Yesterday, Lymington Town Football Club sat at the bottom of the Wessex Football League table on five points from 23 games. They had suffered through 20 losses and two draws since the beginning of the season. Their single victory was against Blackfield & Langley back on December 23. Probably, the most telling statistic is that, over the season so far, Lymington Town had 94 goals scored against them.
Today, I went and saw them play Laverstock & Ford, a team sitting in eighth place, 12 places above them. I wasn’t expecting a great game of football, though figured there’d be a lot of goals.
I was thinking I hadn’t seen another Wessex League team before, but I was wrong. Back in Covid Times, Nicktor, Matt, James and I visited New Alresford to watch a game of football. New Alresford are in Division One of the league.
Still, the ground was new for me, which is always a good thing.
And so, without any expectations, I walked down to the ground, paid my £6 and took a seat in the slightly bigger than a bus shelter, stand. Which is weird. How come it’s called a stand when you sit in it?
Anyway, as I said, I took my seat and watched the teams warm up before kick off.
Just before kick-off, Chris came and sat next to me. A very chatty and friendly chap, over the next 90 minutes, I heard about his entire life. He’s a social worker, a former coke addict, the football coach for his son’s team, a well travelled man who’s visited Sydney, and he’s a cancer survivor who loves mint tea.
He also learned a few things about me. For one thing, when he asked where I was from, I said Sweden which he thought was a long way to come from for a Wessex League game of football. I countered with the fact that I’m Australian, which is even further.
So, while we chatted, the game got underway. And, for quite a while, both teams were pretty equal. There was a lot of end to end play and, had it not been for the Lymington goalie, Laverstock would have been well ahead at half-time. As it was, Lymington scored and the teams went to the break with the visitors behind.
That was unexpected, I thought to myself. I think the other 64 football fans watching with me were just as surprised. Mind you, they probably weren’t as surprised as Chris was when four fans carried pints out of the clubhouse to drink in the front row of the stand during the second half.
“You don’t see that in the Premier League,” He said.
As the second half started, it was like Laverstock had changed their team. They suddenly found themselves unable to string together many successful passes. The fact that Lymington’s defence was pretty much impenetrable, also didn’t help. Which is not to say that Lymington ‘parked the bus’ across the goalmouth. No, they kept on attacking and were rewarded twice more.
There was a chap sitting not far from us, called Mark. He works for the FA and writes reports on match officials. Chris asked him if he thought Laverstock would score before the end. He nodded sagely and said, “Yeah, they’ll get one back.“
And Mark wasn’t wrong. Not too many minutes before the full time whistle, Laverstock scored an easy goal to make the final score 3-1 to the home side.
The game was played well and the officials did a good job up until the final ten minutes when there was a ruckus on the other side of the pitch, in between the two team benches. The Laverstock manager got into a bit of a shouting match with the referee, who didn’t shout back. Rather, he showed the manager a yellow card.
Apparently, the manager was concerned with his players’ safety: I overheard him as he was leaving the pitch at full time. The final few minutes of the game were marred by this ruckus. I was far too far away to know what was going on, who was at fault and if the manager was justified but, I thought, the officials handled it very well. I don’t know what Mark wrote in his report but I hope it was positive.
All in all, I have to say, the match was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though, I don’t think Laverstock were that impressed. Their heads were bowed as they quickly left the pitch.
The next Saturday home game for Lymington is on February 10. I might just go to that one as well.