06 November 2016

Tooting and Mitcham 4 Cray Wanderers 0

My third non-league game of the season brought me by Tramlink to a ground I've gone past a few times while cycling the Wandle trail. The KNK stadium is, but what do I know, pretty impressive at this level (rymans isthmian league south). A decent stand on one side and covered terracing at either end for the small but noisy group of singing home supporters who, in true old school style, switched ends at half time. I don't at all consider myself a football traditionalist but that's one of the things - alongside players wearing shirts numbered 1 - 11 and match officials in black - that I prefer about the non-league game.

I've enjoyed good luck with my non-league games so far and that continued. This was an enjoyable affair on a bitterly cold afternoon, both teams trying to play a skilful game perhaps because they didn't have the pace or the physical presence to do otherwise.

Billy Dunn's 25th minute goal separated the teams after a fairly even first half, but in the second half three goals in five minutes (Mike Dixon twice and Chace O'Neill) - largely the result of calamitous defending - destroyed any spirit in the Wanderers, and the game fizzled out, with only a few hearty fouls to cheer any visiting supporters (I didn't see or hear any, but they had nothing to shout about.)
Osibodu lumps the ball upfield

As the Wanderers' match report says:
It came as something of a relief when the final whistle went and there could be no complaints, the better side had won today and showed how tough this division is going to be.

The sun set gloriously over the far side of the pitch and I managed to grab a shot of it which by pure luck includes some actual football action, so I've added a caption.

Another thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at a new ground. A friendly feeling in the stand and honest effort from all the players on the pitch. I could get used to this.

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