TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 15
Sawbridgeworth Town 4 Sporting Bengal United 5
I NEARLY give up on today’s chosen FA Vase fixture at Sawbridgeworth Town. Unless I am getting worse at searching the internet (which is entirely possible) neither of the clubs’ websites nor the Essex Senior League’s site have been updated for ages. I stick with it and I’m glad I do!
It costs me seven pounds to get in to Crofter’s End (programme included). The stadium has an endearing well-used appearance, so it comes as a surprise to find a very plush clubhouse. I expect this newly-refurbished venue will provide much-needed income for the club.
The game kicks off with more people in the Bengal technical area than in the crowd! The referee is one of those annoying officials who likes a chat with the players instead of just booking them or playing on, or even worse engaging in a lengthy chat and then booking the player.
The early exchanges do not remotely hint at the excitement to come. United look lively and are deservedly ahead at the break. Town hit back with a soft penalty (it isn’t one) and extra time looms.
In the seventh minute of injury time, Bengals’ keeper carries a free-kick into his goal but the home players argue that the ball hadn’t gone over the line (it did).
Much to the disgust of his own fans and team-mates, the Number 10 rips off his shirt and stomps towards the dressing room in a strop worthy of a three-year-old schoolgirl. “Well what’s the point? It’s all over isn’t it?!”
He eventually stays on the pitch but if I was his manager he would never play for the club again. In the 12th minute of injury time, Sawbo equalise and the match goes into extra time (or extra, extra time if you will).
After a further 30 minutes and ‘just’? another three goals, the referee blows his whistle and Bengal are deservedly through to the next round.
As the crowd troops out of the ground, one wag shouts at the official, “Surely we have another 12 minutes to play, ref,” I think I need a lie down!