosses, missed passes, offside flags and some tenacious midfield play, particularly from Gareth Graham and Daryl Coleman.
Not yet out of the game – amid baffling shouts for “Harry’s back door!” – Dan Burnett curled home a long range equaliser after a fine block from Dean Carden. Whilst Burnett could’ve made it two, luckily the half time whistle took us off to the busy tea bar and bovril served in yellow china.
Refuelled, Sean Clarke and Craig Pitterson both had excellent chances, as the fuelled-up away support continued to barrack the near linesman. Then midway through a combative half, Harry Sintim (not necessarily the Harry with the back door) connected superbly at the far post, leaving Chichester’s Anthony Ender no chance to prevent the defeat.
131012 SCLD1 Lingfield v Chichester City (120)wMore opportunities would follow however – despite an appearance from Jamie Lawrence – the moment had clearly passed. One of youth player went back to kicking his ball against a shed door as cheerful locals, still arriving, caught up with each other. Judging by the conversations about me, this club clearly holds an important place in this community.
Ok I hadn’t seen the much-hoped for red shorts on anyone over 15, nor had there been a cameo from local boy Nicky Forster, but this village, just like the one I’d grown up in, felt comfortingly like home.
As for the shorts dilemma, I was now certain I needed to head abroad to find more red.

131012 SCLD1 Lingfield v Chichester City (107)w

shorts league

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Initially appearing in the 2013-14 Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently these reports will have a delayed publication on here.

Fellow Yellows programme (5)

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