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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Phoenix fly into next round

Alresford Town 1 Phoenix Sports 2

6th December 2014

I guess it kind of had to happen, the club I had put off visiting 2 weeks earlier due to a band of rain, were once again drawn at home. Needless to say, I had inadvertently thrown away all my directions, but it was no great hardship to do them again.
An absolutely glorious day without a cloud in the sky although extremely chilly. Due to there being no wind, it was absolutely fine if you wrapped up. Everywhere you went around London, there were hordes of people milling around dressed in Santa costumes, I'm sure it's all in a good cause.  
The trip to Winchester took under an hour on the train and I had to then find the bus station. My directions were spot on, but the town itself was absolutely heaving. The World and his wife had come out to Christmas shop, there were outdoor food stalls, street entertainment and any hopes of walking anywhere quickly went completely out of the window. But fortunately, the number 64 bus was loading passengers as I arrived at the bus station and the trip to Alreford was stress free along free moving roads with attractive countryside.
After the mayhem of Winchester, Alresford was like a breath of fresh air. Reasonably quiet, it's an attractive little town with pretty little shops that appeared to the casual observer to be independent and even the traditional stores like Tesco were small and in more attractive buildings than usual.
I found my lunch in a shop that just called itself 'Fish and chips' and bought a generous although at £2.20, expensive small portion of chips. Nice as they were, that's too much to pay. My return bus fare was over £6, maybe Winchester is just an expensive place to live.
It's less than a 5 minute walk from the town to the ground and is a straight road and easy to find. I was concerned on arrival to find that the pitch had a 20 yard long by 10 yard wide area that was still frosted over, however it was thankfully soft underneath and it just gave the pitch a weird look.
There is a pavillion building with a bar and some seating on the top floor and there is also a little seating below. There is also a tea hut and I was assured by a Phoenix fan that the pies were really good. Hardstanding on the near side and behind both goals, you can only go on the far side by viewing behind a large fence as there are public fields beyond, the view of the sun drenched hills was very pleasing on the eye.
The game was a cracker all be it with odd goings on. Alresford scored in only the second minute, Phoenix levelled on 20 mins and scored what turned out to be the winner right on half time. The game was stopped twice in the first half as the same loose dog was running around on the pitch. Then in the second half, the ball hit the referee in the head and he had to blow his whistle to stop the game and after receiving some treatment, restarted the game with a contested drop ball ,the ball fell to the left back who blasted it straight into exactly the same part of the head where the referee had just been hit. So he stopped the game again for some more treatment and we then got going again. After the final whistle, there was then a bench clearing fracas involving several players and managers. I was making my way to the exit so didn't see what set it off, ugly scenes none the less. Shame really, because this was a cracking and most enjoyable cup tie.    

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