Irchester United FC
Ground Number: 406
Sunday 7th September 2014
Irchester United 2-2 Staines Lammas
FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round
I hadn't decided to go to this game until a few hours before. I had beared it in mind, as if I want to make my target of 150 games, then I am going to have to do a few extra ones like this. I knew my Dad was away, so it wouldn't matter so much about being late for dinner, so I suggested the idea to Anwar. He said he would let me know on the day of the game and at 9am on the day he confirmed that he would come. I was pleased, as I fancied seeing more games in the FA Vase, plus the fact that it was fairly local.
Irchester United were formed in 1883, They spent the early part of their history playing in local leagues before joining the United Counties League in 1970, They won promotion to Division 1 in 1974, and that is where they have spent most of their history. They changed their name to Irchester Eastfield during the 1980's, but that did not alter their fortunes. They did have a 3 year spell in the Premier Division in 2010, finishing a best ever 10th in their first season, but they struggled thereafter and were relegated back to Division 1. Last season, they finished 19th and have struggled again this season, being 17th and with only 1 win out of 5 games. Their history in the FA Cup and FA Vase does not stand up to much - they have lost every single tie they have played in the competition, though they did manage to take Langford to a replay in the FA Vase in 1977. Their sole honour was the Championship in the United Counties League Division 1 in 2010.
Staines Lammas were doing even worse in their league. They had lost all 3 of their games in the Combined Counties League Division 1, and had already gone out of the FA Cup. In fact I was there for their 8-1 humbling at the hands of Barton Rovers. The game was played at Ashford Town (where they groundshare) 9 days ago and it turned on a justified sending off around the half hour mark. The game was 1-1 at the time and they had the momentum after getting the equaliser. But they collapsed after going down to 10 men, but even so, the margin of victory was harsh, with Nat Peacock helping himself to 5 goals.
The club themselves were formed in 1926, but it was not until 2003 that they joined the Combined Counties League. This meant that their very basic Laleham Recreation Ground was not sufficient for the Premier Division, and so they have spent periods sharing with Staines Town, and latterly Ashford Town. They were Champions of Division 1 in 2008 and 2009, but could not take promotion. They won the Surrey Premier Cup in 2012. In the FA Cup they had a run to the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round in 2012 before a narrow 3-2 defeat to Southern Premier side Chesham United. They have been unable to recreate that form in the FA Vase - their sole victory coming last season against New College Swindon.
On the day of the game, it was slightly busier than usual for a Sunday at work, so I didn't finish my job until 10.30. I then bought my non-league paper, a bottle of Irn Bru and a bag of Yorkie Cookies. I was then entitled to my half hour break, so I scoffed the cookies (900 calories worth, no wonder I am getting fatter!) while having a drink and reading the Non-League Paper. I left work at 11.15, getting fuel on the way home, so didn't get home until 11.45. This meant I only had 45 minutes to have a bath and get ready, so it was a bit of a rush. I left home to meet Anwar at 12.30, and by 1PM was in Aylesbury.
We had a pretty easy trip over to Northamptonshire and were there in just over an hour. We both paid £5 entry and £1 for a colourful programme out of my car window before parking up. I was going to get some lunch, but they only had rolls and hot cross buns. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise after them cookies, so I made do with some Pringles. I also passed on a pint of Strongbow - I'd had a couple of fairly heavy days on the booze, so I wanted to give my liver a rest, especially as I will more than likely have cider when we head west on Tuesday. This even meant watching the England game sober tomorrow, which could possibly contravene the Human Rights Act, given how we play. I spent the time before kick off checking Facebook using my iPad and mobile broadband dongle, as it was really slow on my phone.
The game was an entertaining 2-2 draw, with both sides having spells of pressure. Irchester having the best of the opening and closing stages. The game went to extra time, but they stopped short of going to penalties, meaning that Irchester now face a long trip to Middlesex on Tuesday, with the Staines team taking 2 and a half hours in light traffic. The referee had a decent game, but this was not to the satisfaction of the Lammas manager, who was told to shut up by the linesman and who was also involved in words with an Irchester fan who he called 'a village idiot' and 'mentally retarded' after the supporter told him to eff off. He also appeared to have his young son as assistant manager, making it a real family affair.
Ground 406 (31st of the season)
Game 40 of the season (1509 of all time)
Goals for the season: 156 (average 3.9 per game)
109 miles driven (3619 for the season)
Purchases: Entry £5, Programme £1, Pringles 95p (season costs inc travel £607.90)
Both Ireland's gained good results in their games - the Republic winning in Georgia and NI winning in Hungary. In the FA Vase Fisher beat Woodstock Sports 4-3 after extra time.
AFTER THE GAME
Another easy drive home, with me back in my house by 7. I had dinner, watched Coronation Street and typed my blog while watching Scotland having a narrow 2-1 defeat to Germany, with former Wanderer Ikechi Anya scoring - the club stupidly let him go on a free transfer a few years ago, despite him looking really talented as a youngster.
Weston Super-Mare v Ebbsfleet on Tuesday in the Conference South, but nor before a late afternoon in Bristol for shopping and a possible photo opportunity next to the Bristol Rovers 'Vanarama' sign :)
ALFRED STREET is one of the more basic grounds at step 6. Due to lack of space, all the covered accommodation is behind one goal, due to space restrictions. There is covered standing for 200, plus new seats for 100. You can probably fit around 750 in the ground in all, but parking is very limited also. The tea bar is basic also, offering only rolls and buns. The bar is better with your usual clubhouse range at fair prices. I am unsure what is nearby, as I didn't have time to explore the village before kick off.