East Preston 0 Flackwell Heath 8
Up until the Thursday before the game, I had planned to visit Alresford near Winchester. Before the usual weekly pattern of weather intervened, dry until Thursday, heavy rain on Friday and more threatened on the Saturday. The weather forecast on Friday showed a batch of rain right over where I was due to go, so I shifted my plans to visit Westfields near Woking. Woke up Saturday and the batch of rain had moved and was also now above Woking. Deep sigh, re-arranged my plans yet again and ended up on the Sussex coast. Groundhopping can be exhusting at times!
Usual shenanigans with my first train from Welwyn Garden City. 11 minutes late getting in, the World and his wife were going into London to Christmas shop and yet the train company decided that a four carriage train was more than sufficient. I pitied the folk trying to get on a jam-packed train at Potters Bar who were greeted with the PA announcement, "If you cannot get on the train, move clear of the doors". Shocking service!
The good thing about travelling from Victoria is that there is a Ladbokes at the station, always good when you have time to kill. Buyoed on by my 4 winners when I had visited Plumpton racecourse earlier in the week, I called into the bookies to place an afternoon flutter on an unsuspecting course, at least I tried to, but some over-keen member of staff had jammed so many pens in the dispatcher that they were wedged together and you actually couldn't get one out. I eventually secured a pen, placed my bet and happily headed off for my next train.
This train had 12 carriages and there barely seemed to be anybody on it. The journey pretty much passed me by as I got engrossed listening to the latest 'phenom' Serial podcast on my i-pod. Actually well worth listen if you like crime drama.
On arriving at Angmering station, it was a straightforward 10-15 minute walk to the ground. I spotted a chippy but was gutted to find that it was closed until 5pm.
As I walked up the path to the ground, you pass a child's play area and there were a handful of teenagers curled up in one of the swings, smoking and attempting to look menacing. There second half cry over the fence insulting the linesman pretty much summed up their combined intelligence.
Needless to say it started raining within minutes of me arriving but it only lasted for about 5 minutes and the rest of the afternoon remained dry and the temperature was comfortable.
A good sized clubhouse, a medium sized stand on the near side and another small area which you could stand under cover. The far side is not accessible for spectators unless you come equipped with a machete and strong walking boots.
A neat little tea hut was extremely efficient, I ordered a cheesburger and chips which came quickly and was of a very acceptable standard.
Despite all the recent rain, the pitch was in excellent condition.
Fair play to a group of kids, aged about 12 who chanted for East Preston throughout the game, even when there team was letting in goals what seemed like every 2 minutes.
A fairly even first half although Flackwell Heath created the better chances, they finally broke through on 33 mins and got another 5 minutes later.
The second half was played with the sound of distant drums. I think it was some sort of drum society practicing in a hall somewhere and to be fair, they weren't at all bad.
The games defining moment came 2 minutes into the second half when the East Preston left back was sent off for a second yellow. They held on for another 15 minutes, but once the 3rd went in, the floodgates opened and Flackwell Heath came away with an extraordinary 0-8 victory.
Most unexpected result and considering when I woke up that morning, East Preston wasn't even in my thinking, I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.