Littlehampton Town 1 Hanworth Villa 1 aet
The train to London was even more heaving than normal. There were fans going to the Arsenal v Spurs gam, fans going to see England v Australia at Twickenham, yet I seemed to be the only one going to Littlehampton in the vase - funny that!
I once again marvelled at modern technology. My daughter has gone travelling and whilst the person in front of me was trying without much success to arrange a lift from Heywards Heath, I was merrily chatting to my daughter in Malaysia by using 'Whatsapp'.
The journey went without incident although a young lady near me spent about an hour knitting. Made me think what a dying art that is, I honestly can't remember the last time I saw someone knitting on a train, it reminded me of the slightly dodgy home-made jumpers I used to be given as a kid.
I didn't really expect to like Littlehampton and was anticipating a slightly run-down, seaside town. I actually encountered a neat little town centre which had a nice feel to it and some lovely little shops. I opted for the South coast pasty shop for lunch which had 4 small tables to eat in. I ordered a giant Cornish pasty and ended up eating the nicest pasty that I have ever had outside of Cornwall. Lovely suety pastry and a tasty filling that didn't cheat on the meat. Absolutely fabulous and try it if you ever get a chance.
The ground is about a 10-15 minute walk from the station and is pretty much a straight line walk. There are covered areas all along the near side and hard standing around all but 1/8 of the pitch. The clubhouse was positively buzzing and is up high necessitating the climb of some stairs. I wasn't expecting too many people but there was quite a crowd who were all up for the game and boisterous with it. Hanworth brought along quite a following. When the two sets of fans congregated in the same area and were all chanting, I anticipated some unpleasantness, but to be fair, the whole crowd were ib good spirits throughout and the match passed without obvious incident. Bizarely the Hanworth fans had two life sized cardboard cut-outs of Marilyn Monroe which they carried around with them, I never found out why.
The game itself was excellent. Littlehampton were from the lower level by one step but certainly matched their opponents. They had the better of the first half and scored after 32 minutes wih a fine diving header. The second half was even with Hanworth just about edging it. They equalised on 70 mins putting away a rebound that came off the far post. Both sides had chances to win it with great opportunities missed and the woodwork being hit. Tackles were flying in as this became a compelling, full-blooded cup-tie.
A winner couldn't be found though, so a replay will be taking place at Hanworth.
Thoroughly enjoyable game at a lively venue.