My Very Own Non League Day – 2011
This is an article I wrote on an old, now discontinued, blog of mine about last year’s Non League Day, and my first ever live nonleague match. It was originally published on September 11th 2011.
On Saturday September 10th 2011, I had my very own Non League Day, seven days after the official day. Two reasons for this: I was working the week before, and secondly, my nearest non league club was away on Non League Day. That club being Hampton & Richmond Borough, whose home ground is The Beveree Stadium, and they play in the Blue Square Bet South. In the first six matches of the season, The Beavers had collected just two points and sat bottom of the league, while their opponents on the day, Chelmsford City, were in midtable. This was my first visit to the Beveree, and I was taking my two and a half year old son to his first ever match.
Chelmsford were much the better side for most of the game, and scored very early on, when an inswinging corner kick from Aiden Palmer was helped into his own net by the home goalkeeper Rodney Chiweshe after just three minutes. By the 22nd minute it was 3-0 to the visitors, through a penalty and an horrific defensive mix up. Just a minute after the third goal went in a lifeline was handed to Borough when they were awarded their own penalty. Dave Tarpey was fouled by Jermaine Brown when clean through on goal, and despite getting his shot away, the referee gave the spotkick. A yellow card resulted for Brown, although the locals were baying for a red card. Jacob Erskine stepped up to take the kick, but his fairly weak effort was saved. Tarpey almost scored later in the first half, but his acrobatic volley smacked the crossbar. Half time: Hampton & Richmond 0-3 Chelmsford City.
The great thing about football at this level is that the fans change ends at halftime as well as the teams, making sure they are at the end their team is attacking for the whole game.
The second half wasn’t as lively as the first, but their were still chances for both sides. Tarpey drove the ball across the face of goal, narrowly missing the far post, while a long range effort threatened the home goal. Chelmsford netted a fourth, though, through Cliff Akurang’s close range header midway through the second half. From then, it was the visitors who could have scored more goals, hitting the frame of the goal and forcing Chiweshe into saves. The game ended 4-0 to the visitors, leaving Hampton & Richmond rooted to the foot of the table.
Not the result I had hoped for then, but it was still a very enjoyable afternoon, made even better by the fantastic staff and home fans. The entry fee was very affordable, just eleven quid for me, and no charge for my son. Under sixteens only pay three pounds, which is fantastic value for a family. The matchday programme is of a good quality, and the fans and staff seem to largely be on first name terms with each other. It really has the feel of a community club, and one thing is for sure: we will be back in a couple of weeks for the visit of Weston-Super-Mare.
I urge all football fans to find out more about their local non league side, and get along to a game. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am really glad I did it. On September 10th 2011, Hampton & Richmond Borough gained two new supporters.