Downham Town 0 Northampton Spencer 2
I decided that it was time to the Eastern league division 1 and Downham Market fitted the brief. I always have a spring in my step when I have a journey that avoids London and with a glorious early autumn day, all was set fair. Cambridge station has been re-vamped, two new platforms have been created. There's now less of a wait for trains to have an avaiable platform, but before everything was up and down once are, now you have to go up stairs, across a walkway, down stairs and then find which platform your connection is coming in to. All a little stressful when you have a tight connection for time, but I found where I was going with a couple of minutes to spare.
At Ely, a handful of schoolboys got on the train. Although they looked cheerful enough, I always feel terribly sorry for kids that have to go to school on a Saturday and I'm never exactly sure what the purpose is other than possibly enabling teachers to have longer holidays!
As well as Twitter, I've now been talked into joining facebook. It has to be said that most of the journey now consists of reading Email, reading texts, answering tweets, BBM's, Whatsapp messages and facebook messages. It sure makes the journey go quicker - What did we ever do before having these devices?
On leaving Downham Market station, I had to wait for a level crossing barrier to lift, I think that may be a groundhop first for me, but with loads of time, I actually quite enjoyed the little wait.
First job was finding lunch. I bypassed a couple of pubs that didn't look up to much, almost went into a sit down fish and chip shop but was distracted by a sign that said 'Downham cafe'. Just my type of place! I love cafe's that do English food with no frills. Affectionally known as 'greasy spoons', this was a classic case. It was really busy which is always a good sign. Sure, it didn't do fine dining, but the service was polite, the food came quickly and was piping hot and it was reasonably priced. I selected a burger, egg, chips and beans and for a quick bite to eat, I couldn't fault it. Others around me were having shepherds pie, fish and chips, omlettes, sausage sandwiches and the guy next to me just had scrambled egg on toast that looked great. The sort of place tha I find all too infrequently.
I wandered up to the ground which was easy to find. I generally find Eastern grounds really nicely set up. No fault of the club, but this was a little disappointing. It's actually set in a recreation ground and the club had erected temporary fences so that they could charge admission. On first glance, I actually thought it was a training pitch. As I say, it's no criticism as you can only work with the facilities you have and the money you have available. There is cover on the far side and a few benches to sit on. A good clubhouse with a tea point and bar. A tennis court and cricket nets or on the same complex. It's actually quite a short pitch and has an end to end slope. Leaves are starting to fall which also doesn't help the pitch look its best.
Northampton Spencer are a level above Downham. Thhey took the initiative on 8 mins when the Downham keeper collided with a defender and the attacker literally walked the ball in. This keeper had a bad day, he had two shocking kick-outs that could easily have led to other goals and was also lucky to get away with it when he was caught in posession outside the box. He was actually substituted later in the half, I think because he picked up a knock when this first goal was scored. Downham should have equalised soon after this goal but when clean through, shot tamely at the keeper.
The second goal came on 40 mins. It was direct from a 25 yard free kick that the substitute keeper could only turn onto the post and it went in, he probably should have kept it out!
The second half was quite frenetic but there were not a lot of clear cut chances apart from one Downham effort that the keeper saved which again probably should have been scored.
Not a bad crowd and good to see quite a few young people including quite a surprising number of young ladies.
Not my favourite ever place to visit, but nobody could complain about being outside on such a glorious afternoon.