Monday, 19 February 2007

13/02/2007 - Eastleigh 1 Braintree Town 1 (abandoned)

Having spent a week down in Dorset with the family and no computers, I've built up something of a backlog of reports from the matches I attended while on holiday.

The first of which was a midweek jaunt to Eastleigh to see my home town team of Braintree on a Hampshire away day.

From the minute we arrived on the south coast it had been raining almost non stop and setting off on the journey from Poole to Eastleigh we encountered monsoon conditions which seemed to signify either the match would be off or that animals would soon be assembling in pairs.

However the woman at the Eastleigh end of the phone assured us the match was taking place and it did appear to ease off a bit as we arrived at junction five of the M27.

You can see the ground from the motorway and the sight of lit floodlights cheered up dampened hearts as we turned off toward the Silverlake Stadium.

You have to negotiate Stoneham Lane by driving away from the stadium and then doubling back before making a right hand turn into the complex.

The stadium is dominated by the large grandstand on the home straight - a fairly recent addition - while surrounding is a series of covered areas on two sides and an end which is open to the elements where the clubhouse and snackbar reside.

The pitch looked in good shape although there were puddles forming and it was apparent once we had kicked off that conditions were more suitable to water polo than football.

But to their credit both teams were putting on as good a show as you could expect under the circumstances and while technically it was no oil painting, there was enough hustle and bustle to keep the 500 or so who had braved the conditions happily amused.

Less amused though were the team benches who were both in dire need of three league points (one to keep in touch with the playoffs, the other to avoid the drop) and also both aware that this was a match which would be decided on error rather than endeavour.

Indeed it was a defensive slip/push which lead to Eastleigh's opener shortly after half time and Braintree's reply came soon after from a soggy goalmouth scramble.

Just as the match appeared to be simmering nicely the referee decided he'd rather not be sloshing around a wet lump of Hampshire and with about 20 minutes to go he called it off.

There was much frustration and anger from the players but I think secretly everyone else was more than happy to make a beeline for their cars, although the stadium announcer did bark "RUBBISH" over the tannoy before the Eastleigh thought police bundled an overcoat over his head and spirited him away...