Friday, 30 December 2016

30/12/16 Review: Billericay Town vs Needham Market

Billericay Town P-P Needham Market (Ryman Premier League)
New Lodge

Well, this one is going to be short and sweet. The end of 2016 was fast approaching and there seemed to be just one more chance to see some footy, which would mean taking time out of my stay down in Leigh-on-Sea to ride out to Billericay. With one eye browsing over Twitter to see if the game would fall to the vast fog that had lingered for the past couple of days, I was happy enough that at 6:30pm the game was definitely ON and so I set off in my lift for the evening.

This would not be the first time that my optimism had let me down

Last month me and my friend went to watch our beloved Silkmen in a match that was called off just before the hour-mark, but as this was likely to be my only chance to visit New Lodge I took a chance in a hope to see this big game in the Ryman Premier. Today's visitors, who'd made the near 60-mile trek from Needham Market, are currently the league's leaders and with this time of the year being very fixture heavy, both sides were gagging to play through the ever-thickening fog. When I arrived, a few had already filtered in to the ground and I was already hearing murmurs from the Billericay staff that suggested I may have had a wasted journey. Alas, I grabbed myself a programme and headed in to see how New Lodge stacked up against some of the other grounds I'd seen. In all honesty, it was of a similar stature to The Frost Financial Stadium and it was certainly looking very worn in places. With a central stand with seating on both sides, I was quite satisfied that on a busy day this would be a rocking little ground.

Some would call it "ware-and-tare", but I'd refer to it as character
By this point in the evening the officials were out on the pitch again, so I continued my tour around the ground to see what other delights I could seek out. One good thing about the fog is that there are no spoilers when walking around. As I approached a white shed near the corner flag, it took me a good few seconds to detect that this was in fact the Blues Snack Bar. Following on from this, I headed around behind the goal where the home side were warming-up and it was at this point that the bad news was announced. The instant moans and groans signified that the game was off and travelling Needham fans dressed in red scarves began to question why this decision hadn't been made sooner. Although the Billericay support were somewhat in agreement, they did also point out that a match earlier on against Kingstonian had gone ahead in similar circumstances. In my opinion it was just one of those things- the officials didn't want to call it off too early because the weather had forecast it to lift, but on the other hand it is not nice for the fans who'd come through for no reason. I just thought back to the Dover fans of last month who'd had to drive all the way through to Macclesfield and back!

Only one thing for it- to the bar!
A lot of fans departed instantly, collecting a refund on the way out, whilst others hung around to have a chat, a beer, and have a bit of a moan. It's what us footy fans do best!

Another fine looking Clubhouse to say I've popped my head in to
After a quick seat in the bar I went back out to watch the Billericay squad having an intra-squad kick-about and in fairness they looked like a slick outfit. I awaited my lift to pick me up at the main gates as I had a read of the programme, which only made me feel a bit more downbeat about what I could have seen tonight. Unfortunately I won't be able to make the trip back to Essex for the eventual rematch, but I am happy that I was at least able to take a glance at yet another ground before the start of 2017. I will leave you all with a few more images from my visit and I'd like to wish all of my followers and friends a Happy New Year! See you all in 2017 for yet more Pint Of Football travelling to seek out as much of the beautiful game that I can. Cheers.

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