Norwich United 3 Erith Town 0
When the draw is made, I scan up and down the list of fixtures and usually know pretty much straight away which tie I fancy. Where as last year, seemingly every Saturday had heavy rain, this year Armageddon seems to strike the area I'm planning to visit on the day before the match. A horrific storm with huge tidal surges battered the Norfolk coast and I worried that the match might be affected. Thankfully, there were no problems so off I set. Smart thinking I thought to avoid London this close to Christmas, but I hadn't anticipated the incredible amount of people at Cambridge station queuing to buy tickets. People literally couldn't get through to the ticket barriers - Carnage!
The journey to Norwich and then on to Brundell, despite only having two minutes to make my connection at Norwich, went without incident.
I had looked up my walking route on Google maps to get my bearings and was pleased to see that there was a convenience store near to the station, only when I got there it had turned into an electrical shop. There was a chippy there, but I gave that a miss as I'd decided to try the Kings Head pub in Blowfield, only when I got to that site it was all boarded up! I was dreading having to buy an infamous football ground burger, but suddenly, like a mirage in a desert, Blowfield chippy came into sight, a small little chip shop but which did an excellent jumbo sausage and chips.
The ground appears right next to a slip road from a major carriageway which was slightly hairy to cross. You then have to walk up a long driveway to the ground which was pitch black on the way out. The entrance to the ground is quite attractive, although the interestingly named 'Plantation park' sounds like it belongs more in the deep south of America. But it's quite a nice set up with a bar on the first floor which has a delightful end to end view of the pitch.
I sat down with a glass of cider to watch Mark Selby and his opponent miss some of the most open pots, even I might have made a couple of them!?!
The Erith players were in the bar when I got there, in high spirits, playing a card game where every now and then, someone had to be flicked on the back of the neck by his teammates. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on but it was very amusing.
The rest of the ground is unremarkable but perfectly adequate. One covered area on the far side with some seating and hardstanding surrounding the railed off pitch.
The match itself was no classic, absolutely frenetic from beginning to end, it was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball. Norwich scored bang on halftime from a penalty. Don't ask me why it was given, it was a complete mystery to everyone in the crowd. Erith lost their giant second half for the second half and never genuinely threatened the Norwich goal. Norwich scored again after 72 mins and then my customary last minute goal was also dispatched.
An enjoyable trip with a comfortable home win, sadly for Erith fans, they just didn't show up.