Southall 2 Cleethorpes Town 5
Southall groundshare at Hanwell Town FC. I had planned to visit Hanwell on two previous occasiona and both times it was rained off. Absolutely no danger of this on the loveliest of February days with it almost feeling spring like as clouds parted and the sun came out. So easy to reach, train to London and then about half an hour on the tube to Perivale.
Needless to say, the one group of noisy guys on the entire train sat opposite me and just didn't stop all chattering at the same time until finally alighting two steps before mine.
My map told me to turn right down a road that I never did find and I found myself confronted with the horrendously busy A40. Fortunately, there is a massive footbridge, so I was easily able to cross over the road. I was presented with a small parade of shops, but none of them presented anything that looked like edible food.
I popped down a little side road to avoid the motorway like A40 and then had a short, tranquil walk to the ground that took under five minutes to reach.
In good time and with a surprisingly small crowd on my arrival, I went in the clubhouse and found a very nice lady offering burgers and chips. I waited a few minutes for the chips to cook and then sat at a table to eat. The burger was very nice, the chips not too bad although a couple more minutes in the fryer would have helped.
I then watched one of the most enjoyable 45 minutes of football on the TV I've seen in a long time as Lincoln turned over Burnley in the FA Cup. Oddly, the club were showing the game on Fox sports, meaning there was an American analyst at half time. There was also a two minute delay from actual proceedings and a guy watching the game on his phone announced that Lincoln had scored and won two minutes before we all saw it happen.
A reasonable ground with a small stand, cover at the near end and bizarrely, an electronic scoreboard.
The crowd never did really turn up and at about 350, was really disappointing for this stage of the competition.
Cleethorpes were four up at just after half time and close to embarrassing Southall. Southall then out of nowhere, started to play, scored twice and if they'd only played like that from the start, would have made a good game of it.
Still, on a glorius afternoon for football, you pretty much forgive the teams anything.